How Sovereign Grace Churches and Highpoint Church Demonstrate the Abusive *Can’t Talk* Rule

Jeremiah 5:26   for wicked men are found among My people…they set a trap, they catch men.”  Then, “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority.” (vv. 30-31)

Jeremiah 6:13-14   For from the least of them to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of my people superficially saying, “Peace. peace,” but there is no peace. ”  Special thanks to The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.

I want to thank all of you for your kind prayers and wishes during this past 10 days. It was a tough time due to somme complicated family issues but God helped me navigate those tough waters. I also want to thank Deb for holding down the fort here. I am now back in the saddle and look forward to writing some posts.


Since 2009, TWW has recommended The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church.There is a good reason for this. It is a relatively short and easily comprehended book which outlines a number of spiritual abuse tactics used by organizations. We refer to it frequently when we write out posts. Buy it! (Remember, we don’t take kickbacks for book recommendations.)

The Unspoken Rules

This book outlines a number of *rules* employed by abusive churches. The authors say that abusive churches have a number of *unspoken rules* that are to be obeyed even though those rules are not defined. When I was in business school, we learned that many corporations have unspoken rules that must be obeyed. My professor called these “the rules of the game.”

I broke one of these unspoken rules one time and got into a bit of trouble for it. My cubicle was at the end of a row and the lighting was quite poor. I walked past a trash barrel in a different division and saw a perfectly good lamp in a trash barrel. I asked the former owner of that lamp if he wanted it and he said I should take it since he didn’t want it.

However, unbeknownst to me, that particular lamp was only given to employees who were part of upper middle management and I was just plain middle management. So, one day, a *keeper of the unspoken rules* appeared in my office, quite upset that I had this rather plain looking, banged up lamp on my desk. I explained what happened and he lectured me on the *rules of the lamp.* He unplugged the lamp, took it away and reported me to my boss who thankfully just blew it off.

Here are some of the unspoken rules of churches, according to the book, which we reviewed extensively in several posts when we first started blogging,

“You know we must never disagree with the pastor on his sermons — and if you do, you will never be trusted and never be allowed to minister in any capacity in this church.”

In this case, the unspoken rule is: Do not disagree with the church authorities — especially the pastor — or your loyalty will be suspect.  Rules like this remain unspoken, because examining them in the light of mature dialogue would instantly reveal how illogical, unhealthy and anti-Christian they are.  So silence becomes the fortress wall of protection, shielding the pastor’s power position from scrutiny or challenge.” (p.67)

“In some churches there is “an unwritten and unspoken rule that said, ‘It is better to be nice than honest’.”

“If you speak about the problem out loud, you are the problem.”

“The truth is, when people talk about problems out loud, they don’t cause them, they simply expose them.” (p.68)

“Too many churches communicate this kind of shaming message: ‘The problem is not that your boundaries were crossed and violated, the problem is that you talked.  If you would not have made such a big deal, everything would still be fine.’  If a person accepts that message, they will stop talking.

The real problem, however, is that if a Christian who feels violated stops talking, then the perpetrator will never be held accountable for his behavior.” (p.69)

The Can’t Talk Rule

According to the book, this is one of the most powerful of the *unspoken rules.* We wrote about this back in 2009 in SHHH!!!!!!Don’t Talk.

“The “can’t talk” rule has this thinking behind it:  ‘The real problem cannot be exposed because then it would have to be dealt with and things would have to change so it must be protected behind the walls of silence (neglect) or by assault (legalistic attack).  If you speak about the problem out loud, you are the problem.  In some way you must be silenced or eliminated.’ … The truth is, when people talk about problems out loud they don’t cause them, they expose them… The “can’t talk” rule, however, blames the person who talks, and the ensuing punishments pressure questioners into silence.” (p. 68)

According to the authors, here’s the real problem with the “Can’t Talk” rule.  “If a Christian who feels violated stops talking, then the perpetrator will never be held accountable for his behavior.  And the victim will have to “freeze up” the pain and anger of being spiritually abused.” (p. 69)

Johnson and Van Vonderen then provide this thought-provoking comment:  “Though some in authority would love to never be questioned or opposed, the fact of the matter is that such a system is a trap and a downfall for any leader.  If noticing problems is labeled disloyalty, lack of submission, divisiveness, and a challenge to authority, then there is only a facade of unity and peace.  It is impossible for wounds to be healed, and abuse will one day escalate.  If authorities are not accountable, then you have built a system that is in opposition to the freedom that is in Christ.  You are ignoring James 3:1, which says, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.” (p. 68)

What happens when these rules are enforced by church leadership?

Let me outline a few points from the above two quotes. Think about the recent responses of Highpoint and SGC/SGM as you read these.

  • If you talk about a problem, you become the problem.
  • Silence protects the church leadership from having to deal with the problem.
  • Often the problem is the church leadership and they don’t want to talk about it or they might have to do something about it.
  • If those people hadn’t talked about it, everything would still be fine.
  • Silence means the pastors will be protected and the church will not get embroiled in a legal situation.
  • When problems are openly discussed, they can and should be dealt with. If they are are not openly discussed, they fester and will eventually lead to an escalation in problems.
  • Ignoring disunity and strife only leads to a facade of unity and peace.
  • If problems cannot be discussed in a church, there is a lack of freedom that is supposed to be found in following Christ.

Spiritual paranoia directed at abuse advocates.

According to the book, spiritual paranoia is a sense that people resources and relationships are unsafe. Here are two recent examples of that paranoia. Watch carefully for proof/examples for their claims via documented examples. There are none.

Paranoia example #1: Abuse advocates are vigilantes and virtue signalers.

Christian Today posted Rachael Denhollander and the scandal of sexual abuse in the church.The author starts off well but quickly launched an attack on those who attempt to help abuse victims. Sadly, he signals to those of us who do care that he is willing to employ a spiritually abusive tactic called “shut up.” (By the way, David, I was right about Iain D Campbell and I will continue to write about Tom Chantry)

we need to stay away from the vigilantes and the virtue signallers; those who don’t hesitate to conduct trial by social media and who get a kick out of thinking they are ‘in the know’ and have the ability to act as judge and jury. Just because you get an e-mail offering selected insider ‘evidence’ does not mean that you know. The abuse of justice in any form is wrong. As is the sad practice of ambulance/fame chasers who will even use fake claims of sexual abuse for their own gain.

Paranoia example #2: Abuse advocates are the problem because they upset the status quo.

Update on 3/6/18 I made a mistake with this example and I apologize to the author and that is why I have deleted it as opposed to merely crossing it out.  I now know the intent behind this comment and it was not meant to insult victims’ advocates. Just the opposite is true. However, for very good reasons, it would not be wise for me to discuss the reasons behind this. The individual did not ask me to remove this but I felt I must do it. -Dee

 

Their points:

  • Advocates are ambulance chasers
  • Advocates are fame chasers
  • Advocates get a *kick out of being in the know.*
  • Advocates fake claims.
  • Advocates act as judge and jury.
  • Advocates are *advocates.*
  • Advocates are meanies who cause the male establishment to close ranks.

Sovereign Grace Ministries/Churches and the *Can’t Talk* rule has prevented them from seeing that they are their own worst enemy.

I have recently been talking with a number of SGM/SGC abuse victims and their families. Today I want to focus on one point that we, and many others, have written about for years. One individual reminded me of how CJ Mahaney used to treat those who came to him with *observations.” SGM had many insider words and phrases. *Observations* was a code word that meant a person was taking a serious concern to CJ or his one of his designated consigliere. Here is a real conversation with the details changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

Member: “Pastor. I have an observation. I am concerned that the church discipline of Bob was pretty harsh. The family adopted several kids and they are doing their best to discipline them in accordance with SGM mandates. They have only had them for a few months. Why did you have to discipline the father for not having his kids under control?”

Pastor: “I am observing that you lack trust in your leaders. Not only are you not bringing your pastors joy in this conversation, as you are commanded to do by the Bible, you are demonstrating sinful arrogance in your willingness to approach your busy leaders with a problem that has been Scripturally dealt with. In fact, I have a concern that you lack humility and believe that you need to spend time in prayer about your own serious issues. We will need to discuss whether you need to be disciplined as well.”

The member has now become the problem. In fact, he has to be concerned that he will be disciplined next. These *don’t talk* tactics are effective to a point. However, the years of employing such strategies have come back to hurt SGM/SGC and related churches.

SGC and Rachel Denhollander

Take a look at the SGC response to Rachel Denhollander. See if you see the *Can’t Talk* rule in play. In the following statement, SGC claims not to have shared details of the raised concerns in order to *protect the victims.” I sincerely doubt that many of the victims and their families have ever felt *protected* by SGC/SGM/CJ Mahaney and his consiglieres.

Over the past few years, we have regularly shared details on these matters privately with those who have approached us in good faith with understandable concerns. However, in our public statements, we have been reluctant to share many details concerning these accusations. Far from hiding facts, we have sought to be discreet in our communications to protect those involved—first and foremost victims and their families.

In this following quote, they state that advocates have publicly pronounced SGC and its pastors guilty of sex abuse. Those of us who believe the victims, instead, suggest that SGM did not respond appropriately to reports of sexual abuse and we have documented our concerns for over 9 years. We have been accused of all sorts of horrible things like slander, etc. for speaking on behalf of the victims. Now, Denhollander is accused of the same thing because she, too, has broken the *Don’t Talk” rule.

Having said that, the decisions of Rachael and others to publicly pronounce SGC and its pastors guilty of sexual abuse and conspiracy, on the basis of false allegations and with no direct knowledge of SGC’s history or the facts, have profoundly damaged the reputations and gospel ministries of innocent pastors and churches.

SGC and Boz Tchividjian 

It appears the Boz did the wrong thing as well. He spoke publicly about SGC.

Boz Tchividjian, the leader of GRACE, has on multiple occasions written and spoken publicly in ways that suggest he has already prejudged the case against SGC. He has publicly indicted the motives of SGC as it relates to those allegations, and he has publicly criticized others who have expressed any support for SGC.

And here it is! Everyone needs to shut up because *no one has the facts.* Except, as we all know, Denhollander did and so have many of us who have spoken out.

No matter how great the passion for an obviously righteous cause, no fallen human being possesses absolute moral authority, and it benefits neither the victims of sexual abuse nor the name of Christ when believers publicly condemn one another without the facts.

SGC/SGM is losing the *blame it on the people who won’t shut up* game.

According to SGC they are not the problem. Denhollander, Tchividjian, the bloggers, etc. are the problems because they talked. SGC believes that if only those people hadn’t talked, SGC would be sitting pretty. They are wrong. The many people who have spoken out about SGM cannot all be wrong. Yet, SGM/SGC/CJ Mahaney continue the blame game. They are slowly losing the PR battle and sound more desperate with every pronouncement.

Highpoint Church Memphis and the *Can’t Talk* rule.

Highpoint has a real problem. Due to Larry Cotton’s resignation, there is now no question in the minds of reasonable observers that Jules Woodson experienced abuse at the hand of Andy Savage. Savage, as an ordained youth pastor, had his *organic experience* with a student in his ministry 20 years ago. Incredibly, Chris Conlee has copped to knowing about the escapade and declared Savage *forgiven and restored.*

Once again, rational people observing this from the outside would agree that Savage did something wrong and that he and Chris Conlee (along with Woodson’s former pastors) are to blame for this situation. Let’s look at this quote from the book again.

“Though some in authority would love to never be questioned or opposed, the fact of the matter is that such a system is a trap and a downfall for any leader.  If noticing problems is labeled disloyalty, lack of submission, divisiveness, and a challenge to authority, then there is only a facade of unity and peace.  It is impossible for wounds to be healed, and abuse will one day escalate.  If authorities are not accountable, then you have built a system that is in opposition to the freedom that is in Christ.  You are ignoring James 3:1, which says, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.” (p. 68)

In fact, this problem festered for years, causing enormous harm to Jules Woodson. I would venture to guess that there was also guilt inside of Savage and other pastors as well. The fact Savage did not return her email demonstrated his inability to deal with his guilt and the pain that it caused Woodson. He and the others allowed this problem to go unresolved until Woodson talked. It was the bloggers which told her story when Savage refused to answer he email.

What was the response of the Conlee and the church? The bloggers are the problem and Woodson should have been on the path to healing like Savage!! It was so simple in their eyes.

  • Savage=gets a standing ovation
  • Conlee=fine
  • Woodson= should be healed by now
  • Bloggers= spawn of Satan

What precisely did the bloggers do? They spoke the truth of an incident that should have been dealt with 20 years ago. They supported Jules Woodson because the church leaders, including Conlee who should have called the police the second Savage told him, did not. I recently heard this quote on a show I was watching.

Is a crime that was committed 20 years ago any less of a crime?

I believe that Sovereign Grace Churches/Ministries/CJ Mahaney and BFFs along with Highpoint are the poster kids for The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church. These ministries need to pull on their big boy pants and deal with their problems instead of trying to deflect it onto the bloggers or the victims.

Thankfully, many of us are on to these forms of spiritual abuse and they don’t work on us. Go ahead, call us fame chasers, ambulance chasers, etc. It won’t work. In fact, it makes many of us snort since we know what is going on. Next time such comments are made, pastors and professors who teach the Bible should know what constitutes real slander. It is not calling Iain D Campbell a serial pervert because he was and it has been proven. It is making claims that bloggers are ambulance chasers without proof. Slander is giving false testimony and that rule is in the Bible.

So stop deflecting and trying to make us the problem. Instead, deal with the perverts and abusers in your camps. You should have enough to keep you occupied until the Second Coming.

Comments

How Sovereign Grace Churches and Highpoint Church Demonstrate the Abusive *Can’t Talk* Rule — 167 Comments

  1. It must be really hard to keep track of all the hat dances and deflect all the justified criticisms. Not to mention how do some folks look in the mirror in the morning. But that is just me.

  2. Excellent, educational and colorful post, Dee! Thank you from this relatively new-to-the-subject-of-abuse-in-the-church reader.

    The more I read about SGM the more I think it had all the earmarks of a cult from Day One. I do not think SGM can be fixed, only dismantled by vast attrition. It may seem easy for me to say that as an outsider… except that I actually did have a brush with a genuine cult back in the 80s. Our involvement lasted about 8 months. We read & studied our way out, with the help of an ex-Moonie friend who had been kidnapped & deprogrammed by his parents. Remember, pre-internet, it was much harder to get info, contacts, anything written on paper. So our friend dumped a banker’s box stuffed with photocopied articles, transcripts, and a couple books on our doorstep, and within a week we made a complete break with The Way, Int’l, then we proceeded to go citywide with an info campaign via churches & synagogues, and got a 3-part TV series made on local news. (In other words, we didn’t go quietly.)

    This is why I’m so impressed with TWW and the whole community here. These days, anyone with a smart phone, a curious mind, and the energy to make a few clicks can find answers and support in a matter of minutes… at The Wartburg Watch, for example!

  3. “Sometimes supporters of victims can be over-zealous and can say and do things that rub establishment types up the wrong way. Sometimes people with their own personal agenda and mixed motives can attach themselves to victims as their ‘advocates.’ In both situations, the establishment then closes ranks and the victim is forgotten in the cross-fire. ‘We’re not going to let that guy/group beat us.'”

    Well, if churches would listen to and protect the victims from the get-go, then it would never escalate to this point. Churches could save themselves a lot of time, money, and embarrassment if they refused to give perpetrators a pass.

  4. “Having said that, the decisions of Rachael and others to publicly pronounce SGC and its pastors guilty of sexual abuse and conspiracy, on the basis of false allegations and with no direct knowledge of SGC’s history or the facts, have profoundly damaged the reputations and gospel ministries of innocent pastors and churches.”
    -SGM/SGC statement

    I doubt there is anyone who had more direct knowledge of SGC’s history or the facts than Brent Detwiler. Since they could not use this ploy on Detwiler they labeled him as bitter. He worked tirelessly for years in an attempt to bring change to an unhealthy culture in SGM leadership and when it came time for others to publicly oppose Mahaney (as they had done privately in email exchanges with Detwiler) they proved to be cowards and treacherously deserted Detwiler and pronounced him the villain and Mahaney the saint. They saved their jobs in the short term by their lack of integrity, but in the long term their actions will be shown to be the beginning of the end for their denomination.

    The following quotes are taken from a document written by Brent Detwiler.

    EIGHT REASONS WHY SENDING OUT “THE DOCUMENTS”
    WAS NOT SLANDEROUS BUT NECESSARY
    JANUARY 3, 2012

    http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/970485/15864159/1325684317060/Part+8+-+Eight+Reasons+Why+Sending+Out+the+Documents+Was+Not+Slander+But+Necessary.pdf?token=3xOcn0zKD8kMRZuMPrqya%2FeSgM4%3D

    “After I sent out The Documents, they immediately attacked me with false charges and commended C.J. They still fail to realize a lot of people have been harmed and mistreated in SGM and it is not due to bad polity. It is due to bad character and it starts at the top.

    It is one thing for Tim Challies or Ray Ortlund to claim I slandered C.J. when I sent out The Documents. They are ignorant of the facts. They don’t know the inner workings of Sovereign Grace Ministries. It is a completely different matter when Dave and Jeff Purswell make the same claim. It was their deceitful gossip and slander in the form of this letter that factored into my decision to send out my writings and they know it. The holier than thou Board castigated me on July 13 (see Sovereign Grace Ministries Board of Directors announcement regarding C.J. Mahaney) while they broke all the rules. Dave and the boys feel right at home speaking falsehoods while silencing those who speak truth supported by compelling evidence and then labeling them slanderers.”

  5. This from C.J. Mahaney’s sermon of March 4th, 2018:

    A Word to Young Men
    Titus 2:6-8
    CJ Mahaney
    March 4, 2018
    30:00-31:00 mark

    “Social media has removed all restraint, on social media people communicate from a keyboard and communicate what they would never say to someone face to face. Social media is a place where cowards are quite comfortable trafficking in mockery and slander, it is a world without restraint where self control is not welcome.”

  6. Mahaney has lived to see his influence diminished. He now pastors a small church in Louisville, and the much larger Christian organizations nearby must be a continual and bitter reminder of what he lusted and strived for, but could never quite grasp. He was deposed from his throne over SGM and will be forever linked to the scathing sexual abuse article in “The Washingtonian”. His great prize SGM has been relegated to marginal status; they are a tiny, almost forgotten sliver of evangelical Christendom, and many Christians in good conscience do not even believe them to be legitimately Christian. He has lived to see himself almost entirely unknown in U.S. Christianity, in spite of his tireless efforts to promote his brand and ingratiate himself to those whom he thought could promote him.

    Among many who have heard his story, it has become a cautionary tale, in the opinion of a not insignificant number, of a ruthless, possibly conscienceless man who tried but failed to dominate a large swath of Christians. This is not a happy story, there’s no way he can be pleased with the results of his ambitions. He’s moving into old age facing the consequences of his actions and inactions, and it can’t be pleasant.

  7. “I’m denounced as a slanderer but it doesn’t matter who or how the message is delivered. C.J., Dave and the Board would reject anyone the Lord sent to them like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. The problem is not the messenger. It is the message. If C.J. or Dave or Steve don’t like the message sooner or later the messenger will be “stoned.” We have a bloody history.

    For decades scores of people have tried to get through to C.J. with little or no success. Now he and Carolyn are crying foul.83 Labeling truth as slander. And truth speakers as slanderers. So is Dave. This is so predictable. C.J. has always acted this way. Initially, he appears responsive. Later you catch heck and are demoted, removed or corrected for pride and bitterness. There are hundreds of testimonies to this affect. You don’t cross C.J. You don’t cross Dave. And you don’t cross their agents or you pay for it.

    83 See “Getting a Foothold” by Carolyn Mahaney from October 18, 2011 on the Girl Talk blog. “When this trial dropped like a bomb on our lives this past summer, it was shocking, painful, and disorienting. Slander and false accusations flew at us from all sides, shrapnel raining down on our entire family.”

    -Brent Detwiler
    Eight Reasons Why Sending Out “The Documents” Was Not Slanderous But Necessary
    January 3, 2012

  8. That Mahaney and SGM/SGC have covered up the sexual abuse of children in their denomination (some of the leaders are actually among the abusers) is clear to anyone who has taken the time to study the facts. Mahaney and several others in leadership should resign their positions as they do not meet the biblical standards set forth for elders.

    Additionally there is a long list of celebrity leaders who continue to back CJ Mahaney. There is no defense for this behavior. They need to remove CJ Mahaney from T4G and also counsel him to resign from ministry. To not do so is to be complicit with him in his sin and therefore they should resign from the ministry. To whom am I referring? Go to T4G.org and view the men scheduled to be plenary speakers with Mahaney. This is a good start. There are others.

  9. Anonymous Grandma wrote:

    Churches could save themselves a lot of time, money, and embarrassment if they refused to give perpetrators a pass.

    Interesting how the perpetrators have found their safe harbor in some of these institutions with their unspoken rules about how the good girls should endure and stay silent.

  10. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    This from C.J. Mahaney’s sermon of March 4th, 2018:

    A Word to Young Men
    Titus 2:6-8
    CJ Mahaney
    March 4, 2018
    30:00-31:00 mark

    “Social media has removed all restraint, on social media people communicate from a keyboard and communicate what they would never say to someone face to face. Social media is a place where cowards are quite comfortable trafficking in mockery and slander, it is a world without restraint where self control is not welcome.”

    Says the coward himself who fled his church rather than interact with his own congregation face to face like a man.

    Gee, CJ, there were many people who wanted to speak with you face to face, but you ran away to the other men in your bubble to be protected. It isn’t a brave man who now stands in his pulpit with all his admirers around him and proclaims those who write on the internet cowards.

    Must you be reminded of your own use of the internet to spread your message? Must you be reminded of your own lack of self control when you shared your sexual expectations of your wife no matter what her condition?

    It really is rich that CJ is calling others cowards.

  11. “Not only are you not bringing your pastors joy in this conversation, as you are commanded to do by the Bible”

    Speaking of Biblical commands, there’s this given right after discussion in how to handle accusations against an ‘elder’: “But those who persist in sin should be rebuked in front of everyone, so that the others will stand in fear of sin” (1 John 5:20).

  12. Pastor: “I am observing that you lack trust in your leaders. Not only are you not bringing your pastors joy in this conversation, as you are commanded to do by the Bible, you are demonstrating sinful arrogance in your willingness to approach your busy leaders with a problem that has been Scripturally dealt with. In fact, I have a concern that you lack humility and believe that you need to spend time in prayer about your own serious issues. We will need to discuss whether you need to be disciplined as well.”

    This is part of an ACTUAL conversation? I would have some rather choice remarks for the pastor who said that to my face.

  13. A good reason for free speech. Even speech we don’t like. The “don’t talk unless you agree with us rule” is everywhere.

  14. @ Todd Wilhelm:Sad. They fail to realize had THEY been willing to accept the truth face to face when it was offered, an airing on social media would not have been made necessary.

  15. Wish I had read Vanvonderen’s work on Spiritual Abuse sooner. Once you read it, you look back and see all the classic moves and wonder how the manipulation, step-by-step, is so skillfully employed when you begin to address the glaring issues of wrongdoing in leadership. Of course, they get significant help from the 9Marks empire serving up churches with a plug-and-play model that would not even be recognizable by the apostles. These 9 Marks guys are PhDs…they know better…or could know better..if they wanted to. Ignorance is one thing – blatant force, control and abuse of power toward the,”blood-bought ones” as Spurgeon would say, falls into another category altogether.

  16. Augustine wrote:

    Wish I had read Vanvonderen’s work on Spiritual Abuse sooner. Once you read it, you look back and see all the classic moves and wonder how the manipulation, step-by-step, is so skillfully employed when you begin to address the glaring issues of wrongdoing in leadership

    Me too. I read it a long time ago and was astonished at how it laid out so much of what I saw and put a name to it. I wondered if what we might recognize as manipulation in another venue is viewed differently when in a supposedly spiritual venue where we tend to trust too much?

  17. This is so good!!! I need to read this book. Thank you for continuing to speak out on behalf of victims of abuse Dee!!

    And, I have also experienced the fallout from the “can’t talk rule.” When I talked, my husband was told, “she’s known to make up stories like this.” By. The. Pastor! *roll eyes*

  18. @ Bridget:
    Well said. The hypocrisy is thick. One of their tactics is to act as if nothing ever happened and blame a created enemy to deflect.

  19. Lydia wrote:

    I wondered if what we might recognize as manipulation in another venue is viewed differently when in a supposedly spiritual venue where we tend to trust too much?

    Good thought. I also think there is a lot that we do not recognize in how advertisers deal with their target audience, and how lovers talk to each other, and how mothers manage young children, and how health professionals talk to patients, and how teachers manage classrooms, and employers deal with employees and on and on. I am thinking that we can grow so used to these sorts of communications that they seem totally sufficient and totally safe when they may not always be all that safe. Manipulation is pretty much how we deal with each other in just a lot of different kinds of circumstances.

    BTW, check out Drudge Report for a picture of a beautiful moment between a mother elephant and her young. And no, this not a political or a religious issue-just a touch to the heart this morning.

  20. If I were worried about being falsely accused I think I would have the cops on speed dial for my own protection. Am I missing something here?

  21. oldtimer wrote:

    I remember a scripture that Billy Graham used often in his preaching.
    Be sure your sin will find you out.

    Ironically I remember C.J. & son a few years ago mentioning this bible passage and principle on their father/son blog.

    I am sure C.J. Mahaney didn’t think about this passage applying to him including C.J. Mahaney blackmailing Larry Tomczak or C.J. Mahaney covering up his son’s pot smoking back when they lived in Gaithesburg.

    I am sure C.J. Mahaney doesn’t think his sin will find him out when as many will say he is lying about having no knowledge of what Morales did to boys at CLC unti many years later. We could go on.

    Also I remember someone a long time ago tried to share with C.J. Mahaney that what he said in one of his messages might be offensive etc. to some. When she tried to share this C.J. Mahaney immediately answered back claiming she had a “bad attitude” which is SGM’s typical “table turning” strategy. Even if someone has a “bad attitude” you would expect someone in CJ’s status to still be able to receive it.

    This incident was one of a few factors that caused her to leave CLC. Fortunately it opened her eyes.

  22. NJ wrote:

    Pastor: “I am observing that you lack trust in your leaders. Not only are you not bringing your pastors joy in this conversation, as you are commanded to do by the Bible, you are demonstrating sinful arrogance in your willingness to approach your busy leaders with a problem that has been Scripturally dealt with. In fact, I have a concern that you lack humility and believe that you need to spend time in prayer about your own serious issues. We will need to discuss whether you need to be disciplined as well.”

    This is part of an ACTUAL conversation? I would have some rather choice remarks for the pastor who said that to my face.

    I agree!! That was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen in my life. My jaw dropped. I had no idea these people were that twisted.

  23. “Over the past few years, we have regularly shared details on these matters privately with those who have approached us in good faith …” (SGM/SGC response)

    What about the “good faith” of the rest of us?! Are those judged to have “good faith” only if they listen and accept the words of church leaders without question? Is their faith ‘gooder’ than mine if I rise up and proclaim “Wait just a darn minute here, pastor!”? Is my faith only good faith if I walk the line, with unspoken rules guiding my walk rather than the Holy Spirit? Is my faith not good faith if I choose not to obey the rules of the game in a game that is fixed? Is my faith only good faith if it is blind faith?

    No, thank you, I’ll put my faith in Christ not men … that faith is good enough for me.

  24. Excellent original post. Pew sitters need to wise up with respect to these abusive leaders.

  25. I need to read that book, too. The excerpts nailed what I experienced when I tried to expose my abuser. I’m out, not allowed back, no one is allowed to contact me for the truth, and my abuser can talk all he wants. Major pastoral control issues in that church.

    My first thought about the conversation example is how easy it is for what in my life is a narcissist to turn any conversation around to be about my behavior and not his or the concerns I originally came with. It is all about them and their reputation. Is it not taught in the Bible that the first shall be last and the last shall be first? So sad that their reputation is more important the the lives of hurt people.

    I think it is brave of blogs like this one to be posting the truth. It is carefully researched and thoughtfully presented. A blog like this wouldn’t be necessary if church leaders weren’t providing the material for it. I see all too often that those leaders are the ones who sit in front of a computer and use emails and twitter and other social media to slander those whom they see as in opposition to them, never mind the sermons they preach in their cozy huge churches surrounded by adoring fans. Something like the pot calling the kettle black, maybe?

  26. oldtimer wrote:

    Be sure your sin will find you out.

    “There is nothing covered up which is not going to be exposed nor anything private which will not be made public. The things I tell you in the dark you must say in the daylight, and the things you hear in your private ear you must proclaim from the house-tops.” (Matthew 10:27 Phillips)

    The Internet has replaced “house-tops.”

  27. Augustine wrote:

    These 9 Marks guys are PhDs…they know better…or could know better..if they wanted to. Ignorance is one thing – blatant force, control and abuse of power toward the,”blood-bought ones” as Spurgeon would say, falls into another category altogether.

    Not all PhDs are equal, and not all people with PhDs have the ability to put two coherent thoughts together. Not all PhDs are knowledgeable, trained in disinterested research, or even possess the tools to truly educate themselves. Some people with advanced degree titles after their names are intellectual fakirs who are trained only in an idiosyncratic, narrow mode of thought and have essentially been anti-educated because they are indoctrinated. A kid fresh out of high school would be better equipped to discover answers to life’s questions than such a person. That probably describes every single person, bar none, among the 9Marks tribe who possesses a “PhD”.

  28. Pingback: Linkathon! - PhoenixPreacher UNITED STATES

  29. Max wrote:

    “Over the past few years, we have regularly shared details on these matters privately with those who have approached us in good faith …” (SGM/SGC response)

    What about the “good faith” of the rest of us?! Are those judged to have “good faith” only if they listen and accept the words of church leaders without question? Is their faith ‘gooder’ than mine if I rise up and proclaim “Wait just a darn minute here, pastor!”? Is my faith only good faith if I walk the line, with unspoken rules guiding my walk rather than the Holy Spirit? Is my faith not good faith if I choose not to obey the rules of the game in a game that is fixed? Is my faith only good faith if it is blind faith?

    No, thank you, I’ll put my faith in Christ not men … that faith is good enough for me.

    I once had a debate with our two leaders at the church where I was on the elder team, the ones who’d formerly been in SGM leadership. It was the final debate, the one that ended our time at the church for good. It did not matter what I said, how it exposed an inconsistency in their argument, how it showed they contradicted themselves or were flat out lying. It didn’t matter, integrity didn’t matter, the ultimate truth didn’t matter, I was told “But we’re the called leaders of God!”

    One must understand the paradigm from which these people come. “Good faith” by necessity is defined as listening to them, obeying them, because they truly believe (at least the ones who aren’t just completely faking it all a la Jim Jones) they alone in the fellowship have truly heard from God, they’re the only called leaders of God for the fellowship, and you have neither heard from God nor are a called leader. Thus, when you question them, you’re questioning God, when you disagree with them, you’re disagreeing with God, when you rebel against their leadership, you’re the same as Korah rebelling against Moses, and they think it’d be better if the ground swallowed you and your children up and all were buried alive—they’d love to see it in person. So when they don’t play fair, when they’re ruthless, when they lie, cheat and slander (and accuse others of doing precisely what they specialize in) they are not wrong, because they are called and you are not. They have every right to be ruthless because you’re an enemy of God Himself—you have rejected His called leader.

    Of course it’s nonsense on stilts, of course they think they’re the called leaders because they just think it to be so and accept it on raw faith. It gives their lives meaning, it must be so. Maybe they got some powerful feeling inside at the idea of becoming something big for the Kingdom when they were young men and took it as a special call from God and not for what it likely was, a young man’s narcissism (which, unchecked by reality, grows into a middle aged man’s personality disorder and an old man’s mental illness).

    Of course they ignore any part in the Bible about mutual submission, servant leadership, all being priests, the equality among the priesthood, about the absolute importance of every part of the Body of Christ. They just do not care. It doesn’t fit their reality.
    They know that special feeling inside, that special calling, and that trumps all—that’s their ultimate paradigm, so they find a thousand ways to explain the Bible away: “Well you see, there’s this parallel verse which explains that…That’s not what it means in the Koine Greek…That submission stuff is only for you to submit to each other, doesn’t apply from me to you…But I am submitting to you by bringing the truth of God’s word to you that you must unilaterally submit to me.”

    We just have to understand the powerful delusion over them and understand that trying to reason with people who have this belief system is throwing our valuables at the feet of vicious pigs.

  30. JDV wrote:

    “Not only are you not bringing your pastors joy in this conversation, as you are commanded to do by the Bible”

    Speaking of Biblical commands, there’s this given right after discussion in how to handle accusations against an ‘elder’: “But those who persist in sin should be rebuked in front of everyone, so that the others will stand in fear of sin” (1 John 5:20).

    Amen!

    That “not giving joy” shtick sounds like something Kim Jung-Un would say to one of his flunkies right before sending said flunky off to hard labor and round-the-clock torture.

  31. Lydia wrote:

    A good reason for free speech. Even speech we don’t like. The “don’t talk unless you agree with us rule” is everywhere.

    Yes! And as Dee observed, it is especially prevalent in corporations. There are so many parallels.

  32. Law Prof wrote:

    Of course they ignore any part in the Bible about mutual submission, servant leadership, all being priests, the equality among the priesthood, about the absolute importance of every part of the Body of Christ. They just do not care. It doesn’t fit their reality.

    We are a herd species and in any given venue you can rely on 75% of people to go with the flow. The problem is that for the lone dissenter, the one who speaks up, they will be tongue tied. They not only need to articulate their thoughts against an organized onslaught they are expected to speak with perfect reasoning all the while their emotional centers are going off the charts due to the relationship issues being played out.

    Next time you hear someone voice an objection badly, almost all are, take the time to help them clarify it. You might even find yourself in agreement.

    Lastly forget servant leadership and just stick with servant.

  33. I’ve never been so glad to be an “outsider”.

    Sure I’ve this type of “shut up” behavior in the corporate and even sports teams. Nearly got fired for standing up against an illegal operation…until they realized I was right and if they fired me then it was game over for them. The action never took place and even though it was stressful, I could sleep at night with a clear conscience.

    I can only imagine the stress when discipline can mean the loss of your family, your friends and even (at least the perceived) ire of God.

    Instant obedience…just add God.

  34. Thersites wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:

    Of course they ignore any part in the Bible about mutual submission, servant leadership, all being priests, the equality among the priesthood, about the absolute importance of every part of the Body of Christ. They just do not care. It doesn’t fit their reality.

    We are a herd species and in any given venue you can rely on 75% of people to go with the flow. The problem is that for the lone dissenter, the one who speaks up, they will be tongue tied. They not only need to articulate their thoughts against an organized onslaught they are expected to speak with perfect reasoning all the while their emotional centers are going off the charts due to the relationship issues being played out.

    Next time you hear someone voice an objection badly, almost all are, take the time to help them clarify it. You might even find yourself in agreement.

    Lastly forget servant leadership and just stick with servant.

    I totally agree with the servant leadership perspective you express, as in, just “servant”. Of course. That’s a true leader, one who toils in the shadows doing thankless stuff, putting their reputations and careers and even lives on the line, working a second job so that they won’t be a burden to anyone (like Paul of Tarsus) rather than burdening thousands (like Robert Morris), studying and learning so they can teach someone in need, giving their possessions to the poor, submitting to others, learning from others. That’s a church leader, that’s servant leadership. That’s all I meant by that. I understand how someone might be smacked in the face by that phrase, because they’ve heard the sociopath behind the pulpit describing themselves that way—something like the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea led by the Dear Leader, all of it an absurd hypocritical lie.

  35. Law Prof wrote:

    That’s all I meant by that.

    Understood, you’ve written enough here that I knew your meaning. I just have begun to detest the term “servant leadership” because “leadership” is so often emphasized and the “servant” part is forgotten.

  36. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    This from C.J. Mahaney’s sermon of March 4th, 2018:

    A Word to Young Men
    Titus 2:6-8
    CJ Mahaney
    March 4, 2018
    30:00-31:00 mark

    “Social media has removed all restraint, on social media people communicate from a keyboard and communicate what they would never say to someone face to face. Social media is a place where cowards are quite comfortable trafficking in mockery and slander, it is a world without restraint where self control is not welcome.”

    I should put this on a sign for Louisville, along with the words, “I’m here. Wanna talk?” Mahaney is probably too chicken to come out to the sidewalk and talk to a fat middle-aged woman. Kind of like Mark Driscoll. At least David Miscavige came out to the street and tried to use his “intention beams” on me.

  37. Thersites wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:

    That’s all I meant by that.

    Understood, you’ve written enough here that I knew your meaning. I just have begun to detest the term “servant leadership” because “leadership” is so often emphasized and the “servant” part is forgotten.

    Totally agreed. Truth be told, had a little twitch inside when I wrote that phrase myself. 🙂

  38. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    This from C.J. Mahaney’s sermon of March 4th, 2018:

    A Word to Young Men
    Titus 2:6-8
    CJ Mahaney
    March 4, 2018
    30:00-31:00 mark

    “Social media has removed all restraint, on social media people communicate from a keyboard and communicate what they would never say to someone face to face. Social media is a place where cowards are quite comfortable trafficking in mockery and slander, it is a world without restraint where self control is not welcome.”

    I should put this on a sign for Louisville, along with the words, “I’m here. Wanna talk?” Mahaney is probably too chicken to come out to the sidewalk and talk to a fat middle-aged woman. Kind of like Mark Driscoll. At least David Miscavige came out to the street and tried to use his “intention beams” on me.

    Amazing, the scientologist was at least willing to speak with you, the alleged Christians hiding like scared mice.

  39. Thersites wrote:

    I just have begun to detest the term “servant leadership” because “leadership” is so often emphasized and the “servant” part is forgotten.

    I think some leaders have must be a little dyslexic, since they seem to read it as “served leadership”…

    Aside from Church usage, though, I’ve had mostly positive experience with “servant leadership” humbly practiced in a secular context. But, I’m afraid, like many good ideas, once it enters through church doors its meaning seems to magically change…

  40. I’ll spell it out for these guys from Isaiah 5:20. I’ll even use the YRR, Neo-Cal-approved ESV, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

    These preacher boys are far too arrogant and self-absorbed to realize that God is sending plain, ordinary people to them to show them their error. However, Truth cannot be silenced. It might get suppressed for a season, but silenced–never!

  41. oldtimer wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    well said

    I remember a scripture that Billy Graham used often in his preaching.

    Be sure your sin will find you out.

    I like to read that scripture in its context where a specific promise has been made and Moses points out that failure to honour that promise will be a sin against God and will have consequences. See Numbers 32 for the full story. It’s a very interesting story.

  42. Max wrote:

    oldtimer wrote:

    Be sure your sin will find you out.

    “There is nothing covered up which is not going to be exposed nor anything private which will not be made public. The things I tell you in the dark you must say in the daylight, and the things you hear in your private ear you must proclaim from the house-tops.” (Matthew 10:27 Phillips)

    The Internet has replaced “house-tops.”

    Good scriptural reference that seems particularly relevant to what we are seeing today.

  43. “Sometimes supporters of victims can be over-zealous and can say and do things that rub establishment types up the wrong way. ”

    They do that because ‘establishment types’ are ignoring REAL abuse. Of course they were rubbed the wrong way! They were in the process of burying a problem and it refused to stay down.

  44. Lea wrote:

    Advocates are *advocates.*
    Advocates would be unnecessary if churches did the right thing.

    And, which ones of the advocates (for example, Rachel and our hosts) are making bank on their hours upon hours of efforts? One would think that there’d be some end game consistent with purportedly dastardly actions against unity etc. supposedly being perpetrated. Like you said, it’s appears to be about the authoritarians doing the right thing.

    There’s ample proof behind this, and scant proof against it. To be sure, if they had real proof of any actual malicious intent or actions by said advocates, the wagon-circlers would use it. Instead, their evidence appears to be on the thin side.

  45. Anonymous Grandma wrote:

    Churches could save themselves a lot of time, money, and embarrassment if they refused to give perpetrators a pass.

    The big problem for them is that the leadership would often be the ones to lose what they see is their entire way of life. Many of the abuse situations we’ve seen are either leaders or relatives of leaders. Others decide to be silent believing they might lose their jobs because the abusive leader is the one holding the power and the purse strings.

    Many of these big-name pastors make mega bucks and perks from their churches. They often don’t work a full 40 hours, and a good many I know spend one or more weekdays golfing. Reusing the same sermons over and over or buying sermons is common.

    Basically, their consciences are corrupted before the abuse is ever revealed. And many think if they can just manipulate the church as they have already been doing for years, the problem will just go away.

  46. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    At least David Miscavige came out to the street and tried to use his “intention beams” on me.

    “Intention Beams”?
    Is that anything like putting a Hex on you by the Evil Eye?

  47. Augustine wrote:

    These 9 Marks guys are PhDs…they know better…or could know better..if they wanted to.

    1) That assumes their PhDs are not Honorary Doctorates bestowed by another 9 Marks PhD or a diploma mill.

    2) “A nudnik is an idiot. A phudnik is a nudnik with a PhD.” – Goy’s Guide to Common Jewish Expressions

  48. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Aside from Church usage, though, I’ve had mostly positive experience with “servant leadership” humbly practiced in a secular context. But, I’m afraid, like many good ideas, once it enters through church doors its meaning seems to magically change…

    My Dear Wormwood,

    I refer you to my previous epistle on Semantics, specifically the redefinition of words into their Diabolical Meanings. Nowhere do we corrupt so effectively as at the very foot of the Enemy’s altar!

    Your Ravenously Affectionate Uncle,
    Screwtape

  49. Law Prof wrote:

    powerful delusion over them

    LP, you and I have been on similar journeys. You see it, you can’t un-see it; you know it, because it’s in your ‘knower.’ I truly believe we have been where we’ve been in our walk of faith to come out on the other side to inform and warn others.

    There is indeed a powerful delusion cast over certain corners of the church; they believe a lie.

  50. Max wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    powerful delusion over them
    LP, you and I have been on similar journeys. You see it, you can’t un-see it; you know it, because it’s in your ‘knower.’

    You’ve taken the Red Pill, and have seen how deep the rabbit hole goes.

  51. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    1) That assumes their PhDs are not Honorary Doctorates bestowed by another 9 Marks PhD or a diploma mill.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t work with 9Marks founder Mark Dever. His M.Div. is from Gordon-Conwell, his Master of Theology from SBTS, and Ph.D. in church history from Cambridge. You can’t hardly argue with those credentials.

    Problem is, he’s lost sight of the gospel of Jesus for a narrow, legalistic interpretation that’s more law than gospel. And, I believe that interpretation can encourage abuse.

    For an even more constipated view of what’s holy, read some of Jonathan Leeman’s articles at 9Marks. And his credentials too are top-notch.

    Hey, our struggle is not against flesh and blood here.

  52. Thersites wrote:

    We are a herd species and in any given venue you can rely on 75% of people to go with the flow. The problem is that for the lone dissenter, the one who speaks up, they will be tongue tied. They not only need to articulate their thoughts against an organized onslaught they are expected to speak with perfect reasoning all the while their emotional centers are going off the charts due to the relationship issues being played out.

    My thought is that this is why they probably try and remove the other 25% that don’t go with the flow. You use to hear about and see people leaving (usually being “asked” to leave). My guess is that if they remove those who don’t go with the flow then they can continue to have the other 75% that do go with the flow.

  53. @ ishy:

    “Basically, their consciences are corrupted before the abuse is ever revealed. And many think if they can just manipulate the church as they have already been doing for years, the problem will just go away.”

    I think this sums it up. Never assume good intentions. I say this specifically because I once heard a mega pastor tell The audience to “always assume good intentions on the part of leadership”. That just went right through me knowing what I knew at the time. The nerve! Pure manipulation which is a corrupted conscience. If the audiences only knew how much they look down upon them.

    As to the work ethic and why they are there, I could write a book and maybe I will. The motivations with these types are interesting and don’t start with money but eventually that becomes a comfort and measurement.

  54. Do you all think that c j and others read this blog and the comments? Do you think they’re curious?

  55. The don’t talk rule and the way someone who points out a problem is made out as the problem themselves is eerily similar to what happens under brutal dictatorships. Pick any of them over the last 100 years and you see a very similar dynamic. Those who would speak out don’t because it makes them targets. Everyone tiptoes around the leader. It’s rule by fear, nothing more. The spiritual gloss isn’t shiny enough to hide that for anyone with eyes to see.

  56. Abigail wrote:

    Do you all think that c j and others read this blog and the comments? Do you think they’re curious?

    They surely have their lieutenants monitoring the watchblogs and alerting them when their names come up. Robert Morris, Pastor, Gateway Church warned church members to stop listening to gossip in the blogosphere, calling blogs “Satan’s Hit List.” Of course, he didn’t want them reading stuff about him. Leaders of the New Calvinist movement, like C.J., must be very concerned that they will hit the list. They call bloggers accusers of the brethren, rather than watchmen on the wall.

    To C.J.’s lieutenants reading this: Do the right thing – leave that mess behind – there’s freedom in Christ.

  57. @ Ted:
    Agreed. What a tragedy that Dever and gang have alienated so many Christians including yours truly. And yes, I am indeed a follower of Christ.

  58. Steve240 wrote:

    My thought is that this is why they probably try and remove the other 25% that don’t go with the flow.

    In my case I wasn’t asked to leave, it just became my only option. Even those who disagreed but didn’t speak up have since left. Unless they have recruited a lot, which they haven’t, I imagine the percentage of independent thinkers is now down in single digits.

  59. Dever’s studies were not pastoral, and boy does it show. Capitol Hill Baptist was devastated by his predecessor’s sexual sin. Dever saw an opportunity to implement his theories at the weakened church:

    From a puff piece interview of Mark Dever several years ago by World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky:

    https://world.wng.org/2014/11/mark_dever_a_marked_ministry

    “I had been preparing for 10 years to teach historical theology, so I was not aiming at pastoral ministry, but they had lost their previous pastor under unfortunate circumstances. I preached Sunday morning, and Sunday night was praying about the situation. I felt strangely, subjectively called to pastor that church.”

  60. @ Deb:

    Curious why Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist, “Healthy Church Model” has to have 6 female “Biblical” counselors on staff for a church membership of less than 800, with, say…300-400 women? Pretty high ratio of counselors to members for such a “healthy” model.

  61. Muff Potter wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    2) “A nudnik is an idiot. A phudnik is a nudnik with a PhD.” – Goy’s Guide to Common Jewish Expressions

    HA! I love Jewish lore and humor.

    Me, too! One of my favorite FB peeps is a Jewish guy who lists his education as: “Studied Suffering at UCLA.” Cracks me up every time.

    One time he was giving a presentation to important would-be clients. He kept wondering why everyone was staring raptly and intently at his face. Turned out he had a “Made in China” sticker stuck to his forehead.

    How can anyone not love a guy like that?

  62. Ted wrote:

    Ph.D.

    Real PhDs (research, scholarship, and all that) are great, as is real faith. Don’t know that they always come in pairs. A collegemate went on to seminary and then Ivy League grad school (for his real PhD). He now teaches at Harvard, sans faith. Somehow that got lost on the way. His scholarhip in his field is excellent. Unfortunately, his faith didn’t survive.

    However, those faking their faith? (And their PhD)? Casper ten Boom said it best, “A mouse in the cookie jar is not a cookie”. Then the ten Booms all proved their authentic faith, tested as faithful in the Holocaust, unto death. Nothing fake about that.

    Best to stay out of the Cookie Jar with a mouse if one is a real cookie. Mice eat cookies.

  63. Max wrote:

    Knowledge does not equal wisdom.

    Exactly. See my last comment about the professor friend at Harvard.

  64. Max wrote:

    Knowledge does not equal wisdom.

    I’d prefer an honest atheist to a fake Christian any day of the week. Jesus saved his most intense criticism for the religious elite that were of the other tribe, beneath their facade.

  65. Lydia wrote:

    I could write a book and maybe I will

    Lydia, you’ve been writing a book in short segments for several years on various blogs. If you pull all that truth together in book form, I’d read it again!

  66. Dever fanboy reporting what he learned attending a 9Marx ‘weekender’:

    https://www.adamsetser.com/blog/2016/3/31/capitol-hill-baptist-church-weekender-conference-debriefing

    “Mark gave up a career in the Academy and moved from Cambridge, England, where he did his PhD work, resolved to, at the very least, pastor those cranky sheep to the grave (his words) and move on if God didn’t move. Since he began ministry in 1994, God has moved…They are known as the church that’s all about *the Church*—church polity, church government, doctrine of the church, church membership, church discipline, the works.”

  67. @ Max:
    Lol. Thanks, Max.

    @ Paul:

    (Blushing) thanks Paul.

    I almost started to publish my experiences a while back of witnessing then experiencing spiritual abuse across several venues but frankly, my family has been put through enough. And, I was well aware of what they would face all over again.. My kids had already been targeted when they were younger and it was best to cut all ties and think of their future and we needed time. One thing I determined is we don’t stay victims. We eat our wheaties!

  68. @ Deb:

    Deb – Was hoping you would think that. I doubt those churches that adopt the “Dare to Discipline” model of 9 Marks realize that they better also plan on onboarding counselors at a ratio of about 1 female counselor to about every 50-60 women. Something is very wrong there.

  69. Jerome wrote:

    Dever fanboy reporting what he learned attending a 9Marx ‘weekender’:

    https://www.adamsetser.com/blog/2016/3/31/capitol-hill-baptist-church-weekender-conference-debriefing

    “Mark gave up a career in the Academy and moved from Cambridge, England, where he did his PhD work, resolved to, at the very least, pastor those cranky sheep to the grave (his words) and move on if God didn’t move. Since he began ministry in 1994, God has moved…They are known as the church that’s all about *the Church*—church polity, church government, doctrine of the church, church membership, church discipline, the works.”

    I notice “God,” “Jesus,” and “the Holy Spirit” missing. Dever is all about doctrine and organization and that’s not a good thing. Mark, you can ask me about it in Louisville, if you can bring yourself to leave the green room and come out to the sidewalk to talk to me.

  70. More:

    https://www.adamsetser.com/blog/2016/3/31/capitol-hill-baptist-church-weekender-conference-debriefing

    “One story Matt Schmucker told us…they chose to knock down a historic Victorian house to put a parking lot there, despite the picketers and pleas of the community. They won no friends there. One day as he was walking home, he heard some from the community refer to CHBC as the bane of the community”

    [Jerome: Guess what? Dever’s “generous neighbor” who bankrolled 9Marks’s startup to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, is married to a major player in DC’s historic preservation community. I’m guessing no further Victorian houses have been torn down by Dever and Co.?]

  71. There was a bit about God, Dever saying he’d walk away from the battered congregation if “God didn’t move.” Dever got his way there.

  72. Augustine wrote:

    Pretty high ratio of counselors to members for such a “healthy” model.

    The Soviets called them minders.

    I need to stop channeling HUG.

  73. Jerome wrote:

    Dever fanboy reporting what he learned attending a 9Marx ‘weekender’:
    https://www.adamsetser.com/blog/2016/3/31/capitol-hill-baptist-church-weekender-conference-debriefing
    “Mark gave up a career in the Academy and moved from Cambridge, England, where he did his PhD work, resolved to, at the very least, pastor those cranky sheep to the grave (his words) and move on if God didn’t move. Since he began ministry in 1994, God has moved…They are known as the church that’s all about *the Church*—church polity, church government, doctrine of the church, church membership, church discipline, the works.”

    Yikes!…looks like another SBTS student who drank the Kool-Aid! It’s interesting that his article left out the fact that Dever’s organization was once called, “The Center for Church Reform” before it was changed to 9-Marx. That whole article just seemed over-the-top with his giddiness to go out there and start disciplining church members!
    I scrolled down to his picture and he looks like he’s 12, or something! It’s sad that these kids look to Dever and Capitol Hill Baptist as the standard of how church ought to be done.
    Maybe they ought to check out I Corinthians 13 instead.

  74. This is in all kinds of churches. When I was a new Christian, I saw it immediately at a friend’s Baptist church Sunday School class. I was just a new bible reading believer, but the teacher said some things that made me blurt out questions.. “Wait a minute”. He finally grabbed me to the side and said “Don’t back me in a corner, boy!” I’m serious.

    I have no problem with authority though.. but I only accept it in creedal authority. And you have every right to question a church’s dogma (be it Orthodox/Catholic/Lutheran/etc) if they have creeds and still go against it. That’s the authority that’s higher than you both, with an accepted belief that these councils and creeds were guided by the Holy Spirit. Anything outside of those creeds are fair game and up for debate. Only no name Protestants want to be unquestionable about every single matter, and create a cult of personality around Pastor Fred or Joe.

  75. ^ I should add that Papal authority can have the same personality cult too. They’re in a funny position of having both creeds and a pope. Yet we’re seeing at this moment various cardinals and bishops now questioning the Pope and holding him accountable (like Francis airing recent opinions being open to flexible divorce rules.. which Catholics historically have been against and forbidden by Christ himself in the gospels). I’m interested in what comes of that. But for the most part, it’s the smaller pastor-centered churches that try to get away with this authority.

  76. Ken wrote:

    I was just a new bible reading believer, but the teacher said some things that made me blurt out questions.. “Wait a minute”. He finally grabbed me to the side and said “Don’t back me in a corner, boy!” I’m serious.

    It is not just churches. I had two personal experiences with that sort of thing when I was in med school, when I called out some attending who was lecturing-once in pediatrics and once in OB.

    The first time (pediatrics) he was flat wrong about something. I had just pulled a night shift as an RN in the same hospital where there was a patient who proved him flat wrong, and I opened my mouth with ‘oh, but upstairs in room XYZ….’. You would have thought I had brought the world to a halt-the fury of that guy. Scare the wits out of me at the time.

    And once was a year later when I called the bluff of an OB guy who threw a question at us which we had no way of knowing and then said ‘shall we ask the nurses’. I of course said ‘let’s ask the nurses’, knowing that they did have a remote chance of knowing that particular thing. He asked the nurses, they did not know, my fellow classmates were terrified of what would happen next. What happened next which was at the end of the course was that the department head offered me a residency in OB/GYN.

    Moral of the story: you just never know when you open your mouth what will result. They did not throw me out of school. I did not go into OB/GYN, and the earth did not stop rotating.

    Good to meet you Ken. Been there and done that also. Of course, there is this story out there of this historical figure who also did not keep his mouth shut and he ended up executed as a criminal. Something about a cross, I think. So….dangerous behavior I am thinking.

  77. okrapod wrote:

    you just never know when you open your mouth what will result

    Very true.

    Or open your blog and start posting.
    Or post a tweet.
    Truth to power.

  78. Root 66 wrote:

    Dever’s organization was once called, “The Center for Church Reform”

    Which really means “The Center for Calvinist Reform”

  79. Root 66 wrote:

    looks like another SBTS student who drank the Kool-Aid

    He’ll do just fine in New Calvinist ranks. He’s already earned some brownie points by flattering Dever.

  80. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    I notice “God,” “Jesus,” and “the Holy Spirit” missing.

    Welcome to New Calvinism! Where the Calvinist God reigns, the precious name of Jesus is seldom spoken, and the Holy Spirit receives little attention.

  81. Ken wrote:

    the teacher said some things that made me blurt out questions … He finally grabbed me to the side and said “Don’t back me in a corner, boy!”

    Sounds like you encountered one of them John Calvinists we hear so much about!

  82. https://baptistnews.com/article/witness-larry-nassar-case-calls-evangelicals-double-standard-sexual-abuse/#.Wp_-FujwbIW

    “Penn State University is a byword for sexual assault scandals, yet it took Penn State a mere six days to commission a truly independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jerry Sandusky,” she said. “It took Michigan State University an excruciating 17 months to finally request a similar investigation into the Larry Nassar case.”

    “Yet, it has been more than seven years and Sovereign Grace has steadfastly refused this sort of accountability in the face of multiple instances of abuse within the organization,” she continued, “even though they have been asked multiple times to clear the air.” – Rachel Denhollander

    Denhollander, a graduate of the Oak Brook College of Law, called for “a transparent, public, independent investigation” into allegations never brought to trial because the lawsuit was dismissed due to legal technicalities.

  83. Ken wrote:

    Yet we’re seeing at this moment various cardinals and bishops now questioning the Pope and holding him accountable (like Francis airing recent opinions being open to flexible divorce rules.. which Catholics historically have been against and forbidden by Christ himself in the gospels)

    This is nothing new. The Roman Catholic church has always had lots of differing opinions in its ranks. Reading some interesting stuff about reforming catholics who laid the groundwork for Luther’s reformation. They too railed against the excesses of the elite clergy, just didn’t have the technology to get the message out.

  84. Max wrote:

    Root 66 wrote:

    looks like another SBTS student who drank the Kool-Aid

    He’ll do just fine in New Calvinist ranks. He’s already earned some brownie points by flattering Dever.

    ‘Flattering’ is an understatement. That boy laid it on pretty thick in that post! It made my stomach churn. Our former YRR pastor made the mistake of giving his “Weekender” notebook to me. After studying it, it appears to me that Dever spotted a soft target of vulnerable people in a bad situation at Capitol Hill and exploited it to his own advantage. That’s some mighty commendable pastoring skills, right there, isn’t it?!?

    Sadly, that’s the M.O. of many of the Reformed kids coming out of Southern Seminary right now…and they’re coming to a congregation near you!

  85. JYJames wrote:

    ” … it took Penn State a mere six days to commission a truly independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jerry Sandusky … it has been more than seven years and Sovereign Grace has steadfastly refused this sort of accountability …”
    (Rachel Denhollander)

    Good examples of the world holding abusers accountable, while some corners of the church do not. America essentially demanded that something be done about the Penn State mess; the American church is giving SGM an undeserved pass. There’s a big difference in being put through the wringer by the national media, than being the subject of Christian blogs. TWW and other watchblogs have done an outstanding job in keeping the pressure on Mahaney & SGM, but the matter is largely ignored in mainline Christianity. I don’t expect much change unless the national media do an episode on Mahaney/SGM … like airing on 20/20, 60 Minutes, Frontline, or a national network series on abuse in the American church (there’s lots of fodder for that!). Ms. Denhollander’s national stage at this point might precipitate such media coverage. SGM would be wise to allow a truly independent auditor (paid by somebody else) to look into the allegations before CBS/NBC/ABC investigators get wind of the opportunity.

  86. okrapod wrote:

    Moral of the story: you just never know when you open your mouth what will result. They did not throw me out of school. I did not go into OB/GYN, and the earth did not stop rotating.

    Wise words these. Certainly you have to pick your battles but when it comes to church what’s the worst they can do? “Excommunication”? It would almost be a blessing in some cases.

    Unfortunately I know that it isn’t that simple. When the church community is your only source of support then it’s a different ball game. We’ve even seen cases discussed here where jobs have been lost, careers wrecked, adoptions sabotaged, families split.

    My best advice to anyone is diversify your life. Don’t ever let one “group” (church, sport team, company, even family) become your sole support. For me it was a hard learned lesson.

  87. Root 66 wrote:

    Sadly, that’s the M.O. of many of the Reformed kids coming out of Southern Seminary right now … and they’re coming to a congregation near you!

    Al Mohler and the T4G/TGC cast of characters will be held accountable for this some day.

  88. JYJames wrote:

    Denhollander, a graduate of the Oak Brook College of Law, called for “a transparent, public, independent investigation” into allegations never brought to trial because the lawsuit was dismissed due to legal technicalities.

    Is this the same “Oak Brook College of Law” founded by Bill Gothard & Co.? If so, there’s some irony or karma in there somewhere!

  89. Ken wrote:

    ^ I should add that Papal authority can have the same personality cult too. They’re in a funny position of having both creeds and a pope. Yet we’re seeing at this moment various cardinals and bishops now questioning the Pope and holding him accountable (like Francis airing recent opinions being open to flexible divorce rules.. which Catholics historically have been against and forbidden by Christ himself in the gospels). I’m interested in what comes of that. But for the most part, it’s the smaller pastor-centered churches that try to get away with this authority.

    Yes! Amoris Laetitiae. So, so worrisome. But Francis cannot change Church Teaching even if he wants to. I know it’s a bad thing to say, but I pray for the end of this pontificate. No, I am not praying for the pope’s death. For his resignation, maybe. I feel guilty about that…but Cardinal Sarah for pope! Make it so, Lord, please!

    I do believe that Francis has done much good. His focus on social justice is good. His openness to the people is good. His rejection of the luxurious papal apartments is good. But I am deeply concerned about Amoris Laetitiae. I trust in Jesus to make it all right!

    You are right about the cult of personality around recent popes. It has given rise to a new ultramontanism. We need to remember that Paul stood up to Peter, the first pope…and that Saint Catherine of Siena read the riot act to the pope of her day. We honor the man. We don’t worship him.

    Thank you for your thoughtful, insightful posts!

  90. Max wrote:

    Al Mohler and the T4G/TGC cast of characters will be held accountable for this some day.

    I just pray that the “Lord of the Harvest” can help us minister to the damaged souls left in the wake of this shameful “movement!”

  91. Root 66 wrote:

    I just pray that the “Lord of the Harvest” can help us minister to the damaged souls left in the wake of this shameful “movement!”

    New Calvinism will certainly represent one of the greatest mission fields on the planet for the true Gospel if/when the bubble breaks. Unfortunately, if it’s like previous movements of aberrant faith, multitudes of deceived and disillusioned followers may never try church again.

  92. Root 66 wrote:

    I just pray that the “Lord of the Harvest” can help us minister to the damaged souls left in the wake of this shameful “movement!”

    My family and I have “rescued” a few young people from the grips of New Calvinism in our area. The problem has been where to point them to next after we’ve discipled them a while. The American church is such a mess!

  93. Root 66 wrote:

    ‘Flattering’ is an understatement. That boy laid it on pretty thick in that post!

    How thick? Kneepads-and-mouthwash thick?

  94. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Servant leadership in professional settings tends to mean some combination of management pitching in occasionally and not being a jerk.

    That doesn’t seem to be be way it plays out in church.

  95. Max wrote:

    SGM would be wise to allow a truly independent auditor (paid by somebody else) to look into the allegations before CBS/NBC/ABC investigators get wind of the opportunity.

    HA!! You’d think that the smartest man on the planet (Mohler) would see that coming and make adjustments accordingly in the better interests of his religion’s survival.
    Or do they feel they’re as invincible as the Japanese imperial navy once thought they were?

  96. Max wrote:

    The American church is such a mess!

    I never realized the relevance of II Timothy 3:1-9 to the Neo-Cal movement until just now…especially verses 4-5,

    “…treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”

    Folks, the wolves are not outside the church so much anymore, as much as they are standing in the pulpits all across America scattering and devouring His precious sheep!

  97. @ John:
    The don’t talk rule cannot help but lead to groupthink and poor decision making on the part of ‘leaders’. I think that contributes when you see so many utterly stupid decisions being made.

  98. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    At least David Miscavige came out to the street and tried to use his “intention beams” on me.

    Whoa… Miscavige actually walked out of his plush, cozy offices, onto the street, and tried to “confront and shatter” you in person!?

    You must’ve been carrying a really nasty sign to get that kind of attention. 😉

  99. Ken wrote:

    ^ I should add that Papal authority can have the same personality cult too. They’re in a funny position of having both creeds and a pope. Yet we’re seeing at this moment various cardinals and bishops now questioning the Pope and holding him accountable (like Francis airing recent opinions being open to flexible divorce rules.. which Catholics historically have been against and forbidden by Christ himself in the gospels). I’m interested in what comes of that. But for the most part, it’s the smaller pastor-centered churches that try to get away with this authority.

    Except in “smaller pastor-centered churches” (even Mega pastor-centered churches) there’s NOBODY to call the top guy when he oversteps.

    Remember Papal Infallibility? First proposed by a Pope (one of the Piuses) back in the mid-19th Century. His original proposal was the type of Pastor Infallibility you get from the two Douggies, Marky-Mark, or Head Apostle Cee Jay. However, such a major change in policy required consensus from ALL the bishops, i.e. a Church Council.

    So Vatican I(?) was convened, the Pope proposed his open-ended Infallibility, the bishops said “B.S. you will”, and the knock-down-drag-out was on. (What really happened at a lot of church councils gets cleaned up in the history books…)

    When the dust settled, the Pope did get his Infallibility, but with a LOT of prerequisites and restrictions. Infallibility would invoke ONLY when specifically making a binding ruling Ex Cathedra on an important matter of Faith and Morals (in the manner of a Supreme Court decision ruling on a controversial appeal), and must not go against Scripture or Tradition (in the manner of conforming to legal precedent).

    Since then, I think you can count the number of such Ex Cathedara rulings on the fingers of one hand. They don’t happen often.

  100. Jerome wrote:

    Wow, six “Biblical Counselors for Women” and one “Biblical Counselor for Men.”

    That is strange.

    My guess is it’s about men only working with men and vice versa, so pastors can ‘disciple’/counsel men? Or maybe it helps the staffing ratios not be crazy uneven.

  101. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Yes, smaller pastor-centered churches have no checks or balances, and it can get very strange and/or contentious as people jockey for power.

    Twenty years ago I attended a small church that was near my home and had a ministry focus that interested me. I thought I had done my research, but then I found out about the:
    -Deacon’s wife who sat in a car in the parking lot during service because she was “out of fellowship.” That is how she “attended” church.
    -The music minister who refused to download music or erased the downloads (there wasn’t always a guitar player for Sunday morning) because he would be angry with someone on the worship team.
    -The deacon who refused to attend service because of the “satanic” pumpkin in the fall floral display in the sanctuary.
    -Final straw, Mr. Creepy Custodian who turned out to be a homeless person with mental health issues. He started calling the young women in the church directory in the middle of the night, breathing heavily into the phone. It did not seem to be a problem, except for the young women who fled the church and changed their numbers. The guy was finally arrested for a parole violation. He had KEYS to the church and was around children.I said something to leadership and was told “no worries, we keep an eye on him.”

    I fled after six months and shortly after the church folded. But, no one talked, no one seemed to think it was strange, and the pastor seemed powerless. it almost sounds like it has the makings of a Steven King novel.

  102. Thersites wrote:

    Augustine wrote:

    Pretty high ratio of counselors to members for such a “healthy” model.

    The Soviets called them minders.

    I need to stop channeling HUG.

    Channeling HUG is a Good Thing, LOL.

  103. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Ken wrote:

    ^ I should add that Papal authority can have the same personality cult too. They’re in a funny position of having both creeds and a pope. Yet we’re seeing at this moment various cardinals and bishops now questioning the Pope and holding him accountable (like Francis airing recent opinions being open to flexible divorce rules.. which Catholics historically have been against and forbidden by Christ himself in the gospels). I’m interested in what comes of that. But for the most part, it’s the smaller pastor-centered churches that try to get away with this authority.

    Except in “smaller pastor-centered churches” (even Mega pastor-centered churches) there’s NOBODY to call the top guy when he oversteps.

    Remember Papal Infallibility? First proposed by a Pope (one of the Piuses) back in the mid-19th Century. His original proposal was the type of Pastor Infallibility you get from the two Douggies, Marky-Mark, or Head Apostle Cee Jay. However, such a major change in policy required consensus from ALL the bishops, i.e. a Church Council.

    So Vatican I(?) was convened, the Pope proposed his open-ended Infallibility, the bishops said “B.S. you will”, and the knock-down-drag-out was on. (What really happened at a lot of church councils gets cleaned up in the history books…)

    When the dust settled, the Pope did get his Infallibility, but with a LOT of prerequisites and restrictions. Infallibility would invoke ONLY when specifically making a binding ruling Ex Cathedra on an important matter of Faith and Morals (in the manner of a Supreme Court decision ruling on a controversial appeal), and must not go against Scripture or Tradition (in the manner of conforming to legal precedent).

    Since then, I think you can count the number of such Ex Cathedara rulings on the fingers of one hand. They don’t happen often.

    Eggzackly. Ultramontanism was soundly defeated at VCI. A lot of people — including a lot of Catholics — don’t realize that.

    I love how you alluded to the messiness of councils. Kinda like: You don’t want to see how the sausage is made. I understand I Nicea was like that. Very colorful, full of plots and intrigues. Someone should write an historical novel set during I Nicaea.

    (Speaking of which: My husband and I used to joke that. once we retired, we’d collaborate on an historical novel about Justinian and Theodora. Based on Procopius, of course — it doesn’t get much juicier than that. Maybe we still might give it a try one of these days, after both of our kids are settled. Older son is currently teaching ESL in China; younger son is about to begin graduate studies in international relations; he may end up living abroad as well. Once the dust is settled, we can see what our old age has in store. :D)

  104. Jerome wrote:

    Wow, six “Biblical Counselors for Women” and one “Biblical Counselor for Men.”

    What’s up with that?

    The men call the shots so have less “issues”. Women probably need to be constantly “reeducated”.

    Or there’s more women than men in the church – I understand attracting outside guys is an issue. My Grandpa hated going to church, my Dad hated going to church, I hate going to church. Or that could be just Jack’s family tradition.

  105. ___

    If we claim to have fellowship with Jesus, and yet walk persistently in 501(c)3 church darkness, we lie and do not live out ‘His’ truth…

    “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
     
    “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” ― Martin Luther

    *

    Reverend Charles Mahaney spoke:

    “Social media has removed all restraint, on social media people communicate from a keyboard and communicate what they would never say to someone face to face. Social media is a place where cowards are quite comfortable trafficking in mockery and slander, it is a world without restraint where self control is not welcome. -‘A Word to Young Men’; Titus 2:6-8; CJ Mahaney;
    March 4, 2018; From The Expensive Seats – 30:00-31:00 minute mark”

    ***

    Right Reverend Charles Joseph Mahaney,

    hmmm…

    Social media is now highlighting and combating 501(c)3 abuse, spreading the word, and aiding the victims who are (and have been) ill-treated in these present day ‘select’ 501(c)3 nefariously toxic church environments. On social media, people are communicate from a keyboard, or a speech processor, and communicating what they would – to someone Face to Face ‘if’ 501(c)3 non-profit organizational officials would only take the time to listen. Social media is now a place where bold individuals are highlighting, and furthering the deeds of the religious heros of days long past. Bold individuals dedicated to fighting for integrity, honesty, and truth, in the 501(c)3 church environment. It is becoming a world where 501(c)3 abusers are being restrained by the ‘general’ public; —an environment where personal self-respect, and determination, and truth, are always welcome…

    The best is yet to come!

    Quack! Quack!

    (grin)

    Sòpy

    intermission:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLrBCN9J9Pbkke0w3vR7qqoea19F1mtIcg&v=iVa1t2IEbfc
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WX_96uKZ7yQ
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qnoxKXkPqEE

    ;~)

    – –

  106. Linn wrote:

    smaller pastor-centered churches have no checks or balances, and it can get very strange and/or contentious as people jockey for power

    Yep, not all that’s wrong in the American church can be laid at the feet of the New Calvinists. I’ve experienced similar things that you have noted in “traditional” church as well – some strange characters are church members. My own daughter, a pastor’s wife, was chastised by a deacon’s wife for holding a church rummage sale to raise money for their children’s ministry – her sin was holding the sale in the church fellowship hall, which was viewed as money-changers in the temple.

  107. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    “Social media has removed all restraint, on social media people communicate from a keyboard and communicate what they would never say to someone face to face. Social media is a place where cowards are quite comfortable trafficking in mockery and slander, it is a world without restraint where self control is not welcome.” (C.J. Mahaney)

    Actually, I believe if Mahaney was on stage at an “open meeting” hosted by an unbiased third-party, he would find plenty of brave souls in the audience to question and hold him to account for his failed leadership in the SGM mess; he has done harm to the Body of Christ – they need an opportunity to let him know that face-to-face.

  108. Linn wrote:

    Yes, smaller pastor-centered churches have no checks and balances…

    -Final straw, Mr. Creepy Custodian who turned out to be a homeless person with mental health issues. He started calling the young women in the church directory in the middle of the night, breathing heavily into the phone. It did not seem to be a problem, except for the young women who fled the church and changed their numbers. The guy was finally arrested for a parole violation. He had KEYS to the church and was around children.I said something to leadership and was told “no worries, we keep an eye on him.”

    And here’s the edifference, he was low-functioning (and was fed to the authorities). It’s the high-functioning ones who seem just as normal as others or even the coolest ones in the room that are allowed to burrow even further. Not only do they inflict the harm, but then they too often get shielded and shuttled around.

    The same ones victimized by the creepy custodian and reporting it to the police in this case are the ones who face an additional threshold of the authoritarian protectorate at way too many churches. What was that warning in the book of James about being respecters of persons based on outside appearances?

  109. Linn wrote:

    Deacon’s wife who sat in a car in the parking lot during service because she was “out of fellowship.”

    Wow.

  110. Jack wrote:

    Jerome wrote:

    Wow, six “Biblical Counselors for Women” and one “Biblical Counselor for Men.”
    //
    The men call the shots so have less “issues”. Women probably need to be constantly “reeducated”.

    I’m pretty sure that’s the case. Their main purpose for biblical counseling is to get people to stay in line.

    From everything I’ve heard about church discipline, women are much more likely to be disciplined. I think TWW has covered very few cases of church discipline of men.

    I do think sexism is at the root of much of church discipline since much of they hierarchy depends on subjugation of women. And even if people go along with it, they probably won’t feel comfortable with it. But I also think some men may be more likely to refuse counseling and just leave the church than some women.

  111. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    “Social media has removed all restraint, on social media people communicate from a keyboard and communicate what they would never say to someone face to face. Social media is a place where cowards are quite comfortable trafficking in mockery and slander, it is a world without restraint where self control is not welcome.” (C.J. Mahaney)

    I bet Mahaney repeats that at the T4G conference during the “heartbreak” segment of his talk on “Holiness, Hope and Heartbreak in Pastoral Ministry.” He may even get a standing ovation!

  112. Linn wrote:

    Deacon’s wife who sat in a car in the parking lot during service because she was “out of fellowship.” That is how she “attended” church.

    Great time to go shopping.

  113. Lydia wrote:

    Linn wrote:

    Deacon’s wife who sat in a car in the parking lot during service because she was “out of fellowship.” That is how she “attended” church.

    Great time to go shopping.

    Or great time to look for another church after dragging her sorry husband out of there by his ear!

  114. ishy wrote:

    From everything I’ve heard about church discipline, women are much more likely to be disciplined.

    I would really love to see some hard data on this! I mean, I know that they don’t keep it. But it would be very, very interesting.

  115. Don’t know how many know this already, but while trolling around on the T4G site, it appears that C.J. Mahaney has withdrawn as a speaker at the conference. See for yourselves:

    http://t4g.org/announcement/

    “Given the recent, renewed controversy surrounding Sovereign Grace Churches and me individually, I have decided to withdraw from the 2018 T4G conference.”

  116. Lydia wrote:

    Linn wrote:
    Deacon’s wife who sat in a car in the parking lot during service because she was “out of fellowship.” That is how she “attended” church.

    Great time to go shopping.

    Brunch with the girls. Let the husband call a cab.

  117. Root 66 wrote:

    Don’t know how many know this already, but while trolling around on the T4G site, it appears that C.J. Mahaney has withdrawn as a speaker at the conference. See for yourselves:

    http://t4g.org/announcement/

    :O

    I am shocked! Is there some separation at last?

    And I bet it wasn’t all his decision.

  118. I totally don’t buy his “I’m totally innocent and you all are just mean to make me do this spiel.” His vigorous defense of himself just makes him look worse. If he was truly wise, he would have left all that out.

  119. Root 66 wrote:

    http://t4g.org/announcement/

    “Given the recent, renewed controversy surrounding Sovereign Grace Churches and me individually, I have decided to withdraw from the 2018 T4G conference.”

    I just read the entire announcement. I’ll pull a New Calvinist trick and take text out of context by using the same Scripture that Mahaney closes with in his announcement to express my sentiments:

    “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23).

  120. Root 66 wrote:

    Don’t know how many know this already, but while trolling around on the T4G site, it appears that C.J. Mahaney has withdrawn as a speaker at the conference. See for yourselves:

    http://t4g.org/announcement/

    “Given the recent, renewed controversy surrounding Sovereign Grace Churches and me individually, I have decided to withdraw from the 2018 T4G conference.”

    This!
    Maybe this is actually working! Praise God!

  121. ishy wrote:

    I totally don’t buy his “I’m totally innocent and you all are just mean to make me do this spiel.”

    False humility always tries to come across as taking the high road. Thousands of young reformers will buy it, as well as Mahaney’s book on humility which will probably be available at the conference.

  122. Lea wrote:

    @ Ted:
    I think Dever is smart and well educated. Doesn’t make him wise.

    Right. But I wanted to give credit where credit was due. What went wrong?

    HUG likes to remind us of a pastor that Michael Spencer, the original internet monk, used to tell about: “He has no book larnin’ and he is LOUD.” Can’t pin that one on this crowd.

  123. Dever hit the jackpot by playing nice with one particular ‘historic preservationist’ neighbor.

    Pre-Dever, the church had raised the ire of those types in the city by buying properties on its block and razing them for parking lots. Oral interviews from a local historical society:

    http://www.capitolhillhistory.org/interviews/1970s/Walther,%20Florine.pdf

    “Steinle Ice Cream Parlor was on the corner…the corner building that housed the Steinle Ice Cream Parlor later became a restaurant eventually known as Mary’s Blue Room…Yes, and they demolished that building. We had a big battle. We got out and picketed and everything, but it didn’t do any good. They tore it down. The Capitol Hill Metropolitan Baptist Church demolished it. We had quite a confrontation out there a couple of summers ago. I stood in front of the bulldozer at 6:30 in the morning, but it didn’t do any good.”

    http://www.capitolhillhistory.org/interviews/1997/procter_matuszeski.pdf

    “when Mary’s Blue Room was being torn down we hung a sheet outside [the] apartment building right across from the entrance to the Metropolitan Baptist Church on Sunday morning, we said, ‘Jesus saves, Metropolitan Baptist Church destroys’.”

  124. Under Dever, the church gave up that parking lot and three large row houses were built in the 1990s, in keeping with the others facing Capitol Street.

    Appreciative neighbor (a successful serial entrepreneur) ended up bankrolling 9Marks $100K per year for three years, even served as its treasurer for a time. (He’s married to a bigtime DC historic preservationist)

    CHBC is now filling in the east side of the block, replacing a stark parking lot with historically appropriate townhouses where Dever’s many interns can live:

    https://capitolhillcorner.org/2017/06/10/capitol-hill-baptist-church-to-build-five-townhouses-on-church-parking-lot-at-501-a-street-ne/

    “Planning and Zoning Committee approved the Historical Preservation Application of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (501 A Street, NE) to construct five new townhouses facing 6th Street, NE on the parking lot on the north [Jerome: should read ‘south’?] side of the church.”

    “The church will retain ownership of the houses, each of which will contain two units. The church plans to use the units as temporary residences for pastor-trainees and a host pastor who will oversee the operation of the units. The timeline anticipates a 9 to 12 month construction period, once the city signs off on permits. A nearby resident raised the issue of the impact of the new residences on neighborhood street parking”

    Apparently residents concerned about parking aren’t happy, but those concerned with aesthetics are, and they count.

  125. Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    Linn wrote:

    Deacon’s wife who sat in a car in the parking lot during service because she was “out of fellowship.” That is how she “attended” church.

    Great time to go shopping.

    Or great time to look for another church after dragging her sorry husband out of there by his ear!

    Amen! What kind of man (and I use the term loosely) would allow his wife to put through such humiliation?

  126. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Ken wrote:
    ^ I should add that Papal authority can have the same personality cult too. They’re in a funny position of having both creeds and a pope. Yet we’re seeing at this moment various cardinals and bishops now questioning the Pope and holding him accountable (like Francis airing recent opinions being open to flexible divorce rules.. which Catholics historically have been against and forbidden by Christ himself in the gospels). I’m interested in what comes of that. But for the most part, it’s the smaller pastor-centered churches that try to get away with this authority.
    Except in “smaller pastor-centered churches” (even Mega pastor-centered churches) there’s NOBODY to call the top guy when he oversteps.
    Remember Papal Infallibility? First proposed by a Pope (one of the Piuses) back in the mid-19th Century. His original proposal was the type of Pastor Infallibility you get from the two Douggies, Marky-Mark, or Head Apostle Cee Jay. However, such a major change in policy required consensus from ALL the bishops, i.e. a Church Council.
    So Vatican I(?) was convened, the Pope proposed his open-ended Infallibility, the bishops said “B.S. you will”, and the knock-down-drag-out was on. (What really happened at a lot of church councils gets cleaned up in the history books…)
    When the dust settled, the Pope did get his Infallibility, but with a LOT of prerequisites and restrictions. Infallibility would invoke ONLY when specifically making a binding ruling Ex Cathedra on an important matter of Faith and Morals (in the manner of a Supreme Court decision ruling on a controversial appeal), and must not go against Scripture or Tradition (in the manner of conforming to legal precedent).
    Since then, I think you can count the number of such Ex Cathedara rulings on the fingers of one hand. They don’t happen often.
    Eggzackly. Ultramontanism was soundly defeated at VCI. A lot of people — including a lot of Catholics — don’t realize that.
    I love how you alluded to the messiness of councils. Kinda like: You don’t want to see how the sausage is made. I understand I Nicea was like that. Very colorful, full of plots and intrigues. Someone should write an historical novel set during I Nicaea.
    (Speaking of which: My husband and I used to joke that. once we retired, we’d collaborate on an historical novel about Justinian and Theodora. Based on Procopius, of course — it doesn’t get much juicier than that. Maybe we still might give it a try one of these days, after both of our kids are settled. Older son is currently teaching ESL in China; younger son is about to begin graduate studies in international relations; he may end up living abroad as well. Once the dust is settled, we can see what our old age has in store. :D)

    That sounds like a good idea. I remember reading a novel of Constantine once, and never ran into any of that info in that story. It put Constantine in as best a light as possible, but he was actually dissuaded by Eusebius of Nicomedia on some important issues and turned against good bishops. They still quietly held Arian beliefs. It’s amazing that Nicaea’s efforts eventually won out, even with the a few emperors and patriarchs working against it for a long time.

    I’m on the orthodox end of beliefs though.. so I’d be biased myself in writing this.

  127. Ted wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    1) That assumes their PhDs are not Honorary Doctorates bestowed by another 9 Marks PhD or a diploma mill.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t work with 9Marks founder Mark Dever. His M.Div. is from Gordon-Conwell, his Master of Theology from SBTS, and Ph.D. in church history from Cambridge. You can’t hardly argue with those credentials.

    Problem is, he’s lost sight of the gospel of Jesus for a narrow, legalistic interpretation that’s more law than gospel. And, I believe that interpretation can encourage abuse.

    For an even more constipated view of what’s holy, read some of Jonathan Leeman’s articles at 9Marks. And his credentials too are top-notch. Leeman’s education is solid, but not on Dever’s level, not close.

    Hey, our struggle is not against flesh and blood here.

    Mark Dever has a magnificent education. In fact, he’s one of the few people in that movement who has an impeccable academic CV, easily more impressive than mine. He is the exception that prove the rule. Leeman’s education is good, but nowhere near Dever’s.

    But none of that changes the essential facts. There are some people who’ve attended all the right schools who are nonetheless full boat buffoons. I’ve known people with more impressive academic credentials than either Dever or Leeman who are incapable of slapping both butt cheeks in the dark.

  128. Root 66 wrote:

    Don’t know how many know this already, but while trolling around on the T4G site, it appears that C.J. Mahaney has withdrawn as a speaker at the conference. See for yourselves:

    http://t4g.org/announcement/

    “Given the recent, renewed controversy surrounding Sovereign Grace Churches and me individually, I have decided to withdraw from the 2018 T4G conference.”

    And the big question – did he fall or was he pushed?

  129. dee wrote:

    @ Todd Wilhelm:
    CJ Mahaney is a wretched man. It looks like his BFFs have encouraged him to start with this nonsense once again. Shame on all of them.

    This morning I got this feeling—nothing to bar it on, except for past dealings with people. It seems equally likely to me that it wasn’t his friends doing the encouraging, it was him suggesting to his friends that he should jump in again, and his friends gutlessly going along.

    It sort of goes with the idea that he has some sort of hold over them.

  130. dee wrote:

    @ Todd Wilhelm:
    CJ Mahaney is a wretched man. It looks like his BFFs have encouraged him to start with this nonsense once again. Shame on all of them.

    This morning I got this feeling—nothing to base it on, except for past dealings with people. It seems equally likely to me that it wasn’t his friends doing the encouraging, it was him suggesting to his friends that he should jump in again, and his friends gutlessly going along.

    It sort of goes with the idea that he has some sort of hold over them.

  131. Forrest wrote:

    did he fall or was he pushed?

    A pretty smooth move whether he fell or was pushed. Bowing out graciously protected the conference book sales for all of them … keep them credit cards coming for the glory of God!

  132. Law Prof wrote:

    There are some people who’ve attended all the right schools who are nonetheless full boat buffoons.

    Again, right.

    And most of the Pharisees, including pre-Damascus Road Saul, fell into the category of spiritual blindness. We need to be aware of this.

    We’re on the same page here, guys.

  133. Law Prof wrote:

    There are some people who’ve attended all the right schools who are nonetheless full boat buffoons.

    Certainly! Academia, seminaries, and ivory towers housing theologians are over-populated with them! Lord help us when some wonder out of those places and become preachers!!

  134. Max wrote:

    some wonder out

    Meant to say “wander” out. Although, it is a wonder that the church allows them to wander out.

  135. Muff Potter wrote:

    Or do they feel they’re as invincible as the Japanese imperial navy once thought they were?

    “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”
    Hirohito 08/15/45

  136. Root 66 wrote:

    Is this the same “Oak Brook College of Law” founded by Bill Gothard & Co.?

    Yes, and the College is now distancing from the Institute.

  137. Pingback: Hey Church: It’s time to get off your Balaam’s Ass and do something! | Hope Anchors the Soul UNITED STATES

  138. Muff Potter wrote:

    Or do they feel they’re as invincible as the Japanese imperial navy once thought they were?

    The top brass of the Imperial Navy KNEW they couldn’t win a long war against the USA, never mind the USA and UK together. It was the Imperial ARMY who KNEW they were Invincible against the gaijin and whatever the Army wanted, the Army got. (Anyone who dissented was assassinated by Army-run “Patriotic Societies” providing Plausible Deniability.)

    That was the reason for opening with a counterforce strike against Pearl Harbor; a first-round knockout was Japan’s only hope to win, and when the Army (through the Tojo Shogunate) gave the Navy direct orders for war….

    That said, after Pearl Harbor the Imperial Navy had a thing for overly-complicated battle plans full of wishful thinking, completely dependent on the enemy acting & reacting exactly the way the Imperial Navy planners wanted them to act & react.

  139. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Eggzackly. Ultramontanism was soundly defeated at VCI. A lot of people — including a lot of Catholics — don’t realize that.

    I understand Ultramontanism began in the sense of appealing to the Pope as an international authority figure, above and beyond nation-level squabbles. Which was not a bad idea in and of itself — the Church WAS an old and established international organization, and still handles third-party diplomacy between nations not speaking to each other.

    Apparently scope creep and general Entropy set in over time.

  140. ishy wrote:

    I totally don’t buy his “I’m totally innocent and you all are just mean to make me do this spiel.” His vigorous defense of himself just makes him look worse. If he was truly wise, he would have left all that out.

    But He Who Can Do No Wrong (especially if only in his own mind) MUST vigorously defend his Infallible Self in everything. It’s part of the personality package.

  141. ishy wrote:

    I do think sexism is at the root of much of church discipline since much of they hierarchy depends on subjugation of women.

    “It I ain’t better than a woman, who do I got to be better than?”
    — paraphrase of a trailer-trash Ku Kluxer interviewed in the Fifties; only one word has been changed