Julia Williams Tells of her Encounters with Bill Hybels Many Years Ago. I Think I See a Familiar Pattern of Behavior.

“Do not look for healing at the feet of those who broke you”― Rupi Kaur

I am currently at a Christian medical conference in Asheville.

Last night, I had a great conversation with Julia who offered insight into her story as well as the recent revelations by other victims, Christianity Today and the Chicago Tribune.

Her story is very important. Although it occurred many years ago, the pattern of behavior that has been reported in story after story through the years is on display here.

I am so grateful that Julia has stepped forward to tell her story. It is a hard thing to do and I appreciate her bravery.


My Story
4/23/2018

What follows is my story about Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church. If you’ve read previous articles in the Chicago Tribune and Christianity Today – including the most recent April 21st CT article written by Bob Smietana – then you already know about this subject – and a little bit about me. Please read on to learn more…

This is the story I shared nearly 31 years ago with a friend, with the most intense fear I had ever felt. The fear of sharing my story back then has only grown more frightening today. But I believe that God is asking me to do this.

I first met Bill Hybels, nearly 32 years ago, at the YMCA in Palatine, Illinois. My husband and I, along with our two sons, had recently moved to the area from California. I knew nothing about Willow Creek Community Church and had no idea what Bill Hybels did for a living. I would run in the afternoons when the Y offered childcare, and would notice Bill occasionally, running with a group of men. There were many times that Bill would show up alone, and sometimes he would ask to join me, and we logged in more loops than we could count. I found Bill to be very charming, engaging and very comfortable, but he sometimes asked questions about my life that seemed much too personal. At times, I felt that his questions were not out of concern, but rather made me feel he was questioning whether my marriage was strong. He began to go into detail about how unhappy his own marriage was, how little time he and his wife spent together, and even what she would wear to bed at night. When I look back today, I certainly would have handled myself differently and would have cut those conversations short.  However, at that time, I believed this guy needed a friend and a listening ear.

At some point, I mentioned to Bill that my husband and I were not happy with the Presbyterian Church we were attending. Bill then mentioned that he was a pastor and that we should visit his church. Well, after I got over the shock of learning he was a Pastor, I asked him about the church. I even went so far as to ask him if the children’s ministry was very good. So, it was clear to Bill that I had never heard of him or Willow Creek.

I would travel to California throughout the school year, and informed Bill that I would be away to visit my family.  There were times that Bill would hug me, look at me with tears in his eyes, and tell me how much he was going to miss me.  I can remember one time particularly it seemed like he did not want to let me go. It was a strange reaction, and it began to make me uncomfortable about my relationship with him.

After returning from one of these visits to see my family, I felt that I needed to stop running with Bill, and changed my running times to avoid him.  It was probably less than two weeks after I had made this change that Bill began calling me at home regularly.  He would ask, “Where have you been? I miss you. Are you coming to the Y today?”  I never gave him my phone number, but we did have phone books back in those days.

During this time, I began attending my first women’s bible study at Willow Creek. The leader was Betty Schmidt. Betty and I became fast friends over the 3 months of the study. She also liked to run, so I enjoyed a new running friend when our schedules aligned. I was still seeing Bill occasionally at the Y, but not as frequently as the prior weeks. The conversations were still uncomfortable and crossed boundaries of just being friendly. On one occasion, without me being aware, Bill had come up the stairs to the track area and noticed me on the leg extension machine. He then came around in front of me – and shockingly greeted me by placing his hands on my thighs and rubbing them up and down. I was able to get up quickly and deflect what had just happened by suggesting that we run on the track.

I will never forget the day I sat across from Betty, at the Hobson House in Long Grove, Illinois, to share the intense fear I was feeling about this inappropriate relationship with Bill. I was absolutely petrified! I knew it was not right! I felt that I was hurting God. I just desperately needed to tell someone. My conscience was destroying my days. I had multiple irrational visions of semi-trucks wiping me out on the road and my children being in the car as a result of my shame from these interactions. These were paralyzing emotions and feelings that I had never experienced before. I prayed all the way to lunch that Betty would be willing to hear me, believe me and help me. But, before I shared my story, I begged her to make a promise to me that she would never share what I was telling her.To this day, I am so very sorry that I put her in this position…I did not fully understand what I was asking of her that day.

Betty never made me feel like she didn’t believe me. She never judged me. She understood that the relationship had crossed boundaries, but she wanted to know about my feelings, how I was doing and what could she do to help. God made it very clear to me that day that telling Betty was exactly what He had been asking of me. I knew that Betty’s friendship was the gift He had waiting for me. I am forever grateful.

Over the next few months, I was preparing for back surgery and a corporate move back to California. Bill called at times to see where I was. I was actually glad to have had a good reason to not be running at that time, but I was conflicted. I still felt I had not shown God the courage He was asking of me. I believed I needed to confront Bill and tell him that it was not right for him to have been calling me, pursuing me and certainly not to be sharing such intimate information about his own personal life with me, and that it made me uncomfortable. I also had to tell him that I was wrong to not have said something to him months before. I needed to own my sin in the matter.

I wish I could say that the meeting in his office ended as I had hoped. After telling Bill that I had been wrong to have spent so much time with him running and discussing our personal lives, Bill seemed very nervous. I felt that he was trying to put the blame completely on me. He was not willing to own any part of what I had just shared, even the phone calls. He told me that he only called me because he was my pastor. I felt that Bill wanted me to think I was completely crazy. “We’re running partners, that’s all,” he said. I will always remember his face; it wasn’t the crying face any longer of a man who was going to be missing me. Bill was angry and appeared very nervous while I was talking. He had opened the top drawer of his office desk and was fiddling in a very nervous manner and was clearly anxious for me to leave. Our meeting was now over, this was very clear. There was no apology, not even a kind word as I walked toward the door.

I remember closing the door to Bill’s office, and I had two immediate emotions. Initially, I was proud of myself that God gave me the courage to confront Bill, but quickly, I felt like a piece of dirt. Bill had made me feel like I was a worthless soul and certainly not worth listening to. He had completely turned the story of our relationship around on me, and denied that he did anything that was inappropriate.

People will wonder why I am writing this story after all these years. I want you to know that up until almost two years ago, I had only shared this with my husband and Betty. At that time, I was asked if I would share my experience because other similar situations had come to light, even though I was not given any details. My first questions were, “Is this a safe place to share, can I trust this person and would it be kept confidential?” I was assured that it would be. I was ok with being interviewed, knowing my name would never be made public.

But, then, I heard the other stories. I saw the hurt. I felt their pain, and I remembered that fear. I saw their fear turn into courage. I knew if the stories of the multiple women who have already come forward were being shared, I could also show some courage. It’s been because of the bravery of these women that I could share my story…and my name. I know there are more stories out there; I have heard of some of them. I have heard of their fear to come forward. Given Bill and the elders’ reactions to the other allegations, why wouldn’t they be afraid?

I certainly understand that fear. It is paralyzing to think that you may lose your job and/or your friends, to be publicly humiliated, to be made to feel worthless, to be called a liar, or to have your name splattered across social media.  Despite my fear, I believe in the good that can come from telling the truth and showing God that we want His church to be made whole.

I have been privileged to work in home health for the past seven years. During this time, I have seen many patients suffering with the different stages of dementia. Many are on Hospice care. The one message I hear often is, “I wish I could do my life again” or “I wish I had said or done this or that differently.” I encourage families to say what they need to say while they still have the chance to do so. Don’t put off what you know you need to do or say. My daily message is “You never get a do-over, so do it now!” It’s inspiring to see the healing this brings, and my hope is that it’s not too late for this community.

My prayer is that at least one of the elders at Willow Creek Community Church or someone in leadership with the Willow Creek Association will come forward and model the integrity and transparency God requires of these positions.

The Lord began a good work at Willow Creek Community Church. It is up to its leaders to handle their roles responsibly. God will complete the work.

Sincerely,
Julia Williams


I want to leave you with this performance by an Irish priest during Britain’s Got Talent just recently. He performs *Everybody Hurts* and the audience, including Simon Cowell, is stunned into silence. This beautiful song is an ode to all those who hurt.

 


Comments

Julia Williams Tells of her Encounters with Bill Hybels Many Years Ago. I Think I See a Familiar Pattern of Behavior. — 232 Comments

  1. dee wrote:

    Bill had made me feel like I was a worthless soul and certainly not worth listening to. He had completely turned the story of our relationship around on me, and denied that he did anything that was inappropriate.

    I could still quote large swaths of his routines… if I wanted to.

    “Bill had made me feel like I was a worthless soul and certainly not worth listening to. He had completely turned the story of our relationship around on me, and denied that he did anything that was inappropriate.”
    This is such familiar story! These are not the actions of a troubled man, but an evil abuser. Just my humble opinion.

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  2. @ refugee:
    Oops, something went wrong with the quote. For TGBTC, if you wish to troubleshoot: I clicked on the Reply w/Quote in Dee’s comment about Bill Cosby after I had done a “copy” (highlight and control-C) of the text in the original post.

    What I was answering was Dee’s comment about Bill Cosby:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Look how long it took everything to surface with Bill Cosby.
    You are not kidding! But they got him!! I remember when that happened. I had always loved his stuff. Now I can’t even look at him.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Here is the real headline: every woman who has gone on record is one who stopped his advances. It was as if he was probing and prodding for an “entrance.” The women who may have been complicit would have NO incentive to come forward. Most, from the accusations, would have been in ministry. They would lose their job, rock their husband’s (and their marriage’s) world, and diminish their children’s respect. With Bill at 65 and having already stepped down, why would they come forward? Almost everything to lose, and nothing to win. I fear that Bill has been involved in serial promiscuity involving scores of women.
    along with predatory behavior. The depth of his shadow life is devastating. It’s so “personal” to so many, including me, because of who he was to us. That’s all I have to say.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. @ addison:
    Exactly!!! All the women who have spoken up turned BH down. I agree there are probably many, many women who got caught up in his web who have remained silent.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. @ addison:
    Shadow life… apt description.

    Over decades. One wonders just how superficial the church really is. Veneer, and then there’s reality, the Dark Side, the underbelly.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  6. Sandra wrote:

    I agree there are probably many, many women who got caught up in his web who have remained silent.

    Noting how Hybels reacted when Julia Williams confronted him, can’t imagine how he treats the women who eventually caved to his manipulative advances.

    Ms. Williams said she “felt like a piece of dirt”. Worthless, and he turned the story completely on her. No wonder she was afraid. He’s dangerous.

    Hybels must hate his victims to treat them so. They’ve got the goods on the Fake Man of God, – through no fault of their own. Julia Williams’ experience documents an aggressive predator over 31+ years.

    In terms of being a fake, Hybels is right up there with Cosby. Note timing, that both cases came to a head in the same time frame. Cosby’s show ran from 1984, 34 years ago. Again, timing.

    One pattern here: The Better One Appears, the Worse They May Be.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. What woman, especially if married now, would risk telling her story to the same Elders that let Bill refer to them as liars
    and suicidal (breaching confidentiality of counseling) with drinking problems?

    Why didn’t the Elders hire an independent investigator to objectively evaluate existing claims and provide a safe place for other victims to come forward?

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  8. JYJames wrote:

    Hybels must hate his victims to treat them so.

    I agree with you about his attitude toward his victims–but I think maybe he doesn’t hate the victims. I don’t think he even thinks about them as being humans with worth & dignity. For the (Narcissistic) Abuser everything is All About Him. He probably doesn’t even stop to think about how his actions affect others. For abusers, victims are there for the taking; they are not people that he should consider at all.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  9. Mike wrote:

    Why didn’t the Elders hire an independent investigator to objectively evaluate existing claims and provide a safe place for other victims to come forward?

    The million $$$ question. With inflation, by today’s standards, the billion $$$ question.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  10. https://religionnews.com/2018/04/26/publishers-stop-printing-hybels-books-amid-allegations-of-inappropriate-behavior/
    “At least seven women have come forward, by Christianity Today’s count, alleging invitations to hotel rooms, comments about appearances and an unwanted kiss from the former pastor. One unnamed woman also claimed she had a consensual affair with Hybels, though she later denied it…. Hybels has called the allegations ‘flat-out lies.’”

    Did he threaten the unnamed consensual affair woman (that recanted)? Is she married, a professional, etc., and Hybels threatened to destroy her if she comes clean? He’s already calling all of these women “flat-out” liars. Strong language. Unambiguous denial, heart of stone.

    What did the WCC Board say, that one can believe both? Really?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  11. Charm-Pity-Rage. Sure sounds like a garden variety abuser…Bill Hybels that is.

    Charm…taking an interest…Pity…talking about his “woeful” marriage…Rage over being confronted with his actions being wrong.

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  12. Molly245 wrote:

    JYJames wrote:

    Hybels must hate his victims to treat them so.

    I agree with you about his attitude toward his victims–but I think maybe he doesn’t hate the victims. I don’t think he even thinks about them as being humans with worth & dignity. For the (Narcissistic) Abuser everything is All About Him. He probably doesn’t even stop to think about how his actions affect others. For abusers, victims are there for the taking; they are not people that he should consider at all.

    Victims…. Narcissists see them in three ways… TOYS, TOOLS, OBSTACLES. Hybels is a text book Narc.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  13. With the multiple number of women giving their BH stories, should the current lead pastor, a lady supposedly chosen by BH, give a statement regarding her long time history with him at Willow? Something like: “I have never experienced any sexually suggestive BH comments in all my time at Willow.” Maybe she has made a statement…I just have not seen it.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  14. @ Mercy:
    That is a great way to put it. And they will be the first to demand compassion and accuse the other of having no mercy. If one has a conscious, It’s impossible to deal with a narcissist. They are too good at the totalitarian niceness manipulation.

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  15. refugee wrote:

    He had completely turned the story of our relationship around on me, and denied that he did anything that was inappropriate.”

    This is such familiar story!.

    I have had one of those ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about We are just friends’ conversations and it was deeply uncomfortable but that was an 18 year old not a married adult pastor.

    These plausible deniability things are so insidious because it takes a while to see or admit what’s happening and even longer to call somebody on it – so long as they don’t go way over the line.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  16. Steve240 wrote:

    This is an interesting blog post

    https://mikeinsac.com/2018/04/23/why-churches-disbelieve-victims-and-believe-pastoral-abusers/#comment-113

    The author gives his opinion of why churches believe pastors over victims. I would recommend reading.

    Why church believes the perp with a title:

    “Over reliance on Personal Experience: Abusers do not abuse everyone. They could not possibly do so. In a previous article, I laid out the blueprint for how pastoral abusers choose their victims. Only a small number of people are actually victimized by even the worst sociopathic offenders. That means the vast majority of people in a church have never known the pastor/principal/worship leader to abuse them.”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  17. @ Steve240:
    Excellent article. He lays out exactly how most churches respond and why. It was interesting to see his comment on why he stopped working with Peacemakers in the 90’s.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  18. 16 paragraphs of 2500+ embellished words that was remembered word for word from 32 years ago? It just doesn’t seem possible.

    Also, according to Julia, she told Betty S this horrific information. What we know now is that BS was informed by JW in 1986 and VD in 1998 of some abominable and hideous information about the senior pastor and she did nothing with it until 2016. BS was a WC Elder during that time, and then for 30 years.

    WC Elder’s responsibilities: “Elders have a vital oversight role at WC. Among their duties is to carry the ultimate responsibility and authority to see that the church remains on a true biblical course. That includes an annual review of the senior pastor and confronting those who are contradicting biblical truth or in a pattern of sinful behavior”…taken from WC website.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  19. Here is another by the same author: https://mikeinsac.com/2018/02/12/the-grooming-behavior-of-pastoral-predators-part-1/

    Pastors can be roughly grouped in three categories:

    – Divinely called and faithful servants of God.
    – Divinely called servants, presently tempted, and struggling with personal sin. They deal with their own weaknesses but do not use others for their gratification.
    – Intentional usurpers of the pulpit and the congregation for the purposes of their own enjoyment and control.

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  20. https://mikeinsac.com/2018/03/02/how-pastor-abusers-choose-their-targets/

    “Dr. William Glasser in his book “Choice Theory” claims that the need to be loved and belong is the key to each person’s self-identity. When this love/belonging need is not met early and often in life, the soul fails to thrive and can lead to a life of seeking to be accepted.

    Narcissistic Abusers have a “nose” for this person. They can pick them out of a crowd easily and are often drawn to them. If this person is attractive, provocative, or vivacious, the pastoral abuser will single them out for special attention. They will love-bomb them much earlier than other victims. People desperate for acceptance will be overjoyed that a pastor pays attention to them. When the pastor also values them, compliments them, makes a special place for them in his life, this is overwhelming and is sufficient to break down any mental barriers they may have.

    Each narcissist develops their own individual approach to people who desperately need to be loved. No two narcissists do this alike. Some use touch, while others stay strictly with verbal compliments. Some find ways of getting the victim to help in projects. Still others arrange to be alone with the victim. Certain skilled narcissists will read each person separately, deciding “on the fly” which approach will work.”

    So far, this man’s site is a wealth of information.

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  21. truthseeker wrote:

    hat includes an annual review of the senior pastor and confronting those who are contradicting biblical truth or in a pattern of sinful behavior”…taken from WC website.

    I am beginning to think the annual review was a kissy face session.

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  22. John wrote:

    should the current lead pastor, a lady supposedly chosen by BH, give a statement regarding her long time history with him at Willow? Something like: “I have never experienced any sexually suggestive BH comments in all my time at Willow.

    This would be a great idea. I wonder where she stands on this. Women have been hurt. Does she care? Is she part of the problem? Is her position more important than the truth? Did something happen to her and she is keeping it quiet?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  23. Mike wrote:

    Edit
    What woman, especially if married now, would risk telling her story to the same Elders that let Bill refer to them as liars and suicidal (breaching confidentiality of counseling) with drinking problems?

    I would never come forward in that church if I had been abused. They appear to side with the abuser when it benefits the *image* and *money draw* of the church. After all, they are, as one defender said on Twitter “the *most influential church in the world!* If that is what they are conveying, they have abandoned what church is all about.

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  24. Hey all

    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  25. dee wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Look how long it took everything to surface with Bill Cosby.

    You are not kidding! But they got him!! I remember when that happened. I had always loved his stuff. Now I can’t even look at him.

    Me neither.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  26. dee wrote:

    WCC is *the most influential church on the world.*

    Not in our corner of the world.

    There is one church in our entire state where WC has influence, and that church is now a shell, a shadow of its former self. That church was once glorious, a positive presence in the community. It keeps trying to be WC and sadly now, it is dying.

    Those who have gone to work at WC have returned with dismal stories. The underbelly has always been dark.

    Here are the GLS locations:

    https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/?gclid=CjwKCAjwt5DXBRAtEiwAa3vyElXIhWbpfNghepiUzFWJdsLmlecD3ul-xiHWRx0aLr5HWcJezePLxBoCcigQAvD_BwE#locations

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  27. Julia wrote

    “Bill seemed very nervous. I felt that he was trying to put the blame completely on me. He was not willing to own any part of what I had just shared, even the phone calls.”

    What she described sounds like the type that Lundy Bancroft described as the “Water Torturer” in his book Why Does He Do That?

    “If you are involved with a Water Torturer you may struggle for years trying to figure out what is happening. You may feel that you overreact to his behavior and that he isn’t really so bad. But the effects of his control and contempt have crept up on you over the years. If you finally leave him, you may experience intense periods of delayed rage as you become conscious of how quietly but deathly oppressive he was….The central attitudes driving (him) are-:

    “I can easily convince other people that you’re the one who is messed up.”

    “As long as I’m calm, you can’t call anything I do abusive, no matter how cruel….”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  28. dee wrote:

    comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    “… looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” Who had neither yacht, nor manor house, nor private plane. Jesus walked, and then rode a donkey once. (Hebrews 1)

    The leader-wannabees who are hooked into Hybels’ cult of personality are looking for their yachts, their mansions, their private planes, and leading their ministries down a desperate path – away from Jesus – to garner these perks. Maybe they also want secret side chicks.

    It is a movement – in the wrong direction. Some fall in. Others do not.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  29. dee wrote:

    Hey all

    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    Herein lies the core problem which begs the question: what criteria define “influential”??. While “sin” has always been around, the chasing of “influential” enables sin/abuse..

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  30. dee wrote:

    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    Price Pritchett says in The Ethics of Excellence, “The organization can never be something the people are not.”

    To which I add my corollary: “The organization will eventually become whatever its leaders are.”

    With how it appears this situation is shaking out, I’d suggest that we not underestimate the power of a negative example.

    I don’t think that’s what Willow Creek Church or the Twitter commenter intended, nor is it the goal of the Church — but it may be the net result of this church.

    And, to those who say that Willow Creek Church has been a bastion of promoting women in ministry — so don’t criticize, I’m thinking we need to reconsider whether this was a process tainted by personal purposes.

    And here I’m reminded of the profound definition of “evil” that I heard a five-year-old give: “Evil is when you’re doin’ something that looks good, but you’re thinkin’ something bad.”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  31. dee wrote:

    Hey all
    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    My response is, if I’m honest, one I’ve often given before in Wartburg.

    To wit: how many churches does that person think there are? How many Gods, and how many Jesuses (or “Jesi”, which is probably the plural of the commoditised “Jesus”)? It seems to me that they have bought into the fallacy which, I increasingly feel, is the perhaps the most important distinctive of “reformed” doctrine – that anyone can start, plant, found, build or otherwise create “a church”.

    There’s also the question of the exact wording:

    the most influential church ON [emphasis mine] the world.

    Should that be “on” or “in”? Was the person actually claiming that WCC has had an influence on the world? Because I’m not sure that’s true. I think it’s a great example of how the world has powerfully influenced what these isolated protestant churches aspire to and invest in: commercial success.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  32. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    And, to those who say that Willow Creek Church has been a bastion of promoting women in ministry — so don’t criticize, I’m thinking we need to reconsider whether this was a process tainted by personal purposes.

    Again by Mike Phillips:
    The Grooming and Controlling Process:
    # 4. Excessive Praising
    #13. Ministry Recruiting

    https://mikeinsac.com/2018/02/12/the-grooming-behavior-of-pastoral-predators-part-1/

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  33. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    It seems to me that they have bought into the fallacy which, I increasingly feel, is the perhaps the most important distinctive of “reformed” doctrine – that anyone can start, plant, found, build or otherwise create “a church”…. a commercial success.

    Money changers in the Temple, expelled by Jesus. These man-created commercial success churches also may find themselves on the wrong side of Jesus in Eternity. There may be a price to pay, long term, for yachts, private planes, estates. The rich man and Lazarus.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  34. dee wrote:

    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    No. I never heard of Hybels or Willow Creek church. The only person I know who did worked for a Christian book store a few years back but knew him by name only, not what he was about.
    While I haven’t attended church for a long time, I was Christian for most of my life & don’t recall his name or church being mentioned.
    It depends on how you define “influential”. Worldwide? Definitely not. Canada? I don’t think so, maybe to his type of church but certainly not the RC, liturgical (Lutheran/Anglican) or assembly of God churches I have attended.
    Maybe he’s an American phenomenon? Or just more popular there?
    Just shows how Willow Creek sees itself. Legends in their own minds.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  35. dee wrote:

    Is that the goal of church?

    To be honest, I no longer know what the goal of “the church” is. At one time I would have said “great commission” but my last church experience seemed to indicate how much people attended and how big a take the church can reel in was the goal. In that regard Willow Creek is a success.
    I prefer our local Salvation Army solution of hitting the streets to tackle homelessness. Christian or not, I donate to that.
    Christianity is in the eye of the beholder.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  36. Molly245 wrote:

    JYJames wrote:
    Hybels must hate his victims to treat them so.
    I agree with you about his attitude toward his victims–but I think maybe he doesn’t hate the victims. I don’t think he even thinks about them as being humans with worth & dignity. For the (Narcissistic) Abuser everything is All About Him. He probably doesn’t even stop to think about how his actions affect others. For abusers, victims are there for the taking; they are not people that he should consider at all.

    I agree with this assessment. So how does the church handle this kind of abuse? The abuser can never repent, because he doesn’t think he did anything wrong. How do they get closure?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  37. JYJames wrote:

    dee wrote:
    comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    One of the reasons we left there is the constant harping of “The church is the hope of the world.” I thought Jesus was the hope of the world.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  38. dee wrote:

    Hey all

    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    The most influential church in the world has all Christians in it. Individual institutions are called churches but they are not “the church”.

    I would also say, so what? You are supposed to be influential and you kept a leader who sexually harassed women. Not exactly something you should be bragging about. What other things did you leaders do to be so “influential”?

    BTW, there was someone on here during the initial posts about WCCC claiming the same thing. I did a few searches and didn’t find it, but I bet it was the same person.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  39. dee wrote:

    Hey all

    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    If that is true, why do many mainline Christians have no clue about its existence? The Pope is still more influential than WCC.

    That said, I agree that it is very influential–especially in the evangelical world–but I think calling it the “most influential” is believing their PR a little much.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  40. dee wrote:

    John wrote:
    should the current lead pastor, a lady supposedly chosen by BH, give a statement regarding her long time history with him at Willow? Something like: “I have never experienced any sexually suggestive BH comments in all my time at Willow.
    This would be a great idea. I wonder where she stands on this. Women have been hurt. Does she care? Is she part of the problem? Is her position more important than the truth? Did something happen to her and she is keeping it quiet?

    This are all critical questions to be answered for anyone continuing to worship at WC, or thinking about attending/volunteering. To add one, as a large organization with many faithful followers, Is the near term strategy to take a giving/attendance dip with the hope that damage can be minimized…then business as usual?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  41. dee wrote:

    John wrote:

    should the current lead pastor, a lady supposedly chosen by BH, give a statement regarding her long time history with him at Willow? Something like: “I have never experienced any sexually suggestive BH comments in all my time at Willow.

    But even if she did, would it be an “over reliance on personal experience” on her part?

    Because maybe Hybels was smart enough to leave her alone throughout the years?

    Maybe this is the root problem of why she’s not more supportive of the victims, calling out Hybels strongly. He’s so slippery, he’s created outrageous confusion about his true character.

    She would do well to consider how many victims there are and the similarities of their stories to overcome any cognitive dissonance. That’s the value of the work being done here.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  42. Beth74 wrote:

    He’s so slippery, he’s created outrageous confusion about his true character.

    Exactly. And to reference Mike Phillips again:
    “Over reliance on Personal Experience: Abusers do not abuse everyone. They could not possibly do so. In a previous article, I laid out the blueprint for how pastoral abusers choose their victims.” – Mike Phillips
    Why Churches Don’t Believe Victims: https://mikeinsac.com/2018/04/23/why-churches-disbelieve-victims-and-believe-pastoral-abusers/#more-203
    Abusers’ targets are carefully chosen, not randomly. Then they groom the community.
    https://mikeinsac.com/2018/03/02/how-pastor-abusers-choose-their-targets/

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  43. Willow Creek IS very influential as it started the concept of being “seeker friendly” which means being open to unbelievers and not have a “fortress”mentality. This was radical years ago. I think a lot of the stuff BH started was good. Unfortunately HE started walking on the dark side which I am grateful is being exposed. He started serving himself not Jesus. There should be no such thing as a jetsetting pastor….they follow JESUS not the world.

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  44. Abigail wrote:

    Willow Creek IS very influential as it started the concept of being “seeker friendly” which means being open to unbelievers and not have a “fortress”mentality.

    Respectfully, IMHO, 2K+ years ago, Jesus “started” being open to unbelievers and did not have a fortress mentality. His faithful followers have been following in His footsteps ever since.

    If indeed, WC has marched to Jesus’ beat, good for them. And credit goes to Jesus, as they were simply obediently following in His footsteps. However, as Nick Bulbeck pointed out upthread, Jesus started it all. No one lays claim to “starting” anything in His Church.

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  45. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    And here I’m reminded of the profound definition of “evil” that I heard a five-year-old give: “Evil is when you’re doin’ something that looks good, but you’re thinkin’ something bad.”

    And that is brilliant.

    Out of the mouths of babes…

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  46. dee wrote:

    claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.*

    Are they going to claim they are more popular than Jesus, as per The Beatles?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  47. @ Jack:

    “To be honest, I no longer know what the goal of “the church” is.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    when you boil the brass tacks down, at the bottom of the pot what’s left is to perpetuate itself

    in the final analysis, this is the mission, the guiding principle.

    the personal investment professional christians have made toward their careers, the flow of money, & the expensive building to keep paying for and maintain is too important. these are the altar on which everything ultimately gets sacrificed.

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  48. Abigail wrote:

    I think a lot of the stuff BH started was good.

    Abigail, you sound like a Willow Creek member. Is there a Cross prominently displayed in the church there? Did Bill Hybels ever get around to preaching about Hell?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  49. John wrote:

    With the multiple number of women giving their BH stories, should the current lead pastor, a lady supposedly chosen by BH, give a statement regarding her long time history with him at Willow? Something like: “I have never experienced any sexually suggestive BH comments in all my time at Willow.” Maybe she has made a statement…I just have not seen it.

    I have never seen the point in this argument. Do even single men who are looking for someone hit on every woman? Do they think every woman is safe to hit on? I don’t see why it would be any different for any other man, especially if the wrong choice could lose them their jobs.

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  50. dee wrote:

    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    Oh, there is no doubt that Willow Creek has influenced a lot of folks around the world! Bill Hybels is considered the primary architect of “seeker-friendly / seeker-sensitive” church; many of his methods have been copied around the world. Hybels removed as many hindrances to lost folks attending church as possible: no Cross, no preaching about Hell, exchanged the “hard” things of Scripture with easy believism, etc. Yes, Hyblels & WCC have been influential in doing church in the 21st century; multiple thousands of shallow Christians are evidence of that.

    Should a man and his ministry have a goal of being “influential”? No! Every man and the ministry he leads should be engaged in the Great Commission … period. God is not impressed with a man’s influence, but his faithfulness to preach an undiluted Gospel of Jesus Christ, to reach the lost, disciple them in the Word, and engage the Body of Christ to personally do the work of the ministry. If there is any influence in the Church, it should be by the Holy Spirit not in a mere man’s method and message.

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  51. Max wrote:

    Should a man and his ministry have a goal of being “influential”? No!

    Contrast that with John the Baptist saying he (Christ) must increase, and I (John — who had many devoted followers) must decrease.

    Let this be the goal of all truly Christian leaders.

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  52. @ JYJames:

    Abigail: “seeker friendly” which means being open to unbelievers and not have a “fortress”mentality.

    beth: “Respectfully, IMHO, 2K+ years ago, Jesus “started” being open to unbelievers and did not have a fortress mentality. His faithful followers have been following in His footsteps ever since.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    what exactly is a fortress mentality?

    wondering what the link is between a church’s acquisition of money & power, which are seemingly too valuable to lose & require protection, & a ‘fortress mentality’?

    (while i’m not entirely certain what a fortress mentality is, i suspect it has nothing to do with the greater good, and everything to do with a church’s self-perpetuation)

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  53. Disciple wrote:

    One of the reasons we left there is the constant harping of “The church is the hope of the world.” I thought Jesus was the hope of the world.

    Hybels was really saying “‘My’ church is the hope of he world, so you better support it.” Jesus is indeed the hope of the world. From the words of an old hymn:

    “My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

    On Christ the solid rock I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  54. @ elastigirl:

    Actually, I think JYJames wrote that. But the truth is, there are plenty of Old Testament accounts of God opening His hand to those (even outside the faith) who show forth goodness and righteousness. So, it’s true, God never had a “fortress mentality”… and this was powerfully demonstrated again during the time of Christ and the early church’s efforts to evangelize the Gentiles.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  55. @ Abigail:
    The early days mantra of the seeker friendly was they were targeting the “unchurched”. These were people who grew up in church but stopped attending maybe during college but also moved more.. A huge slice of the population in the late 70’s early 80’s compared to the 50’s. And these baby boomer professionals could be found in the suburbs working toward their McMansions. So the goal was to make going to church cool. It was consumer friendly church. And frankly, it seemed like a good idea at the time. These churches attracted Catholics, Baptists, Mainlines, you name it. Nobody cared where you came from. It was focused more on young educated professionals.

    But a focus on “consumer friendly” church has a price to pay. For one, it needs a charismatic guru who entertains and could pass for a vivacious business leader. A lot borrowed from the One Minute Manager whose author was also a mega consultant. The message is more motivational than teaching (although lots of bad teaching elsewhere anyway, right?) And that is more addicting than people may realize when you add in the instant social groups.

    There was no where to go but mega entertainment and constant upping the game with that focus and it takes lots of money. They were focused on appeal to baby boomers with lots of visuals, social groups, kids programs and one stop shopping for your church community. You could worship, work out and socialize at church. Instead of going out, you were to bring people in. And baby boomers were the first real transient group, professionally.

    I thought they would die off but they just keep reinventing themselves and their marketing plans.

    IMO, i would hope this situation causes Creekers to rethink what and who it was founded on. It’s been a big fraud so what does that really mean? It’s a grueling exercise. And you can’t do it while there.

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  56. dee wrote:

    You are not kidding! But they got him!! I remember when that happened. I had always loved his stuff. Now I can’t even look at him.

    I know. Same here.

    The man was a comedic genius, broke the color barrier on network TV, and became one of the most famous and richest men in showbiz — legitimately. But he couldn’t keep his pants zipped — not only womanizing, but serial rape by drug.

    Candy is dandy
    But liquor is quicker.”
    — Ogden Nash

    Classically Tragic, actually.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  57. Molly245 wrote:

    I agree with you about his attitude toward his victims–but I think maybe he doesn’t hate the victims. I don’t think he even thinks about them as being humans with worth & dignity.

    Like slaveowners getting some “Brown Sugah”, from Romans to Confederates.

    For the (Narcissistic) Abuser everything is All About Him. He probably doesn’t even stop to think about how his actions affect others.

    “His cosmos has room only for Himself.”
    — Mercedes Lackey, in-universe description of the main villain in her novel The Black Gryphon

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  58. Mike wrote:

    Why didn’t the Elders hire an independent investigator to objectively evaluate existing claims and provide a safe place for other victims to come forward?

    Because they Personally Benefited from The Way Things Are.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  59. Lydia wrote:

    @ Mercy:
    That is a great way to put it. And they will be the first to demand compassion and accuse the other of having no mercy.

    And everyone else except the victim/current target has been extensively groomed to side with the Poor Poor Pitiful abuser.

    “If YOU weren’t being so Unreasonable, I wouldn’t be forced to play Hardball like this.”
    — My Narcissist Manipulator brother, when he screwed me out of an inheritance in 1993

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  60. JYJames wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    It’s impossible to deal with a narcissist. They are too good at the totalitarian niceness manipulation.

    … and gaslighting.

    And GUILT MANIPULATION.

    Against a narcissist, You Will NEVER Win. THEY ALWAYS WIN. ALWAYS.
    You? You’re The Crazy One. The EVIL One. The Troublemaker. ALWAYS.

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  61. Lea wrote:

    These plausible deniability things are so insidious because it takes a while to see or admit what’s happening and even longer to call somebody on it – so long as they don’t go way over the line.

    Especially when the Plausible Deniability has been set up over twenty chess moves in advance.

    Like my brother needling our stepmother into a foaming rage every Christmas dinner. Pushing button after button, every word out of his mouth with a pre-selected, Plausibly Deniable, Utterly Innocent fallback meaning. Oh, and always completely Polite, never raising his voice. She’d be rabid screaming, and every time it died down there’d be another comment pushing another button. Dance, Monkeys, Dance.

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  62. Lydia wrote:

    “Over reliance on Personal Experience: Abusers do not abuse everyone. They could not possibly do so. In a previous article, I laid out the blueprint for how pastoral abusers choose their victims. Only a small number of people are actually victimized by even the worst sociopathic offenders. That means the vast majority of people in a church have never known the pastor/principal/worship leader to abuse them.”

    Remember what I said above about pre-grooming for Plausible Deniability?
    They take off the Angel-of-Light mask ONLY when alone with the victim.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  63. Thersites wrote:

    dee wrote:

    claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.*

    Are they going to claim they are more popular than Jesus, as per The Beatles?

    Difference is, John Lennon actually said that as a throwaway joke line that got taken seriously.
    THESE GUYS ARE DEAD SERIOUS.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  64. dee wrote:

    Hey all

    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    They clearly live in la-la land where everything is pretty and shiny and full of rainbows and unicorn farts. The only way someone could have that opinion with all of the scandal surrounding BH is if they only see and hear what fits their narrative.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  65. Thersites wrote:

    dee wrote:

    claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.*

    Are they going to claim they are more popular than Jesus, as per The Beatles?

    Or more popular thsn the Beatles?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  66. JYJames wrote:

    targeting with what?

    Christianity Lite messages, charismatic preachers, cool bands, polished singers, laser light shows, drama teams, coffee house, abundance of “fellowship” opportunities, come as you are, sit back and relax, nothing required/nothing expected, etc.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  67. NOTICE: (in purposed capes) NOT EVERYONE WHO ATTENDS WILLOW CREEK HAD KNOWLEDGE OF THESE UNFOLDING EVENTS. IT IS EXPECTED THAT NOT EVERY STAFF MEMBER HAD KNOWLEDGE AS WELL. YET MOST OF THE BOARD APPARENTLY KNEW. SOMETHING WAS UP. SOME APPARENTLY LEFT AS A RESULT OF INACTION.

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  68. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    My biggest frustration is trying to explain to people how it works. The fact that they can tailor make their grooming to the situation and that is not a quick process has always led me to believe that this is not a disease this is pure evil. Deception is always more evil because you can’t even prepare or respond. You are part of it as a useful idiot….. until you aren’t necessary anymore.

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  69. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:

    You are not kidding! But they got him!! I remember when that happened. I had always loved his stuff. Now I can’t even look at him.

    I know. Same here.

    The man was a comedic genius, broke the color barrier on network TV, and became one of the most famous and richest men in showbiz — legitimately. But he couldn’t keep his pants zipped — not only womanizing, but serial rape by drug.

    Candy is dandy
    But liquor is quicker.”
    — Ogden Nash

    Classically Tragic, actually.

    Not to mention his support for education.

    My siblings and I grew up quoting large swaths of his comedy routines from a collection of LPs.

    Ironically enough, there was one LP in the collection we kids weren’t allowed to listen to: “Bill Cosby: For Adults Only” (recorded from his Vegas show).

    Kind of a metaphor of his life, perhaps.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  70. Max wrote:

    Did Bill Hybels ever get around to preaching about Hell?

    I remember years ago there was a drama about The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:14-31) that was pretty powerful. That’s about all that comes to mind.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  71. Lydia wrote:

    @ JYJames:
    The late internet monk would have told you they were targeted with “churchianity”. I think he nailed it.

    It certainly doesn’t feel like the intentions of the mega movement were entirely (if at all) pure for the cause of Christ.

    The only consolation I take is, as Paul said:

    What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:18.)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  72. @ Beth74:
    I don’t take a lot of solace in Cherry Picked Bible verses which may or may not fit a situation. I don’t assume such. My experience in the mega world is that Jesus was an accessory sort of like the plastic fish sold in the gift shop and put on the car in the parking lot.

    The shtick we sold people was it was just like Acts. Except we forgot to explain the part where most of those people went back to their home region after Pentecost.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  73. @ Lydia:
    I’m sorry you don’t take solace in the Scriptures in times of trial. (Our perhaps just the ones I happen to post.) I certainly do.

    And this is most certainly a time of trial for the Church. I’m very glad these things are being revealed, praise God.

    I’m also very sad and angry that this is the legacy so many false leaders have left for the modern church.

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  74. @ Lydia:
    Here is the context of the verse I posted. I think it is very fitting for what is going on with WCC and many others that we are discussing here:

    15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
    16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
    17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
    18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

    When I mentioned it to you, I was trying to lament with you and try to find something, anything good out of all this mess where certainly more bad has been done than good.

    That’s why Paul gave us that comfort, which is very much like saying “at least the Word of God will not return to Him void. Sigh.”

    Your accusation of me “cherry-picking verses” is a strange reaction to my comment and lament.

    As is the accusation aligning me with the gaslighting of abusers and predators.

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  75. To clarify, the point I was trying to make: Is the new Willow leader capable of providing a ‘safe place’ for all who worship there? If she was ‘abused’ there, maybe not. If she knew about the abuse, and did speak out, maybe not. If both, near 100% she is not. @ ishy:

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  76. Someone thought I went to WCC. I went there just once. I attend a very conservative Bible Church and think that a church should reach out. But not if it misses the gospel…I agree with other commenters that the current churches are often shallow. Pity.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  77. Beth74 wrote:

    the intentions of the mega movement

    (Noted but no big deal: my handle is showing up in odd places here, with others’ quotes.)

    Regarding Philippians 1 and motives in ministry, I read the whole chapter. In a sense I can relate to both what Paul is saying, and your comment, Beth, if I understand.

    My childhood church had an ego-maniac #1 preacher that split the church when they hired an assistant to help #1 out. They meant well but #1 was all about #1. I sat reading my Sunday School Bible every week as he railed from the pulpit. As soon as I came of age, I left, and took the Bible with me. No turning back.

    Isaiah 55:11 comes to mind. I’d like to apologize if this offends some, because I know some have been hammered with the Bible, so no offense meant here:

    “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

    WC and Hybels may be finished. But if there were Bibles in the building, God probably planted seeds and those folks will go onward and upward, guided by the HS. The man, the institution may fail; God always wins. Love that!

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  78. Beth74 wrote:

    my hope and consolation in all of this mess

    Throughout the ages, God has used even bad folks to accomplish His purposes. He prefers to work through faithful believers, however. It brings glory to His name when men and their ministries stay true to the Cross, leaving a legacy of following the straight and narrow road without any detours through the ditch.

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  79. Abigail wrote:

    I attend a very conservative Bible Church and think that a church should reach out. But not if it misses the gospel…I agree with other commenters that the current churches are often shallow. Pity.

    The real-deal Church throughout the world looks at the American church and shake their heads in wonder. They just can’t believe that it tries to drag as much of the world as it can into its midst, while still appearing to be Christian. There is a gospel preached in many corners of the church in America which is not the Gospel at all.

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  80. Max wrote:

    The real-deal Church throughout the world looks at the American church and shake their heads in wonder.

    IMHO church leadership worldwide fits this description by Mike Phillips:

    “Here is the reality we deal with: Pastors can be roughly grouped in three categories:

    “1. Divinely called and faithful servants of God.
    “2. Divinely called servants, presently tempted, and struggling with personal sin. They deal with their own weaknesses but do not use others for their gratification.
    “3. Intentional usurpers of the pulpit and the congregation for the purposes of their own enjoyment and control.”

    https://mikeinsac.com/2018/02/12/the-grooming-behavior-of-pastoral-predators-part-1/

    Purely anecdotal on my part, but I don’t see a difference worldwide with the exception of where there are life/death consequences for being a believer. Weeds out the fakes PDQ.

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  81. @ Max: There are false teachers, false gospels, and scumbags all over the world who claim the name of Christ. I saw and heard plenty the 15 years I served as a missionary. I continue to serve in Hispanic ministry here in the States, and we often have visitors who have been severely wronged by leadership in a different congregation (and, sometimes these “refugees” bring their own problems to our congregation). There is a need to be lovingly vigilant about what is occurring, without getting too nosy. In my bilingual/bicultural church, we’ve had two serious incidents of sin in the lives of leadership since i’ve been there, and the elders handled it well both times. It didn’t make it easy, but it was handled well. One was restored, one was asked to leave, but there was minimal damage to the congregation. We’re not TFG or 9 Marks-just a church trying to make it by the Bible in the 21st century.

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  82. Linn wrote:

    There are false teachers, false gospels, and scumbags all over the world who claim the name of Christ.

    Indeed! Wickedness in the pulpit knows no geographical boundaries. It just seems we have more than our share in the American church.

    When I referred to the “real-deal Church throughout the world”, I include the faithful remnant in America as well. There are believers here and there – in both pulpit and pew – who cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, deluded, or deceived … real deal disciples of Christ who stand in amazement at what the organized church has become in many places.

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  83. GMFS: Comment 1 of 2… Fitba’

    Rather a tame home draw against Stoke yesterday. Big results in Europe are often followed by indifferent ones in the league where Liverpool are concerned. That said, perhaps we should consider it the other way around – last week, an indifferent league result was followed by a big one in Europe. Although we’re 5-2 up fae the home leg, we still need a big performance in Rome this week. In fact, we need two more big performances. We also need at least one win from our last two league games to finish in the top four.

    Also, expect some unpleasantries at Celtic Park today where the hoops can clinch the Scottish title against Rangers. Old Firm clashes are ill-tempered at the best of times…

    IHTIH

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  84. GMFS: Comment 2 of 2… html tags

    Wartburgers will be able to spot the double mistake in the following:

    <em><strong>GMFS: Comment 1 of 2… Fitba'<em><strong>

    Hence my last comment being bold/italic throughout… 🙁

    Lesson: if you’re going to be a smartarse with formatted headings, proof-read your comment before posting.

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  85. GMFS: Comment 3 of 2… Church congregations, outsiders and “seeker-sensitivity”

    I suppose the frustrating thing is that everything becomes such a polarised either/or among Christians, as it does among groups of human beings generally.

    While I appreciate the risks of stereotyping congregations (or groups of human beings generally), there are certain “design patterns” that do frequently recur. One of them, here in Blighty and probably in the states as well, is the insular church group that exists just to maintain its program and traditions, and shrinks as its members age. I get that “seeker-sensitivity” was designed as an antidote to that pattern, and not as a deliberate attempt to spit in God’s face.

    And sticking with the topic of good intentions, I also recognise that the phrase is seeker sensitive, not consumer sensitive. The original idea wasn’t only to attract giving-units, as people were known under Marq Driskle’s business model. It was to avoid common practices that pushed away people who actually hoped to encounter God in a church congregation.

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  86. John M wrote:

    To clarify, the point I was trying to make: Is the new Willow leader capable of providing a ‘safe place’ for all who worship there? If she was ‘abused’ there, maybe not. If she knew about the abuse, and did speak out, maybe not. If both, near 100% she is not. @ ishy:

    Ah, I see. I agree with you there.

    I’ve been assaulted twice and harassed more times than I can count, and people stood there for many of them saying and doing nothing. Many of those happened in churches. Some Christians berated me for speaking out about it later, because I was “making things uncomfortable” for them or for the predator.

    This tendency we have in the western church to demand everyone act “nice” to pretend the church is a safe place when we know it’s not has to stop. Problems aren’t going to fix themselves by ignoring them. You actually have to deal with them.

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  87. Linn wrote:

    I saw and heard plenty the 15 years I served as a missionary. I continue to serve in Hispanic ministry here in the States, and we often have visitors who have been severely wronged by leadership in a different congregation (and, sometimes these “refugees” bring their own problems to our congregation). There is a need to be lovingly vigilant about what is occurring, without getting too nosy.

    I saw the same as a missionary. I do think methodologies are tailored to certain people groups or classes and can be easier to spot if you know what you are looking for. Lower income groups tend to be promised a lot of material needs and get a heavy prosperity gospel message. US megachurches are almost always in the highest income areas and target entertainment and services with little in the way of messaging at all besides tithing and bringing more people.

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  88. GMFS: Comment 4 of 2… church cliques

    In the congregation I was part of in Cambridge, I was allocated to a particular housegroup * in the early summer of my last year there. The other eight or so folk in the group all knew each other well, whereas I was new. The midweek meetings consisted of them reminiscing endlessly about the good old days when they were in a housegroup together a couple of years before.

    I made, I rather felt, significant efforts to join in conversations that meant little to me, but in the end I drifted away and spent more time training at the local climbing wall with Clare College Climbing Club (known affectionately as “Clare Rats” for historical reasons). Even though I was at Magdalene College, not Clare, I was welcomed with open arms at Clare Rats and treated as a peer.

    Anyway, to the point of the story. A few months in, a lassie among the housegroup regulars announced to me that she hadn’t seen me at many housegroup meetings lately. I said I was finding it difficult to break into the circle. I’ll never forget her response:

    So what yer gonna do about it?

    I did the only thing a reasonable person could do: I left and never came back.

    * For “housegroup”, read “cell group”, “midweek group” or whatever you like to call a small sub-group in a congregation that meets on a Wednesday evening.

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  89. @ Beth74:

    Thanks. I am aware of the passage and it’s meaning. It would be difficult to try and explain the main focus of places like WC and that world of which I am familiar going back 30 years. Some understand scripture from only the context they are immersed in. I was fortunate enough to be raised early on with a strong dose of soul competency and priesthood of believer which I think made all the difference, eventually. I am so grateful for that foundation. That means more than being a Berean —which is important enough. It also means that I am totally responsible for what I believe and how I live that out. We may fellowship corporately but in the end, it’s just me and Jesus Christ. The gurus won’t be there speaking on my behalf.

    I am well aware of how easy it is to get caught up in “group” understanding of scripture from a guru/teacher. In Christian circles these days whether church, bible college or seminary there are few who approach scripture with historical context, different interpretations, etc. it’s mostly indoctrination. Some even see it as sinfully questioning to study how the Canon was formed, etc. it’s a very narrow world of dictates not discovery. I was stunned when I heard the WC co pastor at the family meeting challenge the audience to remember his teaching on “dual thinking” before the meeting began. Oh my word! It’s like mass hypnosis.

    The Jesus Christ I was introduced to as a child was totally different from the one the Megas or later, the Neo Cals were promoting. And once that filter is in place for people, it’s extremely hard to change unless they make a concerted effort. It’s even worse in the Neo Cal world because every passage is interpreted to fit a determinist god. So I decided to take a lot of time off the church circuit and immerse myself in scripture. (These days we have all the tools at our disposal mostly for free)

    What I found is personal and it’s not my right to tell others what to believe or do. I enjoy interpretation discussions but realize some have big issues with that. I will say that I came to see more clearly what I was taught as a child. Christianity is a relationship with my Savior. The book is precious and inspired and yet has been horribly used as a club or shaming tool by many. And frankly, some put more faith in their interpretation than they do in Christ. I do hope Creekers leave and question everything they were taught. It’s a healthy journey.

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  90. Lydia wrote:

    The Jesus Christ I was introduced to as a child was totally different from the one the Megas or later, the Neo Cals were promoting. And once that filter is in place for people, it’s extremely hard to change unless they make a concerted effort … I do hope Creekers leave and question everything they were taught. It’s a healthy journey.

    Lydia, the WCC trolls would do well to read your entire comment and heed the counsel/warning you offer. Praise God that you survived the church journey you were on (mine has been similar) … from your experience, you provide insight and hope for others who have been ensnared by the “almost-gospel” church.

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  91. Lydia wrote:

    The book is precious and inspired and yet has been horribly used as a club or shaming tool by many. And frankly, some put more faith in their interpretation than they do in Christ.

    I suppose I’m branching the topic a bit here, but I’ve come to believe in what I call the necessity of scripture, as opposed to the sufficiency of scripture.

    The bronze snake that Moses made was God-given. Generations later, Israel had turned it into an idol and were worshipping it, so Hezekiah destroyed it. Today, people have turned scripture into an idol and are worshipping it in place of God. I don’t believe we can apply the other part of the analogy – destroying the scriptures isn’t possible, quite apart from being entirely the wrong solution to bibliolatry.

    I find it frustrating, though, every time I come across someone who attempts to demonstrate their Christian credentials by flourishing their veneration of scripture. The smokescreen of deception is often so thick that it is genuinely hard to tell whether they hope in the same God as I do. Or whether they’re basically jehovah’s witnesses who, technically, assent to the doctrine of the trinity without believing that Jesus is God’s ultimate self-disclosure to humanity.

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  92. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    people have turned scripture into an idol and are worshipping it in place of God

    I know some of those folks. They enjoy hitting you over the head with their theology and select passages to defend it, but have no (zero, nil, naught) evidence of having Christ in their life. It’s all about “God”, with hardly a mention of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Their interpretation of Scripture is their ultimate authority, not Christ.

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  93. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I don’t believe we can apply the other part of the analogy – destroying the scriptures isn’t possible, quite apart from being entirely the wrong solution to bibliolatry.

    I find it frustrating, though, every time I come across someone who attempts to demonstrate their Christian credentials by flourishing their veneration of scripture.

    We could, however, destroy all the theology books that flourish the writer’s “veneration of scripture” – the Evangelical “Talmud”. Jesus railed against the rabbis adding to scripture. The Holy Spirit explains Scripture to us. Theologians replace the Holy Spirit. Uffdah.

    “Torah refers to the Hebrew Bible, … The Talmud is the compilation of the historic rabbis ‘discussing’ or ‘debating’ what the Torah means.”

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  94. JYJames wrote:

    We could, however, destroy all the theology books that flourish the writer’s “veneration of scripture” – the Evangelical “Talmud”.

    There is that.

    I know I keep saying this, but I’ve never understood how someone who believes in anything labelled “the sufficiency of scripture” could, in good conscience, add to the words of scribsher by preaching on it.

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  95. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I had not thought of the bronze snake as an analogy. It fits.

    One of the things that helped me see a bigger picture in respect to Scripture, was a translation blog I came across early on in blogdom with linguists discussing these issues. It was interesting what translations they used to translate into other obscure languages because the word meanings change over time and between cultures. The good takeaway from that encouraged me to look how certain words were understood in their context in the first century. Or even ancient Hebrew words like tĕshuwqah in Gen 3 which had changed from its original meaning meaning around the 1300’s then again and again! It’s much more meaningful to me now that I did that homework but also taught me the huge dangers of cherry picking for any Occassion.

    But that does not mean my process fits everyone else. Our relationship with Christ is very personal even though we share the fruits of it with other believers. Much of the grueling research work that I did over those years lead me in a totally different direction than I expected— to trusting Christ with or without scripture.

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  96. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    how someone who believes in anything labelled “the sufficiency of scripture” could, in good conscience, add to the words of scribsher by preaching on it.

    LOL. On point. It’s all about the $$$ or £££ or €€€. The Holy Spirit, OTOH, is free! So are His gifts to the Church.

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  97. For years, I’ve taken issue with the phrase Sola Scriptura…for it is not Scripture, alone, that guides us, and obviously, the devil knows Scripture quite well and twisted it to fit his agenda when he tempted Christ in the wilderness. Certainly, we see manifestations of this unholy corruption of Scriptural interpretation today, when it is taught to suit an evil agenda, and then oft-repeated by countless others who fall for the skewed teaching. Certainly, I myself have fallen victim to such corruption of doctrine in the past, and it is so easy to do.

    Having said that, I believe it is equally dangerous to devalue the Scriptures to the point that we appoint ourselves judges over the authority of Scripture. It looks something like this: well, that passage doesn’t seem right or fair to me, and I wouldn’t like to think of God that way, so it must be altered or translated incorrectly.

    The problem here is not that the Scripture is inaccurate, but rather that we are not understanding it in context. For instance, someone called the destruction of certain societies genocide and implied that it would be evil for God to commit “genocide,” so it must not be true, it must be altered.

    Poppycock. If you want to call the destruction of Sodom (a region in which God could not find even 10 righteous people to spare and in which “all the people from every quarter” (Gen 19:4) came out to shake down Lot’s house and sexually assault his visitors) genocide, for instance, then I suppose you have a right to do that.

    You also have a right to call the execution of pedophiles and sexual predators “barbaric” — but you wouldn’t be correct.

    Similar concepts apply for other societies whom God allowed to destroyed. We have little understanding of the wickedness that went on in those cultures, and yet we deem ourselves authorized judges of God for destroying them in order to protect the more innocent societies around them…and we say the Scriptures must have been altered.

    It amazes me that anyone who hangs around here could be so quick to take up the defense of horrendously distorted and corrupt cultures (like the Canaanites, for instance.) Where do you suppose protecting evildoers leads? It leads to exactly the sorts of situations we see here at WW all the time! It leads to entire cultures of this predatory behavior flourishing because no one was faithful to execute justice when they should have long ago!

    Ecclesiastes 3:17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

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  98. I have a different take on something. This statement is about an issue and not about what some specific commenter may have said. Lots of listening to lots of people’s comments have contributed to what I am about to write.

    The problem is not with the bible. It is really not going to be solved with adjustments to the translations.
    The problem is with (a) what people have erroneously assumed the bible to be and (b) the problem is with establishing an actual interface between the bible and today’s culture in this nation.

    Example: slavery. This is for example purposes only. Fact is that the bible does not condemn the very idea of slavery. We do condemn the very idea of slavery. No amount of discussion of greek works or the context of slavery in that day will change that. Sure, some tweaking here and there can be done, but the harsh realities remain. We have to come to the point where we say and mean it that regardless of what the bible does or does not say about slavery however understood and in whatever culture and with whatever words–we don’t believe in slavery any more.

    Until we can take that kind of approach with a number of things in scripture then we are engaging in futile attempts to re-write the older understandings of scripture into something more tolerable to our time.

    But/ but/ but if we do take that approach then we have abandoned sola scriptura, or at least abandoned one way of thinking about scripture, and entered a whole new and possibly scary world of thinking.

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  99. Beth74 wrote:

    I believe it is equally dangerous to devalue the Scriptures to the point that we appoint ourselves judges over the authority of Scripture.

    (Side Discussion here to the Post, however the topic is access, which Hybels promoted, even as he failed.) Agreed. IMHO, no one has authority over Scripture, we are to live under Scripture’s authority.

    How that plays out varies. The article about the work of Dr. Nicholas Hardy references the history of the translation of the KJV, for example, and questions why anyone would hold this translation as the end all.

    The Living Bible is not even a translation, but for some it is easy access to begin to read the Bible on their own. When I have led someone to Christ, I bring them to the bookstore and have them read Psalm 23 in different versions, then select the one that works best for them. Just begin to read and pray, I advise, and you’ll grow and figure it out on the way. We don’t look at Bible study books – just the Bible. Lean and direct.

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  100. @ JYJames:
    And yet, JY, the King James Bible was the translation available countless great Christians and Bible teachers of the past…including Wesley and the abolitionists (the majority of whom were strong Christians.)

    Not to mention the fact that most recognized cultural references to Christianity or the Bible are from the King James Bible. It has had a remarkable influence on Western Civilization in general. Also, it is royalty-free and not bent toward Calvinism or other corrupt agendas (as are some modern translations.)

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  101. Lydia wrote:

    Much of the grueling research work that I did over those years lead me in a totally different direction than I expected— to trusting Christ with or without scripture.

    Same here. Scripture for me does not have to be an all or nothing system of rote linearization. Nor does it have to be an either/or proposition. Over time, I’ve learned to see it as granite blocks and grains of salt.
    And since I’m made a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor, it is my hope that the Almighty trusts me enough to determine for myself which is which in the here and now.

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  102. @ okrapod:
    This is a tough one. But, if we understand the mess that God had on His hands, dealing with us, then we can apprehend it even if we cannot fully comprehend it. Allowed does not mean condoned unless one is a hard core Calvinist who believes that God condones evil to bring himself glory. However, I do not want this comment section to turn into another commentary on Calvinism.

    In order to understand the OT, we must look at it through the eyes of the Cross. God does not condone evil and did not condone the horrific killing of Jessica Lunsford in order to bring Himself glory. God has allowed what has transpired, IMO, because He gave us free will. That free will has led us all to sorts of choices that are despicable and evil.

    As we look back on the OT, our hearts should grieve for the choices made in that culture. They had God as their ruler and instead chose an earthly king. God allowed this but warned the “You will not like having a king.” He was right- even to this very day.

    My husband I were talking about the stupidity of our younger selves. We actually believed that, if we became leaders in our professions or in our churches, we would cause our culture to change because of our *infectious* faith. Instead, it took our culture, via the #metoo movement, to affect change in the church.

    Jesus taught us to go beyond ourselves and care for the oppressed, the poor, the outcasts, etc. However, he did not force us to do as He taught us. He gavels free will and died on the Cross and was resurrected in order to forgive us for our sins because we have not followed Him.

    One reason that I am a Christian is because I see the reality of the OT being lived out in the culture today. And, I am trying to make a small dent in slavery today by helping to get medical care for victims of human trafficking. God did not condone slavery. He allowed it and the wise amongst us will see ourselves in the faces of the enslaved.

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  103. @ Beth74:

    And also it is protestant, and if we want to eliminate from our thinking the first 1500 years or so of Christian thought and practice what would come more in handy than our own sacred translation. But surely and surely the English church would not be thinking like that-it says right here, tongue in cheek.

    And surely and surely native English speakers would not be wanting to have a special in-house ancestral lingo for biblical references-like ‘I am a cradle Baptist or such which is why I talk like this’.

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  104. okrapod wrote:

    But/ but/ but if we do take that approach then we have abandoned sola scriptura, or at least abandoned one way of thinking about scripture, and entered a whole new and possibly scary world of thinking.

    I think one of the biggest problems is that a lot of people believe they have to be the ones to always know all the answers. And that’s impossible unless you are God Himself.

    Every English translation is wrong on some things. They are translations, not inspired. But even if they were inspired, I think humans would still miss the big points and focus on minor ones, just like the do now. So I don’t think anybody should be trusting in other humans to give them those answers. And that means you have to actually work at it, which goes quite contrary to the seeker and megachurch mentality.

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  105. @ dee:

    Oh, yeah. There is this also. Even though God does not change He does seem to have a wide range of ways of dealing with things. I think that all the way back people have been thinking that if something happened then God did it and/and that even if so they have the evidence to explain why he did it. But we note in the NT that the guys had to ask Jesus to explain some stuff and even then apparently did not get all the explanations I would like to have heard.

    One of the most frustrating statements in scripture for me is Jesus’ statement that he had other things to say but not now-later. Arrgh.

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  106. @ JYJames:
    One day I read the long preface to the KVJ and I got the sense the Hampton Court Translators would subtly agree with you. :). It was a politically necessary translation. We can’t take history out of the equation with the divine right of kings who held such church state titles as “Defender of the Faith” while sparring with the Puritans. 🙂

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  107. okrapod wrote:

    One of the most frustrating statements in scripture for me is Jesus’ statement that he had other things to say but not now-later. Arrgh.

    And right up there is the tease at the end of John’s gospel about all the other things Jesus did that were not written down.

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  108. @ JYJames:
    “The Living Bible is not even a translation, but for some it is easy access to begin to read the Bible on their own. When I have led someone to Christ, I bring them to the bookstore and have them read Psalm 23 in different versions, then select the one that works best for them. Just begin to read and pray, I advise, and you’ll grow and figure it out on the way. We don’t look at Bible study books – just the Bible. Lean and direct.”

    My mom always had a box of “Good News for Modern Man” bibles in her trunk. At her funeral visitation, an elderly German woman, who was a neighbor before my time, showed up with her worn out copy to show us and pay her respects. Even my stoic brother’s eyes misted up.

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  109. While I am at it, let me say something here. People talk about Calvinism, but mostly that affects most of us only to the extent that is exists in the English speaking world. People talk about translations, again being translations into English for the most part. People talk about cultural ideas-again mostly in English speaking nations-at least here on TWW. People talk about denoms-again mostly in English speaking nations here. People here deal with changing culture ideas-and guess which cultures.

    When I converted from one denom which had mostly English roots to a different denom which had English roots I plunged into reading about an era which was foreign to me-the English reformation. The English reformation has a different history from the German reformation and other things going on in Europe. I highly recommend that for general insight one is really well advised to start reading about the English history of certain religious strains in US religion. The politics, the social aspects, the issues and ideas. It is highly complex and I don’t begin to grasp it, but even from what I have learned I have benefitted.

    Remember the Pilgrims and Puritans were partly varieties of English style calvinism/ english style protestantism, and Baptists and Methodists and not just the Anglicans come from those roots, just to mention certain visible groups in US history. The background of some of that is very enlightening.

    Example: the social aspects of the rise of the Baptists with changing social stratification as the English idea of a ruling caste waned in the US and the Baptists gradually assumed some of that privilege. What? Sure. Check it out. Start with Wiki for an easy start.

    So, does the use of KJO really stem only from religious motivations or is it at least in part something else left over from earlier days.

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  110. dee wrote:

    We actually believed that, if we became leaders in our professions or in our churches, we would cause our culture to change because of our *infectious* faith.

    Same here. Well-stated. “Look at us”: Xian groupthink of that era.

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  111. Lydia wrote:

    “Good News for Modern Man”

    “Bonne nouvelle aujourd’hui” in French, with the line drawings, too.

    The French don’t have our variety of translations and, in lieu of King James, they have Louis Segond, translated from the Hebrew & Greek, copyright free.

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  112. @ okrapod:
    “Remember the Pilgrims and Puritans were partly varieties of English style calvinism/ english style protestantism, and Baptists and Methodists and not just the Anglicans come from those roots, just to mention certain visible groups in US history. The background of some of that is very enlightening.
    Example: the social aspects of the rise of the Baptists with changing social stratification as the English idea of a ruling caste waned in the US and the Baptists gradually assumed some of that privilege. What? Sure. Check it out. Start with Wiki for an easy start.”

    Lol. Got me to thinking of the student James Madison who was outraged as baptist preachers were constantly being jailed in Virginia. Perhaps an over correction came about as they usually do. But here is my fav from Madison because we have to remember they were looking at the church state view:

    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions43.html

    7. Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive State in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks, many of them predict its downfall. On which Side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?

    Sounds familiar except now it’s voluntary.

    My view is there are no straight lines on this subject from England to America but tons of books trying to draw them. (And every good baptist claims Roger Williams and/or the Euro Ana Baptists). It seems to be more philosophical than lineage. I can’t quite make it out. I know someone doing a dissertation on tracing evolving Baptist theology in America. The result in America, in my view, was the explosion of sects, denominations, etc. A testament to the beauty of freedom.

    A great book that traces Christian/European dissenters is Leonard Verduin’s “The Reformers And Their Step Children (Dissent and Non conformity). Strangely, he starts with the Donatists the first real dissenters to the encroaching church state mentality.

    But, in the end, the English Reformation was started by a psychopathic King who just wanted a divorce. This muderous tyrant even wrote some of the prayers for the Common Book!

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  113. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I joined a Bible study years ago a summer I was home on furlough. They said it was a singles group. What they didn’t tell me was that they were all divorced and had a tribal roasting of the ex-spouse du jour each time they met.

    I had no ex, and I hope I would never act that way in public if I did have one. I went once, and when asked why I never returned said that I hadn’t expected a Divorce Recovery Group.

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  114. dee wrote:

    This happens all the time. It has something to do with how IP thingies change about to more efficiently move traffic. I probably have that wrong as well.

    Not to worry dee. Should the algorithm come up with a Union Jack for Potter’s locale, he just might change his moniker to a character from Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

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  115. Lydia wrote:

    The result in America, in my view, was the explosion of sects, denominations, etc. A testament to the beauty of freedom.

    A spin on Eph 3:10,11? “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety…”

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  116. @ Lydia:

    You are talking about theology. I am talking about politics, economics and social change. And I am not talking about Yankee baptist theologians but rather about ideas in the southern english colonies in the US. We are not even on the same topic.

    And BTW, the politics and upheaval and social change/disruption in jolly old went through several monarchies. If all one sees is theology and Henry then one has missed just an awful lot.

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  117. JYJames wrote:

    Totalitarian niceness – apt term mentioned on TWW.

    Replace the cross with a yellow smiley face icon. I think Lydia may be the first to use here on TWW.

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  118. ishy wrote:

    Some Christians berated me for speaking out about it later, because I was “making things uncomfortable” for them or for the predator.

    “Ignorance is Bliss and I WANT EUPHORIA!”?

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  119. refugee wrote:

    Not to mention his support for education.

    My siblings and I grew up quoting large swaths of his comedy routines from a collection of LPs.

    This wasn’t a Celebrity like Honey Boo-Boo or Kim Kardashain, Famous only for Being Famous; this was a Celebrity because of a track record of actual Achievements both inside “the industry” and outside. THAT’s what makes it all Classically Tragic.

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  120. dee wrote:

    Instead, it took our culture, via the #metoo movement, to affect change in the church.

    There’s a lot of talk about Christianity vs “the culture”. The fact is the majority of “the culture” was ostensibly “Christian”. I was raised Christian…my hometown was mostly “Christian” and Canada contains people who mostly identify as “Christian”.
    Many celebrities from Elvis Presley to Whitney Houston were raised Christian.
    Even myself, though no longer a believer, cannot just switch off the influence of my Christian upbringing.
    So this culture that christians rail against or compare themselves to is full of people who are or were Christian or surrounded by christians.
    To quote AC/DC “who made who?”

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  121. Divorce Minister wrote:

    Charm…taking an interest…

    “There’s nothing like a little bit of truth to sell the biggest lies, is there?”
    – Tom Barnaby, Detective Chief Inspector, Causton, Midsomer CID of “Midsomer Murders”
    Series 8, Episode 6, TIV.

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  122. @ Jack:

    I see it, or rather experience it, or more accurately evaluate it from a slightly different angle.

    In my early formative years there was one sort of ‘culture’ but that was about 3/4 of a century ago and the issues were different. Then about half a century ago we had the cultural revolution. Then we had the push back to the cultural revolution in the development of some new-to-me religious movements. Now at this time I am still trying to figure out what is going on now. All these ‘cultures’ have been vastly different in some ways yet they all happened among a populace where the majority used the word ‘christian’ to define themselves. The definitions of ‘christian’ over that period of time obviously varied, since they were not the same ideas but only the same words being used.

    I am to the point where I think that the people who use the term ‘real christian’ are on the right track in thinking that there surely must be some stable identifiable symptom of ‘real christian’, but I think that the term is being used mostly to say ‘we are better than you people’ and doing so for all the wrong reasons.

    All that said, I have run into some really bad cultural changes in the educational system and in the medical system; changes that have negatively impacted me and my family. People here are talking about bad changes in the religious systems. I think maybe we better just drop the word ‘christian’ when we talk about culture, before we vilify Christ himself by using the word just willy nilly. It was just a pejorative to start with anyhow.

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  123. @ Lydia:

    Yes, Henry certainly made the initial power move, but I read that calvinist ideas had already begun to filter in from Europe, so when Henry actually seemed to think in passing that he could have what was mostly catholic except with him in charge that went nowhere really fast. The man was not ignorant of the ways of church and throne. The times were ripe apparently, or so I read and he was quick enough to seize the opportunity. As to the divorce, that certainly was a factor, but the acquisition of lands and monasteries and such which had previously belonged to the church did not exactly displease the throne.

    So what I am saying is that to say that Henry was ill either mentally or physically or both is not enough of an explanation, though historians certainly suggest both. And to say he wanted a divorce, that was also true but it does not explain the subsequent history of that era sufficiently. I think that looking at a culture when these things happen and then saying do we we have any advantage to seeing these things, that is an advantage in itself.

    And also don’t forget, this is a public forum and you are not the only one who reads what I write including what I write in a conversation with you. From what I am reading about religious upheaval now, and from what I have read specifically related to this issue about the development of culture in the english colonies in our own south (which we all know was and still to some point still is different from some other colonies here) and the development of idea(s) which led to war between the states and formation of the SBC itself,, and from the issue that finally we fought the english over rule and eventually fought each other over the issues of north and south, then the more we can try to look at the larger picture the better off we all might be.

    We are still struggling between calvinism and catholicism. We still are caught up in alleged issues of ‘privilege’ depending on categories of people, we still have residuals of attitudes from various wars including wars of religion which we seem to never end but merely re-cast and keep at it.

    That’s all I am trying to say. I have never meant to imply that you yourself were poorly informed. I do think that some conversations are too little for some subject once the subject has been brought up, and certainly with the SBC particularly the subjects related to southern (originally english) cultures have come up time and time again.

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  124. Lydia wrote:

    Glad you clarified closer to the era you were referring to.

    The era I am talking about is all of the above; I am tracing ideas which transcend eras. I am trying to think ‘how did this get started anyhow’. And remember, I moved over to this side of the mountains and I have spent decades listening and watching people and trying to understand this culture as compared to the culture of my youth. I think I have some answers at this point. And I think that ideas do not die; they change their outer garments, hide and re-appear, wax and wane in popularity, but never die.

    And this in one reason that I think that Jesus’ apocalyptic prophesies may be literal. Who else but God can deal with ideas that never die?

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  125. @ okrapod:
    I think the difference is you are more scientific and I tend to be a generalist for the sake of brief communication. All the Reformations were a mix of politics, culture and theology. I think the same after the civil war and how the SBC evolved away (not totally) from Calvinism. ( I think most of Protestantism has a thread of determinism running through it )

    Of course there are always nuances in history but how much influence they carry is usually where it ends up. Sometimes those tiny voices snuffed out come out later. The pro slaver SBC founding was also made up of Princeton grads with a strong Presbyterian foundation. These scary men thought they were doing God’s work. It’s not like they were not exposed to yankee abolitionists, either. Hard hearts. My point is that it is difficult to come up with hard and fast categories when discussing history. Example, One of the founders of Methodism, George Whitefield, was an ardent pro slaver. Yet, Methodists also had many Abolitionists.

    I wish I could remember the source but I read a breakdown of stats on plantation owners which included religious affiliation. Some of the biggest slave holder plantations in the South were also from the mainlines such as Espicopalians and Presbyterians. It was more of a social class thing that evolved from the early planters. Baptists are not off the hook because they codified slavery in there founding. A reading of Broadus’ bio of Boyce really shows the attitude of the times. Shameful stuff.

    My take on the ideas you are referring to (that don’t really die) have morphed from a more socio economic class identy to group identity with categories narrowing almost daily. I am a big believer in seeing people as individuals- not people “groups”. But even in discussing these issues we tend to fall back on the group identity thing to make points because that is how the culture communicates —and it grieves me. I don’t even see Christians as an identity group. How could I? I can’t relate to most of the “Christian” identity grouping categories anymore. There are many of them!

    There are some really good thinkers out there trying to make sense of what is going on in our culture. Some are focused on education like Jonathan Haidt. Others are focused on the psychology like Dr. Jordan Peterson. Some are more focused on science like Dr. Brett Weinstein or Sam Harris. These people are starting to come together to have discussions around all of it and it’s very interesting. All of them are very concerned about where we are headed.

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  126. Lydia wrote:

    Some of the biggest slave holder plantations in the South were also from the mainlines such as Espicopalians and Presbyterians. It was more of a social class thing that evolved from the early planters.

    That goes along with a prior comment of mine which had said that I had read that as the baptists gained in numbers and in prosperity and as the anglicans specifically decreased in political influence the baptists more and more adopted the planter ideas of race including but not limited to slavery.

    One thing you are saying that I am so not seeing. I see a real attachment to group identity to the extent that I wonder if that is part of the draw of the megas. It is huge where my oldest grandkid goes to high school. The gangs for example ‘represent’ which means hang on to gang signs and symbols and try to slide it by admin; some calvinist kids will come right out in class and first identify themselves as calvinist; and young g’kid went to one informational meeting about how to get in college only to end up listening to part of a lecture telling the asian kids to quit being so asian and going into asian identifiers. She came home saying that she was ‘so stereotypical’ and seemed delighted about it. All of this is group identity stuff.

    At my church they are doing some interior redesigning while doing repairs/extension and they want to look more ‘anglican’ as an identifier. It looks like the church will vote for it, and drawings of the proposal are certainly group identifiers as they see it. And hereabouts one either is or is not a member of SBC mega, and if one is then enough said-identity. People take to the streets with group identity, for better and worse. I have been thinking that the age of loner individuality may be waning with segments of the population. And maybe that falls into people willing to be told how to live their lives in detail by some preacher who preaches lifestyle details as next to godliness. And people wanting to believe they were chosen before they were born regardless.

    Or was that not what you were talking about?

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  127. okrapod wrote:

    And maybe that falls into people willing to be told how to live their lives in detail by some preacher who preaches lifestyle details as next to godliness.

    I remember a story about some guy who was raised in a Holiness(?) church who converted to the Mormons “because Mormons don’t drink or smoke”, i.e. they followed the “lifestyle details” he’d been raised to associate with Real True Christians more so than his original church, so they had to be more Christian.

    There is a similar Internet essay called “Mormons: Southern Baptist Zombies?” that points out that Mormons exceed Southern Baptists on most (if not all) the metrics that SBs point to as proof they are Truly Christian — clean-cut Fifties image, Focusing on the Family, sending out Missionaries and making Converts.

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  128. Lydia wrote:

    I wish I could remember the source but I read a breakdown of stats on plantation owners which included religious affiliation. Some of the biggest slave holder plantations in the South were also from the mainlines such as Espicopalians and Presbyterians.

    i.e The Mainstream Prestige national churches of England and Scotland.

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  129. okrapod wrote:

    And this in one reason that I think that Jesus’ apocalyptic prophesies may be literal. Who else but God can deal with ideas that never die?

    “How can you kill That Which Has No Life?”
    — South Park throwaway line regarding a total (online gamer) fanboy

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  130. JYJames wrote:

    Relationship with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit

    Let me be a bit over the line about this. I personally am getting so sick and tired and fed up with everybody claiming that every thought and opinion they have is personally confirmed to them by the Holy Spirit, even in the face of the obvious disagreements about what that might mean. The Holy Spirit apparently is at the same time a teetotaler at one house and inspires people to ease up about issue that at the next house. The Holy Spirit apparently calls and empowers some woman to preach at one house while next door He empowers the lady over there to hold forth in opposition to women preachers.

    Somewhere, perhaps lots of where, it is not the Holy Spirit.

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  131. @ okrapod:
    It’s what I was talking about. I don’t see it ending well as categories become narrower and narrower. I can’t find anybody to be in my identity group of non identity group so I will have to be a category of one. 🙂

    I went to a high school awards ceremony the other day and the stem kids took all the big money in scholarships from The Ivy Leagues. The problem is every single one of them was either Asian (girls) and Indian (boys). There is a very vocal group in the school that wants to end this competitive program because it’s not Diversified enough.

    I took my kids out of private Christian School because the group identity became such a narrow focus (with a particular non SBC mega) it was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe how it became progressively worse over a span of 6 years. They were relieved because they kept getting in trouble in biblical worldview class. It was indoctrination not education.

    None of this can end well. And as my mother used to say, it will be the reason why we can’t have nice things.

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  132. Lydia wrote:

    I went to a high school awards ceremony the other day and the stem kids took all the big money in scholarships from The Ivy Leagues. The problem is every single one of them was either Asian (girls) and Indian (boys). There is a very vocal group in the school that wants to end this competitive program because it’s not Diversified enough

    What’s a stem kid and are these scholarships not based on grades? Something I’m not getting at all. Or are these special interest scholarships only open to certain ethnicities or genders?

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  133. @ Jack:
    It’s a multi faceted magnet school based on grades, attendance and a rigorous application process. STEM is the Science/Technology magnet.

    The application process is open to any student. They spend a lot of time recruiting for more diversity in that magnet. The federal government diversity requirements for schools are made up in the other magnets.

    The students above that I was talking about were presented books from the ivy league. There were about 40 of them. And most of them were presented with full rides to ivy and 2nd tier ivy leagues. I know some of those kids and they work their bottoms off.

    A friend of mine married an Indian neurologist and she explained the differences in his approach to their children’s education than hers and the way she was raised. And she has a masters from Georgetown! By the time their children were three years old her husband had developed an educational plan that included daily summer study and arts. And he works with them himself quite a bit. And he is one of the kindest most generous guys you will ever meet. But he takes education very seriously (for his girls!) because it was so hard for him to obtain what he acheived.

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  134. Jack wrote:

    What’s a stem kid and are these scholarships not based on grades? Something I’m not getting at all. Or are these special interest scholarships only open to certain ethnicities or genders?

    Lydia can answer for there, but let me answer for here.

    STEM is science, technology, engineering and math and it is being pushed because jobs. We looked into the special STEM high school here, they sent an invitation to apply, and rejected it for oldest GK because it was not sciencie and mathie enough for her. Here it is by lottery for those who apply, but miraculously it ends up heavy on technology and lean on theory while being heavy on one minority-not asian. It serves an excellent purpose for just lots of kids-just not GK#1. Our local high schools also have honors/ seminar/ AP track science and math for kids who are more into that approach. Our asian wanted to take math three (an 11th grade math) as a freshman and was ready to raise havoc based on racial bias if guidance did not let her do it. Guidance wisely put her and one other kid, a non-asian male, in math 3. So designated STEM is good, but it is not necessarily the best or only option for all math and science kids.

    I believe there was a recent court ruling that Harvard? could continue to demand higher admission scores and grades from asians because of too many asians too competitive. Somebody wanted to blame asian culture. Our oldest asian was adopted at age 1 and we don’t do asian culture. I think maybe they have somewhat different talents. That would be plausible with what we also see with genetics in some areas, but that could get me into trouble if I said that out loud.

    And for balance let me add that my other asian GK, also female, is definitely not a math and science person. Totally different personality. I don’t know percentages of which is what in that population, but I would bet that they are diverse just like we are even if we are seeing this math/science issue.

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  135. okrapod wrote:

    I personally am getting so sick and tired and fed up with everybody claiming that every thought and opinion they have is personally confirmed to them by the Holy Spirit, even in the face of the obvious disagreements about what that might mean.

    “The phrase ‘God Led Me To…” should only be spoken with the same forethought and caution as ‘Please Castrate Me’.”
    — Some long-ago commenter on this blog

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  136. okrapod wrote:

    I believe there was a recent court ruling that Harvard? could continue to demand higher admission scores and grades from asians because of too many asians too competitive. Somebody wanted to blame asian culture. Our oldest asian was adopted at age 1 and we don’t do asian culture.

    Reminds me of a 80s or 90s-vintage Doonesbury strip where the 1975 Cambodian Orphan character was encountering similar flak when she was applying to college. When one protestor blamed her top-of-the class SAT score on being Asian, she blurts out “I was raised JEWISH!”
    (i.e. another family culture that puts great value on learning)

    It’s that emphasis of the value of learning — not being ethnically Asian or Jew — that matters.

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  137. Lydia wrote:

    I went to a high school awards ceremony the other day and the stem kids took all the big money in scholarships from The Ivy Leagues. The problem is every single one of them was either Asian (girls) and Indian (boys). There is a very vocal group in the school that wants to end this competitive program because it’s not Diversified enough.

    I took my kids out of private Christian School because the group identity became such a narrow focus (with a particular non SBC mega) it was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe how it became progressively worse over a span of 6 years. They were relieved because they kept getting in trouble in biblical worldview class. It was indoctrination not education.

    You have identified two strains of neo-puritanism, one in education, the other in parts of the church. They may see themselves culturally as polar opposites yet they share a similar controlling ethos and a focus on treating people according to their group identity, not as individuals.

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  138. Lydia, George Whitefield was a Calvinist. He and the Wesleys parted company over it, but did later renew the friendship even while ardently disagreeing. Perhaps Whitefield’s Calvinism was part of his pro slavery stand.

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  139. JYJames wrote:

    Lifestyle, yes. Relationship with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit, maybe yes, maybe not so much.

    Which can be something more subjective than visibly objective (such as lifestyle).

    For example, Mormons also have a subjective proof, the “Burning in the Bosom”.

    And a lot of Evangelicals say something similar about proof of “Relationship with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. (The Pentecostals go for a visible — actually auditory — external metric, Tongues.) Burning in the Bosom, Shiver in the Liver, still subjective.

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  140. Lydia wrote:

    I went to a high school awards ceremony the other day and the stem kids took all the big money in scholarships from The Ivy Leagues. The problem is every single one of them was either Asian (girls) and Indian (boys). There is a very vocal group in the school that wants to end this competitive program because it’s not Diversified enough.

    “Diversity” as in “not White enough”?
    Usually when Diversity(TM) is invoked, it’s just the opposite.

    Are they demanding Affirmative Action not-a-quotas for non-Asians/non-Indians?
    If so, more proof we’re all living in a South Park episode.

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  141. okrapod wrote:

    Somebody wanted to blame asian culture.

    Makes it sound like a negative that a culture values education or achievement. Hiding under these policies is the pernicious idea of equity or equality of outcome.

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  142. Thersites wrote:

    Makes it sound like a negative that a culture values education or achievement. Hiding under these policies is the pernicious idea of equity or equality of outcome.

    Paging Handicapper General…
    Paging Handicapper General…
    http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html
    (“Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, also adapted as a segment in the PBS production “Between Time and Timbuktu”)

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  143. Thersites wrote:

    Makes it sound like a negative that a culture values education or achievement. Hiding under these policies is the pernicious idea of equity or equality of outcome.

    Asian culture has been accused of having helicopter moms. Like that lady a bit ago who had those musician daughters-pro and con about that parenting style. I first noticed negativity after the press started talking about some kids in Japan I think it was who suicided if they don’t get admitted to the right school-at what we would call even the middle school level. Some have said that the post war problems and in China the one child policy history was having parents place too many demands on the kids.

    Then somebody wrote a book and claimed genetic difference, I think the book was called The Bell Curve or something, and he barely survived the backlash-professionally I mean. My background is in medicine, not education, so I tend to fall out in that direction; a bias I try to remember to note in my own thinking.

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  144. Lydia wrote:

    I took my kids out of private Christian School because the group identity became such a narrow focus (with a particular non SBC mega) it was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe how it became progressively worse over a span of 6 years. They were relieved because they kept getting in trouble in biblical worldview class. It was indoctrination not education.

    Sounds like they inherited their Mom’s free-thinking libertarian views and it sounds like the fundagelical school honchos were not amused.

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  145. @ Muff Potter:
    I attended a GARBC school from 7-12 grade. I would not send my kids to a christain school becuase of my experiences… it is really quite sad…
    The way I see it, the “Christain scchols” need to “market” themselves to get people to pay to come to their school. This marketing will involve their “distinctives” … For many, the more “solid/rigid/dogmatic” these distinctives, the more they can be a “light” compared to the secular humanist public schools….. And the more “solid/rigid/dogmatic” they become, the stronger the pressure to cover up abuse… which will happen…. no one has the corner on how to maked people more “pure”…

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  146. Hello there, I have a question I want to put to this thread. My comments often get moderated (I’m sure that’s my fault due to my pretty anonymous posting) so I do hope it gets seen here.

    I’ll skip ALL the pretext and just ask about logistics/legal, because 1. I’m of the same mind as you on all the major issues discussed here and 2. As a business executive, these are the things I know about.

    I’m not saying it would be perfect, but would it be a lot more ideal if it was normative for even the smallest churches to be at least two distinct entities:

    Entity one: LLC or S corp
    Entity two: 501C3 non profit corporation

    Critical to this model would be that governing entities had simple and strict bounds on certain types of interests or investments they would be able to have in each other.

    You know, I don’t think I have to explain how I think this iterates out, it seems like it becomes self-obvious. Is there anyone doing this, or would it work?

    Thanks!

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  147. @ Muff Potter:
    Not just money…. think about the feeling of power if you own a big plantation with a large number of slaves doing all the “lower work”….. then, if your “preacher” uses the Bible to justify your slave ownership… (i.e. curse of Cain), then you get to feel pious along with money and power!! Wow, what a deal!
    While there are exceptions, a large percentage of the conferderate soldiers were poor whites that did not have slaves ….. the powerful plantation owners convinced the poor whites that those $#&@ yankees were invading their home land ( ie war of nothern aggression). For what it is worth though, a number of the blow hard southern, rich plantation owners that pushed for the conferacy killed themselves after lossing..

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  148. okrapod wrote:

    Somewhere, perhaps lots of where, it is not the Holy Spirit.

    True.

    Another “The Holy Spirit told me” red flag is when a person claims to have a message from God to give to someone else. IMHO, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to speak to each of us (transitioned in the NT away from the OT Town Crier Prophet).

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  149. Why doesn’t WCCC hire an outside firm to investigate and give women a safe place to come forward?

    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/2018/04/30/scottsdale-bible-church-hires-private-firm-examine-sex-abuse-claims/566478002/

    There’s a rule in business – for every person who complains there are another 20 that don’t want the hassle because the believe nothing will happen if they do.

    Curious if any money was given by a millionaire to keep women silent.

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  150. What did she know and when did she know it? I’d there have been investigations going on for 4-5 years, it’s doubtful she knew nothing.

    Beth74 wrote:

    dee wrote:

    John wrote:

    should the current lead pastor, a lady supposedly chosen by BH, give a statement regarding her long time history with him at Willow? Something like: “I have never experienced any sexually suggestive BH comments in all my time at Willow.

    But even if she did, would it be an “over reliance on personal experience” on her part?

    Because maybe Hybels was smart enough to leave her alone throughout the years?

    Maybe this is the root problem of why she’s not more supportive of the victims, calling out Hybels strongly. He’s so slippery, he’s created outrageous confusion about his true character.

    She would do well to consider how many victims there are and the similarities of their stories to overcome any cognitive dissonance. That’s the value of the work being done here.

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  151. Mike wrote:

    keep women silent

    The one(s) who had the full-blown affair, who gave in to BH’s advances are silent. Paid? Or, threatened, or both. He vehemently called the witnesses who came forth, “flat-out” liars. Angrily. That sounded threatening, intimidating, “I’ll destroy you if you tell” in tone.

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  152. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    the powerful plantation owners convinced the poor whites that those $#&@ yankees were invading their home land ( ie war of nothern aggression). For what it is worth though, a number of the blow hard southern, rich plantation owners that pushed for the conferacy killed themselves after lossing..

    Poor to middlin’ youth have always fought rich man’s wars for him. Ain’t nothin’ new…doan’ mean nothin’ either.

    This movie pegs it dead on:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_38WdArR20

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  153. @ Muff Potter:
    To say the least. When the teacher says Christians never ever lie and your kid is the only one to raise a hand and ask: “what about Rahab? and it causes a firestorm in which I had to go to the school office……

    The funniest thing that happened in that meeting was when the teacher said that Corie Ten Boon saved Jews and never ever lied. I carefully explained that “deceiving” the Nazis is the same thing as lying and there are commissions and omissions both which can constitute the result of lying.. And I praise God for such in the defense of innocent life.

    It did not match their worldview. 🙂

    Sinning by asking questions? I have some empathy for their plight because kids lie as a matter of course all the time. It’s literally an epidemic in our schools both public and Christian. There is literally no shame about lying. But we don’t have to shut down our thinking processes and can, instead, appeal to the nobility of saving innocent people.

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  154. @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Will say that the public schools here are so bad —in all neighborhoods —that a lot of non-Christians choose private school because of the horrible discipline problems. Had we not been able to do the magnet program which has almost no discipline problems Because of the rigorous application process, we would probably be in some other private school. The inmates are running the asylum. It’s really bad. But our school system is huge So it is usually a repository for every elitist experimental program that comes down the pike.

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  155. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    Not just money…. think about the feeling of power if you own a big plantation with a large number of slaves doing all the “lower work”….. then, if your “preacher” uses the Bible to justify your slave ownership… (i.e. curse of Cain), then you get to feel pious along with money and power!! Wow, what a deal!

    i.e. Life is Good (except for that pesky fear of a slave revolt) and The System Works Just Fine (for ME).

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  156. Lydia wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I am a big believer in diversity of thought.

    Which marks you as a Traitor, Thought-Criminal, Goldsteinist, and Reactionary Stooge.

    There can only be ONE One True Way, One Perfect Ideology.

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  157. dee wrote:

    Hey all
    I would love to hear your responses to ta comment by a person on Twitter who claimed that WCC is *the most influential church on the world.* Is that the goal of church?

    Ever heard of the phrase “A Legend in his own mind”?

    Seen it several times in various fandoms with local Fanboy Celebrities.
    Legends in their own minds (Bloated Sense of Image), running jokes to everyone else.

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  158. Lydia wrote:

    It did not match their worldview.

    It’s astonishing, it really is.
    They want to cling to a rigid absolutism even when confronted with the practical reality of those (Rahab, ten Boom and Schindler) who made a difference, and who knew the difference between absolutism and necessity.

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  159. Jack wrote:

    There’s a lot of talk about Christianity vs “the culture”. The fact is the majority of “the culture” was ostensibly “Christian”. I was raised Christian…my hometown was mostly “Christian” and Canada contains people who mostly identify as “Christian”.
    Many celebrities from Elvis Presley to Whitney Houston were raised Christian.

    Even myself, though no longer a believer, cannot just switch off the influence of my Christian upbringing.

    So this culture that christians rail against or compare themselves to is full of people who are or were Christian or surrounded by christians.

    This reminds me of one of the tropes/shticks in Christian Apocalyptic genre (or Christianese Fiction in general):

    NOBODY (except the Real True Christians, of course) has EVER heard of “Jesus Christ” or knows ANYTHING about Christianity. They’re completely blindsided by the Rapture and Tribulation, have NEVER heard of either despite literal Best-Sellers on the subject (from Late Great Planet Earth to Left Behind), and have no clue whatsoever. Like they come from a parallel universe or something.

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  160. Muff Potter wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    It did not match their worldview.

    It’s astonishing, it really is.
    They want to cling to a rigid absolutism even when confronted with the practical reality of those (Rahab, ten Boom and Schindler) who made a difference, and who knew the difference between absolutism and necessity.

    Reality must always bend the knee to Ideology, Comrades.

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  161. Lydia wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy
    (Looking up Goldstein)

    The Leon Trotsky-equivalent Devil figure of The Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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  162. okrapod wrote:

    We have to come to the point where we say and mean it that regardless of what the bible does or does not say about slavery however understood and in whatever culture and with whatever words–we don’t believe in slavery any more.

    Until we can take that kind of approach with a number of things in scripture then we are engaging in futile attempts to re-write the older understandings of scripture into something more tolerable to our time.

    Taking me a while to get through this thread…but yes. We can quibble about whether the principles in scripture should lead us to condemn slavery, but yes.

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  163. Lydia wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Duh. I forgot. And we just re-read at our house it last year for a HS English class! HS English here is a constant stream of dystopian literature. Why can’t they assign some Solzhenitsyn?

    You seem to be making the same mistake that folks are saying about some who do not see what is happening with SBC megas. It one thing to notice a little something but not investigate further. It is quite another to investigate all the while being willing to come to some really scary conclusions. You have done that so well with evangelical megas. Now take those same attitudes and take a good look at HS English.

    https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/

    Now ask yourself what this means, and ask why, and look for patterns. If remotely possible get a look at one of the older tests. Remember your utterly correct insight about dystopian literature. Understand what literary ideas are omitted in order to dwell in said dystopia. And when you have seen the test ask yourself why/why/why turn literature education into a tech of ‘the author’s craft’ while omitting the ideas which we used to say constituted education itself.

    What is going on is not by accident. I see lots of similarity with this approach in the public educational system and the things you all are saying about neo-cal infiltration of SBC while people are perhaps somewhat disquieted but fail to see what is actually happening.

    I will omit why I think this or how I may have been tipped off, but I am not a wacko nut case on this. If you look into this area I would be interested in what you find and conclude.

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  164. @ okrapod:
    No, I believe you. I am trained to look for org patterns but am very new to the public school Arena. I do see some patterns in English education over the past three years that concern me greatly. In fact, I will go as far to say that in 2 classrooms already the dystopian ideas were presented in a positive light. I honestly would not even know how to explain this to anyone because I don’t think people see it. It’s like when their minds won’t allow them to believe negative about their pastor.

    There are some very scary and similar problems coming out with new AP tests. But we are finding that the AP tests are not helping that much with college entrance anyway. At best some schools are taking them as electives.

    I personally believe that education is getting ready to go through a massive upheaval.

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  165. Lydia wrote:

    Why can’t they assign some Solzhenitsyn?

    Because Solzhenitsyn is Goldstein.
    Blasphemy towards the Perfect Ideologically-Correct Future Utopia and Perfect Society.

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  166. Law Prof wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    “When the teacher says Christians never ever lie…”

    That statement is a lie. That teacher is a liar.

    Like the con my brother used to work on our mother when we were kids.

    Mom had grown up with the folk belief that if you invoke God’s Name as witness, You Could Not Tell a Lie in any following statement. My brother made sure to ALWAYS preface any lie to Mom with “Swear to God!” and Mom would fall for it. Dance, Monkey, Dance.

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  167. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Great point. I had not connected those dots. My daughter showed me an article on nbcnews.com on why schools should no longer assign To Kill a Mockingbird for reading. The main reason was because it made people uncomfortable. Sheesh.

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  168. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Your brother was a master in reading people to push the right buttons for maximum manipulation. I know the type well. It’s above my paygrade but I sometimes wonder how people with no conscience will fare in the end.

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