A TWW Tutorial: How to Figure Out If Your Non-Calvinist or Non-Authoritarian Church Is Being Taken Over

"You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.:  Leviticus 19:11 link

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It was over before we even knew it was happening.

A few years ago, I realized that a church I attended was being co opted by the Calvinistas. I knew that the majority of the members were not Calvinists but quickly discovered that the newest elders of the church were and had planned to hire a New Calvinist pastor. At the meet and greet for the new pastor, they asked us to submit, in writing, questions for the soon to be lead pastor. All of the questions were asked except for mine because "they ran out of time." My question was simply:

Are you a Calvinist?

At that point, I determined that the leaders were not to be trusted. They were deceptive with the people who trusted them. Within short order, the church became a member of The Gospel Coalition without telling the church members. The move was then made to change the constitution and bylaws. The new pastor raved about Mark Driscoll, recommended CJ Mahaney books, and stated that church discipline was at the top of his agenda. He then fired a long-time, beloved ministry leader and hired his BFF, a CJ Mahaney look alike who immediately started discussing his authority while sadly attempting to look hip in perfectly pressed, rolled jeans.

Sadly, the lead pastor decided to hire a youth pastor who was involved in the mother ship of the former Sovereign Grace Ministries, showing that he just didn't get it. He was just another ho-hum wannabe of the big dogs. 

We immediately resigned from the church, stating that we had joined the church before it was a New Calvinist wannabe and that we were most decidedly not Calvinists. 

Sadly, these new elders and some former pastors did not inform the congregation that their theology was about to change. This sort of gamesmanship is despicable for so-called Christians.

What to do before your church hires a new pastor.

This is the smartest way to avoid serious church conflict.  

Churches with buildings and other assets are ripe for a takeover, so be smart.

Starting a ministry from scratch, sans meeting place, regular income, etc. is quite difficult. Many lending institutions are wary of  granting large loans to build church mega buildings. You know the type – warehouses with a cross on front. There are few uses for such buildings after default. One large ministry in the Triangle decided not to build such a complex and instead is now buying or renting smaller buildings. Many of them are former churches.

We have written about a number of churches with valuable land, buildings, and decent contributors that were targeted for a Calvinista incursion. Therefore, assume that if your church is one that has decent assets and is looking for a new lead pastor, Calvinists and other authoritarian types will be applying for the position.

Know what the church wants prior to forming the search committee.

Settle your church's doctrinal bent a priori. If the congregation is Reformed, then all is well. Even then, remember that the pastor is not necessarily *called* to serve you. He may be hearing the assets calling out to him. This is the time to get the congregation on board. Arrange meetings to discuss basic theological perspectives. Make sure the search committee is aware, well ahead time, of what the people want. Tighten up the search parameters.

If a likely candidate is found, make sure everyone has the opportunity to ask hard questions. 

What is good for the goose is good for the gander. The Deebs can assure you that possible candidates for positions in well known Calvinist churches are asked questions out the wazoo. Theology is explored in great depth and that is perfectly fine with me. They sure as heck do not want an Arminian to screw things up in their churches.The problem is that many churches that are not Calvinist are not inclined to do the same.  

The Calvinistas have been writing article on how to obfuscate the fact that they are Calvinists. They play games with the word *grace,* for example. How they can do this and think they are behaving in a Christian manner is beyond me, but cognitive dissonance and arrogance probably plays a big role.

Therefore, folks, get smart and ask those questions. It is fair and right to do so. Here is one set of such questions QUESTIONS FOR NON- CALVINIST SBC PASTOR SEARCH COMMITTEES.

What happens if your church has hired a Calvinista?

It is often way too late to deal with this after the pastor is hired. Church members are often glad that the search process is over. Many members are not educated in how to deal with a myriad of small changes that eventually become big changes. By that time, the church is usually in an uproar – people are leaving, employees are being fired, and people are choosing sides. 

Signs that the church is changing.

  • The pastor quotes often from Reformed, authoritarian based authors.
  • The leaders names their kids after famous Calvinists (one pastor named his kid, Calvin, in my case-I knew I was in trouble.)
  • The pastor quotes often from John Piper, CJ Mahaney, etc.
  • Long time employees are being fired.
  • Constitutions and bylaws are being changed to give the lead pastor more flexibility.
  • Women are being moved out of key positions.
  • Discussions on church discipline become frequent.
  • People begin to remark that the pastor seems arrogant.
  • There is more discussion on hierarchical roles from the pulpit.
  • The pastor becomes more distant from the average church members – often hiding out in his office.
  • The pastors go to conferences more frequently.
  • The pastors begin writing books, speaking at conferences, and posting at The Gospel Coalition. (I know one pastor who had an article posted on How to be a Senior Pastor after only a few months of being in that role.)
  • Former ministries such as food banks, etc. are suddenly canceled.
  • New classes/groups are formed to study books on theology by Wayne Grudem, Piper etc.
  • Invitation only group are formed to discuss *deeper* theology.
  • The church library becomes filled, almost exclusively, with books from the Reformed side of thinking.
  • Women are encouraged to read books by typical Calvinista women and attend TGC women conferences.
  • Parents are told not to allow their kids to play team sports if it keeps them away from certain Bible studies, etc.
  • The leaders begin to routinely use phrases such as *regeneration,* *doctrines of grace,* *the elect,* etc.
  • Dedicated church member who have been around for a long time are moved out of ministry roles such as Sunday school teachers, deacons, etc, unless they give gobs of money to the church. They are replaced by BFFs of the pastor.
  • You begin to feel that the pastor is avoiding you because you ask questions.
  • A loving church is becoming a obedience driven church.
  • Gender roles become the hot topic of discussion.
  • Submission and authority are spoken of frequently.
  • Membership covenants become required.

If you think something is wrong, it probably is.

I realized that I was in an untenable position when my question was not read at my former church. If you are at this point, you need to evaluate whether or not it is worth the difficulties you will encounter in trying to change the new system. In my case, I discovered that most of the new elders wanted this change, and some of the older pastors and leaders also were on board. Many in the congregation had no idea what was going on and did not have the inclination to pursue it. So, my husband and I quit and eventually found a wonderful church, but it took a few years.

What to do?

  • Leave and tell them, as well as others, why you are leaving.
  • Leave and not say a word because you think they will retaliate.
  • Stay and openly educate others about what is happening. This is quite hard since the leaders will oppose you.
  • Stay and quietly educate others: Think Sapulpa Messenger.
  • Stay and try to make a leadership change-this will be painful and difficult but it is not always impossible. 

It is exceedingly rare that you will be able to fight back without personal consequences. Anytime a church is taken over without open and honest discussion, the men who do so are willing to lie and punish to achieve their goals. They want to be in charge, no matter how many people they hurt. In some respects, it is laughable since they do not see that they are merely admirals in leaky rowboats. In reality, they cause much pain and hurt to achieve some amorphous thing called *authority* that they cannot even adequately define.

Leave in good conscience.

In spite of their incessant lectures on church covenants, etc., you have a moral and spiritual right to leave any church with pastors who played games in order to become the Dons of their peculiar La Cosa Nostra. Maybe this quote from The Godfather is how I will leave it.

"I have no intention of placing my fate in the hands of men whose only qualification is that they managed to con a block of people to vote for them.” 


Comments

A TWW Tutorial: How to Figure Out If Your Non-Calvinist or Non-Authoritarian Church Is Being Taken Over — 236 Comments

  1. Excellent article.

    Does anyone find it strange that Shauna posts about her Ryrie Study Bible and lo and behold SBCVoices cautions against the use of study Bibles?

  2. “Former ministries such as food banks, etc are suddenly canceled.”

    Why???
    a Church food bank normally is run by volunteers and the food is donated, not purchased out of Church funds

  3. “Many in the congregation had no idea what was going on and did not have the inclination to pursue it.” (Dee)

    Dee, I hear this all too often in my area. In most cases, it’s a generational thing. The generation that is being taken over (Baby Boomers) by Millennial YRRs are, by and large, trusting souls. New Calvinists know this about them and have moved into the SBC because they are easy pickins’. The new reformers don’t apply your opening verse from Leviticus to themselves, since they’ve been told they have come into the world for such a time as this; thus, whatever it takes to restore the gospel to a church which has lost it, is OK (Calvinism = Gospel). The inclination for Baby Boomers not to pursue is driven by a denial that ‘any’ pastor would lie to them. This degree of bad character in the pulpit has never reached such proportions in SBC, even during the liberal vs. conservative battles over Scripture inerrancy. Are Biblical ethics still taught in SBC seminaries or have situational ethics taken control?

  4. The Calvinistas are coming! The Calvinistas are coming! Run for cover or escape before things get ugly. Or stay and fight and take your chances.

  5.  

    Christiane wrote:

    “Former ministries such as food banks, etc are suddenly canceled.”
    Why???
    a Church food bank normally is run by volunteers and the food is donated, not purchased out of Church funds

    Christiane, it’s called a lack of compassion. Money and effort should be invested elsewhere as far as the New Calvinists are concerned. Besides, helping the poor and disadvantaged is enabling them to continue in their sin. I have encountered quite a few Calvinists who think this way. It is appalling because it shows their ignorance of our Lord Jesus’ teachings.

  6. This is exactly what was happening at our church. However our former pastor was fresh out of SBTS and ours was his first (and hopefully last) pastorate. The fact that he was unable to surround himself with yes-men was one of our saving graces, which gave members the time to look at what he was trying to do and sound the alarm.
    Our church is small, but we have nice, newer facility (that’s almost paid off!) on several acres in an attractive neighborhood. The kind of assets that any Calvinista pastor could only dream of! It was a very difficult struggle, but leaving was just never an option for us. He was a LIAR and needed to be called out on it!
    Providentially, I found this site around the same time this was all happening to help us understand that what we were going through wasn’t unique or isolated. Hopefully more folks will tune in and see what is happening in the SBC and other churches and stop these liars in their tracks!

  7. Max wrote:

    The new reformers don’t apply your opening verse from Leviticus to themselves, since they’ve been told they have come into the world for such a time as this…

    As has happened many times before in history.

    “RULERS OF TOMORROW! MASTER RACE!”
    — Ralph Bakshi, Wizards

    “Tomorrow belongs,
    Tomorrow belongs,
    Tomorrow belongs to ME!”
    Cabaret

  8. Darlene wrote:

    Christiane, it’s called a lack of compassion. Money and effort should be invested elsewhere as far as the New Calvinists are concerned.

    Like lining the pockets of the Predestined Elect.
    “SEE HOW GOD PROVIDES FOR HIS ELECT?”

  9. “At that point, I determined that the leaders were not to be trust.”

    I’m assuming you meant “not to be trusted”. 🙂

  10. @ Root 66:

    So glad to read of a successful resistance! The gaul of them trying to gain control of property, assets, is astounding. I literally shudder for all the faithful believers who came before us, losing what they worked so hard for, what they invested in with heart and soul.

    The Calvinistas refuse to do the hard work of starting a congregation from scratch, they'd rather steal one.

  11. If church is such a minefield, why go?

    I notice that these churches use the fact that many Christians are programmed to follow the leadership.

    My wife will forgive some of the most outlandish crud that comes out of her church.

  12. Christiane wrote:

    “Former ministries such as food banks, etc are suddenly canceled.”
    Why???
    a Church food bank normally is run by volunteers and the food is donated, not purchased out of Church funds

    In my experience, this is not an internal church food bank that is being cancelled, but community-wide efforts with other denominations and groups that are being cancelled because they aren’t among “God’s Elect” etc. etc. and they somehow aren’t “real Christians”, aren’t believers, are unclean in some spiritual sense, etc.

    An evangelical Christian mother in Southern California did such charitable work with Catholics and other people from other denominations. Her daughter who became a member of Pastor John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church DEMANDED that her mother stop doing volunteer work with Catholics and other Christian groups. When the mother declined to stop doing her volunteer work, her daughter cut off all ties and communications to her.

    Her daughter’s personality underwent a drastic (negative) change when she joined JMac’s high-control, authoritarian church.

  13. Max wrote:

    The new reformers don’t apply your opening verse from Leviticus to themselves, since they’ve been told they have come into the world for such a time as this;

    Well, they ignore most of the gospels, too, so it’s getting where I just snort when they try to toss out the “I’m more biblical than you” argument.

  14. “Invitation only group are formed to discuss *deeper* theology.”

    It’s not just invitation-only groups, but also those that only certain people seem to know about. Churches can avoid this problem by earnestly questioning whether a new group or program will teach new things (service or faith), or merely create an upper crust.

    One nearby church canceled a proposed new group out of concern that it would create the appearance of regular members and special members. Later on, a different group was proposed, and every step was taken to let members know that all were eligible to inquire and join. That group has a quiet ministry of prayer and service–and precisely no prestige.

  15. Jack wrote:

    If church is such a minefield, why go?
    I notice that these churches use the fact that many Christians are programmed to follow the leadership.
    My wife will forgive some of the most outlandish crud that comes out of her church.

    There are wonderful churches out there, but they are often not the “cool” churches.

    The Calvinistas definitely do abuse the fact that most Christians are gullible and won’t rock the boat until it’s too late, then they just toss them out. 🙁

  16. Christiane wrote:

    “Former ministries such as food banks, etc are suddenly canceled.”

    Why???
    a Church food bank normally is run by volunteers and the food is donated, not purchased out of Church funds

    Many churches devote the vast majority of their assets to their own members. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s also not outwardly focused.

    A lot of the value of the church springs from what it simply allows others to do on its property.

    When churches seal themselves off, the community loses so much: youth basketball, scouting, AA and other 12-step programs, bag lunches for the homeless, community group meetings, etc.

    When the church building is used to serve selflessly, chances are that the clergy, staff, and members are also oriented toward helping the many, not just themselves.

  17. Max wrote:

    “Many in the congregation had no idea what was going on and did not have the inclination to pursue it.” (Dee)
    Dee, I hear this all too often in my area. In most cases, it’s a generational thing. The generation that is being taken over (Baby Boomers) by Millennial YRRs are, by and large, trusting souls. New Calvinists know this about them and have moved into the SBC because they are easy pickins’. The new reformers don’t apply your opening verse from Leviticus to themselves, since they’ve been told they have come into the world for such a time as this; thus, whatever it takes to restore the gospel to a church which has lost it, is OK (Calvinism = Gospel). (snip)

    …with the added benefit that the Boomers are starting to die and leaving $$$ in their wills. As any donation to a 501(c)(3) is tax-exempt, the biggest way to get the biggest bang for some types of $$$ you have to leave behind is to leave it to a charity. Very appealing to the Peace and Love Generation.

    I have seen printed in the bulletins of some churches the *verbiage* to use in your will to leave the $$$ to the church. It’s not a bad thing for someone to do–some churches actually manage to do something of beauty with the legacies–but I have a feeling that this is yet another reason for targeting specific fellowships.

  18. Okay, our EX-church managed to score 17 out of the 25. For awhile my husband tried to do the “quietly educate” thing by speaking up in SS and Bible studies… in a nice way, but still trying to bring people back to free grace and positional truth instead of election and perseverance by works. And the result was that the pastor did begin avoiding us. And then our daughter was ex-communicated for leaving her abusive spouse. Maybe that was a convenient way to get rid of us as well???

  19. linda wrote:

    Does anyone find it strange that Shauna posts about her Ryrie Study Bible and lo and behold SBCVoices cautions against the use of study Bibles?

    Odd that Dave Miller would post such a piece. He knows that the young Calvinists he caters to on his blog LOVE the ESV Study Bible! It is loaded with Calvinist commentary (from Calvin to Piper) which provides a source of inspiration for many of their sermons. You MUST carry an ESV Bible if you are a New Calvinist, but toting the ESV Study Bible signifies that you are more serious about your faith than an average run-of-the-mill YRR. Yep, the ESV Study Bible is the bad boy of the bunch!

  20. Dee, you’ve covered it in the above list, but I might have mentioned in the discussion of May 15th that some of the goals in our attempted takeover included topics like:

    — obedience
    — submission
    — authority
    — discipline

    In fact, the stated reasons early on were that the move to elder leadership would be ” more effective in cases of church discipline,” as well as being more “biblical.” It was noted that such elders would be male only.

    One example touted was “if a man leaves his wife for another woman” elders would be more effective than deacons in handling discipline.

    I pointed out that if a man leaves his wife he usually leaves the church too, so discipline would be moot. And we have had a few cases exactly like that, one involving a deacon’s wife leaving for another man. She’s outta here, no discipline accepted, thank you very much.

    I also pointed out that as deacons we did handle a few cases of discipline rather ably, and why would the same pool of members, now re-flagged as elders, be any more effective? Were they to get special training? If so, why couldn’t deacons get that training? No good answer to that, but it sure is more biblical with elders…

    They didn’t keep reminding us that the elders were to be male. But some of us reminded them.

    My opposition was based on the letter to the Galatians. No verses in particular; ALL of Galatians. I asked the proponents of the scheme re-read the letter, and to read it twice.

    After the storm had passed and we were digging out and sweeping up the mess I was told that my interpretation of Galatians “misses the mark.”

  21. Friend wrote:

    invitation-only groups

    New Calvinist churches in my area hold small group meetings called “LifeGroups”. Every member is required to be a member of a weekly cell group meeting where they are indoctrinated in reformed theology via a Piper book or some other worthy resource. Leaders are hand-picked by the pastor. In one church, certain members are assigned to groups led by church elders (biggest tithers? potential troublemakers?). LifeGroups are a good way to keep an eye out for dissenters who may start questioning what they are taught; they also monitor the membership to make sure no one experiences any spiritual “life” before it gets out of control.

  22. Mary27 wrote:

    Okay, our EX-church managed to score 17 out of the 25. For awhile my husband tried to do the “quietly educate” thing by speaking up in SS and Bible studies… in a nice way, but still trying to bring people back to free grace and positional truth instead of election and perseverance by works. And the result was that the pastor did begin avoiding us. And then our daughter was ex-communicated for leaving her abusive spouse. Maybe that was a convenient way to get rid of us as well???

    I hope you write your story up for TWW. I’d love to read it.

  23. Max wrote:

    but toting the ESV Study Bible signifies that you are more serious about your faith than an average run-of-the-mill YRR.

    Toting a John MacArthur Study Bible signifies that you are every more serious than the rest of the Calvinistas!

    (I tossed mine in the recycling container along with all of my Calvinista books which I ripped to shreds.)

  24. Velour wrote:

    Toting a John MacArthur Study Bible signifies that you are every more serious than the rest of the Calvinistas!

    Certainly! It’s a must for an serious student of reformed theology.

    I found it interesting, though, that the YRRs didn’t have much to do with MacArthur initially. He was a classical “Old” Calvinist, they were “New” Calvinists. It wasn’t until Together For the Gospel (aka Calvinism) blessed MacArthur and invited him to their inner sanctum, that he gained their trust.

    Speaking of T4G, you must check out the new “Four Friends, One Gospel” mug shot of the Fab Four at http://t4g.org/. Warning: that picture will creep you out!

  25. Max wrote:

    Warning: that picture will creep you out!

    Yes, the picture did creep me out.

    So sad to see a stadium full of deceived people. Hopefully they will get a clue and leave Calvinista Reformed Theology.

  26. Velour wrote:

    So sad to see a stadium full of deceived people. Hopefully they will get a clue and leave Calvinista Reformed Theology.

    “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false” (2 Thessalonians 2:11 ESV)

  27. If your pastor starts bringing in a lot of 20-something men and putting them in key positions…he might be a Calvinista.

  28. Deb wrote:

    @ Velour:
    Wonder how many attendees got course credit for attending…

    LOL. I hadn’t even thought of that, Deb.

  29. @ ishy:
    Been there. Seen that.
    BTW, on the TWW blogroll is a site called: Steam Tunnel Pilot, that advertises Mark Driscoll.

  30. Max wrote:

    Speaking of T4G, you must check out the new “Four Friends, One Gospel” mug shot of the Fab Four at http://t4g.org/.

    Wow, that’s a weird website. I’m struck at how the meeting and speakers are presented as mainstream evangelicalism, but I find nothing there that I respect or connect with. Just suspicion and concern for the attendees. And for the gospel they present, whatever that is.

    If you click on the “Affirmations and Denials” link, you get an interesting page. Starting with the statement in bold: “We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause — to stand together for the Gospel.” No sisters. Girls don’t count. I wonder if any women are brave enough to attend in Louisville.

    http://t4g.org/about/affirmations-and-denials/

  31. Max wrote:

    linda wrote:

    Does anyone find it strange that Shauna posts about her Ryrie Study Bible and lo and behold SBCVoices cautions against the use of study Bibles?

    Odd that Dave Miller would post such a piece. He knows that the young Calvinists he caters to on his blog LOVE the ESV Study Bible! It is loaded with Calvinist commentary (from Calvin to Piper) which provides a source of inspiration for many of their sermons. You MUST carry an ESV Bible if you are a New Calvinist, but toting the ESV Study Bible signifies that you are more serious about your faith than an average run-of-the-mill YRR. Yep, the ESV Study Bible is the bad boy of the bunch!

    Mr. Miller takes so few complaints that no one can point out to him his inconsistency and some would call it hypocrisy of his. He gets his dander up!

  32. JYJames wrote:

    BTW, on the TWW blogroll is a site called: Steam Tunnel Pilot, that advertises Mark Driscoll.

    More funny than Babylon Bee.

  33. Max wrote:

    the YRRs didn’t have much to do with MacArthur initially.

    Mainly because he is a “leaky” Dispie which is not a respectable position. The Reformed would have a Covenantal Amillennial stroke if anyone tried to link them to MacArthur. 🙂

  34. Deb wrote:

    Wonder how many attendees got course credit for attending…

    It’s true! Attendees at the T4G and TGC conferences can earn seminary credit! It’s a good gimmick for getting those young, impressionable pastor-wannabes under reformed theology indoctrination.

  35. Gram3 wrote:

    The Reformed would have a Covenantal Amillennial stroke if anyone tried to link them to MacArthur.

    But they still pose for selfies with him at T4G conferences. This whole cast of characters are weird.

  36. ishy wrote:

    If your pastor starts bringing in a lot of 20-something men and putting them in key positions…he might be a Calvinista.

    Yep. If one or more of the “elders” just got their driver’s license, you are in a Calvinista church.

  37. Discussions here remind me of what happens at my TX college in the late 50s. A new church was started in town? Girls at the church targeted the boys in our SBC student group, boys targeted the girls. All to get them

  38. to join the new, ‘true’church. The ‘missionizing’ by the new church affected the school’s basketball team. ‘Real, true Christians’ only passed the ball to like-minded players. Result? A ‘possible’ conference championship was lost, and many students turned more strongly against ‘true believers.’

  39. May I add to the list of determinants, getting the church to pay the time and expenses for a trip (vacation) to the Holy Land with a bunch of other “pastors”.

  40. I have another glorious announcement:
    I watched my oldest niece’s high school graduation tonight! Yes, she is a stereotypical blonde, but she did receive a scholarship to 2-year community college less than an hour’s drive from home! Yay for Kyla, and truly thank God. Every little bit helps!
    @HUG – the community college is in Hopkinsville, less than a 10 minute drive from the Kelly Green Men “sighting”!

  41. @ TomkeinOK:
    Some in our SBC student group had fun with the church’s newspaper ad. As they said ‘non-denominational, pre-millenial and . . . AIR-CONDITIONED???’

  42. Christiane wrote:

    “Former ministries such as food banks, etc are suddenly canceled.”
    Why???
    a Church food bank normally is run by volunteers and the food is donated, not purchased out of Church funds

    Control! It’s very difficult for leaders to manage people when they’ve found their place with regard to fellowship or service. It seems that I, Spirit led activity and fellowship are viewed as pockets of resistance rather than proof of spiritual growth. I haven’t visited a church in a long time where independent functioning is really encouraged in a manner not tied to centrally directed organization goals. I’d consider it a success to find a small group of people to fellowship and serve alongside without worrying about management.

  43. The playbook is Revitalization by Andy Davis. How to take over a church with assets and a congregational government, vote out the old people. Steal their building.

    Good thing Southern Baptists have documents that say if you no longer adhere to Southern Baptist doctrine, and they lent you money for the building, the assets are returned to the Southern Baptist Convention.

    If you really want to revitalize, there is also Biblical Church Revitalization.

    Good IX Marks and “revitalization”. The playbook is real.

  44. One of the deacons from our prior church bought Billy the John MacArthur study bible from their book store a few years ago. Billy chucked it for a King James Bible I got him for Christmas Max wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    Toting a John MacArthur Study Bible signifies that you are every more serious than the rest of the Calvinistas!

    Certainly! It’s a must for an serious student of reformed theology.

    I found it interesting, though, that the YRRs didn’t have much to do with MacArthur initially. He was a classical “Old” Calvinist, they were “New” Calvinists. It wasn’t until Together For the Gospel (aka Calvinism) blessed MacArthur and invited him to their inner sanctum, that he gained their trust.

    Speaking of T4G, you must check out the new “Four Friends, One Gospel” mug shot of the Fab Four at http://t4g.org/. Warning: that picture will creep you out!

  45. Dee said:

    “The Calvinistas have been writing article[s] on how to obfuscate the fact that they are Calvinists.”

    yentl said:

    “The playbook is Revitalization by Andy Davis. How to take over a church with assets and a congregational government, vote out the old people. Steal their building.”

    I am curious to see some of these sources. Do you have any links?

  46. Thersites wrote:

    May I add to the list of determinants, getting the church to pay the time and expenses for a trip (vacation) to the Holy Land with a bunch of other “pastors”.

    Add to that: Sabbaticals,( for writing books or “exhaustion” ) Reformation tours, endless conferences.

  47. @ mot:
    David does not come from a background of irenic dialogue between people who have different perspectives, no. I think he is uncomfortable with that, and faced with what he perceives as ‘criticism’, seems more inclined to resort to insults in a defensive way, which is sad, because I think he has the ability to get past the defensiveness and enter into dialogue as long as his own perspectives are respected by those who are involved in the discussion. He still is a work in progress like all of us, and I hope he doesn’t totally fixate on a defensively abusive response pattern. It doesn’t work for him, although it sends dog whistles to certain folks he may wish to impress. My opinion only, and therefore likely flawed, as I have my own difficulties with communicating, yes.

  48. ishy wrote:

    If your pastor starts bringing in a lot of 20-something men and putting them in key positions…he might be a Calvinista.

    Indeed. Especially to make sure the vote for changing the by laws, constitution, goes their way. They use the congressional vote to put eldership rule into place. It's like tying the noose around your own neck.

  49. I have been fascinated by the articles posted on TWW in the past week. I am a member at a church that would fall into the New Calvinist category, and I have seen many of the imbalances, immaturity, and abuses that have been discussed here. I still love my church, however, because it is the bride of Christ, sinners being saved by grace, just like me.

    That being said, I didn’t post on here to defend every idiosyncracy of the YRR movement (believe me, I see plenty of problems with it). The biggest problem with YRR, in my opinion, is that is has become a reactionary movement that has drawn in many people disillusioned by legalism, anti-intellectualism, and an over-emphasis on politics and pet theological issues that characterizes many churches today. Like any reactionary movement, such as the fundamentalist movement, in an attempt to distance themselves from an unfavorable ideology or practices, they often swing to the opposite side of the pendulum, and end up being just as imbalanced as when they began.

    It is interesting to hear people’s experiences with YRR churches. I completely concur that it is wrong for prospective pastors to obfuscate their theological convictions in order to get into leadership at a church. I would never support this practice.

  50. Coram Deo wrote:

    I completely concur that it is wrong for prospective pastors to obfuscate their theological convictions in order to get into leadership at a church.

    subversion: the act of subverting : the state of being subverted; a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within.
    When put on the spot, Jesus openly said what he had been openly doing. Therefore, his were not subversive tactics. He was transparent.

  51. @ Coram Deo:
    Thanks for your interesting insights.

    I am mindful of the fact that the YRR movement is a fairly new, and already we are seeing significant problems at many churches in this movement.

    The Don't be a 9Marxist! article published by 9Marks, along with the Don't be a 9Marxist! breakout session at T4G 2016, immediately come to mind.

    Why didn't they record this session and put it online for the benefit of those leaders affiliated with 9Marks who are making these mistakes and hurting our brothers and sisters in Christ?

    Many congregants are being hurt by overzealous pastors/leaders, and we will continue to share their testimonies here.

  52. Darlene wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    “Former ministries such as food banks, etc are suddenly canceled.”
    Why???
    a Church food bank normally is run by volunteers and the food is donated, not purchased out of Church funds

    Christiane, it’s called a lack of compassion. Money and effort should be invested elsewhere as far as the New Calvinists are concerned. Besides, helping the poor and disadvantaged is enabling them to continue in their sin. I have encountered quite a few Calvinists who think this way. It is appalling because it shows their ignorance of our Lord Jesus’ teachings.

    ‘helping the poor and disadvantaged continue in their sin’

    Dear God, I have no words for the impact of that kind of thinking on my spirit

    Christ have mercy!

  53. GSD wrote:

    If you click on the “Affirmations and Denials” link, you get an interesting page.

    Let me express this in the strongest possible terms (for me).
    These affirmations and denials (a&d) prove the god of t$g (got$) to be NOT the God of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nor the Biblical God, a Gospelly God, or even a Winsome one.
    I’ve previously commented a few times on how a&d neatly solve the age-old problem of evil by neither affirming nor denying that got$ is in any way, shape or form BENEVOLENT.
    Today I saw another aspect of got$– he’s devoid of the Holy Spirit. Now the a&d do mention the Spirit once in passing, as part of a Father Son and Holy Spirit formula? But got$ not only lacks any spiritual gifts or manifestations– he lacks spiritual fruit! A&d mention “love” as something husbands and fathers should do toward got$. That’s it. A&d mention “joy” as something eschatological hope should give us. “Faithfulness” is very important that we be toward the gospel, the glory, power and sovereign purpose of got$, gospelly churches, and of course church discipline. As for got$ himself, none of these are characteristic. The other 6 aspects of Spiritual fruit are totally AWOL.
    To conclude, the got$ of the t$g’s a&ds has not the Spirit of God. Not to mention, as I have before, that he may very well be evil. But if he is, there ain’t nuttin’ I can do about it.

  54. Christiane wrote:

    ‘helping the poor and disadvantaged continue in their sin’
    Dear God, I have no words for the impact of that kind of thinking on my spirit

    Well, Darlene’s comment does make sense. The YRRs want control and money… submit, submit, submit…..tithe, tithe, tithe + some more voluntary sacrifices. Failure to tithe results in church discipline.
    What use would they have for the poor and disadvantaged???

  55. ishy wrote:

    There are wonderful churches out there, but they are often not the “cool” churches.

    The Calvinistas definitely do abuse the fact that most Christians are gullible and won’t rock the boat until it’s too late, then they just toss them out

    I look at my mainline Protestant church (Anglican) with some nostalgia now, yet as a teenager, I couldn’t wait to quit. If I ever went back to church, it would be to one like it.
    My wife would not go though, so I’ll stay unchurched, or de-churched or whatever you want to call it.
    Anyway, I don’t think it is gullibility, many of the Christians in my life (especially my wife) are pretty savvy.
    There just seems to be a real block when it comes to criticizing other christians, particularly those in leadership.

  56. Coram Deo wrote:

    That being said, I didn’t post on here to defend every idiosyncracy of the YRR movement (believe me, I see plenty of problems with it). The biggest problem with YRR, in my opinion, is that is has become a reactionary movement that has drawn in many people disillusioned by legalism, anti-intellectualism, and an over-emphasis on politics and pet theological issues that characterizes many churches today.

    In my experience I have found the YRR churches to be as legalist as any I have ever attended.

  57. Max wrote:

    New Calvinist churches in my area hold small group meetings called “LifeGroups”. Every member is required to be a member of a weekly cell group meeting

    Cheez Louise, that sounds nasty.

    Groups within churches can be wonderful, and they can also serve the interests and needs of specific members. I think these groups work best when they focus on service and/or spiritual formation, with maybe some aspect of identity or stage of life. An example would be a prayer group for young mothers, with child care provided. But NONE of this should be mandatory.

    A group at my church recruits new members several times a year through announcements, an information table, and inviting acquaintances. The recruiting is necessary for the group’s long-term survival, and it also reminds members to include rather than exclude. New members cause the group to remain open to change.

  58. Nancy2 wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    ‘helping the poor and disadvantaged continue in their sin’
    Dear God, I have no words for the impact of that kind of thinking on my spirit

    Well, Darlene’s comment does make sense. The YRRs want control and money… submit, submit, submit…..tithe, tithe, tithe + some more voluntary sacrifices. Failure to tithe results in church discipline.
    What use would they have for the poor and disadvantaged???

    ‘what use would they have for the poor and disadvantaged?’

    that settles it:
    these ‘YRR’ folks are a cult, and not ‘reformed’ in the way of the Dutch Reformed people of New Jersey who oversee Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat in Wyckoff where my oldest son with Down Syndrome lives.

    I cannot say enough good about that faith community in New Jersey and their work for the developmentally disabled.

    The ‘YRR’ seem to have lost their way. May God help them find the better way because they are immersed in a much greater poverty than the needy ones they have contempt for whose suffering does not move them to care.

  59. Another buzz word to avoid like the plague: change agent.

    During Calvinista takeovers the senior pastor or teaching elder or guru of the month will see himself as the “vision caster.” If that isn’t freaky new age and special. But he will want to change everything, whether it even needs changing or not.

    Examples: you sing hymns? He’ll want CCM. You sing CCM? He’ll want hymns.
    You worship at 11? He will want 10:15. You start at 9:30? He’ll want 11. You have pews? He wants pew chairs. You have chairs? He wants pews. You have a fixed pulpit? He wants it gone and no pulpit. You have no pulpit or a moveable one? He wants a high, lifted up center one. Unless you get one. Then he wants a side pulpit. One Calvinista 9Marxist came to this town and threw a conniption fit over the “popery” of the Baptist church. Their sin? The pew chairs were arranged with a center aisle, not two side aisles.

    He wants people to think he came to town, church was being done all wrong, and he made changes that made it right. The truth is, he is too afraid to go out in the highways and byways and evangelize, so he spends his time beating up the sheep. Folks are dying without Christ and facing eternity in hell, and he wants to fuss about rearranging the pew chairs.

    So glad I got outtathere. Now, our Wesleyan Holiness church doesn’t do much anymore regarding food pantries (we do have one) or soup kitchens (we don’t) or clothes closets (we do have one.) We do see now that we have had generations of giving a man a fish and not enough teaching them to fish. So the aged and disabled get live visits and food, clothes, etc, brought to them. The able bodied/able brained get offers to “come garden with me” or “let’s go hit the garage sales together” or actual bona fide job offers. Wesley was never shy about taking on the landlords, the factory owners, the slumlords, and neither are we. But he was never shy about expecting the newly saved drunkard, or prostitute, or slothful person, etc to step up to the plate, get their act together, and help the truly destitute either. And neither are we.

    So when you hear “vision casting” call it out and find out if the dude really wants to tackle sin and folks being lost, or does he just want to impress people and destabilize the church by rearranging the deck chairs while the Titanic sinks? Is he all about getting people into the lifeboat or is he all about arguing over what color the oars should be painted?

  60. Jack wrote:

    My wife would not go though, so I’ll stay unchurched, or de-churched or whatever you want to call it.

    That’s your story? My wife won’t let me? I don’t know about Anglicans in Canada, but down here it is not all that difficult to re-align with TEC. The rules and procedure are people friendly, I guess you could say.

    And the rules for who can receive the Eucharist are as inclusive as one can get. So you slide in a few times a year, never reconcile with the Anglicans, participate in the Eucharist as a baptized Christian (optional) or else just sit there on the pew and observe, for old times sake.

    But, of course, one has to want to do it.

  61. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Check out the section named “Providence” in this article by John Folmar.

    From the article:
    “But God began to sovereignly remove the opponents”
    There are other principalities at work in the world that the one he implies.

  62. @ NJ:
    I am in the midst of traveling back from Florida and will not be able to answer this question for another day or so

  63. @ Coram Deo:
    I guess it depends on how you define legalism If legalism simply means having a glass of wine then Calvinists drink more than all-time Southern Baptists. If legalism simply means having a glass of wine then Calvinists drink more than all-time Southern Baptists However when it comes to the legalism that really counts the Calvinists, in my opinion, take the cake in this area. For example what if one does not support the pastors vision to increase salaries for the employed leaders. If I wasn’t stuck in the car driving a long distance I would make a list of 10 to 12 legalistic points of view that Calvinists have

  64. @ Thersites:
    Of course he is making the assumption that the opponents to things like pushing CJ Mahaney books are against God’s will. In some of the circles CJ Mahaney’s book on humility is considered a part of the Calvinista apocrypha

  65. Signs that the church is changing: I know I am repeating this, but when the topic of sex shows up in every sphere of the “church”, and when women (married or not) are being hit on openly by those in “God-appointed” positions or receive dubious emails that others don’t (topics something sexual) the “church” has gone Calvinist or Reformed.

    When entire “sermons” are devoted to sex, when the “library” has more books on sex (even some worldly trash) than books on what the biblical gospel is, and when there is suddenly a shady character with a shady past that comes from nowhere and is the new “certified” ACBC “counselor” (usually a woman, take note) because the “church” members, brothers and sisters, do not have the deeper “knowledge to help one another, then your church has sunk already.

    Sex is big with this lot and their false gospel. I will repeat this warning. Watch out for anything sexual, watch out for the slightest sexual innuendo, and never, but never, never, never, discuss anything that happens inside your house with them, ACBC counselor or pastor or elder or Calvin-in-the-flesh youth or “small group: leader…it is NOT their business. Tell them to bugger off and then leave the false church and never look back.

    Report every sexual email, text message or other means of communication and go straight to the guy’s wife.

    Best advice? Leave the thing.

  66. @ Deb:

    Deb, please help me understand this,

    We have written about a number of churches with valuable land, buildings, and decent contributors that were targeted for a Calvinista incursion. Therefore, assume that if your church is one that has decent assets and is looking for a new lead pastor, Calvinists and other authoritarian types will be applying for the position.

    If a church has valuable land, for example, can a Calvinista incursion take place simply for the purpose of “running the church into the ground” so it no longer solvent? The land is then sold with the pastor, elders, etc. pocketing the profit.

    In my area, an old RCC (building probably constructed in 1890’s) became insolvent due to an aging congregation and deteriorating building needing extensive repairs. The land was extremely valuable. The building was demolished and the land sold, but the property was in the name of the diocese which retained the profit.

  67. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    interest in taking over churches that have a building.

    What I want to know is why Folmar “joined an old church whose ministry was dwindling”.
    “Initially the idea of a merger was rejected by the older, needy church.” IOW
    Initially the idea of a merger was rejected by Naboth.

  68. Thersites wrote:

    From the article:
    “But God began to sovereignly remove the opponents”
    There are other principalities at work in the world that the one he implies.

    “Then the two scoundrels came and sat down across from him. And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, “He cursed God and the king.” So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death.”
    I think we know the identity of one scoundrel in this article.

  69. Boston Lady wrote:

    Signs that the church is changing: I know I am repeating this, but when the topic of sex shows up in every sphere of the “church”,

    You know you’re on to something, Boston Lady.

    My former senior pastor at my ex-gulag (Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley) decided that it would be a good idea to talk about sex during an Easter service. Visitors got up and angrily walked out! I wish I had to.

    Just crass and low-class.

    He repeatedly did that kind of thing. And I wonder if it also wasn’t a threat to Complementarian wives and showing off for the boyz that the women need to ‘perform’.

  70. Dave A A wrote:

    Thersites wrote:
    From the article:
    “But God began to sovereignly remove the opponents”
    There are other principalities at work in the world that the one he implies.
    “Then the two scoundrels came and sat down across from him. And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, “He cursed God and the king.” So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death.”
    I think we know the identity of one scoundrel in this article.

    Truth.

  71. Ken G wrote:

    In my area, an old RCC (building probably constructed in 1890’s) became insolvent due to an aging congregation and deteriorating building needing extensive repairs. The land was extremely valuable.

    Exactly like the old Protestant church where I had once been the youth pastor. The congregation was down to a couple dozen members when the building became coveted by Mars Hill. Unable to do a “merger” (takeover) in this case as they had to other churches, the Martians ended up paying 2 Million (and another couple for repairs). This contributed to the Mars Hill breakup as Fiscal used a bunch of “global fund” money for the down payment. I assume the former Mars Hill campus still has enormous payments to make, whilst the old, dying church laughed all the way to the bank and rents a building for far less than the utilities once were.

  72. okrapod wrote:

    That’s your story? My wife won’t let me? I don’t know about Anglicans in Canada, but down here it is not all that difficult to re-align with TEC. The rules and procedure are people friendly, I guess you could say.

    Uh. No. My “story” is a lot more complicated than “my wife won’t let me” as you so eloquently put it.

    Waxing nostalgic for a community I grew up with is not the same as all in believing.

    If it was that important to me, I’d be there. Sunday brunch with the family holds more meaning than any Sunday sermon.

    My wife’s faith is more important to her than my faith is to me. She still enjoys church, I can live without it. So yeah, she can go to whatever church works for her.

    You guys only ever hear about my thoughts on religion.

    However, religion is not central to my life.

  73. Dave A A wrote:

    And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, “He cursed God and the king.” So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death.”
    I think we know the identity of one scoundrel in this article.

    A nice linkage, Naboth murdered by Jezebel’s schemes. These leaders exhibit the same “spirit of Jezebel”, those who hold power can do as they please and they can do it without dirtying their own hands. There are always brownnosers available to do the enforcement.

  74. Dee wrote:

    CJ Mahaney’s book on humility

    The association of Mahaney with humility always makes my head spin.

  75. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    In my experience I have found the YRR churches to be as legalist as any I have ever attended.

    Definitely. The points of rigidity may be different, but the spirit of legalism devoid of the true Spirit of love is the same.

  76. Interestingly, our pastor at our new (non YRR) church recently stated/quoted, “just because something is close to the truth, does not make it The Truth.” I thought it really stated perfectly what Some of the teachings in this new Calvinist movement are.

    Personally to me, its not the theology by itself that is the problem but rather what all it encompasses in this new Calvinism: the elder ruled polity (authoritarianism), complementarianism, heavier discipline, lack of love/grace, elevation of men, hierarchy, control, etc. At our former church, there were some reformed folks when we joined prior to the changes. We got along, respected each other’s different views and were unified on the Gospel. It wasn’t even an issue. My best friend from college was a Presbyterian and we were respectful of each other’s different theological leanings. It was never an issue.

    It’s this newer Calvinism that is bothersome to me. I picked up on an air of their doctrines being “morally superior” and a subtle looking down on those of us who buy into free will, salvation being available to anyone who responds to the gospel, etc. I even heard a YRR friend state she couldn’t believe how “anyone could think differently about the doctrines of grace.” Another YRR person said they “put someone in their place regarding grace and free will!” Its this attitude, along with the authoritarianism, polity, etc that makes this newer movement in the church like something I’ve never seen or experienced.
    Thank you for letting me air my thoughts!

  77. Velour wrote:

    Just crass and low-class

    Velour, I still get chills just thinking of those perverts. “Pastors” and “elders” and “counselors” they called themselves, hitting on us women and the female counselor (some “certified” gal with a shady past) bewitching the guys, giving kinky and unChristian worldly advice for sexual problems, openly. The advice she gave my friend drove her away and I followed suit. Nothing was off limits, no topic; it was like a pornography shop at times. Yes, I did leave; you know why…but there was no shame. Cult, Velour. You and I know that. But many faces turned red when I told the wives what the husbands had been up to; the “godly-appointed” elders… the sick lot.
    I cannot call it anything else. The love of Jesus Christ is NOT there. The father of lies, well, he is there, the bastardio.
    I am free now, and growing, and warning, but not as wonderfully as you, my inspirational sister. Stay just as you are; you are a beautiful soul in God’s eternal kingdom and will be rewarded greatly one day…you’ll see, Heavenly rewards I’m talking about.
    Blessings, Velour.

  78. L. Lee wrote:

    Ronnie Rogers – an ex calvinist

    The jury is still out on whether or not Ronnie Rogers is an “ex” Calvinist. See the following comment on TWW’s post “The Little Blog That Roared. The Controversy at First Baptist Church, Sapulpa, OK”: The Sapulpa Messenger on Sat May 13, 2017 at 11:35 PM.

  79. Ken G wrote:

    If a church has valuable land, for example, can a Calvinista incursion take place simply for the purpose of “running the church into the ground” so it no longer solvent? The land is then sold with the pastor, elders, etc. pocketing the profit.

    Hmmm … I suppose that could happen! Southern Baptist churches are autonomous; they are self-governing whether it be by congregational polity or elder-rule. As far as I know, they can sell their property or buy more property without the permission of the denomination. That indeed does pose an interesting dilemma for churches taken over by the New Calvinist movement … the young whippersnappers can come in and take over the church and other resources paid for by the older members who they eventually run off. Who then “owns” the church? Individual church charters may have a way of preventing that; I hope so. Perhaps Law Prof can chime in here.

  80. Max wrote:

    The jury is still out on whether or not Ronnie Rogers is an “ex” Calvinist. See the following comment on TWW’s post “The Little Blog That Roared. The Controversy at First Baptist Church, Sapulpa, OK”: The Sapulpa Messenger on Sat May 13, 2017 at 11:35 PM.

    I think I can say that neither you nor I really trust Ronnie Rogers. We both explored his church’s web page, which left us with sincere doubts about him. Recommended reading: John Piper, Mark Dever, Jay Adams ……..

  81. Max wrote:

    Hmmm … I suppose that could happen! Southern Baptist churches are autonomous; they are self-governing whether it be by congregational polity or elder-rule. As far as I know, they can sell their property or buy more property without the permission of the denomination. That indeed does pose an interesting dilemma for churches taken over by the New Calvinist movement … the young whippersnappers can come in and take over the church and other resources paid for by the older members who they eventually run off. Who then “owns” the church? Individual church charters may have a way of preventing that; I hope so. Perhaps Law Prof can chime in here.

    The members they would have to run off would include the church trustees and the treasurer. No financial or property control without those people on board – at least that’s how it works in my neck of the woods. Church trustees are usually older (50+), established members.

  82. “Life Groups” Google this and your city’s name and see how many churches have these. It’s funny how most of the websites look exactly alike in their programs and the wording for their “Life Groups”

  83. It was not a nine marks” ist” type ideology that I speak about this, it was earlier than that but it was a church “take over” that killed a vibrant church full of very loving people. I understand you cannot monetize love or another such emotionalism so it’s useless at best. I get that. I was part of a church that I joined in the early 90’s the same time I joined a group that ministered to the disabled, mainly developmentally disabled. I thought I had died and moved to heaven. I always loved and love working with this population, another example of my being a degenerate and weak. But that is another post.

    We had this Christmas thing we did we would invite folks to a dinner around Christmas then watch the church Christmas concert near the holidays. It was beautiful and a good top of to the year of us driving folks to church services. Some of the folks I work with still remember doing this. It started at one church, that found such expressions to be far too emotional for a group that most likely would not possess the ability to understand the “gospel” cognitively, which is critical, so it may not be the best return on investment. It was also troubling to some that went there that I was good at it and well people like me, who do not have souls, are not good at things like “evangelism” There I said it, not ever preached but so clear in my interactions with people. This new church was different, the old church regular pew sitter did not feel that way but some of the power players sure did, or it was the I am being manipulative and I want attention.

    Needless to say, I loved this new church and served the very best I could, but it was a rich church and had a rich young swinger congregation, there is little wrong for “my folks” in that mix. So for several years, we had this beautiful party, people to their dying day remembered it, I know I was there near some of their deaths. I still fondly remember this, I know I know that’s works righteousness and it makes me lukewarm and basically Jesus vomit. Yes, that is a phrase I heard a few times.

    Well as one of the singles pastor was moving up the corporate ladder a new drone was coming in to take his place. I remember meeting him the first time, saying what we did and making him promise he would not forget us. Well he was very slick and I do believe somewhat sincere but, I had a feeling he would split the church. Back in the 90’s, it was about being relevant after the lie about end times which was bartered in the 80’s ran its course in the mainstream a new marketing scheme needed to be deployed. So eventually the Christmas dinner was nixed and it died the death for lack of interest. Eventually, I could no longer afford to carry the cost of paying for the insurance to cover taking people to church. I would never trust a church to do that, that too is another post.

    Eventually, I got the boot out of the ministry for calling the main corporate office to express my concerns about the lack of communication. That lead me to PP and Michaels blog then I wound up here. My point is during my bouncing around churches I have seen church takeovers, church splits, physical altercations concerning church which is far more common than people think, yelling threats, police called, people escorted out, cover ups etc. That pastor that came down from Oregon promised me he would keep the ministry I was involved in. That was basically a lie. I don’t fault him for that, its part of doing business and business is good. Always. In that is the Benny Hinn situations, Bill Gothard, Bob Lar$on, $cientology (which was far more honest in my personal experience than many evangelical groups I was involved with), the JW’s Mormons and … That is sort of a sprinkle of my history.

  84. PEARL wrote:

    “Life Groups” Google this and your city’s name and see how many churches have these. It’s funny how most of the websites look exactly alike in their programs and the wording for their “Life Groups”

    That’s good advice, Pearl.

    I just researched Life Groups for my area of Silicon Valley (California). On page 2…was my former NeoCalvinist/John Macarthur-ite/9 Marxist gulag Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley!

  85. PEARL wrote:

    “Life Groups” Google this and your city’s name and see how many churches have these. It’s funny how most of the websites look exactly alike in their programs and the wording for their “Life Groups”

    This isn’t unique to Calvinistas, though. It started in the nondenominational church movement (mostly from Purpose Driven Church) to replace “Sunday School”, and I know a lot of nondenominational and non Calvinist churches that use it. I think the Calvinistas are just adopting the language to look like nondenominational churches, except they probably use the term to mean accountability sin-sniffing groups.

    The Calvinistas are all about dressing up their churches and advertising to look like other churches, even though they do things very differently.

  86. Nancy2 wrote:

    Max wrote:

    The jury is still out on whether or not Ronnie Rogers is an “ex” Calvinist. See the following comment on TWW’s post “The Little Blog That Roared. The Controversy at First Baptist Church, Sapulpa, OK”: The Sapulpa Messenger on Sat May 13, 2017 at 11:35 PM.

    I think I can say that neither you nor I really trust Ronnie Rogers. We both explored his church’s web page, which left us with sincere doubts about him. Recommended reading: John Piper, Mark Dever, Jay Adams ……..

    Is he just trying to play both sides of the aisle? What is wrong with these ministers?

  87. Max wrote:

    Speaking of T4G, you must check out the new “Four Friends, One Gospel” mug shot of the Fab Four at http://t4g.org/. Warning: that picture will creep you out!

    Wow, Max! “Creeped out” hardly describes it! I often wonder how many people’s precious faith has been shipwrecked on account of these “men.” Oh, and it’s also good to see that the IMB president (David Platt) is there too. Kind of the frosting on the cake, so to speak!

    However, it reminds me that I have a “Friend” too and I think we all know who He is!! 🙂

  88. Root 66 wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Speaking of T4G, you must check out the new “Four Friends, One Gospel” mug shot of the Fab Four at http://t4g.org/. Warning: that picture will creep you out!

    Wow, Max! “Creeped out” hardly describes it! I often wonder how many people’s precious faith has been shipwrecked on account of these “men.” Oh, and it’s also good to see that the IMB president (David Platt) is there too. Kind of the frosting on the cake, so to speak!

    However, it reminds me that I have a “Friend” too and I think we all know who He is!!

    Together for the Gospel–which Gospel, not the one in the Bible. There is little to no Jesus, it is all about man.

  89. ishy wrote:

    This isn’t unique to Calvinistas, though. It started in the nondenominational church movement (mostly from Purpose Driven Church) to replace “Sunday School

    Checked on line in our area. There are a number of them but are all Pentecostal or nondenominational. Just out of curiosity, are there any Calvinist Pentecostal churches or are those belief systems mutually exclusive?
    There appear to be some similarities on the surface.

  90. @ Boston Lady:
    This ‘YRR’ preoccupation with ‘sex’ seems to be an outcropping of a theology that is based on one’s sexual identity rather than on the faith of Christ …. from what I can glean, the ‘YRR’ with its CBMW and its ESS and the changes to the ESV Bible all point to an OVER-EMPHASIS of a person’s sexual identity and a lessening of emphasis on the importance of a person’s humanity.

    This over-emphasis has shown up in every aspect of ‘YRR’ organization, totally raising men in importance way above the human dignity due to women in Christianity. What they have used to define themselves as ‘important’ has now led them to raise ‘sex’ to a level where they are letting go of the dignity of the human person and focusing on the serving of ‘male’ needs as priority.

    They got lost. They are being consumed by their own excesses, yes. And women and children are the suffering offerings to the ‘needs’ of these males, who shield one another from discovery and punishment of wrong-doing in their ‘buddy system’.

    Catholics tried to warn people that evil shows up in all religious settings cloaked in ‘authority’ but only if it is tolerated and permitted to do so. Rooting out evil in the case of extremes in viewing ‘sex’ is something that the Church MUST face and deal with. ‘Sex’ itself is not the problem. The problem is when it is abused as the gift that God has given mankind to help them participate in Creation. Excesses in both highlight a person’s sexual identity or ignoring a person’s sexual identity can lead to problems in my opinion, as sex has an honorable place in Christianity and the ONE thing we know is that the human person’s dignity is far MORE than their sexual chromosome arrangement and the human person is not to be defined as ‘male’ or ‘female’ in Christ.

  91. Jack wrote:

    If church is such a minefield, why go?

    Why, indeed.

    I’ve taken to telling church-goers who are hurt and distraught over the UK’s legalisation of gay marriage: If you ever find the perfect country, don’t live there, because you’ll spoil it.

  92. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    If you ever find the perfect country, don’t live there, because you’ll spoil it.

    Who invented this saying about churches and why do we hear it? It seems to trivialize serious matters. Many churches are downright abusive.

    I don’t think we’d say the same thing about an abusive relationship or an abusive work situation. We’d tell the person to think about these facts and take action to safely get out.

  93. @ Max:
    Important questions you raise.

    Saw this about a large megachurch:
    Is this church a New Testament fellowship OTHER THAN
    1. indoctrinated seminarians and
    2. the biblically illiterate?

    IMHO, the best defense is a strong offense – being studied in and sticking to the Bible, under the guidance of and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

  94. Darlene wrote:

     

    Christiane wrote:

    “Former ministries such as food banks, etc are suddenly canceled.”
    Why???
    a Church food bank normally is run by volunteers and the food is donated, not purchased out of Church funds

    Christiane, it’s called a lack of compassion. Money and effort should be invested elsewhere as far as the New Calvinists are concerned. Besides, helping the poor and disadvantaged is enabling them to continue in their sin. I have encountered quite a few Calvinists who think this way. It is appalling because it shows their ignorance of our Lord Jesus’ teachings.

    Because the church’s main focus and priority should be the preaching of the gospel, according to the hardline IFB pastor who took over my former church. Gag me with a spoon.

  95. I Fear a Cage wrote:

    Because the church’s main focus and priority should be the preaching of the gospel, according to the hardline IFB pastor who took over my former church. Gag me with a spoon.

    ‘the preaching of the gospel’ ?

    Did the IFB pastor ever explain what part of the Holy Gospels of Our Lord holds the poor and needy in contempt???

  96. Velour wrote:

    Who invented this saying about churches and why do we hear it? It seems to trivialize serious matters. Many churches are downright abusive.

    Assuming you’re thinking of the same phrase as I was (“If you ever find the perfect church, don’t join, because you’ll spoil it, gosh, how pricelessly pithy and original I am”).

    We hear it a lot here in Blighty; what amazes me is not only how often it’s parroted, but how invariably the parrots behave as though they’re squawking something clever. I don’t know who first invented it. I do have a theory on why we hear it: whilst churches attract many fine and honourable folk, they also attract ****wits.

  97. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Assuming you’re thinking of the same phrase as I was (“If you ever find the perfect church, don’t join, because you’ll spoil it, gosh, how pricelessly pithy and original I am”).
    We hear it a lot here in Blighty; what amazes me is not only how often it’s parroted, but how invariably the parrots behave as though they’re squawking something clever. I don’t know who first invented it. I do have a theory on why we hear it: whilst churches attract many fine and honourable folk, they also attract ****wits.

    That is the phrase I am thinking of Nick.

    Yes, I need to do some research later and try to figure out who started it.

  98. ION: Fitba’

    The Premier Leeg finishes today. Liverpool (3-0 up with about 15 minutes to go) will finish fourth – back in the Champions’ League or, as the late Jimmy Greaves put it, the Give Us Yer Money Cup.

    IHTIH

  99. Velour wrote:

    Many churches are downright abusive.

    I don’t think we’d say the same thing about an abusive relationship or an abusive work situation. We’d tell the person to think about these facts and take action to safely get out.

    seems to me that a Church which makes its ‘lead pastor’ a person of authority who is not a ‘servant-leader’ but an ‘unquestioned authority’ is not to be considered in the same category as a Church where the Good Shepherd is followed. Sooooo ….. what is the ‘authoritarian leader’ then, but a ruler over subjects who cannot question his authority.

    There is a model in sacred Scripture for taking a child out of harm’s way if an authoritarian leader threatens innocent people …. An angel advises Joseph to take Mary and Our Lord out of Bethlehem and into Egypt for sanctuary from the slaughter of the innocents at Herod’s command ….. so St. Joseph obeyed

    the parents of children, the fathers of children, the husbands of wives who realize that a ‘church’ leader is abusive and may bring harm on innocents have a duty to protect those they love from harm

    and if it means getting the h3ck out of the ‘church’ where abuse is de rigueur at the whim of ‘leadership’, then by all means these husbands/fathers should act to take their families OUT OF HEROD’S REACH to safety

    biblical? I think so. 🙂

  100. In line with the above tutorial, at a local mega, the founding pastor retired, and then Pastor Newby, at the 1-yr. mark exactly:
    – eliminated the traditional worship, so established left for another church
    – replaced staff with YRRs, (under-aged/no-experience; same look, race, hair, gender, attire)
    – turned worship center into a black box casino-like venue
    – established control fear-based hierarchy from the top down
    – single gender “leadership”

    Interesting, those who left (staff and lay), are now functioning well at other local churches – stellar, excellent churches that took them in or hired them, and they carry on their work and ministries.

    Oh well, the YRR-mega church’s loss is the gain of the surrounding churches.

  101. @ Christiane:
    Great Biblical reference here, Christiane. How many of these leaders would picture themselves as Herod the Great? They may identify with “The Great”, however.

  102. ION: Back to fitba’ for a second.

    Some commiserations are due to Arsenal – the Gunners finish 5th on 75 points, a total with which no team has ever before failed to qualify for the Give Us Yer Money Cup.

    IHTIH

  103. Velour wrote:

    safely get out.

    These three words should be a mantra with “safely” emphasized.

    It’s easier said than done when perceived eternal damnation is at stake.

    And complicated if only one member of the family wants to leave.

  104. Christiane wrote:

    ‘the preaching of the gospel’ ?
    Did the IFB pastor ever explain what part of the Holy Gospels of Our Lord holds the poor and needy in contempt???

    Not exactly, but they do extrapolate from Mark 14:7 (The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.) Except that was NIV and they would use KJV. From that statement they reason that yes, one has the opportunity to do good for the poor and should do so, but that if there is a choice between that and preaching then choose preaching/teaching/baptizing as a more urgent task since that is what Jesus left as a commandment (the great commission) for when indeed he had ascended to the Father.

    Then of course there is Paul about people refusing to work and not being financially responsible (or else not eating) and also talking about relatives being responsible for widows so as not to ‘burden’ the church. The subject gets very complicated. But you said specifically from a gospel.

    IMO this is another case where the extremes of opinion/application have entrapped a lot of people.

  105. okrapod wrote:

    From that statement they reason that yes, one has the opportunity to do good for the poor and should do so, but that if there is a choice between that and preaching then choose preaching/teaching/baptizing as a more urgent task since that is what Jesus left as a commandment (the great commission) for when indeed he had ascended to the Father.

    Many IFB people seemed convinced that the end was coming tomorrow or next week, maybe next year at the most. They talk a lot about being “in the end times”, and mostly attribute it to what they consider the degradation of culture away from 50’s ideals, no matter that many times in history have been much worse for people. They seem to share the idolization of the 50’s with the Calvinistas. So they believe they have to hurry and share the gospel with everyone because they will be raptured soon.

  106. ishy wrote:

    So they believe they have to hurry and share the gospel with everyone because they will be raptured soon.

    I don’t doubt it, but also the idea that the end is near goes way back. That was one of the missions pushes when I was a teen in the 1940s-long before the current cultural controversies. We were frequently told that we might be the last generation and that if the unevangelized masses had a chance to hear the message then we should throw everything into evangelizing now before it was too late. Go if you can go, give if you cannot go, pray without ceasing, and in the meantime witness at every opportunity. And I was SBC.

    Part of what was used at that time for this emphasis came from stories told by guys who had been drafted during WWII and came home with stories of ‘the need on the field’. And FWIW, in the history of post secondary education in the US the G I Bill which sent a lot of vets to school made major changes in educational expectations and philosophy (source: RE from a course she took in history of education in the US while doing her master’s). Anyhow, the ones who ‘got the call’ while overseas from what they saw then had the opportunity through the G I Bill to get the required education, and IMO this probably played a role in the way the church raised the money to ‘send’ this unexpected? surge of potential staff to the field-preach the time is short and act now!

    Actually, Jesus said that the time is short, and the church has had a problem with explaining that right on.

  107. Christiane wrote:

    This over-emphasis has shown up in every aspect of ‘YRR’ organization, totally raising men in importance way above the human dignity due to women in Christianity. What they have used to define themselves as ‘important’ has now led them to raise ‘sex’ to a level where they are letting go of the dignity of the human person and focusing on the serving of ‘male’ needs as priority.

    It’s not just the YRRs – almost all SBC churches are going in the male priority direction.

  108. Nancy2 wrote:

    almost all SBC churches are going in the male priority direction

    It is not just churches. One of the theories as to why a certain group of adolescent males are not doing well in school is because there are too many female teachers-especially middle aged white female teachers-and the push is allegedly on to replace them with young male teachers.

    Truth be told, when adolescent male children come from fatherless homes the idea of stocking the schools with adult male teachers might be a good idea. Not so good for the females who want to be teachers, of course.

  109. okrapod wrote:

    s as to why a certain group of adolescent males are not doing well in school is because there are too many female teachers-especially middle aged white female teachers-and the push is allegedly on to replace them with young male teachers.
    Truth be told, when adolescent male children come from fatherless homes the idea of stocking the schools with adult male teachers might be a good idea. Not so good for the females who want to be teachers, of course.

    Perhaps homeschool movement fathers should stay at home and teach their children! : ^ )

  110. @ okrapod:
    PS. I am all too well aware of that. At one school, they did not renew my contract. I was replaced by a retired used car salesman with an emergency certification! Some of the kids in the class came to me for help because he was teaching some algebra things wrong and misplacing absentee work they had turned in and giving them zeros on those assignments. But, hey, he was a MAN!

  111. okrapod wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    ‘the preaching of the gospel’ ?
    Did the IFB pastor ever explain what part of the Holy Gospels of Our Lord holds the poor and needy in contempt???

    Not exactly, but they do extrapolate from Mark 14:7 (The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.) Except that was NIV and they would use KJV. From that statement they reason that yes, one has the opportunity to do good for the poor and should do so, but that if there is a choice between that and preaching then choose preaching/teaching/baptizing as a more urgent task since that is what Jesus left as a commandment (the great commission) for when indeed he had ascended to the Father.

    Then of course there is Paul about people refusing to work and not being financially responsible (or else not eating) and also talking about relatives being responsible for widows so as not to ‘burden’ the church. The subject gets very complicated. But you said specifically from a gospel.

    IMO this is another case where the extremes of opinion/application have entrapped a lot of people.

    And yet Matthew 25: 31-46 strongly suggests (putting it mildly) that our salvation actually hinges on helping the needy. How do they get around that? It’s a pretty significant passage.

  112. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    And yet Matthew 25: 31-46 strongly suggests (putting it mildly) that our salvation actually hinges on helping the needy. How do they get around that? It’s a pretty significant passage.

    That discussion would get into grace/faith/works and as you probably know this ‘works’ issue is a primary difference between various christian religious traditions. This is not the place to start down that road, but if you google and then follow the trail there is enough information out there to last most of a lifetime.

    But this issue (faith/works) and its ramifications is close to if not the core issue of difference between catholics and evangelicals.

  113. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    And yet Matthew 25: 31-46 strongly suggests (putting it mildly) that our salvation actually hinges on helping the needy. How do they get around that? It’s a pretty significant passage.

    The Church asks that we see in those who are suffering the image of Our Lord, which calls us to help them for HIS sake especially. I don’t think this is an evangelical teaching, but I believe that the compassion and empathy evangelical people have for the suffering of others is motivated by the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.

    The Lutheran martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
    ‘ The Incarnate Lord makes His followers the brothers and sisters of all humanity. The “philanthropy” of God (Titus 3:4) revealed in the Incarnation is the ground of Christian love towrd all on earth that bear the name of human. The form of Christ Incarnate makes the Church into the Body of Christ. All the sorrows of humanity falls upon that form …”

    I am thinking that there is more to the compassion evangelical people have for the suffering of others than just ‘it’s the right thing to do’ …. I’m thinking that they are also being moved by grace to help suffering people because of their connection to them through Christ Himself. If this is true, then they are not so far from other Christian people in the nature of their kindness.

  114. Thersites wrote:

    These leaders exhibit the same “spirit of Jezebel”

    If the leaders are of the male variety they might object to this role, saying, “In keeping with Biblical Manhood, we prefer to exhibit the spirit of Ahab.

  115. ___

    “A Lesson In Using Human Reasoning Concerning Biblical Things, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    In his day, John Calvin attempted to reform Catholicism utilizing the writings of Augustine, and not directly from scripture, not realizing that Augustine’s theological writings were greatly scripturally incorrect, as demonstrated (for sample) by the writings of the early Christian fathers. As with Augustine before him, Calvin rejected the early Christian fathers as well.

    Apparently, John Calvin attempted to figure out the mind of God using human reasoning. His Institutes Of The Christian Religion became the go-to theology and not the scriptures.

    Hence, those who disagreed publicly were seriously disciplined as history demonstrates. Free will and freedom of the conscience shortly thereafter became in Calvin’s mind, the doctrines of the devil. like Augustine before him, Calvin created his own Gnostic religion. Again the world has suffered another false Christianity for the last five hundred years.

    limiting God’s salvation through Christ to an elect group of individuals is a tradition of Gnosticism. Gnostic beliefs are known to clash strongly with accepted Christian doctrine. Christianity teaches that salvation is available to everyone, not just a special few; the source of which truth comes from the Bible itself.

    See your bible for details.

    ATB

    Sopy

  116. ishy wrote:

    Many IFB people seemed convinced that the end was coming tomorrow or next week, maybe next year at the most.

    “End Time Prophecy are being fulfilled even as we speak! We might not have a 1978!! Or even a 1977!!! WORK FOR THE NIGHT IS COMING!!!!”
    — common refrain of the Age of Hal Lindsay

    Add in the idea that God at the Great White Throne would judge you ONLY on “How Many Souls Did YOU Win?” and punish you for those you didn’t Witness to; that your position in Heaven would be based entirely on your sales record, and you got some really insane pressure to Save Those Souls you found yourself next to on the bus or airliner or in line at the store; and equally insane Wretched Urgency high-pressure sales tricks to Get Them To Say The Sinner’s Prayer. Lotsa burnouts and despair.

  117. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    And yet Matthew 25: 31-46 strongly suggests (putting it mildly) that our salvation actually hinges on helping the needy. How do they get around that? It’s a pretty significant passage.

    That those who are poor obviously aren’t among God’s Elect, and oh well…too bad.
    That’s it in a nutshell, having escaped a NeoCalvinist gulag.

    I really see no difference between NeoCalvinists and fatalistic Hindus and the whole issue of “karma”.

  118. I Fear a Cage wrote:

    Because the church’s main focus and priority should be the preaching of the gospel, according to the hardline IFB pastor who took over my former church.

    SCREAMING Hellfire & Damnation from his pulpit?

  119. ishy wrote:

    The Calvinistas are all about dressing up their churches and advertising to look like other churches, even though they do things very differently.

    Don’t Evangelicals say exactly the same thing about the Mormons?

  120. Midwesterner wrote:

    It’s this newer Calvinism that is bothersome to me. I picked up on an air of their doctrines being “morally superior” and a subtle looking down on those of us who buy into free will, salvation being available to anyone who responds to the gospel, etc

    i.e. The Lure of the Inner Ring.

  121. Christiane wrote:

    the parents of children, the fathers of children, the husbands of wives who realize that a ‘church’ leader is abusive and may bring harm on innocents have a duty to protect those they love from harm
    and if it means getting the h3ck out of the ‘church’ where abuse is de rigueur at the whim of ‘leadership’, then by all means these husbands/fathers should act to take their families OUT OF HEROD’S REACH to safety
    biblical? I think so.

    Thanks, Christiane.

    There was a woman at my ex-NeoCalvinist gulag (Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley) who is married but who described for years that our senior pastor had verbally abused her in “counseling meetings” when he was a pastor at the Baptist church, before starting this church plant.

    I was shocked that she and her husband would tolerate this. (And they are quite wealthy as well.)

    When she became one of my pastor’s enforcers in the excommunication/shunning of me on some trumped up charge — and she made excuses for the pastors/elders excommunicating and shunning a godly doctor in his 70’s, faithful husband for nearly 50 years also on a trumped up charge — I asked her, “What happened in your life, in your past, growing up, that made you think that this abuse was the best you deserved? All you deserved? Why do you defend it? Somebody makes you cry, and abuses you, and you don’t think something is wrong with them and that you deserve better? Why?”

    She told me to never contact her again.

    As one of my friends here has said on the phone, sometimes God uses us to shake up other people, to unsettle them.

  122. Thersites wrote:

    These leaders exhibit the same “spirit of Jezebel”, those who hold power can do as they please and they can do it without dirtying their own hands. There are always brownnosers available to do the enforcement.

    It’s actually called “Two Bodies, One Sociopath”:
    The Leaders: “My hands are clean. I only indicated what needed to be done (with full Plausible Deniability).”
    The Enforcers: “My hands are clean. I was only following Orders.”

  123. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    ION: Back to fitba’ for a second.

    In other news, I watched the live news of Pippa Middleton’s wedding in England.

    I take it the British press has a sense of humor. In some of the stories they reported that wedding guests were served haggis and whiskey! I know that’s NOT true.

    In another story it said that Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s girlfriend, arrived in a black dress and white jacket. No, she didn’t. That’s what she wore at the polo match.

    I may be across The Pond, but I am not fooled! (That’s my Scottish DNA and ‘good sense’ showing up.)

  124. Velour wrote:

    My former senior pastor at my ex-gulag (Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley) decided that it would be a good idea to talk about sex during an Easter service. Visitors got up and angrily walked out! I wish I had to.

    Just crass and low-class.

    He repeatedly did that kind of thing. And I wonder if it also wasn’t a threat to Complementarian wives and showing off for the boyz that the women need to ‘perform’.

    After that, I don’t want to hear any static from the pulpits about Pornography.

    Because I have encountered REAL Porn, and THAT is the exact same attitude.
    The Man has Urrrges in his Arrreas, and the Woman only exists to “perform”.
    Even on the High Altar at Easter.

  125. Velour wrote:

    I take it the British press has a sense of humor. In some of the stories they reported that wedding guests were served haggis and whiskey! I know that’s NOT true.

    True as a True Scotsman, Laddie?
    (Don’t know about the haggis, but the whiskey would have made it popular. Or offset the haggis. Or those aliens mean to win Wimbledon again….)

  126. @ Velour:
    And Now for Something Completely Different:
    (The Larch.)
    No, actually…
    VELOUR!

    Remember that abusive ex-preacher of yours (the one with the phony PhD) bragging about how Christ was going to award him a White Horse at Armageddon so he could deal death and destruction as Right Hand of the King?

    Was THIS what he had in mind?

    http://www.piratechristian.com/museum-of-idolatry/2017/3/bible-2-volume-1-hail-to-the-king-of-the-jews-baby
    Yes, that is Jesus Christ working two M60 GPMGs plus shooting laser beams from His eyes while riding bareback on Princess Twilight Sparkle.

    I only hope this is the cover of some sort of parody like Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter or Pride & Prejudice with Zombies and NOT a real Devotional. (Though in an Age of Extremism, you never know…)

  127. @ Velour:
    I think too many are intimidated by those who preach ‘authority’ as something God always enforces, but it is not true. The Bible gives the model of the wicked king who sends soldiers to murder the infants of Bethlehem, and yet an angel is sent to warn Joseph.

    In the same way, when our conscience is alarmed by some situation where we are instructed by an authority to do what is evil, we also are receiving input by way of a prompting of conscience by the Holy Spirit.

    The ‘authority’ thing has been taken to extremes. That people can claim ‘I was just following orders’ while engaged in harming others is an argument used at the Nuremburg Trials, and that argument was rejected and rightly so. We do not blindly follow ‘orders’ from any authority. We must object if asked to violate our conscience even though we may be punished for it by that ‘authority’; but evil is not something we can be ‘ordered’ to do under the auspices of God. He has given us a conscience. He has given us ‘choice’. And may God help us to always choose the better way.

  128. Hey Folks, so a friend just moved into D.C. and posted on facebook today that she thinks she found her new church. Something struck me about their name, so I looked them up and there was a church covenant and some association with churches in Texas whose names I have seen here. So yeah, Calvinistas. I wrote her and asked her what she’s looking for in a church because a lot of churches these days are into reformed theology. I figure she’s a grown woman who can make her own choices, but at least she can’t say I didn’t warn her.

  129. Christiane wrote:

    I think too many are intimidated by those who preach ‘authority’ as something God always enforces, but it is not true.

    What kind of “man” permits some other dude to repeatedly scream at his wife and make her cry, even if said other dude is a ‘pastor’, and doesn’t confront the dude and leave said church with his family?

  130. Velour wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    I think too many are intimidated by those who preach ‘authority’ as something God always enforces, but it is not true.

    What kind of “man” permits some other dude to repeatedly scream at his wife and make her cry, even if said other dude is a ‘pastor’, and doesn’t confront the dude and leave said church with his family?

    A properly-submissinve Beta Male before his Alpha Male.
    i.e. The Alpha Male makes a woman out of the Beta.

  131. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    In my experience I have found the YRR churches to be as legalist as any I have ever attended.

    When insecure and lacking the presence, power, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit – enforce rules. Establishes authority – the practice of the religious leaders of Jesus’ time.

    Jesus’ authority, in contrast, was the presence, power, and wisdom of God Himself, (duh).

  132. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Christiane wrote:
    I think too many are intimidated by those who preach ‘authority’ as something God always enforces, but it is not true.
    What kind of “man” permits some other dude to repeatedly scream at his wife and make her cry, even if said other dude is a ‘pastor’, and doesn’t confront the dude and leave said church with his family?
    A properly-submissinve Beta Male before his Alpha Male.
    i.e. The Alpha Male makes a woman out of the Beta.

    Spot on, H.U.G.

    Another submissive Calvinist wannbe (in his 50’s no less) had his wife publicly harassed before hundreds of church members by the pastors/elders for not being “submissive” and “obeying” and “submitting” to him because she wanted to leave the abusive church (Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley).

    Here is a lovely, dear Christian woman, the woman I’ve written about here before. She volunteers with mentally ill adults who live in group homes and with the elderly in convalescent homes. She is the kindest Christian.

    And the senior pastor with the fake Ph.D. destroyed her reputation before hundreds of church members during a closed meeting after the Sunday service and told members to “pursue” her into repentance (i.e. harass her). Those are criminal acts in California!
    The disconnected her cell phone and email and moved out of the family home.

    (She and her husband do not have children.)

    I would have kicked a bum like that to the curb if he were my husband. I’d invite Nancy2 to help me deal with him. I would never put up with that.

    When I interviewed this dear Christian woman she said that the senior pastor had come to her home and screamed at her, demanding that she “submit” to her husband!!! She said the senior pastor wouldn’t let her leave.

    I really wish she had called the San Jose Police Department (San Jose, CA) emergency line and had the pastor arrested for assault (which is the threat; battery is making physical contact) and for false imprisonment.

  133. ^Should read: “She disconnected her cell phone and email and moved out of the family home.”

  134. Another clue as to what is being programmed in churches:

    I have been watching about a half dozen churches in my area simultaneously online on the weekends: one with 20,000 members, another 10,000, another with 6,000 members, etc. Big churches (in my world, anyway).

    All but one have the same message series going, each packaged slightly differently. Playbook from somewhere – there’s a Mothership out there in space.

  135. JYJames wrote:

    Playbook from somewhere – there’s a Mothership out there in space.

    Indeed.

    I’ve learned so much from the blogs, including that many of these pastors don’t write their own sermons but use some kind of subscription service and buy their sermons.

  136. @ Velour:
    I was very briefly part of a church in which the elder-led board (not reformed church) let the pastor go because he was getting all of his sermons online without giving credit. And I wondered why I was never getting anything out of his sermons!

  137. It’s a shame she couldn’t have recorded the abusing pastor I bet attorneys would be lined up around the block Velour wrote:

    ^Should read: “She disconnected her cell phone and email and moved out of the family home.”

  138. Shauna wrote:

    It’s a shame she couldn’t have recorded the abusing pastor I bet attorneys would be lined up around the block Velour wrote:
    ^Should read: “She disconnected her cell phone and email and moved out of the family home.”

    Yes, it’s too bad.

  139. Velour these pastors are even worse than I thought. What would you say if you heard of a pastor telling teenage kids who lost their parent that they owe their parents debt to the church because the church helped them for years and when they learned that the kids get a small monthly sum until they reach a certain age they said the kids need to pay the debts from the parent and for the funeral. The parent hasn’t even been buried for more than a few months. Who does that? I would have told him to go suck fruit or go hug a tree well I’m sure worse but you get my drift. The total lack of empathy and disrespect. so if I’m getting this our former pastor is trying to guilt the kids in staying in the church and use his so called authority to make them pay a so called potential debt when the help was from the members not him.

  140. Shauna wrote:

    The total lack of empathy and disrespect. so if I’m getting this our former pastor is trying to guilt the kids in staying in the church and use his so called authority to make them pay a so called potential debt when the help was from the members not him.

    Yes, Shauna, these pastors are even worse than WE both thought!

    That is just vile what that pastor is doing to guilt-trip children, let alone anyone.

    Thankfully, from what I’ve read about cults, the majority of people wise up and leave.
    We just need to continue to pray for them.

    I am glad for the internet, glad to be able to blog about my ex-church, and that I stood up that way and have given others the courage to do same.

  141. Velour wrote:

    I’ve learned so much from the blogs, including that many of these pastors don’t write their own sermons but use some kind of subscription service and buy their sermons.

    I don’t think it’s just about programming, though I do think it plays a part. These guys are just lazy. I went to seminary with a lot of them, and many buy sermons. The sermon services started advertising us while we were still in seminary, but a lot of guys made a big deal of how they were going to study 40 hours a week, so other staff would be required to do all the messy stuff like deal with members and handle the business end.

    Many of them work maybe 20 hours a week, tops, but still expect to be paid an upper class income by churches.

  142. ishy wrote:

    These guys are just lazy. I went to seminary with a lot of them, and many buy sermons.

    I agree with you that so many of them are lazy.

    My ex-pastor at the NeoCalvinist/9Marxist gulag used to talk about all of the work he put into sermons. Hours upon hours every week, at least 40 or more. He had an office full of bookcases full of books no less. It all seemed so impressive.

    But other people who studied the Scriptures found his sermons unintelligent and not well put together.

    And then I learned that he had the fake Ph.D. from the diploma mill when I started vetting his credentials.

    If he really worked 40 hours a week on sermons and showed that kind of work ethic, couldn’t he have gone to a real university for a real Ph.D. program? (The church website says he’s now doing ‘post-doctoral’ work. How can someone who has a $299 fake “Ph.D.” do any work beyond that?)

  143. Shauna wrote:

    What would you say if you heard of a pastor telling teenage kids who lost their parent that they owe their parents debt to the church because the church helped them for years and when they learned that the kids get a small monthly sum until they reach a certain age they said the kids need to pay the debts from the parent and for the funeral. The parent hasn’t even been buried for more than a few months. Who does that?

    Who does that?

    someone whose conscience has long been silenced by greed

  144. Velour wrote:

    (The church website says he’s now doing ‘post-doctoral’ work. How can someone who has a $299 fake “Ph.D.” do any work beyond that?)

    Sending boxtops off for another $299 fake PhD?

  145. ishy wrote:

    Many of them work maybe 20 hours a week, tops, but still expect to be paid an upper class income by churches.

    “I’M ENTITLED! I’M ENTITLED! YOU GOTTA GIMME! YOU GOTTA GIMME! GIMME! GIMME! GIMME! GIMME!”

  146. Velour wrote:

    And the senior pastor with the fake Ph.D. destroyed her reputation before hundreds of church members during a closed meeting after the Sunday service and told members to “pursue” her into repentance (i.e. harass her). Those are criminal acts in California!

    i.e. The same ManaGAWD who brags that GAWD is going to give Him his own White Horse to ride dealing death at Armageddon, Right Hand of the King.
    http://www.piratechristian.com/museum-of-idolatry/2017/3/bible-2-volume-1-hail-to-the-king-of-the-jews-baby

  147. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    i.e. The same ManaGAWD who brags that GAWD is going to give Him his own White Horse to ride dealing death at Armageddon, Right Hand of the King.
    http://www.piratechristian.com/museum-of-idolatry/2017/3/bible-2-volume-1-hail-to-the-king-of-the-jews-baby

    good grief ….. people follow such a person????

    there comes a point where people have to take responsibility for permitting such men to get away with abusing others ….. and on that day, people either become a party to the abuse OR they take a stand against it …

    there is no neutral ground

  148. ishy wrote:

    This isn’t unique to Calvinistas, though. It started in the nondenominational church movement (mostly from Purpose Driven Church) to replace “Sunday School”, and I know a lot of nondenominational and non Calvinist churches that use it

    Gateway has life groups. It seems to have basically replaced home groups, which is what we had when I was a kid. (and I have fond memories of those)

  149. Jack wrote:

    And complicated if only one member of the family wants to leave.

    When I was a kid, my dad left our church for a year or two because of some things they did. But he ended up coming back because my mom didn’t want to leave.

    Which may be part of the reason this whole ‘preach to the guys’ thing seems really stupid to me. I guess they think the man ‘should’ decide, but how often does that happen?

  150. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    (The church website says he’s now doing ‘post-doctoral’ work. How can someone who has a $299 fake “Ph.D.” do any work beyond that?)
    Sending boxtops off for another $299 fake PhD?

    Close. He’s ingratiating himself to the Seventh Day Adventists, the landlords that my ex-gulag Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley rent their church and office space from.

    The GBFSV website says he’s doing his “post-doctoral” work in English at a Seventh Day Adventist university.

  151. People this would be our former pastor who is doing it. Fortunately the teenager I spoke can’t stand our former pastor this person said they literally get angry when they see him.
    This person also said that the pastor guilted the parent into giving money they didn’t have with his sermons. The teen said that they would beg their parent not to give because they could barely keep food on the table.
    Oh yea he would talk about spending 40 hours a week on sermons giving the same crap line as these other pastors you speak of. I found out some of his sermons were replicas to john MacArthur except he just changed a few characters . I learned that this guy spends no time on his sermons Christiane wrote:

    Shauna wrote:

    What would you say if you heard of a pastor telling teenage kids who lost their parent that they owe their parents debt to the church because the church helped them for years and when they learned that the kids get a small monthly sum until they reach a certain age they said the kids need to pay the debts from the parent and for the funeral. The parent hasn’t even been buried for more than a few months. Who does that?

    Who does that?

    someone whose conscience has long been silenced by greed

  152. Christiane wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    i.e. The same ManaGAWD who brags that GAWD is going to give Him his own White Horse to ride dealing death at Armageddon, Right Hand of the King.
    http://www.piratechristian.com/museum-of-idolatry/2017/3/bible-2-volume-1-hail-to-the-king-of-the-jews-baby
    good grief ….. people follow such a person????
    there comes a point where people have to take responsibility for permitting such men to get away with abusing others ….. and on that day, people either become a party to the abuse OR they take a stand against it …
    there is no neutral ground

    Many people like me didn’t realize that’s what we were getting in to when we went to my ex-gulag (Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley). My ex-senior pastor, however, would sneak such outrageous claims into his sermons. Basically that God’s Elect will be given horses, probably with sashes with their names on them, and they will do battle on behalf of Jesus during the End Times (or some such nonsense). I am not ‘up’ on all of the Christianese movies of the same ilk.

    I would sit in my pew and silently retort to my senior pastor: “Really? You think Jesus would entrust you with ANYTHING?! A guy like you who screams at Christians, bullies them,
    lies about them, excommunicates and shuns them. Jesus wouldn’t entrust you with the manure in the horses’ stable let alone with a horse!”

  153. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    Many IFB people seemed convinced that the end was coming tomorrow or next week, maybe next year at the most.
    “End Time Prophecy are being fulfilled even as we speak! We might not have a 1978!! Or even a 1977!!! WORK FOR THE NIGHT IS COMING!!!!”
    — common refrain of the Age of Hal Lindsay
    Add in the idea that God at the Great White Throne would judge you ONLY on “How Many Souls Did YOU Win?” and punish you for those you didn’t Witness to; that your position in Heaven would be based entirely on your sales record, and you got some really insane pressure to Save Those Souls you found yourself next to on the bus or airliner or in line at the store; and equally insane Wretched Urgency high-pressure sales tricks to Get Them To Say The Sinner’s Prayer. Lotsa burnouts and despair.

    In my group, “bearing fruit” meant “winning souls”, and if you didn’t bear fruit, you didn’t make it to heaven, because God cut off every branch that didn’t bear fruit.

  154. @ Shauna:
    That small sum of money the church wants is probably Social Security survivors benefits monthly check. The parents have already tithed their percentage on that money! The kids need it to survive!

    I explored the church’s webpage- lots of huge, glow-in-the-dark red flags there.
    1) all pastors are from out-of-state
    2) “submit to the authority of elders”
    3) members have absolutes no part in the churches decisions
    3) women are currently studying a Mary Ka$$ian book. (Are Ka$$ian books books in the Bible???)
    4) authors of recommended readings include C J Mahaney, Paul Tripp, Jay Adams, and Martha Peace

    Lots more, these just really stood out to me!

  155. Tina wrote:

    In my group, “bearing fruit” meant “winning souls”, and if you didn’t bear fruit, you didn’t make it to heaven, because God cut off every branch that didn’t bear fruit.

    I think they didn’t read their Bibles about the meaning of the Holy Spirit’s ‘fruit’, so they heard the term and connected it up to another verse in Scripture to make their idea sound legit. But instead, they just reveal their ignorance which no one would know unless they read Scripture themselves.

    I’m beginning to appreciate all of the sacred Scripture that is read aloud at Mass and that is prayed aloud during the liturgy ….. year after year, it becomes a part of your memory and stays with you within a context that not only makes sense but which also comes to mind readily

  156. Christiane wrote:

    I’m beginning to appreciate all of the sacred Scripture that is read aloud at Mass and that is prayed aloud during the liturgy ….. year after year, it becomes a part of your memory and stays with you within a context that not only makes sense but which also comes to mind readily

    Amen to that.

  157. @ Tina:

    In the 1980’s I experienced a campus ministry group (it was not, per say, IFB) that taught the best thing you can do with your life is “go on staff’ with them since everything else will burn, except for soles you save.. and we wonder why evangelicalism/fundamentalism is so lacking in intellectual depth?

  158. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I only hope this is the cover of some sort of parody like Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter or Pride & Prejudice with Zombies and NOT a real Devotional. (Though in an Age of Extremism, you never know…)

    After looking at excerpts, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re aiming for, HUG.

    My guess: They’re riffing off the faux-mercial for “Ghandi 2”, as seen in Weird Al Yankovic’s movie, “U.H.F.”

  159. Tina wrote:

    In my group, “bearing fruit” meant “winning souls”, and if you didn’t bear fruit, you didn’t make it to heaven, because God cut off every branch that didn’t bear fruit.

    That is so awful.

    I have to say a good word here for the tradition which I left behind. When I was young the idea of ‘witnessing’ was that (a) you prepared yourself so that you could give an answer the the faith that was in you (bible) and (b) you had the courage to hold your ground when under attack and (c) you made sure not to have bad stuff in your life such as to look like a hypocrite. Personally, I have tried to do that and still try to do that and highly recommend it. But what you are describing is just not biblical.

    That then was your ‘witness’: your life, your knowledge and your courage. But what you were to witness about was Jesus, not yourself.

    I don’t know where all this stuff came from that some commenters here say they experienced, but I certainly hate that people were exposed to some of that stuff.

    Incidentally, what I think is the reason why we were not threatened with damnation for lack of doing whatever is because of the semi-calvinism of traditional baptist faith and practice; in this case the dogma of once saved always saved. One could not ‘lose’ one’s salvation by failing to live up to various standards, not if they truly believed ‘by grace through faith…not of works’.

  160. @ Velour:
    You would think that pew sitters in Silicone Valley we see through fake Ph.D’s and “post-docs”…. it takes allot of caj$%^ to parade around that area with a fake Ph.D…. or maybe he really thinks his Ph.D. is equivalent to one from a main line institution?

  161. Nancy2 wrote:

    @ Shauna:
    That small sum of money the church wants is probably Social Security survivors benefits monthly check. The parents have already tithed their percentage on that money! The kids need it to survive!
    I explored the church’s webpage- lots of huge, glow-in-the-dark red flags there.
    1) all pastors are from out-of-state
    2) “submit to the authority of elders”
    3) members have absolutes no part in the churches decisions
    3) women are currently studying a Mary Ka$$ian book. (Are Ka$$ian books books in the Bible???)
    4) authors of recommended readings include C J Mahaney, Paul Tripp, Jay Adams, and Martha Peace
    Lots more, these just really stood out to me!

    Hi Nancy,
    You are dead on accurate with the benefits. Yes these kids the parent finally begun to receive benefits before they passed. Another member was assigned to this parent by the church (basically pretending to be the friend) so the parent gave this person POA over the medical aspect of their life. It turns out that this person was informing the pastor/elders of the church all of this parents information concerning benefits and one could only assume everything else. Once it was found out that the kids were receiving the benefit then the pastor along with members have been coming to the children stating that the children now need to take over the parents (DEBTS) TO THE CHURCH. Since the church helped the parent all the years they attended. Also the members and pastor have been using their influence in trying to guilt the children into giving the $$$$ by saying we did all of this for you and your parent and you leave the church? Basically making them feel like they are ungrateful or now owe them something. I thought churches were to serve (remember lay your treasures up in heaven not on earth)? Apparently anything the church does for you they expect repayment with your life/tithes and offerings. So basically they think they own the families. This is what they tried to do to us the pastor tried to use my business relationships making me so destitute that I would run back to them and go through their dog and pony show with attending church with my sons rapist and make my child submit to what they wanted him to do. These are the worst kind of people and i’m sorry there is nothing self deceiving about any of it. If you are a member of our former church and are participating in this type of abuse you know exactly what you are doing, ignorance is not an excuse. I never bought into that or questioned why they are not loving. WHY? because it’s not a church its a greedy corporation piggy backing off members finances and support in order for them to exist and live the life styles they desire. What is being done to these children is unspeakable and I can’t imagine billy losing me and then having these vultures (had I stayed) come after my kid! I mean can you imagine how painful it is for children to lose their only parent who raised them? Then to contend with these vile vicious vultures whose only concern is the little money they will receive for a short time meant for their needs? How low and dirty does one have to get to do this? I will tell you its just as low as covering for a rapist and harboring child sex abusers. This is abuse in a different form. I think these men need to be exposed for what they are doing and playing Mr. Nice Guy doesn’t cut it, i’m sorry but Christ wasn’t pleasant or sweet when he threw out the money changers in the temple. Nor was he kind when he called the pharisees a bunch of vipers. This is not turning the other cheek!!!! This to me is confronting wickedness being spewed out of the church of God and turning something sacred into Wickedness. I know these kids and what is sad is that two of them are not on speaking terms because the members and pastor of the church are attempting to divide them. These kids were all close until our former pastor/church got involved with them. I have had these kids in my home and around my son. They are good kids and one of them is being heavily influenced by a deacon and his wife whom I know very well and threw me out as if I or billy ever meant anything to them. I was stunned by what they did when it happened and surprised because the wife always told me she didn’t agree with the church in billy’s situation , gave me other places to go for biblical counseling that were more into the psychology and loving christian aspect of counseling. This person went to meetings with me at my sons school because she had been through it with her kid. She spoke negatively about the pastor /elders and how they ran things but ultimately she went with their program. Now they are influencing a kid who lost their parent to be at odds with the sister because she will not go to the church anymore or give any benefits much less pay for the funeral since the church did this big dog and pony show for their parents funeral. I gather the pastor used the situation to garner more money and look at me type attention look at us what we are doing for the family and then behind the scenes trying to extort money from kids who didn’t have much to begin with. I hope they are reading these comments and blogs because I want them to see that they are being exposed for the vile vipers they are. The police chief who we know and I will not disclose where he is or who he is right now but when my son told him what happened to him he asked if we would be interested in speaking with a friend of his at channel 2 news? We are in discussions with him about this and he is disgusted at what has been happening at our former church. Billy and I are praying about this as this church has been crossing so many boundaries for years now. For me Billy may just have been the last straw for them. Maybe something may come of this who knows. Anyways I just wanted to give my take on this situation because it is a continuing of abuse and it is being done in many forms by our former pastor.

  162. Velour wrote:

    Basically that God’s Elect will be given horses, probably with sashes with their names on them

    So the end times will be a cross between a beauty pageant and “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”.
    Who knew neocalvinist theology was so whimsical?

  163. Jack wrote:

    Velour wrote:

    Basically that God’s Elect will be given horses, probably with sashes with their names on them

    So the end times will be a cross between a beauty pageant and “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”.
    Who knew neocalvinist theology was so whimsical?

    I knew these YRR were young, but ……

  164. Christiane wrote:

    Tina wrote:
    In my group, “bearing fruit” meant “winning souls”, and if you didn’t bear fruit, you didn’t make it to heaven, because God cut off every branch that didn’t bear fruit.

    I think they didn’t read their Bibles about the meaning of the Holy Spirit’s ‘fruit’, so they heard the term and connected it up to another verse in Scripture to make their idea sound legit. But instead, they just reveal their ignorance which no one would know unless they read Scripture themselves.

    They weren’t the only ones to make that connection.
    In a famous online essay, Internet Monk called it “Wretched Urgency”:
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/64264
    And it not only can, but will Burn. You. Out.

  165. Velour wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Velour wrote:
    (The church website says he’s now doing ‘post-doctoral’ work. How can someone who has a $299 fake “Ph.D.” do any work beyond that?)
    Sending boxtops off for another $299 fake PhD?

    Close. He’s ingratiating himself to the Seventh Day Adventists, the landlords that my ex-gulag Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley rent their church and office space from.

    I know something about SDA’s take on Revelation and End Times. (It’s VERY different from the Dispy default.) I’d like to see how he reconciles his previous End Time Prophecy brags with the SDA version without 1500 mikes of Acid.

  166. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    I only hope this is the cover of some sort of parody like Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter or Pride & Prejudice with Zombies and NOT a real Devotional. (Though in an Age of Extremism, you never know…)

    After looking at excerpts, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re aiming for, HUG.”

    I sent the pic out to my contacts, and one of my writing partners (the burned-out preacher-man) identified it as the cover of a parody comic.

  167. Christiane wrote:

    So the end times will be a cross between a beauty pageant and “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”.
    Who knew neocalvinist theology was so whimsical?

    I knew these YRR were young, but ……

    It must be an off shoot “Bronyocalvinism” – a sort of “happy go lucky” authoritarianism.

  168. Departing lurkdom for a quick minute to ask about the congregations that have endured this phenomenon:

    How many members are in each? Generally, of course.

    Not coming from an SBC background but living on the buckle of the Bible Belt, my conception of churches worth taking over ($) are those with memberships of 500-600 or larger.

    Curious about all your experiences. Thanks.

  169. Spartacus wrote:

    Departing lurkdom for a quick minute to ask about the congregations that have endured this phenomenon:
    How many members are in each? Generally, of course.
    Not coming from an SBC background but living on the buckle of the Bible Belt, my conception of churches worth taking over ($) are those with memberships of 500-600 or larger.
    Curious about all your experiences. Thanks.

    Interesting question. The ones I know of are all in what I consider the medium range of 500 to 1500 members. My former church that was taken over had about 800 members. I don’t know what they are at now (maybe dee knows?). Probably much harder to take over megachurches, but I know they do go for smaller churches than that.

    My guess is they go for wherever they can get hired, with aims to “move up” eventually.

  170. ishy wrote:

    Spartacus wrote:
    Departing lurkdom for a quick minute to ask about the congregations that have endured this phenomenon:
    How many members are in each? Generally, of course.
    Not coming from an SBC background but living on the buckle of the Bible Belt, my conception of churches worth taking over ($) are those with memberships of 500-600 or larger.
    Curious about all your experiences. Thanks.
    Interesting question. The ones I know of are all in what I consider the medium range of 500 to 1500 members. My former church that was taken over had about 800 members. I don’t know what they are at now (maybe dee knows?). Probably much harder to take over megachurches, but I know they do go for smaller churches than that.
    My guess is they go for wherever they can get hired, with aims to “move up” eventually.

    Smaller churches are easier to control and our former church with just a member list of 200 Families plus a few non members attending they earn right around 1 million a year plus+++ not to shabby for a little church. These are the members that came from the split with just around 150 people. Keep in mind the average income here is 170,000 and up so when our former pastor took the church he also had a salary in tow. Keep in mind they just rented space for a few years had very little expenses so they were able to stockpile a little nest egg. Also in three years time they were able to gather enough funds to buy land, build from the ground up and looking at the value of just one building before the new building finished it’s worth right around 3 million. I’m sure it’s gone up since the new additions and value increases yearly, usually. It seems to me you don’t need to steal a mega church to prosper plus I think it would be difficult to get everyone in line. It’s more profitable to do it this way and sneak your way in and make those changes from freedom to control. Makes sense to me and if your extorting children by using your position as pastor well then I can see how he gets his nice fat little income and go’s on these fabulous trips with his family and gets three month vacations, anniversary trips, and winter trips to Colorado with the fam. Not to mention taking trips to Russia, Singapore, India (which he will be going again in a few weeks to see Sammy Williams another TMS graduate who lives on the coast with housekeepers), Australia, Uganda, Albania, Israel, all over the united states and probably more places. This guy is in his mid 40’s and has traveled more places than most pastors or people I know. It’s amazing and i’m curious where he gets 40 hours a week in to study when he’s all over the place most of the time. His sermons are not his own he just tweaks them or does the same ones over and over. If our former TMS pastor does this so are the rest most likely.

  171. Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    @ Velour:
    You would think that pew sitters in Silicone Valley we see through fake Ph.D’s and “post-docs”…. it takes allot of caj$%^ to parade around that area with a fake Ph.D…. or maybe he really thinks his Ph.D. is equivalent to one from a main line institution?

    I refer to what goes on at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley as “spiritual carbon monoxide poisoning”. You’re knocked out before you know it.

    It’s a high-control, Thought Reform…cult. It’s not a church. (They have plenty of well-educated people who know better and about fake degrees. My former Friday night Bible Study leader has his degree from the University of Chicago. The chairman of the elder board has his degree from U.C. Berkeley. Lots of Stanford graduates. And U.C.L.A.)

    The first elder to leave GBFSV, when it was a church plant, was a graduate of MIT with a real Ph.D. He and his lovely wife, and sons, were all quiet, humble, and highly educated and talented people. They never said why they left. They just did.

    To speed up the learning curve, I have started a blog about my ex-church. I noticed that a negative 1-star review on YELP about the church and on Google Reviews contained many of the words (Patriarchy, Young Earth, etc.) that I learned here. I hope my little blog is having some impact.

    I did get a call from a woman who wanted to leave my ex-church, as they were calling her and tracking her movements when she was gone (including visiting family, etc.). She found it creepy. I agreed with her. Instead of criticizing the church directly, I asked her to tell me about how other churches that she went to had treated her. Did they call her? Track her? Check up on her?

    She said ‘no’, they didn’t bother her at all. “Which treatment do you like better?” I asked. She said she liked being left alone.

    I told her to get out, don’t tell anyone. Just send a certified return receipt letter and resign, no details. (I learned that here on TWW.) I told her that if the pastors/elders bothered her, or ordered anyone else to bother her, to call police and have them handle it, file a police report(s), and also to contact an attorney to send the GBFSV pastors/elders a cease and desist letter.

  172. Jack wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Basically that God’s Elect will be given horses, probably with sashes with their names on them
    So the end times will be a cross between a beauty pageant and “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”.
    Who knew neocalvinist theology was so whimsical?

    Dear Jack (aka H.U.G. of The North),

    You are too funny! Yes, you’ve summed it up.

    You had all of the hardcore NeoCalvinists who have watched the “Left Behind” movies and all of the other Christianese movies nodding their heads in agreement.

    Meanwhile, the weightier things like loving your neighbor, not lying about them, not excommunicating and shunning them, not calling unbelievers a litany of bad names…
    went unaddressed by the majority of the followers in this cult.

  173. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I know something about SDA’s take on Revelation and End Times. (It’s VERY different from the Dispy default.) I’d like to see how he reconciles his previous End Time Prophecy brags with the SDA version without 1500 mikes of Acid.

    I only know the SDA’s take on the End Times via the postcards they send me in the mail every quarter inviting me to one of their events with free food. Sweet people, but no thanks.

    I actually never paid any attention to the whole end times things and various views.
    I was much more concerned about the here and now, with peoples’ present needs, and I found the arguments preposterous. “Who cares?” I thought. There are people with immediate needs in front of us. Let’s do something with our time here, ok.

    That’s another signal to me that a church is off. That they will talk about end-times issues but not love their neighbor as themselves in the here and now (food, charity, etc.).

  174. Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    it takes allot of caj$%^ to parade around that area with a fake Ph.D…. or maybe he really thinks his Ph.D. is equivalent to one from a main line institution?

    His fake Ph.D. comes from Independence, Missouri. Cost is about $299.

    The very men at that church, by the way, who defend them would no doubt be fired from their own tech company jobs for ratifying an employee with a fake diploma/degree. I really don’t understand why a church leader gets an academic pass that unbelievers wouldn’t tolerate in the business world.

  175. Velour wrote:

    Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:
    @ Velour:
    You would think that pew sitters in Silicone Valley we see through fake Ph.D’s and “post-docs”…. it takes allot of caj$%^ to parade around that area with a fake Ph.D…. or maybe he really thinks his Ph.D. is equivalent to one from a main line institution?
    I refer to what goes on at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley as “spiritual carbon monoxide poisoning”. You’re knocked out before you know it.
    It’s a high-control, Thought Reform…cult. It’s not a church. (They have plenty of well-educated people who know better and about fake degrees. My former Friday night Bible Study leader has his degree from the University of Chicago. The chairman of the elder board has his degree from U.C. Berkeley. Lots of Stanford graduates. And U.C.L.A.)
    The first elder to leave GBFSV, when it was a church plant, was a graduate of MIT with a real Ph.D. He and his lovely wife, and sons, were all quiet, humble, and highly educated and talented people. They never said why they left. They just did.
    To speed up the learning curve, I have started a blog about my ex-church. I noticed that a negative 1-star review on YELP about the church and on Google Reviews contained many of the words (Patriarchy, Young Earth, etc.) that I learned here. I hope my little blog is having some impact.
    I did get a call from a woman who wanted to leave my ex-church, as they were calling her and tracking her movements when she was gone (including visiting family, etc.). She found it creepy. I agreed with her. Instead of criticizing the church directly, I asked her to tell me about how other churches that she went to had treated her. Did they call her? Track her? Check up on her?
    She said ‘no’, they didn’t bother her at all. “Which treatment do you like better?” I asked. She said she liked being left alone.
    I told her to get out, don’t tell anyone. Just send a certified return receipt letter and resign, no details. (I learned that here on TWW.) I told her that if the pastors/elders bothered her, or ordered anyone else to bother her, to call police and have them handle it, file a police report(s), and also to contact an attorney to send the GBFSV pastors/elders a cease and desist letter.

    Velour I would be interested in reading your blog can you put up a link?

  176. Velour wrote:

    shauna wrote:
    Velour I would be interested in reading your blog can you put up a link?
    Hi Shauna,
    Here is the link. It is more a historical blog of what has gone on at GBFSV. I wanted to warn other people that were looking for information.
    https://wordpress.com/post/gbfsvchurchabuse.org/4
    I also reblog many TWW articles on my website to help others.

    Thanks, I’m interested in reading your full story. I have thought many times to do one myself. Our former pastor/church is a sister church to yours and ultimately Grace Community Church in California. He models everything exactly the way J.M. runs his Gulag.

  177. Velour I sent you an email. I had a question about your blog but wanted you to know right away you have an email from me. I didn’t want to my questions here and get off topic so I thought an email would be better.

  178. My PC security software is smarter than I thought. Just now I tried to access The Gospel Project and got the following warning:

    Dangerous Website Blocked
    You attempted to access:
    http://gospelproject.com/
    This is a known dangerous website. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this site.

    Now if they could just tweak the algorithms to block other New Calvinist sites.

  179. Velour wrote:

    The very men at that church, by the way, who defend them would no doubt be fired from their own tech company jobs for ratifying an employee with a fake diploma/degree. I really don’t understand why a church leader gets an academic pass that unbelievers wouldn’t tolerate in the business world.

    The threat of Eternal Hell can be quite a motivator.
    Or failing that, “going away from under God’s Protection”, i.e. Pastor puts a Hex on you.

  180. shauna wrote:

    Velour I sent you an email. I had a question about your blog but wanted you to know right away you have an email from me. I didn’t want to my questions here and get off topic so I thought an email would be better.

    Thanks, Shauna. I answered you.

  181. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    The very men at that church, by the way, who defend them would no doubt be fired from their own tech company jobs for ratifying an employee with a fake diploma/degree. I really don’t understand why a church leader gets an academic pass that unbelievers wouldn’t tolerate in the business world.
    The threat of Eternal Hell can be quite a motivator.
    Or failing that, “going away from under God’s Protection”, i.e. Pastor puts a Hex on you.

    I guess so, H.U.G.

    And my ex-Bible study leader who has a degree from the University of Chicago and should know better about fake degrees, desperately wanted to be an elder at my ex-gulag. So he did everything to comply with that. He was hurt that he wasn’t asked to be an elder, and was in fact rejected at his last church.

    So he got his elder position appointment…and sold his soul in my opinion to get it.

  182. Ken F wrote:

    My PC security software is smarter than I thought. Just now I tried to access The Gospel Project and got the following warning:
    Dangerous Website Blocked
    You attempted to access:
    http://gospelproject.com/
    This is a known dangerous website. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this site.
    Now if they could just tweak the algorithms to block other New Calvinist sites.

    Goodhousekeeping seal of approval from the Holy Spirit?

  183. okrapod wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    And yet Matthew 25: 31-46 strongly suggests (putting it mildly) that our salvation actually hinges on helping the needy. How do they get around that? It’s a pretty significant passage.

    That discussion would get into grace/faith/works and as you probably know this ‘works’ issue is a primary difference between various christian religious traditions. This is not the place to start down that road, but if you google and then follow the trail there is enough information out there to last most of a lifetime.

    But this issue (faith/works) and its ramifications is close to if not the core issue of difference between catholics and evangelicals.

    Yes, I know all that — after all, I live in the Bible Belt — but it doesn’t answer the question. How do you get around Matthew 25: 31-46? It can’t simply be dismissed as a shopworn debate. It. Is. In. The. Bible. In fact, it is a lengthy and prominent Biblical passage. It *demands* a response. How does one get around it?

  184. Christiane wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    And yet Matthew 25: 31-46 strongly suggests (putting it mildly) that our salvation actually hinges on helping the needy. How do they get around that? It’s a pretty significant passage.

    The Church asks that we see in those who are suffering the image of Our Lord, which calls us to help them for HIS sake especially. I don’t think this is an evangelical teaching, but I believe that the compassion and empathy evangelical people have for the suffering of others is motivated by the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.

    The Lutheran martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
    ‘ The Incarnate Lord makes His followers the brothers and sisters of all humanity. The “philanthropy” of God (Titus 3:4) revealed in the Incarnation is the ground of Christian love towrd all on earth that bear the name of human. The form of Christ Incarnate makes the Church into the Body of Christ. All the sorrows of humanity falls upon that form …”

    I am thinking that there is more to the compassion evangelical people have for the suffering of others than just ‘it’s the right thing to do’ …. I’m thinking that they are also being moved by grace to help suffering people because of their connection to them through Christ Himself. If this is true, then they are not so far from other Christian people in the nature of their kindness.

    Christiane, I am not sure what you are getting at here. I thought we were talking specifically about the New Calvinists, not about evangelicals in general. My own late Baptist uncle was known as “Mr. Habitat for Humanity” locally. He also spent countless hours at the soup kitchen and homeless shelter. But last time I checked, he was not a New Calvinist.

    In the immortal words of the Animals, “Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.” It gets old after awhile.

  185. A little off topic here, but thought I’d ask. I have a friend who just moved to Charleston, SC and is looking for a church. She found one she likes, but it is very big and hard to connect. If anyone knows of a good one, please share. Thanks!

  186. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    How do you get around Matthew 25: 31-46? It can’t simply be dismissed as a shopworn debate. It. Is. In. The. Bible. In fact, it is a lengthy and prominent Biblical passage. It *demands* a response. How does one get around it?

    Brad Jersak is an author/teacher I recently came across. He was Calvinist but is now Eastern Orthodox. This article does not address Matthew 25, but it raises some very good questions that get to the heart of your question: http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2011/05/bradj-jersak-who-you-callin-a-universalist.html.

  187. Ken F wrote:

    My PC security software is smarter than I thought. Just now I tried to access The Gospel Project and got the following warning:
    Dangerous Website Blocked
    You attempted to access:
    http://gospelproject.com/
    This is a known dangerous website. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this site.
    Now if they could just tweak the algorithms to block other New Calvinist sites.

    That’s brilliant!

  188. Former CLC’er wrote:

    A little off topic here, but thought I’d ask. I have a friend who just moved to Charleston, SC and is looking for a church. She found one she likes, but it is very big and hard to connect. If anyone knows of a good one, please share. Thanks!

    I will be praying for your friend.

  189. Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    @ Tina:
    In the 1980’s I experienced a campus ministry group (it was not, per say, IFB) that taught the best thing you can do with your life is “go on staff’ with them since everything else will burn, except for soles you save.. and we wonder why evangelicalism/fundamentalism is so lacking in intellectual depth?

    Jeffrey, that ALMOST sounds like the group I was involved with in the ’80’s. I was part of an offshoot of the Churches of Christ.

  190. Shauna

    I just read the history on Ken Ramey and thought I’d share a little story with you. Several years ago this kid came to our church who’s dad had fighting roosters. His dad went to the workplace of the church softball coach after he pushed the sixteen year old at a game. His dad wasn’t even a Christian, but the coach crawled under his desk and repented as the 6’3″ 250 lb framing contractor confronted him with his sins. The music minister, of all people, cornered the young man several days later without anyone else present to scold the young man about what happened on the field. As much as I would have liked to handle the situation like the kid’s dad, I went in to talk to the pastor with an open mind as I had been advised. I never knew a simple question about what happened could generate such a complicated and defensive answer. I knew the kid had some growing up to do, but it seemed like all the adults involved did as well. A few short years later the young twenty-something man secured the support of the most respected representative in the state house in his own bid for the state house. He’s now a successful attorney and his wife is a judge.

    I realize your situation is different, but those men will not have victory over you and your son. I’ll be praying. Also, there’s a funny new Google review about the church.

  191. Velour wrote:

    many of these pastors don’t write their own sermons but use some kind of subscription service and buy their sermons.

    Well, they are all getting it from the same source.

  192. The solution to this problem is to stop looking for one person, like Moses, to lead you. That’s not a New Testament model and it will do little other than set up unbiblical hierarchies and attract a high percentage of sociopaths to lead you.

  193. ishy wrote:

    They seem to share the idolization of the 50’s with the Calvinistas.

    Back to the good ol’ days–the days where my mom said it was “open season” on women in the workplace, when black people had to drink from different fountains, when a high percentage of dads stopped by the bar for a few stiff shots before they finally found their way home a few hours later, when hypocrisy ran high (the musical Grease was essentially a wry take on the hypocrisy of the 50s). Had a pastor, Pastor Ed, the one who had a hard streak of sadism and whom I believe to be an NPD, always talked about how the world went to Hades about the time the Beatles came along–of course, that same year, the Civil Rights Act also came along. Had enough of that attitude for a lifetime.

  194. Law Prof wrote:

    always talked about how the world went to Hades about the time the Beatles came along–of course, that same year, the Civil Rights Act also came along. Had enough of that attitude for a lifetime.

    Ditto.

    The good ole days were troubling in many ways. Just because people didn’t talk about the bad things didn’t mean they didn’t occur.

  195. Law Prof wrote:

    Back to the good ol’ days–the days where my mom said it was “open season” on women in the workplace, when black people had to drink from different fountains, when a high percentage of dads stopped by the bar for a few stiff shots before they finally found their way home a few hours later, when hypocrisy ran high (the musical Grease was essentially a wry take on the hypocrisy of the 50s). Had a pastor, Pastor Ed, the one who had a hard streak of sadism and whom I believe to be an NPD, always talked about how the world went to Hades about the time the Beatles came along–of course, that same year, the Civil Rights Act also came along. Had enough of that attitude for a lifetime.

    LP

    Growing up, I always questioned some aspects of the “Good ole day” narrative because I saw that life was getting easier for people in general and society opportunities were opening up to large groups of people that weren’t included in the past. I remember how excited I was when my grandmother got her first indoor toilet in about 1977 and being at her house while my parents were at work during summer got much easier. I remember when my dad’s friend brought the first black kid to our church on the church bus. When I married a black woman myself and visited my old church, she was embraced ; sometimes in ways that might seem a little odd to people who don’t know or remember what it was like then. (One older lady met my wife and commented on how she was a little darker than the rest of us, but a real catch”). I’ve become even more sensitive to weaknesses in the “good ole days” narrative as I understand how her achievements and our relationship would not have been possible in those days.

    One aspect of my personal “Good ole days” narrative concerns the fellowship of believers. The triumph of general goodness in other areas and positive institutional changes make it seem illogical to maintain a positive view of the fellowship then relative to now. I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the actual “body” has always been subset of the institution and were usually ignored by the institution and allowed to do the real work of the church. The institution has persecuted the body at times, but this was generally a purposeful and, often open, act. Now, it seems that the institution is dividing the body in a somewhat subversive manner that seems like a good way to get things done. The leaders and many members of the real body don’t see the problem because the institution seems to be getting better in many ways. Does my incoherent rambling make any sense? I was also wondering if pastor Ed is the same one with billboards on I-10.

  196. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Yes, I know all that — after all, I live in the Bible Belt — but it doesn’t answer the question. How do you get around Matthew 25: 31-46? It can’t simply be dismissed as a shopworn debate. It. Is. In. The. Bible. In fact, it is a lengthy and prominent Biblical passage. It *demands* a response. How does one get around it?

    Go google ‘works salvation’ and there are a plethora of sites which will explain it, some from the Catholic viewpoint and some from the evangelical viewpoint. I am neither a Catholic nor an evangelical nor a Calvinist. So if you want to hear it explained in the religious terminology and dialect and suppositions of Catholic and Calvinist and non-Calvinist evangelical then you will have to take the time and go read what each has to say and compare them and see what you own conclusions are as to how people come to the conclusions that they do on this issue.

    In my original comment as to why people would emphasize go/preach/teach/baptize more than clothe/feed/visit is that I think that they are prioritizing based on their understanding of scripture. After you have read further you may come to other conclusions about what people’s motives are. Let us know what you conclude as to the issue of motives-why people do what they do.

    But Christiane is spot on as to protestant/evangelical motivations, at least I think so.

  197. Ken F wrote:

    http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2011/05/bradj-jersak-who-you-callin-a-universalist.html.

    KEN, I loved your link. It does rather knock the smugness hopefully out of a lot of judgmental folks who have more ‘gnostic’ leanings about the fate of our kind than hope in the great saving mystery of Our Lord’s Paschal Event.

    I also find great meaning in the work of the Cappodocian Fathers and in the Orthodox emphasis on the Incarnation as a part of Christ’s salvific work. 🙂

    I can say ‘I know that Christ saves, but I don’t know everything about how He will do it’

    As a Catholic, I can earnestly pray with the Orthodox:
    “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.”

    And as a Catholic, I can pray with all Christian people:
    ‘Jesus Christ, I trust in You’

    Thank you for that link. We’ve all had ‘glimpses’ into the mystery of Christ, through His great mercy to us in our own lives in times of need. We all know something of that great mystery through our experiences. But our ‘knowing’ is not of ALL of the mystery, because that is not something to which we are given ‘knowledge’ as claimed by the Gnostics of old. Your link may help some evangelical/fundamentalist people reconsider their judgmental ways concerning ‘the lost’ and help them to understand that Our Lord’s Paschal Mystery may embrace many that they have written ‘off’ as ‘the lost’. They need to trust Him more, I think. It will make them more peaceful and being ‘peace-bearing’, they will become better witnesses to Him in this world, yes.

  198. Christiane wrote:

    Jack wrote:
    Velour wrote:
    Basically that God’s Elect will be given horses, probably with sashes with their names on them
    So the end times will be a cross between a beauty pageant and “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”.
    Who knew neocalvinist theology was so whimsical?

    I knew these YRR were young, but ……

    As the resident Brony, it’s not a matter of “young”. MLP:FIM has been demonstrating all-ages appeal since it premiered over six years ago.

    Though adult Bronies are often the target of whispering campaigns of “Pedophile…”; that might be an angle to take on the YRRs (and coddling pedos IS getting to be the Eleventh Commandment in those churches profiled here and on Spiritual Sounding Board, so there’s actually much better precedent).

    And to all those Biblical Comps out there:
    The ponies’ Magical Land of Equestria is ruled by two immortal Sisters (Valar in all but title).

  199. Law Prof wrote:

    Had a pastor, Pastor Ed, the one who had a hard streak of sadism and whom I believe to be an NPD, always talked about how the world went to Hades about the time the Beatles came along–of course, that same year, the Civil Rights Act also came along.

    I’m just old enough to remember the tail end of the Fifties and like all times, it was a mixed bag.

    Guys like Pastor Ed don’t even look back to the REAL 1950s.
    They worship a MYTHICAL Nifty Fifties according to Ozzie, Harriet, and Donna Reed.

    (Like those FLDS plural wives in their “Godly dresses”. Those are NOT the original 19th Century Prairie Dresses (AKA “sack dresses”) but the more curvy 1950s Westerns costume department adaptations.)

  200. Lea wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:

    The good ole days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
    — Charles Dickens, prologue to A Tale of Two Cities

  201. scott hendrixson wrote:

    I was also wondering if pastor Ed is the same one with billboards on I-10.

    Pastor Ed’s a small timer, at its peak his church had about 70, then as he started getting more strange and talking about the Illuminati it whittled down to 40, then my family left after he started getting abusive to us and that left him with about 30 in the aluminum building in which he pastored a church. That was four years ago. He could no more afford to put up a billboard than he could sprout wings and fly. But I know there are Pastor Eds out there who do manage to keep their abusive malignantly narcissistic sides a little better under wraps and who have a little talent for persuasion and speaking who can muster up enough souls in the pews to afford billboards.

  202. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Christiane, it’s called a lack of compassion. Money and effort should be invested elsewhere as far as the New Calvinists are concerned.
    Like lining the pockets of the Predestined Elect.
    “SEE HOW GOD PROVIDES FOR HIS ELECT?”

    Or, it could very well be a Scrooge mindset. “If they would rather die, they had better do it and decrease the surplus population.”

  203. GSD wrote:

    Max wrote:
    Speaking of T4G, you must check out the new “Four Friends, One Gospel” mug shot of the Fab Four at http://t4g.org/.
    Wow, that’s a weird website. I’m struck at how the meeting and speakers are presented as mainstream evangelicalism, but I find nothing there that I respect or connect with. Just suspicion and concern for the attendees. And for the gospel they present, whatever that is.
    If you click on the “Affirmations and Denials” link, you get an interesting page. Starting with the statement in bold: “We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause — to stand together for the Gospel.” No sisters. Girls don’t count. I wonder if any women are brave enough to attend in Louisville.
    http://t4g.org/about/affirmations-and-denials/

    Before the New Calvinists, there was my former Christian cult. The leader once said that the fellowship is comprised of the “brothers.” The sisters were to be “devoted to Jesus and the brothers.” How that was understood is the sisters were meant to be in the background supporting the brothers in whatever way they were needed. How that played out was the sisters made the sandwiches, cleaned out the machines (we had a carpet cleaning business), worked in the office and nursery.

  204. Max wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    The Reformed would have a Covenantal Amillennial stroke if anyone tried to link them to MacArthur.
    But they still pose for selfies with him at T4G conferences. This whole cast of characters are weird.

    You are right, Max. I saw a selfie with J.D. Hall and MacArthur from The Shepherd’s Conference. They loves them some good ole MacArthur praise.

  205. yentl wrote:

    The playbook is Revitalization by Andy Davis. How to take over a church with assets and a congregational government, vote out the old people. Steal their building.
    Good thing Southern Baptists have documents that say if you no longer adhere to Southern Baptist doctrine, and they lent you money for the building, the assets are returned to the Southern Baptist Convention.
    If you really want to revitalize, there is also Biblical Church Revitalization.
    Good IX Marks and “revitalization”. The playbook is real.

    “Revitalize: Why We Must Reclaim Dying Churches-and How”
    https://www.9marks.org/journal/revitalize-why-we-must-reclaim-dying-churches-and-how/

  206. NJ wrote:

    Dee said:
    “The Calvinistas have been writing article[s] on how to obfuscate the fact that they are Calvinists.”
    yentl said:
    “The playbook is Revitalization by Andy Davis. How to take over a church with assets and a congregational government, vote out the old people. Steal their building.”
    I am curious to see some of these sources. Do you have any links?

    NJ, the link I posted above has many articles about this phenomenon.

  207. Boston Lady wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Just crass and low-class
    Velour, I still get chills just thinking of those perverts. “Pastors” and “elders” and “counselors” they called themselves, hitting on us women and the female counselor (some “certified” gal with a shady past) bewitching the guys, giving kinky and unChristian worldly advice for sexual problems, openly. The advice she gave my friend drove her away and I followed suit. Nothing was off limits, no topic; it was like a pornography shop at times. Yes, I did leave; you know why…but there was no shame. Cult, Velour. You and I know that. But many faces turned red when I told the wives what the husbands had been up to; the “godly-appointed” elders… the sick lot.

    This sounds just like the guy (and commentators) who writes at the Biblical Gender Roles blog. They have No Shame. It’s Christian pornography and they are proud of their perverse views.

  208. linda wrote:

    During Calvinista takeovers the senior pastor or teaching elder or guru of the month will see himself as the “vision caster.”

    Citizen Robespierre, Chairman Mao, and Comrade Pol Pot were also “vision casters”.
    With the power to force their “vision” on entire countries.

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