Restoration Craziness: Tullian Tchividjian Returns and Darrin Patrick Ditches Calvinism for the ARC

The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. C. S. Lewis link

I have learned so much about pastors and church life in the last few weeks. I am taking a course at a conservative, liturgically based denominational seminary and I cannot thank my professor enough. I will be sharing some of these insights in the weeks to come. I have come to realize that I have accepted a number of *givens* without questioning the basis for these beliefs.

What does it mean to *restore* a pastor?

Recently, the topic of restoration of the fallen pastor came up in my class. I asked a question that is often asked of me on this blog. "If the pastor has repented, shouldn't he be restored?" I get asked this when I protest that pastors who have committed serious sins are brought back into the pulpit way too quickly. The professor then asked me a question. "Restored to what?" Think about it. It is an important question. He went on to explain that I was missing a key step in the restoration process. The pastor must first repent and then he must be restored to the church before, if ever, being restored to the pulpit.

He thinks that a pastor who has had an affair, needs to think about staying out of the pulpit for 5 years. Those who have committed grave sins must never return to the pulpit. However, the pastor can be restored to his church body. In other words, the former pastor should seek to become a communing member of the congregation, not their pastor.

I remembered thinking "Why is it that evangelicals automatically assume that restoration, when it involves a pastor, means being restored to the pulpit?" In the many years of writing this blog, I have yet to hear anyone advocate for or even bring up the fact that a fallen pastor should first seek to be reinstated to his church body as a member. I appears to me that many people assume that the pastor is either a pastor or he is not part of the church. Here is the assumed paradigm.

  • A congregation member seriously sins. He repents and is restored to being a full communing member of the church body.
  • A pastor seriously sins. He repents and then is restored to the pulpit.

What happened to this step?

  • A pastor seriously sins. He repents. He is restored to the church body as a communing member. Someday, far in the future, he may be restored to the pulpit.

Thankfully, I have had the example of one pastor who did precisely that. He had an affair with a women whom he was counseling. He confessed to the church. He was disciplined and he repented. He was restored to the church as a communing member of the congregation. He got a secular job (non-church related.) After a few years, he decided that he would not return to the pulpit, despite pleas for him to do so. He now teaches theology and gives talks (many year later) but he is not longer a pastor. 

Who is the pastor in relation to the congregation?

I heard a Calvinsta pastor tell his church body that he was not a member of the congregation. He deliberately sat with the church members at the beginning of the sermon. He then walked up to the pulpit and said, "I am not a member of this congregation. I am the pastor. We are not the same." I was stunned. He did not view himself as part of the church body.

Thankfully, I have left this brand of authoritarian, Reformed evangelicalism and now belong to a church denomination that views things differently.  This group sees the pastor as part of the church body.

Understanding this elitist view of the pastor may help in understanding the current goings on with Tullian Tchividjian and Darrin Patrick. It is important to understand that both of these men have claimed that they are Reformed in their theology. Perhaps this odd view is the reason for their bid to become the *comeback kids."

The world needs Tullian Tchividjian(TT)!

I was sent a link to PAUL ZAHL: THE WORLD NEEDS TULLIAN PREACHING AGAIN! written by Mark Jones writing at The Calvinist. Recently, Paul Zahl, in a post on TT's website, made an astonishing claim. 

“The affirmation of this website is that the world needs Tullian…”

Astute readers are saying at this point, "Why? We thought the world needed Jesus. Stupid us." Paul Zahl explained his reasoning.

What Tullian offers is more profound even than the words of that enduring song. What the world needs now is the pulverized residue of a life forcibly taken, in the school of hardest knocks both self-inflicted and imposed by the world. A life taken away, that life turned to dust—that is the life Tullian knows…inside out.

Mark Jones commented: 

We can also look at Zahl’s article and come away with an almost shocking revelation, namely, that sin is actually a resume enhancement, not a resume killer. The Scriptures go to great lengths to speak about the personal piety of pastors. But for Zahl, Tullian is more qualified to preach the gospel, not because of his piety but because of his impiety. This sort of biblical ethic is extremely dangerous, and I would say that Zahl needs to repent for even hinting at this idea.

Let us sin that grace may abound! We will be better preachers (“qualified brilliantly”) when we’ve preyed upon married women, destroyed families, and caused pain to our flock. Think about that for a minute.

I bet you are wondering if Paul Zahl is a member of the ARC brigade (more coming on this shortly) or a BFF of Joel Osteen. Not by a long shot. Paul Zahl is beloved by none other than Ray Ortlund, who wrote I Honor Paul Zahl at The Gospel Coalition website in 2011. Here is what Ortlund said about him.

 Paul has an uncanny ability to articulate the message of divine grace in such a fresh way that it flies in under the radar and goes kaboom! right where we need it — applied to our real lives.  Not hanging out there in abstractions but right here, close up, where it starts making a difference.  The message of blood-bought grace for the undeserving is so clear in Paul’s preaching and writing that it is unmistakable, which is to say, uncommon but properly bold

Mark Jones pointed out this absurd statement in Zahl's *love letter* to TT.

“I would go so far as to say that Tullian’s personal experience, as bad as you want to make it out, has qualified him (and qualified him brilliantly!) to preach the Gospel.

"As bad as you make it out to be?" Seriously, Zahl?? Do you not understand that TT had multiple affairs? He then married one of his honeys who had been divorced two times. He tried to blame it on his wife. He lied to his church, his ministry partners and to his family. He was defrocked by his Presbytery. Then, he ditched his family and moved to Texas with the new babe. This couple got what they deserved. Stacie got TT who cheats on his wife with lots of people and TT got Stacie who moved herself and her boys to Florida to canoodle with TT with zero regard for her kids, his kids or his wife. What a pair!

[Update 10/07/17-I based my comment that Stacie moved to Orlando with her boys on a comment she made on Facebook about being in Orlando with her boys. Stacie does NOT have custody of her boys but she is allowed visitation. Perhaps the boys were visiting her when she was Orlando? Anyway, Stacie is back in Fort Meyer with TT, leanving her high school son quarterback to face his senior year without her presence in Texas. Nice move…]

And now he and the babe announce his new website

This is who the whole world needs? Forgive me but I'll take Jesus any day of the week! To top it all off, Zahl quotes from the sappiest love song of the last 50 years. Forgive me but I am feeling a bit nauseous.

Tullian has what Jackie DeShannon sang it needed: “What the World Needs Now is Love.” 

Mark Jones rightfully calls out Paul Zahl.

We can also look at Zahl’s article and come away with an almost shocking revelation, namely, that sin is actually a resume enhancement, not a resume killer. The Scriptures go to great lengths to speak about the personal piety of pastors. But for Zahl, Tullian is more qualified to preach the gospel, not because of his piety but because of his impiety. This sort of biblical ethic is extremely dangerous, and I would say that Zahl needs to repent for even hinting at this idea.

My thoughts:

  • TT should never be a pastor again. There were too many women and too much destruction. At the minimum, he should be out of the celebrity limelight for the next 5 years.
  • TT and Stacie need to shut up, become members of congregation, and learn to serve from the background. They should be the little guys. They need to spend time tutoring low income kids, caring for human trafficking victims, serving in soup kitchens, befriending people in nursing homes, etc. They should not write about it, brag about it, or lecture about it. They should join a small group Bible study-not lead it and humbly listen. There should be no one *important* in that group. 
  • They need to show true shame for what occurred.
  • They need to make it right with their kids. What a terrible legacy they have given them.
  • They both screwed up badly in public and they should repent very publicly. 
  • They need to shut down Facebook and all other accounts and go silent for a few years. 

Sadly, I doubt they can do it. Humility and obscurity are not in their DNA. Here is what TT does't get. He sure loves to throw around the word grace.  In his love letter to Paul Zahl, (Mark Jones called these post *love letters*) Grace in Practice: A Tribute to Paul Zahl, he discussed grace.

Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of loveable…Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything to do with the lover…It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts.” It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold.

What TT doesn't portray is the *bent head and knees* of humility. That is only accomplished by those who understand the great price that was paid for that grace. Somehow, TT and Stacie seem to revel in their *self-destruction.*

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve," said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.” CS Lewis: Prince Caspian 

Darrin Patrick ditches Calvinism for the ARC.

This is how the news was posted in April 2016. Darrin Patrick Removed from Acts 29 Megachurch for ‘Historical Pattern of Sin.' Investigation by The Journey found ‘pastoral misconduct’ in several areas of his life. Here is the letter that was sent to members of The Journey church. This is one portion of that letter.

Somehow, that *not really adultery* clause reminded me of another individual who claimed, when asked about his marijuana usage, "I smoked but did not inhale." Nevertheless, whatever happened, it sounded really, really bad. 

Darrin Patrick was a Calvinista's Calvinist. He really played the "man's man" gender game with his book The Dude's Guide to Manhood: Finding True Manliness in a World of Counterfeits

Patrick, the author of The Dude’s Guide to Manhood and Church Planter, will no longer hold any internal or external leadership positions. He has accepted financial support from the church for an undisclosed period of time, and he and his wife will undergo counseling. The 45-year-old pastor also served as a council member for The Gospel Coalition, St. Louis Cardinals chaplain, and Acts 29 podcast host. Patrick’s bio has been removed from the Acts 29 site.

He immediately committed to a *restoration process." I imagine you are hoping that he was going to be restored to his church congregation, right? Wrong. This is another one of those "restore back to being in charge" restoration gigs. Right from the start, I knew he would be back in the pulpit as quickly as he could get someone to *restore* him. 

A spokesman for a ministry team tapped to work with Patrick in the “restoration process” is all too familiar with the pattern of sin exhibited by high-profile pastors.

Jimmy Dodd, president of PastorServe, a ministry providing crisis and preventative assistance to pastors and their churches, said it was obvious Patrick had become The Journey’s “brand,” not only as the founder and lead pastor but also as a popular conference speaker and author with a large social media presence. Dodd has been in communication with Patrick during the past month and will meet with church leaders next week to outline a process for moving forward.

“I think there is a longing to see this done right,” Dodd said.

…He does not expect Patrick to return to ministry anytime soon.

The question that needs to be asked is "What do they mean by something being 'done right'?"

Patrick said he is committed to placing himself and his family in the care of the elders and the “restoration and reconciliation” process set forth by PastorServe and the elders, who will address the congregation during worship services this weekend.

“The elders are being extremely gracious toward Darrin,” Dodd said. “He will be loved.”

What do they mean by "he will be loved?" It means they are still paying him. In other words, he gets to sit around, repenting and being counseled while still being paid. What a gig. Great use of tithe dollars.

He has accepted financial support from the church for an undisclosed period of time, and he and his wife will undergo counseling.

So, in keeping with church discipline, did Darrin Patrick become a restored member of a congregation, serving quietly in the background? No sirree! He got himself a new gig. He is now preaching at The Arc Seacoast.

Here is a video of him preaching at his new gig.

Patrick has no business preaching at this time. However, it looks like the boyz at The Arc disagree. The ARC is famous for restoring *fallen* pastors very quickly. Here is one story about Dino Rizzo.  In that account, the ARC boyz swooped in, grabbed the fallen pastor (who had a mistress in a paid apartment ), flew him and his wife to Hawaii to recuperate and then he got a well paying gig, preaching at Chris Hodges church. They also have bizarre beliefs about demons. In case you haven't heard this, the ARC is the fastest growing church planting organization on the planet. 

Basically, Darrin Patrick ditched Calvinism for his new gig. I wonder when he will start the exorcisms?

This leads me to believe that Darrin Patrick always had his finger to the wind. He gave up Acts 29, The Gospel Coalition and all the really cool *dude* stuff and traded it in for exorcisms, cheap grace, and a really, really good paycheck. 

Next week, I plan to talk about why I no longer call myself an evangelical although I am an evangelist at heart. Stories like this figure prominently into my thoughts on the matter. So do songs like this. 

Spelling correction 20171007 GBTC


Comments

Restoration Craziness: Tullian Tchividjian Returns and Darrin Patrick Ditches Calvinism for the ARC — 335 Comments

  1. Stacie didn’t move with her boys; however, Tullian and Kim’s son, Gabe (along with Gabe’s wife and child), are living with Tullian and Stacie.

  2. The clergy-laity gap is becoming wider in the American church … which, of course, is not the Biblical model. When ministers restore other ministers who have fallen without the involvement of the church, it is an illegitimate restoration IMO. The Body of Christ needs to have some say in this!

    Is there a New Testament example of a pastor who fell morally being restored? No. I would never presume to know the limits of God’s grace in such situations, but perhaps we are inserting Scriptural guidelines He would not approve of. I think it would be possible for the fallen to be restored to pastoral ministry … after they have proven themselves to the Body of Christ and found worthy to be ordained again to that office (in my mind, moral failure = loss of ordination). To bring a man back after a short sabattical of hanging out with other pastors who counsel him has no Biblical precedent either (some would say what about Barnabas and Mark? – a reminder that Mark didn’t fail morally). Moral failure of Christian celebrities and their subsequent restoration is happening at such a hectic pace that folks in the pew, not their leaders, need to rise up and say “Wait just a minute here – we may not want these characters back in the pulpit!” The Body of Christ needs to give the thumbs up in such situations, not the buds of the fallen.

  3. @ Julie Anne:
    I thought that before they were married, Stacie moved to Florida with her boys. Then after they were official, they moved to Texas where they got married.Then TT’s boy with wife and kid moved to Texas. Then, I saw in a post today that they may be back in Florida.
    Could you please confirm this?

  4. @ dee:
    Found it. On TT’s website
    “After a season of self-destruction leading up to, and following, his resignation from Coral Ridge in June 2015, Tullian is now married to Stacie, and together they have five children and one grandchild. They live in Fort Myers, Florida and attend Living Faith Church.
    https://www.tullian.net/tullian-tchividjian

  5. From the main article up top:

    “The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
    — C. S. Lewis —

    Even if I haven’t done anything (past or present) to deserve hell?

  6. @ dee:
    I found it on my favorite website-SSB!!!
    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2016/11/22/tullian-tchividjian-partial-timeline-of-alleged-clergy-sexual-abuse-and-spiritual-abuse/

    “I thought you live in my town…” Lisa soon learned that Staci had moved to Orlando for her job.
    Orlando, of course, is where Tullian was living at the time. Lisa would later learn the two had begun dating during this time. Tullian and Staci married in September. [Correction: married August 26, 2016.]”

  7. Matthew 3:8ff & Luke 3:8ff & Acts 20:26ff: Bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, fruit in keeping with repentance, do works on the ground of repentance.

    Evidence. Of change. Restitution, without loosely throwing around the term “Restoration”.

    Example of Restitution: Zacchaeus, Luke 19
    – publicly confessed his sin,
    – paid back what he had defrauded x 4, and
    – commit himself to the cause of the poor (as opposed to defrauding them), giving half of his wealth to the poor.

  8. He thinks that a pastor who has had an affair, needs to think about staying out of the pulpit for 5 years. Those who have committed grave sins must never return to the pulpit.

    So if I understand your professor correctly, committing adultery (an affair) is not a grave sin and staying out of the pulpit for 5 years is appropriate. Did your professor state what sins would fall into the grave sin category and why those sins are grave sins and adultery is not a grave sin?

  9. dee wrote:

    “After a season of self-destruction leading up to, and following, his resignation from Coral Ridge in June 2015, Tullian is now married to Stacie, and together they have five children and one grandchild. They live in Fort Myers, Florida and attend Living Faith Church.
    https://www.tullian.net/tullian-tchividjian

    The post at Tullian’s site is very misleading in many ways. One way in this quote is the word “they.” It leads you to believe that her boys are living with them. That is not true. They are in Texas with their father.

    Remember, that is Tullian’s site where image is key. It makes everything sound all Brady Bunch cozy. The only kids living with Tullian and Stacie are Gabe, Gabe’s wife, and their child.

    My sources have told me Stacie has not had custody of her two boys in a long, long while (although I’m sure she has visitation).

  10. Ken G wrote:

    So if I understand your professor correctly, committing adultery (an affair) is not a grave sin and staying out of the pulpit for 5 years is appropriate. Did your professor state what sins would fall into the grave sin category and why those sins are grave sins and adultery is not a grave sin?

    I’m sure Dee will answer for herself, but I have some thoughts on this.

    I would think that the pastor committing adultery “might” come back into the pulpit, but it would not be up to him, but the believers he has submitted to in his reconciliation process. I can think of many sins graver than adultery; murder, rape, physical harm to someone, child rape, or child molestation, etc. Adultery, after all, does not land a person in prison as a myriad of other offences do.

  11. Ok. If a pastor cheats on his wife, lies, steals etc he/she knows there’s supposed some sort of consequences in the afterlife, end of time, rapture or whatever.
    Some of these clowns claim God himself speaks to them.
    Now if I really believed that the all seeing, all knowing God is real, and talking to me, I’d really be on the straight & narrow.
    But hey, God forgives right?
    So by that logic, I’m kind of glad that God has left me alone. I’m faithful to my wife because of my own code of honour & I don’t expect any cosmic rewards in the hereafter for doing so.

  12. My big sin was making a phone call to leadership and asking for help a total of maybe 4 times in say 30 years of being a regular giving volunteering congregant. It was made very clear I was scum and God could basically die all day and I won’t be forgiven. That is not “preached” but it is practiced with steroids. There are two levels there is the professional Christian then there is the pond scum. The problem is most faith groups are not like that at all, they are giving kind people but being burned a few times leaves a mark. It just seems that some ministries/church groups don’t get that. I know this is pathetic on my part but I just want people to stop hurting in the Church or hurt by the church.

  13. You know they’d never treat a woman whose husband did these things the same way when “restoring” her to the church. She’d be blamed, probably harassed, put under years of church discipline, and victimized over and over again. They’d say she didn’t do enough for her husband.

  14. Somehow, that *not really adultery* clause reminded me of another individual…

    …a wannabe Commander of Gilead who keeboarped his Handmaid in between cosplaying as General Patton or an 18th Century Highborn Nobleman, then when caught wiped his mouth and announced “I did not know that woman in a Biblical sense.”

  15. Jack wrote:

    Ok. If a pastor cheats on his wife, lies, steals etc he/she knows there’s supposed some sort of consequences in the afterlife, end of time, rapture or whatever.

    Some of these clowns claim God himself speaks to them.

    “The words ‘God spoke to me and Saith…” should be approached with the same caution as “Please Castrate Me”.
    — a commenter in the archives

  16. It amazes me when churches seems to think that it is fine to “restore” a pastor back to the position of pastor, after they have shown that they should not be a pastor according to Biblical qualifications, especially since these churches also claim to hold to Bible inerrancy. It also makes them hypocrites because they rely on the same verses that disqualifies these pastors, to disqualify female pastors.

    Also, I highly doubt these churches would be quick to “restore” a Church Treasurer if he violated their trust and embezzled funds.

  17. @ Jack:

    “I’m faithful to my wife because of my own code of honour & I don’t expect any cosmic rewards in the hereafter for doing so.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    I think of all the many people everywhere who are faithful and do what is honest, right and good simply because it is the right thing to do. (like yourself) They don’t need any God points or God prizes for well-doing. They certainly don’t congratulate themselves for it.

    and then i look at christian pastors, who have this air of being elite human beings. God’s gift to the world. And I look at some christian pastors who willfully choose to do what is wrong, what is unfaithful, what is lying and cheating and deceiving. all of which harms others. and they are babied and coddled, and rewarded for it. God prizes, and job promotions. For willfully doing wrong.

    how ridiculous. how revolting. it’s an embarrassment. an affront to all the fine and decent human beings everywhere, who simply do right because it’s the right thing to do. what a joke this silly religion of mine has become.

    and here’s the kicker: then i go and actually listen to these pastors. and it’s vacuous, vaporous, nothing. it’s strings of words, all presented in a compelling manner and trendy clothes, shoes, and hairstyle.

    …but it’s as meaningful as a TV commercial for laundry detergent or bathroom cleaner. Good grief, what’s the paycheck for?

    i can’t get over how self-important they come across. how seriously they take themselves and each other, so crazily out of proportion.

    What the world needs now is not you.

    (although i’m quite sure the TWW’s mot is the exception to all this)

  18. Obviously the problem with most of the regulars here is that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  19. “you’re all looking for the perfect church.” No offense but it is reverse the Church is looking for perfect members and if you are not perfect God will kill you, I get that, daily I get that. I dont want a perfect faith community, I would settle for one that did not wish me and my family burning in eternal perdition and the blood of my parents/sisters soul was not on my eternal soul at the same time being convinced that a piece of trash like myself even has a soul. I have said this in the past, this is not good news, it has never been. If you find some let me know.

  20. Arnold Smartarse wrote:

    Yours Sincerely,
    Arnold Smartarse

    Listen, one-note-Charlie, you need to take another look at your name. Not the ‘arse’ part but rather the ‘smart’ part. You seem to be working on the supposition that people are looking for the perfect church. I am not convinced of that so much. Perhaps some are, but to think that ‘most’ fit the category of lookers for a perfect church misses the darker side of this issue.

    Sometimes people find exactly what they are looking for, and sometimes what they are looking for is something to criticize. Being able to criticize something has its uses, especially if one would otherwise have to criticize oneself instead. For example it is easier to criticize one’s spouse than it is to examine oneself concerning the problems in the marriage. It is easier to criticize the school than it is to jerk a knot in one’s own juvenile offspring. It is easier to gripe about the shallowness of the sermon than it is to get serious about studying for oneself. It is easier to finagle doctrine than it is to put feet on one’s faith and get busy with some very unhandy ‘works’ that some better church might be doing.

    Now, no doubt you have a point that there are those for fit your assumption. But if you carry your allegations too far you may end up like your cousin Dumbarse and his twin Head-Up-The and miss the larger picture.

  21. The very existence of a para-church ministry called “PastorServe” tells us that there is something terribly and fundamentally wrong with Evangelicalism.

    The use of the phrase “a season of self destruction” tells us that there is something terribly and fundamentally wrong with TT.

    These “men” were written about long ago, and the body of Christ was warned. Woe to those who follow after false christs like TT and the like.

    +1 on your concept of fallen leaders retreating to obscurity and service for ever. Only time can reveal if God has granted the gift of repentance. Stepping back into a pulpit or speaking platform tells me that He has not.

  22. It is rare that a pastor sins in only one aspect of his/her life. Where there is the sin of disloyalty in marriage, one will also usually find a sin of organizational abuse (dictatorship behavior) and/or financial abuse (taking more than the congregation has approved or has knowledge of). The basic sin is EGO, and it reaches and grasps over a lot of behavior. The treatment for EGO is humiliation and the proof of successful treatment is humility, as in disappearing from the public scene except when caught in service to the needy without the seeking of publicity.

  23. “What Tullian offers is more profound even than the words of that enduring song. What the world needs now is the pulverized residue of a life forcibly taken, in the school of hardest knocks both self-inflicted and imposed by the world. A life taken away, that life turned to dust—that is the life Tullian knows…inside out.”

    This has got to be the first time I’ve ever heard someone tell the world: “You NEED this guy’s preaching more than JESUS.” That is straight-up blasphemy. TT needs Jesus. Zaul needs Jesus. Everybody here at the Wartburg Watch (including myself) needs Jesus. Nobody needs TT’s preaching, (especially considering the other aspects of his life!)

  24. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    …a wannabe Commander of Gilead who keeboarped his Handmaid in between cosplaying as General Patton or an 18th Century Highborn Nobleman, then when caught wiped his mouth and announced “I did not know that woman in a Biblical sense.”

    Wait, who are you talking about?

  25. I find it interesting that Christians who live in other parts of the world who are being literally persecuted for Christ, risking death just to meet don’t have these problems. They don’t draw a paycheck much less a pastors pay package, no traveling to different parts of the world for vacations disguised as Christian conferences. They don’t sleep in 100,000 + homes or drive cars yet they risk their very lives just to have a page of the scriptures. We never hear of or see these Christians engaging in shenanigans. I can only imagine what they are thinking of us Christians over here and the men standing in these pulpits representing the church of our Lord Jesus not just blatantly in sin but seem to be whitewashing the seriousness of what these pastors are doing! I’m sorry but its embarrassing the way these men flaunt forgiveness. Do we continue to ignore what God says about men called to the pulpit/ ministry then being double accountable???? Of course forgivness is given to men who fall but I say heck no to being restored to the pulpit ever after that!!!! It’s like a circus the way these popular pastors support one another moving from one church body to another take away money and let’s see how many are really called to be pastors. I guarantee you more than half would run for the hills if there were zero financial support!!! Do what my former pastor did have a regular day job and guess what he still serves as a pastor and works over twenty years later!!!!! The church only provides partial support man do I wish he was in our state, very few like him who doesn’t draw a pay package. Again I can only imagine what our persecuted brothers and sisters are thinking about these shenanigans

  26. When I was growing up, I often heard that people with a “testimony” of being saved from a life of crime, drugs, adultery, etc. seemed like a bigger draw for the churches. I would rather hear a pastor say that he grew up in church, was raised in a christian home, accepted Christ as his savior at a young age, and despite the hardships of every day life, is still serving him. That’s what christian living is about to me. Despite what life has thrown at me all these years, I’m still serving Christ. I still believe in miracles. I still believe that God hears me when I pray. I’d rather hear a sermon like this a million times over than hear one from TT about we need to hear him preach. Because God saved him from such awful sins. That he is thanking God he is still in the “limelight” to preach about it,etc. etc. People like TT literally make me nauseated. He should be volunteering to help out people in Texas, not far from where he lives from all the hurricane Harvey damage. But I’m sure you won’t ever see him out there dirtying his hands and pitching in to help. Instead, a good Jewish friend of ours, is coming from another state with a group of men who are trained in reconstruction, to help out the worst areas of Texas still suffering. Now guess who I have a higher opinion of. My Jewish friend who is helping out the people in Texas, also went thru Hurricane Sandy. He gave up 20 of his own weekends to help the people in that area. A lot of it was very hard work. Plus all the fundraising he did to help out the situation. Who is the Good Samaritan here – the one who preaches in his pulpit about his piety or the one who actually gets out in the trenches to help out his brother in need.

  27. An Attorney wrote:

    The basic sin is EGO, and it reaches and grasps over a lot of behavior. The treatment for EGO is humiliation and the proof of successful treatment is humility, as in disappearing from the public scene except when caught in service to the needy without the seeking of publicity.

    Amen! Which is the greater evidence of restoration after a popular pastor falls morally? To seek to be first again or last? A desire to rule or serve? Fame or invisibility? Celebrity or obscurity? Self or surrender? Me or ministry?

    What are the New Testament guidelines to restore a pastor who has forfeited his ministry by moral failure? There are none.

  28. I cannot and will not step down as Pastor, for to go against Pastors is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen

  29. Demons exist and exorcisms are sometimes necessary. Whether ARC gets it right I will not address. Most orthodox or conservative churches hold to that view.
    Re Tchividjian. My hypothesis, based on his childhood rebellion, which seems extreme and out of the ordinary, is that there is some psychological damage there which is connected to the sexual/seductive behavior. That is not to excuse his adult behavior. He is sufficiently aware to know that he needs help and should get it. In fact seeking competent professional help (not Biblical counselling) is a moral obligation in this case. But until he is restored to some degree of psychological health, which can take years of therapy, he should not be a pastor and perhaps never. One sign of psychological health would be able to make a decision about career that recognized one’s weaknesses and which took the needs of others into consideration. Far from being at odds with grace appropriate psychological help can work with it by making one aware of one’s weaknesses. It can, ideally, prepare one to receive grace.
    Tchividjian and his enablers seem far from this view and are likely (no one can predict with certaintly) setting up a situation that will lead to more harm to him and others down the road.
    God’s grace is infinite from my religious perspective but one must turn to it. The longer one waits the more hardened one becomes.

  30. DEW wrote:

    Demons exist and exorcisms are sometimes necessary. Whether ARC gets it right I will not address. Most orthodox or conservative churches hold to that view.

    Yes. More and more people and denominations are denying this, however, and also even denying the miracles of Jesus himself and denying the resurrection as anything more than a series of visions. One of our retired bishops is heavily into this sort of thing. He seems to think that he is helping people continue to call themselves christians while actually denying the faith by denying the resurrection.

    Sigh. Are we really that deceived? Who are these people who think that anybody who can even deal with a quadratic equation is tooooo smaaaart to believe that there is anything beyond what one can see with the unaided eye? That is basically what he is saying, and there are those who get snookered in by his nonsense.

  31. brian wrote:

    My big sin was making a phone call to leadership and asking for help a total of maybe 4 times in say 30 years of being a regular giving volunteering congregant. It was made very clear I was scum and God could basically die all day and I won’t be forgiven. That is not “preached” but it is practiced with steroids. There are two levels there is the professional Christian then there is the pond scum. The problem is most faith groups are not like that at all, they are giving kind people but being burned a few times leaves a mark. It just seems that some ministries/church groups don’t get that. I know this is pathetic on my part but I just want people to stop hurting in the Church or hurt by the church.

    Pathetic? I don’t think so! You were a faithful member and participant of your church and helped others (I assume) many times. Surely even a secular, contract-based understanding of community would not refuse to help you 4 times in 30 years!

    For you to feel dissed and devalued by this treatment isn’t pathetic, it’s completely mature and insightful. For you to leave there and be frightened to participate in another church makes a lot of sense. That church is where the problems are, not within you.

  32. Ken G wrote:

    So if I understand your professor correctly, committing adultery (an affair) is not a grave sin and staying out of the pulpit for 5 years is appropriate.

    It is sometimes hard to express in a sentence what took an hour to say. Let me clear this up.

    Maybe you believe one affair, pedophilia and serial affairs are identical in gravity? If so, then what follows will not make sense to you.

    -Someone who has committed adultery, 1x, needs to stay out of the pulpit for a minimum of 5 years, if not forever. My example of my former pastor was included to give you an idea of just how grave a sin it is.

    -Graver sins: Serial adultery and multiple affairs including grooming women in the church is one. That would include IDC and TT.Pedophilia, domestic abuse, etc. fit into the category of graver sins.

    Also, for many pastors, to be out of the pulpit and ministry for 5 years is a killer. They will not return to a pulpit which was being kept warm for them. The congregation will have moved on. They will often have to start from ground zero. Has that pastor lived a life of repentance and humility. How is his family? Are they in agreement with this step?

    If you think I was conveying that a pastor needs to set his timer for 5 years and he gets a pass to return when the alarm goes off, then you didn’t get the entire list of this post.

  33. Sam wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    …a wannabe Commander of Gilead who keeboarped his Handmaid in between cosplaying as General Patton or an 18th Century Highborn Nobleman, then when caught wiped his mouth and announced “I did not know that woman in a Biblical sense.”

    Wait, who are you talking about?

    Douggie Phillips ESQUIRE, head of Vision Forum.
    (Yes, he always stressed that faux-Noble (or is it faux-Gentry?) title like a bogus Doctorate.)
    Search on “Doug Phillips” here or at Spiritual Sounding Board.

  34. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    P.S. (because this will definitely go into moderation, as there is NO clean way to describe this):

    “Keeboarp” is a term from Boontling, a local dialect of the Anderson Valley in Northern California about a century ago, used because any other term would break TWW’s rating.

    It refers to the (ed.-A sexual act that does not involve penetration) thus not REALLY sex “in the Biblical sense” (“LOOPHOLE! LOOPHOLE!”). Which according to the lawsuit in the case, is what Douggie ESQUIRE did to his much-younger Handmaid-in-all-but-title.

    Again, check the Category dropdown on this blog for “Doug Phillips/Vision Forum”.

  35. Julie Anne wrote:

    ne way in this quote is the word “they.” It leads you to believe that her boys are living with them. That is not true. They are in Texas with their father.
    Remember, that is Tullian’s site where image is key. It makes everything sound all Brady Bunch cozy. The only kids living with Tullian and Stacie are Gabe, Gabe’s wife, and their child.
    My sources have told me Stacie has not had custody of her two boys in a long, long while (although I’m sure she has visitation).

    This information is quite disturbing. Women rarely do not get custody of their kids if they want custody. She is not a *mother* in the true sense of the word.

    She sure had enough time on her hands to move to Orlando in order to pursue TT along with all the other women. She even spoke with Kim on the phone. She helped to destroy another family just like she destroyed her own. TT was, of course, 100% to blame as well.

    TT and Stacie did not *self destruct.* They have been living a destructive lifestyle for a very long time and they are looking for a pass for their long standing behavior. This is just plain wrong.

  36. Harley wrote:

    People like TT literally make me nauseated. He should be volunteering to help out people in Texas, not far from where he lives from all the hurricane Harvey damage. But I’m sure you won’t ever see him out there dirtying his hands and pitching in to help.

    Precisely! That is the gist of what I am saying.

  37. okrapod wrote:

    DEW wrote:

    Demons exist and exorcisms are sometimes necessary. Whether ARC gets it right I will not address. Most orthodox or conservative churches hold to that view.

    Yes. More and more people and denominations are denying this, however, and also even denying the miracles of Jesus himself and denying the resurrection as anything more than a series of visions. One of our retired bishops is heavily into this sort of thing. He seems to think that he is helping people continue to call themselves christians while actually denying the faith by denying the resurrection.

    Sigh. Are we really that deceived? Who are these people who think that anybody who can even deal with a quadratic equation is tooooo smaaaart to believe that there is anything beyond what one can see with the unaided eye? That is basically what he is saying, and there are those who get snookered in by his nonsense.

    ARC are the Spiritual Warrior bozos behind “Operation Ice Castle” against the Demon “Queen of Heaven” atop Mount Everest.

    Who bragged about killing Princess Di and Mother Teresa with their “Imprecatory Prayer”.

    Check this link for previous ARC appearances here at Wartburg Watch:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/permpage-the-arc-association-of-related-churches-is-planting-churches-looking-for-flowers-and-scoping-out-demons/

    P.S. I am a highly-neurotic former Cold War Kid Genius whose time in-country included a lot of denunciation and belittlement as “tooooo smaaaaart” by those Uber-Uber-Christians of little brains but much FAITH FAITH FAITH. Whether in-your-face or just “Tsk, Tsk…”.

    Growing up a Kid Genius is rough enough without having that rubbed in your face.

  38. Harley wrote:

    When I was growing up, I often heard that people with a “testimony” of being saved from a life of crime, drugs, adultery, etc. seemed like a bigger draw for the churches.

    Spectacular JUICY Testimony, i.e. “Pornography for the Pious”, giving all the Respectable Church Lady types a vicarious fix of JUICY Sin Sin Sin while still remaining Respectable and Pious.

  39. They should make a commercial:

    “If you are a pastor who needs restoration, FAST…
    Just Call ARC!”

    The big challenge with ARC is that they see shepherds and sheep as two distinct groups. You’re pretty much one or the other. I remember watching Hodges talk about how pastors are accountable to their Overseers, not to the people in that church. You know, in the same way that parents aren’t accountable to their kids. Those were his words, before the video was made private.

    That’s the mindset. They are the parents, we are the kids. Parents who mess up get restored as parents, but they don’t go back to being kids. And kids that have the right skills might become parents, every so often.

  40. I do believe pastors should have the opportunity for restoration to the pulpit. Peter denied Christ (grave?); David did not lose his kingship; Saul (Paul) persecuted/killed? the Church on behalf of the Temple (arguable prior to conversion, though). Maybe, they should be restored, a la Sampson (Nazarite vow), in order to take the Philistines with him!? – LOL. Maybe, TT should break the pillars of HIS church and bring the whole thing down.

    The bigger point is the issue of what is repentance. Most of these guys are growing THEIR flock with a ‘Jesus forgive-a-me’ (open says-a-me) mantra. We can get that taken care of in 5 minutes! The brokenness, contrition, humbling is not an easy affair. My previous denom required 2 years, and restoration was never back to the same locale, and never back to a mega. If they are willing to relocate and toil in relative obscurity, that shows humbleness. I agree that pride is always the issue.

    Either the blood of Christ is sufficient for all sins and sin, or not at all. We must hold to this despite our own sense of righteousness and pain. An incomplete restoration is not restore by definition.

  41. @ dee:
    I think you may be looking at this the wrong way. It’s really a pro-marriage development.

    Some people love, believe in, and promote marriage so much, they marry multiple people.

  42. This reminds me of a teaching:
    Young minister got his degree and first pastorate. Studied all week and had perfect exegesis and homiletic. He wore his best new suit and strutted up to the pulpit. He gave his sermon and it was a dud. Dejected, he embarrassingly walked from the pulpit down to the pew.
    An elder sitting there said: Pastor, when you can walk up into the pulpit in the manner in which you just came down, then you can leave the pulpit in the manner in which you first went up.

  43. dee wrote:

    Maybe you believe one affair, pedophilia and serial affairs are identical in gravity? If so, then what follows will not make sense to you. Someone who has committed adultery, 1x, needs to stay out of the pulpit for a minimum of 5 years, if not forever. My example of my former pastor was included to give you an idea of just how grave a sin it is.

    I think your professor may be too kind by identifying one sin and making an exception for that sin by requiring a minimum of 5 years for 1x adultery. I hesitate to attempt and identify which sins are graver than others because the ones you mentioned are all grave. It’s my understanding that adultery is premeditated, well thought out and planned in advance. Therefore, if I had my way, 1x adultery and you’re out not for 5 years, but permanently.

  44. TEDSgrad wrote:

    An incomplete restoration is not restore by definition

    Let me make sure I am hearing you correctly. Are you saying that a pastor restored to being a communing member of the church is not being fully restored?

  45. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    I remember watching Hodges talk about how pastors are accountable to their Overseers, not to the people in that church. You know, in the same way that parents aren’t accountable to their kids. Those were his words, before the video was made private.

    I know about this film. He has removed lots of stuff like the demons and flowers nonsense. But that does not mean he doesn’t believe it anymore. He’s just a businessman hiding sausage being made.

  46. @ dee:

    To this I would add a couple of thoughts, having worked with others on piecing together evidences in Spiritual Sounding Board (SSB) posts about Tullian Tchividjian.

    First, we are not talking about committing “mere” adultery, but clergy sexual misconduct added to marital infidelity. This would mean misuse of one’s role of spiritual authority and insider knowledge of a parishioner’s brokenness, issues, and vulnerabilities as part of a seduction process. He did not simply fall into sin, he dragged others with him to the edge and then jumped.

    We are also talking about a pattern, since he engaged in such seductions multiple times.

    Readers may find this post from SSB of interest for its section on “Language of Seduction
    that Seeks to Neutralize the Perpetrator’s Responsibility.”

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2016/12/19/issues-of-language-removing-neutrality-toward-abusers-and-negativity-toward-survivors/

    Some thoughts about this quote from Paul Zahl:

    What the world needs now is the pulverized residue of a life forcibly taken, in the school of hardest knocks both self-inflicted and imposed by the world. A life taken away, that life turned to dust—that is the life Tullian knows…inside out.

    A few days ago, Nate Sparks tweeted this about that (paraphrasing): Tullian can admit to everything he’s done, and yet take responsibility for nothing.

    Admission of personal sin is not the same as remediation of relational damage. What has he done to take responsibility for his destructive impact on the lives of others? Where is the evidence from the victims that Mr. Tchividjian has taken steps to repair the relational damage he inflicted?

    If there is no pattern there, why should anyone think it will not be more of the same in his next ministry platform?

    Pulverized poison is poison still.

  47. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    I am aware of that. ARC is one extreme; Bishop Spong is the other extreme; your Church is not at either extreme, at least not officially and not now. I am not going to make sweeping decisions based on other people’s extremes.

  48. Ken G wrote:

    Therefore, if I had my way, 1x adultery and you’re out not for 5 years, but permanently.

    A one time affair with prolonged grief is very different than serial predatory behavior or pedophilia which indicate a profound mental illness component. I think that rules are often good but there may be occasional exceptions.

    In the meantime, we have abusers in the pulpit who get off on authority, celebrity. or greed and somehow there is no rule against that. Take, for example, Mark Driscoll…It is people like him who have led me to no longer consider myself an evangelical but I will explain this next week. No fear: I am still a Christian who tells people about Jesus.

  49. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    A few days ago, Nate Sparks tweeted this about that (paraphrasing): Tullian can admit to everything he’s done, and yet take responsibility for nothing.
    Admission of personal sin is not the same as remediation of relational damage. What has he done to take responsibility for his destructive impact on the lives of others? Where is the evidence from the victims that Mr. Tchividjian has taken steps to repair the relational damage he inflicted?
    If there is no pattern there, why should anyone think it will not be more of the same in his next ministry platform?

    Best comment yet on the situation.

  50. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    ARC are the Spiritual Warrior bozos behind “Operation Ice Castle” against the Demon “Queen of Heaven” atop Mount Everest.
    Who bragged about killing Princess Di and Mother Teresa with their “Imprecatory Prayer”.
    Check this link for previous ARC appearances here at Wartburg Watch:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/permpage-the-arc-association-of-related-churches-is-planting-churches-looking-for-flowers-and-scoping-out-demons/

    P.S. I am a highly-neurotic former Cold War Kid Genius whose time in-country included a lot of denunciation and belittlement as “tooooo smaaaaart” by those Uber-Uber-Christians of little brains but much FAITH FAITH FAITH. Whether in-your-face or just “Tsk, Tsk…”.
    Growing up a Kid Genius is rough enough without having that rubbed in your face.

  51. dee wrote:

    He’s just a businessman hiding sausage being made.

    I think you’re exactly right, Dee. They still hold to this concept of quick restoration to ministry, and their approach to Rizzo and Patrick, etc., proves it. I just wish the video of Hodges was still public, so I could provide a link. The way they approach leadership suddenly made sense. I think there are some good people in ARC, mainly sheep, but some “leaders” too. But the culture and the structure are fundamentally flawed.

    In my way of thinking, ordination is a demotion. “Congrats, you’re now a servant. Expect to be treated like one.”

  52. @ okrapod:
    The problem with exorcisms is this. There is often no careful evaluation of the problem. It is just *assumed.* Make sure you hear me. I am not saying that I don’t believe in demons. I am saying that the diagnosis and exorcism process within the broader evangelical community is ridiculous.

    I believe that the Catholic Church has the process down pat and that evangelicals should take a clue. Here is an overview on Wikipedia.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exorcism_in_the_Catholic_Church
    There is an office within the Vatican which carefully oversees and evaluates these situations.

    Having been a nurse who dealt with schizophrenia in the home environment, I can see how some uneducated people might consider the symptoms *evidence* of indwelling demons. But they would be very, very wrong.

  53. @ dee:
    George Müller, training to be a pastor, was a liar and a thief. Caught and jailed, he repented and committed to change.

    As a pastor, Müller neither sought donations nor made known needs. However, he was 100% transparent with funding that came in and how it was spent, keeping meticulous and published records. With unsolicited funding, Müller built orphanages and schools, caring for and educating 10,000+ orphans in his lifetime.

    Müller commit to God to change and God honored his commitment. Müller lived a changed life.

  54. Sam wrote:

    This has got to be the first time I’ve ever heard someone tell the world: “You NEED this guy’s preaching more than JESUS.” That is straight-up blasphemy.

    It is blasphemy and nuts at the same time. I cannot imagine any Christian saying something like this.

  55. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Only time can reveal if God has granted the gift of repentance. Stepping back into a pulpit or speaking platform tells me that He has not.

    Totally agree.

  56. JYJames wrote:

    As a pastor, Müller neither sought donations nor made known needs. However, he was 100% transparent with funding that came in and how it was spent, keeping meticulous and published records. With unsolicited funding, Müller built orphanages and schools, caring for and educating 10,000+ orphans in his lifetime.

    I love this story. It is perfect I how. it fits this situation.

  57. okrapod wrote:

    You seem to be working on the supposition that people are looking for the perfect church.

    Arnold is a parody of the typical person who answers in this way. His comments are meant to be a parody along with his name.

  58. Muff Potter wrote:

    Even if I haven’t done anything (past or present) to deserve hell?

    Be assured Potter, you deserve hell even for the tiniest infractions.
    This is Introductory Christianity 101.

  59. @ dee:

    The Catholic Church is much better at this than the evangelicals. People keep quoting Lewis that people should not make too much of this or too little. It is that approach that I am trying to take. In my prior UMC church there was a complete denial of even the exorcisms of Jesus. They did not say that the lad might have been an epileptic and therefore Jesus read the situation wrong when he did an exorcism; they said that the lad was (definitely) an epileptic and that the idea that Jesus did an exorcism was a scriptural error since surely Jesus would not make such a mistake.

    Yes, well, no thanks, mostly because how would they know, and why open that can of worms, and do we really want to say that about either scripture or Jesus? That is where I am coming from-by way of illustration.

  60. Update
    Update 10/07/17-I based my comment that Stacie moved to Orlando with her boys on a comment she made on Facebook about being in Orlando with her boys. Stacie does NOT have custody of her boys but she is allowed visitation. Perhaps the boys were visiting her when she was Orlando? Anyway, Stacie is back in Fort Meyer with TT, leanving her high school son quarterback to face his senior year in high school without her presence in Texas. Nice move…

  61. @ dee:
    Maybe she didn’t desire custody? (of the two older boys?)
    Or, the boys came of age and chose to live with their father?
    A number of possibilities.

  62. @ dee:
    @ JYJames:
    However, the family photo of the new couple with one big happy blended family, aka the Brady Bunch, is the veneer of a totally different daily life reality. But then the featured couple doesn’t seem to be grounded in daily life reality.

    Like the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, “Burst of Joy”, reality is completely different from the picture.

  63. TT’s unraveling, the scapegoating of his wife and others, and his swift re-coronation feel sadly familiar. Lived that story on a much smaller stage many years ago. The ex jumped right back into ministry. I feel like I woke up in the Body Snatchers, and all the people I grew up with and ever knew have been pointing and making noises and my children and me ever since.

  64. @ dee:
    I think he is following his own advice in his book ‘Glorious Ruin: How suffering Sets You Free’, reviewed in Themelios volume 38, no. 2, July 2013. The reviewer observes
    “”Perhaps the most helpful insight of this book is that believers are not required to understand the anatomy of suffering in order to redeem it. They must simply cling to their redeemer. Christians do not have to minimize or moralize their pain. They have the freedom to fail, and this failure includes the inability to respond rightly in the midst of inexplicable pain. You do not have to burden yourself with the pressure to explain or even understand why you hurt, or how it will all work out in the end. The gospel allows us to cast away “the idol of explanation” (p. 152″
    https://ref.ly/o/themelios38-2/462134?length=573).

    Freedom to fail, move on, no regrets. Nice philosophy.

  65. JYJames wrote:

    Maybe she didn’t desire custody? (of the two older boys?)

    Me thinks that having custody of her boys would prevent her from having the “lifestyle” she so desires. I’m sure she’s not too pleased about the “extras” currently living in her house.

  66. Restoration to a platform of influence or a position of authority/responsibility seems to be ever more common a question. When it hit social media last week that Mark Driscoll and Tullian Tchividjian were on the comeback trails, a friend direct messaged me with this: Are there good examples of leaders who’ve failed and done this [i.e., repentance and restoration] well?

    I happened to have one situation to share with her, since I work in case studies as much as possible so there are detailed examples to illustrate, and not just hypotheticals and theologicals to debate. Here’s an expanded and edited version of what I messaged back to her.

    There is one person that I know of that I’d consider a good example: Gordon MacDonald. As best I can recall, he was pastor of a large church, well-known author, teacher at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. And he got into an adulterous relationship — with a woman on staff, if I remember correctly. When confronted in 1987, he fessed up and confessed his sexual misconduct, resigned from ministry, got counseling, disappeared from public ministry for a number of years while remaining under the oversight of a small number of male elders. Eventually he was deemed rehabilitated and consistent enough to resume public pastoral ministry. He wrote, *Rebuilding Your Broken World* and other books. This was all in the 1980s/90s.

    The Kicker: About 10 years after he resigned, MacDonald ended up being one of 2 or 3 personal pastoral advisors to Bill Clinton after his sexual scandals hit the news. (Tony Campollo was one of the others.) MacDonald knew what it was to fail in fidelity, but repent and be restored, and so to be a chaplain of sorts to others in similar situations.

    Here’s a Washington Post article from 1998 about this. From it, we can put together a timeline of MacDonald’s rehabilitation process in stepping away from ministry, repentance with oversight from others, reflection, and eventual restoration to public ministry from this article. I also had a friend who went to Grace Chapel, the church Gordon MacDonald pastored after the restoration period. So I remembering hearing how it was a controversial decision to hire him, and the church lost some members who felt he should never be in public ministry again. As far as I know, MacDonald did not have infidelity issues again.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1998/09/28/clintons-pastor-with-a-past/112e3e65-7098-40ac-a50e-6ef52a010ecb/?utm_term=.78deb5d8e509

    To my knowledge, there is no such evidence of this kind of integration and integrity in the case of Tullian Tchividjian. He inflicted substantial damage upon others — which, yes, he’s acknowledged in general but not taken reparative steps in specific. But, there’s been no indicators of authentic oversight during a long-term process of repentance and relational repair. Yes, he’s had multiple cheerleaders for his return to public ministry, but no indication they’ve challenged him to do the necessary personal rehabilitation and relational remediation work before attempting to resume a role of influence.

  67. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    ARC are the Spiritual Warrior bozos behind “Operation Ice Castle” against the Demon “Queen of Heaven” atop Mount Everest.

    Who bragged about killing Princess Di and Mother Teresa with their “Imprecatory Prayer”.

    This story still amazes me, and I wish there was a more even-handed accounting of it out there. Not that an even-handed account could dispel the craziness. It’s just hard to take “Operation Ice Castle” seriously when someone has the doctrinal knives out. You don’t need the doctrinal part to understand how totally nutbar the whole thing was.

  68. “This leads me to believe that Darrin Patrick always had his finger to the wind. He gave up Acts 29, The Gospel Coalition and all the really cool *dude* stuff and traded it in for exorcisms, cheap grace, and a really, really good paycheck.” (Dee)

    Follow the money!

    At least, Patrick cleaned his appearance up a bit … instead of the bedraggled macho preacher dude look he carried for years. I guess the ARC pastors try to look more respectable than the Acts29 bunch; the ARC church planter in my community wears a suit and is clean-shaven unlike the disheveled New Calvinists across town. Driscoll also cleaned up a bit for his new gig, whatever that is.

  69. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    We are also talking about a pattern, since he engaged in such seductions multiple times.

    What are the chances these churches would allow a polygamist to pastor?

  70. dee wrote:

    Stacie is back in Fort Meyer with TT, leanving her high school son quarterback to face his senior year in high school without her presence in Texas. Nice move…

    It might actually be a nice move. Who wants this duo around school-age kids on a regular basis????

  71. dee wrote:

    I was referring to me!!

    No offense meant at all dee.
    I also love the other Lewis quote you have up top in the main article:

    “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

    It bespeaks an inherent glory in humankind if one is to take Psalm 8 seriously. Some will insist that there is no glory inherent in man, only a default condition of sin by nature.
    I think that the truth lies somewhere in the intersection of both sets.

  72. @ Max:
    The appearance deal is interesting. It really is a “Thing”.

    Over the summer, due to schedule conflicts, we watched 4-5 live streamed worship services on Sunday mornings, flipping back and forth. Sometimes the pastors all wore the same outfit – the same shirt. (Moreover, at times several were in the exact same series, with differently-nuanced titles.) Formulaic. The marketing of “Jesus”.

  73. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    “…Boontling, a local dialect of the Anderson Valley in Northern California about a century ago”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    you win the terrifically-obscure-info-gem award of the week!

  74. JYJames wrote:

    Made in the image of God = glorious.
    Fallen heart of humankind = acutely in need of redemption.

    It’s how these things play out is where the real bones of contention lie, not in the facts of both conditions (my opinion).

  75. “Pastoral restoration” is incomplete without brand restoration.

    “I’d like to teach the world to sing
    In perfect harmony
    I’d like to hold it in my arms
    And keep it company”

    (became)

    “I’d like to the world a Coke”
    _______________________________

    “What the world needs now is love, sweet love
    It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
    What the world needs now is love, sweet love,”
    No not just for some but for everyone.

    (becomes)

    Tullian

    Maybe we should all just grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves.

  76. What Happened wrote:

    Maybe we should all just grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves.

    This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius…

    Golden living dreams of visions
    Mystic crystal revelation

  77. @ JYJames:

    “Made in the image of God = glorious.
    Fallen heart of humankind = acutely in need of redemption.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    (no real argument, but here are my thoughts)

    i think this is true, as one side of a coin. as i see it, the other side of the coin is how fabulous people are in heart, mind, body, soul, spirit.

    brotherly and sisterly love and kindess towards strangers — i see this all the time, and it might sound weird but it makes me proud to be human.

    other things, too — self-sacrifice & generosity with money and time expecting nothing in return, honesty, kindness,… i see these all the time everywhere as i observe people and talk to them.

    i think christianity’s official stance gives human beings a bad name (and of course it gives its own members an undeserved too good of a name). (all said with too much cliche, here).

    I think christianity’s official stance is too much boilerplate — it does not honestly appraise reality with skin on.

  78. Max wrote:

    I would never presume to know the limits of God’s grace in such situations, but perhaps we are inserting Scriptural guidelines He would not approve of.

    Me thinks, if the **Scriptural guidelines** were used when *Hiring* these “Hirelings,”
    WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, would NOT be disscussing, **Restoration Craziness.**

    And, you would think, **Scriptural guidelines** would be consulted? Now?
    When these guys are looking to be restored? “Restored to what?”
    Did they meet the **Scriptural guidelines** to begin with?
    NOPE…

    But, today, “most” congregations do NOT even know, or “Ignore,”
    the 17+, very, very, tuff Qualifications, for elder/overseer.

    And, “most” “pastor/leader/elder/overseers,” who do know the “Qualifications,” will just “Ignore,” and “Twist,” the 17+, Qualifications in 1 Tim 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-8, so they can maintain their “Titles,” and their Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Reputation, that comes with those “Titles.”

    If a pastor/leader/elder/overseer, does NOT meet the Qualifications?

    Shouldn’t they remove themselves?

    And be a good example to the Flock?

    “The Body of Christ needs to have some say in this!”

  79. Here’s just the first **Scriptural guideline** in Titus.
    That most pastor/leader/elder/overseers, “Ignore,” or “Twist.”

    1 – Must Be *BLAMELESS.*

    Titus 1:5-8 KJV
    5 …ordain elders in every city…
    6 If any be *BLAMELESS,* the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop 1 – “Must Be” *BLAMELESS,*
    as the steward of God; NOT self willed, NOT soon angry,
    NOT given to wine, NO striker, NOT given to filthy lucre;
    8 a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober,
    2 – *JUST,* 3 – *HOLY,* temperate;

    1 – *Must Be*
    Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
    Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.
    This *must be* is the same Greek word. – You *must be* born again. Jn 3:7
    Seems to be a small word but very important. Yes?

    1 – BLAMELESS
    Strongs #410 anegkletos – unaccused, irreproachable, blameless.
    Thayers – cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused.
    Dictionary – Without fault, innocent, guiltless, not meriting censure.

    How many, pastor/leader/reverends, who honestly examine themselves, seriously considering this one qualification,
    can see themselves as BLAMELESS, without fault, innocent, and thus qualify to be an elder/overseer?

    And if you can see yourself as BLAMELESS?
    Is that pride? And NO longer without fault? 🙂

    The Bible talks about elder/overseers.
    And Qualifications for elder/overseers.
    Can you have one without the other?
    ——–

    If an EXX- pastor/elder/overseer does NOT Qualify???

    Why should they be “Restored?”
    “Restored to what?”

    They did NOT Qualify to begin with.

    They should Go Away…
    And be a good example to the Flock.

    Yes?

  80. A. Amos Love wrote:

    If an EXX- pastor/elder/overseer does NOT Qualify???
    Why should they be “Restored?”
    “Restored to what?”
    They did NOT Qualify to begin with.
    They should Go Away…
    And be a good example to the Flock.
    Yes?

    Logical. Makes sense.

  81. Today on FORBES:
    “Anything worthwhile in life requires teamwork, and you cannot manage what you don’t understand.” – Martine Rothblatt, Founder of United Therapeutics and Sirius

    First team ever? Adam and Eve.
    Lifelong team ’til death do us part? Marriage.
    To be a church leader, one would think a person needs to have at least a faint idea of team work and some type of success at marriage.

    The Titus verses that Amos refers to above also mention this.

  82. JYJames

    Here are two more “Qualifications” found in Titus…
    That most pastor/leader/elder/overseers, “Ignore,” or “Twist.”

    2 – JUST
    Strongs #1342 – dikaios {dik’-ah-yos} from 1349;
    Thayers – 1) righteous, observing divine laws
    1a) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God
    1a1) of those who seem to themselves to be righteous,
    who pride themselves to be righteous, whether real or imagined
    1a2) innocent, faultless, guiltless
    1a3) used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting
    is wholly conformed to the will of God,

    3 – HOLY
    Strongs #3741 – hosios {hos’-ee-os}
    Thayers – 1) undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
    religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.
    ——-

    Now that’s three tough Qualifications for
    “pastor/leader/elder/overseer” – Yes?
    1 – Must Be BLAMELESS.
    2 – JUST. 3 – HOLY.
    ——-

    Do you know many? any? congregations who apply these **Scriptural guidelines?**
    To potential pastor/elder/overseers?

    I’m-a-thinkn, if congregations did apply these **Scriptural guidelines?**
    There would be a whole lot of empty pulpits… 😉

    And NOT this rash of “Fallen pastor/leaders”
    Looking to be “Restored.”

    What should a pastor/elder/overseer do?

    When they do NOT Qualify?
    ——-

    Ps 138:6
    Though the LORD be high,
    yet hath he respect unto the lowly:
    but the proud he knoweth afar off.

    Ps 40:4
    Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust,
    and respecteth not the proud,
    nor such as turn aside to lies.

  83. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    It might actually be a nice move. Who wants this duo around school-age kids on a regular basis????

    You are not kidding. It is evident that their kids take a back seat to “the game.”

  84. Max wrote:

    guess the ARC pastors try to look more respectable than the Acts29 bunch; the ARC church planter in my community wears a suit and is clean-shaven

    Its because they want to look like they live a prosperous upper class lifestyle. I bet he will be making more money.

  85. Julie Anne wrote:

    Me thinks that having custody of her boys would prevent her from having the “lifestyle” she so desires. I’m sure she’s not too pleased about the “extras” currently living in her house.

    Yep-It could crimp their lifestyle a bit. She tries to look like.a sweet young thang’ but instead comes of looking like an older woman trying too hard.

  86. @ Lowlandseer:
    Fascinating. It would sure make life easier. No regrets. God fixed it all. I couldn’t help it anyway. I am just a sinner. Oh well…time to party!

  87. YL wrote:

    all the people I grew up with and ever knew have been pointing and making noises and my children and me ever since.

    I am so sorry. I cannot imagine being blamed for the despicable life of your husband.
    Would you ever like to tell your story? Anonymously, if you wish?

  88. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    There is one person that I know of that I’d consider a good example: Gordon MacDonald. As best I can recall, he was pastor of a large church, well-known author, teacher at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. And he got into an adulterous relationship — with a woman on staff, if I remember correctly. When confronted in 1987, he fessed up and confessed his sexual misconduct, resigned from ministry, got counseling, disappeared from public ministry for a number of years while remaining under the oversight of a small number of male elders. Eventually he was deemed rehabilitated and consistent enough to resume public pastoral ministry. He wrote, *Rebuilding Your Broken World* and other books. This was all in the 1980s/90s.

    I remember this. He was the pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA. I visited there a few times when I lived in Boston. Thank you for reminding me of his fine example.

  89. Bridget wrote:

    Bridget

    I concur with Ken. Adultery, too, is a very grave sin. It’s certainly grave to the offended spouse! What if the offended spouse ends up with an STD? That could be for life. It could even be deadly. Adultery murders the marriage. It certainly is grave.

    And we wonder why it is parishioners don’t blink when their pastor is practicing pornography? We don’t consider anything to be grave. And this is how we got here, to abusive pastors doing anything they please.

    Furthermore, through much of history, adultery *was* considered a legal crime. Sadly, the state would for the most part punish the woman rather than the man. The irony is, especially in the case of a Calvinist like Tullian T., is that John Calvin was all for equally punishing the man and the woman for adultery. In Calvin’s Geneva, if you were an adulterer, whether man or woman, and you got caught, you would have to pay a fine and go through a lot of counseling with the ministers. If you got caught a second time, they tied you up in a sack and drowned you. Yes, that’s right. It was the death penalty.

    Determining whether a sin is grave or not by how the government authorities feel like (or don’t feel like) punishing it is a huge mistake. What if the government stops considering pedophilia a crime? (And plenty of governments in the world today don’t care about it, so I’m not exaggerating here!) Should we then no longer consider pedophilia a grave offense? Should we restore a pastor to the pulpit after 5 years of timeout if he rapes a child?

    Do you see the problem? Do you see how our Christian standards have slipped by basing our moral values on how the rest of the world views certain actions?

  90. What Happened wrote:

    Maybe we should all just grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves.

    That sure beats the hell outta’ AR-15s, Kalashnikovs, and an ever expanding arms industry.

  91. Ken G wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Maybe you believe one affair, pedophilia and serial affairs are identical in gravity? If so, then what follows will not make sense to you. Someone who has committed adultery, 1x, needs to stay out of the pulpit for a minimum of 5 years, if not forever. My example of my former pastor was included to give you an idea of just how grave a sin it is.

    I think your professor may be too kind by identifying one sin and making an exception for that sin by requiring a minimum of 5 years for 1x adultery. I hesitate to attempt and identify which sins are graver than others because the ones you mentioned are all grave. It’s my understanding that adultery is premeditated, well thought out and planned in advance. Therefore, if I had my way, 1x adultery and you’re out not for 5 years, but permanently.

    Ken, that is exactly my thoughts on the subject. Thank you! I do believe that even among grave sins there are different levels of harm that can be inflicted, etc. Nevertheless, grave is grave. The Old Testament had the death penalty for those sins that were considered grave. Odds are if you should be legally dead if your government had just laws, then you probably shouldn’t be pastoring. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be merciful to the repentant, but we should take all grave sins seriously and not make up random numbers as to when a pastor has become blameless again to meet the qualifications for returning to the pulpit.

    And for that matter, let’s stop calling them pastors. They aren’t anymore. They knew what would happen if they did what they did, and they did it anyway. Restoring them to the pulpit, regardless of the amount of time spent away, only emboldens others.

  92. dee wrote:

    Julie Anne wrote:

    Me thinks that having custody of her boys would prevent her from having the “lifestyle” she so desires. I’m sure she’s not too pleased about the “extras” currently living in her house.

    Yep-It could crimp their lifestyle a bit. She tries to look like.a sweet young thang’ but instead comes of looking like an older woman trying too hard.

    As in “Creeping Beauty”, the female equivalent of a sixty-something Michael Jackson looking in the mirror going “I’m Young! I’m Young! I’m Young! Really! I Am!”?

  93. Forgiveness does not have anything to do with some pastor who fell into sin being put back in the pastorate. It is not just about the particular sin. It is about the fact that a character flaw has been shown in the person, and persons with that character flaw should not be pastors, aka shepherds of souls in some traditions. They never should have been in the pastorate in the first place, but who knew? Of did they know? Anyhow, they are not qualified for that kind of ministry-not by biblical standards. Think ‘a good reputation’ in the community. Think ‘husband of one wife and having his children in submission?” That is not saying one wife plus various others, or saying damaged children due to daddy’s mess, or a bad reputation in the community.

    There is no-repeat no-entitlement to a job as a pastor; not education or prior experience or charming personality or former success in packing the pew and filling the plate. No entitlement.

  94. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    It refers to the (ed.-A sexual act that does not involve penetration) thus not REALLY sex “in the Biblical sense” (“LOOPHOLE! LOOPHOLE!”). Which according to the lawsuit in the case, is what Douggie ESQUIRE did to his much-younger Handmaid-in-all-but-title.

    Deb/Dee – your edit does not convey the disgusting/degrading nature of the specific act, one I have ONLY heard of before in the context of a pornography “money shot”.

  95. Clockwork Angel wrote:

    In Calvin’s Geneva, if you were an adulterer, whether man or woman, and you got caught, you would have to pay a fine and go through a lot of counseling with the ministers. If you got caught a second time, they tied you up in a sack and drowned you. Yes, that’s right. It was the death penalty.

    Determining whether a sin is grave or not by how the government authorities feel like (or don’t feel like) punishing it is a huge mistake.

    Quite frankly, I bless Providence that our criminal justice system is not based on what the Bible declares to be sin. It’s based on what causes real and tangible harm to others in real time.
    I’m also eternally grateful to the old dead white men who founded our Nation in that they made sure to put a lotta’ distance between us and Calvin’s Geneva.

  96. Clockwork Angel wrote:

    Should we then no longer consider pedophilia a grave offense? Should we restore a pastor to the pulpit after 5 years of timeout if he rapes a child?

    I am sorry but I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. An affair is sin.However, it is not the same sort of sin as serial adultery/predatory behavior and pedophilia. Those behaviors are indicative of serious psychological dysfunction as well as criminal or civilly liable.

    I have no problem with any church or group saying that adultery is a disqualifying sin. However, to say that pedophilia and sexual predatory behavior is in the same category is something that I cannot get on board with.

    Also, I hope to see some comments on other disqualifying behaviors. A one time adulterous affair is totally disqualifying but an angry pastor is no problem?

  97. dee wrote:

    I remember this. He was the pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA. I visited there a few times when I lived in Boston. Thank you for reminding me of his fine example.

    There are a lot of well-reasoned questions about how and when to engage in repentance processes — and potential restoration to roles of influence — and the limits of what we could/should allow. I’ve been researching these topics off and on for a decade. As best I understand, the answers require crowd-sourcing of evidence, discernment, and decisions. Not exactly easy to do, but necessary to do, in order to both extend forgiveness to those who fail AND protect people from those who show predatory patterns.

    Gordon MacDonald represents perhaps the clearest and most detailed example I’ve found where we can track the history of a repentance process for an individual.

    I’ve been searching for examples where institutions address “fallen” people of prominence within their midst — pastors, professors, authors, denominational leaders. One that I’ve spent quite a bit of time investigating is how the Mennonite denomination eventually dealt with decades of sexual indiscretions/misconduct by John Howard Yoder, who was one of their foremost theologians, authors, and leaders. They failed to listen to a significant series of survivors who attempted to call out Yoder and the denomination over a very long period of time.

    I’m not quite ready to publish my findings, but will just say here that the Mennonites addressed Yoder’s sexual abuses and systemic cover-up/enablement with systemic responses that engaged with survivors, advocates, resource development, and required preventive training for leaders, plus liturgical events to lament and repent publicly for how the denomination had failed. Actually, MOST of these actions were done over a several year period, in public, with investigation findings and resources posted. It was not done perfectly, and many of the criticisms look to be valid. But, they did something substantial nevertheless. And what if they had not? Mennonites are known as having peace-making as a prominent part of their mission. You can’t not deal with systemic abuse and call yourselves peace-makers …

    With these comeback attempts by Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, and others, there are some signs that other individuals and institutions are supporting these efforts. I believe they will have more to be accountable for, for promoting men whose “repentance” has been more about relocation in a new platform than taking care of spiritual business in repairing damage done to real live people in their last location.

  98. Clockwork Angel wrote:

    In Calvin’s Geneva, if you were an adulterer, whether man or woman, and you got caught, you would have to pay a fine and go through a lot of counseling with the ministers. If you got caught a second time, they tied you up in a sack and drowned you. Yes, that’s right. It was the death penalty.

    What Calvin did in Geneva doesn’t make it right or Godly. I’m glad I didn’t live in Calvin’s Geneva even though I would have nothing to personally fear from Calvin’s view of adultery.

  99. dee wrote:

    but an angry pastor is no problem

    Angry, belittling, venemous verbage, to get his way, or, maybe it’s his wife who is the wicked witch of the church, another problem altogether.

    Several true crime shows document local Evangelical cheating pastors murdering the wife – a disqualification, it seems. There are also missionary pastor cases.

    Sidenote: An elderly lady friend once said, “Local churches often harbor a witchy gossipy controlling finger-pointing pastor-patronizing woman (major donor board member hubby), and a philandering man [old-guy hours-of-service usher whose hands and eyes wander as he clumsily passes the plates down each row]. Beware.”

    Recalls the saying, “If the Evangelical church of record (news, Courts, crime files) is an indicator, Heaven is a Jerry-Springeresque orgy; better to end up elsewhere for Eternity.”

  100. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    +1 on your concept of fallen leaders retreating to obscurity and service for ever. Only time can reveal if God has granted the gift of repentance. Stepping back into a pulpit or speaking platform tells me that He has not.

    this shows one of the basic problems. The pastor was *supposed* to be living a life of service to his congregation. That is the job of a pastor. Not to be served, but to serve. The idea that someone can be “restored” to a position of being a ‘over’ a congregation that should serve him implies that such a position should exist. It should not.

  101. “An overseer, then, must be above reproach” 1 Tim 3:2

    A pastor who commits such a sin is not above reproach, and never will be because it can always be pointed out, and therefore can never be a pastor/elder again. Fully restored to his victims and his church, yes, but never to leadership.

  102. dee wrote:

    Also, I hope to see some comments on other disqualifying behaviors. A one time adulterous affair is totally disqualifying but an angry pastor is no problem?

    Good idea. We are not more or less than our behavior. Setting aside words (rhetoric), who are we anyway?

  103. dee wrote:

    TEDSgrad wrote:

    An incomplete restoration is not restore by definition

    Let me make sure I am hearing you correctly. Are you saying that a pastor restored to being a communing member of the church is not being fully restored?

    We are talking about different levels of restoration. Yes, being restored to communing member is spiritual life – restored. But the possibility (not automatic) of pastoral role restoration should be there. Again, we have to classify sin IN HUMAN TERMS,for what is possible for pastoral role restoration. Levi, as High Priest, was not disqualified for his sin. Peter was not for denying Christ – much more serious than a moment of sexual weakness, IMO. We want a verifiable formula to makes us feel better, but there is not. I agree that the predatory nature of some things mentioned should disqualify. There is always the possibility of spiritual life restoration in scripture! The Church leadership should hold open that possibility to leadership roles as well, even though the qualifications are much more strict. Leaders need to model forgiveness/restoration in their own ranks, as well. To be totalitarian or absolute is not modeling what scripture portrays. I am not offering specific parameters, just that the possibility back to leadership role should exit. Brad’s example is a good one. Mercy enhances justice.

    I take issue with the ‘one wife’ clause as commonly interpreted. Am I disqualified for never having a wife? Would Christ, almost all the apostles, Paul, and most of the founding fathers be disqualified? No one in the first couple of centuries took that position, why do we?

    A Calvinist who gets divorced while in the church is not supposed to remarry. If he/she does, they are disqualified. Why not say, “well, I was never saved then (their back pocket excuse), but after remarriage I am really really saved; therefore, I really do have one wife after conversion.” – Ridiculous

  104. Adultery is not just about sex. Adultery means there were spouses involved, and perhaps children. Pastor is not just about sermons and hand holding in the hospital; it includes being an example for the saints.

    Adultery includes lies and deceit, abandonment of responsibilities, setting a bad example for one and all, encouraging someone else to join you in sinful behavior, making a mockery of your position as one whom the church has recognized as worthy in some way of a leadership position, choosing the values of the world over the commands of God, claiming the right to decide that something is right for you instead of recognizing the authority of God to say what is right and wrong, betrayal of one or more spouses, damaging the children, and shaming the church in the eyes of the unbelievers, and includes furnishing other adulterers some comfort in that even the pastor can’t live up to being faithful in marriage.

    Now to come along and say that if this pastor/ adulterer just admits it was a bad idea, and takes some time away from preaching, and ‘submits’ to some of his peers, then he will be let to go right back into the job of ‘pastor’ – really?? the job of shepherd of people-then all can be forgiven and we can all just forget it ever happened. Until next time? Until the next person tries it? Until we find some way to say that it is really not that bad after all in that it just fades with time? And he can go back to preaching. Preaching what? Scripture, when he and the church just decided that he was fit to pastor regardless of what scripture says? Probably not that. Your best life now, as seen by prosperity? The devil made him do it and who can withstand the devil? Or maybe power to the guys at the expense of women and children? That might work; he has some experience in thinking that apparently.

    No. Just no. If that is all the church is, then what is the point? Cheap-ish Sunday morning country club? I won’t hold you accountable if you won’t hold me accountable?

    We have a church like that in this town. Some of their folks left them and migrated to our parish. They are not the only place where that thinking resides. The church/churches need to repent and start acting like they believe what they used to say they believed. Or we can just go straight to perdition right along with whole chunks of our culture–again.

  105. JYJames wrote:

    The marketing of “Jesus”.

    Yes. I call it “merchandising the gospel.” (which, of course, is not the Gospel at all). All that glitters is not God.

  106. JYJames wrote:

    Sometimes the pastors all wore the same outfit – the same shirt.

    At least the New Calvinists have gotten over the spiky hairdo thing (think Driscoll). Now, if they could just lose the skinny jeans! And the whiny guitars, and the loud drums, and … (I bet quit – I’m showing my age again).

  107. Sad. These guys and the bozos that “restore” them are not going unnoticed by God. They will give an account.

    I know two pastors that committed adultery, were disciplined, and accepted accountability for many years. As far as I know, they were both “one-off” flings. One was caught, the other came forward. Neither ever returned to the pulpit. They are now both up there in years and over time I have learned to respect them again. I was young when I witnessed this and it did make me mad at the time. They looked like hypocrites to me, but sin can be more complicated than that.

    With help and humility, their marriages were saved. They both eventually moved out of state and returned to teaching, but just small Bible studies in their churches. Both needed to change careers. In their cases, I see a lot of God’s grace and the maturity of other men and women that helped them. The interesting thing in one of the cases, is that it was the unpaid deacon and elder teams that provided a lot of the accountability. It wasn’t the “good old boys” club looking out for each other, the congregation played a major role.

  108. okrapod wrote:

    Adultery is not just about sex.

    True. Just like thievery is not just about money.
    Les Mis vs. Leaders raiding 3rd world country treasuries.

    Adultery and thievery can escalate to murder.
    It’s all serious, grave. What to do is, too.

  109. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    What the world needs now is the pulverized residue of a life forcibly taken, in the school of hardest knocks both self-inflicted and imposed by the world. A life taken away, that life turned to dust—that is the life Tullian knows…inside out.

    How exactly has Tullian’s life turned to dust? How exactly was this a ‘pulverised residue of a life forcibly taken’? This hyperbolic paragraph is total BS & I find it infuriating.That kind of heated prose should be reserved for those who really deserve it, those who’ve been sold into sexual slavery or had unspeakable tragedy happen. Tullian’s life turned to dust? Is he or is he not remarried, with his kids around him & back to ‘pastoring’? Doesn’t sound very dust like to me, unless his self-esteem was so unnaturally high that any criticism – however justified – seems like the pains of death.
    I am embarrassed beyond belief for the moron that wrote this ‘plea’ & terrified for those who fall for it. What if extra broken people head for this ministry based on its blurb? How long before one of the women, or one of the wives gets a text from TT? Beyond foolish to consider this man ‘cured’ of his sexual complusions.

  110. Haaaa…sadly my ineptitude just made it look like Brad said this & I called him a moron. Brad was in fact quoting someone else.

  111. @ Becky Thatcher:
    Becky Thatcher wrote:

    That sure beats the hell outta’ AR-15s, Kalashnikovs, and an ever expanding arms industry.

    Sorry, I wasn’t joking about peace and harmony. I was referring drawing a parallel between how the song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” was used to sell Coke and the way “What the World Needs Now is Love” is being applied to TT. The line about honey bees and apple trees is from the Coke song and is a preferable alternative to following TT.

    And, without getting into getting into policy and politics, I absolutely love the version of that song with children. I often wonder how much little things like that commercial have to do with the fact that I now have a daughter that’s a perfect mixture of my pasty white and my wife’s beautiful brown. Did it somehow prepare me to comfortably introduce myself to the other parents at her school, represented by the children in that comnercial. If I have to choose between the shallow manufactured culture of most churches and growing honey bees apple trees and snow white turtle doves while following Christ in my neighborhood, I’ll choose the latter.

  112. George wrote:

    The interesting thing in one of the cases, is that it was the unpaid deacon and elder teams that provided a lot of the accountability. It wasn’t the “good old boys” club looking out for each other, the congregation played a major role.

    The unpaid, unrecognized, non-celebrity wise ones did the right thing, saving their local church, the pastor’s marriage, and their own souls, for eternity.

  113. Tullian’s latest Facebook post is unbelievable. I’m not sure if he ever talked about Jesus or not but he talked about his messy life and grace ad nauseam

  114. It’s interesting that Darrin’s “Historical Pattern of Sin” includes things like “refusal of personal accountability,” “domineering over those in his charge,” and “misuse of power/authority.” Those are the very same things CJ did, but CJ remained unscathed until the sex abuse stories broke. I wonder why Darrin’s church took such decisive action against him for things that were ignored in CJ’s case? In fact, for most other Gospelly pastors, that whole list would be a resume enhancer.

  115. okrapod wrote:

    Adultery is not just about sex. Adultery means there were spouses involved, and perhaps children. Pastor is not just about sermons and hand holding in the hospital; it includes being an example for the saints.

    Adultery includes lies and deceit, abandonment of responsibilities, setting a bad example for one and all, encouraging someone else to join you in sinful behavior, making a mockery of your position as one whom the church has recognized as worthy in some way of a leadership position, choosing the values of the world over the commands of God, claiming the right to decide that something is right for you instead of recognizing the authority of God to say what is right and wrong, betrayal of one or more spouses, damaging the children, and shaming the church in the eyes of the unbelievers, and includes furnishing other adulterers some comfort in that even the pastor can’t live up to being faithful in marriage.

    Well stated, okrapod. You’ve shown how adultery instigated by a Christian leader is not just sexual infidelity involving two, but has the impact of a “systems sin” — it affects everyone connected to the person in a position of power, from the one seduced, to the families on both sides involved, to the congregations directly affected, to others in the Church and world.

    That’s an awful lot of repair work to do, when trust has been betrayed and relationships broken on so many levels, with so many people. And that web of behaviors involved in carrying out seduction could well be taken as demonstration of the opposite of every fruit of the Spirit.

  116. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    That’s an awful lot of repair work to do, when trust has been betrayed and relationships broken on so many levels, with so many people. And that web of behaviors involved in carrying out seduction could well be taken as demonstration of the opposite of every fruit of the Spirit.

    True, furthermore…
    brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Admission of personal sin is not the same as remediation of relational damage. What has he done to take responsibility for his destructive impact on the lives of others? Where is the evidence from the victims that Mr. Tchividjian has taken steps to repair the relational damage he inflicted?
    If there is no pattern there, why should anyone think it will not be more of the same in his next ministry platform?
    Pulverized poison is poison still.

  117. George wrote:

    The interesting thing in one of the cases, is that it was the unpaid deacon and elder teams that provided a lot of the accountability. It wasn’t the “good old boys” club looking out for each other, the congregation played a major role.

    That is good to hear.

  118. Beakerj wrote:

    How exactly has Tullian’s life turned to dust? How exactly was this a ‘pulverised residue of a life forcibly taken’? This hyperbolic paragraph is total BS & I find it infuriating.That kind of heated prose should be reserved for those who really deserve it, those who’ve been sold into sexual slavery or had unspeakable tragedy happen. Tullian’s life turned to dust? Is he or is he not remarried, with his kids around him & back to ‘pastoring’? Doesn’t sound very dust like to me, unless his self-esteem was so unnaturally high that any criticism – however justified – seems like the pains of death.
    I am embarrassed beyond belief for the moron that wrote this ‘plea’ & terrified for those who fall for it. What if extra broken people head for this ministry based on its blurb? How long before one of the women, or one of the wives gets a text from TT? Beyond foolish to consider this man ‘cured’ of his sexual complusions

    Exactly! And if I hear another person (or him) talk about him understanding suffering I will barf!

  119. “Whereas a correct perspective on sin leads to a healthy respect and fear for its deceptive powers, a Calvinist view of sin leads to a false sense of insusceptibility. I would posit that it is very likely that IDC’s faulty theology led to his heinous sin.”
    – From truthseeker00 on Tue Oct 03, 2017 at 07:59 PM, last week, Post regarding IDC

    One might add:
    Various faulty delusions can lead to a false sense of insusceptibility, for example:
    – $$$ can lead to a false sense of insusceptibility.
    – Celebrity can lead to a false sense of insusceptibility.
    – Physical Attraction or Looks can lead to a false sense of insusceptibility.
    – The Boyz Club Membership or The Brotherhood can lead to a false sense of insusceptibility.
    – Inner Circle, Men and Women, Membership can lead to a false sense of insusceptibility.
    Perhaps all 5 of the above contribute to the TT delusion.

    Naked we came to this Earth, and some day, with neither accoutrements nor regalia nor theology, we will stand before God. Love.

  120. What Happened wrote:

    Sorry, I wasn’t joking about peace and harmony.

    Sorry if you took offense, but I wasn’t joking either. I was affirming your stance and the use of the old Coke song. All I did was add another dimension in reference to the culture of glorified violence that our society seems to thrive on.

  121. George wrote:

    Both needed to change careers.

    Someone left a long comment at Julie Anne’s SSB blog a year or more ago (I don’t remember their name).

    I found their comment very interesting. He (or she? though I think it was a guy) explained one reason so many Christian preachers rally around restoring adulterous preachers is because they saw some movie or documentary about what happened to … what was his name, Ted Haggard?

    (The pastor who allegedly was abusing drugs and/or having sex with a male hooker??)

    In the documentary, it showed that after that pastor (Haggard) was given the boot, he had to get an honest to goodness job like everyone else. Problem is, he only had a seminary degree (or some kind of religious degree), and he could not hardly get hired anywhere.

    He ended up having to do something like sell insurance door to door and was barely scraping by.

    The commentator gave a link to a clip of that movie on You Tube, but I cannot remember what that movie was called.

    Anyway, the point is, the theory by that other poster is (and it resounded with me, sounds very plausible) is one big reason these famous preachers rally around pervs and obvious failures who should be barred is that they’re all scared it could happen to them.

    They are afraid if they get the boot from their pastor job, they cannot financially support themselves or their families, because they can’t get a “real” job on via their religious degree. And they don’t want to spend decades flipping burgers and serving fries.

  122. Beakerj wrote:

    Tullian’s life turned to dust? Is he or is he not remarried, with his kids around him & back to ‘pastoring’? Doesn’t sound very dust like to me

    True. I’m someone who tried living a godly life for decades, and did God ever reward me with a spouse, as so many Christians told me he would? Heck no. Yet guys like Tullian who cannot keep it zipped up get two marriages. Not just one, but two.

    But anyway, your point is taken that he’s not a victim. He was a perp.

    Reminds me of how Driscoll talks about himself as a victim after the Mars Hill fiasco. He bullied people, yet he has the nerve even now to talk about himself as though he was the one bullied.

  123. @ Daisy:

    “They are afraid if they get the boot from their pastor job, they cannot financially support themselves or their families, because they can’t get a “real” job on via their religious degree.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    yes, i think there is truth to this. such a sad mission compromise.

  124. Daisy wrote:

    Anyway, the point is, the theory by that other poster is (and it resounded with me, sounds very plausible) is one big reason these famous preachers rally around pervs and obvious failures who should be barred is that they’re all scared it could happen to them.

    They are afraid if they get the boot from their pastor job, they cannot financially support themselves or their families, because they can’t get a “real” job on via their religious degree. And they don’t want to spend decades flipping burgers and serving fries.

    @Daisy … I think this link goes to the comment you mentioned. It’s a long one by someone going by “LT,” and was posted September 30, 2016, on an SSB post titled, “Is This Tullian Tchividjian’s Spiritual Comeback Tour?” (Just a year ago — the last time he seemed poised for a return to a public platform — he was on ExPastors.com with some articles that they later deleted once it was revealed he’d been juggling connections with multiple women.)

    The comment has a Vimeo video link to the Ted Haggard documentary, and also talks about the theory you mentioned about why the “Celebrity Pastors Rehab Movement” supports quick-turnaround restoration of fallen leaders. Some very intriguing details there as well about Mark Driscoll and “restoration.”

    Definitely worth a read.

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2016/09/30/is-this-tullian-tchividjians-spiritual-comeback-tour/comment-page-1/#comment-349588

  125. Muff Potter wrote:

    Sorry if you took offense, but I wasn’t joking either. I was affirming your stance and the use of the old Coke song.

    Muff

    Actually, I appreciated the collective stream of consiousness. I was responding to Becky may have thought I was talking about something else. I just wanted to close the loop on that possible alternate understanding and conversation. I’m just grateful for TWW and want to do my little part to preserve the fellowship. I’m glad that you took it to another level and hope you will feel free to always do so.

  126. Robin wrote:

    he talked about his messy life and grace ad nauseam

    An apt line from the comedian Lily Tomlin: “I get more cynical every day, but I just can’t keep up”.

  127. I have been off line for the past few days staying at a place with no cellphone coverage or internet, a great antidote to what goes on in the world. Upon returning and catching up on the goings on I can’t help but see similarities between this post about Tullian Tchividjian and Darrin Patrick and the recent revelations about Harvey Weinstein.

    Hollywood loves to moralize these days and many its practitioners despise the church, equally the church loves to moralize and many of its adherents despise Hollywood. In these stories we can see their similarities, both are organized businesses with all the group-think, corruption, cover-up and hypocrisy that typically accompanies institutions.

  128. Daisy wrote:

    he had to get an honest to goodness job like everyone else, …, and was barely scraping by.

    Welcome to the real world, what many in their former congregations face. It’s a faith journey and a challenge when
    – a company downsizes or
    – jobs go overseas or
    – technology replaces the worker
    – or there are family medical issues
    – or a spouse dies
    – or they have a special needs child.

    Lots of circumstances invade the lives of ordinary folks and then they are barely scraping by. What did that pastor do for those folks when he was on the throne? What did the ordinary folks do to get by?

    If pastoring is a spiritual gift, as the Bible says, perhaps tent-maker leaders is the norm.

    A local church (mega) teaches the magic 7 for the rest of us, the laypeople:
    1. work your job
    2. care for your family
    3. attend to your marriage
    4. maintain your home, befriend your neighbors, engage in community
    5. care for yourself spiritually, healthwise, socially
    6. then come to church and tithe generously
    7. and bring your spiritual gift and volunteer to build up the church.

  129. dee wrote:

    Also, I hope to see some comments on other disqualifying behaviors. A one time adulterous affair is totally disqualifying but an angry pastor is no problem?

    Here is a quick review of most of the Qualifications
    in 1 Tim 3:1-6, and Titus 1:5-9 combined.

    And, you can find, **an angry pastor** in #11. 🙂

    1 – Must Be Blameless — unrebukeable, innocent, without fault.
    2 – husband of one wife — married, male.
    ….. The Reformed, Calvinist, NO female elders, crowd, use this Qualification often? 😉
    But, I’ve noticed, most elder/overseer/leaders are kinda fuzzy on; Must Be Blameless. 🙂

    3 – ruleth well his own house – have a family, children in subjection. (ESV, Manage Well.)
    ….. 1 Tim 3:4-5 – For if a man know not how to *rule his own house, how shall he take
    care of the church of God? – (Take care of His Ekklesia? His Sheep? His Kids? Me? You?)

    4 – not greedy of filthy lucre — Not greedy for money.
    5 – vigilant — no excessive wine, calm in spirit.
    6 – sober — of a sound mind, self controlled.
    7 – of good behavior — modest, unassuming, reserved.

    Today pastor/elders are seeking Celebrity, as Leaders, Conference Speakers, Authors.
    Today, How many pastor/elders do WE, His Sheep, His Servants SEE who are Modest?Unassuming? Reserved? Calm in spirit? Sound mind? Self controlled?
    Not greedy for money?
    Here’s a bunch of elder/overseers, seeking Celebrity, Reputation, who are Dis-Qualified.

    8 – no striker — NOT quarrelsome, contentious.
    9 – not a brawler — abstaining from fighting.
    10 – not self willed — NOT self pleasing, NOT arrogant.
    11 – not soon angry — NOT prone to anger.
    12 – temperate — having power over, restraining.
    ….. Well, here’s five more I do NOT Qualify for. 😉
    ….. Do WE, His Ekklesia, His Disciples, see many pastor/elders today who meet these five?
    There can’t be many pastor/elders left who Qualify after these 12 tuff Qualifications.

    13 – **holy — undefiled by sin, free from wickedness.
    14 – **just — righteous, virtuous, innocent, faultless.
    ….. Seems, Today’s Reformed Leaders, Pastor, Leaders, church/leaders…
    Are kinda fuzzy on these two, *Holy and *Just, Undefiled by sin, innocent, faultless.
    I’ve noticed most pastor/leaders, church/leaders” just “Ignore” them.
    Some do take the time to “Twist” them.

    And, the potential elder/overseer must have children. Children that also Qualify. Oy Vey!!!
    “having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” Titus 1:6
    15 – faithful children— believing, one who trusts in God’s promises.
    16 – not accused of riot — Strongs – asotia — unsavedness.
    ….. an abandoned dissolute life, lost to principle.
    17 – unruly — disobedient.
    ….. Hmmm? Do you know any pastor/elder/overseers who have teenagers? 😉
    ….. Do you know many teenagers NOT accused of being “disobedient?”

    Now, that’s a tough list of Qualifications. Yes?
    Aren’t ALL the Qualifications, important?

    Which Qualifications, are WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, allowed to “Ignore” and “Twist?”

    NOT many Paid, Professional, Pastors, in Pulpits…
    Preaching, to People, in Pews…

    When these “Bibical Qualifications” are applied… 🙂

  130. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    “Celebrity Pastors Rehab Movement”

    Does anyone know if “Leadership Network” might be involved in celebrity pastor restoration? Many celebrity pastors have links to this organization (Robert Morris, Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll), even crediting their success to exposure to LN over the years. Driscoll once said that LN essentially initiated the emerging church movement. I wonder how involved LN has been in mentoring New Calvinist leaders?

    http://leadnet.org/

  131. A. Amos Love wrote:

    3 – ruleth well his own house

    A. Amos Love wrote:

    15 – faithful children

    When one of our pastor’s high school children ended up in jail, and both of his high school kids were into drugs, I mentioned to his wife that her husband needed to find another career, a new job, according to Scripture.

    She didn’t think much of this idea, and they stayed in the pastorate.

  132. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Douggie Phillips ESQUIRE, head of Vision Forum.
    (Yes, he always stressed that faux-Noble (or is it faux-Gentry?) title like a bogus Doctorate.)
    Search on “Doug Phillips” here or at Spiritual Sounding Board.

    Esquire? Really. Wow. Not only does that man advocate child abuse (sorry, I mean discipline), but now he literally is “lording over others”. Wow. Just wow.

  133. “The Journey Church”

    Darrin Patrick first came on the scene in SBC ranks when he rebelled against long-standing Southern Baptist policies about alcohol consumption to start his “Theology at the Bottleworks.” This was a discussion group sponsored by The Journey Church in a St. Louis bar where alcohol was available to Bible study attendees … “grab a brew, share your view” was their promotion.

    Regardless of what you might think about Christians drinking alcohol, Patrick demonstrated a rebellious spirit against majority Southern Baptist belief … but only after accepting $200,000 from SBC in church planting funds! In so-doing, he demonstrated a behavior of stealth and deception, characteristic of other New Calvinist church planters.

    http://www.bpnews.net/25221/alcohol-acts-29-and-the-sbc

  134. Max wrote:

    Does anyone know if “Leadership Network” might be involved in celebrity pastor restoration? Many celebrity pastors have links to this organization (Robert Morris, Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll), even crediting their success to exposure to LN over the years. Driscoll once said that LN essentially initiated the emerging church movement. I wonder how involved LN has been in mentoring New Calvinist leaders?

    I haven’t heard anything about Leadership Network (LN) being involved in celebrity pastor restoration, and would be attuned to that if I did, because I’ve been aware of LN since the mid-1990s, as I was a participant in a number of Young Leaders Network (YLN) events. Here’s some stuff I think is relevant backstory to what you asked, @Max.

    First, I would be cautious about taking *ANYTHING* Mark Driscoll says at face value. He has a verifiable track record of leaving out important details and/or giving information a spin that puts himself in the best light.

    Anyway, in this case, while it is accurate that, in the mid-1990s, Leadership Network gathered together young leaders in what we were then calling the “emerging church” or “emerging ministry” movement, I think it’s inaccurate to say LN “initiated” it. It was something that was happening, the Holy Spirit was moving in new ways as GenXers were often being shut out of meaningful participation in the shaping of culture-current expressions of being church.

    As LN spokespeople themselves said at the time, they were there to support and resource what was happening, and to identify those who seemed to be listened to as leaders and give them opportunities for influence. LN funded the Young Leaders Network and singled out about a dozen men as key national leaders. This group included Mark Driscoll. Any official involvement by LN and YLN ended in the early 2000 decade. Here’s a timeline I put together to overview how “emerging” morphed over time, and how LN/YLN were involved in facilitating the movement going forward.

    https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/timeline-for-young-leaders-network-and-terra-nova-project/

    The other thing about the emerging ministry movement, is that it incorporated people from what turned out to be as many as six different streams of theologies. What brought participants together at first was in response to the negative marginalization of GenXers in ministry and to the positive movement of the Spirit for fresh expressions of church/ministry. Then, it gradually became apparent that there was a range of theological and ecclesiological approaches from Neo-Calvinist/Neo-Puritan to next-generation Evangelical to missional to Neo-Monastic to progressive, with some mix-and-match types and variations in between. These approaches are not really compatible in how they view being church together, and some of these streams were dominated by “leaders” who turned out extremely toxic.

    Most of these went their own separate ways in the early 2000 decade, and as far as I know, there were no further official connections with Leadership Network — but I have not followed LN closely since that time. Maybe someone else reading TWW has and can fill in what’s happened in the last 10-15 years with LN. It seems leaders in most streams connected with or started up other organizations closer to their own theology, such as The Gospel Coalition, Acts 29, Emergent Village, Community Christian Development Association, Sojourners, etc.

    If interested in those streams and tracking what happened (because several streams have created a track record of authoritarian spiritual abuse), you can check out some research I’ve posted on my futuristguy blog. See the CATEGORY search, select “3. CULTUROLOGY CASE STUDIES” and the subcategory of “Taxonomies of Emergence.” There are about a dozen articles in that thread.

    In the navigation bar section on CASE STUDIES AND ARTICLES, there are links to case studies on two of the streams that came out of emerging, (1) Diagnosing the Emergent Movement [Emergent Village/Progressive Theology], and (2) Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll.

  135. dee wrote:

    Also, I hope to see some comments on other disqualifying behaviors.

    Max wrote:

    “grab a brew, share your view” was their promotion.

    Several local pastors have emerged with substance abuse issues.
    Rehab and restore? Or disqualified? Or a combo deal?

  136. @ brad/futuristguy:
    Found your website, well, looking at one of them.

    In your:
    OVERVIEW: MY TOP FIVE CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING A “HOME” FELLOWSHIP/CHURCH
    #4. Biblical Church Discipline

    In light of the value of Biblical Church Discipline, and with regard to qualifying leadership, what about the issue of the Dear Church Leader caught in a misstep and then being subjected to church discipline?

  137. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    LN (Leadership Network) funded the Young Leaders Network and singled out about a dozen men as key national leaders. This group included Mark Driscoll.

    Thanks Brad for your insight in this regard and a link to your helpful post, which provides an interesting overview and timeline pertaining to the web of characters associated with the various streams of 21st century church movements. It appears that they emerged out of a common pool of “talent” which, as you note, morphed over time.

    Driscoll was emergent, who then became resurgent before he became submergent. Unfortunately he has surfaced again … a master at re-inventing himself to stay afloat.

  138. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    What brought participants together at first was in response to the negative marginalization of GenXers in ministry and to the positive movement of the Spirit for fresh expressions of church/ministry.

    It doesn’t appear that many of the young leaders who emerged during this time have been led by the Holy Spirit. For example, the cast of young New Calvinists taking over traditional churches in the SBC have done so through stealth and deception, which are not fruit of the Spirit. Not to mention the host of “spirit”-led leaders of popular churches and movements who continue to fall and provide food for TWW fodder.

  139. JYJames wrote:

    Several local pastors have emerged with substance abuse issues.
    Rehab and restore? Or disqualified? Or a combo deal?

    I look forward to responses to this question. For example, it is evident to me that Perry Noble shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a pulpit. But what about a guy who is stressed out and addicted to uppers to do his job because his church puts too many demands on him and he doesn’t know how to say *no?*

  140. Max wrote:

    Driscoll was emergent, who then became resurgent before he became submergent. Unfortunately he has surfaced again … a master at re-inventing himself to stay afloat.

    I’ve heard tales of cockroaches that even after a flushing down the commode, are able to climb out of the bowl, dry off their wings and still achieve flight.

  141. Max wrote:

    Driscoll was emergent, who then became resurgent before he became submergent. Unfortunately he has surfaced again … a master at re-inventing himself to stay afloat.

    I am going to quote this on Twitter. LOLOLOL

  142. Max wrote:

    Driscoll was emergent,

    Yes, he was part of “emergent,” but never Emergent Village … in fact, the progressives and decentralized deconstructors at Emergent Village and the Neo-Calvinist/Neo-Puritan hierarchical authoritarians at Mars Hill with Mark Driscoll were nemeses …

  143. @ Injun Joe:
    Thank you for making me laugh!

    Right now, due to the fact that we back up to the woods with some water behind that and there has been a bit of a drought, we are getting wood roaches. They crawl into the water pipe system and show up anywhere there is a sink. Form there, they plot their invasion. Although they eventually die because they cannot consume human food, they can live a number of days and they are huge. Squishing one takes effort and then there is a mess.

    I don’t care what the experts say, they love to wait until dark and will suddenly jump out at you in the bathroom in the middle of the night. I will risk all kinds of cancer by getting the house sprayed.

    They remind me of certain church leaders who exist to scare the dickens out of you by questioning your salvation but, when it comes right down to it, they are ugly and can’t really do you any lasting harm but they can sure cause a mess.

  144. Max wrote:

    It doesn’t appear that many of the young leaders who emerged during this time have been led by the Holy Spirit. For example, the cast of young New Calvinists taking over traditional churches in the SBC have done so through stealth and deception, which are not fruit of the Spirit. Not to mention the host of “spirit”-led leaders of popular churches and movements who continue to fall and provide food for TWW fodder.

    To be fair, I think this is an overgeneralization. This is why a number of bloggers, writers, professors, and others were attempting to understand the different theological streams that were in the initial “lake” of the emerging ministry movement. It’s hard to navigate a paradigm/culture shift of that magnitude when you’re right in the whirlpool where it’s happening. But, different theological assumptions inherently lead in different directions, and some more inherently susceptible to theologically-based abuses and to hijacking by malignant individuals. Follow the trajectories of the ideas and the ideologues, and you’ll see which streams ended up significantly toxic.

    If you track the Mark Driscoll/Neo-Calvinist/Neo-Puritan stream and the many organizations spun from that or that those insiders joined, then yes, you find horrific abuses of authority, power, and prestige — now going on a 15+ year track record, with dozens of specific situations having been tracked over those years.

    You also have some significant situations in the Emergent Village/progressive stream.

    Survivor blogs have covered many of these debacles.

    However, the other streams — missional, next-gen evangelical, neo-monastic, global go-bees/Third Culture Kids, etc., you have a lot of solid men and women who’ve continued to make significant contributions over the years. But they are mostly not so much in the public eye, not celebrities like those in the more prominent streams. Some have stayed with culturally contextualized church planting/transitioning, others into community development ministries, others into quadruple bottom line businesses that balance benefits to community-ecology-economy-spirituality, etc. I suspect their legacies will better, as you tend to find an emphasis on discipleship, discernment, living out grace toward others, and personal and social transformation.

  145. @ dee:
    Exactly:
    Les Mis vs. Sovereign raiding country coffers

    Each serious requiring a serious (not surface) regard.

  146. JYJames wrote:

    A. Amos Love wrote:
    15 – faithful children
    When one of our pastor’s high school children ended up in jail, and both of his high school kids were into drugs, I mentioned to his wife that her husband needed to find another career, a new job, according to Scripture.
    She didn’t think much of this idea, and they stayed in the pastorate.

    Wow – Good for you.
    Seems most folks have pastorphobia, and would just let that pass.

    Yup, That outcome has been my experience.
    At least you had the couRAGE to inform them. 😉
    ——-

    I’ve noticed, ALL these pastor/leader/reverends, who say, teach, promote…
    “The Bible is the Word of God.”

    No, No, “The Bible is the **Inerrant** Word of God.” 😉
    And this church has “Biblically Qualified Elders.”
    As according to, 1 Tim 3, and Titus.
    That are to be obeyed, because they watch for your soul…

    BUT, when you show them what Paul, and most likely Jesus, said…
    About ALL the very tuff Qualifications for pastor/elder/overseer…
    1 – Must be BLAMELESS. 2 – JUST. 3 – HOLY. 4 – Ruleth WELL his own house.

    ALL of a sudden, “The Bible doesn’t really mean what you think it means.”
    And, the “Twisting,” and “Excuses,” begin…

    I’m-a-thinkn, many of these guys KNOW they do NOT Qualify…
    And, they try, and try, to meet these tuff qualifications…
    Trying to Obey the Law. And they fail every time…
    And they suffer Burn-Out, and Depression…
    Fearing that the folks will find them out…
    And kick them out…

    So, they preach, pastors are sinners to, pray for your pastors.

    NO, if someone calls themself a pastor/elder/overseer, and is NOT…
    1 – BLAMELESS. 2 – JUST. 3 – HOLY. 4 – Ruling WELL his own house.

    They need, “to find another career, a new job, according to Scripture.”

    Hmmm? Ever see, or hear of, a 501 c 3, IRS corporation church…
    Who openly declared, **this church** does NOT have “Biblically Qualified Elders?”

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

  147. Max wrote:

    Driscoll was emergent, who then became resurgent before he became submergent. Unfortunately he has surfaced again … a master at re-inventing himself to stay afloat.</blockquote

    Might one add:

    Driscoll was emergent, who then became resurgent before he became submergent. Unfortunately he has surfaced again … a subvergent – a master at re-inventing himself to stay afloat.

    Definition: Subvergent – A psychological revolution; a divergence, told through the eyes of a fearless.

    Max – your quote may go viral, as light exposing darkness for what it is.

  148. @ brad/futuristguy:
    And then there’s Tony Jones. One of the chosen?

    TJ is promoting:

    PROGRESSIVE YOUTH MINISTRY 2018 :: RADICAL INCLUSION
    MARCH 7-9, 2018 :: MONTREAT CONFERENCE CENTER, MONTREAT, NC

  149. dee wrote:

    But what about a guy who is stressed out

    Found this:

    “Leaders can’t afford to make fools of themselves, gulping wine and swilling beer, Lest, hung over, they don’t know right from wrong, and the people who depend on them are hurt. Use wine and beer only as sedatives, to kill the pain and dull the ache Of the terminally ill, for whom life is a living death.” Proverbs 31:6 The Message Bible

    Been around sick and/or dying people. None used alcohol. All had Rx’s to relieve pain.

  150. JYJames wrote:

    In your:
    OVERVIEW: MY TOP FIVE CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING A “HOME” FELLOWSHIP/CHURCH
    #4. Biblical Church Discipline

    In light of the value of Biblical Church Discipline, and with regard to qualifying leadership, what about the issue of the Dear Church Leader caught in a misstep and then being subjected to church discipline?

    A couple of thoughts about that post, which can be found at this link. Excerpt on what I then considered “biblical church discipline” follows.

    https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2008/03/19/recovery-from-spiritual-abuse-part-2a-five-criteria-i-now-use-to-choose-a-relatively-healthy-fellowship/

    4. Biblical Church Discipline – I am looking for a fellowship with a track record of church discipline conducted in a biblical manner for restorative purposes (or willingness to take this approach, if they have not done church discipline in the past). By “biblical,” I refer primarily to Matthew 18: First time, go in person one-to-one; if a second time is needed, take a witness; if there is no restoration, then tell it to the entire body. Also, from this and other passages, church discipline is not to be misused as a tool for embarrassment or punishment, nor is it to be avoided when needed in situations to protect the congregation from immature, heterodox, or counterfeit Christians.

    First, I have been doing research writing on spiritual for about 10 years, and that post was one of my earliest posts on the subject. I doubt I’d ground everything about church discipline into Matthew 18, and expect that sometime I’ll write something about that.

    These days, first I’d emphasize prevention so that intervention is not so necessary with a church leader gone astray. This means figuring out what we believe the criteria are for qualifying those in the public eye as church leaders, teachers, people with a ministry platform online, etc. With a set of indicators for what it means to be QUALIFIED, we also need to know what it is to be UNqualified (in my definition, lacking in necessary personal maturity and/or professional skills for the role at hand) and DISqualified (character and behavior patterns that directly go against the spiritual maturity and self-control mandated of leaders, especially as defined in the pastoral epistles, plus passages on the fruit of the Spirit, and discernment as a hallmark of maturity).

    UNqualified people can eventually qualify, with time and tempering through everyday discipleship.

    DISqualified people can potentially find transformation, through repentance, counseling, oversight, and time — but with NO guarantee of restoration to the kind of public role they were taking, and often, the repentance process will mean retirement from public roles. Depends on the degree of toxicity.

    Grace toward “fallen leaders” calls on the rest of us to live in a balance of showing a conciliatory spirit toward them AND ALSO protecting the flock from them. As we see in practice, however, most who’ve been in such public roles of power and prestige *rarely* are willing to undergo such a process. They want restoration without rehabilitation, and they will find ways to do so. Which is yet another indicator that they are unfit to minister and are on the road to be identified publicly as wolves who are out to fleece the flock.

    I know first-hand some people who’ve benefited from being withdrawn from ministry roles beyond their maturity level, and from a personal transformation process where they were surrounded by people who showed unconditional love and care for them, over a long period of time. But I have rarely seen this play out at the level of national recognition. That is why, earlier in this thread, the only case study I could come up with was that of Gordon MacDonald. And there is the case that Bill Kinnon linked to about British politician John Profumo.

    What we generally see are deflections, not corrections. For instance, they issue a general admission of wrongdoing, but no apologies or reparation to those specific people victimized. An emphasis on what the perpetrator has supposedly learned about their weakness/sin and God’s strength/grace, but no demonstrated repair work to make things right for what they’ve done wrong. Morphing their theology to a different stream that is more conducive to letting them perpetuate their platform, instead of critically examining their past/current theology for what they took as permission to abuse others.

    For a more recent expansion on the kernels of ideas on discipline from the 2008 post, see the page at the top of my futuristguy blog, “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse (Compilation of Posts).” That’s the long-form series that covers that, plus I attempt to provide frameworks for thinking through practical questions like:

    * What kinds of character/behavior issues by leaders who damage others are toxic enough to disqualify them from leadership?

    * What kind of recovery/rehabilitation process is appropriate for what level of personal brokenness, and when should restoration to a role of ministry be totally out of the question?

    * What ethical responsibilities do churches/ministries/organizations have to fallen leaders and to those whom they have victimized?

    So, hope that’s of some help. These are all concepts that I try to apply consistently when I produce case studies on situations or systems involving spiritual abuse.

  151. JYJames wrote:

    And then there’s Tony Jones. One of the chosen?

    Yes, he was among the core groups of identified leaders in Young Leaders Network, and after that, a key player in Emergent Village (the progressive stream out of the emerging ministry movement). And to reiterate, not all in emerging were of Emergent/Emergent Village.

  152. @ JYJames:
    Yes, “subvergent” (subversion) would fit. Much of New Calvinism is a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine the true Gospel and those who proclaim it. Within SBC ranks, the young reformers truly believe that they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the “gospel” that the rest of the church has lost over the centuries (Calvinism = gospel). What arrogance!

  153. @ brad/futuristguy:
    There are guidelines in Scripture for the NT Body of Christ, as you mention,
    – Matthew 18
    – Galatians 6
    – 1 Corinthians 5.
    etc.

    This would be the beginning of restoring a leader that is a click off – to the Body of Christ, but not to Leadership. (Leadership requirements in Scripture are in the comments that A. Amos Love has posted above.) However, back to restoring to the Body of Christ, is the Leader in a separate class or is this, too, a necessary 1st step, even for a Leader?

    Lauren Winner, Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity author, has written candidly about the prevalence of extra-marital intimacy among Evangelicals, noting that they don’t practise what they preach (i.e., the “dorm whores” – her term – at Christian colleges, and yes, she mentions Wheaton, of all places, the ultimate Evangelical Christian post-secondary education with lots of celebrity grads and street cred).

    Regarding qualifications and dis- and pre- for Leaders, perhaps we need to take a step back to the more basic, What does it mean to be spiritually sound in the general public of the Body of Christ? If the Laity doesn’t practice what they espouse, perhaps their expectations of Leadership are, in parallel, equally low? Everyone gets a compassionate “Evangelical Life is Tough”, so says TT, pass?

  154. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    the Holy Spirit was moving in new ways as GenXers were often being shut out of meaningful participation in the shaping of culture-current expressions of being church

    Not everything that glitters is God. I’ve heard fallen preachers like Driscoll, Patrick, Tchvidjian, Noble, and others refer to the growth of their ministries as a “God Thing” (or similar words). God Things always result in spiritual success, not moral failure.

    A young reformer and his gang of thieves rode into my community a few years ago proclaiming that they were going to “Make God Big” in our city (as if God wasn’t big enough). After taking over a long-established non-Calvinist church through stealth and deception (the young pastor lied to the search committee), they ran it into the ground, scattered God’s people, attracted a large following of GenExers & Millennials (who showed up for the circus, but had no money), and then proceeded to bring the church to near financial ruin (had trouble paying the electric bill) … they rode off into the sunset to work their evil deeds elsewhere. No, I’m not a fan of the New Calvinist movement and its leaders.

  155. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Douggie Phillips ESQUIRE, head of Vision Forum.
    (Yes, he always stressed that faux-Noble (or is it faux-Gentry?) title like a bogus Doctorate.)
    Search on “Doug Phillips” here or at Spiritual Sounding Board.

    This guy’s a real piece of work. The Free Jinger website does an excellent job of keeping tabs on him. Just google “Where in the World is Doug Phillips Who is a Tool” and it should pop up. Most recently he’s been galavanting around Europe under an alias, videotaping quasi-burlesque shows. Free Jinger has his photos and videos on their message board. Side note, last week one of Phillips’ sons married one of Sproul, Jr’s daughters.

  156. I am way worse than anybody knows.” – Tullian Tchividjian

    So, the humble-brag about what a great sinner he is. Apparently he took his cue from the Reformer to “sin boldly.” So, let me get this right. Now the goal is to be as wicked of a person as possible in order to be able to preach the gospel more accurately and zealously. Talk about being able to have your cake and eat it too. Or is it eating your cake and having it too? Whatever the case, it seems that being a preacher these days, especially the Celebrity Preacher, is one of the best gigs in town. Sin as much as you want and get paid for it too.

  157. Max wrote:

    Driscoll was emergent, who then became resurgent before he became submergent. Unfortunately he has surfaced again … a master at re-inventing himself to stay afloat.

    Would Driscoll now be re-emergent? Regurgant? Or just a brand that needs a new marketing strategy?

    A. Amos Love wrote:

    Hmmm? Ever see, or hear of, a 501 c 3, IRS corporation church…
    Who openly declared, **this church** does NOT have “Biblically Qualified Elders?”

    Regarding Patrick’s new ARC church, do they even have Elders? Or has the idea of Elders from among the “sheep” been replaced by “overseers,” who are fellow church leaders from other similar churches?

    OK, I looked it up, and ARC churches DO typically have Elders. But if “pastoral misconduct” happens, the Elders are supposed to contact the Overseers, who will start and investigation and hand out discipline.

  158. Max wrote:

    Not everything that glitters is God.

    Maybe God does not glitter. “.. small, colourful, reflective particles…”

    Matt.5:16 Let your LIGHT so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
    Matt. 25: … preparing their LAMPS, to meet Jesus…
    Acts 2:3-4 Then, what looked like FLAMES or tongues of fire appeared and settled on their heads. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit…

    A light, a lamp, and flames are not reflections, they are a source. We are all made in God’s image, but only those filled with His Spirit abide with the Source abiding in them. That is the reward of staying in sync with God, and the loss of being out of step with God – His Spirit indwells or in the latter case, departs. Ultimate blessing or Ouch, disaster, by choice.

    For the Boyz and Girlz that step out of line and then invite others into their soup, like TT – there must be a special trip to the woodshed for them. Can’t imagine leading the flock astray as such. God help them, God help us all – “Deliver us from evil, for Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,” Jesus instructed us to pray. May this be so. Free, we bow our knees only to the One who can save us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Thanks, JC.

  159. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    But if “pastoral misconduct” happens, the Elders are supposed to contact the Overseers, who will start and investigation and hand out discipline.

    I just don’t see this option as biblical or wise. The local body should be involved with the process, not overseers who have less contact with the pastor than the local body.

  160. JYJames wrote:

    This would be the beginning of restoring a leader that is a click off – to the Body of Christ, but not to Leadership. (Leadership requirements in Scripture are in the comments that A. Amos Love has posted above.) However, back to restoring to the Body of Christ, is the Leader in a separate class or is this, too, a necessary 1st step, even for a Leader?

    […]

    Regarding qualifications and dis- and pre- for Leaders, perhaps we need to take a step back to the more basic, What does it mean to be spiritually sound in the general public of the Body of Christ? If the Laity doesn’t practice what they espouse, perhaps their expectations of Leadership are, in parallel, equally low? Everyone gets a compassionate “Evangelical Life is Tough”, so says TT, pass?

    A couple of thoughts.

    Is restoration to the Body a necessary step. That sounds reasonable.

    Are leaders in a separate class? Yes, but perhaps not in the way some might think. Restoration to the Body is not restoration to the role of influence or ministry. “To whom much is given, much is *required*” (not simply, *expected*). So, I’d suggest the separate class for leaders is that it’s more severe, not less.

    Given what passes for descriptions of “godly” and “mature,” I suspect that, overall, we don’t have much of a clue of how the New Testament describes Christlike character as lived out and what a profile of “maturity” looks like. I mentioned discernment as a threshold indicator because several passages seem to use it as a dividing point between spiritual children or young adults, and those who are considered mature in the faith. For instance, Hebrews 5:12-14 talks about discerning between good and evil. The thread about identifying and overcoming evil is a hallmark that separates children from young adults in the faith in 1 john 2:12-14.

    If we don’t have a comprehensive and integrated concept of what maturity is, I doubt we have a good idea of what processes and trajectories it takes to get there. And, if we add to that some off-kilter ideals about what church structures and shepherding supposedly look like, we just aren’t going to be able to deal successfully with people who are devious and inflict evil damage instead of being discerning and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit.

    So, the “Christian industrial complexes” that surround and support quick-comeback kids like those in the above post perpetuate the platform of those who have been documented to be disqualified from “leadership” roles of influence/authority by reasons of rotten fruit in character and behaviors.

    That said, I believe that genuine discipleship that is relational and involves mentoring and focuses in the long run on learning to discern good versus evil and make wise decisions helps inoculate people against toxic people in the flock, whether in the pulpit or in the pews to use the conventional church structure.

  161. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    genuine discipleship that is relational and involves mentoring and focuses in the long run on learning to discern good versus evil and make wise decisions helps inoculate people against toxic people in the flock,

    Makes sense, and aligns with the Bible.

  162. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    Would Driscoll now be re-emergent? Regurgant? Or just a brand that needs a new marketing strategy?

    The only time that God caused a prophet to be regurgitated back into ministry that I’m aware of was Jonah. God’s objective was met in that instance, but it didn’t work out well for Jonah.

    Before he exited Mars Hill, Driscoll delivered a “I Am The Brand” speech. His ego demands that he always be a new and improved something or other, the big dog, an idol on the throne. He won’t go away easily. God has already knocked him down a time or two and he keeps coming back. Not very wise on his part.

  163. @ dee:
    Hi Dee, I’m not saying that both adultery and pedophilia are in the same league, or have the same gravity. However, what I *am* saying is that both would have gotten you stoned to death in Old Testament times, because both are still grave, even if not at the same gravity. We should consider how grave a sin is through God’s eyes, not by society’s, or by our personal feelings.

    Just the fact that so many people have no problem with a pastor who covers up for pedophilia tells you that they no longer believe that even that sin is grave. Our standards are slipping, and this is why we are in the mess we are in today.

  164. Muff Potter wrote:

    Clockwork

    Hi Muff!

    I’m not saying I want Geneva! Heaven forbid! But Calvin’s Geneva was not the only government that punished adultery with death. That was in fact a carry over from older times, and even in Protestant England they punished it the same for a while before laws became lax.

    My other point was that people like Tullian T., who gush so much about Calvin, run around screaming “Grace, grace!” for their adultery, when Calvin would have wanted him tied up in a sack and drowned. I was merely pointing out the irony of the situation. This generation of Calvinists betray their own heritage. Calving would be rolling in his grave if he could see them. If nothing else, he would be lamenting that his church polity utterly failed to produce any holiness in anyone.

    But the ultimate point is that we shouldn’t consider a sin less grave than God does just because our government doesn’t see it as grave, or even a crime at all. God and His Holy Scriptures are our standard, not what government says it should be. Just the fact that child rapists are set loose from prison under the guise of being “rehabilitated” should tell us that our government is a poor standard by which to judge the gravity of any sin.

  165. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    I believe that genuine discipleship that is relational and involves mentoring and focuses in the long run on learning to discern good versus evil and make wise decisions helps inoculate people against toxic people in the flock, whether in the pulpit or in the pews

    Indeed. What is missing in the institutional church today is discernment – the testing and trying of spirits to see if they be from God. This is perhaps the greatest need for prayer. While much of discernment is simple observation – keeping your eyes and ears open – we definitely need a new measure of spiritual discernment. The church should have known that Driscoll, Patrick, Tchividjian, etc. were bad boys from the get-go. The early church had a better handle to discern good versus evil and kept the wolves in sheep clothing in check. We now let them in the front door, with little scrutiny.

  166. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    discern good versus evil and make wise decisions

    – wisdom is a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit to some in the Body of Christ for the benefit of all
    – discernment is, too.

    I have seen discernment, as given by the Holy Spirit, in action for the benefit of the church. However, not all church leaders nor church members want to recognized this.

  167. JYJames wrote:

    – wisdom is a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit to some in the Body of Christ for the benefit of all
    – discernment is, too.

    I have seen discernment, as given by the Holy Spirit, in action for the benefit of the church. However, not all church leaders nor church members want to recognized this.

    I agree, these are spiritual gifts — given as a sort of “espresso shot” to some within the Body of Christ, and they are needed. Desperately.

    Also, from what I’ve studied over the years, I’d suggest that almost *every* spiritual gift has a “everyday coffee version” that is part of general discipleship. These are especially covered in the “one another” passages, but in some other places as well. All disciples can/should discern, show hospitality, teach, live with wisdom, share knowledge, share the gospel, etc. etc. etc. [And I say “almost” to set aside (1) the argumentation over so-called charismatic gifts, and (2) what some designate as gifts from Ephesians 4, I see as roles; those are not the same things.]

    Those at the top of a pyramid of abuse typically block some kinds of gifts, or some specific people from using their gifts, as this keeps them in control of the *system*. I believe it’s part of what creates systemic abuse that infuses poison into the very structures and relationships of a local body, or ministry, or non-profit, etc. In essence, malignant leaders hijack the role of the Holy Spirit and the assets of the people in the organizations, for their own selfish benefit.

  168. @ brad/futuristguy:
    In the case of the gentleman with discernment, he was able to steer himself and his family clear from the fakes in the church, as well as from neighborhood bullies, workplace problem people, etc.

    Underneath the facade, he discerned good and evil spirits. As this was the Holy Spirit in action, there was no abuse, as in that case the HS would leave and the gift would be gone.

    The same with a woman who had the gift of evangelism. Her church never recognized this but she effectly brought people to salvation all day long, wherever she went.

    We’ve done evangelism but this was a miraculous gift. Same with the discernment guy – beyond comprehension, nothing talked about, just functioning as directed by the HS as Christians. Nothing to do with personality, looks, training (except being discipled by the HS so indwelt by Him).

    Speaking of being unaware, a friend of mine started speaking in tongues at her Bible study and they kicked her out.

  169. Max wrote:

    The early church had a better handle to discern good versus evil and kept the wolves in sheep clothing in check. We now let them in the front door, with little scrutiny.

    I wonder if part of the contemporary problem with churches and discernment is that we’ve over-individualized it, and left out the communal aspects of congregational crowd-sourcing of discernment. Some students of Scripture see Matthew 18 more in this light of building evidence toward a consensus interpretation of what is happening when things go awry.

    Sorry, I can’t recall at the moment specific people who’ve posted about this view.

    But, if you’ve read the *Divergent* series by Veronica Roth or seen the movies, you see this kind of communal process in action, especially in the second book/film, *Insurgent* when Tris, Four, and others have fled to Amity, and the entire faction has to come to a decision about what to do with these exiles — allow them to stay, turn them over to other factions that are chasing them, etc. Their spokesperson puts the question to the community. Then individuals turn to talk through the situation with one or a very few others around them. As they reach an intermediate opinion as a duo or trio about what to do, they join with another nearly group and continue the discussion. That process continues until there is an overall sense from the community of large groups of small groups of smaller groups about the direction to go. The goal is consensus, which is not the same as unanimity. So, even if there are concerns (as there likely will be), there is a decision for moving forward WITH a commitment to continue watching for indicators of any need to adjusting course. So, the initial decision is not static; it continues to be part of a dynamic process of observation, interpretation, discernment, evaluation, revision.

    Back to the ways that American churches seem mostly to function, is that it’s left up to a select group of leaders or influencers, or people with designated spiritual gifts. Again, individualistic. And even more congregational approaches to church structures can end up with problems of “troublesome congregants” — individuals or cliques of people who hijack the organization so it orbits around their personal concerns.

  170. JYJames wrote:

    Speaking of being unaware, a friend of mine started speaking in tongues at her Bible study and they kicked her out.

    She didn’t know what was happening but the Bible study people recognized what was happening, and showed her the door.

    brad/futuristguy wrote:

    given as a sort of “espresso shot” to some within the Body of Christ

    IMHO, from Eph. 4, 1 Cor. 12, Rom. 12, I believe we all have at least one gift functioning if we are walking faithfully with God. And I believe that rather than an espresso shot, the gifts are the coffee, the main organic life of the real church.

    After taking a class on the 18 gifts in the above 4 passages, all of what we had done in missionary work and church work made sense. We had experienced Christians obediently preaching, testifying, or tithing, and we had seen those with the Gift of Preaching, Gift of Evangelism, and Gift of Giving ($ millions). Big difference and never based on personality, looks, background, legacy.

    The Evangelism Lady I mentioned above, did this all day long, including in the hospital in her ’90’s right before she died, to everyone, effectively. I am ready to share but have sporadic opportunities when called upon by the HS to do so. It’s very individual.

    Same with giving. I give small and faithful. Others friends are blessed financially – miraculously – and they give millions. It is on the list in Scripture.

  171. JYJames wrote:

    brad/futuristguy wrote:
    discern good versus evil and make wise decisions

    – wisdom is a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit to some in the Body of Christ for the benefit of all

    I will add to your comment. Wisdom is something that is given to anyone who asks for it albeit with qualifications. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.” James 1:5. Those who sincerely ask for this gift, God will bestow it upon them. God is not one to be stingy with His gifts. However, He knows the hearts of all and is able to perceive if the asking of such a gift is meant for the glory of God, or for personal gain. So while we know God to be benevolent, we also recognize that He is discerning and will not indiscriminately give gifts to just anyone.

  172. I stopped by the House of Driscoll this morning for a bit. I had a sign with the Twitter handles of people who Driscoll blocked on Tuesday (voluntary opt-in by the people who were blocked). It was fine; my pale freckled skin appreciated the cool air and the Vitamin D. I’d also note that he’s not packing them in. He only had 108 cars in the lot for the first service. IMO, I think he needs Patheos more than Patheos needs him.

  173. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    I stopped by the House of Driscoll this morning for a bit. I had a sign with the Twitter handles of people who Driscoll blocked on Tuesday (voluntary opt-in by the people who were blocked). It was fine; my pale freckled skin appreciated the cool air and the Vitamin D. I’d also note that he’s not packing them in. He only had 108 cars in the lot for the first service. IMO, I think he needs Patheos more than Patheos needs him.

    Pray for those people…

  174. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    I stopped by the House of Driscoll this morning for a bit. I had a sign with the Twitter handles of people who Driscoll blocked on Tuesday (voluntary opt-in by the people who were blocked).

    Bless you for your perseverance. If I lived in that city I’d join you.

  175. @ Clockwork Angel:

    Thank you for your kind reply.
    There is much that we can agree upon and there are also points on which we’ll disagree.
    And that’s okay too, nowhere is it written in stone that people of faith must be in lock-step agreement om everything.

  176. dee wrote:

    Also, I hope to see some comments on other disqualifying behaviors. A one time adulterous affair is totally disqualifying but an angry pastor is no problem?

    It’s bedtime here in Blighty, so I’ll have to be brief here, but to my mind, anyone in church leadership who tries to establish a distinction between those loyal to himself and Everyone_Else is, ipso facto, divisive. The Church should have nothing to do with him and should issue a clear offer-come-warning to his congregants that they, too, should join the wider church and not a sect.

    Now, imagine if that were actually to happen IRL.

  177. Tullian Tchividjian and his letter remind me of Micah from Judges. Micah found just one Levite to give his made up religion a semblance of validity, and then it was off to the races.

    Darrin Patrick: seems like another Acts29 luminary who didn’t like “biblical church discipline” as much when it happened to him. Imagine that.

    http://andynaselli.com/a-study-of-church-membership-and-church-discipline

    Here’s what Darrin Patrick says about it:

    Trying to get modern-day people to understand the importance of church membership and the need for church discipline is one of the most difficult things I do as a pastor. We live in a culture that is sick with an autonomous, individualistic spirit that shuns accountability and commitment. Biblical church membership and discipline are the cure for this dreaded illness. Those Who Must Give an Account is a timely book for a timeless challenge.

  178. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    He only had 108 cars in the lot for the first service. IMO, I think he needs Patheos more than Patheos needs him.

    Thanks for the update, with his likely burn rate of funds I wonder how long his backers will last, I can’t imagine patience being their virtue.

  179. Muff Potter wrote:

    Clockwork Angel wrote:
    In Calvin’s Geneva, if you were an adulterer, whether man or woman, and you got caught, you would have to pay a fine and go through a lot of counseling with the ministers. If you got caught a second time, they tied you up in a sack and drowned you. Yes, that’s right. It was the death penalty.
    Determining whether a sin is grave or not by how the government authorities feel like (or don’t feel like) punishing it is a huge mistake.

    I’m also eternally grateful to the old dead white men who founded our Nation in that they made sure to put a lotta’ distance between us and Calvin’s Geneva.

    Wise words, Muff Potter. How anyone can laud Calvin’s Geneva is beyond me. Imagine being forced to attend church, and if one fails in this regard, they are punished. That place was Control Freakery on steroids.

  180. Darlene wrote:

    Wise words, Muff Potter. How anyone can laud Calvin’s Geneva is beyond me.

    Not beyond me. Simple. They see themselves as Calvin or one of his Cronies running Geneva.

    Easy to laud a regime like that if you KNOW you’d be one of the Elect who personally benefit from it.

  181. M. Joy wrote:

    Side note, last week one of Phillips’ sons married one of Sproul, Jr’s daughters.

    Thus uniting House Phillips-ESQUIRE with House Precious-Sproul.

    Like uniting House Lannister with House Baratheon.

  182. Darlene wrote:

    “I am way worse than anybody knows.” – Tullian Tchividjian

    If you ARE “way worse than anybody knows”, why should we have you around in a pulpit over us?

  183. Max wrote:

    A young reformer and his gang of thieves rode into my community a few years ago proclaiming that they were going to “Make God Big” in our city (as if God wasn’t big enough).

    “Make God Great Again”?

  184. Clockwork Angel wrote:

    That was in fact a carry over from older times, and even in Protestant England they punished it the same for a while before laws became lax.

    It ain’t perfect but I would take our lax democracy over Old Testament Israel and late medieval Europe. I like a pluralistic society where I can worship (or not worship) as I please.

    Oh and I would also take our democracy over such “put ’em to death” societies like Saudi Arabia and Iran. I think adultery is a death sentence in those countries – might just apply to women though.

  185. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    If you ARE “way worse than anybody knows”, why should we have you around in a pulpit over us?

    It all comes across as almost a dare, from a narcissist, just to see how far he can push manipulation & have his ‘victims’ lap it up. It’s like he’s made it a qualification for his new job & so doing awful stuff pushes him further into his chosen pulpit, not further away from it, as it should be. Nice set up. Is this just the first cycle of fall-‘repent’-remarry-reinstated in pulpit as redeemed bad boy that we are going to see from him?

  186. @ Darlene:
    Lots of people did and do laud Calvin’s Geneva, including George Bancroft, an American historian and all round good guy. There are others which you can find in Schaff’s ‘History of the Christian Church’. He also includes the usual negative reviews but he does try to maintain a balance.
    Anyway Bancroft said
    “We boast of our common schools; Calvin was the father of popular education, the inventor of the system of free schools. We are proud of the free States that fringe the Atlantic. The pilgrims of Plymouth were Calvinists; the best influence in South Carolina came from the Calvinists of France. William Penn was the disciple of the Huguenots; the ships from Holland that first brought colonists to Manhattan were filled with Calvinists. He that will not honor the memory, and respect the influence of Calvin, knows but little of the origin of American liberty.”

    As always there are (more than) two sides to every story. And it is quite remarkable how he (Calvin) gets dragged into the debate about the restoration of fallen adulterous pastors.

  187. Lowlandseer wrote:

    As always there are (more than) two sides to every story. And it is quite remarkable how he (Calvin) gets dragged into the debate about the restoration of fallen adulterous pastors.

    True, stories have many sides, including all the good other questionables accomplish.

    Regarding the “fallen” leaders, there may be connections.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherhowse/5907503/Was-John-Calvin-really-a-monster.html

    In a review of a new biography by Bruce Gordon (Calvin, Yale) the reviewer states:

    – “… John Calvin, that astonishing man. He knew he was great.”
    – “Dr. Gordon also portrays Calvin as a man accustomed to being the most intelligent person in the room.”
    – “Indeed Dr. Gordon makes Calvin out to have identified with St Paul so closely that he began to see himself as a second Apostle chosen by God to remake his Church.”

    Pride goes before a fall.

  188. @ Lowlandseer:

    I do hope he included in his research, as I dare say he did, some of the reasons why certain calvinists left where they came from to come to these shores. As far as I have been able to ascertain it was not primarily because of love for the unspoiled forest primeval.

    But then, many of our ancestors fled where they came from because of religious problems or poverty or political issues and such, so I am not saying that they were any different from others who also could not make it work like they wanted to back home. But don’t we even teach the wee kiddies in school that some fled ‘religious persecution’ to come here. What we don’t do is take a really good look at that ‘persecution’ and see what we think about the involved issues.

    We have had thanksgiving programs with wee ones in little bonnets and aprons without addressing the issues. I have seen some articles in the past few years questioning that whole process. I am guessing that there will be an increasing push back as the calvinists grow more numerous and more theologically aggressive.

    Disclaimer: As someone who was raised in a somewhat calvinism-influenced religious tradition the more anti-all-things-calvinist I personally become with time, having mostly escaped that influence.

  189. Lowlandseer wrote:

    He that will not honor the memory, and respect the influence of Calvin, knows but little of the origin of American liberty.

    Sorry, but I cannot honor the memory of someone who murdered the people he disagreed with, or invented a religious system that has cause so much pain and suffering.

  190. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Douggie Phillips ESQUIRE, head of Vision Forum.
    (Yes, he always stressed that faux-Noble (or is it faux-Gentry?) title like a bogus Doctorate.)

    In Doug’s defense, it is a professional doctorate, but it’s pretentious as all get out to refer to yourself as Esquire when you’re not doing it on legal documents. I’d never used the title, myself, bevause it’s pretentious.

  191. Thersites wrote:

    Hollywood loves to moralize these days and many its practitioners despise the church, equally the church loves to moralize and many of its adherents despise Hollywood. In these stories we can see their similarities, both are organized businesses with all the group-think, corruption, cover-up and hypocrisy that typically accompanies institutions.

    Try working for a notorious too big to fail bank. Last year our CEO was ousted in a scandal involving bogus accounts. His problem was that he had the hubris to believe he could barrel through that revelation AND the revelation that the immediate subordinate responsible for the bogus accounts had retired two months previously with a $125 million package. He went before the Senate Banking Cmte and was combative, not contrite. Listening to him was the first time I realized he could lose his job. And he did.

    It’s everywhere.

  192. Darlene wrote:

    “I am way worse than anybody knows.” – Tullian Tchividjian

    Darlene wrote:

    So, let me get this right. Now the goal is to be as wicked of a person as possible in order to be able to preach the gospel more accurately and zealously.

    There is a strange phenomenon in the church world of Christianity Lite. Folks are attracted to preachers who keep telling them how sinful they are … it makes them feel better about their own sinful state. They don’t seek pastors who live godly lives, preach holiness, and exhort their members to Christlikeness … it requires living in a way that pleases God, something Christianity Lite christians just don’t want to do.

  193. dee wrote:

    Also, I hope to see some comments on other disqualifying behaviors. A one time adulterous affair is totally disqualifying but an angry pastor is no problem?

    Financial shenanigans, including but not limited to:

    – Misuse of church funds.
    – Misappropriation of donor monies.
    – Overwhelming emphasis on “sacrificial giving,” particularly in the absence of financial statements.
    – Nepotism in hiring (and it doesn’t have to be just family, either).
    – Opaque or non-existent financials.

    I’m sure others can add to the list. Does your church really need that state of the art fog machine?

  194. @ JYJames:
    From the link you provide:

    “The two big obstacles to admiring Calvin are a chill authoritarianism and his repulsive doctrine of double predestination.” (Christopher Howse)

    The same reasons why most of Christendom has rejected Calvinism for the last 500 years. New Calvinism may be new in its method and message, but still carries the same old authoritarian punch and aberrant soteriology.

  195. @ JYJames:
    I suppose context is everything. Bruce Gordon also wrote in his book on the Institutes

    “Calvin never doubted he possessed a singular calling, that he was a David, Isaiah, or Paul to his age. He regarded Martin Luther as an apostle, while he was a pastor and teacher. 2 Despite suggestions to the contrary, Calvin never called himself a prophet. His self-belief, however, was evident as he spoke from the pulpit, sat at sessions of the Consistory in Geneva, and appeared before the magistrates of the city, many of whom detested him. An unbowed sense of purpose flowed from the printing press in countless editions of treatises and commentaries, and, naturally, from his beloved Institutes of the Christian Religion .”

    Secondly, the quote about being the most intelligent man in the room comes from a review of Gordon’s book in The Telegraph newspaper in 2009 in which the reviewer quotes Gordon who is himself referring to a letter Calvin sent to Cranmer in July 1552 urging him to purge the church in England of the relics of popery. He says
    “The eyes of many are fixed upon you, either to second your exertions, or to imitate your lukewarmness. And sincerely do I desire that, under your leadership, they may be advanced to such an extent during the next three years, that the difficulties and contests of the present time, caused by the removing of the grossest superstition, shall have ceased to exist. I, for my part, acknowledge that our cause has made no little progress during the short period the Gospel has flourished in[ 357] England. But if you reflect on what yet remains to be done, and how very remiss you have been in many matters, you will discover that you have no reason to advance towards the goal with less rapidity, even although the most of the course has, as it were, been gone over; for I need not inform you that I, as it were, take note of your assiduity, lest, after having escaped danger, you should become self-indulgent. But to speak freely, I greatly fear, and this fear is abiding, that so many autumns will be spent in procrastinating, that by and by the cold of a perpetual winter will set in.“ And he finishes by saying “Adieu, most distinguished and esteemed Primate. May the Lord long preserve you in safety; may he fill you more and more with the Spirit of wisdom and fortitude, and bless your labours! Amen.“.

    Doesn’t sound like pride in either case.

  196. @ okrapod:
    Perhaps they had to face this kind of thing, as Calvin had to in Geneva with the Libertines.

    “Perrin, then a member of the Little Council, and his friends, Peter Vandel and Philibert Berthelier, determined on rule or ruin, now concocted a desperate and execrable conspiracy, which proved their overthrow. They proposed to kill all foreigners who had fled to Geneva for the sake of religion, together with their Genevese sympathizers, on a Sunday while people were at church” (Schaffer)

  197. @ Lowlandseer:
    I dunno. Fancying oneself a Paul or David or Isaiah to one’s age sounds pretty prideful to me.

    And the second snippet reminds me painfully of the rabid Calvin-follower who seized the leadership of our old church. He had the ultimate servant’s appearance–until you crossed his will.

  198. @ Clockwork Angel:
    By the same token, in the OT rebellious sons due to drunkenness and gluttony, were to be stoned to death as well. So, do you think a person who is overweight, due to eating too much, should be shot at dawn? Or maybe should just keep them away from the church?

    The OT helped us to understand our standing before the Law. It taught us that we could NOT live to those standards. It prepared us for the coming of Jesus and the introduction of the Gospel.

    So, let’s take it further like Jesus did. If you even look at another person with lust, you have committed adultery. So, just about every pastor, as well as most men and women, are no longer allowed to be in a leadership role according to your standard? To deny that lust in one’s brain is equal to adultery is to deny the very words of Jesus.

    Jesus lived the Law perfectly. During his ministry, he even showed us how much deeper the law went. If you think it (lust), you’ve done it. If you don’t care for the poor, you are not going to heaven. I doubt many of us have really gone all out to help the poor. Well, that’s good news, isn’t it?….. And what about the pastor who has not done enough to care for the poor? Since he might not be going to heaven, should he be a pastor?

    The Cross and Resurrection were the answer to the Law problem. The Law breaks us, the Gospel frees us.

  199. refugee wrote:

    He had the ultimate servant’s appearance–until you crossed his will.

    Sadly, today’s servant leaders are more like crullerMuslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Nepotism in hiring (and it doesn’t have to be just family, either).

    I know a church in which the Calvinists snuck in and started hiring people from Sovereign Grace Ministry programs.

  200. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    In Doug’s defense, it is a professional doctorate, but it’s pretentious as all get out to refer to yourself as Esquire when you’re not doing it on legal documents. I’d never used the title, myself, bevause it’s pretentious.

    Remember this WAS the guy who cosplayed as a Highborn Nobleman. And as General Patton.

  201. This leads me to believe that Darrin Patrick always had his finger to the wind. He gave up Acts 29, The Gospel Coalition and all the really cool *dude* stuff and traded it in for exorcisms, cheap grace, and a really, really good paycheck.

    “Paris is worth a Mass.” — The Huguenot King Henry IV, upon converting to Catholicism in order to gain complete control of Catholic-dominated Paris.

    http://www.thisdayinquotes.com/2010/07/paris-is-worth-mass-paris-veult-une.html

  202. “the removing of the grossest superstition” (from Calvin’s letter to Cranmer)

    Yeah, England and historically Calvinist countries, how’s *that* workin’ out for ya?

  203. Darlene wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Clockwork Angel wrote:
    In Calvin’s Geneva, if you were an adulterer, whether man or woman, and you got caught, you would have to pay a fine and go through a lot of counseling with the ministers. If you got caught a second time, they tied you up in a sack and drowned you. Yes, that’s right. It was the death penalty.
    Determining whether a sin is grave or not by how the government authorities feel like (or don’t feel like) punishing it is a huge mistake.
    I’m also eternally grateful to the old dead white men who founded our Nation in that they made sure to put a lotta’ distance between us and Calvin’s Geneva.
    Wise words, Muff Potter. How anyone can laud Calvin’s Geneva is beyond me. Imagine being forced to attend church, and if one fails in this regard, they are punished. That place was Control Freakery on steroids.

    Calvin had a woman flogged for praying and weeping at the grave of her son. Calvin was not a nice person.

  204. Jack wrote:

    It ain’t perfect but I would take our lax democracy over Old Testament Israel and late medieval Europe. I like a pluralistic society where I can worship (or not worship) as I please.

    I would agree with you. Unfortunately, there’re a fair number Calvinists who would love to see Geneva recreated along with all of its rules.

  205. For those interested in research reading on the unresolved problem patterns of Tullian Tchividjian:

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2016/03/18/resource-bibliography-on-system-issues-related-to-the-tullian-tchividjian-situation/

    I’ve added a few new article links at the very bottom, in “Chronology: 2017” section.

    To get the best historical context, I’d suggest tracking the following sources from three different angles. Each blog or author has posted a series of articles over a period of years.

    * News articles: Leonardo Blair (along with a few other authors) at the Christian Post.

    * Survivors’ personal narrative accounts plus analysis of new details in the situation as they emerge: Spiritual Sounding Board.

    * Theological and pastoral analysis: Tony Arsenal and his Reformed Arsenal blog.

    There are many other sources listed, but if you follow through the series by each of those three, it shows significant evidence of long-term brokenness and sin patterns that are ongoing.

  206. @ Lowlandseer:
    May I ask you a question?

    Why is it that the majority of Christian leaders who are Calvinists like John Piper, John MacArthur, etc seem to be so rules focused? I am going to be writing more about this in the coming weeks. To me, there are sins and there are church rules. Many Calvinists appear to focus on the church rules and treat them as sins.

    For example: Most Calvinist churches in the US now have mandatory church membership covenants which I call contracts. You must sing these to be a member of the church. That is a rule, not a mandate of Scripture. Then within those contracts, there are things like “You must get permission to resign from the church.” or “You must join a new church immediately.” Again, these are rules that may be followed. They are not sins. Yet, as our blog has exhaustively documented, not following these rules leads to the imposition of church discipline which I believe is a violation of Scripture.

    Just a few weeks ago, one of these YRR types told his church that they should not use FaceBook. Seriously? This stuff is not Scriptural. It is simply manmade rules. Do not say “Well, some people are on it too much.” So what? Some people do many things too much. I think he is spending too much time dreaming up rules.

    Why so many rules.

  207. okrapod wrote:

    Or we can just go straight to perdition

    That would be just ducky!
    Y’all can come to heck for all I care.
    And I totally agree with pastor Surratt– all this is none of y’all’s darn business!
    He knows what he’s doing! Just trust him. Y’all are being judge jury and executioner. You don’t know the other side of the story. Proverbs 18:16
    And the other side ain’t sharing it. They– er– we got non-disclosure agreements and payoffs to worry about. And the human scum leaders have their jobs to protect. How can tt feed his starving kids without preaching sermons?
    Betcha he has to go to the food bank now after those temptresses threw cold water on his comeback by shooting off their mouths. You’re all worms! I’m the worst sinner I know! And that last sentence is my only one that’s true!
    Grace and peace– Satin

  208. DEW wrote:

    reemergent

    I suppose there are a lot of “gent”s that would describe Driscoll, but he is a long way from a “Gent.”

  209. dee wrote:

    If you think it (lust), you’ve done it.

    He did not actually say that but rather used the qualifier about in the heart-committed adultery in the heart. He did not get into whether that that was as overall bad as actually betraying one’s spouse, but rather listed lust as adultery of the heart. I used to have a really hard time with this, because adultery in the heart, while it is a sin between the person and God, does not exactly abandon spouse and perhaps children nor does it become a bad example for other people if it does not become known to other people.

    So I used to think that this was proof positive that God did not care about other people who might be hurt by adultery played out so to speak but rather only cared whether He Himself got offended or not in somebody’s heart. That is a potentially logical conclusion, but that is not specifically what Jesus said.

    Similarly with angry with a brother without a cause and its link to murder. That is/is not the same as murder but Jesus links it to judgment. Well, it is not the same to the object of the anger who may/ may not have survived. Again, does God care nothing for what sin does to other people; is He only concerned about the sinner and Himself?

    And then there is the whole divorce/ remarriage issue which he conditionally condemns but does not qualify with anything about in the heart.

    I don’t think Jesus was careless with words; I think these areas require optimum specificity of understanding lest we get off track in one direction or the other as to what He actually said. When our new curate came for his try-out the homily which he preached was along these lines about how incredibly clever Jesus was with what he actually said and what he did-and how we must be careful to not miss what he actually was doing and teaching. I thought ‘way to go, I hope we get this guy’.

    Anyhow, I think the fundamentalists are wrong in understanding some things in the Sermon on the Mount specifically because they (the fundies) are not specific enough. And yes, I have a habit of having been wrong about things and this may be one more.

  210. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    This leads me to believe that Darrin Patrick always had his finger to the wind. He gave up Acts 29, The Gospel Coalition and all the really cool *dude* stuff and traded it in for exorcisms, cheap grace, and a really, really good paycheck.

    “Paris is worth a Mass.” — The Huguenot King Henry IV, upon converting to Catholicism in order to gain complete control of Catholic-dominated Paris.

    http://www.thisdayinquotes.com/2010/07/paris-is-worth-mass-paris-veult-une.html

  211. Jack wrote:

    It ain’t perfect but I would take our lax democracy over Old Testament Israel and late medieval Europe. I like a pluralistic society where I can worship (or not worship) as I please.

    I prefer our society as well, but for a bit of a different reason (yet not altogether different reason).

    In a legalistic society (or government, or religion) one is not free to be a Christian or not. If one is forced to comply to religious rule or law, what does that prove in a man or woman – nothing? It is only in a free environment that one can receive the gift that God offers. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit never force themselves on people by way of legalistic religiosity. This is why I am thankful for the way our country was founded.

  212. dee wrote:

    Just a few weeks ago, one of these YRR types told his church that they should not use FaceBook.

    YRR pastors should be concerned that social media is spilling the beans on the ails of their movement; thus, they want their members to steer clear of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. The new reformers are in a squeeze in this regard. New Calvinism would not exist if it weren’t for social media – their leaders have been masters at using cyberspace to promote their message and attract followers. However, the same technology may also prove to be their downfall as the word gets out about their aberrant belief and practice.

    Robert Morris also discouraged his members from cruising the Internet: “I’m really concerned about how much time people spend on the Internet. I’m extremely concerned about it. Extremely concerned about it; here’s one thing, just even the blogs that mention Christian leaders, and I’m one of ‘em. Praise the Lord, I’ve made the Satan, Satan’s hit list ..” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/09/27/gateway-pastor-robert-morris-calls-blogs-satans-hit-list/

    Satan’s Hit List … whew!

    Thanks TWW for doing your part to inform and warn.

  213. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    That said, I believe that genuine discipleship that is relational and involves mentoring and focuses in the long run on learning to discern good versus evil and make wise decisions helps inoculate people against toxic people in the flock, whether in the pulpit or in the pews to use the conventional church structure.

    Sounds like the family unit I grew up in!

  214. dee wrote:

    Why is it that the majority of Christian leaders who are Calvinists like John Piper, John MacArthur, etc seem to be so rules focused?

    Easy Metrics as to who’s In and who’s Out.

  215. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    I wonder if part of the contemporary problem with churches and discernment is that we’ve over-individualized it, and left out the communal aspects of congregational crowd-sourcing of discernment.

    YES, the gifts of the Holy Spirit reside with the Holy Spirit. They are not in the possession of individuals apart from the Holy Spirit. They are given to the corporate body via the Spirit’s indwelling presence. The same can be said of eternal security being “in Christ” and is not in the possession of anyone apart from Christ.

    Maybe those who attempt to appropriate the things of God unto themselves, are also prone to appropriate the resources of the body unto themselves?

  216. dee wrote:

    I would agree with you. Unfortunately, there’re a fair number Calvinists who would love to see Geneva recreated along with all of its rules.

    With Themselves as Calvin, of course.

    (That could get interesting… The Universe Cannot Have Two Centers.)

  217. TEDSgrad wrote:

    I wonder if part of the contemporary problem with churches and discernment is that we’ve over-individualized it, and left out the communal aspects of congregational crowd-sourcing of discernment.

    Another side effect of a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation?
    “Pull up the ladder — I’M Aboard!”

  218. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Calvin had a woman flogged for praying and weeping at the grave of her son. Calvin was not a nice person.

    It beggars the mind that people still take that old monster seriously.

  219. dee wrote:

    So, let’s take it further like Jesus did. If you even look at another person with lust, you have committed adultery.

    Could it be possible that Jesus was using hyperbole* here?
    It’s a fair question and one that would generate a lively discussion indeed.

    * The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy disavows (in article 13) the use of hyperbole as a valid literary device in Scripture, no surprise there.

  220. dee wrote:

    Why so many rules.

    Can I please speculate?

    I suspect it has to do with biblical literalism.

    For them there is no middle ground.

    So they take everything back to the old testament. Old testament Israel was a very rule based, caste based, society.

    Whereas the Christianity I was raised in focused on the new testament, with that being the cornerstone of the faith, these guys work it backwards from Paul.

    From what I understand, Paul was originally a follower of the Jewish laws and that does come out in his teachings.

    So for those neo Calvinists, exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy are the real focus. For their god is the god that smote the people of Canaan with no mercy or quarter given. A god who sends plagues of punishment. Who decrees death to those who break his law. Who makes bets with satan whether a good man will turn, and proceeds to allow to allow his innocent kids to be wiped out in a storm.

    Theirs is a god that is to feared and obeyed. There is no love or redemption.

    So their churches reflect that. Laws, contracts, fear, and above all obedience.

  221. As I read the post the Dire Straits song “Money for Nothing” kept playing in my mind…at least by the time I got to DP’s ‘restoration process’ (*cough *cough).

    Why do they return to ministry so soon? The answer lies in the song – That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it/ Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

    https://youtu.be/ZC1Pdsppch4

  222. Darlene wrote:

    “I am way worse than anybody knows.” – Tullian Tchividjian

    Brilliant! If I do say so myself. I take full credit for despiring (opposite of inspiring) that one. And I’m proud of despiring the “I was just minding my own business at an important conference, cane home, and out popped this cheater cheater pumpkin eater of a woman god stuck me with.”
    All the other things– he thought of those himself.

  223. Muff Potter wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    Calvin had a woman flogged for praying and weeping at the grave of her son. Calvin was not a nice person.
    It beggars the mind that people still take that old monster seriously.

    Agreed. Empathy was not his strong point. Yet I have dear Calvinist friends who overflow with the milk of human kindness. It’s a mystery.

  224. Muff Potter wrote:

    dee wrote:
    So, let’s take it further like Jesus did. If you even look at another person with lust, you have committed adultery.
    Could it be possible that Jesus was using hyperbole* here?….

    I think that’s a great question! Frankly, if my husband were to commit adultery (which God forbid), I’d far rather that he do it in his heart than in reality. And if someone hates me enough to kill me, I’d far rather that he or she kill me in his/her heart than in reality. But that’s just me. 😀

  225. This may be posited in a comment above, but in addressing Patrick’s ‘conversion’ to ARC’s theology (do they even have a cohesive one, or is it more of the pot-luck, whichever-way-the-wind-may-blow variety?) and TT’s adherence to Luther-lite (all the bold sinning, none of the confession and repentance), I think it can be safely assumed that neither of the two believed the theology they were espousing, otherwise they would have subjected themselves the the confession and restoration process those theologies have outlined and which have been adopted by the groups which adhere to those theologies.

  226. This may be off subject, but someone commented about the documentary showing Ted Haggard trying and failing to get a job due to his useless divinity degree, and ferrying his family around from one motel to the other, etc. He was portrayed as struggling financially as his former evangelical pastor friends turned their backs on him, but I’m pretty sure his overseers took care of him financially.

    http://www.coloradoindependent.com/2548/ted-haggards-cash-for-heaven-offer
    This article says Ted still owned his seven hundred thousand dollar house, was paid his salary for the next year, and credits several churches for taking care of his handicapped son.

  227. Burwell wrote:

    This may be posited in a comment above, but in addressing Patrick’s ‘conversion’ to ARC’s theology (do they even have a cohesive one, or is it more of the pot-luck, whichever-way-the-wind-may-blow variety?) and TT’s adherence to Luther-lite (all the bold sinning, none of the confession and repentance), I think it can be safely assumed that neither of the two believed the theology they were espousing, otherwise they would have subjected themselves the the confession and restoration process those theologies have outlined and which have been adopted by the groups which adhere to those theologies.

    I mentioned in my last post above about the Resource Bibliography tracking Tullian Tchividjian’s actions, and suggesting readers check out the series by Tony Arsenal. Arsenal’s most recent post (October 3) addresses some of these very issues you bring up, @Burwell. Here’s a summary of what he covers, and a quote I found particularly poignant:

    October 3, 2017. Reformed Arsenal. Deceptive Dust – A Response to Paul Zahl, by Tony Arsenal. Mr. Arsenal concludes that, “Tullian Tchividjian is, by all outward appearances, an unrepentant and recalcitrant sinner who is still attempting to paint himself as the humble prodigal son. Let me provide three points of evidence to establish that claim.” He then details the evidences for these ongoing patterns with sections of one paragraph each: (1) Ongoing Adultery. (2) Abandoning Church Discipline. (3) Failure to Seek Reconciliation.

    https://reformedarsenal.com/deceptive-dust-response-paul-zahl/

    Those three points of failure can be tracked for a period of years, with no apparent theological resolution, personal rehabilitation, or relational reconciliation. So, why should anyone be following this man now — or until there clearly is a pattern of changed behaviors and character over a sufficient period of time?

  228. dee wrote:

    Why so many rules

    Short snarky answer:
    Because control freakery.

    Longer answer based on personal experience in a MacArthurite church:
    They don’t trust the Holy Spirit to move people’s hearts in the direction they want them to go, so they impose rules and call the breaking of their rules ‘sin’. These are very fearful and impatient people.

    I once read this described as ‘personal conviction used as a measure of grace for others’. IOW, regardless of whether the Bible says something is sin, if they feel personally convicted that it is sin for them then they operate as if it is sin for everyone and anyone who does it is not a real believer. That’s how they stray from “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 10:31) to “behave the way WE want you to behave and WE will let you into heaven” (I Opinions 1:1).

    They usually allow themselves and their ‘In Crowd’ lots of loopholes, though, which makes them look like the arbitrary and capricious Pharisees they actually are.

  229. Jack wrote:

    they take everything back to the old testament. Old testament Israel was a very rule based, caste based, society. Whereas the Christianity I was raised in focused on the new testament, with that being the cornerstone of the faith, these guys work it backwards from Paul.

    It’s as if the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) don’t exist in New Calvinism. As you note, they put a lot of emphasis on the epistles of Paul and his reflection on Old Testament teachings. They, of course, miss the whole point of what Paul is saying.

    I advise young Calvinists in the following manner when I get the chance: If you read Paul first, you might read Jesus wrong. But, if you read Jesus first (the Gospels), the writings of Paul come into perspective.

    It’s such a strange gospel, this New Calvinism.

  230. Burwell wrote:

    Patrick’s ‘conversion’ to ARC’s theology

    Perhaps he was a little upset with the Calvinist God for not coming alongside him in his rebellion. Surely, sovereign God was on his side – it was going so good for him for years. He and Mark Driscoll were at the top of the heap – they were Top Dudes. He could pretty much do what he wanted and still enjoy the blessing. That is, until victories turned to defeat, and his New Calvinist buddies abandoned him. The reformed movers and shakers now considered him a hot potato – no longer an asset, but a liability. So, he entered the ranks of fallen idols along with Driscoll. But ARC was there with an ark, so he got on board. So, what the heck, give it a try!

  231. Muff Potter wrote:

    The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy disavows (in article 13) the use of hyperbole as a valid literary device in Scripture, no surprise there.

    So the log in the eye was really an actual log? I wonder what species of wood it was…
    Good Grief.

  232. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    So the log in the eye was really an actual log? I wonder what species of wood it was…

    “Gopher Wood” like Noah’s Ark — what else?

  233. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Gopher Wood” like Noah’s Ark — what else?

    Looks like those guys have collected enough logs out of other people’s eyes to build an ark, that’s for sure…

  234. dee wrote:

    Clockwork

    Hi dee, I think we’re having a misunderstanding. I’m not daydreaming that we should have laws that stone people for certain behavior. What I am saying is that basing our church polity and whether someone should be a pastor or not based on what the current civil laws are is a mistake, regardless of the laws. Much of the point of the Old Testament laws was to point out the gravity of sin, and to differentiate the gravity of one sin from another. The New Testament follows suite by laying down strict qualifications for pastors.

    Yes, we can be forgiven. Yes, it is not God’s first choice to thrown rocks at people. He desires mercy and repentance. But we must recognize the gravity of a sin in the way that God sees it, so that such people are restored after a Biblical fashion. Because we have failed to see the gravity and have sin leveled such that all sins are the same (either diminished such that they are at the level of saying “bleep it” when we stub our toes, or overblown to where they are all at the same level of child rape), we have this situation where a pastor can pretty much get away with anything, and hardly anyone blinks.

    I also think multiple people here have repeatedly misunderstood my comment regarding Geneva. I’m hardly a Calvinist. Quite the opposite! Again, my point is to demonstrate the irony of the very same pastors like Tullian who daydream of their own Geneva, and yet they themselves would end up tied in a sack and drowned if they had had their wish. These same people the nerve to insist they make a comeback to be pastors. It’s sickening and gross. The worst part is that if any of us laity were to do the same and if they had their Geneva daydream come true, they wouldn’t hesitate to tie *us* up in sacks and drown *us*.

    But more to the point, our standards are to be those of the Bible, regardless of what era we live in and what laws we have in the civil society. Laws might be too harsh and excessive, or too lax, and as such should not be used as a moral compass to determine if someone should be a pastor after having committed a sin. What we do have are strict regulations in the Bible regarding who can pastor. They are to be blameless, so as to be examples to the flock. Tullian knew what he was doing when he committed adultery. He knew what he was throwing away, repeatedly. To restore him even after 5 years is to embolden others to commit adultery with impunity. After all, you only get a timeout for 5 years! No biggie!

    And no, I’m not saying we need to throw rocks at him, or that laws need to be passed to throw rocks at him, or to tie him in a sack. To restore him as laity should be sufficient, provided he is truly repentant. Which really means he should be ending his adulterous marriage and making restitution to his victims and quite possibly remain single for the rest of his life.

    I’m afraid we will have to agree to disagree on this. But I would like to ask a question: Why does your professor think 5 years is the rule of thumb for restoring someone to the pulpit after adultery has occurred? Why not 3 years, or 10 years? Why 5? Where did he get that number from? Who gets to determine the number? This is what bugs me. I don’t know where these numbers come from. Did somebody roll some dice? I just don’t know. It seems very arbitrary, and it really shouldn’t be.

  235. Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    “I am way worse than anybody knows.” (Tullian Tchividjian)
    “I know.” (God)

    Except, Max, that quote isn’t from me, although it looks like it from the way you made your post. And while I could say the same thing as TT, the context would be different. It really is about context in this case. After all, St. Paul referred to himself as “the chief of sinners.” But I can say with certainty it wasn’t in the same context as TT is speaking about his sin.

  236. Max wrote:

    @ JYJames:
    From the link you provide:
    “The two big obstacles to admiring Calvin are a chill authoritarianism and his repulsive doctrine of double predestination.” (Christopher Howse)
    The same reasons why most of Christendom has rejected Calvinism for the last 500 years. New Calvinism may be new in its method and message, but still carries the same old authoritarian punch and aberrant soteriology.

    I concur. It seems there is a DNA that runs throughout all aspects of Calvinism, whether it be Old or New. I do not honor the man for I cannot honor the theology which he believed and taught. I cannot believe in so many aspects of the God that Calvin firmly believed in. The thought of viewing God as someone who damns people, not because of anything they have done, but for the sheer pleasure of His glory, is reprehensible to me. I do not know that God and further, I do not think that Jesus is the image of that God. The scriptures say this of our Lord: “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being..” I cannot reconcile this Jesus that I know with the Jesus Calvin preached. His mission was not limited to harvesting only those who were chosen before they ever took breath, leaving everyone else to rot in their sin. The Jesus Christ I know from the scriptures died for ALL people. What would be the point in Jesus coming to this earth, taking on human flesh, dying an excruciating death just so those who were already chosen could be….what?…chosen again? It would be a redundant act and wholly unnecessary. Christ made a way for all human beings when He died on the cross of Calvary. I have not nor could I ever subscribe to Limited Atonement.

    Anyway, I could go on about my disagreements with Calvinism. But I don’t want to write a 20 page essay on TWW.

  237. refugee wrote:

    @ Lowlandseer:
    I dunno. Fancying oneself a Paul or David or Isaiah to one’s age sounds pretty prideful to me.
    And the second snippet reminds me painfully of the rabid Calvin-follower who seized the leadership of our old church. He had the ultimate servant’s appearance–until you crossed his will.

    And to add to your comments, Calvin was one of those iconoclasts who relished in the smashing of statues and other artifacts in the church. To be honest, I think it was a way to indulge in violence and feel justified in one’s self-righteousness. I’m so zealous, I’m willing to eradicate all vestiges of popery from my midst!

  238. @ Darlene:
    Oh, Darlene, I know you are not way worse than anybody knows! That’s why I put TT in parentheses to point the reader to his comment, not yours. Can you believe that a preacher would keep reminding folks that he is an active rotten sinner?! Paul said “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” … that’s the way a preacher of the Gospel should act and preach. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed! But not free to sin and make it the theme of his ministry. Sure, we are all sinners and some more chief than others, but Good Lord we need to press on in Christian maturity and leave some of this sinnin’ behind! Especially our preachers!

  239. Darlene wrote:

    The thought of viewing God as someone who damns people, not because of anything they have done, but for the sheer pleasure of His glory, is reprehensible to me.

    If Calvin is too much to stomach, try Jonathan Edwards:

    When the saints in glory, therefore, shall see the doleful state of the damned, how will this heighten their sense of the blessedness of their own state, so exceedingly different from it! When they shall see how miserable others of their fellow-creatures are, who were naturally in the same circumstances with themselves; when they shall see the smoke of their torment, and the raging of the flames of their burning, and hear their dolorous shrieks and cries, and consider that they in the meantime are in the most blissful state, and shall surely be in it to all eternity; how will they rejoice! (http://www.bartleby.com/400/prose/293.html)

    That entire article is chock full of other joyful quotes – it’s hard to know which one to pick to use as an example to illustrate Reformed theology at its finest. I think the YRRs consider Edwards America’s greatest theologian, but I could be wrong on that.

  240. dee wrote:

    Jack wrote:
    It ain’t perfect but I would take our lax democracy over Old Testament Israel and late medieval Europe. I like a pluralistic society where I can worship (or not worship) as I please.
    I would agree with you. Unfortunately, there’re a fair number Calvinists who would love to see Geneva recreated along with all of its rules.

    They might love to see old Geneva resurrected here in the states, but I think they know that ain’t gonna happen. Hence, they (especially the Reconstructionists) are terrified that they are losing control and our society is going to h_ll in a hand basket. They would relish living in a Calvinist Theocracy, where they are the ones who decides what punishments to mete out to dissenters.

  241. Darlene wrote:

    It seems there is a DNA that runs throughout all aspects of Calvinism, whether it be Old or New.

    Well, there certainly appears to be a chromosone in these folks that carries a genetic signature of arrogance. I have yet to meet a humble New Calvinist – I suppose that is the result of thinking you are among the chosen few while a great multitude has been predestined to hell. However, classical (Old) Calvinists that I know are not as in-your-face about this.

  242. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    The thought of viewing God as someone who damns people, not because of anything they have done, but for the sheer pleasure of His glory, is reprehensible to me.
    If Calvin is too much to stomach, try Jonathan Edwards:
    When the saints in glory, therefore, shall see the doleful state of the damned, how will this heighten their sense of the blessedness of their own state, so exceedingly different from it! When they shall see how miserable others of their fellow-creatures are, who were naturally in the same circumstances with themselves; when they shall see the smoke of their torment, and the raging of the flames of their burning, and hear their dolorous shrieks and cries, and consider that they in the meantime are in the most blissful state, and shall surely be in it to all eternity; how will they rejoice! (http://www.bartleby.com/400/prose/293.html)
    That entire article is chock full of other joyful quotes – it’s hard to know which one to pick to use as an example to illustrate Reformed theology at its finest. I think the YRRs consider Edwards America’s greatest theologian, but I could be wrong on that.

    It seems Edwards was a chip off the old block, a child of Calvin himself. It seems these guys get a kick out of being as scathing and unsympathetic as possible. I can’t appreciate or honor the god of which they speak. It is so far from what I know of Jesus Christ.

  243. Darlene wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    “I am way worse than anybody knows.” (Tullian Tchividjian)
    “I know.” (God)

    Except, Max, that quote isn’t from me, although it looks like it from the way you made your post. And while I could say the same thing as TT, the context would be different. It really is about context in this case. After all, St. Paul referred to himself as “the chief of sinners.” But I can say with certainty it wasn’t in the same context as TT is speaking about his sin.

    Part of the Eastern Orthodox prayer before communion. “I believe Christ came into the world to save sinners, of which I am the chief.” It is poetic and sincere.

  244. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    Calvin had a woman flogged for praying and weeping at the grave of her son. Calvin was not a nice person.
    It beggars the mind that people still take that old monster seriously.

    Agreed. Empathy was not his strong point. Yet I have dear Calvinist friends who overflow with the milk of human kindness. It’s a mystery.

    CGC: The same for me. Some of the dearest Christian friends of mine are Calvinists. Mystery indeed!

  245. Darlene wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    Calvin had a woman flogged for praying and weeping at the grave of her son. Calvin was not a nice person.
    It beggars the mind that people still take that old monster seriously.

    Agreed. Empathy was not his strong point. Yet I have dear Calvinist friends who overflow with the milk of human kindness. It’s a mystery.

    CGC: The same for me. Some of the dearest Christian friends of mine are Calvinists. Mystery indeed!

    People tend to be better when they don’t have power over others. I would take a persecuted French Calvinist over a leader in Geneva or the New England Puritans, and a persecuted English Catholic rescusant over the leader of the Spanish Inquisition any day.

  246. Max wrote:

    Burwell wrote:
    Patrick’s ‘conversion’ to ARC’s theology
    Perhaps he was a little upset with the Calvinist God for not coming alongside him in his rebellion. Surely, sovereign God was on his side – it was going so good for him for years. He and Mark Driscoll were at the top of the heap – they were Top Dudes. He could pretty much do what he wanted and still enjoy the blessing. That is, until victories turned to defeat, and his New Calvinist buddies abandoned him. The reformed movers and shakers now considered him a hot potato – no longer an asset, but a liability. So, he entered the ranks of fallen idols along with Driscoll. But ARC was there with an ark, so he got on board. So, what the heck, give it a try!

    Max, sometimes I just get a kick of how you describe the goings on of New Calvinism. It puts a smile on my face.

  247. DEW wrote:

    Part of the Eastern Orthodox prayer before communion. “I believe Christ came into the world to save sinners, of which I am the chief.” It is poetic and sincere.

    Yes, I know because I am an Orthodox Christian. It begins: I believe, O Lord, and I confess that art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first.

    The point is to first reflect upon ourselves, to examine ourselves and to refrain from judging others while we are partaking of the Eucharist. There is also an aspect that is meant to remind those of us partaking that we are quite aware of the sins we have committed, that reside in our hearts and cause us to act in ungodly ways. There is an expression that has become popular within Orthodoxy originally attributed to Alexander Solzhenitzen from The Gulag Archipelago that says: “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.

  248. JYJames wrote:

    And then there’s Tony Jones. One of the chosen?

    At least TJ admitted he has NPD? Would that MD & TT do the same. (And I’m no fan of TJ, who doesn’t appear to have received much help for his NPD diagnosis.)

  249. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Agreed. Empathy was not his strong point. Yet I have dear Calvinist friends who overflow with the milk of human kindness. It’s a mystery.

    There are also Muslim people who are filled with kindness.

  250. Darlene wrote:

    goings on of New Calvinism

    Well, I just wish it would go on and into the archives of flash-in-the-pan church movements. When it does (and it will), so many Generation Xers and Millennials will be left disenchanted and disillusioned – but, a great mission field for the Gospel if the Church can get their attention again.

  251. Bill Kinnon wrote:

    Would that fallen Christian leaders follow the example of disgraced British politician, John Profumo.

    On the other hand, the way it’s all coming down, how long before TT acquires another side chick?

  252. @ Jack:
    @1:30 Comment,

    IMO, the Old and New Testaments are one. There is not a god of one and one of the other. Certainly, there is a ramping up of revelation in the NT, but Christ came to fulfill the OT.

    Why did God wait so long to more fully reveal His love and mercy (it is in the OT, just not as fully)? Why not offer love and mercy right after the Fall, sin @ Mt Sinai, or Babylonian exile? IMO, the Holiness and justice of the OT safeguards the love and mercy of the NT. Yet, there were kernels of love and mercy inherent in the OT.
    God is demanding: Be ye holy for I am holy! You want to know what God has said? Leviticus is in the middle of Torah (3 of 5 books). It is 90% Divine speech (in quotations – look it up). The Levitical sacrifices looked forward to Christ. The love of Christ cannot be understood without Leviticus.
    Israel presumptuously said that they would do all that God had commanded – it wasn’t possible. They were never supposed to live that way in the OT (Paul’s argument in Galatians). They were to look forward to the Cross, we look backward – both by faith in the promise.

    We must not think that we are the center of God’s love – God is. He loves because He is love. Too many put themselves at the center of His love (because He loves us, XYZ). The atonement is first of all an act of God towards God. His justice and holiness must be satisfied. He satisfies Himself by paying the demands of His holiness and justice. He glorifies Himself in His Son – PRIMARY REASON for it all. His great Love is displayed, but only after holiness and justice have been assuaged.
    Then, as a byproduct, He saves us and redeems the world.

    I was taught that errors in sanctification can be traced back to misunderstandings or incomplete understandings of salvation. It is one completed work of Calvary. We need more contemporary atonement theologians (contra Driscoll and easy believism)!!! How can we exhibit pride when we see the cost Love paid for us!!

    More Indicatives:

    To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
    So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
    Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
    And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    Let the earth hear His voice;
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    Let the people rejoice;
    Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
    And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

  253. okrapod wrote:

    You seem to be working on the supposition that people are looking for the perfect church. I am not convinced of that so much.

    Well, what I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  254. TEDSgrad wrote:

    Why did God wait so long to more fully reveal His love and mercy (it is in the OT, just not as fully)? Why not offer love and mercy right after the Fall, sin @ Mt Sinai, or Babylonian exile?

    Because at the time and with the tribal culture of the OT, that would have been Crazy Talk.

  255. Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    goings on of New Calvinism

    Well, I just wish it would go on and into the archives of flash-in-the-pan church movements. When it does (and it will), so many Generation Xers and Millennials will be left disenchanted and disillusioned – but, a great mission field for the Gospel if the Church can get their attention again.

    Unfortunately, by then they will have been completely vaccinated against it.

    Vaccination: Expose the immune system to a harmless or fake version of a pathogen to build up an immune response trigger; when exposed to the real thing, their immune system will automatically REJECT it.

  256. Beakerj wrote:

    brad/futuristguy wrote:

    What the world needs now is the pulverized residue of a life forcibly taken, in the school of hardest knocks both self-inflicted and imposed by the world. A life taken away, that life turned to dust—that is the life Tullian knows…inside out.

    How exactly has Tullian’s life turned to dust? How exactly was this a ‘pulverised residue of a life forcibly taken’? This hyperbolic paragraph is total BS & I find it infuriating.That kind of heated prose should be reserved for those who really deserve it, those who’ve been sold into sexual slavery or had unspeakable tragedy happen. Tullian’s life turned to dust? Is he or is he not remarried, with his kids around him & back to ‘pastoring’? Doesn’t sound very dust like to me, unless his self-esteem was so unnaturally high that any criticism – however justified – seems like the pains of death.
    I am embarrassed beyond belief for the moron that wrote this ‘plea’ & terrified for those who fall for it. What if extra broken people head for this ministry based on its blurb? How long before one of the women, or one of the wives gets a text from TT? Beyond foolish to consider this man ‘cured’ of his sexual complusions.

    And how on earth was his life “forcibly taken”? Say what? TT was not the victim!

  257. Yikes! He saves us only as a byproduct of satisfaction and glorification of His justice? Sorry; I just can’t go there.

  258. Muff Potter wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Agreed. Empathy was not his strong point. Yet I have dear Calvinist friends who overflow with the milk of human kindness. It’s a mystery.

    There are also Muslim people who are filled with kindness.

    Yes, there are.

  259. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Yikes! He saves us only as a byproduct of satisfaction and glorification of His justice? Sorry; I just can’t go there.

    Unless the necessity of the atonement be grounded in eternal principles (outside creation), even the death of Christ cannot be seen as a moving expression of God’s love.

  260. In the context of OT, the Law served to regulate relationships, both within the covenant community and between the covenant community and God. In an entire Biblical context, God’s justice is a matter of His preserving right covenental relationships, and of doing so with integrity.
    My personal definition of God’s holiness: All of God’s attributes held together in their ultimate perfection without impinging upon/reducing the other attributes (holy, just, loving, merciful, etc.).
    What is relevant to this thread and entire blog: Can it ever be just to restore a guilty person to his/her former state without some form of punishment (based on opinions here: NO!)? How can God restore right covenental relationships without imposing covenant sanctions (wages of sin is death=game over for us). Under what conditions can forgiveness be offered while still having justice. In much post-modern thinking (Emergent, Driscoll, etc.), the change that leads to right relationship takes place exclusively in human beings (my sorrow, my repentance). The atonement ultimately concerns God’s self-giving. He Himself is a propitiary sacrifice (substitutional sacrifice). The change is made in the heavens, not on earth. He satisfies Himself so that the saving significance of Christ’s death consists in making possible God’s gift of the Holy Spirit – the Promise, again, God’s self-giving. Justice is not impinged, and forgiveness to the full.
    We can only fully appreciate what God has done only when we know why the gift was necessary and how the gift is “for us.”
    Errors in sanctification (right living) can be traced to misunderstandings or incomplete understandings of salvation.

  261. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Vaccination: Expose the immune system to a harmless or fake version of a pathogen to build up an immune response trigger; when exposed to the real thing, their immune system will automatically REJECT it.

    Yes, sadly that fits indoctrination to New Calvinism.

  262. TEDSgrad wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Yikes! He saves us only as a byproduct of satisfaction and glorification of His justice? Sorry; I just can’t go there.

    Unless the necessity of the atonement be grounded in eternal principles (outside creation), even the death of Christ cannot be seen as a moving expression of God’s love.

    I guess I don’t see that. How is creation itself not included in eternal principles? God did not need to create, but He did, because He is love, and love is creative. 😀

    I just can’t see the Atonement as an incidental byproduct of God’s satisfaction of His own justice and holiness. Where does the Bible indicate this? Sincere question.

  263. Creation is temporal. Only God is eternal. So creation is not grounded in eternal principles (need better word choice as a principle is not eternal, only God and He is not bound). You might say that God always had a plan to create, but creation itself has a beginning and an end (the present creation, anyway). Love is creative and will make all things (created things) NEW!

    Maybe my word choice of ‘byproduct’ wasn’t accurate. How about ‘secondary,’or ‘as a result of.’ It wouldn’t be quite ‘incidental’ because He came to save us and the world, but satisfaction had to be made first. Making the Son great was primary – glorifying Himself in His Son, His only Son, the Son Whom He loves. This is where most post-moderns (Driscoll) have disagreed.
    The Atonement cannot be described by one mode, definition, or facet. But the hinge-pin that holds all the definitions together is Propitiation (Substitutionary Sacrifice, Penal Substitution). Post-moderns don’t like talk of violence or abuse (who does?). But the wages of sin is death – no getting around that. We all face it.
    Sin is an insult to God’s holiness. Committed by a finite creature to an infinite God – so the insult is infinite. If we pay the penalty, we are out of existence (physical death and spiritual separation for eternity = game over). Can the finite offer something for the infinite insult? – God offers Himself, Incarnate. This satisfies His justice, so that mercy can be extended – no injury/impingement to justice or to mercy.
    Leviticus is where the Bible indicates this – at the center of Torah. Also, pre-figured in Abraham’s offering of Isaac. Calvary in the Gospels is where it is actualized.

    Errors in being like Christ (sanctification, Law is a reflection of God’s character) can be traced back to misunderstandings or incomplete understandings of God’s Love (redemption). One cannot do the Law (conformity to Christ) without Love as the impetus or dynamism (Holy Spirit’s indwelling – God’s self-giving). The Law (being conformed to God’s character) cannot be imposed from without by your own self-effort (flesh), no matter how well intentioned (Israel at Mt. Sinai). It must spring from within via the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence (new covenant Jer. 31:31-4).

    When we see these pastors sin and abuse (us, too), we can be sure that they have forgotten, misunderstood, or have incomplete understanding of God’s love. For love would not behave this way. Our leaders are a reflection of us; therefore, we have forgotten the covenant (theme of Deuteronomy – Remember the Covenant) of Love. We desperately need contemporary Atonement theologians among us. Or we aren’t going to be able to obey (conformed to Christ’s image/character). God’s love is designed to win our hearts/will. Only His Love can break the chains of sin-guilt-shame; sin-guilt-shame, etc.
    More Indicatives:
    Love lifted me, love lifted me
    When nothing else could help
    Love lifted me
    Love lifted me, love lifted me
    When nothing else could help
    Love lifted me
    All my heart to Him I give
    Ever to Him I’ll cling
    In His blessed presence live
    Ever His praises sing
    Love so mighty and so true
    Merits my soul’s best songs
    Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs

    This post is way too long. A book I recommend: The Glory of the Atonement, edited by Charles E Hill and Frank A James III, IVP. Trigger Alert – the editors are Reformed, but the book is a collection of essays by various authors.

  264. Max wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Vaccination: Expose the immune system to a harmless or fake version of a pathogen to build up an immune response trigger; when exposed to the real thing, their immune system will automatically REJECT it.

    Yes, sadly that fits indoctrination to New Calvinism.

    “Nowhere do we corrupt so effectively as at the very foot of the altar!”
    — Screwtape

  265. There is a simple solution to keeping these Elmer Gantry types out of the pulpit. Don’t fund them.

    Don’t buy their books. Don’t attend the church which pays them a salary. Don’t attend their conferences. Don’t sit quietly if your pastor invites one of these wolves to speak at your church. Educate your friends.

  266. While I attended United Christian Church of Dubai the business manager (a full-time salaried position) was embezzling church funds. He admitted his crime and honestly repented. He was immediately fired from his job. Seven years have passed. I cannot imagine any situation where he would desire, or be allowed to be “restored” to his position of church business manager again.

    Why would a pastor be treated any differently?

  267. In short I agree 100% with what you are saying. These churches really jumped the gun when they rush a false teacher back up to be a pastor again. A faith in God IS NOT about how much of the bible a person know. Even the demons know that Jesus is God as a fact. But the demons hate God and hate their neighbours. Hence demons will be thrown into hell, no matter how much theology these demons know.

    The bible write about different degrees of condemnation and different degrees of rewards. The following is a simple 6 level model of heaven and hell, as well as their rewards and punishments. Keep in mind that for someone to be a pastor, they should already be at #2 and is trying hard to become #1.

    Heaven:
    1) Love even his worst enemies so much that he give up everything, including your his life, to save your enemies.

    2) Out of love for God and neighbours, donate 10% of his income and volunteer 10% equal of work hours to help the least of these and bringing them the Gospel. They love everyone equally and sees everyone as children of God.

    3) He is barely touched by the love of God. His faith is like mustard seed size, and so as a result his love for God and love for his neighbours is also mustard seed size. So he donate and volunteer very little time and money to help the poor. But they at least hates evil and delight and rejoice in God’s love and his righteousness.

    Hell

    4) Non-believers. They never claimed to believe in God at all.

    5) False believers. They say they are Christians but they delight and rejoice in evil instead. They hate their neighbours, picking and choosing who to “show” love. By this they also hate God. There are the type of people who would go to Church every Sunday, even donate and volunteer to “show” how loving they are, but then go home and punch their wives in the chest to hide their abusive ways.

    6) False teachers. They know a lot of the bible but just as above they delight and rejoice in evil. So when they hurt others, they do not feel guilty but instead enjoys watching that person suffer. Hence nothing comes before their selfish desires. When they know of God’s goodness but instead choose to do evil, their knowledge and wisdom instead condemns them to greater condemnation. These are the type of pastors who would preach a sermon and then go cheat against their wives.

    In this case we have false teachers who knows the bible and yet cheated against their wives. As per the Word of God, these false teachers deserves the greater condemnation. They are better off renouncing their faith and become a non-believer. God actually have more respect for non-believers and will only give them the “standard” punishment (which will still be terrible of course. But you get my point.)

    How can someone jump from #6 to #1? No one can.

    A person at #6 should first become #4, realizing that they are in fact NOT a Christian. That they have absolute zero relationship with God, because the Holy Spirit is not inside them. Because they cannot possibly have any love for God when they do not love all of their neighbours. The love from the Holy Spirit do not pick and choose. A Christian cannot “love” his mistress and hate his wife, for example. This isn’t true love, but lustful sin from one’s selfish desires.

    And after much soul searching they should goes back to a baby faith at #3. In that they have a small faith for God, which leads to a small love for everyone. (Everyone means everyone! So he no longer pick and choose who to love. He no longer love person A while hates and hurts person B.) Even if person B is his very worst enemy, he must now love person B a tiny bit. Even if just a mustard size seed of love, he must now love person B. And that mustard size seed of faith will hopefully grow into bigger fruits later.

    After that they further grow in the Holy Spirit and become #2. At that point perhaps they can go back to ministry as they aim for #1. But this process takes years. There is no way for someone to jump from #6 to #1.

    Do not be deceived by someone who pick and choose who they love and who they hate. These false believers in reality doesn’t love anyone. It is a mask to hide their sinful selfish desires.

  268. Of course creation is temporal and only God is eternal. I know we papists leave our brains at the church door, but we’re not *that* dumb. 😀

    Still having trouble with the view you express here, but ditching “byproduct” helps. Thanks.

  269. FWIW and WADR, TEDS grad, I don’t see Penal Substitution in the Bible, and I do not see how you have biblically demonstrated your case. You have cited events from salvation history, with which we are all familiar. But how does that prove that Christ’s self-sacrifice was primarily meant to glorify God and only incidentally intended to redeem and save humankind? Where is the Bible verse that explicitly states this? Thanks in advance.

  270. The Bible is an organic whole. To demand explicit statements is a little too much, though I too like to see biblical evidence. The doctrine of the Trinity is not explicit. Do you believe in this doctrine?
    The disciples could not fathom how Christ was dead and risen to where? On the road, Jesus explained the scriptures to them. They didn’t get it, or it was not in black and white for them to read explicitly. Jesus taught in parables so that the meaning was hidden – was not explicit. Apocalyptic metaphors are not explicit.
    If you tie yourself too closely to explicit instructions, you will have a life of scripted bondage, not a life of freedom. No where did Jesus tell us to drive cars or not, should we only ride donkeys because they are scripted? Being hyperbolic, here.

    Come now, let us reason together!(Isa. 1:18)
    The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) – a life is required. Life is in the blood and on the altar it is to make atonement for your souls (Lev. 17:11). The Paschal Lamb in Exodus as well. The Suffering Servant in Isaiah – He bore the sins of many. In the Gospels and Acts, He was poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Mk. 14:24, Lk. 22:10). In John and his epistles, The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
    **EXPLICIT PROPITIATION** I John 2:2 and Romans 3:25
    James, Peter, and Jude – Because Christ suffered for you.
    Revelation – A Lamb standing as if slain; the Lamb upon the throne. Long, long, long after redemption is necessary, the Glorified Lamb upon the throne!

    What motivates God is His own Character and Being. The prime motivation must be outside of creation or that motivation is temporal. That does not mean that we cannot move him by prayer and supplication – but even that prayer and supplication is based upon Who God Is. He glorifies Himself and does not share His glory with mankind. Because God is glorious, He desires to reveal His glory within creation. It is in our best interest to know Him. The chief aim of man is to know Him. I don’t like ‘incidental,’ how about ‘secondary,’ ‘so that,’ or ‘the result being.’ We always try to put the created thing at the center. God is the center!!! He always act with His Glory, Character, Essence, and Being as the primary motive. These are not motives which control or restrain God – they emanate from Him (have their source in Him).

    I hope this is sufficient. I don’t want to teach a course inside a thread. The book I mentioned is GREAT!

    Worthy are You, our LORD and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created (Rev. 4:11).

  271. TEDSgrad wrote:

    The Atonement cannot be described by one mode, definition, or facet. But the hinge-pin that holds all the definitions together is Propitiation (Substitutionary Sacrifice, Penal Substitution).

    A few years ago I would have been in hearty agreement with your thoughts on Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA). But due to life events I did quite a lot or reading on this topic starting a few years ago. This TWW link has a list of links to some of the better articles/papers/essays I read that argue against it: http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-326343.

    The bottom line for me now is that I can no longer believe it. The Biblical support for PSA is thin at best, and the arguments against it are not weak. Also, if PSA is true, then the church got it wrong for the first 1500 years. That is possible, but not likely. While I don’t believe that one can gain or lose salvation by believing or not believing PSA, I do believe that PSA paints the wrong picture of God that will impact how we experience Him and how we relate with others.

    I will also post a link to some questions I posed.

  272. TEDSgrad wrote:

    The Atonement cannot be described by one mode, definition, or facet. But the hinge-pin that holds all the definitions together is Propitiation (Substitutionary Sacrifice, Penal Substitution).

    Here’s the link to the questions I developed as I was working through this: http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-253217. I have to add two more:
    19. What was the role and activity of the Holy Spirit during the crucifixion? Was the Holy Spirit united with the Father in pouring out the full cup of his wrath on the Son, or united with the Son in paying the full penalty for our sins, or with neither? Where does the Bible best describe this?
    20. What was the state of the Trinity during the crucifixion? Where does the Bible best describe this?

    I find that PSA rests on unproven assumptions that are not found in the Bible – such as a sin against God is an infinite offense, or that Jesus’ death satisfies the wrath of God. For such a foundational atonement theory, I would expect more verses to unambiguously support it. Even the translation from hilasterion to propitiation is questionable.

    Jesus is certainly our substitute, but not our penal substitute.

  273. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    We had a pastor that deposited into his own bank account funds from the missionary offerings (to build his mansion). He went to jail. The board filed charges.

  274. Ken F –
    Missed one more explicit – Hebrews 3:17

    That we differ, friend, does not surprise me.

    You have many questions, and sometimes I just have to say, I don’t know.

    If He is not our penal substitute, but is certainly our substitute; Is that a certainly partial substitute? A life is required, so whose is it?

  275. TEDSgrad wrote:

    If He is not our penal substitute, but is certainly our substitute; Is that a certainly partial substitute? A life is required, so whose is it?

    How many of the articles did you read from the list that I posted? If you read more than a handful I think you will find yourself less confident in the “truth” of PSA as it is currently taught. My list comes from a variety of Christian sources: Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic.

  276. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    the business manager (a full-time salaried position) was embezzling church funds

    JYJames wrote:

    We had a pastor that deposited into his own bank account funds from the missionary offerings (to build his mansion).

    In the qualifications for church leaders in 1 Timothy 3, we find this:
    “… not a lover of money [insatiable for wealth and ready to obtain it by questionable means]” (1 Timothy 3:3 AMP).

  277. Wow I had not heard about Darrin Patrick But I remember him preaching at coral Ridge and I think he was at liberate once as well…

    Disgusting. It seems like a lot of these guys are flocking together in association in groups like Christ hold fast ( what liberate eventually became when they were disgraced by TT’a behavior).

    So many of their colleagues can’t seem to see it even when they are warned about their friends, the only reason I can think they don’t see it is because teachers don’t think it’s a big deal. They don’t seem to understand the concept of “a little leaven…”

    Any of those guys who think it’s OK to continue to associate with those adulterous preachers and teachers in that group are suspect, in my opinion.

    It’s amazing to me how many marriages, associated with that group and their families, are falling apart.

    But hey it’s sll good cuz grace right?

  278. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    TEDSgrad wrote:

    If He is not our penal substitute, but is certainly our substitute; Is that a certainly partial substitute? A life is required, so whose is it?

    How many of the articles did you read from the list that I posted? If you read more than a handful I think you will find yourself less confident in the “truth” of PSA as it is currently taught. My list comes from a variety of Christian sources: Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic.

    Ken,
    I respect the strength of your conviction, please respect mine. Exposure to your sources does not logically follow that I change my convictions (intellectual abuse).

    I’ve noticed from your 20 questions that you explicitly mention wrath quite a bit. You never explicitly mention LOVE! – not even once! If you go back up and read my posts, it is the Love of God that makes the Atonement necessary. He is the Self-giving God of Love. He endures our penalty (penal) as a supreme act of love. He was given “for us.” Understanding His love is necessary for right living/sanctification/being conformed to His Image. It is correspondingly, the reason for so much ungodliness in the world and in the church.
    You are absolutely correct that this is a foundational issue – the crux(cross/crucifixion) of history.

    Best wishes

  279. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    TEDSgrad wrote:
    The Atonement cannot be described by one mode, definition, or facet. But the hinge-pin that holds all the definitions together is Propitiation (Substitutionary Sacrifice, Penal Substitution).
    Here’s the link to the questions I developed as I was working through this: http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-253217. I have to add two more:
    19. What was the role and activity of the Holy Spirit during the crucifixion? Was the Holy Spirit united with the Father in pouring out the full cup of his wrath on the Son, or united with the Son in paying the full penalty for our sins, or with neither? Where does the Bible best describe this?
    20. What was the state of the Trinity during the crucifixion? Where does the Bible best describe this?
    I find that PSA rests on unproven assumptions that are not found in the Bible – such as a sin against God is an infinite offense, or that Jesus’ death satisfies the wrath of God. For such a foundational atonement theory, I would expect more verses to unambiguously support it. Even the translation from hilasterion to propitiation is questionable.
    Jesus is certainly our substitute, but not our penal substitute.

    I am not familiar with PSA (Penal Substitution Atonement). I did a quick reading and it seems to say that Jesus not only died on the cross, but he had to enter hell and be punished an “eternal” worth of punishment for the sins of billions of people. Since Jesus is God, in effect God had to put himself into hell to be punished an “eternal” worth of punishment for the sins of billions of people.

    I personally do believe in PSA, at least partly. Because it was written that Jesus died for us and our sins. (Isaiah 53:3-5) And since the punishment for sin is NOT just a physical death, but ALSO an eternal punishment for the soul (or spirit) in hell, it makes more sense to me that Jesus did in fact enter hell to be punished. To be an atonement for our sins, both the physical and the spirit aspect of Jesus need to be punished.

    But (more importantly) at the same time Jesus being God is immune to such punishment. Nothing can hurt Jesus spiritually. In other words Jesus died a physical death. But Jesus being God is totally invincible in the spiritual realm. So all that “eternity” worth of punishment cannot harm Jesus’ spirit at all. After this the wraith of God was satisfied. So Jesus raised himself back up to physical life.

    So did Jesus enter hell? I personally think so. Was Jesus “attacked” with that punishment that mankind deserved? I think so. But that attack didn’t hurt Jesus at all, since Jesus’ spirit cannot be hurt. Jesus is God. And so no Jesus didn’t scream in pain in hell. That was what Satan and the demons hoped for. But instead Jesus entered hell and demonstrated his full glory by being fully immune to all punishments for mankind’s sins.

    Can I be wrong above? Absolutely. This is just what I personally believe. No one knows the whole truth about God. He is way beyond our understanding. But my salvation is not on if I believe correctly about PSA or other theologies. The point is that Jesus died for my sins. And if I accept Jesus as my savior I am saved. Did Jesus only suffered a physical death, or did he also suffered punishments in hell? I don’t know for certainty. But I don’t need to know this to be saved. I only need to accept Jesus as my savior.

    For those judgmental churches, I pray that they will become open-minded with these “side” issues. We are all one body in Christ, because we all accepted Jesus as our savior. Now we all vowed to love God and love all of our neighbours. This LOVE is what UNITES us. If we let these disagreements in theology divide us, we actually miss the whole point of God’s love. So in these situations we all need to PUT DOWN our bibles and STOP reading. Go first to reconcile with each other in love. Value relationships over theologies. =)

  280. Oy! WADR TEDSgrad: Propitiation is not the same thing as Penal Substitution. Satisfaction is not the same thing as Penal Substitution. Therefore, providing verses about propitiation and satisfaction — verses with which I am already quite familiar, BTW — does not prove Penal Substitution. All it does is move the goal posts.

  281. TEDSgrad wrote:

    I respect the strength of your conviction, please respect mine. Exposure to your sources does not logically follow that I change my convictions (intellectual abuse).

    I’ve noticed from your 20 questions that you explicitly mention wrath quite a bit. You never explicitly mention LOVE! – not even once!

    I apologize for writing in such a way that I expressed disrespect for your convictions. That was absolutely not my intent.

    Investigating the arguments against PSA has been a huge blessing for me in many ways. I get excited about how it has freed me into a bigger view of God, and I naturally want to share that excitement with others. But my enthusiasm can come across as being pushy. My conversion to the more classic view of the atonement has gotten me labeled as a heretic by proponents of PSA, which is not so much fun. I have yet to find a PSA advocate who has carefully studied the types of arguments I included in the list of links I referred to above. Rather, they normally argue against straw-man arguments against PSA. I don’t understand why PSA advocates don’t seem to be better informed.

    The reason my questions focus so much on wrath is because PSA focuses so much on wrath, and so do its advocates. The main premise of PSA is “God’s wrath must be satisfied.” I have never been in a discussion with a PSA advocate who did not slam me for minimizing God’s wrath. So to not focus on wrath means to not focus on the main point. I also find that PSA advocates tend to view God’s love and wrath as diametrically opposing aspects of his nature. This creates some theological problems. If you read the articles you will find a huge emphasis on the love of God. My view by now is that PSA minimizes God’s love. But you would have to read those articles to understand how I could state this.

    Even if you have no intention of changing your mind on this point, I would still encourage you to read a handful of the articles as a way to equip yourself to face the better arguments against PSA.

  282. CHIPS wrote:

    But my salvation is not on if I believe correctly about PSA or other theologies. The point is that Jesus died for my sins. And if I accept Jesus as my savior I am saved. Did Jesus only suffered a physical death, or did he also suffered punishments in hell? I don’t know for certainty. But I don’t need to know this to be saved. I only need to accept Jesus as my savior.

    Yes! This is the point! Sadly, I have been accused of denying the faith because of my denial of PSA. Being a member of a SBC church in Northern Alabama does not make it easy to be a PSA-denier. It would be much easier for me to go with the flow, but for the sake of conscience I cannot. If you are interested in looking at both sides, the list of links I provided are among the best arguments I found against PSA. To find arguments for PSA you can find plenty on any of the popular New Calvinist sites such as T4G, 9Marks, Founders, Challies, Ligonier, GTY, or desiringgod.

  283. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Propitiation is not the same thing as Penal Substitution

    True. Propitiation is a Latin word that means “to make favorable.” If God can be propitiated, it mean that something about him changes so that he goes from unfavorable toward us to favorable. The use of that words means that God is the one being acted upon. It would mean that not only do humans need to “repent” in order to be saved, but it also means that God needs to repent in order to save us.

    Many argue that “expiation” is a better translation of hilasterion (the Greek word often translated as propitiation) because our sins are removed/cleansed by Jesus’ blood. The use of that word means that we are the ones acted upon. This makes more sense lines up better with verses such as John 1:7 (“the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin”)

    Some argue that “atoning sacrifice” is an even better translation because it avoids the controversy.

  284. TEDSgrad

    We must not think that we are the center of God’s love – God is.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Say what? Read I John. Read the gospel of John. Read Psalm 8. Your view of God’s love is, in my opinion, distorted.

    The atonement is first of all an act of God towards God. His justice and holiness must be satisfied. He satisfies Himself by paying the demands of His holiness and justice. He glorifies Himself in His Son – PRIMARY REASON for it all. His great Love is displayed, but only after holiness and justice have been assuaged.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Holy Moley, what kind of God Who is Creator of the Universe, needs appeasement? This sounds more like one of the many Greek gods who must be held at bay or else they will smash you into little pieces. God in Christ willingly and freely gave Himself for humanity out of love, mercy and compassion. I do not know this god that needs to be appeased.

    Then, as a byproduct, He saves us and redeems the world.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    No, we are not a “byproduct.” He has crowned us with glory and honor. Read Psalm 8. The reason Christ came and took on flesh in the Incarnation was for the sole purpose of saving humankind. His passion and resurrection were for the sole purpose of redeeming humankind. When Christ came to this earth, the salvation of humanity was not something secondary or incidental. The whole point of the Incarnation is Christ becoming one of us that we might become like Him. I have never heard this idea of the salvation of humankind being a by-product, but I can say without hesitation that it is quite disturbing.

  285. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Yikes! He saves us only as a byproduct of satisfaction and glorification of His justice? Sorry; I just can’t go there.

    Ditto, CGC! I have a response to TEDS in customs. Our salvation is not a “byproduct.” Christ came and took on flesh for the sole purpose of saving humankind. He suffered and died on the cross, was raised from the dead in order that we might be saved. This is the entire point of Christ’s Incarnation – WE were on His mind. We aren’t some coincidental byproduct because God had other things on His mind besides us. Byproduct? Heaven forbid!

  286. TEDSgrad wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    Yikes! He saves us only as a byproduct of satisfaction and glorification of His justice? Sorry; I just can’t go there.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Unless the necessity of the atonement be grounded in eternal principles (outside creation), even the death of Christ cannot be seen as a moving expression of God’s love.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Whoa, Nellie!!! Where are you learning this kind of theology? The very act of Christ’s humiliation, leaving His glory in Heaven to become one of us, shed His blood on the cross, and be raised from the dead is entirely and all about God’s moving expression of love toward us. I think you need to start reading the gospels and John’s letters all over again if you think of God’s love in such minimalist terms.

  287. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    A few years ago I would have been in hearty agreement with your thoughts on Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA). But due to life events I did quite a lot or reading on this topic starting a few years ago. This TWW link has a list of links to some of the better articles/papers/essays I read that argue against it: http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-326343.

    The bottom line for me now is that I can no longer believe it. The Biblical support for PSA is thin at best, and the arguments against it are not weak. Also, if PSA is true, then the church got it wrong for the first 1500 years. That is possible, but not likely. While I don’t believe that one can gain or lose salvation by believing or not believing PSA, I do believe that PSA paints the wrong picture of God that will impact how we experience Him and how we relate with others.

    Amen, Ken! I cannot embrace PSA either. It is one of many reasons why I am not an Evangelical anymore.

  288. No problem, Ken. I don’t have much context to interpret you. So please forgive me, if I pushed back too hard. It doesn’t put your salvation at risk. The thief on the cross didn’t have his theology down pat, neither do I. It’s OK to disagree. It’s one thing to read the Scriptures; it’s another to interpret them aright. Brilliant minds (not mine) disagree on interpretation, but it must be done. Not everything is explicit.

    What follows is my opinion (not what I can prove): The Father turned away from His Son (forsook)as sin was laid upon Him – He died spiritually before He died physically on the cross. This was the agony Christ foresaw in Gethsemane. The Trinity was fractured for three days. Read the Suffering Servant, especially Isa. 53:10 – God was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief. The Son had to have faith that the Father would raise Him from the dead – just as we do. He was separated, but had to trust the Father while separated, because of our sin that He bore. Separation equals spiritual death. The Father and Spirit raised Him to New Life. What Self-giving Love!!!
    When Christ became Incarnate, the Trinity was no longer Consubstantial – all Three equal in the Godhead (especially regarding the Will). The Three were always equal in Will at the same time (we have to speak of time, but God is outside of time – no separation of will). He didn’t regard Christ came to do the Will of the Father – submitted to it, was not His own Will. He also laid down the independent exercise of His Divine Power. Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equalitly with God a thing to be grasped (Phil. 2:6-11). All the miracles He performed, He performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. He could not use His own Divine Power as Second Person of the Trinity, or he would not be like us and could resist temptation by Divine means (temptation in wilderness). Everything He did, we (as believers) can also do by submitting to the Father’s Will and via the Holy Spirit’s power. His Incarnation was also when He became consubstantial with humanity in order to redeem us.
    He went into the pit, and set the captives free as He could not be held longer than three days (don’t know the why, here, penal?). As He Himself did not sin and faithfully obeyed the Father’s Will, He could not be kept any longer, and Father and Spirit raised Him as the First Fruits of a New Creation. He takes His place at the right hand of the Father, Consubstantial with the Godhead, and still consubstantial with a new humanity (Col 1:15-20).
    This gives meaning to “made in the image of God,” – the fullness of God in us! When we have new life “in Christ,” one can see how Lucifer was envious as he could never attain that. When we have new life “in Christ,” we are seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians). We don’t become as God (Consubstantial with the Godhead), but we do have life in the Son (consubstantial with the Son). So we will live in the Love and Glory that exists between the Godhead as we are “in Christ” (bring many sons to glory, Heb. 2:10)- He is our Life (predicate)! He is our Brother.
    I understand that there will be disagreement on my opinion. I don’t put it forth as knowledge with explicit quotations. But, How can we neglect so great a salvation?

    “that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3:18-21)

  289. Darlene wrote:

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Unless the necessity of the atonement be grounded in eternal principles (outside creation), even the death of Christ cannot be seen as a moving expression of God’s love.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Whoa, Nellie!!! Where are you learning this kind of theology? The very act of Christ’s humiliation, leaving His glory in Heaven to become one of us, shed His blood on the cross, and be raised from the dead is entirely and all about God’s moving expression of love toward us. I think you need to start reading the gospels and John’s letters all over again if you think of God’s love in such minimalist terms.

    Hi Darlene,
    Those eternal principles exist/emanate from His Character, Essence, or Being. This Great Love is outside of creation – to be inside creation would be to make it more minimalistic than an Eternal Love. Eternal means being outside creation, which has a beginning. Does that make sense?
    Nothing inside creation can be the cause. God’s Will is the cause! He loves because He would love.
    He does not love a fallen world because it is loveable/has worth. He loves the un-loveable because He Is!!! In our fallen state, we have no intrinsic worth. In fact, worthy of destruction. It is all God!!!
    So the necessity of the atonement is grounded in God’s love alone, and we have no intrinsic worth to qualify us for that love or to be the cause – persona non grata!

  290. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    ARC are the Spiritual Warrior bozos behind “Operation Ice Castle” against the Demon “Queen of Heaven” atop Mount Everest.

    Who bragged about killing Princess Di and Mother Teresa with their “Imprecatory Prayer”

    Wait whaaaat?

  291. Liz wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    ARC are the Spiritual Warrior bozos behind “Operation Ice Castle” against the Demon “Queen of Heaven” atop Mount Everest.

    Who bragged about killing Princess Di and Mother Teresa with their “Imprecatory Prayer”

    Wait whaaaat?

    Take the red pill, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/04/24/peter-wagner-and-mt-everests-queen-of-heaven-towards-understanding-of-groups-like-the-arc/

  292. TEDSgrad wrote:

    The Trinity was fractured for three days. … He was separated, but had to trust the Father while separated, because of our sin that He bore. Separation equals spiritual death. The Father and Spirit raised Him to New Life.
    When Christ became Incarnate, the Trinity was no longer Consubstantial – all Three equal in the Godhead (especially regarding the Will). … He could not use His own Divine Power as Second Person of the Trinity, or he would not be like us and could resist temptation by Divine means (temptation in wilderness).

    Can I ask how you came to this set of beliefs? I have not heard any Christian state that the Trinity was ever fractured or not consubstantial. I’ve not read it in any of major creeds or confessions, nor in the Bible.

    How does your belief take into account what Jesus said here: John 10:17-18 –
    “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

  293. Many people (parents) over time, can’t give you an exact answer. Just last month, a SBC Home Missions President (ret.) confirmed the ‘fractured’ Trinity part – said he preached a sermon on it. I am not, nor have I ever been, SBC. I was attending a Sunday School class, where He was present. Maybe, he’s not a good reference on this blog, but one who comes to mind.
    For the first time in the history of the Trinity (as we understand time), the Son, in the flesh, was tempted and struggled (suffered) to do the Father’s will. Imagine, God in the Second Person, was actually tempted by sin – felt the pull or attraction of sin – amazing!!; or, ‘tempted in all ways as we are’ is just a word game. What depths He descended into, to prove His Great Love!! Sin can’t exist in God’s Presence; yet, the Son Incarnate was vexed by it (like Lot in Sodom, not exact simile). He suffered all His time on earth, of course on the cross. Imagine, He Who spoke the world into existence, had to learn how to speak as a human infant! – 2 years? Had to learn to obey human fallen parents – what patience.
    Hebrews 5:7-8; He learned obedience through the things which He suffered. Why would the Son need to learn obedience? Christ shows us that it COSTS THE FLESH TO DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER (so Son is not Consubstantial in order to be tempted and tested by sin in order to prove His perfect unblemished sacrifice all the way to the grave) – even sinless flesh. He submitted to the Father’s will and it cost Him in terms of suffering and finally death on the cross. There could be no Consubstantial with the Godhead if He struggles with the Father’s Will – it would be coexistant and instantaneous between the Two/Three. I use Divine capital ‘C’ for Trinity and small ‘c’ for Christ-humanity. He still maintained His Divine Nature, but at least according to will, not Consubstantial (while consubstantial with humanity = Incarnate). Now, back at the right hand of the Father, He is both ‘C’ and ‘c’ – our Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.
    My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me? – He died a spiritual death (separation from God) as He bore our sin and took our penalty – so the Trinity was fractured for three earthly days (maybe, again, poor word choice, but I don’t know what else to call it). The wound was deep to purchase our redemption. How great is the Father’s Love for us!
    I have no problem affirming that text, as well. The Father laid the stroke on Him meant for us, and He also laid down His Life – both. In all acts of creation, all Three Persons of the Trinity are active (Creation, New Creation = 2nd Adam). It was the Father’s will to create, the Son spoke into existence, and the Holy Spirit is the agent of power.

    Sorry for all my bad sentence structures. When I post here, I’m “off the cuff” from what’s in my memory bank. These are not studied responses like an academic paper.

  294. I should clarify:
    Consubstantial is the English that came out of the Nicene Creed – you can google if you want more. It indicates that the Father, Son, And Spirit are of the same Nature, Divinity, Essence – Three in One.
    I have qualified it a couple times in reference to Will. I want to make that clear – as to Will. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human. Fully God according to the normal Consubtantial meaning – always.
    I have used it as referring to the Will so that the Father’s Will and the Son’s Will are not quite the same, as Jesus is submitting and learning to obey it at the cost of the flesh, not at the cost of His Divine Nature. He never had to submit to the Father’s Will as it was Consubstantial in heaven – coexistent, instantaneous, and of the same between the Three in One. And, the laying aside of the independent exercise of His Divine power was different than eternity passed. He didn’t lay aside His Divine Nature. I don’t want anyone to ever think that I am saying that. These are difficult concepts, no doubt.

  295. TEDSgrad wrote:

    My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me? – He died a spiritual death (separation from God) as He bore our sin and took our penalty – so the Trinity was fractured for three earthly days (maybe, again, poor word choice, but I don’t know what else to call it).

    Thanks for the clarification. I would encourage you to be careful because you are proposing a theology that has no historical or Biblical roots.

    If your theology is based on Psalm 22:1 it also needs to take into account Psalm 22:24 – “For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

    I still recommend you read some of the anti-PSA articles. This one in particular is very good (even though a bit academic): http://perichoresis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/God-in-the-Hands-of-Angry-Sinners.pdf

  296. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I would encourage you to be careful because you are proposing a theology that has no historical or Biblical roots.

    I strongly disagree with this statement!
    But putting my opinion’s truth or validity aside, this kind of statement smacks of the Authoritarianism many on this blog are reacting against. You can disagree, but it is the wording where I am motivated to push back at you, again. Maybe, if you state that it is your opinion that I am wrong, I would not react thus (a little more humility and love vs wrath and judgment in your wording and in the content of your proposals).

    Blessings,

  297. TEDSgrad wrote:

    I strongly disagree with this statement!

    Do you disagree with my statement that this particular aspect of your theology is not historical? If so, can you provide some historical evidence for it? I’ve never heard of it and I cannot find anything about it. I would like to read about it if you can provide a link or two. Or do you disagree that it is not Biblical? If so, can you provide some passages that support it?

    Please note that I did not state you are wrong. I simply stated that this theology has no historical or Biblical roots. As a consequence, the VAST majority of Christians do not believe it. It is possible that they could all be wrong, but not likely. It puts you in a razor thin minority. But that minority could actually be correct. But I personally doubt it based on the evidence I have seen up to now. However, I am open to changing my belief if I can be convinced that yours is the correct view.

    I don’t understand your comments about me being authoritarian, wrathful, judgemental, and lacking humility. I think all I did was provide you with some resources and suggest you be careful with this theology because of the risk that it is erroneous.

  298. Sam wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Douggie Phillips ESQUIRE, head of Vision Forum.
    (Yes, he always stressed that faux-Noble (or is it faux-Gentry?) title like a bogus Doctorate.)
    Search on “Doug Phillips” here or at Spiritual Sounding Board.

    Esquire? Really. Wow. Not only does that man advocate child abuse (sorry, I mean discipline), but now he literally is “lording over others”. Wow. Just wow.

    Back when Douggie was getting famous on this (and other) watchblogs, one commenter referred to him as “Little Lord Fauntleroy” because of his physical stature and cosplay preferences.

  299. Clockwork Angel wrote:

    To restore him even after 5 years is to embolden others to commit adultery with impunity. After all, you only get a timeout for 5 years! No biggie!

    Just for clarification: that professor mentioned by Dee did not establish 5 years as the specific time away from the pastoral office. Rather 5 years was the minimum time before any discussion of restoration could begin, with no certainty of restoration to the pulpit.

    Also, note that restoration to the office is not to be initiated by the person in question. That belongs to the church body and the local congregation. And part of the process is to see whether or what steps he had been taken (i.e. pastoral counseling, marriage counseling, family counseling. Following this process is seldom effectively completed in five years. And many never are restored to the pastoral office. Hope this helps.

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