Gullible Christians Who Enable Abusers: Tom White and the Former Wives of Iain Campbell and Saeed Abedini

If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. Saint Teresa of Avila link

https://www.facebook.com/CureJoyInc/videos/586178821575396/?pnref=story
 

Important Message to Anonymous Emailer: I have misplaced your return email address. You are a brave women and I want to support you in any way I can. Could you please resend the email? This post should help you to know whom I am referring to. I am so sorry.


How I learned that pastors and celebrity can sin as much as anyone else and sometimes worse than anyone else.

I have spoken on numerous occasions about what happened when the Deebs, as well as other friends, confronted a former church about a mishandled pedophile situation. While that pedophile is in jail, the church denied that they had any responsibility to report the early warning signs of sexualized behavior. Then, when my husband and I attempted to join an Anglican church in the area, we were not allowed to join until we were reconciled to our former *leaders.* Since they would not admit to any wrongdoing, such reconciliation was impossible.

I am going to say something that might sound odd. We are glad that, if this was going to happen, that it happened to us. For the first time in my life, I began to see the underbelly of evangelicalism. Not only that but I began to see the the real gospel is lived out when sinners repent of their sin to those they harm. Sadly, none of the pastors in this scenario did that even though they were told to do so by the church leadership. And that leadership didn't follow up. 

I walked away from that incident with my eyes wide open and vowed never to assume that anyone, even celebrity gospel™ leaders, was exempt when it comes to serious sin. I decided that I have no reason to believe the story of an admired pastor over the new convert to the faith. In fact, I have no reason to believe the oft quoted Christian leader over a non-Christian. We have all sinned and fallen short and that means looking at situations with open hearts. That gives me more freedom to listen to the stories of the "little guys" who are often mistreated and sidelined because they are not famous, didn't go to seminary, write a book play basketball with CJ Mahaney or give a conference.

When I read post after post about how to do *Christian obedience* from the usual suspects, I often find myself thinking "I wonder what you haven't obeyed and what you are covering up."

Touch not the Lord's anointed is not Biblical

We get lectured by the authority driven crowd, found in all sorts of churches, including Calvinista types, that we need to submit to our pastor leaders because the Bible tells us so. Frankly, I have no problem submitting to the pastors when they do things that are Scriptural like tell us where to put the coffee pots, but I will not submit to any pastor who lies, abuses the people in the church, has affairs, etc. If my pastor sins in any way that affects the members, etc. I will obey God first. In many instances this means to believe and advocate for the person who has been kicked around and abused while many in the church refuse to believe that their leaders can behave shamefully.

I am not saying that pastors are always more sinful than their church members. I am saying that they can be and anyone who takes exception to that needs to reread the Bible.

I have learned that I am not always a good judge of character and neither are lots of people. So, folks, get over it.

Sinners sin and then conceal their sin. Pedophiles, for example, are charming and suck people into their orbit. Look at all of the reports of pedophiles in the news. Each and everyone of these perverts have people who cannot not believe that these nice people could do anything like that. So, they blame the victims, even 5 year old victims.

Why? Many people refuse to admit that the ministry leaders they admired, followed, gave money to, bought tapes from, read all their books, went to the conferences, etc. could be serious sinners. They cannot cope with the thought they made an error in judgment because "he was the most awesome leader."

Instead, in order to preserve their ego, they make up the stupid excuses about how "Joe couldn't have done that. It's a set up." When Christians do this, victims are re-abused by failing to receive the care they need to heal from being mistreated. 

Do what I do. Admit you were wrong and accept the possibility that your admired leader didn't deserve your devotion. It gives you freedom to look at situations through the eyes of Christ who cared for the Samaritan and had little use for many of the celebrity Pharisees of the day.

Here are some examples of artless Christianswho have hurt truly abused individuals.

Tom White The Voice of the Martyr's very own martyr!

Most of our readers have heard of Voice of the Martyrs. Dee has been aware of this organization since she was a new Christian and has supported their ministry in the past. I loved the writings of Richard Wurmbrand.

Tom White, the current head of VOM, committed suicide in 2012 when he was accused of molesting a 10 year old girl. We got lots of comments from people defending Tom White. Here is an example of an incredible ability of fans to invent incredible excuses for their chosen superstar. Tom White committed suicide, even thought he was innocent, to protect the VOM ministry!

Sadly, as time has gone on, more and more questions are being raised about the activities of Tom White and VOM. White allegedly would take long tripe abroad and no one would know where he was. The excuse, of course, is that he was ministering in closed countries and was undercover… What a great position for someone who may have had a predilection for the company of children.  

This man believed he *knew* Tom. He didn't. I wonder if he has read the follow-up to the stories of Tom White. One thing is for certain, I rarely ever hear back from anyone who defends the indefensible as more facts come to light.

Can you imagine the 10 year old victim reading some of the comment on the following posts?

Why TWW stands with Anne Campbell: the victimized, widowed wife of Ian Campbell

As many of you know, the recent suicide of Iain Campbell in Scotland was a real surprise to the Calvinist crowd. Campbell was an internationally admired Calvinist theologian who chose to stay on his island in Scotland to be a local pastor. Sadly, his suicide allegedly coincided with the discovery, by his dear wife, of the evidence of multiple affairs. His own presbytery has since declared that the accusations were credible.

However, guess who some of his followers decided to blame? That's right-his long-suffering, brave wife! She was the one who discovered his activities. She is the one who confronted him. So she is the one to blame, right? 

We received a number of emails refusing to believe what happened. We were accused of jumping the gun. Here is one person by the name of Peter who was incensed that we believed that Campbell was a clergy abuser from the start.

Why one earth would Anne Campbell risk her own family's peace by bringing the claims forward. Could it be that she was the true spiritual leader in that home and believed that keeping this quiet would be hypocritical?  In other words, she is a woman of action unlike her former husband who lectured about the wrongs of hypocrisy while living a hypocritical life.

There is one point that above commenter made that might have some validity to it. It is a small island and so is their Calvinist presbytery. I wonder if some folks knew about Campbell's extracurricular activities and conspired to cover it up and keep it from Anne since Iain was such a magnificent theologian? I really, really wonder…It's happened before…

I received denials that anyone was *blaming* her. However, I also received some some emails from people who are involved with the situation stating that Anne, indeed, was being blamed for this mess. That is despicable. She is a brave woman who is bringing truth to this matter and TWW stands firmly behind her. If we hear of any sort of poor treatment, we will be shouting quite loudly from the States and we will name names. We pray for her regularly and would love to meet her one day. She is a faithful hero!

Saeed Abedini abuse of his wife was a lie made up by the Iranians!

You can read the saga of Saeed Abedini who was being held in an Iranian prison due to his Christian beliefs. I remembered to pray for Saeed every Wednesday and would tweet out reminders to others to do so. Then Naghmeh, his wife and leader of the Free Saeed Abedini movement, took a deep breath and informed the world that Saeed had been abusing her for years.

This dear, brave woman did something that was so hard to do. You can be sure that she knew she would be subject to ridicule and accusations of lying for revealing the truth of the abusive character of Saeed. Sadly, many in the Christian community responded as predicted. They blamed her and said she was lying. The question is "Why would she lie in the middle of this mess?" It was obvious that she had reached the end of her rope.

Anyone with a modicum of intelligence who understands that anyone can be a sinner, including a religious prisoner, would be prone to believe her story. Certainly, abuse advocates quickly rose to her defense, seeing the obvious truthfulness in her statements.

However, the Saeed advocates did not believe their boy could do any wrong. First, there was the "how could he abuse her while he was in prison" theory.

Poor Saeed-he was obviously the one who should be believed because he was in jail for Jesus.

And, of course, TWW always believes the men are abuserds.

Then one man decided that Naghmeh was told to say Saeed abused her so the Iranians could have an excuse to hold him longer in jail. It was all an Iranian plot! I bet the plot originated in Area 51. I will post this comment once I find it.

It is now very well known that Saeed did abuse Naghmeh, including pleading guilty to domestic violence in 2007. Thank God she was able to obtain a divorce from him so that she  and her children can live in some semblance of peace. Sadly, not one of the many men who defended Saeed has come back to try to figure out how they could be so wrong. Their words towards Naghmeh are proof positive that women are not safe in many evangelical churches when they must discuss how they are being abused.

Thankfully, many abuse advocates came out in support of Naghmeh from the start. I only wish that some church leaders had done so. They are strangely silent, even after the proof has been presented. 

The following song, which I post a lot, is dedicated to Anne Campbell, Naghmeh Panahi (her new name) and the victims of Tom White.We stand with all of you and will help you in any way we can.

Comments

Gullible Christians Who Enable Abusers: Tom White and the Former Wives of Iain Campbell and Saeed Abedini — 171 Comments

  1. I don’t know of any physical or sexual abuse coming from my former church, but I can tell you that there was plenty of spiritual abuse coming from the pulpit on Sunday, and it’s seemingly only gotten worse since I left. Screaming, talking down to the congregation like they’re small children, sarcastic remarks, berating people for not being involved in every church activity, and barking orders at the pew sitters to clap and yell “Amen” upon demand – it’s all in a typical Sunday at this place.

    And yet I’m amazed at how many people turn a blind eye to this “pastor” verbally assaulting his congregation every week. I’ve debated posting a review on Yelp or Facebook since I know his loyal sycophants will immediately come to his defense and attack my character. But they’ve posted all 5-star reviews and so far there’s nothing to tip people off about what lurks behind the church’s shiny veneer. Wondering if I should bite the bullet and post a review, even though it’s been over eight months since I left the place.

  2. Humility is hard. To admit that we misjudged a leader and were played isn’t fun. But humility is the path God calls His followers to take. And yes, Christian leaders can be such manipulators.

  3. I’ve detected the following pattern:
    After wrongdoing is exposed the mantra is stop making “premature accusations”, “you don’t have all the facts”.
    After guilt is proven it transitions to stop “beating a dead horse”.
    Within a few months the perpetrator is on the comeback trail and critical comments display “a lack of forgiveness”.

  4. Thersites wrote:

    I’ve detected the following pattern:
    After wrongdoing is exposed the mantra is stop making “premature accusations”, “you don’t have all the facts”.
    After guilt is proven it transitions to stop “beating a dead horse”.
    Within a few months the perpetrator is on the comeback trail and critical comments display “a lack of forgiveness”.

    Nailed it.

  5. AnonInNC wrote:

    how many people turn a blind eye to this “pastor”

    Co-dependency of pulpit and pew. Codependency enables another person’s dysfunction.

    And thanks, Dee/TWW, for this highly important post. Once again, stating it like it is.

    Recently we saw “The Women’s Balcony”, an Israeli film about a group of women standing up to gender politics in their neighborhood synagogue. Instead of “going along with” the dysfunction, they stood up against a “celebrity” rabbi. Excellent film.

  6. GMFS.

    Slightly off-topic: the River Forth is pretty full this morning – just seen it from the railway bridge (I’m on the train into Edinburgh the noo). There’s been quite a bit of rain upstream overnight, evidently. Today’s train is one of the newer Class 170 diesel multiple units rather than the older Class 158’s, which means the wi-fi works, which means I can post on TWW. Hurrah. (The 170’s have more horsepower per car, but the 158’s are lighter. The net result is that the 158’s accelerate slightly better from standstill, but top out at 90mph, whereas the 170’s can do 100. IHTIH.)

  7. P.S.
    It’s just occurred to me that I’m sitting on the right side of the train to maybe get a proper sight of the daily goods train that we pass going in the opposite direction generally on the viaduct near Ratho. I’ve never yet managed to spot what class of loco pulls that – it’s generally up to speed where it passes us and you only get a very brief glimpse. I think it’s a class 70, but I’ve never been able to be sure about that.

  8. Thanks for the link to my story on ThouArtTheMan. Shortly after my story was published, I had lunch with my pastor, who has contacts within the White family and told me something he never shared before. So I report here again what I added in the comment section there. Before Tom killed himself here, he was caught red-handed molesting a girl in South America. The family had to know and likely only told my pastor after the suicide. So did the devilish VOM board and leaders. The official VOM statement by Jim Dau claiming to be surprised by the allegations after the suicide is simply bloody rubbish! No wonder that one of the men that Tom help set in a position of power overseas is also a child-molester.
    Tom fooled Wurmbrand and created a “ministry” to support child-molesters like himself. This is how evil men think and what they do with money and power. We truly are sheep waiting to be fleeced by charming liars. People keep shoving boat-loads of money their way. When will Christians wake up? What a devilish scheme, charity money redirected so that innocents can be raped overseas. Can it get much more sick then this?

  9. AnonInNC wrote:

    I’ve debated posting a review on Yelp or Facebook since I know his loyal sycophants will immediately come to his defense and attack my character. But they’ve posted all 5-star reviews and so far there’s nothing to tip people off about what lurks behind the church’s shiny veneer. Wondering if I should bite the bullet and post a review, even though it’s been over eight months since I left the place.

    I sincerely believe that some of the most outrageous lies you will ever read are reviews of churches. There’s almost never any truth in them, so many loyal followers simply are not in love with the truth. Don’t know what it is that inspires people to obfuscate and lie in the name of God, but one place I know such inspiration does not come from is God Himself.

  10. Thersites wrote:

    I’ve detected the following pattern:
    After wrongdoing is exposed the mantra is stop making “premature accusations”, “you don’t have all the facts”.
    After guilt is proven it transitions to stop “beating a dead horse”.
    Within a few months the perpetrator is on the comeback trail and critical comments display “a lack of forgiveness”.

    Exactly. That’s it. You did forget, however, “So have YOU no sin yourself? Who are YOU to judge? You hypocrite!”

  11. JYJames wrote:

    AnonInNC wrote:
    how many people turn a blind eye to this “pastor”
    Co-dependency of pulpit and pew. Codependency enables another person’s dysfunction.

    From the Pew: “I want someone to admire, to adore, to think for me, to be my exalted leader, to be my god right here and now, right up there under the spotlight, on that elevated stage. Why? Because I am scared and insecure.”

    From the pulpit: “I want someone to admire and adore me, to believe everything I say, to be my submissive follower, to look to me for the word of God right here and now, to give me a spotlight and an elevated stage. Why? Because I am scared and insecure.”

  12. I will admit now that I was kinda doubtful of the Bill Cosby allegations. I kept silent on it, and didn’t share that with anyone, but I had doubts.

    I was wrong.

    Even though there was a mistrial, I became certain he was guilty because his rep started talking about town halls right after the trial. I’ll let you read the rep’s words:

    “To talk to young people. Because this is bigger than Bill Cosby. This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today. And they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn’t be doing. And it also affects, you know, married men [laughs].”-Andrew Wyatt

    His reps have now backtracked and say that’s not what the town halls will be about, probably because Wyatt let way too much slip. But no one who is remorseful, who believes sexual assaults are horrible, intentional acts, would even consider such an idea, and it’s clear they considered it.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/23/534090767/bill-cosby-is-planning-town-halls-about-sexual-assault-and-the-law-spokesman-say

  13. @ ishy:
    Bill Cosby lives up in western Massachusetts on the Mohawk Trail in a town near my cousins called Shelburne Falls. There is a lovely place in that old town called ‘The Bridge of Flowers’ where there used to be a restaurant at one end called the Copper Angel. If you sat down on a bench by that restaurant, there was a plaque put there mentioning Cosby as a contributor to the town in memory of his son, Ennis. Ennis was a teacher who was killed (murdered) and it was said that Cosby changed after this happened. No excuses, of course. But that is the story. People are deeply affected by loss and grief and sometimes they act out in response in ways that are destructive. I always wondered if this was a part of Cosby’s problem. He was always well thought of in the community and surrounding areas up off of the Deerfield river.

    ?

  14. Pingback: Theology-related quote for the day | Civil Commotion

  15. Divorce Minister wrote:

    Humility is hard. To admit that we misjudged a leader and were played isn’t fun.

    But it is absolutely essential!

    At some point, can we talk about Jerry’s comment ‘women abuse too’? It’s fascinating to me that in a discussion about a specific person, and a specific issue, this keeps coming up. Does that make it better? Sheesh.

  16. Mr. Jesperson wrote:

    Tom fooled Wurmbrand and created a “ministry” to support child-molesters like himself.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist, but there have been ‘rings’ of this sort of thing discovered before. I wonder how common this quid pro quo really is?

    I keep seeing new people come to JA’s site to discuss their husbands who have been accused/convicted/caught in the act. It is terrifying to think about how many might really be out there.

  17. ishy wrote:

    I will admit now that I was kinda doubtful of the Bill Cosby allegations.

    There was a similarity in the accounts, so i did not doubt him being sleezy, but I did wonder about the ‘i went to his hotel room, took an unmarked pill and was shocked it was drugs’ comments. I don’t know how you could be shocked. Maybe that’s victim blaming, and I don’t really mean it to be, I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t be suspicious.

    That quote from his lawyer(?) though? What on earth is this tour meant to accomplish? Because it’s not fixing his image.

  18. Deebs, have you heard any follow up on Saeed since he posted that bizarre rant about Franklin Graham on his Facebook page?

  19. Christiane wrote:

    Ennis was a teacher who was killed (murdered) and it was said that Cosby changed after this happened. No excuses, of course. But that is the story. People are deeply affected by loss and grief and sometimes they act out in response in ways that are destructive. I always wondered if this was a part of Cosby’s problem. He was always well thought of in the community and surrounding areas up off of the Deerfield river.

    Ennis died 20 years ago. Accusations against Bill Cosby go back 50 years. I don’t think Ennis’ death was part of the problem.

  20. Then, when my husband and I attempted to join an Anglican church in the area, we were not allowed to join until we were reconciled to our former *leaders.* Since they would not admit to any wrongdoing, such reconciliation was impossible.

    I have probably written it before, but at that same church in Raleigh, my wife and I were called in for “counseling” (stage 1 or 2 of discipline) when she confronted a friend of ours about the time he was spending with a woman not his wife. The ‘pastor’ of counseling (not R Mills, btw) admitted that his marriage had been saved, but then proceeded to work with us concerning undefined issues – they also had the remarkable ability to use tragic circumstances in our past as an excuse to bring us in. We walked away from the session feeling that we had been the ones in the wrong but we have not set foot in that church since.

  21. Burwell wrote:

    admitted that his marriage had been saved

    Our friend’s marriage, not the pastor’s. His might have been saved as well but they were long time members and had played the game effectively enough that he was now on staff.

  22. Burwell wrote:

    Then, when my husband and I attempted to join an Anglican church in the area, we were not allowed to join until we were reconciled to our former *leaders.* Since they would not admit to any wrongdoing, such reconciliation was impossible.

    I have probably written it before, but at that same church in Raleigh, my wife and I were called in for “counseling” (stage 1 or 2 of discipline) when she confronted a friend of ours about the time he was spending with a woman not his wife. The ‘pastor’ of counseling (not R Mills, btw) admitted that his marriage had been saved, but then proceeded to work with us concerning undefined issues – they also had the remarkable ability to use tragic circumstances in our past as an excuse to bring us in. We walked away from the session feeling that we had been the ones in the wrong but we have not set foot in that church since.

    this sounds like a rogue ‘Anglican’ Church …. is it known what was the central authority of this Church (diocese)

  23. @ Burwell:
    Stage 1 or 2 of discipline?? Were the stages clearly defined, like at work where we have reprimands to suspension to firing?

    I would ask why on earth they would be bothered by what your wife did (if you know), because that’s just ridiculous obviously, but I’m guessing it was a control freak thing? Or a comp thing?

  24. @ Christiane:
    If this is a ‘rogue’ Church OR a ‘rogue’ Diocese, I would be very cautious about accepting any offered credentials. These types of organizations are popping up and are bogus. I think the example warrants some additional investigation into ‘who are these folks?’

    The public does need to be self-protective in this strange age of groups that pop up and then offer to set up church ‘plants’ for money. I hope this diocese is not one of that ilk.

  25. Lea wrote:

    Stage 1 or 2 of discipline?? Were the stages clearly defined, like at work where we have reprimands to suspension to firing?

    Great question – NO, they were not clearly defined. I applied the stages in hindsight.

  26. Why? Many people refuse to admit that the ministry leaders they admired, followed, gave money to, bought tapes from, read all their books, went to the conferences, etc. could be serious sinners. They cannot cope with the thought they made an error in judgment because “he was the most awesome leader.”

    This is called “Sunk Cost Fallacy” and is the key to a successful swindle.

    The idea is to get the mark/mugu involved deep in the con, both financially and (especially) emotionally. At which point he will not only stay in the con but defend the con man even when he KNOWS he’s being taken to the cleaners. Because anything else and he’d have to admit (even if only to himself) that he got conned.

    “I go chop you dolla;
    I make you money disappear;
    Four-one-nine just a game —
    You be the Mugu,
    I be the Masta!”
    — Nigerian pop song about a con man

  27. ishy wrote:

    His reps have now backtracked and say that’s not what the town halls will be about, probably because Wyatt let way too much slip. But no one who is remorseful, who believes sexual assaults are horrible, intentional acts, would even consider such an idea, and it’s clear they considered it.

    Sounds a lot like these Pastors and their spokesholes, don’t it?

    P.S. Drugging a woman to get in her pants is starting to be called “doing a Cosby” or “a Pill Cosby”.

  28. Law Prof wrote:

    I sincerely believe that some of the most outrageous lies you will ever read are reviews of churches.

    How do they compare against a wartime country’s news media the day before that country surrenders unconditionally?

  29. Pulpit celebrities would not have a stage if they didn’t have a pew financing them. Some of the most gullible folks on the planet are churchmen. Just because a man has a little charisma with the gift of gab doesn’t mean God called him to ministry. The greatest need of the American church is for the pew to pray for discernment. Much of discernment is just simple observation – keeping your ears and eyes open. Yet, we are also challenged to test the spirits to see if they be from God – to do that, we need to know the Word ourselves (not rely on a man’s interpretation of it) and pray for wisdom to sort out Truth from error. Folks who defend and financially support false teachers, false theology, and false movements to their dying breath don’t have discernment.

  30. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Nick, my 3-year old grandson would love to be sitting next to you on that ride – he’s train crazy!

    To keep this comment on track with the subject at hand, there’s a train wreck coming to the American church and the pew ain’t got a clue.

  31. Lea wrote:

    would ask why on earth they would be bothered by what your wife did (if you know), because that’s just ridiculous obviously, but I’m guessing it was a control freak thing? Or a comp thing?

    My guess, because of the comp issue, a wife should NEVER confront a man about anything. The only exception would possibly be your own husband — and that ONLY with the perfect tone and after lots of . . . I’ll stop here.

  32. Law Prof wrote:

    I sincerely believe that some of the most outrageous lies you will ever read are reviews of churches.

    Truth or lies, who knows. But there needs to be a footnote with some kind of disclaimer such as, “past performance is not an indication of future results” or “by attending this church you can lose money” or something like lawyers have when they advertise, “past outcomes do not represent future results.”

  33. @ Christiane:
    Have a feeling the residents of ,Shelburne Falls, might not be feeling quite as supportive of him these days.
    From what I’ve read….Cosby has been living a double life since at least the 60s.

  34. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    This is called “Sunk Cost Fallacy” and is the key to a successful swindle.

    The idea is to get the mark/mugu involved deep in the con, both financially and (especially) emotionally. At which point he will not only stay in the con but defend the con man even when he KNOWS he’s being taken to the cleaners. Because anything else and he’d have to admit (even if only to himself) that he got conned.

    I think the psychology is similar to the reaction neighbors have when they learn an individual who lives next door is arrested and charged with some heinous criminal activity that was ongoing for years. He was the nicest, kindest gentleman I ever knew; a perfect neighbor. He simply never gave them any reason to suspect otherwise, such as to look in his basement.

  35. @ Law Prof:

    Both the sheep and the shepherd can get it wrong at the same time.

    All members of the body ( including, elder/pastor, deacons, congregation) have to exercise their gifts for a church to be healthy.

    Pastor worship comes from adoring sheep. To accept such a construct does no one any good.It’s unhealthy to adore a man, it’s unhealthy to accept adoration.

  36. Bridget wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    would ask why on earth they would be bothered by what your wife did (if you know), because that’s just ridiculous obviously, but I’m guessing it was a control freak thing? Or a comp thing?

    My guess, because of the comp issue, a wife should NEVER confront a man about anything.

    Well, that was probably my first thought. But it’s hard to think how leadership could possibly benefit from condemning this action until you think about the control factor…

  37. Mae wrote:

    .It’s unhealthy to adore a man, it’s unhealthy to accept adoration.

    So true.

    And in a culture that is all about such adoration, the people who don’t buy in probably either keep quiet or leave quietly. So what remains is self-selected.

  38. @ Max:

    So agree.

    Unfortunately, too many parishioners are ignorant of, or refuse to exercise their responsibility, in being a part of the body of Christ.

    Most parishioners are taught today to: tithe, be quiet, obey the elders, submit to authority.

    We desperately need more parishioners to open their Bibles and study, for themselves, what the Lord requires of them. ( us ) If this were done reformation would come, and not the kind presently being served up!

  39. @ Mr. Jesperson:
    OMG!!!!! I think it would be helpful to gather all the comments regarding the accusations surrounding Tom White and put them all together in post.

  40. M. Joy wrote:

    Deebs, have you heard any follow up on Saeed since he posted that bizarre rant about Franklin Graham on his Facebook page?

    I have not. I get the feeling that people finally started backing off when they realized they were dealing with someone who seems *off.* Can you imagine what it was like to live with him?

  41. Burwell wrote:

    The ‘pastor’ of counseling (not R Mills, btw) admitted that his marriage had been saved, but then proceeded to work with us concerning undefined issues – they also had the remarkable ability to use tragic circumstances in our past as an excuse to bring us in. We walked away from the session feeling that we had been the ones in the wrong but we have not set foot in that church since.

    My experiences in that church were similar. R Mill was the one who went all gaga, helping out a guy who was long into child porn and who finally went to prison because the judge was smarter than the pastors- thank heavens.

    The good news is this. The former lead pastor never got his mega church and will always have the cloud of the mishandling of that pedophile situation around his head. There are a number of folks who left the. church who are taking a church break-fearful of being put into another bizarre situation. I was like that for awhile. It took two years f attending my current church before I felt comfortable to join.

    I am sorry you went through it. I only wish you had been a part of our group of friends who still hang around each other. Let me know if you would eve like to check out our Bible study. You are welcome.

  42. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    It does help, immensely, Nick. Thank you. A bit of reality before plunging into the morning dose of madness with my coffee.

    Would love to visit Scotland again one day–we only saw a tiny slice on a flying visit, decades ago.

  43. Lea wrote:

    Divorce Minister wrote:
    Humility is hard. To admit that we misjudged a leader and were played isn’t fun.
    But it is absolutely essential!
    At some point, can we talk about Jerry’s comment ‘women abuse too’? It’s fascinating to me that in a discussion about a specific person, and a specific issue, this keeps coming up. Does that make it better? Sheesh.

    No, it doesn’t make it better. But I think, in all sobriety (or is it seriousness?), that it is good to remember that women abuse too, not as a way to excuse abusive men, but to keep people as wise as serpents while they are remaining gentle as doves.

    My ex s-i-l was a terrible person, for example.

    There is a female cult leader who started a “christian” weight loss movement and now has entrapped a number of families in her cult. (Google “weigh down workshop cult”)–This one is specifically relevant to the topic of TWW because it involves spiritual abuse.

    The former teacher who recently was in the news when she got divorced from the guy she lured when she was his sixth-grade teacher.

    There are more, but those will do.

  44. @ Lea:
    At our former church, when a woman was called in (with her husband), it tended to be a stern admonition against being a busybody and gossip. Great way to diminish someone who is thoughtful, articulate, intelligent, and pointing out something that is amiss.

  45. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    This is called “Sunk Cost Fallacy” and is the key to a successful swindle

    You mentioned this before, the first time I’d heard the term, and it explained a lot about why we stayed in our controlling church for more than a decade. Thank you.

    (Still wishing we’d left a decade or more earlier.)

  46. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Yep. I’ve read about the Sunk Cost Fallacy. Common among college sophomores who realize they hate their major and the profession associated with the major is soul-killing or obsolete. Yet they paid good money or took out massive loans. So they’d better get that degree!

  47. Max wrote:

    Yet, we are also challenged to test the spirits to see if they be from God – to do that, we need to know the Word ourselves (not rely on a man’s interpretation of it) and pray for wisdom to sort out Truth from error.

    You know what’s really sad? I was a bible study teacher before we got sucked into our former church. I was pretty familiar with the scriptures, had memorized whole swaths, read the bible daily, knew my way around Strong’s and Vines. Yet somehow that place got past my Berean defenses, made me start to question myself. I think the seeds had been planted earlier in a “Walk Thru the Bible” conference where I first heard the message that women were not to teach men, years earlier, and reinforced by later attitudes.

    It’s not just the church, but society. What was that study that showed that men in a group that consists of 30% women perceive the women as “half” the group, or if a woman talks more than 30% of the time she is seen as dominating the conversation? (The statistics may be off, because I’m recounting from memory, but what I do remember clearly is that the percentages were well below 50%.)

    I am not trying to trash men, just wondering if we are wired to think this way, or if it is culturally conditioned?

  48. refugee wrote:

    But I think, in all sobriety (or is it seriousness?), that it is good to remember that women abuse too, not as a way to excuse abusive men, but to keep people as wise as serpents while they are remaining gentle as doves.

    It just seems, in these contexts, to be a big of leveling. You sin too (generic woman). Just remember that.

    Like that CBMW article that said Adam AND Eve blamed each other. That didn’t happen at all! But they couldn’t let a negative about Adam drop without including one about Eve. That’s my objection.

    Certainly we should realize that we, all of us, are human. But it feels in these cases like deflection.

  49. refugee wrote:

    @ Lea:
    At our former church, when a woman was called in (with her husband), it tended to be a stern admonition against being a busybody and gossip. Great way to diminish someone who is thoughtful, articulate, intelligent, and pointing out something that is amiss.

    Ah good point. I didn’t think of ‘gossip’ as being the problem. Especially since she confronted him, personally. Which any of these ‘super biblical’ types will tell you is the thing to do.

  50. Christiane wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    If this is a ‘rogue’ Church OR a ‘rogue’ Diocese, I would be very cautious about accepting any offered credentials. These types of organizations are popping up and are bogus. I think the example warrants some additional investigation into ‘who are these folks?’

    Christiane,

    I have come to realize that it is not possible to look at a group of church communities, whether a diocese, a denomination, an association (e.g. EFCA), daughter churches, sister churches, etc.,and say that they are not going to have a problem with aberrant behaviour (authority issues, spiritual abuse, etc.), because they belong to a particular group, or follow a particular person or doctrine.

    I do think it is possible to say that a group of churches which holds to a particular doctrine or philosophy “is likely” to be abusive in one way or another. For example, Independent Fundemental Baptist, or the numerous “Calvinista” groups. That list is quite long.

    The only way to be sure that a group of Christians is not abusive or rogue, is to personally get to know the people involved in an individual church. And to keep a wary eye on the changes proposed and introduced. It is my experience that a church community can become infected with doctrines and practices which lead to unbiblical control and eventually that safe place gets warped and infected by either practices or personality.

    And then you may decide you are, at least for the time being, a Done.

    And a reference which Nick should get “Sybil Fawlty: And then you open a hotel”

  51. refugee wrote:

    in a group that consists of 30% women … if a woman talks more than 30% of the time she is seen as dominating the conversation

    In most mixed Bible study groups I’ve been in over a long church experience, I have found that female believers contribute more depth to the discussion than the men in attendance. I’ve always felt that Southern Baptist women were more spiritual than most men, including the deacon body! My 3-year old grandson has memorized more Scripture than most adult churchmen – at dinner a few nights ago, he said “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God … Amen … Let’s eat!”

  52. refugee wrote:

    somehow that place got past my Berean defenses

    I suspect most Wartburgers, including myself, have been blind-sided a time or two. I think we let our guard down because we have been taught to trust church leaders. But, you just can’t do that any longer … especially with the New Calvinist movement sweeping across the landscape – its pastors are not beyond stealth and deception.

  53. Mae wrote:

    We desperately need more parishioners to open their Bibles and study, for themselves, what the Lord requires of them. ( us ) If this were done reformation would come, and not the kind presently being served up!

    Amen Mae! We need “transformed” theology (rather than reformed) in the pew if we are to experience a true reformation of God’s people engaged in the Great Commission.

  54. refugee wrote:

    Would love to visit Scotland again one day–we only saw a tiny slice on a flying visit, decades ago.

    Drop us a line; we’ll put the kettle on.

  55. Max wrote:

    But, you just can’t do that any longer … especially with the New Calvinist movement sweeping across the landscape – its pastors are not beyond stealth and deception.

    Including deception that could Deceive the Very Elect (and with these Elect, probably already has).

  56. Rachel wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Yep. I’ve read about the Sunk Cost Fallacy. Common among college sophomores who realize they hate their major and the profession associated with the major is soul-killing or obsolete. Yet they paid good money or took out massive loans. So they’d better get that degree!

    Didn’t something analogous happen to Calvin?

  57. Mae wrote:

    Most parishioners are taught today to: tithe, be quiet, obey the elders, submit to authority.

    “Pay, Pray, and Obey” if you speak Romish.

  58. Max wrote:

    especially with the New Calvinist movement sweeping across the landscape – its pastors are not beyond stealth and deception

    Max, you may be correct in your quoted statement, but do you think that the movement has as much longevity as it does acceleration? Personally, I don’t. I think a rather large blowback is coming. It may not be in time to impact many of the current leaders but I think the second, or perhaps third, generation will be addressed.

  59. Law Prof wrote:

    I sincerely believe that some of the most outrageous lies you will ever read are reviews of churches. There’s almost never any truth in them, so many loyal followers simply are not in love with the truth. Don’t know what it is that inspires people to obfuscate and lie in the name of God, but one place I know such inspiration does not come from is God Himself.

    My former church is one instance where Yelp’s review filtering program does some good. There are ten reviews for the place, written by the pastor himself, several volunteers (both of which are Yelp terms of service violations) and people whose names I recognize as being the pastor’s sycophants. All ten are filtered as “not recommended” on Yelp, and the church doesn’t have one “recommended” review as of this writing.

    Reviews of the church elsewhere call the place welcoming (of course, the “welcome team” is well versed in the tactics of love bombing), the sermons “biblical” (um, no. Proverbs 29:18 has been used to promote “vision casting,” Exodus 18:21 has been used to support a Shepherding/Pyramid scheme style of top-down control, and even John 3:16 has been twisted to promote giving – either financially or by giving time as unpaid labor… I mean volunteering), and the pastor “passionate” (apparently loud angry screaming is an indicator of a person’s “passion” – and his anger is clearly evident in his tone.) After a while I can’t do anything but shake my head.

    When people review a restaurant, hotel, repair shop, etc., they tend to have an idea of what they consider a “good” or “bad” product or service. But if they lack discernment, and if they really haven’t been to an actual healthy church, they don’t have the same frame of reference and will sing the church’s praises based on their itching ears being tickled. And as we all know, a church can tickle itching ears, greet people with a warm smile, put on appearances, and still be toxic and spiritually abusive beneath the surface.

  60. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Didn’t something analogous happen to Calvin?

    On further thought, you may be on to something. I remember something to the effect that Calvin didn’t want to be a pastor/preacher, just wanted to live quietly and study. He was practically forced into it. I wonder if resentment or bitterness colored his teaching, and has been passed down to generations 500 years later?

  61. Burwell wrote:

    I think a rather large blowback is coming. It may not be in time to impact many of the current leaders but I think the second, or perhaps third, generation will be addressed.

    Yeah. If only in terms of the shrinking of the church to near-extinction, as the children grow up and become atheists or agnostics.

    Sorry. That’s where my mind goes when I think about the neo-Cals taking over churches and taking captive the minds of young adults with the fervor of their message, later spitting them out if they shake free of the group-think, even a little, or dare to question.

  62. @ Mr. Jesperson:
    Truly evil how this organization cooperated.

    Had heard of VOM, had no real interaction with them though, other then hearing their radio spots, and articles in magazines.

    Like others, I was shocked in reading the depths of deceptions the organization had
    layered to protect itself.

    Yet, despite all the groups, organizations, churches that have been cited for theological abuse, sexual abuse, etc. it’s still a challenge not to be sucked in by the shiny veneer. I have to remind myself not to get too comfortable at my own church, not to put blinders on, not ignore any alarm bells.

  63. Rachel wrote:

    Yep. I’ve read about the Sunk Cost Fallacy. Common among college sophomores who realize they hate their major and the profession associated with the major is soul-killing or obsolete. Yet they paid good money or took out massive loans. So they’d better get that degree!

    There is also the pride aspect that blocks the ability to admit an error. Those who are especially prideful seem to become more so as they age and there is nothing more foolish than someone incapable of admitting their error.

  64. These horrific events happen. . . because the people in the pew are more interested in following a MAN than in following Christ. They Happen because people lack discernment and COURAGE. Wake up church! The world is ahead of you and shaming you!

  65. Heather wrote:

    The only way to be sure that a group of Christians is not abusive or rogue, is to personally get to know the people involved in an individual church. And to keep a wary eye on the changes proposed and introduced. It is my experience that a church community can become infected with doctrines and practices which lead to unbiblical control and eventually that safe place gets warped and infected by either practices or personality.

    The sad thing is that the Calvinista pastors are deceptive, which makes doing this much harder. When someone flat out lies about what they believe and where they will take the church during an interview, and knows exactly the right things to say to get hired, along with knowing how to stack the congregation with a bunch of new members who are in on the plan to use the church’s own bylaws against them–it’s downright scary. You might join a church with wonderful people and two years later it’s a completely different church. Speaking from experience…

    I am in a denomination now that requires psychological evaluations for pastors. Beginning to think that is a pretty good idea. Maybe churches need lie detector tests now, too.

  66. Burwell wrote:

    do you think that the movement has as much longevity as it does acceleration?

    I have been a Christian for 60+ years. I’ve watched several religious movements come and go, with most only lasting 5-10 years (that Holy Laughter thing was a strange one). However, I’ve never seen one so organized as the New Calvinist movement – it is aggressive and militant. If you just take the Southern Baptist slice of the new reformation, within 10 years the New Calvinists have come to control most SBC entities (seminaries, mission agencies, publishing house). Hundreds of YRR pastors have been released into SBC pulpits, primarily through its church planting program, while numerous traditional churches have been taken over as well by young lying prophets. It’s sure lasted longer than I thought it would and doesn’t appear to be decelerating yet. The bubble will eventually break, but the damage will be done – leaving thousands of Generation Xers and Millennials disillusioned. As evidenced by TWW comments, lots of Baby Boomers have also fallen victim – many Warburgers had enough sense to escape and tell their stories. I’m hoping for a genuine Kingdom of God movement next time around.

  67. ishy wrote:

    Maybe churches need lie detector tests

    Agreed. Southern Baptist churches need to have lie detectors available for pastor search committees to use. Seriously!

  68. Lea wrote:

    I did wonder about the ‘i went to his hotel room, took an unmarked pill and was shocked it was drugs’ comments.

    Bill Cosby had serious star power from the 1960s onward. Many girls and women would have let their guard down around him.

    He seems to have misled women about the pills, calling them anxiety medicine or something. They were apparently Quaaludes, dangerous enough that they are no longer manufactured legally in the US. He allegedly used Quaaludes as a date rape drug, to render people helpless or unconscious. (If he did lie about the nature of the pills, I would compare that to accepting a drink, not knowing it was spiked.)

    To relate to this topic: a dazzling charismatic figure can fool some of the people some of the time.

  69. Mr. Jesperson wrote:

    Thanks for the link to my story on ThouArtTheMan. Shortly after my story was published, I had lunch with my pastor, who has contacts within the White family and told me something he never shared before. So I report here again what I added in the comment section there. Before Tom killed himself here, he was caught red-handed molesting a girl in South America. The family had to know and likely only told my pastor after the suicide. So did the devilish VOM board and leaders. The official VOM statement by Jim Dau claiming to be surprised by the allegations after the suicide is simply bloody rubbish! No wonder that one of the men that Tom help set in a position of power overseas is also a child-molester.
    Tom fooled Wurmbrand and created a “ministry” to support child-molesters like himself. This is how evil men think and what they do with money and power. We truly are sheep waiting to be fleeced by charming liars. People keep shoving boat-loads of money their way. When will Christians wake up? What a devilish scheme, charity money redirected so that innocents can be raped overseas. Can it get much more sick then this?

    Thanks for sharing.

  70. Bridget wrote:

    Ennis died 20 years ago. Accusations against Bill Cosby go back 50 years. I don’t think Ennis’ death was part of the problem.

    I was told about Cosby by an insider at a casino in the Reno/Tahoe area in the late 1980s, so there’s 30 years back. Not exactly the same allegations of which he was recently tried, but very closely related. I wondered about them then, perhaps it was just slander, jealousy. But when these latest accusations came out it all seemed to make sense. Rumors are not always true, sometimes they’re pure fabrication, but they pretty much always warrant additional inquiry, and the more likely people in prominent positions try to silence them rather than getting them out in the open and dealing with them, the more likely I believe they are to be absolutely true.

  71. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    I sincerely believe that some of the most outrageous lies you will ever read are reviews of churches.
    How do they compare against a wartime country’s news media the day before that country surrenders unconditionally?

    About the same. Also about the same as totalitarian propaganda–come to think of it, essentially, the average marketing campaigns from abusive churches and most megas are totalitarian progaganda.

  72. Max wrote:

    Burwell wrote:
    do you think that the movement has as much longevity as it does acceleration?
    I have been a Christian for 60+ years. I’ve watched several religious movements come and go, with most only lasting 5-10 years (that Holy Laughter thing was a strange one). However, I’ve never seen one so organized as the New Calvinist movement – it is aggressive and militant. If you just take the Southern Baptist slice of the new reformation, within 10 years the New Calvinists have come to control most SBC entities (seminaries, mission agencies, publishing house). Hundreds of YRR pastors have been released into SBC pulpits, primarily through its church planting program, while numerous traditional churches have been taken over as well by young lying prophets. It’s sure lasted longer than I thought it would and doesn’t appear to be decelerating yet. The bubble will eventually break, but the damage will be done – leaving thousands of Generation Xers and Millennials disillusioned. As evidenced by TWW comments, lots of Baby Boomers have also fallen victim – many Warburgers had enough sense to escape and tell their stories. I’m hoping for a genuine Kingdom of God movement next time around.

    SBC is going to collapse. The Calvinists are just speeding up the result.
    And the thing is the YRR don’t realize or care about the damage they are doing.

  73. I think what gets missed is just how painful spiritual wounds are and just how deep they run. In the Calvinistas band of merry brothers, there seems to be a badge of honor how many people you can offend and wound. The “I’m not politically correct” crap is trotted out as some type of right of passage. I cant tell you how many bodies I have seen left when a church pivots, changes in leadership, hostile takeovers, liars taking over, doctrinal issues and by far the most important over anything including, no especially God and that is financial issues.

    People are brutalized in these battles, pastors and laity alike. I use to be shocked by the viciousness of inter congregation arguments, but after seeing abuse, physical assault, physical threat, threat of violence, shunning of families, families split up, police called, no trespass warnings for members who have attended for decades, the Jesus is going to get/kill you type prayers, ruining people’s jobs, getting the kicked out of their home, making sick family members lose their health insurance, more violence, and it goes on far more than people think. This does not even count how many of the abused kids that have suffered.

    Honesty demands that I say that I have also seen tens of thousands of acts of kindness and beauty done by members and clergy in the body of Christ. I always found that what I loved looking for in faith communities. I was at times reminded that such emotionalisms are vile and beneath contempt, because most of those acts were filthy rags and those evil souls are headed into a Christless eternity dead in their sins. That is almost a direct quote. I still find that rather sad.

  74. @ dee:
    From the review [link] you posted:

    “‘The Women’s Balcony’ takes on some extremely hot topics, and in doing so makes the point powerfully that true faith does not depend on a head-scarf. True faith is alive, coursing through human relationships, made manifest in how we treat one another. ‘The Women’s Balcony’ has its cake and eats it too. It is funny and profound.”

    It is a very, very funny film, LOL, – the script is brilliant, as well as sharp and to the point. I’ve got to see it again, or order it for purchase.

    The young rabbi surreptitiously taking over the neighborhood synagogue is exactly like what has been described as YRR strategy. But then what the women do about it – if only Christian American women would “get it” as these Israeli Jewish women do. Hilarious and grand.

  75. @ dee:
    Good idea. White/VOM left a trail. And put together it is a comprehensive picture. The guy on Todd Wilhelm’s blog has an incredible story and discussion, as you mention, just on that blog alone – Thou Art the Man. It’s like a lesson of what goes on and how not to deal with it, as in being an enabler.

  76. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again. I have a friend, Mark Ebner, who is a freelance reporter. Back in the day he did an expose of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre when he faked being a celebrity. It was funny and revealing at the same time. (I’ll never forget when we picketed Big Blue in LA in the late 1990, the Sea Org was so freaked out about us being there that they hid in the buildings and Ebner started blasting his car speakers up and down L. Ron Hubbard Way. That was so much fun! But I digress…) Back in 2006, he had an explosive story–the story we now know as Bill Cosby’s multiple assaults. He could find NOBODY to publish it. He finally posted it on his website, and boy, did he catch a lot of flak and lost jobs as a result. (Because Cosby, unlike Scientology, had a generally good public reputation in those days…) The last few years have seen him proven right.

    When Cosby’s publicity people said he was going to give seminars on how to avoid ending up in court, etc., I told Ebner on Facebook that I’d picket Cosby if he brought his show to Phoenix. And I would, too. That whole thing is just crazy.

  77. @ JYJames:
    I have a hunch that there are some Christian church/parachurch groups who have been used by trafficker and molesters to get access to people overseas. Have been doing a bunch of reading on the subject. I am concerned that we are going to be hearing about more Tom Whites out there.

  78. K.D. wrote:

    SBC is going to collapse. The Calvinists are just speeding up the result.

    The Conservatives ran off the Liberals/Moderates … now the Calvinists are doing in the Conservatives. In the meantime, there isn’t much Gospel preaching going on in the denomination.

    K.D. wrote:

    And the thing is the YRR don’t realize or care about the damage they are doing.

    SBC’s YRR have been convinced by New Calvinist leaders (Mohler et al.) that they have come into the world for such a time as this. They justify their stealth and deception for the good of the movement – to restore the gospel that the rest of us have lost. The young folks don’t know (or don’t care) that millions have been brought to Christ around the world by SBC’s whosoever will message of Truth. Arrogance always comes before a fall.

  79. @ dee:
    Oh yuck. Terrible.
    In our 3-month and year-long short term missions, we saw all kinds of stuff. Africans said the Westerners came with a Bible and a gun. Bloodshed and coercion, as well as the goodness of hospitals and schools. We thought the career people were 50% good, and the rest did not belong there.

    I’m sure your hunch, unfortunately, is on the mark. Keep up your good work and be cognizant of personal security for you and your loved ones. There are questionable characters out there.

  80. brian wrote:

    most of those acts were filthy rags

    yes, those acts ARE ‘filthy rags’

    for some reason, some people feel that acts of kindness towards others are also ‘filthy rags’, but I think not

    nope, we know what qualifies as ‘filthy rags’ and hurting others is at the top of the list

  81. @ dee:
    In the news last week: “The Church of England “colluded” with and helped to hide the long-term sexual abuse of young men by one of its former bishops …”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/church-of-england-head-says-it-colluded-with-sex-abuse/2017/06/22/3d334722-573b-11e7-840b-512026319da7_story.html?utm_term=.9e01a0a3a920

    How much did the Church of England know about (thus, enable) Iain Campbell and John Smyth?

    It’s one thing for gullible Christians in the pew to enable abusers by just being stupid as they drop their money in the plate … but wickedness in high places is more alarming!

  82. Max wrote:

    wickedness in high places is more alarming

    It’s a network, as in the true-story Netflix series, “The Keepers”.

  83. JYJames wrote:

    It’s a network

    Yes, indeed, the devil has a network of imps in church hierarchy. They come to kill, steal and destroy. Wolves dressed as sheep. “Trust me” they say. The early church had a better grip on the demonic at work in their midst than we do 2,000 years later.

  84. @ Max:
    A good comment from the WaPo article, linked:

    wonderfulhue
    6/22/2017 12:42 PM CDT
    believing in god is a great thing….giving your money and power to an organization to represent you in your relationship with god is insanity….keep it between you and god….save the kids….the muslims, the catholics, the protestants…many in the ranks exposed as child molesters

  85. GMFS

    Lesley and I hit the local climbing-wall last night, and we both managed something significant:

    Lesley almost completed the very tricky 6a+ problem on the slabs which involves a lot of technique and a level of hand-strength she didn’t previously have. Although this is “only” a 6a+ (around 5.10b in US dollars), I think it’s under-graded. I don’t find it at all easy.

    And I cracked the awkward 6c problem with the problematic rounded holds – I think it’s a little easy for a 6c (5.11a if you prefer), but it’s the first time I’ve ever got to the top of a route comprising that batch of holds, which are always comparatively high-graded.

  86. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    G’day Nick,
    good efforts there to build up skill and strength

    today I am going to take the dog to the vet:
    this, for me, if comparable to attempting a climbing wall which is above my level:
    just getting him into the SUV will be the first ‘problem’ goal;
    then trying not to cry when he looks at me with THOSE EYES and whimpers when we pull into the Vet’s parking area (the dog knows);
    but it’s the trip from the SUV to the door of the Vet’s waiting room that is always the most dramatic moment ….. every tree, every bush gets blessed on the way in which stalls for time (smart pup)
    …….fortunately, leaving the Vet is easy, as my fur child is most cooperative at that point. Honestly, they need to give out ‘Valium for Dogs’ before asking us to bring a dog into the doctors’. Have a great day, Nick. I admire your energy and grit.

  87. On a more serious note, there was a really good article by David Instone-Brewer, a research laddie at Tyndale House in Cambridge (not to be confused with Tyndale House publishers). He writes regularly for Christianity Magazine (likewise not to be confused with Christianity Today).

    He was talking about forgiveness and in particular the damage that can be caused by unresolved wrongs. A couple of quotes which, though I’m obviously presenting in a truncated context, I think capture the essence of what he was saying:

    [From Leviticus 19:17-18] Rebuke your neighbour frankly so that you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself”. This command gives three ingredients for showing love to someone who has hurt us…

    We miss the point if we don’t realise that forgiveness should be a RESPONSE TO REPENTANCE and NOT A RESPONSE TO SIN [Instone-Brewer’s emphasis, citing Luke 17:3-4]…

    A pair of locked glass doors separate a perpetrator and their victim after a wrong has been committed… The victim can open their door by letting go of their bitterness and their desire for revenge. The perpetrator can open their door by offering a sincere apology. But they can only be reconciled if they BOTH open their door.

    The kinds of wrong prevalent in the Christian trends dissected at TWW are committed by those in positions of power, advantage and prestige, against those who do not have these things. And what we often observe is that these people often believe their positions of power justify their actions; even when they do “repent”, they do so in the belief that they can use this to smooth over their “mistakes” and keep their power and prestige as if nothing had happened. As in, “God’s forgiven me, and so should you”. Moreover, their enablers persist in maintaining this delusion: “God’s forgiven him, and so should you”.

    The truth is that when someone abuses a position of power they diminish themselves before God. The problem is that they can often exalt themselves before human observers. God warns that he will, in eternity, impose justice on them – but we don’t see this happen on mortal timescales. Conversely, the victim who forgives, achieves a position of great spiritual standing and authority before God – but again, we don’t necessarily see it. After Driskle fled from church discipline in Seattle, he soon found a pulpit buddy ready to shower him with public praise and adulation. That congregation might have been less ready to admire those of Driskle’s betters who have forgiven him and continue to love him.

  88. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Thought-provoking comment, Nick. I think for most of us, to forgive a wrong-doing IS the problem: we think we will be ‘condoning’ in some way what was done:
    the idea of forgiveness as response to repentance …. that’s something to think about, yes

    and to forgive others because we have been forgiven …. that is to enter into peace indeed

  89. JYJames wrote:

    Max wrote:
    wickedness in high places is more alarming

    It’s a network, as in the true-story Netflix series, “The Keepers”.

    They protect each other, either because they are doing the same, or generically protecting the institution. But I tend to think the institution would be more protected if they kicked out the evil doers. The question I return to is, are there just SO many that this would make the place collapse??

    How much his one thing, how much the other?

  90. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    We miss the point if we don’t realise that forgiveness should be a RESPONSE TO REPENTANCE and NOT A RESPONSE TO SIN [Instone-Brewer’s emphasis, citing Luke 17:3-4]…

    Excellent point and so simple. Why does this get missed?

  91. brian wrote:

    Honesty demands that I say that I have also seen tens of thousands of acts of kindness and beauty done by members and clergy in the body of Christ. I always found that what I loved looking for in faith communities. I was at times reminded that such emotionalisms are vile and beneath contempt, because most of those acts were filthy rags and those evil souls are headed into a Christless eternity dead in their sins. That is almost a direct quote. I still find that rather sad.

    Me too. What is ‘sad’ is that some of those dead in their sins and headed for a Christless eternity (as if some nut case in the pulpit would know) are better humans-just humans, on some human level- that some of the prissy pious who would try to tear them down.

    And what is even sadder is that the Accuser can be this obvious in his attacks on people and people, self professed Christians, cannot see what is going on. Have we really strayed that far? Apparently so.

  92. Lea wrote:

    Why does this get missed?

    we like to be ‘the Pharisee’ in the temple pointing at ‘that sinner over there’ and thanking God we are not ‘like that’ …..

    in short:
    pride (the sin that blinds us to our own mess)

  93. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    God warns that he will, in eternity, impose justice on them

    Much of the church seems to have lost the Jesus as Savior / God as Judge balance. We need more God-fearing Christians … not scared-to-death fear, but a respect and reverence for the Holy One that prevents us from caving into our sinful nature. One does not develop an immunity from consequences to sinful behavior the higher they climb a religious ladder. Payday someday always comes.

    Jesus warned “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

  94. Lea wrote:

    Why does this get missed?

    It gets missed because the mantra from pulpits and transgressors to those offended is “we are all sinners.” So we are expected, and taught, to forgive the “sinner/sin” without the repentance. Repentance being sorrow and change, not simply words.

  95. Sorry to keep going on about this, but… writing something down for others is as good a way of any to explain it to oneself as well. Anyway –

    The thing is, people who’ve been abused, robbed or otherwise wronged in church DO need to forgive. But we DON’T need to forgive “because we’re just as sinful” or because the fact that it has ever bothered us shows that we’re “hurt” and need “healing”. Quite the reverse. Jesus commands us to forgive, and it cannot possibly be that he does this because he despises us, and wishes we’d just shut up and drop it so that he can have a quiet life. And insofar as the material written on spiritual abuse gives attention to healing, which it does at least to a certain extent, it may be missing a trick.

    In order to forgive, it is necessary first to fully realise that I have the power and authority to forgive. In fact I’d go so far as to say that a victim cannot forgive, because “victim” implies powerlessness whereas forgiveness is an act of judgement that necessarily takes strength and power. I’m convinced this is why forgiveness is so necessary, and why those who forgive describe the experience using words like peace, and freedom. Forgiving is the culmination of the process whereby our standing and dignity is restored to us and we are no longer victims (to the degree that we ever were).

    As a final point on the topic of things being “restored to us” – in the Old Testament, a thief always had to restore more than he stole. Even God blessed the second part of Job’s life twice as much as the first. I think one reason that we can find it hard to forgive is that we’re demanding more of ourselves than God is – that is, we’re trying to “drop it and move on” without the very resources we need in order to do that.

  96. Bridget wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Why does this get missed?

    It gets missed because the mantra from pulpits and transgressors to those offended is “we are all sinners.” So we are expected, and taught, to forgive the “sinner/sin” without the repentance. Repentance being sorrow and change, not simply words.

    This is true, but why is it true?

    Either the pulpits want to be forgiven without remorse themselves, or it is easier to make a good person forgive than to make a person who has done them wrong actually be sorry. It keeps the peace. For everyone but the one sinned against.

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    order to forgive, it is necessary first to fully realise that I have the power and authority to forgive. In fact I’d go so far as to say that a victim cannot forgive, because “victim” implies powerlessness whereas forgiveness is an act of judgement that necessarily takes strength and power. I’m convinced this is why forgiveness is so necessary, and why those who forgive describe the experience using words like peace, and freedom.

    I like this, and this is much like the attitude I learned about these things from my mother.

    I think this is one of the reasons it is actually a huge problem to try to make someone forgive, because it takes away that very strength and power that might be so healing.

  97. Bridget wrote:

    Repentance being sorrow and change, not simply words.

    Yes, it’s a godly sorrow over our sin that produces genuine repentance (2 Cor 7:10). Such sorrow and repentance always results in a change in our behavior. Simply saying “I’m sorry” is not enough. True repentance must be demonstrated by word and deed, walking in a direction led by the Holy Spirit not our flesh.

  98. Lea wrote:

    Either the pulpits want to be forgiven without remorse themselves, or it is easier to make a good person forgive than to make a person who has done them wrong actually be sorry. It keeps the peace. For everyone but the one sinned against.

    Yes to both, not either or. And in the end, it doesn’t really keep the peace.

  99. Forgiveness does not demand forgetting, either. If someone is visiting me, and they steal things out of my house while they are here …… I can forgive them. But I am not required to allow them be a guest in my home again.

  100. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Forgiveness does not demand forgetting, either. If someone is visiting me, and they steal things out of my house while they are here …… I can forgive them. But I am not required to allow them be a guest in my home again.

    Absolutely. And in the Lord’s prayer the forgiving is limited to those who sin against us, which is a more limited concept than the idea of forgiving just everything that everybody does when we are not involved. The parable of the two servants emphasizes this-both forgiveness and the personal aspect of it.

    To just run around justifying anything and everything under the mantle of forgiveness is not something I see in scripture-not as some would think about it. And minding one’s own business is not necessarily either condoning or condemning.

    But alas, how will anybody see how ultra righteous I am unless I run around telling other people what they should and should not forgive, especially since they make me leave my tasseled prayer shawl at home any more.

  101. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Forgiving is the culmination of the process whereby our standing and dignity is restored to us and we are no longer victims (to the degree that we ever were).

    This is true. And, we commit ourselves to not seek vengeance. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord.

    “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,’” Romans 12:19. God’s wrath is something to fear, and He repays as He chooses.

    A co-worker friend and I were talking about a work situation, and she commented, “Doesn’t this person realize there is a God in Heaven Who sees all?” Sure enough, several years down the line, that offending person came into major trouble: in their own work situation, with their family & marriage, etc. When it rained it poured, and we were long gone and out of the way.

    Forgiveness means walk away and leave it up to God (get out of the way), even praying for one’s enemies. How God deals with them is His business, and He is amazing in His dealings.

  102. Calvin on church discipline: “I consider that it would be perfidious cowardice in me, so long as I occupy my present position, not to contend keenly, even to the utmost, in behalf of a holy and lawful discipline. I have resolved that I should a hundred times rather leave this life-not to say this place-than suffer to be overthrown, that which I am confident is taken from the word of God.” {Bonnet,Letters 1:377. See also Calvin’s letter to Viret in Bonnet, Letters 2:424.}

    He was not timid on this subject.

  103. I’ve been kinda MIA for the past few days. Not ignoring TWW – just busy, busy, busy …… and tired. Wild blackberry jelly; peach jam and some peaches frozen for pies and some peaches to eat; squash pickles; picked jalapeños; a 5 gal buck of green beans in the kitchen now waiting to be canned; beets soaking in another bucket in the carport waiting to be pickled; green bell pepper ready to pick…….. Canners and jars and pots and bowls and measuring cups and spoons to wash ……
    Oh my….. Lots of soap bubble submission going on in my house lately!!!

  104. “I walked away from that incident with my eyes wide open and vowed never to assume that anyone, even celebrity gospel™ leaders, was exempt when it comes to serious sin. I decided that I have no reason to believe the story of an admired pastor over the new convert to the faith. In fact, I have no reason to believe the oft quoted Christian leader over a non-Christian. We have all sinned and fallen short and that means looking at situations with open hearts.”

    This part of your article reminds me of a book a read along time ago called “Piercing the Darkness”. While (once again!), I might seem to be a little off topic, please hear me out. In the novel, a school teacher is falsely accused of child abuse. Immediately, parents begin to pull their children out of the Christian school he works at, which is completely understandable. However, the way the author portrays these parents is less than flattering ; not only does he portray these parents as foolish people who have lost their faith and are turning their backs on an authority figure, but that even discussing abuse together is an act of gossip (that is being controlled by demons). The entire book was a big lecture against single mothers, women in authority positions, and trumpeted male headship to boot! At the end of the novel, I felt as though the book’s entire message was a scare tactic against believing children and their single mothers (because they’re in league with DEMONS, and SINGLE MOTHERS ARE INCOMPETENT WITHOUT MALE GUIDANCE, leaving their children open to DEMONS) and that a Christian should never question a male CHRISTIAN authority figure, because otherwise they’re being faithless and enabling the devil’s work.

    Needless to say, your article reminds me of how often Christian leaders (and “Servant-leaders”) often turn the focus away from their behavior by scaring those “under” them into believing that questioning another human being is DIRECTLY THE WORK OF THE DEVIL AND WILL LEAD US ALL INTO SIN AND DAMNATION BECAUSE YOU DARED TO QUESTION THE ANOINTED!!!!!

    *whew* Sorry, needed to get that off my chest.

  105. JYJames wrote:

    Forgiveness means walk away and leave it up to God (get out of the way), even praying for one’s enemies. How God deals with them is His business, and He is amazing in His dealings.

    I like this response.
    In my Church, we are ‘all’ sinners and we know it. In some Churches, I guess people are better than that, but for us, we know the truth about what we have done ….. we have the crucifix before us to remind us.

    “This thought should keep us humble:
    We are sinners, but we do not know how great.
    He alone knows Who died for our sins.”
    (John Henry Newman)

    Something tells me Newman might have been looking at a crucifix when he had this thought (?)

  106. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    I’ve been kinda MIA for the past few days. Not ignoring TWW – just busy, busy, busy …… and tired. Wild blackberry jelly; peach jam and some peaches frozen for pies and some peaches to eat; squash pickles; picked jalapeños; a 5 gal buck of green beans in the kitchen now waiting to be canned; beets soaking in another bucket in the carport waiting to be pickled; green bell pepper ready to pick…….. Canners and jars and pots and bowls and measuring cups and spoons to wash ……
    Oh my….. Lots of soap bubble submission going on in my house lately!!!

    Dear God, I enjoyed reading that!
    Nancy Two, thank you for sharing it. Wonderful comment.

  107. Sam wrote:

    The entire book was a big lecture against single mothers, women in authority positions, and trumpeted male headship to boot! At the end of the novel, I felt as though the book’s entire message was a scare tactic against believing children

    Wow! It has been so long since I read this novel I didn’t remember any of this, although it’s vaguely coming back. I feel like I should reread for a ‘male headship’ theme. Hm.

  108. Christiane wrote:

    In my Church, we are ‘all’ sinners and we know it. In some Churches, I guess people are better than that,

    This kind of thing is uncalled for. I would consider THAT unkind.

    Furthermore, when discussing forgiveness in this context, we are talking not about generically being a ‘sinner’ but rather what should happen when a particular person harms another person. That is a completely different issue.

  109. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Forgiveness does not demand forgetting, either. If someone is visiting me, and they steal things out of my house while they are here …… I can forgive them. But I am not required to allow them be a guest in my home again.

    Great illustration of what forgiveness is and what it is not. Forgiveness simply means that I am not going to respond in kind when wronged by another. It does not mean that I am under any obligation to hold hands with and sing kumbaya with the perp who did me wrong.

    It’s great to ponder all the ethereals we can glean from the Bible, that’s fine and that’s dandy, but I think forgiveness has a more practical and a very real benefit in the here and now. The cycle of violence ends with me. It loses its energy and cannot ripple outward feeding on new and even more malevolent energy.

  110. Lea wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    In my Church, we are ‘all’ sinners and we know it. In some Churches, I guess people are better than that,

    This kind of thing is uncalled for. I would consider THAT unkind.

    Furthermore, when discussing forgiveness in this context, we are talking not about generically being a ‘sinner’ but rather what should happen when a particular person harms another person. That is a completely different issue.

    Oh no, I stand by my comment. I believe it.
    We Catholics are sinners and we know it.

  111. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    @ Friend:
    @ Christiane:
    A couple of weeks ago we made strawberry jam and plum jelly …… Tomatoes are coming – I’ve already fried a few green ones!

    Heaven! Fried green tomatoes! 🙂 More joy!

  112. Muff Potter wrote:

    The cycle of violence ends with me. It loses its energy and cannot ripple outward feeding on new and even more malevolent energy.

    Exactly.

  113. Lea wrote:

    Wow! It has been so long since I read this novel I didn’t remember any of this, although it’s vaguely coming back. I feel like I should reread for a ‘male headship’ theme. Hm.

    The first time I read it, I missed it too. It was only after I bumped into a lot of patriarchal and complementarian material online that I started to reconsider the book in a whole new light.

  114. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    forgiveness should be a RESPONSE TO REPENTANCE and NOT A RESPONSE TO SIN

    I’d have an easier life if everyone who wronged me repented and asked my forgiveness. Unfortunately the worst offenders are mentally ill, dead, or unaware of the damage I carry inside. Some did something that hurt me but either helped or did not harm others. One person harmed me while his wife was dying, and I will not ever bring my pain to his attention.

    Since penitents are not knocking at my door, and I cannot or will not seek them out, I try to work out reconciliation inside my own head. It’s long, difficult effort. One thing that helps is discreetly talking to others who know/knew the villain, so I can give and receive insights. Prayer, worship, tincture of time, and slow growth of wisdom also help. Protecting others from similar harm, or comforting them during/after similar harm, is tremendously helpful.

    As for my own sins, “Let not the sun go down on your anger” is one of the most practical verses in the Bible, and a rather important rule in our family. We all apologize quickly, but some of us are slower than others to forgive. So we try to forgive that too.

    Step 9 in AA and Al-Anon is “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” I knew an AA member who yearned to ask his adult children’s forgiveness, but the children refused to see him, and he knew that his presence would destabilize their fragile recovery. The best he could do was to live a sober life and leave them alone.

  115. Friend wrote:

    Since penitents are not knocking at my door, and I cannot or will not seek them out, I try to work out reconciliation inside my own head. It’s long, difficult effort. One thing that helps is discreetly talking to others who know/knew the villain, so I can give and receive insights. Prayer, worship, tincture of time, and slow growth of wisdom also help. Protecting others from similar harm, or comforting them during/after similar harm, is tremendously helpful.

    I understand exactly where you’re coming from. In my own personal experience, most of the Christians I’ve been around have been quick to criticize me for not forgiving others, while I am still being hurt by them on a constant basis. I find in most circles, it’s easier to blame the wronged party (causing further hate and anger to build inside) then to stand together as believers against the actions of the other party. Most of peace has come from distance and also from discovering that yes, contrary to what others might say, I was indeed hurt by the party in question and that what they did to me was uncalled for. The rest of the healing comes from God tapping me on the shoulder and telling me to go out and live my life – breaking out of the prison the person put me in in the first place.

  116. Friend wrote:

    “Let not the sun go down on your anger” is one of the most practical verses in the Bible,

    Yes. Let go and let God. And God sure does.
    If the narrative becomes The Prodigal Son, so be it. God knows best.
    If the narrative becomes The Scribes and Pharisees, as in “Woe to you” and the wrath Jesus pours on them, so be it. God knows best.

    We cannot apply to everyone either narrative, as God knows and we don’t. Some teaching is flawed, going off in one direction or another, as if we know. We don’t. Thank God, He does. Walk away, and let God do His thing with His infinite wisdom.

    “Time” online had an article: 5 Ways to Deal With a Psychopath by Eric Barker, dated Oct 18, 2016. About psychopaths, research recommends walk away, [as a Christian, I would add, without vengeance, and wishing the psychopath complete repentance, compensation for wrongs, and recovery; however, how God deals with them, then is God’s best, always. God offers nothing less than the best.]

    (Parallel: David slew Goliath and fled Saul, [and in both no vengeance]. Two opposite ways of dealing with an deadly enemy.)

    Beware of false teaching that is one-sided, replete with earthly “wisdom”. The Bible is better than that.

  117. JYJames

    SEE Clarification below:

    wrote:

    “Time” online had an article: 5 Ways to Deal With a Psychopath by Eric Barker, dated Oct 18, 2016. About psychopaths, research recommends walk away, [as a Christian, I would add, without vengeance, and wishing the psychopath complete repentance, THE OFFENDER MAKING compensation for THEIR wrongdoings, and recovery; however, how God deals with them, then is God’s best, always. God offers nothing less than the best.]

  118. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The kinds of wrong prevalent in the Christian trends dissected at TWW are committed by those in positions of power, advantage and prestige, against those who do not have these things. And what we often observe is that these people often believe their positions of power justify their actions; even when they do “repent”, they do so in the belief that they can use this to smooth over their “mistakes” and keep their power and prestige as if nothing had happened. As in, “God’s forgiven me, and so should you”. Moreover, their enablers persist in maintaining this delusion: “God’s forgiven him, and so should you”.

    Possibly when those who abuse their position of power publicly repent, an indication of real repentance is they no longer seek the position of power.

  119. Christiane wrote:

    In my Church, we are ‘all’ sinners and we know it. In some Churches, I guess people are better than that, but for us, we know the truth about what we have done ….. we have the crucifix before us to remind us.

    I can’t help but be slightly concerned by this.

    The context of the post is the enabling of abusers by followers who say exactly that: every one of us “is a sinner” in some vague, pervasive, but somehow comfortingly nebulous sense – the more comforting because, even though I am just as guilty as the worst predator, by the same token the kindest and most loving saint is just as guilty as me.

    There is a reason that, when Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment (singular), he gave two answers. “And the second is like it…” according to Matthew’s account. Wrongs committed against other human beings matter before God. If we can’t repent enough to want to put finite wrongs right towards our brother/sister whom we can see, it’s not credible that we’ve repented of infinite wrongs against God whom we can’t see. And if we stand idly by while one brother/sister wrongs another, that is the light in which our love for God is seen.

  120. Thersites wrote:

    Possibly when those who abuse their position of power publicly repent, an indication of real repentance is they no longer seek the position of power.

    I think you’re right.

  121. Friend wrote:

    Since penitents are not knocking at my door, and I cannot or will not seek them out, I try to work out reconciliation inside my own head. It’s long, difficult effort. One thing that helps is discreetly talking to others who know/knew the villain, so I can give and receive insights.

    I’m not sure “discreetly talking to others” is the best course of action. I seriously doubt whether discreet conversations will remain discreet and in the long run such conversations can cause even more problems because the offending individual may be waiting for feedback from others.

    I found that the best policy for me is just not to get any further involved with the individual or activity and not try to figure out what makes the offending individual tick. A case in point. I have regularly volunteered at a food pantry helping to distribute food. I was considered one of the regulars and trained or gave guidance to new volunteers, as needed. At one of the meetings the manager made a disparaging comment about me in front of a new volunteer I was training. I simply thought the manager was having a bad day and let it go. At the end of the evening, as the group was leaving, the manager again made an inappropriate comment about me for several people to hear. That was the last time I volunteered and no one asked me why I haven’t showed up. I would have to have low self esteem to place myself in an environment where I could be subjected to such nonsense.

  122. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Thersites wrote:
    Possibly when those who abuse their position of power publicly repent, an indication of real repentance is they no longer seek the position of power.
    I think you’re right.

    Great insight.

  123. @ Ken G:
    Thanks for this example and practical wisdom. Walk away, never look back. Interactions that are not worth the trouble.

  124. I am unclear as to whether the Anglican church Dee tried to join refused her membership because she was unable to reconcile with her previous pastor or if the previous pastor refused to “release” her without reconciliation and she at that time felt bound by that. It just seems like such an un-Anglican thing to do.

  125. Ken G wrote:

    I’m not sure “discreetly talking to others” is the best course of action.

    Agreed, it can backfire. However, a good example would be talking to a carefully chosen relative about the abusive behavior of a grandparent long ago. If I take the risk of talking to a relative, we both might learn something and grow closer.

    The price of isolation can be very high. I don’t have a duty to suffer in silence forever, especially when another person has been abusive.

  126. @ Ken G:
    Good for you, and the beauty of volunteering. Walk away, never look back when negativity rears its ugly horns. Move on. Don’t sell your soul, find another opportunity. There are many.

    Churches don’t do well policing/filtering/mentoring or monitoring (whatever it’s called) social behavior. But how we treat each other is EVERYTHING. So, church is a transient experience, not vested in a group. It can turn bad on a dime. Leadership changes, [TWW notes with YRR, i.e.]. One bad apple, a lump of yeast, etc.

  127. Claque: a group of sycophantic followers.

    … in regard to the three posers in the post. They each have a claque.

  128. Thersites wrote:

    Possibly when those who abuse their position of power publicly repent, an indication of real repentance is they no longer seek the position of power.

    Yes. Great comment!

    The power is what allowed the abuse to occur. There is always some sort of power imbalance in any abusive situation (one time or chronic abuse).

    i.e. If abuse has happened, an issue of power differentials is there at some level. Even if it’s subtle, or only happened in one quick moment, or the power differentials are more indirect or systemic and takes some time to discern and see the patterns and/or roots. Where there is abuse, there is a power differential at play *somewhere*.

    So giving that up that power *has* to be part of repentance, otherwise the abuser betrays a lack of understanding of self, God, and others about what they did wrong and why it occurred. It inhibits restoration for the abuser/s and can continue to abuse, devalue, minimize the abused person/s. Though God can work in mysterious and providential ways to free the abused person/s from that pain, neglect, and minimization despite what their previous abuser/s are doing.

  129. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    Nancy2, you need to take some time off and go catfishing. Bait your hook with a small chunk of Slim Jim (original flavor, 3 for $1.00 at Dollar General) … bluegill love them, too. It’s OK to take a break – the rest of us Wartburgers will deal with gullible Christians while you are gone. The cannin’ can wait until you get home.

  130. @ Ken G:

    In some circumstances this works fine.

    If, however, we are just leaving because we don’t want to confront someone about how they are treating me or others, we might just be allowing the person to harm others as well.

    This also does not work so well if it means leaving a church you have been part of for many years because the new pastor/elder/leader is being unkind.

    There is not one response that fits all circumstances.

  131. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    In my Church, we are ‘all’ sinners and we know it. In some Churches, I guess people are better than that, but for us, we know the truth about what we have done ….. we have the crucifix before us to remind us.

    I can’t help but be slightly concerned by this.

    The context of the post is the enabling of abusers by followers who say exactly that: every one of us “is a sinner” in some vague, pervasive, but somehow comfortingly nebulous sense – the more comforting because, even though I am just as guilty as the worst predator, by the same token the kindest and most loving saint is just as guilty as me.

    There is a reason that, when Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment (singular), he gave two answers. “And the second is like it…” according to Matthew’s account. Wrongs committed against other human beings matter before God. If we can’t repent enough to want to put finite wrongs right towards our brother/sister whom we can see, it’s not credible that we’ve repented of infinite wrongs against God whom we can’t see. And if we stand idly by while one brother/sister wrongs another, that is the light in which our love for God is seen.

    I am not TOTALLY depraved, Nick. 🙂

    The ‘difference’ in how faith communities relate to ‘the others’ usually reflects whether the faith community sees itself as ‘pure’
    OR
    whether the faith community understands that it’s members will always have need to pray ‘Jesus Christ Son Savior have mercy on us’.

    Think about it. 🙂

  132. Bridget wrote:

    If, however, we are just leaving because we don’t want to confront someone about how they are treating me or others, we might just be allowing the person to harm others as well.

    Much as I dislike the business principles applied to church thing, I tend to think the ‘one minute manager’ idea might be best, which included one minute reprimands and one minute praise. If something is a problem, call it out immediately preferably in private and with specifics. And then see how they react.

  133. Dew wrote:

    It just seems like such an un-Anglican thing to do

    I do not wish to speak for Dee but the Anglican church in reference is very tight, or at least was very tight, with the SBC church Dee left. Additionally, this Anglican church is affiliated with the Rwandan bishopric, not the Anglican Church of the US or the Episcopal Church.

  134. A few thoughts…..
    1) great post Dee, I am a complimentarian Calvinist and I think I agree with all of it
    2) not everyone that would call themselves a “Calvinist” would agree with all of Calvin’s writings…. I think we all just use the term Calvinist as a “catch-all”.
    3) I think the “celebrity pastor” mindset has hurt the church a lot…. as many have said on this blog, the average Joe pastor that loves his small flock and is content with the work the Lord has given him is overlooked… there are many heroes of the faith still
    4) the double standards and scores of hurting people are not going unnoticed by the Lord, I do not want to let what I see in Christiandom discourage me….. I try to get wiser as I get older…. which is all any of us can do
    5) I do think there is an element of Spiritual warfare in this…. the last few years just have too many stories and too many factions. Good theology does not produce factions.

  135. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Sounds like that book is right up Paige Patterson’s alley!

    Patterson, Mohler, Mahaney, MacArthur,… their schtick will not endure and it will not see the 22nd century. Why? Because people of the Christian faith are becoming less and less gullible.

  136. Burwell wrote:

    Dew wrote:

    It just seems like such an un-Anglican thing to do

    I do not wish to speak for Dee but the Anglican church in reference is very tight, or at least was very tight, with the SBC church Dee left. Additionally, this Anglican church is affiliated with the Rwandan bishopric, not the Anglican Church of the US or the Episcopal Church.

    so it may be a ‘rogue’ Church …. it does not seem ‘Anglican’, no, and I wondered if maybe it had gone rogue and adopted some negative traits from ‘elsewhere’ and is now a hybrid of the two…. something seems off, yes (?)

    what is that saying ‘if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, ….’

  137. Burwell wrote:

    Additionally, this Anglican church is affiliated with the Rwandan bishopric, not the Anglican Church of the US or the Episcopal Church.

    That bunch is very conservative. It is amazing to me how different various anglican churches can be. When I was in the process of becoming an Episcopalian we had to attend classes, of course, and one thing they emphasized many times is the broad variety of differences between not just groups but also between individual churches within our group (TEC). They basically emphasized do not assume you can predict anything about some church merely by the name.

    Now I see not just that, but I see that our parish accommodates a variety of opinions in our own parish. So there you go. Broad tolerance in one place and not another, all either belonging to the anglican communion or else using the word while not yet recognized by the mother ship or else some just being more conservative that the Deity himself (IMO).

  138. I am joining this discussion late. One thing that we all need to be aware of is what is called “confirmation bias.” It is defined on Wikipedia as “the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.”

    Your basic tendency is to search out information and read it in a way that confirms what you already believe etc. Thus if you believe a person is so godly etc. perhaps through perhaps their preaching that sounds so sincere etc. then when someone tries and tells you that this leader isn’t as godly as he seems or perhaps you witness actions that shows this leader isn’t you tend to ignore since it goes against what you already believe.

    Just something to be aware of.

    I am sure this is a factor in how a lot of people are gullible and can’t see the sin and hypocrisy of certain leaders.

  139. Steve240 wrote:

    One thing that we all need to be aware of is what is called “confirmation bias.”

    Bias is a shorthand for thinking when we lack the time or knowledge to make better decisions. I try to keep an open mind when possible but the dilemma is further experience typically adds confirmation to my existing bias.

  140. Burwell wrote:

    Additionally, this Anglican church is affiliated with the Rwandan bishopric, not the Anglican Church of the US or the Episcopal Church.

    From a couple years ago…
    Wasn’t the Rwandan bishophric the refuge of Anglicans who thought the church had caved on HOMOSEXUALITY?

  141. When the pastor tell us to obey very clear teachings in the bible, yes we should submit to that pastor. Namely if the pastor tells us to love God and love our neighbors, yes we should do it. Because in reality we are not actually submitting to the pastor. But the pastor points out “correctly” what God clearly said. So we are obeying God.

    But when the pastor tell us to go against the words of God, we must refuse to obey. Namely if the pastor tells us to hate God and hate our neighbors, we must disobey. The pastor might cover it up with fancy falsehood, just as Satan does. He would tell us why we can love person 1 while hating person 2, for example. But if we obey God we know that we must love both person 1 and 2. If we only love person 1 and yet hate person 2, we are disobeying God.

    For example let’s say your church is lead by person 1 your pastor. He is married to his wife, person 2. It was later found that person 1 kept on abusing person 2. In fact person 1 pointed a loaded gun at person 2. Person 2 can’t take it anymore and its filing for divorce. Now the church is asking you to cover up the evidence for person 1’s abuses, while excommunicating person 2 out of the church for “un-Godly” divorce. What would you do?

    There is a fine line between disciplining out of love, and punishing out of hatred. The first is to correct someone’s sins out of love. The second is to hurt someone just for the sake of hurting that person. Once again Satan can cover these up with fancy words. But a true Christian will be guided by the Holy Spirit and see the truth.