Mack Stiles Says ‘Don’t be chintzy’ – Churches Should Be Giving Away Calvinista Books to Visitors

"For giveaways and welcome gifts for visitors, prioritize brief and readable books than tracts. So many people I've known have come to faith though [sic] The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney, or What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert."

Mack Stiles

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=162548&picture=a-pile-of-booksA Pile of Books

As I begin this post, I'm having a flashback to January 25, 2009. It was on that Sunday morning that Dee and I ventured into a Sovereign Grace church in our area to hear a guest preacher named C.J. Mahaney. We had come across his name as we began to do internet research during the previous fall.

Both of us had read the Young, Restless, Reformed article that appeared in Christianity Today (September 2006), but we had never heard of several of the individuals that were highlighted, including C.J. Mahaney. Here is the paragraph in which his name is mentioned:

For [Joshua] Harris, things started changing when he read Piper describe God's glory and breathtaking sovereignty. Later, C. J. Mahaney, a charismatic Calvinist and founding pastor of Covenant Life, took Harris under his wing and groomed him to take over the church. Mahaney, 51, turned Harris on to his hero, Charles Spurgeon, the great 19th-century Calvinistic Baptist preacher in London. Mahaney assigned him a number of texts, such as Iain H. Murray's Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism. "I would have been reading Christian comic books if left to myself," Harris told me, flashing the characteristic self-deprecating humor he shares with Mahaney.

As we read the 'survivor' testimonies of people who had been members of Covenant Life Church (where Mahaney had pastored for 27 years) and other fellowships in the 'family of churches' known as Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), we wondered whether these accounts were true. Those who posted on SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge sounded so believable. Dee and I decided to go and hear the president of SGM (Mahaney) in person to gain a better understanding. Keep in mind that this was nearly two months before we launched our blog. (True confession…at the time, I wasn't sure whether we would ever become bloggers. Would anyone want to read our posts? Not only that, was there enough to write about several times a week?)

I will NEVER forget what I saw as Dee and I walked through the front door of that Sovereign Grace church. Prominently positioned in the church lobby was a bookstore! I wish I had taken a picture. We spent a couple of minutes browsing the selection of books that were for sale. No doubt our regular readers know the titles well. Some of the authors included . . . Mahaney, Dever, Mohler, Grudem, Piper, etc. When I spotted the cash register, it appeared to me that the money changers had invaded the temple.

Dee and I were handed a welcome packet, along with one of Mahaney's books. We were given the option of The Cross Centered Life or Humility: True Greatness. Dee and I chose the latter. Not long before this I had been organizing the bookshelf in my den, and I couldn't believe it when I spotted Mahaney's The Cross Centered Life. Where did that book come from? Then I remembered that several years earlier I had purchased it at LifeWay (around the time that it came out). There had been a display of Mahaney's book at the front of the store, and I bought it strictly because Al Mohler endorsed it. It was around that time that I drove out to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to hear Mohler deliver the chapel message. Afterwards, I even shook his hand. 

Getting back to our church visit, Mahaney delivered one of his canned sermons called "Cravings and Conflicts". He spent so much time talking about the Duke/Maryland game he had attended the day before that he had to rush through his message. On the church website, they ended up substituting Mahaney's sermon at another church for the one we heard.

Based on a recent post on the 9Marks website, there is a strong possibility that what Dee and I experienced eight and a half years ago will become the modus operandi of Calvinista churches.

Here is what caught our attention in a post written by Mack Stiles (see screen shot below):


https://www.9marks.org/article/personal-evangelism-for-the-church-planter-and-the-church-plant/


I am reminded of our friend in Dubai, Todd Wilhelm, who a number of years ago was approached by leaders in his church about managing the books being made available to congregants (I assume for purchase). Todd explained to them that he could not in good conscience promote Mahaney's books. In short order Todd was informed that he was not the right man for this responsibility. Not long after, Todd and his wife submitted their letter of resignation from the church. Were the Wilhelm's names promptly removed from the church roll? Not on your life! We have previously written about Todd's frustrating experience trying to have his name removed from the church roll, which finally happened months later.

I find it incredible that so many people Mack Stiles knows have purportedly come to faith through Mahaney's book The Cross Centered Life. I resolved to read it and wrote a two-part review with my observations and concerns (see links below). 

Living the Cross Centered Life: A Deficient Gospel

What's Wrong With Living the Cross-Centered Life?

The other resource Stiles mentioned was written by one of Mark Dever's disciples, Greg Gilbert, who pastors the Louisville church that Mack and his wife have joined. Shhh!!! Don't let the cat out of the bag that the Stiles are now stateside. Apparently Mack and his wife don't want it to become public knowledge that they are no longer living in Dubai.

Ever since we started blogging, we have been pointing out the Calvinistas' obsession with books and conferences, and over time it has only gotten worse. Now we have someone like Mack Stiles instructing congregations to purchase books to hand to visitors. Why not invest in a stack of Bibles and make them available to those who might not own one? It's a tragic day in Christendom when Mahaney's little book takes precedence over Almighty God's 66 books. 🙁

Make no mistake, the Calvinistas don't want anyone calling attention to their book-selling schemes. We discovered that recently when Joe Carter's Beware of Broken Wolves post appeared on The Gospel Coalition website. Someone questioned whether he was talking about The Wartburg Watch in his 'Broken Wolves' post. Carter made it clear that he was not talking about our blog, but when Joe re-read someone's comment and saw our blog's name "The Wartburg Watch", it caused a swift and negative reaction (see screen shot below).

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/beware-of-broken-wolves#comment-3269446054

Joe Carter followed up with this comment, mentioning Tim Challies' blog post (see screen shot below).

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/beware-of-broken-wolves#comment-3269581244

The Tim Challies article that Joe Carter cited in the comment above was entitled In the Crosshairs of Discernment Bloggers, and it was published on April 3, 2013. Here is a portion of what Challies wrote (see screen shot below):

https://www.challies.com/in-the-crosshairs-of-the-discernment-bloggers/

When one reads Tim Challies' post, can there be any doubt that he was responding to a post that I had written just a month earlier? My March 3, 2013 post was entitled Tim Challies / Cruciform Press in our 'Cross' Hairs.

Rest assured that in the post title I was using a play on words. Apparently, it got to both Tim Challies (shortly after we published the post) and to Joe Carter (who four years later still remembers his buddy Tim's post and provided a link in his comment).

Apparently, we weren't supposed to bring up Cruciform Press or Tim Challies' connection to Mahaney.

Years later, it is becoming even more apparent that the Calvinista movement is built on leaders who crank out books and distribute (SELL)  them in various ways from bookstores at conferences, to online bookstores, to on site bookstores (in churches). And now those distribution outlets (err churches) are being urged to stock up on books like Mahaney's Cross Centered Life to give away to visitors. Is that really a good use of church funds? Recently, I heard Mark Dever state in an audio clip that he gives away books every week to those attending his church.

So the serious question is — do you want your contributions being used to buy books like The Cross Centered Life to give away to visitors?

You've been forewarned…


Comments

Mack Stiles Says ‘Don’t be chintzy’ – Churches Should Be Giving Away Calvinista Books to Visitors — 231 Comments

  1. At the church where I am a member, we give away bibles and sell steeply discounted books that reflect the teaching at this church. Adam Hamilton’s “Making Sense of the Bible” is probably the one that moves the most. “What! A Methodist’s book at a Baptist church?” Yep, because we are not trying to sell a theology. We are giving people tools to use the bible themselves.

  2. Oh, my! Haven’t read the article yet but just the title gives me the creeps. It gives me visions of love-bombing and brain washing all entwined – ugh.

  3. ‘morning, NICK, up there in Scotland

    well, the dog survived the trip to the vet yesterday but I’m an absolute mess 🙂

  4. I could understand giving away Bibles. That at least seems to me an honorable thing where no one is profiting from a sale in the sanctuary.

  5. Call me consistent, if you wish, but ALL Calvinist/Reformed books should be burned. No, not because one should “control” what others can read (it’s their choice), but should one have Calvinist/Reformed books, one should burn them so that that poison and the false gospel that cannot save, the one that’s unbiblical and misrepresents the Biblical God, and the theology that only condemns can’t be spread. Similar to the way the authorities control the outbreak of Avian flu. They don’t hand out infected chickens…

    One should not give this junk away. Ever. And I know Velour agrees.

  6. Have to wonder where, what a church’s devotion is to, when a book is given out by a church, to the visiting public, instead of the Bible.

    Ecclesiastes 12:12 comes to mind.

    My son,be aware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is weariness of the flesh.”
    ( ESV )

  7. @ Mae:
    What an appropriate Bible verse from Ecclesiastes. To quote another verse from that book:

    “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

  8. I don’t have a problem with a church giving away books. It’s which books they are giving away that might give me concern!

    (we have a time or two had books the church could read together for some reason or another, and this were giveaway/donations accepted, which seems reasonable).

    BTW, there are ‘christian comics’? That’s a thing? Who knew!

  9. @BostonLady, 6:44am – Please, think of the air pollution that would cause. Send them to the recycling center instead so they can be pulped into toilet paper, a much more useful product.

  10. Also I love how Challies article reads, ‘ i was ok with this (blogs) until they were mean to ME ‘

  11. Lea wrote:

    I don’t have a problem with a church giving away books. It’s which books they are giving away that might give me concern!
    (we have a time or two had books the church could read together for some reason or another, and this were giveaway/donations accepted, which seems reasonable).
    BTW, there are ‘christian comics’? That’s a thing? Who knew!

    I don’t mind the church giving away books for the purpose of a study, etc.

    It seems though that the give away under discussion, is for new visitors to the church. That just doesn’t sit right with me.

    My own church gives new visitors a coffee mug, church schedule, and RBC’s ,’ Daily Bread’.( Not saying this example is to be identically replicated.)

    It just seems odd to me that a book, rather then a Bible, or Bible passages, would be given out to visitors. Seems rather manipulative to me.

  12. Yep. Money changers……. that’s all they are. I wonder if they’ve thought about donating a bunch of books to Gideons International?

  13. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Yep. Money changers……. that’s all they are. I wonder if they’ve thought about donating a bunch of books to Gideons International?

    shhhhhh ….. don’t encourage them

  14. Christiane wrote:

    well, the dog survived the trip to the vet yesterday but I’m an absolute mess

    We need to make an appt. to get our 5 1/2 month old lab/pit bull (Jackson) spayed. He’s a little monster……. very active.
    Our 10 year old Great Pyrenees (Bumbles) isn’t doing very well. He acting like a big, albino 3-toed sloth. We are wondering if he will make it through the summer. But, if he leaves us soon, that’s okay. It’s been a good ride. He came to us starved to the bone and suffering serious trauma from abuse when he was 9 months old. (And, 10 years old for a GP is 80 old years for a human. )
    I don’t believe he even remembers the trauma. For years now, Bumbles has known where home is, where safety is, and where love is.

    Uhg, one more batch of blackberry jelly, ……… then pickled beets today ( my grandma’s recipe).

  15. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    For years now, Bumbles has known where home is, where safety is, and where love is.

    that’s what matters 🙂Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Uhg, one more batch of blackberry jelly, ……… then pickled beets today ( my grandma’s recipe).

    I can smell the pickling spices already.
    I imagine your kitchen is the most marvelous place. Well, only second to your garden. 🙂

    somewhere, in an old tin, I have my mother’s recipe for watermelon (rind) pickles….. I think I’ll go looking for it

    Memories 🙂 We cook from the old recipes and time fades away.

  16. Mae wrote:

    I don’t mind the church giving away books for the purpose of a study, etc.

    Right. I agree with you that it would be odd if I went to a church and they gave me a John Piper book, like ‘thanks for coming’.

    My church does the bread thing too! And my parent’s. I guess that’s a thing. When I joined I think I got a church cookbook, which was cute.

  17. Lea wrote:

    Mae wrote:
    I don’t mind the church giving away books for the purpose of a study, etc.
    Right. I agree with you that it would be odd if I went to a church and they gave me a John Piper book, like ‘thanks for coming’.
    My church does the bread thing too! And my parent’s. I guess that’s a thing. When I joined I think I got a church cookbook, which was cute.

    Church cookbook is unique…..bet it had some good recipes too.

  18. Deb wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    When you find that recipe, would you share it with us? I love Watermelon Pickle Rind and have always wanted to learn how to make it.

    I’d love to!
    My mom made the best watermelon pickles ever. A childhood memory is that during the preparation, the kitchen backdoor was open and flies would gather outside the screen door ….. the smells of the spices and vinegar were heavenly. I think Mom got the recipe from her mother who got it from her mother and so it goes into the mists of time.

  19. Loren Haas wrote:

    At the church where I am a member, we give away bibles

    Our church has a literature rack with free seasonal devotionals in regular type and large type. I’ve seen many members and visitors reach for these publications. People on the church email list receive the daily devotional from the same publication. It has a verse, a meditation, and links to readings and prayers.

    The approach is simple and comforting, and it promotes daily private study and reflection.

    It also lacks the drama that Piper and co. seem to view as an essential of faith. My life is exciting enough, thanks; I need sustenance, not shakeups. Even Paul was blinded only once.

  20. New Calvinism is full of mumbo-jumbo about being gospel-centered and cross-centered this and that, but their “gospel” is not the Gospel, nor the Cross of Christ for ALL people. Beware of the subtle use of words in reformed theology – they lead not to salvation and spiritual life.

  21. @ Christiane:
    I remember my Gramma’s watermelon pickles well. Before your post, I had fouñd no one who had even heard of these pickles!! Thanks for good memories.

  22. “prioritze brief and readable books than tracts”

    You will not find a Gospel tract in New Calvinist churches! Their members will not greet you on American streets with words of hope and life from tracts that point you to salvation in Christ. Their pastors will not place them in hospital waiting rooms or other places where some poor hurting soul will discover peace in Scripture.

    Remember “The Four Spiritual Laws”, “Roman’s Road to Salvation”, and other such tracts? Multitudes were introduced to Christ and salvation through those clear presentations of the Gospel. Let’s admit it folks, “another” gospel has arrived in American pulpits which is not the Gospel at all. The literature they produce is intended to indoctrinate, not lead you to saving faith in Jesus.

  23. “Why not invest in a stack of Bibles and make them available to those who might not own one?” (Deb)

    Well, an SBC-YRR church plant down the road from me has done that. There’s a big stack of Bibles by the door, with a sign to take one if you don’t have your own Bible so you can follow along with pastor’s sermons. You guessed it … ESV.

  24. Deb wrote:

    @ TomkeinOK:
    Here in the South, watermelon pickle rind will be offered on the best salad bars. Makes my day every time!

    Trying to imagine what this tastes like. I have never heard of it.

  25. Mae wrote:

    Ecclesiastes 12:12

    I like the way the Amplified version of the Bible phrases this verse:

    “Be warned: the writing of many books is endless [so do not believe everything you read], and excessive study and devotion to books is wearying to the body.”

    Solomon was a wise man … oh wait, a minute, I think we already knew that!

  26. Mae wrote:

    It just seems odd to me that a book, rather then a Bible, or Bible passages, would be given out to visitors. Seems rather manipulative to me.

    Bingo!

  27. Bridget wrote:

    Trying to imagine what this tastes like. I have never heard of it.

    You can pickle anything! #StuffILearnedFromTopChef

  28. Mae wrote:

    Church cookbook

    Must be a Baptist thing. We have lots of them. It's a form of indoctrination, I suppose … the church women get into your mind with their best dishes!

  29. Max wrote:

    “Be warned: the writing of many books is endless [so do not believe everything you read], and excessive study and devotion to books is wearying to the body.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

    You won’t find this Scripture displayed above the New Calvinist book rack in the church foyer, nor on LifeWay’s website.

  30. Books that should be given away:

    Books for survivors of sexual abuse such as Diane Langberg’s works and books for parents of children to teach them to guard themselves from abuse, books like “God Made All of Me”.
    @ Lea:

  31. @ Bridget:
    There are a variety of recipes out there. The ones I love are candied – sugar and spice and everything nice! 🙂

    Cloves and cinnamon and sugar among other ingredients. Goes great with our sweet iced tea y’all!

  32. bea wrote:

    Books for survivors of sexual abuse

    An excellent idea! Some abuse survivors – even those abused by a church leader – are still looking for a church which will provide a loving atmosphere where they can heal, a place offering them hope and peace in Jesus. Lord help them if they wander into a New Calvinist church – these are not characterized by the love they show one another, where members are controlled, manipulated and indoctrinated, and women subordinated.

  33. The article on Mahaney’s Cross Centered Life was excellent. That must have been before my time at TWW.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/02/10/living-the-cross-centered-life-a-%e2%80%9cdeficient-gospel%e2%80%9d/

    A gospel that gets stuck at the cross can leave a person stuck with an awareness of their sin and inability, but no power to live and reign in life. And this is the sort of person who needs strong leadership and lots of books. Which is the perfect person for the calvinistas.

  34. bea wrote:

    Books that should be given away:
    Books for survivors of sexual abuse such as Diane Langberg’s works and books for parents of children to teach them to guard themselves from abuse, books like “God Made All of Me”.

    Yes!

  35. bea wrote:

    Books that should be given away:

    Books for survivors of sexual abuse such as Diane Langberg’s works and books for parents of children to teach them to guard themselves from abuse, books like “God Made All of Me”.
    @ Lea:

    Yes! I love this.

  36. One way that people used to do out on the farm and back in the day is that the farmer would provide the noon meal for the hired hands that were there that day-on a large kitchen table loaded with stuff.

    I had the privilege of going home one weekend with a fellow nursing student to such a farm in Kentucky. So here is what they do. Every time they spread the table they include ice tea, a large tray of breads of some sort or another, gravy of some sort and a large bowl of pickles of one kind or another. Then a couple of different meat choices and half a dozen different veggies. And pie or cobbler.

    After everybody eats their fill they spread a clean table cloth over the entire thing and just leave it there for the second go-round at supper. Only after supper did they clear the table; kept some and put the rest in the slop for the pigs.

    Some of the best food I ever ate. Bar none.

  37. Preston Bennett here, fairly regular reader, very, very occasional poster, and happy member of Capitol Hill Baptist
    Church for full disclosure, and my comments only pertain to my church.
    Is it having a bookstall/store, or what it is stocked with, that is the concern?
    CHBC is Calvinist/reformed, so finding author’s that are likewise really shouldn’t be a surprise ( although our bookstall does not exclusively stock only authors with Calvinist Theology, but a big majority). To say one doesn’t like something about the Theology of a particular person, and then say one doesn’t like some of the content of the books they author is redundant.
    Secondly, I know for a fact that at CHBC the books are sold at cost from the publisher, without markup.
    Thirdly, to the “what about the Bible?” Commenters, EVERY Sunday morning and evening, the service leader says something like “if you don’t have a Bible that you own that you can read, take the one in front of you as our gift to you”. (We have pew BIbles, and yes, they are ESV).
    Fourth: I would find it hard to believe that anyone is gettting rich, or moderately wealthy, with booksales from these types of what I’ll broadly call Theology books; the more academic and narrow in topic then less likely. They just don’t have high numbers of sales. Exceptions might be more broadly written “Christian” books, for a wider readership. Furthermore, if a pastor or Theologian, or whomever, writes a book and profits from their labor, I don’t see the problem. I don’t think my pastor has a “scheme” to write dense Theology books and books on church polity with dollar signs in his eyes.
    More broadly, after reading regularly for many years, although with special interest when CHBC and my pastor Mark Denver are mentioned, since I am a member, my take on TWW is that TWW disagrees with A: Calvinism B: complementarianism C: Formal church membership/covenants, or the type criticized over the years in posts as being heavy handed and authoritarian
    When sins of an individual or a church body corporately are discovered, and those individuals or churches subscribe to A, B, or C, or all 3, that is seen as directly causative and the primary reason for the sin, and proof of the fatal flaw in A or B or C.
    I would link the sin to the sin of Adam, and at times the sinful misuse of Calvinism, complementarianism, and church membership, rather than a primary flaw or error, and a large number of the posts are spurious to that disagreement. I don’t believe the “rate of incidence”, if you will, or type of the sins pointed out in TWW watch are higher or peculiar to churches or individuals espousing A/B/C, but are common to mankind, even professing Christians (although I have seen no study to back me up).

  38. Max wrote:

    New Calvinism is full of mumbo-jumbo about being gospel-centered and cross-centered this and that, but their “gospel” is not the Gospel, nor the Cross of Christ for ALL people. Beware of the subtle use of words in reformed theology – they lead not to salvation and spiritual life.

    Max, you are so right. Their “gospel” leads to death, hence the destruction of their “indoctrinatory” books. I did it years ago, burned a lot and ripped the pages of others until no one would have been able to read one word. And it felt so good.

  39. Giving out bibles is a good idea. The best idea would be that the whole world knew that all believers were wearing a T shirt that said ‘Ask Me About Jesus’. But we have a ways to go before reaching that goal.

    I think we need one of those bon fire repent and rededicate services where everybody brings their old T shirts to toss in the fire. That would be the ones that say ‘Ask Me About My Church’ or ‘Ask Me About Politics’ or such, and also the one that says ‘Don’t Ask Me!’.

    God went all in with the incarnation while we struggle with literature. Something not quite right there.

  40. okrapod wrote:

    I had the privilege of going home one weekend with a fellow nursing student to such a farm in Kentucky. So here is what they do. Every time they spread the table they include ice tea, a large tray of breads of some sort or another, gravy of some sort and a large bowl of pickles of one kind or another. Then a couple of different meat choices and half a dozen different veggies. And pie or cobbler.

    Yeah, baby! That is exactly how I grew up ……… Even into my mid forties. Cornbread & biscuits; taters, mashed, stewed or salad; pinto beans; fried chicken …… don’t forget the lemonade. Baccer strippin’ time always meant sweet tater pie and molasses cookies!

    Got our beets cooked and peeled. Gonna pickle two batches after lunch – sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves! I’ve never made watermelon rind pickles, but I may have to try them. I have recipes.

    @ Max – I have 4 church cookbooks…… Joined Chapel Baptist in Muhlenberg Co., Ky….. Trinity Baptist and Petrie Methodist in Todd Co., Ky …. Baugh Station Baptist in Logan Co., Ky!

  41. Yes–our former YRR pastor bought a whole box of Gilbert’s “What Is the Gospel” books from 9-Marx not too long before he left. He put them in visitor packets. They are still in his former office, mostly still there. Our treasurer said we should just chuck ’em. I tend to agree, because I don’t want them to get into other people’s hands.

    My wife read the book just to check it out. She said it took over 90 pages before he got around to what the “gospel” really was. The real Gospel isn’t that complicated, folks…why all the beating around the bush and fluff? If you’re going to hand out anything, make it the Bible. Better yet, why don’t we just show them the love of Christ in our church through our own transformed lives?

  42. Root 66 wrote:

    Better yet, why don’t we just show them the love of Christ in our church through our own transformed lives?

    now that would be the most ‘biblical’ of all offerings

  43. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):

    When we were in St.Louis I ran into something I had never seen done before. When you said pinto beans it reminded me. The hospital cafeteria offered ‘a plate of beans’ which was either white beans or pintos with a bowl of chopped onions so people could put on whatever amount of raw chopped onions that they wanted. I tried that and I am now addicted to raw chopped onions on various things-especially beans and cooked greens. At home, of course, never at work.

  44. For those who may think that food talk is off topic, well perhaps. But I do think that scripture says we are invited to the table (metaphor) and we do consider the Lord’s Supper to be ‘supper’, a spiritual meal. And in the judgment one issue is did you feed ‘me’ when I was hungry-meaning I think both literally and spiritually.

    So, perhaps sharing ideas and recipes and recognition about food is not so far off base at all. You can’t really serve up a mess of fried squash on the internet.

  45. Root 66 wrote:

    Yes–our former YRR pastor bought a whole box of Gilbert’s “What Is the Gospel” books from 9-Marx not too long before he left. He put them in visitor packets. They are still in his former office, mostly still there. Our treasurer said we should just chuck ’em. I tend to agree, because I don’t want them to get into other people’s hands.
    My wife read the book just to check it out. She said it took over 90 pages before he got around to what the “gospel” really was. The real Gospel isn’t that complicated, folks…why all the beating around the bush and fluff? If you’re going to hand out anything, make it the Bible. Better yet, why don’t we just show them the love of Christ in our church through our own transformed lives?

    So true , the true gospel is not that complicated. Deliberately so because the Lord made his offer of salvation in a simple plea. ” God so loved the world”, “All” may come, “whosoever will”, may come, a child can understand the plan of salvation.

  46. @ Preston Bennett:
    Thanks for your comment. Since you are a member of Capitol Hill Baptist, I wouldn’t expect you to see any problems whatsoever with anything Mark Dever and his lieutenants do. Nice try!

  47. It seems to me that buying and giving away copies of neo-Cal authors’ books is a smart way to pad their sales numbers and keep their books from being remaindered.

    Celebrity pa$tors get paid to write book$, and get paid to write recommendation$ for each other$’ book$, $o all of them $tand to benefit from thi$ practice. $o clever.

  48. Mae wrote:

    So true , the true gospel is not that complicated. Deliberately so because the Lord made his offer of salvation in a simple plea. ” God so loved the world”, “All” may come, “whosoever will”, may come, a child can understand the plan of salvation.

    Oh no! They wouldn’t want children to hear or understand the “gospel,” since the little darlings may NOT be part of the “elect!” One of Piper’s VBS manuals essentially said just that.

    When you can’t look a person in the eye and genuinely say, “Jesus loves you” or “Jesus died for you,” then there’s something terribly, horribly wrong with your theology! “Limited atonement” is almost as despicable as the concept of Calvin’s “evanescent grace!”

  49. Preston Bennett wrote:

    I would find it hard to believe that anyone is gettting rich, or moderately wealthy, with booksales from these types of what I’ll broadly call Theology books

    Mark Dever, John Piper, et al aren’t rich?!? Perhaps not by your standards…

  50. Jenny wrote:

    buying and giving away copies of neo-Cal authors’ books is a smart way to pad their sales numbers

    By using tithes to buy books in bulk, the church cuts out the middleman, i.e., the thinking member who might decide it’s not worth their hard-earned money. Hey, the church already did their thinking and buying for them, using their money! It’s a win-win-win-win-win!

    Book contracts often contain a clause that increases royalties (the author’s percentage) after sales reach a certain number. If a hundred churches give away books by the boxload, they enrich authors by artificially boosting sales. Books that sell well are also more likely to go into reprint, of course.

  51. __

    Book Warning: “Look What Is Below The Proverbial Literary Waterline, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Classic Proverbial Pernicious Disclaimer : “whoever, then, heaps odium upon the doctrine of predestination openly reproaches God” (Inst. III, 21, 4) – John Calvin

    huh?

    Q. “Which book is the core of Calvinism?”

    Book Ad. : “Published first in 1536, ‘The Institutes Of The Christian Religion’ is John Calvin’s magnum opus. Extremely important for the Protestant Reformation, the Institutes has remained important for Protestant theology for almost five centuries. Written to “aid those who desire to be instructed in the doctrine of salvation,” the Institutes, which follows the ordering of the Apostle’s Creed, has four parts. The first part examines God the Father; the second part, the Son; the third part, the Holy Spirit; and the fourth part, the Church. Through these four parts, it explores both “knowledge of God” and “knowledge of ourselves” with profound theological insight, challenging and informing all the while. Thus, for either the recent convert or the long-time believer, for the inquisitive beginner or the serious scholar, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a rewarding book worthy of study!” -Tim Perrine; CCEL Staff Writer (1)

    What?

    Calvin’s ‘Institutes’ fully develops an idea of an exclusionary Gospel presented in a systematic form.

    SKreeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    “Calvinism or Reformed theology is a popular present day counterfeit belief system which began with John Calvin (1509-1564). John Calvin got his doctrines from Augustine of Hippo (354-430)…” -Dan Corner

    Bump.

    Whereas TULIP is just the five percent ‘tip’ of the Calvinist iceberg that you can see…so if you are actually lōōking –don’t stop at an understanding of TULIP if you intend on ‘avoiding’ a serious collision with Calvinism…

    … – – – … … – – – … … – – – …

    (sadface)

    Sopy
    ___
    (1) Ref(s):
    http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/Calvin%20Institutes%20of%20Christian%20Religion.pdf
    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.html

    😉

  52. @ Mae:

    Here is the sad reality regarding Calvinista churches. If a child fully comprehends the plan of salvation at a young age and wants to make a public profession through baptism, s(he) must wait until.. Depending on the church, some may have to wait for years (perhaps as late as 18 years old) until the time church leadership deems it O.K.

  53. Preston Bennett wrote:

    my take on TWW is that TWW disagrees with A: Calvinism B: complementarianism C: Formal church membership/covenants, or the type criticized over the years in posts as being heavy handed and authoritarian

    When sins of an individual or a church body corporately are discovered, and those individuals or churches subscribe to A, B, or C, or all 3, that is seen as directly causative and the primary reason for the sin, and proof of the fatal flaw in A or B or C.

    I actually agree with you on this last bit, and I think sometimes it is true sometimes it is not.

    For instance, when you have an abusive situation that directly involves a church ‘covenant’ and membership contracts might be completely fair to blame that particular thought process for it. And considering your own leadership made a ‘don’t be a 9marxist’ video, that is a fair criticism. There are systems that lend themselves to being abusive, and I do believe that this is one of them, but all systems can be abused.

    Likewise, if you have women being treated poorly linking that directly to complementarianistisism makes sense. There will always be bad actors, but when you teach them things that encourage those bad actions or cover for them you are contributing. (I personally think much of what passes for comp theory is inherently problematic as well, because it focuses on entirely the wrong things for Christian life)

    The Calvinist theology as the problem I’m less sure of. I am thankful to this blog for showing, however, that these three things *travel together* and coupled with an authoritarian and often deceptive mindset can cause great harm.

    That said, I am Presbyterian and my church is lovely.

  54. Deb wrote:

    @ Mae:
    Here is the sad reality regarding Calvinista churches. If a child fully comprehends the plan of salvation at a young age and wants to make a public profession through baptism, s(he) must wait until.. Depending on the church, some may have to wait for years (perhaps as late as 18 years old) until the time church leadership deems it O.K.

    See…that’s what doesn’t make sense to me. When you look up the bios on many of these YRR, Neo-Cal pastors, many of them were saved at a very young age! Why is it OK for them and not us? Sadly though, I do get it, they play by two different sets of rules!

    At the end of the day though, the only person that can truly know if you are saved is YOU and not some board of elders!

  55. okrapod wrote:

    with a bowl of chopped onions so people could put on whatever amount of raw chopped onions that they wanted.

    Raw onions on the side is a frequent addition to catfish plates around here. Is that true everywhere? (I love raw onions on chili and burgers btw!)

  56. Calvinista books aren’t even unintentionally funny, like the doorstop known as “What is Scientology?” The older versions are real howlers, with the craziest pictures, overseen and/or taken by L. Ron Hubbard himself. The Calvinista bookshelf doesn’t even have that to “recommend” that.

  57. okrapod wrote:

    with a bowl of chopped onions so people could put on whatever amount of raw chopped onions that they wanted. I tried that and I am now addicted to raw chopped onions on various things

    the Dutch LOVE their fresh raw herring covered with chopped onions

  58. Deb wrote:

    @ Mae: Here is the sad reality regarding Calvinista churches. If a child fully comprehends the plan of salvation at a young age and wants to make a public profession through baptism, s(he) must wait until.. Depending on the church, some may have to wait for years (perhaps as late as 18 years old) until the time church leadership deems it O.K.

    Hmmm, what about Jesus remarking about the children coming to him , "forbid them not ", if I remember correctly. Children can understand what baptism means more so than an infant!

  59. @ Root 66:

    What? Piper’s VBS materials discourages children from accepting Christ. How reprehensible. Where do the scriptures teach that?

  60. Deb wrote:

    Here is the sad reality regarding Calvinista churches. If a child fully comprehends the plan of salvation at a young age and wants to make a public profession through baptism, s(he) must wait until.. Depending on the church, some may have to wait for years (perhaps as late 

    I’ll tell ya what, Deb. We’ve got a pond about 130 yards from the house. If some kid wants to be baptized and a pastor refuses to do the honors ……… if the kid will walk out into that pond with me, I’ll baptist the kid myself!!!
    A church pastor is not a biblical requirement for salvation and rebirth! The church may not recognize the baptism, but Jesus will ……… and that’s all that matters.

  61. BTW, green onions are delicious with beans ……. pintos; or 1 1/2 pounds navy or northern, with a pound of bacon fried and crumbled in the pot of white beans!

  62. Preston Bennett wrote:

    I would find it hard to believe that anyone is gettting rich, or moderately wealthy, with booksales from these types of what I’ll broadly call Theology books; the more academic and narrow in topic then less likely.

    Ha! How do you think they are getting wealthy? They are not exactly living hand-to-mouth in middle class homes!

  63. @ Mae:
    Thanks. And another version: Ecclesiastes 12:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    “But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.”

    Wearing to the body? Christian bookworms run out of steam?

  64. JYJames wrote:

    @ Deb:
    Yum. Anyone have a stand in for bacon bits since we don’t eat pork?

    Were you replying to Nancy?

    I would say something salty. I like to cook bacon ends in the crockpot with the beans so the flavor infuses. I don’t know if turkey bacon would work for that or not. If you are looking for crunch, maybe those crispy fried onions?

  65. “Now we have someone like Mack Stiles instructing congregations to purchase books to hand to visitors. Why not invest in a stack of Bibles and make them available to those who might not own one? It’s a tragic day in Christendom when Mahaney’s little book takes precedence over Almighty God’s 66 books.”

    I suppose they could do that, but then how else will they be able to brainwash their followers? Heaven forbid the common folk read the B-I-B-L-E and discover that yes, they are allowed to question their pastors/elders/Sunday school teachers/family’s “gospel”.

  66. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    BTW, green onions are delicious with beans ……. pintos; or 1 1/2 pounds navy or northern, with a pound of bacon fried and crumbled in the pot of white beans!

    Fair and serious question:
    Do you folks down South use garlic at all in your cooking?
    I’ve never heard it mentioned by you guys South of the Mason-Dixon line.

  67. Mae wrote:

    @ Root 66:
    What? Piper’s VBS materials discourages children from accepting Christ. How reprehensible. Where do the scriptures teach that?

    They basically say children have to learn and comprehend Piper’s “10 truths” about God before they can fully understand the gospel. Shoot, I’m not even sure I understand all that. But once again, they like to muddy the waters with a bunch of religious hoops you have to hop through that amounts to nothing more than legalism!

    On the contrary, simple, child-like faith is exactly what Jesus was looking for–not the pompous, religious pharisaism of His day.

  68. Preston Bennett wrote:

    my take on TWW is that TWW disagrees with A: Calvinism B: complementarianism C: Formal church membership/covenants, or the type criticized over the years in posts as being heavy handed and authoritarian

    Calvinism: It has been pointed out several times on TWW and other watchblogs that “New” Calvinism is a different beast than “Old” (classical) Calvinism. I have been a Southern Baptist for 60+ years and a non-Calvinist (most Southern Baptists are). I have worshiped alongside classical non-Calvinists and found them to be civil in their discourse and respectful of majority (non-Calvinist) belief and practice; while I don’t agree with their theology, I count many of them friends. However, New Calvinism is a totally different beast – it is arrogant, aggressive, and militant – with young reformers operating by stealth and deception to takeover traditional SBC churches from good people. TWW and many other sites continue to report the havoc they are wreaking in churches across America.

    Complementarianism: Galatians 3:28 and other Scripture provide the Biblical standard for how Christians are to be treated by race, class, and gender in the Kingdom of God. The teachings and traditions of men (Calvinism and other) and their interpretation of Scripture do not supersede Scripture. We are all one in Christ.

    Formal Church Membership/Covenants: The new covenant written in the blood of Jesus and faith in Him are all a believer needs to belong to the Body of Christ. No other membership contracts needed. As TWW has documented, many are written to control, intimidate, and manipulate members; authoritarian leaders are the only ones who benefit from such agreements under the guise that it’s good for the church.

    Preston, the problem with deception is that one doesn’t know he is deceived because he is deceived. You (generic you) can’t see what you can’t see. You can’t really understand aberrant faith until Truth is in your knower – once it’s there, you can’t un-know it. New Calvinism may be glittering like gold to young folks right now, but all that glitters is not gold.

  69. Muff Potter wrote:

    Do you folks down South use garlic at all in your cooking?

    Ha! I do use garlic, but I can’t think what is distinctly southern that I would use it in…Hm. I put it in meatloaf?

  70. @ Muff Potter:

    I buy a large bag of Garlic at Costco and try to use it in my cooking, especially Italian dishes. When a recipe calls for a certain number of garlic cloves, I usually double it.

    Garlic is good for your health!

  71. JYJames wrote:

    @ Mae:
    Thanks. And another version: Ecclesiastes 12:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    “But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.”
    Wearing to the body? Christian bookworms run out of steam?

    When I was younger I used to try to keep up on all the publishing’s of notable Christians, or books that were popular amongst study groups. It did become wearing. Not oh that, it sometimes replaced my bible reading.
    Still enjoy reading but am much more selective in my choices.

  72. JYJames wrote:

    Anyone have a stand in for bacon bits since we don’t eat pork?

    We do eat pork but I don’t go the bacon bits route very often, and I do not throw a chunk of meat of any kind in a lot of things that some people do. Just did not grow up that way and perhaps just did not want to go to all that bother. But I have discovered the joys of hot sauce in the past decade or so.

    Hot sauce comes in a range of degrees of hotness from really hot to barely hot, and this varies from brand name to brand name even if the bottle is not expressly labeled with degree of hotness. I like a really mild hot sauce used so moderately that people barely notice it, but for me that takes the flavor place of more salt or I suppose cooked with meat or whatever-just a bit of tang can go a long way.

    Also there is the matter of the joys of malt vinegar for greens and fish mostly.

    So for me cooked greens are cooked in plain water only then served with hot sauce, malt vinegar, salt and chopped raw onions. Low fat. Low salt. Tasty and tangy. I feel sure that is not for everybody but I like it.

    Beans I just open a can. Heat. Salt lightly. Put a dab of butter in the middle of the serving and as much or little of chopped raw onions as one wants.

    For crunchy coconut shrimp I go to Applebee’s.

  73. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    BTW, green onions are delicious with beans ……. pintos; or 1 1/2 pounds navy or northern, with a pound of bacon fried and crumbled in the pot of white beans!

    I like beans, Boston baked! Was introduced to butter beans while living in Georgia, not something I learned to like, nor did I ever enjoy, boiled peanuts. Sweet tea, yes, definitely enjoyed that and also, biscuits and gravy.

  74. @ Lea:
    I remember some very nice people finding my apartment in a so-so neighborhood (I was living on-site in a low-income apartment building for the Christian group I worked with) and bringing me a WARM loaf of bread. For a single woman, just home from work, that was a gift. I ended up committing to another church closer to my neighborhood, but I sent them at thank you for their kindness.

    My current church gave out plants and invitations for Easter, and we had record attendance this year. We go door to door with the plant, an invitation, and a “howdy.” Some of the people have been coming back, folks we have been “courting” for years. The plants, the true interest in our neighbors (our building is frequently used for HOA meetings and our playground is popular) seem to be letting them know that we care (we do, too).

  75. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    I want to come to your house! I grew up in a big city, and read about things like watermelon pickles, pickled beets that did not come from a supermarket, and cornbread biscuits. I went away to college in a small town surrounded by farms. The first church dinner offered to starving students (TM) had all of this wonderful stuff that I only read about. I was a regular for all church suppers, breakfasts, luncheons, ice cream socials (burp) and didn’t gain an ounce because I was young and active. Good times!

  76. @ Linn:
    Marvelous outreach. Bread may be better than a book (other than the Bible, of course) with a YRR’s name on it. For one thing, you can’t eat books. Jam goes nicely on warm bread.

  77. Lea wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Do you folks down South use garlic at all in your cooking?
    Ha! I do use garlic, but I can’t think what is distinctly southern that I would use it in…Hm. I put it in meatloaf?

    I put it in anything I can get away with 🙂

  78. Preston Bennett wrote:

    sinful misuse of Calvinism, complementarianism, and church membership,

    The primary obstacle that Dr. Dever has is that he needs to convince us that these things he says are Biblical are nowhere in the actual text of the 66 books. Certainly these things are not gospel imperatives. Yet the 9Marks ministry keeps promoting that these are essential. Complementarianism is not related to the Gospel. Calvinism is not related to the Gospel. Church Membership (covenantal or otherwise) is not related to the Gospel. How can they be, since the Gospel was proclaimed centuries before? It is ridiculous!

    Dr. Dever has fatally defeated his own arguments by his own actions with C.J. Mahaney, and we know it even if everyone in 9Marks refuses to see it. Double standards are not standards.

  79. @ Gram3:
    Thank God for His Word. It validates itself.
    Thank God for His Holy Spirit Who also validates His Word.
    Thank God for Jesus, the Model who walked the walk, fleshed it out, (without a dynasty, a personal aircraft, a TV show, a publishing house, a mansion, without even a marriage and family [which in some churches is the only demographic validated]).

  80. __

    “Calvinism In Varying Degrees?”

    hmmm…

    A dab of Calvinism is known to be TULIP, aka ‘The Doctrines Of Grace’. IMHO For those who ‘don’t know the Holy Scriptures’, one whiff of that proverbial pot and your spiritual tastebuds are hooked…

    huh?

    Varying degrees, my Kahuna (1)

    What?

    The great religious Kahuna Daddy Calvinist John Calvin himself, has folk moving from Unconscious pew Oblivion , to Conscious pew Obedience, to Higher pew Conscious Methodology.

    (Once you accept his proverbial religious ‘assumptions’, his faulty foundational premises aren’t far behind your big beehind…)

    Laying down stealth tracks (C): A marvelous array of ‘biblical truths’ (TM), to which there should be absolutely no objection, is then ‘virtually’ connected to the distnctives of Calvinism.

    Bump.

    Q. What are the implications of this kind of stink’in think’in?

    If pulpit committees and church congregations would lōōk below the façade of ‘stealth-tactic accommodations’ (R), and heed the multiplicity of stern warnings being rolled out like taffy at the Mississippi State Fair, they would discover something extremely un-healthy, very un-palatable, and un-desirable in these pastoral men and the messages they preach — of whom we have been profoundly warned against time and time again.

    No one wants a nasty confrontation between church and pastor that leads to a confused and often divided congregation and an exposed dishonest improperly vetted Calvinist pastoral candidate.

    These are charitable warnings.

    Some congregations might deeply consider why Baptists for so long have guarded their religious faith with such great fervor and endured so many storms undergirded by that hard fought biblical foundation.

    They might also, under the prevailing circumstances, consider that opening themselves up to embrace that which is truly “biblical” could continue to ‘elevate’ that sense of the divine presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives…

    With amazing results! (I might add)

    (Please see your bible for details…)

    You’ll be glad you did!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=exOLVgRZT4E

    ATB

    Sopy
    ___
    (1) Kahuna is a Hawaiian word, defined in as a “priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, minister, expert in any profession”.

    😉

  81. JYJames wrote:

    Thank God for His Word. It validates itself.
    Thank God for His Holy Spirit Who also validates His Word.
    Thank God for Jesus, the Model who walked the walk, fleshed it out

    Yes, exactly. Preston Bennett is an able apologist for a system which obscures the Gospel rather than proclaiming its simple and pure message. They have larded it up with all sorts of unnecessary rules and requirements and regulations that are simply made up doctrines of men. Bible plus Institutes plus 1689LBCF plus Danvers plus 9Marks.

  82. Gram3 wrote:

    these things are not gospel imperatives

    Gram3, it’s increasingly clear that not only have the New Calvinists restructured essentials of the Christian message, they have redefined the gospel itself … which, of course, is not the Gospel at all.

  83. Max wrote:

    they have redefined the gospel itself … which, of course, is not the Gospel at all.

    It was well over ten years ago, IIRC, when I first heard Dever talk about Gospel imperatives and Gospel implications. It appears that what used to be merely implications (according to his reckoning) are now imperatives.

    I think I prefer the Old, Old, Story.

  84. Gram3 wrote:

    … Dever talk about Gospel imperatives and Gospel implications …

    I think I prefer the Old, Old, Story.

    Amen. The imperative of the Cross is to believe and accept Jesus by faith. Our choice (receive or reject) leads to eternal implications. Man’s efforts to tweak that Old, Old, Story to fit a theological grid is a useless endeavor. Men and their theologies fade away; the Story remains.

  85. @ Gram3:
    Duplicitous, and mimics the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day. History reveals how that played out and eventuated for the Son of God and His followers. Is that the end game today? Is this indicated in the Revelation of John?

  86. Muff Potter wrote:

    Do you folks down South use garlic at all in your cooking?

    Yes, but not much in traditional, “down home” dishes.

  87. JYJames wrote:

    @ Deb:
    Yum. Anyone have a stand in for bacon bits since we don’t eat pork?

    You can get beef bacon and turkey bacon some places. I’ve had breakfast bowls at a place run by Seventh Day Adventists, and when it’s chopped up and mixed with onions, potatoes, and eggs, I can’t really tell that the beef bacon isn’t bacon.

  88. Root 66 wrote:

    Mae wrote:
    @ Root 66:
    What? Piper’s VBS materials discourages children from accepting Christ. How reprehensible. Where do the scriptures teach that?
    They basically say children have to learn and comprehend Piper’s “10 truths” about God before they can fully understand the gospel. Shoot, I’m not even sure I understand all that. But once again, they like to muddy the waters with a bunch of religious hoops you have to hop through that amounts to nothing more than legalism!
    On the contrary, simple, child-like faith is exactly what Jesus was looking for–not the pompous, religious pharisaism of His day.

    Wow. Sounds very much like what we were taught about gnostics and gnosticism, decades ago. What was that about not adding to the Word?

  89. @ refugee:
    To make it absolutely clear, I was referring to John Piper’s mandatory “10 truths”, not the part about child-like faith.

    Furthermore, I think Piper’s requirement is shameful, if I’m understanding it right. I know some dear “special needs” Christians who have a deep, abiding faith and trust in and love for the Lord. I’m not sure they’d be able to recite 10 truths, but they certainly live the gospel.

  90. @ okrapod:
    Hot sauce substituting for salt? Fascinating!

    I think I’ve heard of using lemon juice instead of salt, but I could be remembering wrong.

    One thing I’ve started using instead of salt in a few things (like chicken broth) is fish sauce. It’s made of anchovies and salt, I think, so it’s not necessarily a reduction in sodium so much as it is a flavor booster.

  91. @ Mae:
    To add to the bean discussion, google “Senate bean soup”–it was the first bean recipe I made that my children liked. (Besides canned pork&beans, that is)

  92. This is how they’ll know you are my disciples, how you love one another. Joe Carter’s right. Of course, one of the best ways to love one another is to warn other Christians about vicious narcissists and wolves in sheep’s clothing who come in the name of Christ.

    I’d wear Carter’s divisive, condemning words like a badge of honor. Jesus was known as much for His enemies as for His friends.

  93. Max wrote:

    New Calvinism is full of mumbo-jumbo about being gospel-centered and cross-centered this and that, but their “gospel” is not the Gospel, nor the Cross of Christ for ALL people. Beware of the subtle use of words in reformed theology – they lead not to salvation and spiritual life.

    They don’t say much about Jesus. It’s the gospel, the mission, missional, this season or that season, it’s about just about everything BUT Jesus.

  94. Preston Bennett wrote:

    Preston Bennett here, fairly regular reader, very, very occasional poster, and happy member of Capitol Hill Baptist
    Church for full disclosure, and my comments only pertain to my church.
    Is it having a bookstall/store, or what it is stocked with, that is the concern?
    CHBC is Calvinist/reformed, so finding author’s that are likewise really shouldn’t be a surprise ( although our bookstall does not exclusively stock only authors with Calvinist Theology, but a big majority). To say one doesn’t like something about the Theology of a particular person, and then say one doesn’t like some of the content of the books they author is redundant.
    Secondly, I know for a fact that at CHBC the books are sold at cost from the publisher, without markup.
    Thirdly, to the “what about the Bible?” Commenters, EVERY Sunday morning and evening, the service leader says something like “if you don’t have a Bible that you own that you can read, take the one in front of you as our gift to you”. (We have pew BIbles, and yes, they are ESV).
    Fourth: I would find it hard to believe that anyone is gettting rich, or moderately wealthy, with booksales from these types of what I’ll broadly call Theology books; the more academic and narrow in topic then less likely. They just don’t have high numbers of sales. Exceptions might be more broadly written “Christian” books, for a wider readership. Furthermore, if a pastor or Theologian, or whomever, writes a book and profits from their labor, I don’t see the problem. I don’t think my pastor has a “scheme” to write dense Theology books and books on church polity with dollar signs in his eyes.
    More broadly, after reading regularly for many years, although with special interest when CHBC and my pastor Mark Denver are mentioned, since I am a member, my take on TWW is that TWW disagrees with A: Calvinism B: complementarianism C: Formal church membership/covenants, or the type criticized over the years in posts as being heavy handed and authoritarian
    When sins of an individual or a church body corporately are discovered, and those individuals or churches subscribe to A, B, or C, or all 3, that is seen as directly causative and the primary reason for the sin, and proof of the fatal flaw in A or B or C.
    I would link the sin to the sin of Adam, and at times the sinful misuse of Calvinism, complementarianism, and church membership, rather than a primary flaw or error, and a large number of the posts are spurious to that disagreement. I don’t believe the “rate of incidence”, if you will, or type of the sins pointed out in TWW watch are higher or peculiar to churches or individuals espousing A/B/C, but are common to mankind, even professing Christians (although I have seen no study to back me up).

    There is a lot of wealth to be made and being made by leaders within these groups. It’s not just book sales, it’s conference honoraria and various peaking fees, it’s church salaries that often reach into the six figures for larger congregations, it’s all the parks and various things, the love offerings, there are a great number of people living very affluent lives off of very little real work, and doing it all in the name of Jesus. I’ve seen the conference speakers on the circuit, been a member of a mega a good sight larger than John Piper’s mega, seen Piper himself in person more than once, been on paid staff of a church, I’ve seen the game played.

    In my opinion, precious few of these people would have anything whatsoever to do with the “spread of the gospel” (as they put it–the spread of their brand and influence, as I typically put it) or full time ministry if they had to face anything like the Apostle Paul did: on again/off again poverty, hunger, beatings, humiliation, imprisonment, death.

    NO way do you get me to go along. Leave now and run screaming.

  95. refugee wrote:

    Hot sauce substituting for salt? Fascinating!

    I would not call it a salt substitute. I have not found anything that substitutes for salt. I have found that other flavors and a bit of tang simply jazz up something which could otherwise be a bit too bland and uninteresting.

  96. Who reads books now? I travel on trains, buses and planes in the UK and can’t recall the last time I saw anyone reading a book or newspaper. Years ago,I and thousands of others commuted on the London Tube, and bought a morning and an evening newpaper every day. Based on that, isn’t it a more effective evangelism-tool to use social media? My relative is trying to church-plant in a very rough area in N England. I cringe when I see her team handing out thick NIV bibles and suggesting folk take copies of theology books home. I’m not being snobbish, but the reading age of all these books is way above the reading age of many takers and no one I know, apart from very earnest christians read weighty tome any more. Certainly not the folk on my relative’s estate who left school at their earliest opportunity with poor literacy skills.

  97. Matilda wrote:

    Who reads books now?

    Sounds like the folks you are describing would benefit more from having someone to talk with, someone who listened. The giving of a book is no replacement for that, is it?

  98. Christiane wrote:

    Matilda wrote:

    Who reads books now?

    Sounds like the folks you are describing would benefit more from having someone to talk with, someone who listened. The giving of a book is no replacement for that, is it?

    I can add that giving a Bible is not without good intent as it contains the Testaments to our Savior;
    but those who give the books are ALSO witnesses of Christ in their own lives and when they come to be with others, they bring the Peace of Christ within them as ‘witness’ of His Presence in their own healing.

    Sometimes people need to sit down with one another for a time. There is more of ‘gospel’ to be found in this simple act than in the throwing of a book at someone.

  99. Preston Bennett wrote:

    More broadly, after reading regularly for many years, although with special interest when CHBC and my pastor Mark Denver are mentioned, since I am a member, my take on TWW is that TWW disagrees with A: Calvinism B: complementarianism C: Formal church membership/covenants, or the type criticized over the years in posts as being heavy handed and authoritarian
    When sins of an individual or a church body corporately are discovered, and those individuals or churches subscribe to A, B, or C, or all 3, that is seen as directly causative and the primary reason for the sin, and proof of the fatal flaw in A or B or C.
    I would link the sin to the sin of Adam, and at times the sinful misuse of Calvinism, complementarianism, and church membership, rather than a primary flaw or error, and a large number of the posts are spurious to that disagreement. I don’t believe the “rate of incidence”, if you will, or type of the sins pointed out in TWW watch are higher or peculiar to churches or individuals espousing A/B/C, but are common to mankind, even professing Christians (although I have seen no study to back me up).

    Good morning, Preston. A few comments from a person that has had much experience attending churches that subscribe to the 9Marks model:

    1) As someone who also holds to a Calvinistic soteriology, it is quite disturbing to view the authoritarianism that is present in many (most?) 9Marks churches. Regardless of whether other churches struggle with the same issues, it doesn’t relieve CHBC and 9Marks of responsibility.

    2) In my opinion, church covenants are a symptom of authoritarianism. Why do churches need to require taking oaths?

    3) Your pastor, Dr. Dever, believes that church members are to submit to their elders because of their office. This is a major symptom of authoritarianism. No one should submit to an elder or pastor based on their office. Mark Dever believes that we are to trust God and submit to the leaders he has placed in our churches. This is very dangerous, in my opinion. It seems to me to usurp the authority of Jesus in the life of the believer. I will happily submit to a godly pastor who is gentle and loving and demonstrates leadership. I will never submit to a leader who teaches false doctrine or is spiritually abusive.

    4) The issue of fencing the table from those not currently members of a church (such as visitors who are “between churches” or have suffered spiritual abuse at a former church) is also a serious error IMO.

    5) There is an over-emphasis on church membership. I attended a 9Marks “replant” from week one, and the importance of becoming a member (from attending a 3 hour membership class) was pretty much preached every week. When Dr. Dever came to visit the church to “install” the “lead pastor,” an evening service where a Q & A with Mark Dever occurred. But only members were allowed to ask questions. In combination with church covenants (and heaven forbid, their recitation during the new covenant meal), these are major red flags that a church is authoritarian.

    6) Unfortunately, many 9Marks churches have had problems with inappropriate excommunications and other bullying. I would love to have a sit-down with Dr. Dever and describe some of the heavy-handed treatment of Godly men and women that has been occurring where pastors have subscribed to the 9Marks philosophy.

    7) I believe that Calvinistic soteriology is not the problem. I think that John Calvin’s (and Mark Dever’s) puritanical paradigm is the problem. I have found that there is way too much law and not enough gospel being preached. I encourage you to read a book on New Covenant Theology to get a different perspective.

    8) Idolatry among the laity is a serious problem. Celebrity pastors, conference speaking, “lead pastors,” and mandatory submission to authority seem to go hand-in-hand. This may be the problem, not that books are being sold at church, whether at cost or for a small profit.

    9) Because of these factors, I feel that the incidence of spiritual abuse is higher at churches that subscribe to the 9Marks paradigm.

  100. refugee wrote:

    I can’t really tell that the beef bacon isn’t bacon.

    I’ve never even heard of beef bacon!! Fascinating.

    I make red beans and rice with Andouille, so I bet if you wanted not the crunch but the little of bit of salt and seasoning in beans, you could do other kinds of sausage, like chicken maybe.

  101. Law Prof wrote:

    There is a lot of wealth to be made and being made by leaders within these groups. It’s not just book sales, it’s conference honoraria and various peaking fees

    I have yet to figure out what most of these para church orgs are really for, except making money and fame for people. A review of the pathetic excuses for a balance sheet I’ve seen backs that up.

  102. Matilda wrote:

    Who reads books now?

    I do, but on kindle. I’d rather not have more physical books (and I already have many bibles).

    ESV is free on kindle. Other bibles are 1-3 dollars.

  103. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Please keep my brother in your prayers this morning. He’s having outpatient surgery on his shoulder this morning. I’m sitting with him in pre-op; I’m the designated driver.

    Praying for you both. Hope all goes well. I’m glad your brother has you to help him. God Bless!

  104. @ dee:
    🙂
    sign at a hospital I ward-clerked in during university:
    “We bandage the wound. God heals it.”

  105. To our readers

    It appears that Velour will not be returning to TWW. This was not the wish of the Deebs-far from it. We have not had any difficult conversations with her. We tried desperately to communicate with her but she said she does not have any time to talk with us because she lives on the West.Coast and we are on the East coast. I know, it is something which could be overcome. She has asked me not to try to communicate with her again. So, I told her she was loved and have backed off.

    Once again, as a thread becomes more about a commenter’s personal concerns than the subject matter at hand, things go off track. I am so sorry this happened.

  106. Dale wrote:

    only members were allowed to ask questions.

    Horrifying.

    I would ask if this was the Church of St. Boris and St. Natasha, but don’t want to implicate Eastern Orthodoxy. Things are looking bad for newcomers Moose and Squirrel.

  107. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Please keep my brother in your prayers this morning. He’s having outpatient surgery on his shoulder this morning. I’m sitting with him in pre-op; I’m the designated driver.

    The designated driver is every bit a part of the medical team. If we had a badge system you will be earning one.

  108. dee wrote:

    To our readers

    It appears that Velour will not be returning to TWW. This was not the wish of the Deebs-far from it. We have not had any difficult conversations with her. We tried desperately to communicate with her but she said she does not have any time to talk with us because she lives on the West.Coast and we are on the East coast. I know, it is something which could be overcome. She has asked me not to try to communicate with her again. So, I told her she was loved and have backed off.

    Once again, as a thread becomes more about a commenter’s personal concerns than the subject matter at hand, things go off track. I am so sorry this happened.

    She has asked me to contact her. Can I help in any way? If so, I will do it even though normally I don’t use email with people. She has a care for those who need prayer and we need her help here. I need her help.

    I can only hope she returns.

    The post revolved around a topic that is volatile. When it is discussed even in microcosm, there are emotions and reactions that are unpredictable and people respond accordingly. No one’s fault. It happens. Such is the pain of alcholism’s impact on so many. So many.

    Please don’t stop trying to contact her. She is a blessing here to those who have needed and will need prayer.
    Please.

  109. refugee wrote:

    I’ve had breakfast bowls at a place run by Seventh Day Adventists, and when it’s chopped up and mixed with onions, potatoes, and eggs,

    Yum, sounds like bibimbop, a Korean dish.

  110. dee wrote:

    I told her she was loved

    Thank you.
    Velour is loved and missed. Hopefully, she comes back. Maybe a respite is good?
    God bless, all.

    May the road rise to meet us, may the wind be ever at our back.
    May the sun shine warm upon our faces, and the rains fall soft upon our fields.
    And until we meet, may God hold us in the palm of His hand.

  111. ___

    “Not All Are Equal Opportunity Religious Offenders?”

    hmmm…

    IMHO Not all 501(c) non-profit Christian church organizations, nor their paid and non-paid staff, abuse or mis-treat their patrons.

    huh?

    Yes, however, many unfortunately do.

    (sadface)

    That is why it is so important, like many here a TWW have so kindly voiced, –to know the Holy Scriptures, to serve Jesus as His Father would have you, to be very careful to test the spirits, and to be careful as well to properly vet all church staff members and those who work with the children ‘before’ making a free will offering or donation to said 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

    As I have made the distinction for the past nine years, 501(c)3 organizations are not necessarily the Lord Jesus’ church, but private interest non-profit business’. Thus, setting up a shingle from a bonafide frock machine does not necessarily guarantee a religious credentialed professional a seat atJesus’ table.

    What?

    Yes, It is only those kind folk that are carful to follow the Lord Jesus, according to His Father’s instructions, that receive that distinct honor.

    Also, not all who attend a 501(c)3 non-profit religious institution are members of Christ’s body, again, only those who do the will of Jesus’ Father in heaven.

    It is important for kind folks to know that the Lord Jesus fully understands the condition of ‘His’ ‘Church’ today, and is acting on their behalf accordingly.

    Lastly, Jesus’ call has gone forth: “come unto Me all you that are heavy laden, and I shall give you rest”, Jesus said.

    (does not get any simpler)

    Please do miss going to Jesus and requesting it!

    (You’ll be glad you did!)

    Lastly, please don’t let a questionable 501(c)3 organization with Jesus’ name falsely tacked upon it keep you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus the Lord. It is yours, bountifully, for the asking…today!

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uxTc98K9OeU
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu5bBDRpzPM
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N2R4D6qhaD8
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4dRc0up7Sck

    🙂

  112. Christiane wrote:

    dee wrote:
    To our readers
    It appears that Velour will not be returning to TWW. This was not the wish of the Deebs-far from it. We have not had any difficult conversations with her. We tried desperately to communicate with her but she said she does not have any time to talk with us because she lives on the West.Coast and we are on the East coast. I know, it is something which could be overcome. She has asked me not to try to communicate with her again. So, I told her she was loved and have backed off.
    Once again, as a thread becomes more about a commenter’s personal concerns than the subject matter at hand, things go off track. I am so sorry this happened.
    She has asked me to contact her. Can I help in any way? If so, I will do it even though normally I don’t use email with people. She has a care for those who need prayer and we need her help here. I need her help.
    I can only hope she returns.
    The post revolved around a topic that is volatile. When it is discussed even in microcosm, there are emotions and reactions that are unpredictable and people respond accordingly. No one’s fault. It happens. Such is the pain of alcholism’s impact on so many. So many.
    Please don’t stop trying to contact her. She is a blessing here to those who have needed and will need prayer.
    Please.

    Oh no!!! I so hope Velour comes back. I cannot imagine TWW without her. 🙁

    I saw the thread in question but must have missed the most volatile part of it. 🙁

  113. @ dee:

    I’m not surprised that Velour left and will not return. In fact she was told,

    Start your own blog Velour & come back to normal participation here.

    There does seem to be some kind of lack of tolerance for different views. I made some observations about the AOG churches and responses became very defensive, even accusing me of calling people who attend AOG churches, “stupid.”

  114. @ KenG:

    Wow! I missed all of that. Thanks for the comment, Ken. I didn't know what had happened. About the time the convo started to get heated, I was still working blackberries ….. and I became buried in summer squash, peaches, jalapeños, lots of canning jars, and a messy kitchen. Sometimes we just absolutely have to agree to disagree and move on. I hope Velour gets past the hurt and anger and come back. She is funny, and she contributes a lot to the convo.

  115. Christiane wrote:

    The post revolved around a topic that is volatile. When it is discussed even in microcosm, there are emotions and reactions that are unpredictable and people respond accordingly. No one’s fault. It happens. Such is the pain of alcholism’s impact on so many. So many.

    This specific topic was discussed on another board and things got a bit fractious there as well. I have to admit was very surprised at the response.

  116. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    I hope Velour gets past the hurt and anger and come back. She is funny, and she contributes a lot to the convo.

    I agree. And she also helps us all by tracking and posting the prayer needs each week.

  117. @ Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:
    Overreach, under-reach. Sometimes we go too far, and sometimes not far enough. Threading the needle in communication involves a lifetime of learning.

    “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger,
    And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11 NASB

    “Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.” Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 NASB

    However, Ken G. shared this story on another post, which makes sense:

    “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.”

    A time to overlook, a time to walk away… or to take a break.

  118. Spreading the Word of CALVIN again, though with media more longwinded than Jack Chick as is their wont. Longwinded Word Salads.

  119. JYJames wrote:

    A time to overlook, a time to walk away… or to take a break.

    Yes. I try to do that when topics or individuals start pushing my buttons.

  120. Gram3 wrote:

    It was well over ten years ago, IIRC, when I first heard Dever talk about Gospel imperatives and Gospel implications. It appears that what used to be merely implications (according to his reckoning) are now imperatives.

    Not “Imperatives”.
    THE PARTY LINE. PURE INGSOC.

  121. @ KenG:
    Ken, it wasn’t just one comment …. there was a pile-on which individually might not have been overwhelming, but taken together the pile-on phenom always has a synergistic effect. What I have wondered about is whether the same person has commented using different names, which has an even greater destructive intent than just individuals participation singly. If so, that person is troubled to the point of being unwell.

  122. Gram3 wrote:

    The primary obstacle that Dr. Dever has is that he needs to convince us that these things he says are Biblical are nowhere in the actual text of the 66 books. Certainly these things are not gospel imperatives.

    “They are because I SAY SO!”?

  123. Sam wrote:

    “Now we have someone like Mack Stiles instructing congregations to purchase books to hand to visitors.”

    Sure that isn’t borrowing Scientology’s trick to juice the book onto the best-seller lists?

  124. Mae wrote:

    @ Root 66:

    What? Piper’s VBS materials discourages children from accepting Christ.

    Eliminates the competition.

    Where do the scriptures teach that?

    First and Second and Third and Fourth and Fifth Books of Piper, of course.
    (And all the Twitter tweets…)

  125. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Calvinista books aren’t even unintentionally funny, like the doorstop known as “What is Scientology?” The older versions are real howlers, with the craziest pictures, overseen and/or taken by L. Ron Hubbard himself.

    If Elron didn’t leave so much destruction in his wake, him and his Bridge to Total Freedom would be a farce comedy. A long series of original movies on Comedy Central.

  126. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Calvinista books aren’t even unintentionally funny, like the doorstop known as “What is Scientology?”

    Instead, the grim, grey, drab, total,sleepless, unsmiling concentration of the True Believer.

  127. Christiane wrote:

    She has asked me to contact her. Can I help in any way? If so, I will do it even though normally I don’t use email with people. She has a care for those who need prayer and we need her help here. I need her help.

    I can only hope she returns.

    I too will miss Velour. If you’re in contact with her, tell her Muff stands with her and wishes she’d return. I could sound off further, but it would probably never get through customs.

  128. @ Christiane:
    … a device to surreptitiously divide and conquer TWW, which would be a gleeful proposition to some who do not support the discourse. Sigh.

    However, it is consolation and gratifying to note how the TWW group is coming together to support Velour. Discourse is complex, however, hopefully we hold each other in love while in disagreement (unlike some of the orgs we discuss that have a Mothership, or rather, a Fathership).

    Understandably, a break is good. Just hoping Velour doesn’t stay away long. She has a lot of support here.

  129. JYJames wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    … a device to surreptitiously divide and conquer TWW, which would be a gleeful proposition to some who do not support the discourse. Sigh.

    ah, you understand

  130. I do not think that it is a good idea for us to divide up sides for or against what is going on. Whatever Velour and Dee work out between them that is what I plan to go with.

    The blog has owners. All who comment here do so at the tolerance of the owners. That is where conflicts need resolved.

    If I remember correctly something similar happened a while back over on the ODP involving different people that time. The owners and GBTC got involved, resolution was brought about and life went on. I hope that some resolution will be forthcoming.

    In the meantime, Velour needs to do whatever is best for her, the blog owners need to do what is best for them, and the rest of us need to trust them to do the right thing-whatever that is.

  131. @ Deb:
    Thanks, TWW. Trust. Love.

    It is interesting in the post above how Joe Carter equates discourse with divisiveness, and discernment with bashing.

    Linear thinking with, “My way or the highway,” is recognized on Bloom’s Taxonomy as lower level cognition, (Restate, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, Create).

    Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because only God Himself gets to say, “My way or the highway.” No person is worthy of that declaration, other than Jesus. Anything less than holding only God to that claim, is idolatry.

  132. JYJames wrote:

    It is interesting in the post above how Joe Carter equates discourse with divisiveness, and discernment with bashing.

    ” To know a person’s religion,
    we need not listen to his profession of faith
    but must find his brand of intolerance.”
    (Eric Hoffer)

  133. My pastor gave me the Book of Concord on my first Sunday there. Most of it was written centuries ago.

  134. @ okrapod:

    Thank you. I assure you that neither of the Deebs had any unkind words for Velour, and I even expressed my love for her. That is how we are going to leave it.

  135. @ Christiane:

    I have been checking IP addresses, and there does not appear to be one person using several monikers. We do not allow that on TWW if we find out about with the exception of our good friend, Nick.

  136. @ dee:

    I hear you. My son, now that he is going to be deployed has taken up saying stuff like ‘roger that’ and ’10/4′. I think I will stick with ‘I hear you’.

    So how is your foot thing doing?

  137. @ dee:
    🙂
    oh Nick, you mean ‘God’, or sometimes that fearful curmugeon what’s his name …. Roger Bombast

    so much fun

  138. Changing the subject a bit:
    Please pray for a complete recovery and full healing for Young Sapling #3 from a spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung) last weekend. Mr. Tree and I are temporarily in Germany, where he is studying abroad at university for the semester. He has had good hospital care and surgery to modify the affected lung and was just released. Although he seems to be doing well, and he has friends to help him, we as parents can’t help but still be a little concerned for recovery. There is a lot of walking between bus stops everywhere he needs to go and he has the semester of classes to finish. We especially thank God that he had postponed his original plans that weekend to take a three-day backpacking trip in the Black Forest!

  139. I love Velour and her comments. She is doing a heck of a lot for a lot of people who really need it. Whether she returns or not, she must know that I support her fully. She’s been through hell with her MacArthuresque type Calvinist thing called “church.” She thinks pragmatically and her advice reflects it. She has a bright legal mind and that shows too.

    Velour, hugs to you, dear sister. As someone has said, “TWW won’t be the same without you.” Amen to that.

    Stay strong, Velour, and keep on with the great work you are doing for the Lord. It is not going unnoticed.

  140. @ Tree:
    will pray for you young one …. good he is in a civilized country and is being cared for properly

    will pray he cooperates with the doctors, as I know sometimes the young have difficulty with this

    God Bless!

  141. Law Prof wrote:

    They don’t say much about Jesus. It’s the gospel, the mission, missional, this season or that season, it’s about just about everything BUT Jesus.

    This was one of the first BIG red flags for me as the New Calvinist movement swept into the SBC. For awhile, I listened to sermon podcasts by YRR church planters in my area, wanting to learn what made them tick. I sat with a notepad with 4 columns: God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, New Calvinist Icon. I would make a check-mark when one of those was mentioned in the pastor’s message. God’s name was dropped a lot, with only occasional mention of Jesus, and hardly a word about the Holy Spirit. I actually recorded more marks for New Calvinist Icons (Piper, Keller, Driscoll, etc.) than Jesus!

  142. okrapod wrote:

    I do not think that it is a good idea for us to divide up sides for or against what is going on. Whatever Velour and Dee work out between them that is what I plan to go with.

    The blog has owners. All who comment here do so at the tolerance of the owners. That is where conflicts need resolved.

    If I remember correctly something similar happened a while back over on the ODP involving different people that time. The owners and GBTC got involved, resolution was brought about and life went on. I hope that some resolution will be forthcoming.

    In the meantime, Velour needs to do whatever is best for her, the blog owners need to do what is best for them, and the rest of us need to trust them to do the right thing-whatever that is.

    Yes. But I hope Velour comes back and participates. She had been such a help with prayer requests as well as having meaningful contributions.

  143. dee wrote:

    I have been checking IP addresses, and there does not appear to be one person using several monikers. We do not allow that on TWW if we find out about with the exception of our good friend, Nick.

    Thanks for clarifying this, Dee.

  144. KenG wrote:

    @ dee:
    I’m not surprised that Velour left and will not return. In fact she was told,
    “Start your own blog Velour & come back to normal participation here.”
    There does seem to be some kind of lack of tolerance for different views. I made some observations about the AOG churches and responses became very defensive, even accusing me of calling people who attend AOG churches, “stupid.”

    Sometimes new people come to the blog and it takes awhile to catch on to the different personalities. I always like to give newcomers the benefit of the doubt and much grace. I agree that some remarks may be harsh and edgy, but it’s nice to see if those involved will work it out between themselves.

    Now if Nick said something harsh and edgy, that’s a different story . . . 😉

  145. Bridget wrote:

    dee wrote:

    I have been checking IP addresses, and there does not appear to be one person using several monikers. We do not allow that on TWW if we find out about with the exception of our good friend, Nick.

    Thanks for clarifying this, Dee.

    I’m sure DEE does check and I thank her for that; but what if a person is using more than one computer location and posing as different names. It is possible. Dee could not know if someone was doing this.

    Hopefully people ARE honorable. But not everyone. I’ve seen enough to be concerned, but I know Dee does careful stewardship. And I know if someone was not being honorable, that most certainly would not be the administrator’s fault.

  146. Christiane wrote:

    I’m sure DEE does check and I thank her for that; but what if a person is using more than one computer location and posing as different names. It

    It doesn’t even have to be different computer locations. My iPad is on a family plan with my daughter and sil through one company, while our PC in the den is on another plan with another company. I would never do it, but I could very easily set up another email account and post under a different name, through a different account.

  147. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    I guess aside from someone getting a kick out of this weird tricking thing, it doesn’t really matter too much to me.

    But yes, it would be very easy to post from multiple places as we generally have multiple devices.

  148. Law Prof wrote:

    They don’t say much about Jesus. It’s the gospel, the mission, missional, this season or that season, it’s about just about everything BUT Jesus.

    Yes, everything is gospel-centered this and gospel-centered that … without ever getting around to the Gospel!

    And, boy, do they ever over-work that word “missional”! But it has nothing to do with evangelism and the Great Commission!

    The New Calvinists have their own tribal vocabulary, without words of hope and life in Christ for ALL people. We surely must be at the beginning of the end-times apostasy Paul talked about – a great falling away from that which is right. New Calvinism is a symptom of that.

  149. Max wrote:

    Yes, everything is gospel-centered this and gospel-centered that … without ever getting around to the Gospel!

    Well said. I am tired of hearing this “Gospel-Centred” talk when they don’t actually talk about Jesus.

  150. ZechZav wrote:

    I am tired of hearing this “Gospel-Centered” talk

    When you truly believe that Calvinism = Gospel, then Calvin becomes your center not Jesus. The new reformers have deleted a Christocentric criterion for the interpretation of Scripture … preferring to teach a rigid set of doctrines about grace, rather than ministering the Grace of a living Christ to the people. The American church is in desperate trouble as this wave of new preachers hit the pulpit.

  151. Christiane wrote:

    What I have wondered about is whether the same person has commented using different names

    I’ve ever only posted to this blog under the name Daisy. FWIW.

  152. Max wrote:

    I sat with a notepad with 4 columns: God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, New Calvinist Icon.

    Brilliant idea.

  153. This echos my thoughts. I rarely hear the gospelly boys refer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    My King is Jesus – do you know him?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56_sbZvallU

    ZechZav wrote:

    Max wrote:
    Yes, everything is gospel-centered this and gospel-centered that … without ever getting around to the Gospel!
    Well said. I am tired of hearing this “Gospel-Centred” talk when they don’t actually talk about Jesus.

  154. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Yes, everything is gospel-centered this and gospel-centered that … without ever getting around to the Gospel!

    yes, when I was over at SBCvoices commenting, I asked about a definition of ‘the biblical gospel’, and people got mad at me for asking ….. ‘you should know’, ‘you are being ingenuous’, etc. etc.

    finally, I get the idea that they haven’t sorted out the answer for themselves other than to use that term to qualify something ‘other than’ what is the message of the Holy Gospels of the Bible ….

    They don’t like questions. Which is strange for a group that prides itself on being able to answer for their beliefs (sigh)

    there must be some kind of catechism or introductory Christian preparation for young people to do with ‘the biblical gospel’, but what is it and is it something consistently affirmed by the whole denomination???

  155. Muff Potter wrote:

    If you’re in contact with her, tell her Muff stands with her and wishes she’d return. I could sound off further, but it would probably never get through customs.

    I understand. I have asked Velour to come here and read the comments for herself. I want her to see for herself what you and others have written who care for her. I hope she does. She would certainly feel better for it. Thanks, Muff. I remember another time when this happened to her. And I remember the players also. Better I also refrain from sounding off, but it is hard. ‘Reacting’ doesn’t do a lot of good and it is often what aggressor(s) would see as a victory for themselve(s).

    I figure malevolent, snarky, ‘mean-girl’ behavior usually outs itself. There is no need to say anything because people can see it for themselves. Sadly, it is what it is.

  156. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    I’m sure DEE does check and I thank her for that; but what if a person is using more than one computer location and posing as different names. It

    It doesn’t even have to be different computer locations. My iPad is on a family plan with my daughter and sil through one company, while our PC in the den is on another plan with another company. I would never do it, but I could very easily set up another email account and post under a different name, through a different account.

    I know. I’ve asked about how people could do stuff like this. It IS possible. But used as destructively as can be, the commenting using different names only points to a very sick and troubled mind.

    No one blames blog administrators for any of this …. it would be the responsibility of the perp(s) if it were happening.

  157. @ Christiane:
    I agree Christiane, it’s a subject dear to my heart i I taught literacy to kids who, after a year or two in school had faied to hack reading and felt failures, lots of self-esteem-boosting and babysteps needed to help them recover confidence. That aside, I just feel that giving a book, however precious we feel the bible to be, in language that is w-a-a-y above the reading level of the recipient, is a waste of time and doesn’t encourage them to even try to read it. Apparently the Reading Age of the average Brit is 9yo. The R/A of the KJV is 11yo and a prominent anglican cleric said recently that the anglican liturgy is above the reading level of 43% of worshippers. Britain is secular, folk aren’t growing up steeped in bible stories from sunday school days and religion is almost a ‘foreign country’ to them. Because we know it so well we can forget this. I almost feel my relative, church planting in this atmosphere, would be better giving out children’s illustrated bibles with short text.

  158. @ Lea:
    Love my Kindle, however did I go on holiday abroad, with the small baggage allowance we get from some airlines in the Uk and carry enough books for the week? Such a luxury to have 20-30 to choose from on my kindle and not have to make 2-3 last for the duration!

  159. @ Matilda:
    I meant that few read physical books in my expereience, it’s only churches who give out these weighty tomes..on a journey, I observe travellers listening to music or audiobooks or catching up on TV,not reading theology on paper!

  160. Matilda wrote:

    Britain is secular, folk aren’t growing up steeped in bible stories from sunday school days and religion is almost a ‘foreign country’ to them.

    yes, I agree that Britain is as secular as is the USA. But Britain also has the C of E, with the Queen as titular head, and a Christian tradition that goes back into time. As for religion as a ‘foreign country’ to them, I would suggest that it is more than that culturally in that one of the great anthems of Britain is ‘Jerusalem’ which most certainly combined patriotism with the old faith in a hopeful and respectful way.

    Scratch the modern secular surface of Britain, and you find it is haunted by Lindisfarne, Aidan, Ceolfrith, Alcuin, Wyclif, Tyndale ….

    such remarkable DNA lies within the Brits and it will never be that far from their collective consciousness, no

  161. Christiane wrote:

    ‘the biblical gospel’, but what is it and is it something consistently affirmed by the whole denomination???

    Well before the New Calvinist revolution, there was one Gospel (The Gospel) taught to and proclaimed by Southern Baptists across the world … the one Paul defined as “Jesus and Him crucified”. Certainly before the YRR rebellion, there a few classical Calvinist pastors who altered the SBC message in their pulpits (until of late, Calvinists were a small minority in SBC). Then along came the young reformers and their band of leaders who distorted Paul’s writings in defense of their reformed doctrines about grace. To them, Calvinism = Gospel and that’s what they deliver … no Cross of Christ for ALL people, no Jesus and Him crucified for your redemption, no accepting Jesus into your heart, no whosoever will may come. Thus, there are two threads of a gospel message being preached in SBC churches these days … the “traditional” Truth vs. the new and unproved thing. Unfortunately, the latter one is gaining ground as the YRR army hits SBC pulpits and pews across the country.

  162. @ Lea:
    My sense is most northern European recipes do not use garlic and the first white settlers in the South were largely from the British Isles, so no. I follow an Instagram account, SouthernFoorways, which is from Southern Foodways Alliance, which does showcase Southern food by more recent immigrants, e.g. Hispanic, South Asian. So Southern food is changing. But also was always varied, especially in some regiobs. In Maryland,my diet was, as a child, a combination of traditional Southern, but with lots of seafood and with Baltimore German and German Jewish elements, all of which is just mostly Baltimore. This is sorta Southern but mixed. Louisiana would be mixed in other ways.

  163. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    I rarely hear the gospelly boys refer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    I’m not sure what it’s like in other denominations experiencing the New Calvinist onslaught, but Southern Baptists (I’ve been one for 60+ years) cut the Holy Spirit out of the mix a long time ago. It was just a matter of time before they got around to running Jesus off, too.

  164. Deb wrote:

    @ okrapod: Thank you for this important reminder. It's definitely time to move on.

    Perhaps the commentary yesterday by okrapod and myself was missed. We're movin' on folks!

  165. I sometimes sign Dew and sometimes in all caps. I try to be consistent but I make mistakes.
    Secondly and unrelated does Dee or others have information on any neo-Calvinist movement in the Reformed Church in America (RCA) coming out of their seminary in Orlando, FLA. I’ve heard stuff but I don’t want to spread rumors. I guess I will go and Google it now.

  166. Also those traditional Southern dishes, although sounding great, are heavy on sugar and starch, which is pretty much verboten to anyone (like myself) who has developed mild diabetes late in life. I guess I could make sweet tea with artificial sweeteners. But I try to avoid those too.

  167. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Sure that isn’t borrowing Scientology’s trick to juice the book onto the best-seller lists?

    I was more reminded of their push to get Hubbard’s books into public libraries. I’ve heard of registrars and other higher-ups leaning on ordinary Scientologists to buy extra copies of Dianetics and other L. Ron tripe, so that those copies can be donated all over the country. Most libraries, however, simply choose to toss them, so the money spent by the poor suckers goes completely and utterly to waste.

    The waste is one factor in my distaste for Stiles’ idea. Is tithe money being used to buy and give away these Calvinista books? Can they think of nothing better to spend that on, like food for the hungry or clothes for the needy?

  168. @ Serving Kids In Japan:
    My university library took the first mailing of them since the Religious Studies Dept. teaches a course on religions which are born in the US (Mormons for instance). The US has been fertile ground for religious denominations and Scientology is part of that history. So they were useful primary sources just like the scriptures of other religions. And free! The CoS for a while sent boxes every year. Subsequent volumes were tossed unless the first library copies had been lost or defaced. Again it saved money.

  169. Dear Preston Bennett:

    I don’t think my pastor has a “scheme” to write dense Theology books and books on church polity with dollar signs in his eyes.

    Directly from book sales? Maybe not. But maybe Dever has a longer-term game in mind: Use his books and treatises to indoctrinate the pews more people into accepting the pastor’s “authority”. All the while defining “authority” in ever more grandiose and autocratic terms, resulting in more and more power (and therefore money) for Dever et al in the long run.

    Furthermore, if a pastor or Theologian, or whomever, writes a book and profits from their labor, I don’t see the problem.

    Even if that book is written on his church’s dime? Or, more egregiously, even if that “book” is nothing but a collection of rehashed sermons, originally written under the auspices of that church?

    my take on TWW is that TWW disagrees with A: Calvinism B: complementarianism C: Formal church membership/covenants…

    When sins of an individual or a church body corporately are discovered, and those individuals or churches subscribe to A, B, or C, or all 3, that is seen as directly causative and the primary reason for the sin, and proof of the fatal flaw in A or B or C.

    TWW is against abuse, Preston. First and foremost.

    As for your A, B and C… here’s something I’ve noticed. Men and churches who espouse all three of those together have a tendency to paint themselves as superior, both intellectually and morally, to those who interpret the Bible differently. And yet, we constantly see astoundingly abusive and repugnant behaviour emerging from churches that subscribe to Dever’s 9Marks and the Danvers Statement.

    Which leads me to raise the question: If these men and their followers are as smart as they love to claim, why do they keep doing things that are so dumb? If they’re such paragons of Christian virtue, then why do they say and do things that even the nonreligious consider repulsive and disgusting?

    I would link the sin to the sin of Adam…. I don’t believe the “rate of incidence”, if you will, or type of the sins pointed out in TWW watch are higher or peculiar to churches or individuals espousing A/B/C, but are common to mankind, even professing Christians

    Convenient, isn’t it? If this vice can safely be blamed on poor old Adam’s sin, then we can’t do anything about it (and therefore, we needn’t). If such abuse is common to everyone on the planet, then there’s no point in considering whether policies or systemic problems might be making those abuses worse within our own house.

    I doubt whether Karen Hinckley or Marie O’Toole would be terribly impressed to hear this from you, Preston.

  170. Dew wrote:

    traditional Southern dishes, although sounding great, are heavy on sugar and starch

    I was raised in the South and enjoyed frequent batches of cornbread. Living in the Midwest now, folks here try to sell me on their version of Southern cornbread which has so much sugar in it that it tastes like cake! Authentic, genuine, the real deal Southern cornbread has no sugar in it.

  171. Dew wrote:

    Also those traditional Southern dishes, although sounding great, are heavy on sugar and starch, which is pretty much verboten to anyone (like myself) who has developed mild diabetes late in life. I guess I could make sweet tea with artificial sweeteners. But I try to avoid those too.

    you might do better with the Mediterranean Diet (very healthy, very delicious, lots of fresh fruits and veggies)

  172. Dew wrote:

    Also those traditional Southern dishes, although sounding great, are heavy on sugar and starch, which is pretty much verboten to anyone (like myself) who has developed mild diabetes late in life. I guess I could make sweet tea with artificial sweeteners. But I try to avoid those too.

    Sucralose (Splenda) works well for sweet tea and lemonade. It’s also a good substitute for sweetening sauces, homemade puddings, refrigerator cream pies, etc. If you use it in baking (cakes, baked pies) you can only go with about half Splenda and half sugar. I know – I have experimented. My mom is a diabetic and my son-in-law’s parents are severe diabetics. When we do family get togethers, I always make something for them. I always make low sugar jam and jelly as a Christmas gift for my sil’s parents.

  173. Be super careful with the sucralose. Might want to investigate a bit further. I’m one of those folks (and many diabetics and non diabetics have turned out to be) who find it runs up my blood sugar worse than table sugar. And it stays higher longer also. There have been some studies done proving it, so don’t take my word, but check it out. I pooh poohed the idea over a year and could not get my readings consistent. Dropped the sucralose and have been doing much better, no wild swings or what was most frustrating, eating right and still getting a spike. For me it was the sucralose in fruit cups, yogurts, etc. Went to those packed in fruit juice, or yogurt with a tiny 1/4 tsp honey and the problem vanished.

    Back on topic, many Wesleyan churches also give away books, as do Pentecostal. So I give the Calvinists a pass if they do too, but I also figure if it is Calvinista books I’d rather worship elsewhere.

  174. Matilda wrote:

    Such a luxury to have 20-30 to choose from on my kindle and not have to make 2-3 last for the duration!

    Right? And buy more on vacation sometimes, even, since there are lots of place with free wifi!

  175. Dew wrote:

    My sense is most northern European recipes do not use garlic and the first white settlers in the South were largely from the British Isles, so no

    Yes, that makes sense. I was actually thinking cajun food might be an exception, and my own state was once part of the Louisiana purchase, so we have some of that influence as well.

    But I definitely cook with garlic in a lot of things.

  176. Dew wrote:

    I guess I could make sweet tea with artificial sweeteners.

    You could drink it unsweet. That’s what I do. I reject all these silly ‘true southerners drink sweet tea’ memes.

  177. I’m also making collard greens with smoked pork necks from a recipie off the Web. I’m not sure how traditional it is since it calls for garlic and garlic powder. It also has red pepper flakes in it. I German’ed it up by adding hot Hungarian paprika as well.

  178. Dew wrote:

    does Dee or others have information on any neo-Calvinist movement in the Reformed Church in America (RCA) coming out of their seminary in Orlando, FLA

    RTS Orlando is not a seminary of the Reformed Church in America or of any particular denomination. RTS has several campuses including Orlando; the whole operation’s CEO is T4G/TGC bigwig Ligon Duncan.

  179. RTS’s main constituency is PCA, but this page from the Jackson, Mississippi flagship campus highlights RCA students:

    http://rts.edu/Site/RTSNearYou/Jackson/MDIV/rcatrack.aspx

    “RTS is pleased to announce that there is a new RCA track available for MDIV students seeking ordination in the Reformed Church in America (RCA). The RCA requires all candidates for ministry who choose not to attend an RCA denominational seminary to enroll in their Ministerial Formation Certification Agency…”

  180. Matilda wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    I agree Christiane, it’s a subject dear to my heart i I taught literacy to kids who, after a year or two in school had faied to hack reading and felt failures, lots of self-esteem-boosting and babysteps needed to help them recover confidence. That aside, I just feel that giving a book, however precious we feel the bible to be, in language that is w-a-a-y above the reading level of the recipient, is a waste of time and doesn’t encourage them to even try to read it. Apparently the Reading Age of the average Brit is 9yo. The R/A of the KJV is 11yo and a prominent anglican cleric said recently that the anglican liturgy is above the reading level of 43% of worshippers. Britain is secular, folk aren’t growing up steeped in bible stories from sunday school days and religion is almost a ‘foreign country’ to them. Because we know it so well we can forget this. I almost feel my relative, church planting in this atmosphere, would be better giving out children’s illustrated bibles with short text.

    That was the whole point of stained glass, way back when. The Gospel in pictures. 🙂

    Tree, praying for your son!

  181. KenG wrote:

    @ dee:
    I’m not surprised that Velour left and will not return. In fact she was told,
    “Start your own blog Velour & come back to normal participation here.”
    There does seem to be some kind of lack of tolerance for different views. I made some observations about the AOG churches and responses became very defensive, even accusing me of calling people who attend AOG churches, “stupid.”

    Hi Ken,
    Those are my words (not the Deebs) & I totally own them. They were MY opinion on what Velour needed to do based on her smothering & steamrolling threads here – which she just didn’t seem able to see or consider – in short she was not acting like an equal participant, but like the owner of the blog. I have a high tolerance level for differing views, differing personalities & so on, which I think is borne out by my long term participation here. What I don’t have a high tolerance for is gross & repeated misrepresentation of what other commenters have said & persistent misrepresentation since.
    When it comes to alcoholism & other addictions sometimes it’s common to see those whose grace seemingly goes only one way – to the addict – & in a crusading way & those around them are required to act ‘perfectly’ & if someone dares to be ‘imperfect’ (in this case Barbara Roberts when she said Sproul Jnr should be put out of his church, perfectly understandable in context, but failed to give this the rider that this was specific to him, not to all addicts.She didn’t need to do this as it was clear from context but V took this & ran it into the ground as B being unsupportive of alcoholics, which is nonsense).

    So those are my words you quoted, which if I remember rightly came at the end of a long – & extremely uncharacteristic post for me – which set out why I thought that. We can’t all live & write so as to not be misunderstood by all invisible lurkers with all possible issues.

  182. I clearly didn’t finish my sentence – if someone dares to be ‘imperfect’ they are unloving. Not so. Just human.

  183. Bridget wrote:

    Now if Nick said something harsh and edgy, that’s a different story . . .

    **** yeah.

    You’re all rubbish.

    Up yours,
    Roger Bombast

  184. dee wrote:

    We do not allow that on TWW if we find out about with the exception of our good friend, Nick.

    Which is a very kind thought. I may be the proverbial exception that proves the rule, though, because all these regulars coincidentally have a balding avatar pic taken on the summit of Conival early one May morning.

  185. Beakerj wrote:

    When it comes to alcoholism & other addictions sometimes it’s common to see those whose grace seemingly goes only one way – to the addict – & in a crusading way & those around them are required to act ‘perfectly’ & if someone dares to be ‘imperfect

    Sorry for the word salad…have just finished my Master’s dissertation & my brain is toast.

    That sentence should read,’When it comes to alcoholism & other addictions it can be common to see those on a bit of a crusade where grace seemingly only goes one way,that is, to the addict. Those around them are required to act ‘perfectly’ & if someone dares to be ‘imperfect’ they are unloving. Not so. Just human.’

  186. With the exception of Keller, Piper, and a few other books, the YRR crowd’s books aren’t popular with the wider Christian audience. You can look at their Amazon and Christian Book Distributor ratings to see they don’t do very well. They rarely pop up on the Top 50 list for Christian bookstores either.

    One key way the YRR authors sell is to preach at each other’s churches and buy cases of the books. (“I scratch your back, you scratch mine.”) They also insist publishers give away the books (or sell them at reduced cost) at their conferences. This boosts their unit sales, but I estimate their dollar sales are relatively low.

    Neo-Calvinist views are an echo chamber and their bizarre theology doesn’t line up with Jesus’ teachings of love and compassion to the outsider and the outcast. Theirs is the reverse: All the power and goodies for us pastors.

  187. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    the proverbial exception that proves the rule

    If this rule is true, then it must have an exception as well. This means there must be at least one rule with no exceptions. But which rule is it that has no exceptions? If it is the rule that all rules have exceptions, then that would prove make this rule violate itself, which would make it false. So it cannot be this one. But I digress…

  188. LONG COMMENT WARNING

    Beakerj wrote:

    “Start your own blog ******* & come back to normal participation here.”

    So those are my words you quoted, which if I remember rightly came at the end of a long – & extremely uncharacteristic post for me – which set out why I thought that. We can’t all live & write so as to not be misunderstood by all invisible lurkers with all possible issues.

    I think it worth pointing out that Beaks did not invite ***** to leave and not come back – quite the reverse.

    Wartburgers will be familiar with this from Proverbs 9:

    Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.

    … and I draw everyone’s attention especially to the second half of the verse. No community can be healthy if it has members who are untouchable no matter what they say or do – that’s precisely the problem with authoritarian “churches”. This is not an authoritarian “church” and two wrongs don’t make a right. Nor should any right-thinking Wartburger want to be untouchable – every one of us is in principle accountable to the others here.

    If I were to make inappropriate accusations against someone who espoused a viewpoint I didn’t agree with, then I would hope Wartburgia would be kind enough to tell me not to. And if I persisted, and broadened those accusations out to several people, then I hope several people would stand firm in pointing out that I was wrong. This would not amount to a pile-on. And when someone unconditionally apologises to you and asks your forgiveness, then you accept that apology just as unconditionally unless you have very good evidence that their apology is false; that’s everyday common sense, quite apart from what Jesus instructed on forgiveness.

    In this corner of christendom (the thorny issue of abusive church cultures), it’s very easy to fall into the assumption that a reproof reflects hostility or enmity. To be fair, it often does. But a reproof can also be a priceless gift that reflects love and respect. This is not my blog, and it’s not my place to say what anybody else should expect to find here. But what I hope to find is a way of growing. I spent ten years in a cult in which two leaders in particular consistently reproved me out of contempt and personal dislike; this was not at any point edifying. But always being told I’m right won’t make up for that; quite the reverse.

  189. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    This is not my blog, and it’s not my place to say what anybody else should expect to find here. But what I hope to find is a way of growing.

    This is our hope as well. You are a blessing to the TWW community.

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