Do They Want Us to Believe That No One in the New and Improved Leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention Knew Anything About Patterson, Pressler, etc.?

“In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.” ― Czesław Miłosz

Back in March 2009, we started writing a blog because we were appalled at the level of abuse we saw and  heard about in churches, including those in the SBC. We had no insider information. Neither of us were related to any SBC leaders or journalists of any kind. We just read lots of stuff. It is amazing what people say when they don’t think anyone outside of their fan club is paying attention.

Back in 2009, we read and heard about:

  • Mark Driscoll
  • CJ Mahaney
  • Paige Patterson
  • Paul Pressler

as well as a myriad of other leaders and churches who mistreated abused women and covered up child sex abuse. There wasn’t any sort of in-depth journalistic investigation. Neither of us are journalists or investigators. We are just two people who really cared about what was going on in the church.

We wrote to seminary professors and pastors (ones who are in SBC leadership today) and expressed our grave concerns. We are now talking about your *new and improved* leaders. You know what we were told by these *now* leaders?

  • We were guilty of character assassination.
  • That there was something wrong with us since all of the *leadership* supported these guys.
  • We were told that they (leaders) were against abuse so, therefore, something was wrong with us if we saw abuse.
  • One current leader, who loves Gary Ezzo’s books and *used it with his children,* said that he didn’t care what the American Academy of Pediatrics had to say about the dangers of these books.
  • Said leader recommended these books on his church’s website and continues to recommend CJ Mahaney’s books.

News Flash to the SBC faithful: there is no way that the current SBC leadership did not know about Paige Patterson, CJ Mahaney, and Paul Pressler years ago. If two, no-account women in Raleigh could figure it out, they sure as heck figured it out and figured out how to ignore it or they aren’t as smart as they would lead us to believe.

Al Mohler says he just discovered this was not only a Roman Catholic problem.

I think it was CJ Mahaney who said that Al Mohler is the smartest guy on the planet who has a gazillion books, all of which he has read and keeps in a climate controlled vault somewhere at SBTS. Bob Allen from Baptist Global Press wrote #AlMohlerToo: Did a Southern Baptist power broker just get woke?

Mohler would have us believe that he thought the sex abuse problem was only found in the Catholic Church, but *recent* events made him change his mind.

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said he used to think child abuse and cover-ups were only a Roman Catholic problem, but recent troubling reports emerging in his own flock prove him wrong.

Albert Mohler
“A church, denomination or Christian ministry must look outside of itself when confronted with a pattern of mishandling such responsibilities, or merely of being charged with such a pattern.” Mohler said last week in a widely circulated essay. “We cannot vindicate ourselves.”

Mohler said he has given that advice consistently for years, but from now on it will be “a matter of public commitment.”

“I believe that any public accusation concerning such a pattern requires an independent, third-party investigation,” he said. “In making this judgment, I make public what I want to be held to do should, God forbid, such a responsibility arise.”

Seriously? He would have us believe that he saw nothing and knows nothing?

  • This is the man who has ardently defended CJ Mahaney and even made a huge joke about the sex abuse scandals in Mahaney’s church.
  • This literate man believed that celibacy in the RCC priesthood *caused* pedophilia?
  • He never heard Paige Patterson say anything that should have caused him to ponder anew?
  • He didn’t hear the decades of rumors regarding Paul Pressler?
  • He never read Christa Brown’s blog *Stop Baptist Predators?*
  • He didn’t see story after story about SBC pastors involved in sexual abuse or counseling women to continue being abused?

Just a few short years ago, Mohler claimed that encouraging a belief in Young Earth Creationism was to be one of his main priorities in the coming year.

Mohler seems to think that his time for dealing personally with sex abuse has not yet come. I am going to suggest that it did and that he did not responded honestly. Recently, Mohler penned The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The #MeToo moment has come to American evangelicals. This moment has come to some of my friends and brothers in Christ. This moment has come to me, and I am called to deal with it as a Christian, as a minister of the Gospel, as a seminary and college president, and as a public leader. I pray that I will lead rightly.

In Romans 1:18 we are told: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

This is just a foretaste of the wrath of God poured out. This moment requires the very best of us. The Southern Baptist Convention is on trial and our public credibility is at stake. May God have mercy on us all.

JD Greear’s long term friendship with Paige Patterson and CJ Mahaney

Mother Jones posted The New Southern Baptist President Wants to End Abuse in the Church While Sticking to Tradition and points out the close relationship previously enjoyed between Greear and his mentor, Paige Patterson.

Patterson was Greear’s doctoral advisor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a mentor to the younger pastor. In the weeks since the allegations were made public, Greear has distanced himself from Patterson’s views.

“In the last few weeks a dizzying amount of revelations have come forward that really have revealed a deep problem in the heart of our leadership, the heart of our convention,” Greear said in a Facebook Live video that addressed the Patterson scandal.

Here Greear writes, in 2008, that Paige Patterson is his friend. This is years after Patterson’s infamous *black eye* statement. This is long after PP left SEBTS for SWBTS, leaving behind a rather colorful history, if you get my drift.

Both Ed and Dr. Patterson are my friends and men I look up to, and both share the same values and commitment to the Gospel. Both love the church and her mission.

Does Greear want us to believe that he *knew nothing*? Also, Greear has been a faithful supporter of CJ Mahaney through the years, and he knows that we know this to be the case…

JD Greear continues to be concerned about *slander* in the SBC

Yes, that word which has been twisted by many un the SBC leadership to mean “Don’t talk about bad things that make us uncomfortable, especially anything to do with child sex abuse within our tribe.” Here is a link to his Facebook Live comments.

Rebecca Davis analyzed this in Commentary on JD Greear’s Facebook Live statement and gives us some food for thought.

JD Greear:Mark those among us of a divisive spirit who seek to create division in our denomination over secondary and tertiary things and keep away from them. Whether they agree with us on the issue they’re being divisive about or not. Distinguish primary issues from secondary or tertiary issues.

This statement is problematic. Who gets to decide what issues are primary? Why is the gender role issue, for example, primary in the SBC when many people would say it’s secondary? Many would say that SBC leaders themselves are being divisive by focusing to the extent that they do on gender roles. (I personally consider it a secondary issue and haven’t discussed it on my blog.)

JD Greear Refuse to tolerate those who slander, backbite, and mislead others, mislead other leaders. We’re just not going to tolerate that.

How will they define slander? Will it be any speaking negatively about others? I’ve been accused of slander by pointing out errors or questionable statements in someone’s speech exactly the way I’m doing now. Will I be accused of slander because of this post? And how is he defining “mislead”? Is he talking about saying something negative about a leader and getting people to believe it? But what if it’s true? How will he determine if someone is “misleading” others?

it is important to remember that SBC leaders have used these ill-defined terms to silence discussion in the ranks. I wonder if he, or others, ever did that to those who came to him to discuss sex abuse in the ranks? Is it going to be the same old, same old?

In the meantime, leaders are dropping like flies in the SBC leadership, and I believe each of these involved inappropriate sexual relationships. One of them may have even involved reportable offenses.

Bob Allen (who does a great job keeping up with all things Baptist) at Baptist News Global wrote Amid #MeToo fallout, Southern Baptist males quietly leaving jobs.

Mark Aderholdt

Read the SCBC excuse for his resignation. Huh? Does this make any sense? Also, we know the back story on this one and it is very, very serious. We hope to be able to go public with this shortly.

An official in the 2,100-church South Carolina Baptist Convention has stepped down for unspecified reasons, adding to a number of men quietly leaving Southern Baptist jobs in recent weeks.

The Baptist Courier reported June 19 the resignation of Mark Aderholt, associate executive director and chief strategist for the statewide Southern Baptist Convention affiliate since 2016.

Gary Hollingsworth, executive director-treasurer of the 570,000-member body, said he accepted Aderholt’s resignation “based on the importance of staying focused on the convention’s vision statement of seeing every life saturated and transformed by the hope of the gospel.”

David Sills:

The reason is code for *we ain’t talking.*

Other recent departures include the May 28 resignation of David Sills, professor of missions and cultural anthropology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Southern Seminary is committed to the highest standards of both principle and policy,” a spokesperson said. “Our policies and procedures are clear and are consistently applied. Because this a personnel matter, we cannot comment further.”

Christian George:

At least this one hints at the problem

Christian George, curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, resigned May 3 “due to a personal moral failing,” according to the Biblical Recorder, news journal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Alvin Reid:

This, too, points to the issue.

Alvin Reid, an evangelism professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for nearly a quarter century, resigned May 21 “to address personal and spiritual issues.”

Frank Page:

This one is slightly older news and gives a hint-including that this was a recent situation.

Those departures came in the wake of the March resignation of SBC Executive Committee CEO Frank Page. Page, 65, initially announced he was retiring to spend more time with his grandchildren. He later added he was leaving due to “a personal failing,” described by his board chairman as “a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.”

Allen’s article refers to Mohler calling this recent spate of resignations “humiliating.” It is my contention that the current, new and improved, SBC leadership was well aware of these problems for years and decided to punt it to the eventual embarrassment. Even now, Mohler appears to claim that he is outside of this whole mess.

In making this judgment,(3rd party investigation) I make public what I want to be held to do should, God forbid, such a responsibility arise.”

Let him give it a go with his SBC, BFF CJ Mahaney.

Dancing with demagogues

Alan Bean wrote an op-ed for Baptist News Global provocatively titled Pressler, Patterson and Trump: dancing with demagogues.(Warning: this is not an invitation to go political on us. Concentrate on Pressler and Patterson.)

Pressler and Patterson are widely hailed as the architects of the “conservative resurgence” in the SBC. Together, they barnstormed across 15 southern states, sometimes delivering 50 jeremiads in a single week. Liberal professors and seminary presidents, they told the faithful, simply didn’t believe the Bible.

The fight in the SBC was really about the challenge of the civil rights movement and the proper role of women. Pressler and Patterson knew they would lose if they made these issues front and center, so they defended the inerrancy of scripture.

The strategy worked beautifully because most Southern Baptists grew up in an ecclesiastical bubble where serious talk about the sacred book was verboten. Step outside that bubble and you see men like Pressler and Patterson for who they are.  They are demagogues who will say whatever it takes to win. It’s so obvious you want to laugh . . . or cry.

But the bubble blinds us to the dangers of demagoguery until, in the fullness of time, the foundation crumbles and the walls come tumbling down. Even then, it’s hard to admit the truth. When you are addicted to pretty lies, you will do anything for the next fix.

…It’s a dance. The demagogue needs the bubble people and the bubble people need the demagogue. From the outside it all looks like madness, while inside the bubble everything seems sensible, inevitable and right.

But what happens when the bubble breaks?

I think the former and current SBC leadership were dancing with demagogues. I believe many of them knew what was going on but decided to wait for years until the time was right. I am sure the subsequent victims understood the need for timing, right? Until the leadership of the SBC admits their complicity in allowing the abuse of women and children to continue over decades and publicly repents, we may not see much a change. After all, the word “slander* has been quite successful in shutting people, hasn’t it?

Can you answer this question?

How could a couple of no-account women with no SBC connections find out all of this stuff and the supposed spirit filled, God appointed, intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC sat around and didn’t hear a thing?

Comments

Do They Want Us to Believe That No One in the New and Improved Leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention Knew Anything About Patterson, Pressler, etc.? — 320 Comments

  1. “Can you answer this question?
    How could a couple of no-account women with no SBC connections find out all of this stuff and the supposed spirit filled, God appointed, intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC sat around and didn’t hear a thing?” (Dee)

    To borrow from Luke 8:10: ““To you it has been given to know the secrets of the (SBC) kingdom, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’”

    I learned in my long SBC journey that most of the “intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC” have no discernment … heck, they ain’t even smart! One has to seriously consider that a code of silence exists among the SBC elites; they know who the bad apples are and all about their rotten deeds. “Cover me and I’ll cover you.”

    P.S. I would never call the Deebs “no-account women” … they have been providing an accurate account of SBC shenanigans and charlatans for years.

  2. So very sad. So many lives affected negatively. Patterson is fond of asking of people who disagree with him, “When you meet God how are you going to explain———?” How will he?

  3. Anthony,

    This is the same thing I asked my elders when our church merged with (was taken over by) a Southern Baptist Congregation. I never got an actual answer, though. I was told we would be only “loosely associated” with the SBC, but my family and I chose not to be associated at all instead. If given the choice, I’d rather not be associated with abusers at all.

    I’ve read WW for many years without commenting. The takeover of my church happened just like others I read about here. We saw the writing on the wall as the church’s doctrine became ever more Calvinistic.

  4. “Can you answer this question?
    How could a couple of no-account women with no SBC connections find out all of this stuff and the supposed spirit filled, God appointed, intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC sat around and didn’t hear a thing?”

    Upton Sinclair said it best… “It is difficult to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on their not understanding it.”

  5. Eeyore: Upton Sinclair said it best… “It is difficult to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on their not understanding it.”

    Hmmmm … or their SBC retirement annuity.

  6. Anon for A-now: I’ve read WW for many years without commenting. The takeover of my church happened just like others I read about here. We saw the writing on the wall as the church’s doctrine became ever more Calvinistic.

    Sorry to hear this Anon – your experience is becoming more common in SBC life.

    Let me guess: a young reformer lied to the pastor search committee about his theological leaning, did away with congregational polity, installed hand-picked elders, introduced Calvinistic teaching, split the church resulting in non-Calvinist members leaving, and captured the church building and its resources?

  7. Church takeovers in my experience are far far more vicious than even hostile business mergers, the business people don’t pray for each other’s eternal torment and judgment from God to take out the Trash Ie the other group. This is irrelevant but it was very painful for people involved it really was. Again I understand such emotionalism is pathetic and disgusting, at least in my evangelical experience, but it still hurt folks.

  8. “How could a couple of no-account women with no SBC connections find out all of this stuff and the supposed spirit filled, God appointed, intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC sat around and didn’t hear a thing?”

    The spirit of Deborah strikes again — because it was necessary since no man stepped in the gap?

    Congratulations on being in your 10th year of providing stereo vision on abuse to the Church, Dee and Deb … with gratitude for your service!

  9. The gift of discernment is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the God given ability to get to the heart of the matter, the truth. The curse is living with the fallout from those who don’t want the truth known.

  10. I am sad to say that I’ve known personally several of these people and I am so disappointed.

    I am disappointed that they all seemed to have overly high opinions of themselves, that they could do no wrong, and they instilled that in many men around me.

    I am particularly disappointed in how praised they were by others around me when I could sometimes clearly see that they didn’t deserve it (looking at you, Dr. Patterson).

    I am disappointed in my close friends who bought into all of this hook, line, and sinker, and became living robots that cared more about being a follower of men than being a follower of Christ.

    I am disappointed in pastors that should know better and yet still play along to get whatever perceived benefits they think the SBC offers them as male pastors.

    I am disappointed that churches I have attended and cared apart were ripped apart over someone’s need to control others.

    I am not disappointed that I left and never went back.

  11. Max: Let me guess: a young reformer lied to the pastor search committee about his theological leaning, did away with congregational polity, installed hand-picked elders, introduced Calvinistic teaching, split the church resulting in non-Calvinist members leaving, and captured the church building and its resources?

    Folks, this is the Calvinista playbook! Don’t let it happen to your church!!!

  12. brad/futuristguy: Congratulations on being in your 10th year of providing stereo vision on abuse to the Church, Dee and Deb … with gratitude for your service!

    Thanks Brad! The wonderful friendships we have forged here make it all worthwhile.

  13. ishy: I am not disappointed that I left and never went back.

    And I, for one, am not disappointed that you showed up here.

    Ishy, we have traveled this road for a reason. Only those who have been in it can help others out of it. Only those who have examined it and weighed it in the balance, understand its true nature and agenda. So we speak into it.

  14. Max: And I, for one, am not disappointed that you showed up here.

    Thank you, Max. I value the wisdom you bring here every day.

    I don’t know how I could have not come here. It was someone from my class at SEBTS that incited this whole blog. I don’t know why I am the only one from it here. Two more from there have been arrested for similar things, and it’s not like there were that many of us. It’s shameful.

  15. The SBC is not going to change IMO. Many folks have known the damage Pressler and Patterson were doing for decades. They kept their mouths shut as they would quite likely lose their positions.

  16. mot: Many folks have known the damage Pressler and Patterson were doing for decades. They kept their mouths shut as they would quite likely lose their positions.

    “Too big to fail” didn’t work for them, because it doesn’t work in the Kingdom of God. There is an eternal law in continual motion: Payday Someday.

  17. ishy,

    ishy:
    I am sad to say that I’ve known personally several of these people and I am so disappointed.

    I am disappointed that they all seemed to have overly high opinions of themselves, that they could do no wrong, and they instilled that in many men around me.

    I am particularly disappointed in how praised they were by others around me when I could sometimes clearly see that they didn’t deserve it (looking at you, Dr. Patterson).

    I am disappointed in my close friends who bought into all of this hook, line, and sinker, and became living robots that cared more about being a follower of men than being a follower of Christ.

    I am disappointed in pastors that should know better and yet still play along to get whatever perceived benefits they think the SBC offers them as male pastors.

    I am disappointed that churches I have attended and cared apart were ripped apart over someone’s need to control others.

    I am not disappointed that I left and never went back.

    ishy:
    I am disappointed in my close friends who bought into all of this hook, line, and sinker, and became living robots that cared more about being a follower of men than being a follower of Christ.

    I’ve learned in my 50-some years on the planet that if enough pressure is applied, people will show what they really are, at bottom. Whether they’re followers of Jesus, willing to literally die for Him and His Bride, or whether they’re just hangers-on, mindless followers, fakes and phonies, willing to follow a cause, to follow men, but not, at the end of the day, caring about Jesus or His Bride at all. A cultic church, an abusive leadership, is wonderful for revealing what people are really all about.

  18. ishy,

    “I am disappointed in my close friends who bought into all of this hook, line, and sinker, and became living robots that cared more about being a follower of men than being a follower of Christ.”
    ++++++++++++++

    as i see it, this is in large part the result of turning off one’s intuition and common sense. being afraid to trust your gut feelings. (for reasons of how “common” and “of this world” they are).

    seems to me once those are dead to you, you are extraordinarily vulnerable to anyone and anything with sway. add the concept of God, and you’re the ideal member of the cult of christian culture. curly-Qs swirling around in your eyes.

    surely, this is not what Jesus had in mind.

    (but its exactly what power brokers want)

  19. ishy,

    ishy:I am disappointed in my close friends who bought into all of this hook, line, and sinker, and became living robots that cared more about being a follower of men than being a follower of Christ.

    I’ve learned in my 50-some years on the planet that if enough pressure is applied, people will show what they really are and what they really care about, and an abusive, cultic church will be a very effective means at applying that pressure.

    Are people followers of Jesus, willing to literally die for Him and His Bride, or whether are they just hangers-on, mindless followers, fakes and phonies, willing to follow a cause, to follow men, but not, at the end of the day, caring about Jesus or His Bride at all? An abusive church is wonderful for revealing what people are really all about.

  20. Leslie: The gift of discernment is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the God given ability to get to the heart of the matter, the truth. The curse is living with the fallout from those who don’t want the truth known.

    You must have read my mind today, as I complained angrily to God that having eyes to see and ears to hear does nothing but leave you standing alone on the outside. Meanwhile, the abuse continues on the inside, and the oppressed remain loyally blind and oblivious. I am often discouraged, and have to keep reminding myself that I do not live for my own happiness. If someday, I can be a help and a blessing to someone because of what I have seen and now know, then I must be ready and willing for the task. And if everyone scoffs and condemns in the meantime, so be it. Who knows for what hour we were born?

  21. Anthony:
    Ishy, how do you feel about the men who disappointed you being forever honored in stained glass?

    Not Ishy, but I feel it is just disgusting, revolting even. How dare they? Who would acquiesce to that? What utter creeps.

    I feel strongly that this is why bricks were invented.

  22. Anyone else ever get discouraged, to the point of wanting to give up? It seems like the longer I live, the more I discover how much we have been deceived in all things. But of course, only crazy conspiracy theorists think that way, right? Obviously, all experts exist to help others and all pastors exist simply to serve. Why can’t I just trust in government, science, education and religion, as everyone else seems to? Besides my personal experience, which has taught me to never stop asking questions.

  23. Another important question needing an answer:

    “Are the new kids deflecting all this blame to the old guard in order to cover up the fact that they (the new kids) are just as guilty of destroying lives and wrecking the precious faith of people in order to push forth their all-important ‘reformation’ of the SBC?”

    These guys are using the tricks of every “good” politician–finger-pointing and the blame game!

  24. truthseeker00: standing alone on the outside. Meanwhile, the abuse continues on the inside … I am often discouraged

    Read Ezekiel 8 and 9 tonight. Might seem like an odd Scripture to recommend to you during a discouraging time, but reflect on it.

    It’s better to have a burden for the condition of the church, than to be “loyally blind and oblivious.” God marks those who carry the burden. Better to stand alone than to be led down the wrong road with a multitude.

    Encourage yourself in the Lord, truthseeker.

  25. truthseeker00:
    Anyone else ever get discouraged, to the point of wanting to give up? It seems like the longer I live, the more I discover how much we have been deceived in all things. But of course, only crazy conspiracy theorists think that way, right? Obviously, all experts exist to help others and all pastors exist simply to serve. Why can’t I just trust in government, science, education and religion, as everyone else seems to? Besides my personal experience, which has taught me to never stop asking questions.

    Truthseeker, we live in ‘interesting’ times. If civilization carries on long enough for historians to write about our era many years from now, I suspect our times will appear in the chapter ‘The Crazy Years’.

    Yes, it can be very discouraging. Be true to yourself. Be an example and mentor to your friends and neighbors, and young people. Don’t have illusions about changing big things – I believe it’s a Juggernaut. When it comes rumbling down the mountainside, you don’t put your hands up and say ‘stop, stop!’. No, you jump out of the way.

    Be true to yourself – don’t sell out. Be able to look yourself in the mirror. Don’t give up!

    I went through a dark night of the soul at too young of an age, back in the 70’s, in fact. Sitting in front of the fireplace one Winter night with my brother, I decided I would stick around as long as I could if for no other reason than to bear witness…

    Oh, and be true to yourself.

  26. Anon for A-now,

    Thanks for your comment. It takes a lot of courage to question elders and pastors in the church. Our first inclination is to go along and be peaceable, especially if said elders are beating the snot out of you with Hebrews 13:17!
    Once we realized that our former pastor was trying to “reform” us, we exposed him for what he really believed, since he lied to our search committee. Once exposed, he essentially left in the dark of night, without even so much as a two-weeks’ notice. In the meantime, much larger churches have approached us, wishing to “partner with” (translated: Take Over) our church. No thanks, we’ll just partner with Jesus until He comes again!

    “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” –Some famous Carpenter from Galilee! 🙂

    Hang in there and don’t lose faith!

  27. Deb: Folks, this is the Calvinista playbook! Don’t let it happen to your church!!!

    I’m convinced that many Calvinists, having a head knowledge of predestination, have a very disturbing disconnect at the heart level. Until a Calvinist can say like Paul that they have great sorrow and continual grief in their heart for the lost…they are disconnected from the true heart of the matter. There is no room for hubris, but only humility and servanthood. Takeovers and trickery and strategic “revitalizations,” I find repulsive.

  28. Deb: Folks, this is the Calvinista playbook! Don’t let it happen to your church!!!

    I’m convinced that many Calvinists, having a head knowledge of predestination, have a very disturbing disconnect at the heart level. Until a Calvinist can say like Paul that they have great sorrow and continual grief in their heart for the lost…they are disconnected from the true heart of the matter. There is no room for hubris, but only humility and servanthood. Takeovers, trickery and strategic “revitalizations,” I find repulsive.

  29. Max: It’s better to have a burden for the condition of the church, than to be “loyally blind and oblivious.” God marks those who carry the burden. Better to stand alone than to be led down the wrong road with a multitude.

    I hate to have to admit it, but not sure I have a burden for The Church, as much as for those within her. So many people, ripe for deception and manipulation, because they unquestioningly trust the intentions and interpretations of the man in the pulpit – whether he deserves that trust or not.

    The conservative church has been manipulated to buy one brand of falsity, while the liberal church has a different set of lies they have bought into. Anyone who simply desires the right to interpret and grow in understanding of scripture as God leads is a threat to the institution and its creeds. Thinking for yourself is a big no-no for both extremes, however much the liberal church likes to think they are okay with it.

    I have no agendas. I have already made the usual mistakes, learned a lot of lessons the hard way, and mostly just want to figure out how to not waste the rest of my life chasing rainbows. I really just want to know what God wants from me, and trust him to give me the wisdom, courage and strength to do it. And sometimes, I would like to not feel so alone. I guess I’ve always had ‘the church’ as my family, not to mention my family, but now I seem to always march to a drum that no one else hears.

  30. “We were guilty of character assassination.”

    Hey, in the last thread, I was accused of challenging Biblical inerrancy. Can I get some TWW bonus points?

    Seriously, one of the most common tactics of the autocrats is asserting authority and closing ranks at the drop of the hat and calling others’ motives into question. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that an emphasis on accountability and oversight of the church leadership as it were is not found in the 9 Marks list. What you find is generally a top-down focus.

  31. I truly pray that God will raise up a Prophet to cleanse the modern Church, of every denomination, of the legalistic Pharisaic leaders that have defiled His temple.

  32. GMFS

    Well, we ran straight into cautionary signal evil from the first stop this morning, even though nothing had gone through for many minutes. I don’t know what’s causing that; we didn’t pass any obvious reasons for a speed restriction,

    Groups C and D in the world cup play their final matches today. In Group C, France have qualified and Peru cannot; but Denmark and Australia have it all to play for. Denmark are in the driving seat; a point against France will put them through, whereas Australia must beat Peru and hope Denmark lose. In Group D, Croatia have qualified, but any of the other three (Nigeria, Iceland and Argentina) could go through in second depending on results. Nigeria’s task is the simplest on paper: beat Argentina and they qualify regardless of what happens between Iceland and Croatia. Iceland and Argentina, by contrast, both depend on the other result working in their favour.

    Back onto the railways, the train is stuck at the cautionary death crawl right at the start of the journey today, and we’ve not even reached Falkirk. We’re going to be very late indeed.

  33. Jarrett Edwards: God will raise up a Prophet to cleanse the modern Church, of every denomination, of the legalistic Pharisaic leaders that have defiled His temple

    It seems that God sent Jesus, and then His Holy Spirit. And the religious leaders were not pleased.

    According to this post, some religious leaders today are not pleased with TWW’s Dee and Deb. Good for Dee and Deb.

  34. Anthony:
    Ishy, how do you feel about the men who disappointed you being forever honored in stained glass?

    The fact that those windows are soooo ugly kinda makes me laugh. I am horrified that they put them in a chapel, of all places. But the ugliness of the windows perfectly describes who they are.

  35. Law Prof:
    I’ve learned in my 50-some years on the planet that if enough pressure is applied, people will show what they really are, at bottom.Whether they’re followers of Jesus, willing to literally die for Him and His Bride, or whether they’re just hangers-on, mindless followers, fakes and phonies, willing to follow a cause, to follow men, but not, at the end of the day, caring about Jesus or His Bride at all.A cultic church, an abusive leadership, is wonderful for revealing what people are really all about.

    I have known people I am certain are true followers of Christ. They embodify everything these men don’t and everything the New Calvinists consider “women stuff” and somebody else’s “role”. They are helping people constantly behind the scenes with no complaint purely because they want to do so. They are visiting nursing homes and giving their lunch to someone who’s hungry. They get up early to pray and take care of their families. They work in thankless, exhausting jobs for not very much money so their family can have food and clothing, and still share what little they have left over with others.

    Those are the people I want to emulate…

  36. Augustine: I’m convinced that many Calvinists, having a head knowledge of predestination, have a very disturbing disconnect at the heart level. Until a Calvinist can say like Paul that they have great sorrow and continual grief in their heart for the lost…they are disconnected from the true heart of the matter. There is no room for hubris, but only humility and servanthood. Takeovers and trickery and strategic “revitalizations,” I find repulsive.

    This is something that has really puzzled me about most New Cals. I understand the theology (even though they have said I can’t because otherwise I would believe like them).

    But if they really believed what they said they do, they wouldn’t react the way they do. Nor would they leave out half of Scripture while claiming to be “more biblical”.

    My only guesses is that there is either psychological disorders involved with some of these leaders like narcissistic personality disorder, or they are knowing wolves preying on the church.

  37. ishy: This is something that has really puzzled me about most New Cals. I understand the theology (even though they have said I can’t because otherwise I would believe like them).

    But if they really believed what they said they do, they wouldn’t react the way they do. Nor would they leave out half of Scripture while claiming to be “more biblical”.

    My only guesses is that there is either psychological disorders involved with some of these leaders like narcissistic personality disorder, or they are knowing wolves preying on the church.

    I was neck deep in all of that for almost 15 years. Speaking for myself, I’d say that yes, some of it is based on psychology and personality. Calvinism (at least its modern formulations) definitely appeals to analytical and nerdy types, and we often have… empathy issues, to put it mildly.

    I think what saved me from getting sucked completely into that abyss was a deep conviction of my own sins, and a recognition of Christ’s call to forgive others as He forgave us.

  38. JDV: Hey, in the last thread, I was accused of challenging Biblical inerrancy. Can I get some TWW bonus points?

    You have joined us in being on the receiving end of somehow not being *biblical* or gospelly.

  39. Max,

    These men are not stupid or ignorant in my opinion. They know exactly whats going on because the bottom line is they are part of it! They aren’t blind! They are deceivers and fool the masses because of the trust that has been so foolishly given to them. Each one of them who have allowed, pacified, lied, and pushed these men to the forefront did it for the soul purpose of power, position, and money! They are no different than those in the world they just use the name Jesus to get away with it.

  40. “You do not become a ”dissident” just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.”
    ― Václav Havel
    This is more about power and control than theology and is not just in the SBC but you will find the same “play book” being used in NAR takeovers.

  41. Eeyore: I was neck deep in all of that for almost 15 years. Speaking for myself,I’d say that yes, some of it is based on psychology and personality. Calvinism (at least its modern formulations) definitely appeals to analytical and nerdy types, and we often have… empathy issues, to put it mildly.

    I think what saved me from getting sucked completely into that abyss was a deep conviction of my own sins, and a recognition of Christ’s call to forgive others as He forgave us.

    And that perhaps is the missing link… Jesus spoke of a new command and buy that people would know that we are his disciples. The old command was love the Lord your God… And love your neighbor as yourself. The new command that Jesus gives us and empowers us with is to love others as Christ has loved us. Reality one: the mark of the Christian is that they just really get how immensely loved they are by Jesus. Reality to : out of that well and source and transformation, they love others in a way that reflects the humble servanthood of Christ.

    This is the true “Mark“ that we should be aiming for and expecting of ourselves as Christians. And when this is the reality, it transcends nuances in HOW God saves but that He DOES save and then, we all rejoice in that together… and in the unity of our faith, which is to trust in Jesus for our salvation, and in Him alone.

    I have been on both sides of the debate and like many others have wrestled through it and have landed, but that landing has only left me humble and very dependent upon so great a salvation afforded to us.

    I have known the pain of challenging the authoritarian structures found in the reformed church and every time I read these posts of those that are going through themselves, I just think of how tenderly Jesus loves them and my hope is that press into that unfailing and tender love.

  42. shauna: These men are not stupid or ignorant in my opinion.

    “Sly” is a better word for them. There is a heap of difference between being intelligent and wise. Those who deceive others use a measure of intelligence in their strategies, but it is not wisdom to do so.

  43. truthseeker00: I hate to have to admit it, but not sure I have a burden for The Church, as much as for those within her.

    There has always been the Church within the church. Our burden should rest with the former not the latter. It’s the individual we should be concerned about, not the institution. Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. The institution we call “church” is OK if it is reaching lost souls for Christ, discipling them in Truth, equipping them to do the work of the ministry, mobilizing their unique spiritual giftings, and then engaging them in the Great Commission together. Anything less than that is doing church without God.

  44. I hardly would call you all “no-account women” – you are insightful forces for good in this world of wolves in sheep’s clothing, but I love what you said here, “How could a couple of no-account women with no SBC connections find out all of this stuff and the supposed spirit filled, God appointed, intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC sat around and didn’t hear a thing?”

    I also have experienced this sort of thing, “We were told that they (leaders) were against abuse so, therefore, something was wrong with us if we saw abuse.”

    My husband and I have left the SBC, but in our former SBC church where my husband served on staff, there were NUMEROUS examples of domestic and child abuse being mishandled. We thought we could make a difference by training, discussing, gently confronting; however, the more we thought we could discuss and educate, the more inflamed the senior pastor and executive pastor became. We are talking a woman and children with bruises on their bodies standing in front of the pastor, and the pastor not being willing to take any action. The two senior-level pastors said, “There are two sides to every story.” The abuser violated restraining orders by coming to church when his wife and stepchildren were there and the church would not act. The abuser’s father and head usher stood in the lobby with his “Welcome to FBC” name tag on and called the wife a “lying b**ch” and the pastoral team would not permit his removal from this role. And, yet…when we more aggressively confronted this we were told, ““The abuse of a child or a spouse is sinful and serious. We take it seriously at FBC. When we are personally aware of it, we will report it. I will have zero tolerance for even a hint that I (we as a church) do not take abuse seriously and we would not address an abuse issue just to keep peace in the church. I am not that type of leader. That type of accusation is a direct attack on my character as pastor (that I would not take abuse seriously).” This is a DIRECT quote from an email. It is the ultimate in gaslighting. THEY ARE NOT TAKING ABUSE SERIOUSLY, but are highly insulted and indignant when someone suggests that they are not taking abuse seriously!! Note: this same church when shown pictures of children with bruises on them from their stepdad said that the abuse should not be reported to authorities, but that the father of the abuser should be notified so that he could handle it with his abusive son.

  45. Chief of State Philippe Pétain of Vichy France (1940-44) handed France’s Jews over to Hitler. Philippe Pétain had the title and the office but he was not a leader. His irreversible and cowardly decision had severe consequences.

    Leaders, in contrast by their decisions, with neither title nor office, were, for example, Schindler, the ten Booms, Bonhoeffer.

    The “leaders” mentioned in this post hold title and office but they are not leaders, disqualified by the decisions they have made that effect the lives of many with severe consequences. There is another list of their contemporaries who are, in contrast by their decisions, real leaders that save lives rather than feed them into the jaws of the dragons of our fallen world.

    “There is a candle in every soul
    Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
    There is a Spirit who brings fire
    Ignites a candle and makes His home.

    “Carry your candle, run to the darkness
    Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
    Hold out your candle for all to see it
    Take your candle, and go light your world.” – Chris Rice.

  46. jyjames: in contrast by their decisions, real leaders that save lives rather than feed them into the jaws of the dragons of our fallen world.

    Jesus.

  47. Do They Want Us to Believe That No One in the New and Improved Leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention Knew Anything About Patterson, Pressler, etc.?

    ees party line and always has been.
    oceania has always been at peace with eurasia, comrades.

  48. Eeyore: Calvinism (at least its modern formulations) definitely appeals to analytical and nerdy types, and we often have… empathy issues, to put it mildly.

    Growing up an “analytical and nerdy type” in the Sixties, I can attest that our ideal was Mr Spock.

  49. roebuck: Truthseeker, we live in ‘interesting’ times. If civilization carries on long enough for historians to write about our era many years from now, I suspect our times will appear in the chapter ‘The Crazy Years’.

    Including a RL Nehemiah Scudder?

  50. Max: Let me guess: a young reformer lied to the pastor search committee about his theological leaning, did away with congregational polity, installed hand-picked elders, introduced Calvinistic teaching, split the church resulting in non-Calvinist members leaving, and captured the church building and its resources?

    God Hath Been Predestined To Will It!

  51. jyjames,

    That has become a key indicator to me in these situations, when someone makes it all about them. We saw that with Andy Savage, Tullian Tchividjian, and so many others.

  52. Root 66:
    Anon for A-now,

    Thanks for your comment.It takes a lot of courage to question elders and pastors in the church.Our first inclination is to go along and be peaceable, especially if said elders are beating the snot out of you with Hebrews 13:17!
    Once we realized that our former pastor was trying to “reform” us, we exposed him for what he really believed, since he lied to our search committee.Once exposed, he essentially left in the dark of night, without even so much as a two-weeks’ notice.In the meantime, much larger churches have approached us, wishing to “partner with” (translated: Take Over) our church.No thanks, we’ll just partner with Jesus until He comes again!

    “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” –Some famous Carpenter from Galilee!

    Hang in there and don’t lose faith!

    It sounds like you are describing a fairly satisfactory outcome. In my mind, the vulnerable sort of congregation has little ability to defend itself. I suspect the type that is picked off, had prior internal issues dating back years.

    A real life, where the dead body is, there the eagles will gather.

    You must have something desirable, if you are the solicited congregation.

  53. Fitba’ latest

    In beating Australia 2-0 today, Peru achieved their first World Cup victory for 40 years. The last one?

    Peru 3-1 Scotland

    I was watching… and I remember exactly the exclamation my Dad let out when Scotland missed a penalty.

  54. jyjames: Leaders, in contrast by their decisions, with neither title nor office, were, for example, Schindler, the ten Booms, Bonhoeffer.

    Don’t forget Pastor Niemoller.

  55. Nick Bulbeck:
    Fitba’ latest

    In beating Australia 2-0 today, Peru achieved their first World Cup victory for 40 years. The last one?

    Peru 3-1 Scotland

    I was watching… and I remember exactly the exclamation my Dad let out when Scotland missed a penalty.

    Are you going to share? 😉

  56. Pingback: For a good look … | Civil Commotion

  57. To answer the question, yes, that is exactly what they want you to believe. But we aren’t that stupid. There is no way that these guys didn’t know that Patterson, Mahaney, etc. had all these views. But if they now know it, where are the denouncing of all this? Naming mames? It appears to be all fake to me. It is just a little late to see them have this “awakeining”. What ever happened to the abuse data bank that was voted down at the SBC? I don’t think they really care about abuse. They care about their own power.

    They just want us to think they are the good guys. How come it took 18 years for them the do something about the Paige Patterson speech to the CBMW event? Because they agreed with his basic premise.

  58. Max,

    Max

    When you say it is the church within the church that “We” should be concerned about, I believe that you are correct. I believe this became the main issue so early in church history, that we must be extremely careful in looking beck for justification and guidance. “We” have a God that is alive; with a Spirit that empowers each generation to know God in fullness.

    Likewise, our reliance on the systematic threatens to poison us as fallible man distills the fullness of the infallible into a consumable. Though Jesus and the Biblical authors seems to indicate that the distillation process is systemic with certain positive side effects, we create ever more sophisticated external systematics and structures designed to mass produce a safe product. We use the systematic to regulate producers and consumers, and generate a little revenue along the way. When the life of Christ actually becomes manifest in someone; we treat them like bootleggers with regard to their testimony, like drunks who drank their own product, and like lawbreakers with regard to both.

    Max, I appreciate your comment and agree completely because it identifies you as a bootlegger in a world of “big religion”. I’ll clarify my question a little later, but what should us bootleggers be doing?

  59. Muff Potter: Don’t forget Pastor Niemoller.

    Yes, thanks. Looked him up. And there are many others today and back then who, by their decisions, are the REAL leaders. Like Jesus.

  60. ishy: when someone makes it all about them. We saw that with Andy Savage, Tullian Tchividjian, and so many others.

    Exactly. An important element for predators. All about them – that’s exactly what that road into the woods with Savage was – all about him.

    Times up for predators and their fanboys and fangirls that give them standing ovations right in their churches. Disgusting.

    With this leader group in this post, it is all about them, too, as they handwave atrocities to keep their power base and stained glass icons in place. Also disgusting.

    Exactly opposite of Jesus. Come, Lord Jesus.

  61. “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.” ― Czesław Miłosz

    Speaking of codes of silence and secret agendas, does anyone have any idea why SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force sealed its records for 15 years … not to be opened until 2025? What the heck is so secret about the activities of a group charged with a resurgence of the Great Commission in SBC ranks that Christians should be prevented from knowing about it for 15 years?! And who the heck (task force members?) would agree to such a thing in Christian ministry?! We need a world of truth to shoot forth on this!

  62. Max:
    “Can you answer this question?
    How could a couple of no-account women with no SBC connections find out all of this stuff and the supposed spirit filled, God appointed, intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC sat around and didn’t hear a thing?” (Dee)

    To borrow from Luke 8:10:““To you it has been given to know the secrets of the (SBC) kingdom, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’”

    I learned in my long SBC journey that most of the “intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC” have no discernment … heck, they ain’t even smart!One has to seriously consider that a code of silence exists among the SBC elites; they know who the bad apples are and all about their rotten deeds.“Cover me and I’ll cover you.”

    P.S. I would never call the Deebs “no-account women” … they have been providing an accurate account of SBC shenanigans and charlatans for years.

    I went 35 years ago, I wonder how much of an academic “joke” most of the seminaries are now? I know where I did my undergrad degree is now….

  63. roebuck: Are you going to share?

    It was a wordless shout, really, something like “OW!”. So, it’ll probably clear customs, but won’t mean a lot if you weren’t there.

  64. ishy: This sounds like a post TWW needs to do…

    I think the Deebs posted something regarding the GCRTF sealed records when that news first broke, but have had bigger fish to fry since. Given all the shrouds of secrecy, deception, and stealth at work in SBC these days, I’m not surprised that SBC elites would seal committee records from Southern Baptists.

  65. Max,

    I’m certain it had something to do with them firing all the missionaries and their “revitalization” efforts.

  66. K.D.: I went 35 years ago, I wonder how much of an academic “joke” most of the seminaries are now? I know where I did my undergrad degree is now….

    There has been a lot of chatter in cyberspace about how SBC seminaries have been drifting off true North, but not much said about SBC colleges. As preparatory ground for seminary training, I suspect that the theology departments at most SBC-affiliated colleges lean New Calvinist now. They respond to what the youngsters want in order to attract tuition revenue … Generations Y and Z church kids have been caught up in the reformed wave, so serve it up!

  67. ishy: I’m certain it had something to do with them firing all the missionaries and their “revitalization” efforts.

    Or maybe the committee members all joined Dodeka 🙂

  68. Ken A: There is no way that these guys didn’t know that Patterson, Mahaney, etc. had all these views.

    Regarding Mahaney, Al Mohler’s wife refers to the T4G leadership tetrad as “Al’s little playgroup.” That creeps me out! There must be a secrecy blood pact among T4G’s Fab Four.

  69. Max: Or maybe the committee members all joined Dodeka

    Are these distinguished committee member decision makers on the dole of someone else’s money, er, tithe? And they are/are not transparent about how they are spending that money? Is that honest? It would seem that the funders would want to know what they are funding.

  70. This was very well laid out. While I have been extensively victimized, I still have so much to learn. Thank you for the ongoing education and advocacy.

    Most sincerely,
    Lori Anne Thompson

  71. jyjames,

    They are, as all SBC churches are supposed to pay into the Cooperative fund. None of the SBC entities have been very transparent since the early 2000s.

    IMB said the firing of thousands of missionaries was because of previous budget shortfalls, but they’ve kept the details of it all secret. And interestingly enough, most of the missionaries they fired were the ones that refused to accept the New Cal statements of faith.

  72. Money talks when it comes to the SBC. While leaving said organisation might be the wisest course, here are some thoughts for those that stay:

    Sit down and outline exactly where your money is going. Insist on unsealed records and full disclosure from the local church to the local association to the state association to the national one. Let your pastor know your concerns and that you won’t be giving another red cent until you get answers. If you really want to give or to tithe set yourself up a slush fund. Put the money there and give to those you feel God would have you give a hand up. Not a 501(c)3 organisation, but an individual who needs help. Pay a widow’s cooling bill. Buy school clothes for a poor family. Give diapers through a pro life group. Buy tires for someone who needs the car to go to work but cannot afford the needed tires. Need is all around. Meet it.

    Those that are not hirelings will either get your answers asap or join your protest. And wouldn’t you prefer to know if your preacher is a wolf among the sheep just in it for the $$?

  73. I’m sorry I hope I am wrong. .but these changes/terminations seem more out of embarrassment than true sorrow and conviction/repentance. These boys have got caught with their pants down and they want to $ave theme$elve$ $ome embara$$ment.

  74. Max: Regarding Mahaney, Al Mohler’s wife refers to the T4G leadership tetrad as “Al’s little playgroup.” That creeps me out! There must be a secrecy blood pact among T4G’s Fab Four.

    Dodeka minus Eight?
    Tetra within Dodeka?

  75. Max: Speaking of codes of silence and secret agendas, does anyone have any idea why SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force sealed its records for 15 years … not to be opened until 2025?

    Don’t Ask Political Questions, Comrade.

  76. roebuck: Headless Unicorn Guy: Including a RL Nehemiah Scudder?

    Well spotted, HUG!

    An SF litfan introduced to Heinlein at age 12 will tend to spot such references.

  77. ishy: IMB said the firing of thousands of missionaries was because of previous budget shortfalls, but they’ve kept the details of it all secret. And interestingly enough, most of the missionaries they fired were the ones that refused to accept the New Cal statements of faith.

    “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break, and all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go, love intentionally, love extravagantly. Love unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you,” Dr. Gary Morsch, co-founder HHI: http://www.hearttoheart.org

    Some throw in the towel and hide under a secret bushel while others blaze on, lighting up the sky.

  78. Ken A,

    Awakening! Ha! They were awakened to the fact that a lot of people know what’s been going on! That’s about the extent of their “awakening”.

  79. Max: There has been a lot of chatter in cyberspace about how SBC seminaries have been drifting off true North, but not much said about SBC colleges.As preparatory ground for seminary training, I suspect that the theology departments at most SBC-affiliated colleges lean New Calvinist now.They respond to what the youngsters want in order to attract tuition revenue … Generations Y and Z church kids have been caught up in the reformed wave, so serve it up!

    I can personally assure you that the “youngsters” at the SBC affiliated Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, in the far southeastern corner of Kentucky, are passing out and/or recommending John Piper’s books!

  80. How could a couple of no-account women with no SBC connections find out all of this stuff and the supposed spirit filled, God appointed, intelligent professors, leaders and pastors of the SBC sat around and didn’t hear a thing?

    No-account with whom? (I ask rhetorically, of course.) Given the choice between meeting Dee (or Debs, but it was Dee on this occasion) and one of the usual Resurgent suspects, I know which I consider the greater honour.

  81. Back to the question from the main article up-top:

    Do They Want Us to Believe That No One in the New and Improved Leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention Knew Anything About Patterson, Pressler, etc.?

    If they can get away with it?
    Hell yes.
    Which is why I’m glad there is TWW and other whistle blowers who’ll expose them for the Mountebanks they are.

  82. Nick Bulbeck: No-account with whom? (I ask rhetorically, of course.) Given the choice between meeting Dee (or Debs, but it was Dee on this occasion) and one of the usual Resurgent suspects, I know which I consider the greater honour.

    Nick, I’m a lifelong SBCer. I would be far more pleased and honored to meet the DEEBS in a quiet coffee shop on a backroad somewhere than to be invited to a formal dinner with all of the SBC entity heads.

    As a matter of fact, I would turn down an “opportunity” to meet the entity heads! Prolly would already have made plans to clip my toenails, or sumfin that day ………

  83. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): Nick, I’m a lifelong SBCer.I would be far more pleased and honored to meet the DEEBS in a quiet coffee shop on a backroad somewhere than to be invited to a formal dinner with all of the SBC entity heads.

    I’ve been to that dinner (well, luncheon). It was boring as hell listening to those morons brag about themselves. Because that’s what the WHOLE thing was.

    Chatting with you all online is much more interesting!

  84. Muff Potter:
    Back to the question from the main article up-top:

    Do They Want Us to Believe That No One in the New and Improved Leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention Knew Anything About Patterson, Pressler, etc.?

    If they can get away with it?
    Hell yes.
    Which is why I’m glad there is TWW and other whistle blowers who’ll expose them for the Mountebanks they are.

    I agree, Muff. I didn’t watch the Convention live, but I read a lot of articles and tweets.
    I didn’t get the feeling that anything is really going to change ……… it was all just an act, a performance for onlookers. That resolution about the “dignity” of women and the “holiness” of ministers disgusted me.
    No admissions, no repentance, no special prayer sessions ……. They did what they had to do to get people to calm down…… nothing more. Just a publicity thing.

  85. ishy:

    Chatting with you all online is much more interesting!

    Right back at ya, plus some! Your insights and personal experiences that you share are VALUED!

  86. Max,

    Please, someone in the Raleigh, North Carolina area please let us know where all the non-Calvinistic people are going. There must be enough “refugees” out there to start a traditional conservative Bible-believing church. I think we are going to have to leave yet another Southern Baptist church where the pastor is slowly but surely grooming his church to accept Reformed teaching.

  87. linda:
    Money talks when it comes to the SBC.While leaving said organisation might be the wisest course, here are some thoughts for those that stay:

    Sit down and outline exactly where your money is going.Insist on unsealed records and full disclosure from the local church to the local association to the state association to the national one.Let your pastor know your concerns and that you won’t be giving another red cent until you get answers.If you really want to give or to tithe set yourself up a slush fund.Put the money there and give to those you feel God would have you give a hand up.Not a 501(c)3 organisation, but an individual who needs help.Pay a widow’s cooling bill.Buy school clothes for a poor family.Give diapers through a pro life group.Buy tires for someone who needs the car to go to work but cannot afford the needed tires.Need is all around.Meet it.

    My husband and I have for the last 10 years been using our tithe to help others. Far more satisfying than giving to a church and/or a church building campaign.
    Those that are not hirelings will either get your answers asap or join your protest.And wouldn’t you prefer to know if your preacher is a wolf among the sheep just in it for the $$?

  88. Finegold,

    Honestly, I would get out of the SBC as fast as possible. The entire leadership is New Calvinist now. And being right by SEBTS had flooded the area with baby New Cal pastors. It’s not going to get better for awhile.

    I would avoid churches who market themselves as non-denoms, too, as many are SBC in disguise.

  89. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): I’m a lifelong SBCer. I would be far more pleased and honored to meet the DEEBS in a quiet coffee shop on a backroad somewhere than to be invited to a formal dinner with all of the SBC entity heads.

    You are so kind!

  90. Finegold,

    Here’s the problem. Nondenominational churches have become low hanging fruit for the New Calvinists who have no problem with lying about what they believe in order to take over a church. “For God’s glory” and all that jazz. Many nondenominational churches leave their “what we believe* section open for people with differing beliefs regarding a myriad of secondary issues. That leaves them vulnerable for the *sword of Calvin* crowd. Those dudes can really argue those minute points.

    I am becoming more convinced that you have to look for churches whose doctrine has long been decided-either by denomination or by decades in existence with bold “what we believe and will always beleive” statements.

    Even then, some of the newer denomination, like the Anglican breakaways, are slowly aligning themselves with the new Calvinists. This is due to the fact that they did not have their doctrine firmly in place when the splits occurred. As a result there was much infighting and splits. The Calvinists saw a crack and have pounced on those churches.

    I escaped by going to a denomination that has their doctrine settled-carefully spelled out beliefs in many areas. As such, the Calvinists will find it too difficult to move in this direction. I’m Lutheran. I have a friend in Dallas who is now Methodist. She found a conservative church within that denomination. There is at least one of those in Raleigh. However, Methodists move their pastors around and a great pastor today may not be there tomorrow.

    The hunt is difficult. But I have found peace in my church and am the happiest and most peaceful I have been in years. It is possible.

    We now live in an era in which one must assume the NeoCalvinists will move in.

  91. linda,

    I love your advice. We wrote a post on doing this one time. OOOO did the boyz get huffy with us. Maybe its time to repost on the topic again.

  92. ishy: I’ve been to that dinner (well, luncheon). It was boring as hell listening to those morons brag about themselves. Because that’s what the WHOLE thing was.

    Chatting with you all online is much more interesting!

    That sounds like an utterly boring lunch. And let me guess…no wine or other adult beverage to pass the time?

  93. dee: I am becoming more convinced that you have to look for churches whose doctrine has long been decided-either by denomination or by decades in existence with bold “what we believe and will always beleive” statements.

    This is pretty good advice. Unfortunately, I cannot join most of these churches.

    I have been a member of SBC churches since my youth. I describe myself as a convictional Baptist. I can no longer give any money to nearly all SBC churches since they give significantly to the Cooperative Program and since the neo-cal takeover, I believe it would be poor stewardship to support them financially. I also cannot join a Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian or similar churches since my beliefs do not agree with their Statements of Faith or their practices.

    So my choices are to continue with SBC churches without supporting them financially (which I find distasteful) or go to a non-denominational church or other non-SBC Baptist church that hasn’t gone too liberal for me like the CBF has (and the pickings are slim here in South Carolina), or go Charismatic (just, no). I just have to be extremely careful and patient about my next church or become a done.

    I miss the days when the SBC believed in “no creed but the Bible”, soul competency, liberty and the priesthood of the believer.

  94. dee,

    I attend the church whose leadership left the Diocese of New Westminster (Canada) over the then Bishop’s allowing 4 priests to bless same-sex unions. We are now part of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). J I Packer is an honored member of my church and is the theologian emeritus of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). He holds to Reformed Theology (Calvinism). The official statement of the Anglican Church (39 Articles) is reformed, but the articles pulled back from the more extreme Calvinist thinking.
    I hadn’t been aware of NeoCal influence in our midst (broad sense).

  95. dee: Nondenominational churches have become low hanging fruit for the New Calvinists who have no problem with lying about what they believe in order to take over a church.

    Good to point this out – be on the lookout for the snake oil or as Jesus put it, wolves in sheeps’ attire.

  96. dee: We wrote a post on doing this one time. OOOO did the boyz get huffy with us.

    Love your boldness in speaking truth to power.

  97. Max: The institution we call “church” is OK if it is reaching lost souls for Christ, discipling them in Truth, equipping them to do the work of the ministry, mobilizing their unique spiritual giftings, and then engaging them in the Great Commission together. Anything less than that is doing church without God.

    I like the way that Lewis once put it:

    “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.”

  98. ishy: And interestingly enough, most of the missionaries they fired were the ones that refused to accept the New Cal statements of faith.

    Or, who left because it was clear their way of working which embraced lay leaders at the heart of their work (rather than seminary trained pastors) would no longer be acceptable in the IMB. Interestingly, one of the strong proponents AGAINST church planting movements was David Sills, who has just resigned from Southern Seminary for undisclosed reasons. Interesting.

    His book “Reaching and Teaching: a Call to Great Commission Obedience” presented what can only be described as a caricature against real disciple making movements. What he said was so ill informed and lacking serious research that a published, well known colleague began writing a response. Six pages into that endeavor he said to us, “What am I wasting my time for? Let’s go reach the lost!” Amen.

  99. I read an interesting interview with a journalist/author who had work shadowed a well-known sociopath in the business world, in order to ghost-write a book that the businessman would claim as his own. The journalist observed something about this businessman’s behaviour that stood out, which was that he was able to lie with absolutely no conscience. Because the vast majority of people feel at least slightly awkward about lying – even if only because they don’t want people to find out they’re lying – the person who literally doesn’t care about the truth has a strategic advantage.

  100. Sorry – hit the button too soon. What I meant to add was that people who are willing to lie and mislead in their zeal for spreading their ideology are also always going to have a strategic advantage at hijacking a church group.

  101. Abuse by Reformed University Fellowship’s Brad Waller exposed:

    Brad Waller was at Tates Creek Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lexington, Ky. from 1995 to 2006, where his primary responsibilities included directing the youth and college ministries. Since then, he’s pastored at Twin Oaks Presbyterian (St. Louis, Mo.) and Independent Presbyterian and Grace Church of the Islands (both in Savannah, Ga.).
    Waller has been involved with Reformed University Fellowship throughout his ministry, and was named last year to the PCA committee that oversees RUF.

    Statement from the Lexington church:

    https://tcpca.org/addressing-our-past/

    “the number of confirmed stories at this point that have come directly from a victim and that we’ve been given permission to share…is now at 10. The most consistent and common stories were of Brad rubbing the feet of high school and college students (all male) during private counseling and mentoring sessions…evidence is also beginning to emerge that conflicts with Brad’s statement that ‘it never went past foot rubbing’.”

    https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/discipling-every-age/

    Tabletalk magazine, “Discipling Every Age” by Brad Waller

    “Teenagers need parents and older church members to share how they have experienced the great doctrines of the Bible. College students who have come from broken homes must learn from spiritually mature men…”

  102. “The resolution that ultimately was passed unanimously by messengers in Dallas, ironically omits any reference to “clergy-penitent privilege” however, a claim used by Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, in a court case reported in 2004 in Louisville’s Courier-Journal.

    A Sunday School and choir volunteer who also worked at a school operated by Highview Baptist Church, where Ezell was then pastor, had been accused of sex crimes he later confessed.

    News articles report that when Ezell was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, he invoked the clergy-penitent privilege. The former teacher later, after being charged with additional crimes, pled guilty to sexually abusing seven boys in the 1970s and early 1980s and is still listed in the Kentucky sex offender archive”

    https://truthisincrisis.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/news-analysis-was-sbc-metoo-resolution-on-abuse-a-band-aid-for-larger-issues/

  103. dee: Even then, some of the newer denomination, like the Anglican breakaways, are slowly aligning themselves with the new Calvinists. This is due to the fact that they did not have their doctrine firmly in place when the splits occurred. As a result there was much infighting and splits. The Calvinists saw a crack and have pounced on those churches.

    Do not miss what Badger is saying. Anglicanism has a wide swath of calvinism, a way of being calvinist style protestant, and has had since the english reformation and that is the theology which has been in play from the get go. If the neo-cals are being buddies with the protestant calvinist segment of anglicanism it is apt to be because they are kissing cousins, except that anglicans of all sorts are less extreme as either protestant anglicans or catholic anglicans. Note also that the vatican set up a way for catholic anglicans to unite with Rome, also, but only few have done that. Again, kissing cousins.

    The english reformation in its protestantism was calvinist. The latter backlash was catholicism, but not affiliated with Rome. If the modern day calvinists want to ‘own’ or ‘invade’ protestant calvinist anglicanism, of course they do. If the vatican set up a system for catholic anglicans to unite with Rome, of course they did do just that.

    The distinguishing characteristics of both protestant and catholic anglicanism that I see as being the common ground and also the strength of the system has been the avoidance of extremes. Just as Badger has said about their group so I see in our practices. Also it looks to me like the marked social liberalism of TEC is an extreme way to avoid what some see as extremes.

    In a system like that there are always those who leave in order to be more calvinist or more catholic, and at least at our place there have been those who join with us precisely to get away from extremes. From my viewpoint this seems to be both the strength and the weakness of anglicanism, a via media, and middle-ish is difficult ground to defend.

  104. Lydia,

    Very interesting info! Yes, Mohler’s statement definitely fell short…

    Also, remembering that Kevin Ezell, who heads NAMB was Mohler’s pastor.

  105. Ken P.,

    I have just re-read Thomas Helwys’ Short Declaration of 1612 which just about sums up all I hold to. I have all the same problems you have. I am a Baptist by conviction for all the reasons you mention. I have serious convictions on doctrine and church polity which make it difficult to join a Presbyterian, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, or Pentecostal church as much as I have Christian fellowship with believers from all those traditions. However, what to do? A small group of us, who also support women in pastoral ministry,are meeting together in an informal way for Bible Study, prayer, fellowship and mutual care and support. It is sad that CBF has become so liberal, and sad that the SBC has been co-opted by the neo-Cals. However, Baptist churches are independent of any hierarchical authority and should be able to function independently. Interestingly, most of the other historic denominations have had splits and have divided into different groups so even though they subscribe to top-down creeds, each group has its own emphasis or at least its own interpretation of those creeds.
    As far as giving is concerned complete transparency is essential. I have serious doubts about giving to the Co-operative Program. Indidentally, David Platt has become senior pastor of McLean Bible Church down the road and has affiliated the church with the SBC. I doubt the congregation had any real say in that decision. There will be plenty of dollars for the SBC from that source.

  106. dee: A hallmark of the New calvinists? Lie or don’t tell them.

    The young reformers must sit in seminary dorm rooms and discuss techniques for deceiving the masses upon graduation. Their methods are certainly working in SBC!

  107. ishy: I would avoid churches who market themselves as non-denoms, too, as many are SBC in disguise.

    If you stood in the parking lot of SBC-YRR church plants and asked folks what denomination they belong to, most wouldn’t know their church is affiliated with the SBC – YRR pastors conceal that fact. Members think they are non-denominational! But their YRR pastors gladly pocket SBC church planting dollars – provided for them primarily by SBC’s non-Calvinist majority through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. It’s the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen – an organization which is funding its own takeover!! For the first time in 60 years, I am saddened to see the Annie Armstrong offering envelopes at SBC churches – I know where most of that money is headed … NAMB’s mission these days is more about planting theology, than churches.

  108. Grainne,

    I just want to speak up for the IMB of the SBC. There are a lot of dedicated caring people who truly want to reach the world for Christ. I know many. As long as the denom keeps it’s nose out of our congregation and I can support the IMB and these good people, I am staying.

  109. Finegold: someone in the Raleigh, North Carolina area please let us know where all the non-Calvinistic people are going … we are going to have to leave yet another Southern Baptist church where the pastor is slowly but surely grooming his church to accept Reformed teaching

    I hope you are more successful than me in that endeavor – it’s a valley of dry bones here. A gathering of ex-SBC shunned, excommunicated, exiled, and otherwise done would make a great Church if you could round up enough of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free … provided you could find a “pastor” to lead them who doesn’t have some sort of ungodly agenda.

  110. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): the “youngsters” at the SBC affiliated Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, in the far southeastern corner of Kentucky, are passing out and/or recommending John Piper’s books!

    No surprise. That is happening at SBC-affiliated college campuses across the country. Here’s how it is done. A young reformer plants or takes over (= “replant”) an SBC church near campus. He attracts students with cool music, free coffee/donuts, free ESV Bibles, and then begins to indoctrinate them through weekly small group meetings. After a while, the “religion” department at those colleges recruit professors which lean Calvinistic. They might even become elders in area SBC-YRR churches – YRR pastors like college professors on the elder board because they provide a measure of credibility to their stealth and deception. The college and church plants/replants then become linked together to advance the reformed movement, in addition to preparing pastoral candidates to send to SBC seminaries.

    Here’s a list of SBC-affiliated colleges where this is most likely occurring: http://www.sbc.net/colleges/

    If you live near one, go in the college bookstore. You’ll most likely see lots of books by Piper and other New Calvinist notables. The college chapel schedule list of speakers might also provide a hint if they are leaning reformed.

    The SBC traditional (non-Calvinist) pew ain’t got a clue as the reformers pick their pockets to make this happen.

  111. Max: I hope you are more successful than me in that endeavor – it’s a valley of dry bones here.

    Are you in the Raleigh area? I have kept trying to place you geographically because I never ran into the type of SBC that you describe. The plot thickens, however, because we were in the Raleigh ‘area’ more or less while not in Wake County itself. So, my question is are you taking about the area of NC that is the more inland portion of the eastern part of the state? If so, I think I can understand more of what you have been saying once I can place it geographically.

    If you had rather not say, then please just ignore what I have said.

  112. ishy: IMB said the firing of thousands of missionaries was because of previous budget shortfalls

    During the same time, NAMB funded new church plants staffed by YRR at the tune of $60 million per year! What should the priority have been: keep veteran missionaries and their families on foreign fields or fund a bunch of young whippersnappers to plant and “replant” churches in North America?! (note: SBC’s church planting program is more about planting reformed theology, than Gospel churches)

  113. B Badger: I hadn’t been aware of NeoCal influence in our midst (broad sense).

    I believe they are making an inroad because of my readings on websites such as The Gospel Coalition and seeing the lineup for a number of related conferences. I am increasingly noting Anglican pastors who write articles and speak at these conferences. I have seen it so frequently, I’ve even considered writing a post about the matter.

  114. brian,

    “Church takeovers in my experience are far far more vicious than even hostile business mergers, the business people don’t pray for each other’s eternal torment and judgment from God to take out the Trash Ie the other group. This is irrelevant but it was very painful for people involved it really was. Again I understand such emotionalism is pathetic and disgusting, at least in my evangelical experience, but it still hurt folks.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    feeling pain because you were exploited in the name of God? it’s normal and appropriate emotion, and honest — nothing pathetic or disgusting in the slightest.

  115. jyjames: It would seem that the funders would want to know what they are funding.

    The problem with SBC’s pew (the funders) are just too trusting of their national leaders. Surely, their motives and agendas are on the Christian up-and-up? Haven’t we always been able to trust them in the past to spend our money wisely – you know, for things like the Great Commission? Well, the pew just needs to get over that – you can’t trust some of these rascals to do the right thing any longer!! Heck, some of the ole boys can’t even keep their pants on!

  116. Nick Bulbeck: . The journalist observed something about this businessman’s behaviour that stood out, which was that he was able to lie with absolutely no conscience. Because the vast majority of people feel at least slightly awkward about lying – even if only because they don’t want people to find out they’re lying – the person who literally doesn’t care about the truth has a strategic advantage.

    Interesting comment. When I met with some folks in Edinburgh (present company excluded) regarding sexual molestation in the Free Church of Scotland, we had an interesting side discussion in this regard. We were all stymied how Christian leaders/theologians, who absolutely claim to believe the Scriptures, could so easily lie about affairs, molestations, etc. over prolonged periods of time and do it so easily.

    I have to wonder if these people are using the faith to carry out their sordid agendas.

  117. I would be really interested to know what you all who emphasize that you are non-calvinist do with the ideas of election and sovereignty as seen in scripture. Let me make it simple so as not to get into greek vocabulary or calvinist style fundamentalisms. Or anybody else’s fundamentalisms for that matter. When Jesus said, for one example, that those whom the Father had given him would come to him, what do you all make of that?

    FYI: The ideas of first there is grace are pretty prevalent ideas in various christian traditions, including some non-calvinist strains of thought in which that idea came as a surprise to me that they would believe that.

    And if I don’t reply until later I do appreciate what you all say but it is because I have a dental appointment.

  118. okrapod,

    I think both are true, and I think God gives us all choice. I think it’s something only possible with God. I don’t believe we have to only pick what many define as opposite sides.

  119. okrapod: Are you in the Raleigh area?

    No. I live in the “Midwest.” Sorry, I can’t get any more specific than that. There are New Calvinists who would dearly love to know who I am and where I live. Trust me, the young reformers are running roughshod over SBC churches here, wreaking havoc in and taking over church after church in this region.

  120. Fisher,

    Yes, this is a very good point. I don’t even know you’d do a single authority in churches, but it’s much harder in another language with only a few mature Christians. The church I worked at wouldn’t survive without everyone working together.

    But as Max said, funds that supposedly were very short at IMB seem to be no problem at NAMB, so that’s another reason I don’t buy their financial sob story. And I wonder how much of that decision was because US churches bring them more money.

  121. Max,

    “does anyone have any idea why SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force sealed its records for 15 years … not to be opened until 2025?”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    so they could score God points with sort-of-‘transparency’ (albeit conveniently delayed) while continuing to build their personal power, significance, & being able to keep their golden retirement parachute?

  122. okrapod: I would be really interested to know what you all who emphasize that you are non-calvinist do with the ideas of election and sovereignty as seen in scripture.

    Scripture speaks much about the sovereignty of God. Scripture speaks much about man’s free will. It all works together in individual salvation in a way that is beyond human comprehension. But as I read the whole of Scripture, just not selected passages which support either Calvinist (Romans 9) or non-Calvinist (John 3) views of God’s plan of salvation, I am left with my pea-brain understanding of God’s sovereignty and election as:

    Sovereignty: All that occurs is caused or allowed by God.

    Election: God chooses to save anyone who believes in Christ. Anyone who hears the Gospel can be saved.

    Praise His Holy Name, sovereign God is still electing souls all across the planet … one at a time … whosoever will may come.

  123. ___

    “The Choice Is Yours, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    In the Old Testament God gave his people a choice. They were able to choose the right way! (Joshua 24:14-15)

    However, the Calvinists like to cite the words of Jesus such as: “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)

    Yet, they apparently ignore what Jesus said in John 12:32: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

    The whole of the Scriptures tell us that all individuals are drawn by God unto Jesus. (That is why Jesus was raised upon the cross.) It is then their choice whether or not they will repent and turn from their sins and follow to Jesus.

    However, John Calvin (16th century theologian), like Augustine (4th century theologian), who’s writings he used to pen his Institutes, —both theologians are seen in their writings in the ‘taking away’ our God given power of individual choice, —preferably for some whacked and deluged man-made theological idea of the sovereignty of God. Yet, God’s dealings with the Israelites at Sini absolutely declare otherwise.

    Q. Is John Calvin greater than God Almighty?

    Apparently, his theology book (ICR) demonstrates, or infers — he is.

    Q. Who’s words are you going to believe?

    Times up.

    (grin)

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)

    – –

  124. elastigirl: continuing to build their personal power, significance, & being able to keep their golden retirement parachute?

    Elastigirl’s comment pertains to SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force and its sealing of their records for 15 years (to be opened in 2025).

    Among the task force members: Danny Akin, President, Southeastern Seminary; J.D. Greear, current SBC President … and Al Mohler.

    Hmmmmm …

  125. okrapod,

    Okrapod, if you listen to most non cal apologiest, the one passage/ verse that they ( non C) struggle with is Romans 9:13, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated….. predestined and hated with no chance from the womb, before he was even born, Give me a break.

    God didn’t hate Esau, but he did love Jacob more, big big difference. Genesis 29: 30-31 The Bible says he hated Leah in verse 31, but in verse 30 it states that he loved Rachel more.

    Better still in Luke 14:26 Jesus says if any man come to me and hate not his farther and mother, wife and children, cannot be my disciple.. we know he is talking about we must love Christ more than earthly family, not that we have to hate them, but we love God more. To me Calvinism falls mostly by their twisting of the Jacob/Esau narrative.

  126. Max: Elastigirl’s comment pertains to SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force and its sealing of their records for 15 years (to be opened in 2025).
    Among the task force members: Danny Akin, President, Southeastern Seminary; J.D. Greear, current SBC President … and Al Mohler.

    “ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER…”

  127. Max: No.I live in the “Midwest.”Sorry, I can’t get any more specific than that.There are New Calvinists who would dearly love to know who I am and where I live.Trust me, the young reformers are running roughshod over SBC churches here, wreaking havoc in and taking over church after church in this region.

    i.e. You’re being overrun with Chairman Calvin’s Red Guard.
    And don’t want to get forced into the “airplane” position and made to sing “I Am A Cow Headed Monster” before the populace before being shipped to the rice paddies.

  128. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): I can personally assure you that the “youngsters” at the SBC affiliated Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, in the far southeastern corner of Kentucky, are passing out and/or recommending John Piper’s books!

    Little Red Books?

  129. Max: ishy: IMB said the firing of thousands of missionaries was because of previous budget shortfalls
    During the same time, NAMB funded new church plants staffed by YRR at the tune of $60 million per year!

    i.e. A Jobs program for the Loyal and Faithful.
    “To the Victor belongs the Spoils.”

  130. Max: If you stood in the parking lot of SBC-YRR church plants and asked folks what denomination they belong to, most wouldn’t know their church is affiliated with the SBC – YRR pastors conceal that fact. Members think they are non-denominational!

    “Non-Denominational — you know, Southern Baptist with the labels scraped off?”

    But their YRR pastors gladly pocket SBC church planting dollars – provided for them primarily by SBC’s non-Calvinist majority through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. It’s the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen – an organization which is funding its own takeover!!

    Comrade Lenin’s sense of humor would be very tickled.
    He always liked the idea of the Capitalist Establishment funding their own destruction in The Revolution.
    The actual Leninspeak term is “Useful Idiots”.

  131. ishy: I would avoid churches who market themselves as non-denoms, too, as many are SBC in disguise.

    Which has been around for a LONG time.

    “Non-Denominational — you know, SBC with the labels filed off?”
    — heard on a talk show phone-in back in the early Eighties

    Except here in SoCal, where Non-Denom is equally likely to be a Calvary Chapel Clone with the labels painted over.

  132. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    You may very well be right. They certainly won’t recruit like they have if they were sending their yes-men off to put churches in other countries. They was a good bit of promising megachurches even when I was in college and seminary. My missions grad class had 2 men. Why go off and be a poor missionary when you can be rich and famous and work very little as a pastor in the US?

  133. Benn: if you listen to most non cal apologiest, the one passage/ verse that they ( non C) struggle with is Romans 9:13, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated … To me Calvinism falls mostly by their twisting of the Jacob/Esau narrative.

    There is confusion here regarding “national” vs. “personal” in references to Jacob and Esau. Jacob became the patriarch of the nation of Israel. Esau became the progenitor of the Edomite nation, an enemy of Israel. You have to stretch Romans 9 to paint a picture of God loving one little baby and hating another little baby before their lives took them on different courses … one became a friend of Israel, the other an enemy. God loved one nation and chose to work through it. He “hated” the other nation for warring against the one He loved, trying to thwart His plans. One has to read the whole of Scripture, rather than select passages, to understand this.

  134. Max,

    Max, I agree with you totally, to me it is standard operating procedure for “Cals.” To use scripture out of context.
    They use the so called hated of one twin in the womb as to the sovereignty of election/predestination.

  135. linda: If you really want to give or to tithe set yourself up a slush fund. Put the money there and give to those you feel God would have you give a hand up. Not a 501(c)3 organisation, but an individual who needs help. Pay a widow’s cooling bill. Buy school clothes for a poor family. Give diapers through a pro life group. Buy tires for someone who needs the car to go to work but cannot afford the needed tires. Need is all around. Meet it.

    For all the hemmin’ an’ hawwin’ about what the so-called New Testament ‘Church’ was sposeta’ be according to the ‘Bible’, this is probably the best version I’ve heard yet. Less worry for souls who cross over into the great beyond, and more concern for poor souls in the here and now.
    Sign me up.

  136. dee: I believe they are making an inroad because of my readings on websites such as The Gospel Coalition and seeing the lineup for a number of related conferences. I am increasingly noting Anglican pastors who write articles and speak at these conferences. I have seen it so frequently, I’ve even considered writing a post about the matter.

    I don’t know if anyone remembers me commenting on this but last year I went to an Episcopalian Church in a wealthy zip code for a recital. Upon entering the foyer, there was a life-size poster of Al Mohler advertising a teaching series he presenting in that church. I realized how naive I have been. Oy vey.

  137. Max: One has to read the whole of Scripture, rather than select passages, to understand this.

    Most of Romans is about nations, not individuals.

  138. truthseeker00: having eyes to see and ears to hear does nothing but leave you standing alone on the outside. Meanwhile, the abuse continues on the inside, and the oppressed remain loyally blind and oblivious.

    You, too, eh?

    How many of us are there?

    Are there any churches where discernment is welcome?

  139. okrapod,

    I include human agency in all my scripture reading. After years of debating this stuff, I have come to the conclusion that cherry picking verses that seem to contradict other verses is a huge problem. So I take a bird’s eye view of all scripture when it comes to human volition. But even more than that I believe our roots are Hebrew in the philosophy of God which I think includes mankinds volition/ability from what I have studied so far. It works for me because it puts the responsibility on humans– not God. Others mileage may vary and the really good thing is we all have a choice in whether we attend church or not and what sort to attend. Thank God! 🙂

  140. ___

    The ‘C’ Word: “Evangelical Theological Bottomless Pitt, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    (very interesting.)

    Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith, TULIP, five points of Calvinism) A system of theology base upon the writings of John Calvin.

    The theological system of Calvinism adheres to a very ‘select’ view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on those selected scriptures contained in his theological system.

    Basically Calvin views God’s Sovereignty through Augustinian lenses.

    See: ICR
    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.pdf?url=

    John Calvin apparently focused on a very strange, restrictive, and closed view of God’s sovereignty, maintaining that within the Bible are the following doctrines/teachings:

    A. That God, [solely] by His sovereign grace alone predestines select individuals into salvation,

    B. That Jesus died [only] for those elect individuals predestined by God.

    C. That God regenerates [only] the elect predestined individual where they are then able and want to choose God,

    D. That it is impossible for those elect individuals who are predestined for redemption to lose their salvation.
    i.e. If elected by God: you have no choice in the matter, and you suffer no loss of salvation.

    Calvin claims that mankind is caught up in an ‘no choice environment’ ™ (called sin] [he copied Augustine] where only God chooses who will be saved, and who will go to the other place.

    Therefore, according to Calvin, if you are not chosen by God, your are sol.

    Don’t thank him (Calvin) all at once…

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)

    – –

  141. Cheryl Summers / For Such A Time As This Rally: ““The abuse of a child or a spouse is sinful and serious. We take it seriously at FBC. When we are personally aware of it, we will report it. I will have zero tolerance for even a hint

    The caveat, in my opinion, is that they WILL NOT be ‘personally aware of it’ unless and until doing so is the only way to maintain their standing, status, reputation, and income. Which is what i see happening in these recent events in the SBC. Call me cynical- I am, and that is born out of experience.

  142. Benn: Better still in Luke 14:26 Jesus says if any man come to me and hate not his farther and mother, wife and children, cannot be my disciple.. we know he is talking about we must love Christ more than earthly family, not that we have to hate them, but we love God more.

    So how does that pan out? And where do reason, common sense, and conscience come into play?
    If it has to be rendered down to an either/or (like so many claim) on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, I’ll pick my family every time.

  143. Lydia: They don’t take prisoners.

    I have to operate incognito as I follow the New Calvinist movement in order to observe what makes the young reformers tick. I figure you have to know them to understand them; to see and hear them before you can comment on them. I have even attended YRR churches as a “plain clothes” spectator – it’s been both entertaining and saddening at the same time – to see what the SBC has become. Prisoner? Before I left SBC (recently), I felt like I had become a prisoner in the denomination I belonged to for 60+ years.

  144. Bridget: Most of Romans is about nations, not individuals.

    BINGO.
    I’ve said it here before and it deserves a repeat.
    The Bible suffers from the same two ills as science.
    Not giving it the credence it deserves at one extreme.
    And making way too much of it at he other.

  145. SiteSeer,

    “Which is what i see happening in these recent events in the SBC. Call me cynical- I am, and that is born out of experience.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    or we could just call it ‘realistic.’

    my son sees the glass half empty, i see the glass half-full. i tried to encourage him that my way was the better way, until i realized the wisdom in his realism.

  146. Max,

    One thing that puzzles me Max is this:
    Where are they gonna’ get the disposable income from the young crowd they play to?
    If they’re not slated to become doctors, lawyers, and Indian Chiefs, the disposal income to fill their coffers just ain’t gonna be there.

  147. Max: The young reformers must sit in seminary dorm rooms and discuss techniques for deceiving the masses upon graduation. Their methods are certainly working in SBC!

    I am afraid that is pretty close to the truth. Recently met and lunched with a distant in-law who had become recently Reformed and is attending a Reformed Seminary. He was all agog about not taking an already Reformed Church when he graduated, but wanted the thrill of reforming a non-Calvinist Church. I’m guessing this is probably encouraged.

  148. Max: I hope you are more successful than me in that endeavor – it’s a valley of dry bones here. A gathering of ex-SBC shunned, excommunicated, exiled, and otherwise done would make a great Church if you could round up enough of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free … provided you could find a “pastor” to lead them who doesn’t have some sort of ungodly agenda.

    I desire the same – minus the pastor to lead! Sorry, I am convinced that Jesus never intended his body to be an authoritarian-led, hierarchical institution with ‘rulers’. Those who were elder were to demonstrate sacrificial leadership, but I see no suggestion that this means a single man is to stand up once a week and tell everyone what he personally thinks about scripture! C’mon, how could we have been so blind for so long? I’m telling you, if people like you, and Okrapod, Law Professor, and so many others were allowed to contribute their well-thought ideas to others, and allow time for questions and give and take, then we would have something of what Jesus desires for growth and encouragement in the Body. The whole teaching pastor and ruling elder concepts are man-made traditions that have led to all of the abuse and problems discussed on these threads, IMO.

  149. Max: No. I live in the “Midwest.”

    From one ‘Midwesterner’ to another, at least it’s comforting to know you are somewhere near! I often feel like everyone else is from the South, and I am on my own in the frigid midwest. Tried an EV-Free Church in a small community for a while, but quickly saw that they were in the midst of a Calvinist takeover. Pastor and his wife are swell, well-meaning folks, but they are in over their heads. The transplanted Calvinist in charge is his ‘accountability partner’. Feeds him all the Gospel Coalition stuff and Calvinist pop books, and also pretty much runs the church already. His wife admitted to me the first week there that they wanted to turn the church into a Reformed Church – the pastor’s wife looked take aback. None of them see what’s coming – so sad. Thought about trying to help, but I simply don’t think these mostly older folks would understand what is happening. They are still reeling from having their music taken away, or losing what the pastor calls ‘the worship war’.

  150. okrapod: When Jesus said, for one example, that those whom the Father had given him would come to him, what do you all make of that?

    I agree with those who suggest that prooftext wars are not very effective. One can draw any number of meanings from the same arrangement of words, depending upon one’s preconceived notions. Thus, all of scripture must be viewed when a verse or passage is difficult to understand. I reject the concept that scripture ever contradicts itself – it is simply man’s faulty translations and interpretations that create the appearance of contradictions.

    I’m no theologian, but my short answer would be that God determined that all who trust in Jesus (representing God’s good will and love toward men) will be declared ‘righteous’ and given eternal life. This includes all who have hearts for God, a longing for goodness and justice perhaps, but perhaps do not know how to ‘find’ what they are looking for, will know, when they hear the gospel, that this is what they were seeking, and believe that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, and the token of his love toward men.

    These are those who God has ‘given’ to Jesus, and he will see that all such men hear the gospel news that they are longing to hear.

    This not only makes logical sense, it is much more morally reasonable than the assertion that God chose some random bunch and declared them ‘in’ while not even giving the rest a chance. Not only is this (Reformed) interpretation morally reprehensible, it simply does not resonate with the repeated statements in scripture that God desires none to perish, and his many calls and pleas for all to turn from wickedness so that they do not perish.

  151. Lydia: I don’t know if anyone remembers me commenting on this but last year I went to an Episcopalian Church in a wealthy zip code for a recital. Upon entering the foyer, there was a life-size poster of Al Mohler advertising a teaching series he presenting in that church. I realized how naive I have been. Oy vey.

    Oh no, and I thought that the Episcopalians might be my last hope of finding a church I could live with. It looks like I am truly a ‘Done’ and need to find supportive, God-honoring relationships outside of a church setting.

  152. Ken F (aka Tweed): Lydia: Russell Moore has much bigger plans.

    Soros?

    Okay, one more comment, then I’m done.

    If we realize that Satan is the god of this world, and that the institutions and powers that be (a scriptural phrase) serve him and receive their power and wealth at his hand, then we must surely understand that whatever is not truly of God is never going to be wanting for money. Money is an enticement that Satan puts to good use, but he sure has no lack thereof. Which offers up a good hint as to whom these fat cats with their mansions and 6+ figure incomes really serve.

  153. Signs they don’t really mean or understand what they are now publicly saying:

    There has been no time on their end for true grieving or silence (and being sad or shocked for a week or two does not count.) Their privelege has allowed them to be blind to it and unaffected by it for so long. None of this is a surprise to a lot of people. And for some of the leaders, yes, they already were aware of it and were indeed either instigators or enablers, flying monkeys.

    There has also been no recognition for the need of subsequent attempts at reconciliation with the burden of pursuing reconciliation being on them. This reconciliation should be pursued with women and others who have been damaged by the SBC because of these long supported doctrines and way of life. Again, which must be repeated, mostly all on things and ways they have been fine with up until this point, until suddenly they are not? (Hmmm…)

    A step toward systemic and personal reconciliation hasn’t happened outside a few public – embarrasing to them – overt cases. Privately, it is sparse. Personally, I have only experienced deafening silence. I imagine most of us SBC exiled and/or victimized women are still hearing silence. They know about us.

    They have and are skipping about ten steps in normal social psych transformation and reconciliation processes. Victims, people like myself, and others have walked the long road of processing, grief, darkness, insight, and experience on this. With the wounds and trauma scars to prove it.

    Them? Well, they seem to be in quite the hurry! They run past us to the front of the line, say they are leading all this, follow them! When their place, if they truly understood all this – is in the back. They need to walk the journey like the rest of us had to, and let us take the lead.

    They haven’t processed or lived through what they are now trying to “lead” – all of this will inevitably and already has become a new marketing campaign. They will prop up priveleged or sheltered women in their system and claim change.

    They rewrite history instead of exploring, reliving, processing, and then overcoming it. They change the narrative instead of reading and letting the story of what has been there be read and understood. They are not letting their own personal lives be read in the midst of this. The SBC has never been terribly good at self-reflection.

    There is no real responsibility being taken. No real confessions, admissions, and the many years long process of walking through all that. They show no signs of inviting in outside counsel.

    The SBC is in no way a safe place still, for many women (and men). Far from it.

  154. Jerome,

    That pastor’s letter may be the best example I have ever read of how to respond to sexual abuse in your church. It’s at least up there.

  155. __

    “Open Season On Higher Love, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Q. How could a couple of thoughtful, savvy, journalistically, and charity inclined, highly educated women with little or no SBC connections find out (discover) all of this ‘juicy’ stuff and the supposed spirit filled, Nanny – Nanny- Bo-Bo, God appointed, ordained by God Almighty , intelligent, 501c3 professors, leaders and pastors of the famed SBC sit around and don’t hear a dang gone thing?

    *

    Proverbial ‘Calvinist Bubble Dewllers’ ™ : “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, especially about C.J. Mahaney…

    *

    TWW prospective: ‘Stop, Look, and Listen’ to the victims…Be Conscientious, Concerned, and INFORM their readers!

    ***

    “If any person helps one of these little ones because they are my followers, then that person will truly get his reward. That person will get his reward even if he only gave my follower a cup of cold water.”
    — Matthew 10:42

    The fields are still white with harvest, folks…

    *

    ♪♩♪♩ hum, hum, hum .. .“bring me a higher love…❤️

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XqeMDAv_i6k#fauxfullscreen

    ;~)

    – –

  156. This is complicated, but it explains the issue well. Please, people, do not be surprised to find both calvinism (actual calvinistic beliefs) and catholicism (actual catholic beliefs and practices) in anglicanism. Along with a lot in between.

    http://www.oldjamestownchurch.com/blog/2012/6/10/is-traditional-anglicanism-calvinist-or-arminian.html

    I am mostly catholic in thinking but I see some value in some of the things that calvinists are saying; they both emphasize grace. So do I.

  157. Jerome: his primary responsibilities included directing the youth and college ministries

    “What distinguishes these powerful violators, … it’s that they can create an environment in which they go unchallenged…

    “… adroit predators can also pursue a career that provides unquestioned access to their preferred targets…”

    https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/harvey-weinstein-psychology-sexual-predators/?ncid=newsltushpmgHighl_highline_062718

  158. In regard to slander accusations referenced in the original post, apparently disagreement about ideas and legally, freely shared with the public information is slander, now, in our society. And church leaders are just as guilty as using this tactic.

    To misapply the word slander in such a careless way betrays lack of principles and confidence behind your own beliefs. And/or it shows that you exist in an echo chamber where you are formationally stunted due to lack of healthy and free opposition of your beliefs and position (ideological position or status position).

    Throwing the word slander around prevents the ability to identify when *real slander* is taking place. Which is something that should be taken very seriously and does life long or significant life-altering damage to a person or group of people.

    Immediately claiming slander at the sign of any disagreement or conflict is a veiled threat, thought-stopper, and form of manipulation.

  159. jyjames,

    Let me be frank – that article is bunkum!

    IMO, Weinstein had a job to do, which was to deliberately compel women (and perhaps men) into going along with or performing lewd and compromising activities, all in front of hidden cameras. What you have here is an ages old system of blackmail and control, long used by powerful institutions.

    When Weinstein was no longer useful, and a scapegoat was needed to take the attention off of other situations, the ‘girls’ were allowed to ‘speak out’ and tell their stories. The media is never going to tell us the truth about the role of men like Ailes and Weinstein, who, no doubt corrupt, were not simple perverts with kinky sex fetishes. They had a job to do, and no doubt enjoyed it, and it put endless useful persons in positions of influence at their disposal. Pay to play is not simply about sexual appetite – it is more often about control.

    I would even go so far as to suspect the same sort of situation at play in some religious abuse situations, although perhaps on a lesser scale. Persuading someone that they are guilty for something awful that was done to them creates a wounded, easily manipulated person. And people with a desire for control are always in need for submissive servants.

  160. jyjames: “What distinguishes these powerful violators, … it’s that they can create an environment in which they go unchallenged…

    “… adroit predators can also pursue a career that provides unquestioned access to their preferred targets…”

    Which lands squarely at responding to the question raised by this post: “Do They Want Us to Believe That No One in the New and Improved Leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention Knew Anything About Patterson, Pressler, etc.?”

    They, the leadership, new and improved or old and bygone, ARE THE ENVIRONMENT. They are the culture that enables. The studies of #MeToo are showing that far more troubling than a few prominent wayward monsters is the systemic culture that enables.

    As Emily Honey points out: emily honey on Wed Jun 27, 2018 at 02:34 PM said:
    “Signs they don’t really mean or understand what they are now publicly saying:”

    “Sorry, now let’s move on,” doesn’t cut it.

  161. truthseeker00: If we realize that Satan is the god of this world, and that the institutions and powers that be (a scriptural phrase) serve him and receive their power and wealth at his hand, then we must surely understand that whatever is not truly of God is never going to be wanting for money.

    Well, I'm certainly not of God, and I’ve hardly been able to buy a job for 30 years. Maybe I should be more evil! 😉

    Seriously, though, I think you’re right, in that once someone with means and opportunity becomes motivated by money and power, they’ll be able to get them.

  162. truthseeker00,

    Me too. I really like the Episcopalian Cathedral here and we visit there a bit because we know some of the vocalists and people in the orchestra. The music is excellent. But they keep telling me how to vote or I am hateful. I’m a grown up and don’t need their advice or labels.

  163. truthseeker00: Recently met and lunched with a distant in-law who had become recently Reformed and is attending a Reformed Seminary. He was all agog about not taking an already Reformed Church when he graduated, but wanted the thrill of reforming a non-Calvinist Church. I’m guessing this is probably encouraged.

    Did he remind you of the Young Communists from 50-80 years ago?
    Young, starry-eyed, and On Fire for the Cause and The Party?
    Bringing about The Revolution?

    I have often said that three-four generations ago, the YRR-equivalents would have been On Fire for Communism instead of Calvinism.

  164. Lydia: They aren’t going to need it. Russell Moore has much bigger plans.

    Can you elaborate Lyds?
    Perhaps a link to an article?
    Where is the money going to come from to support their (SBC big-whigs) lifestyles?
    The older pew serfs with a few extra bucks from a life of hard work are rapidly fading into the sunset.

  165. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Todd Wilhelm has done a ton of research into Moore’s vast NGO vision. They aren’t exactly sharing their long term plans with a larger audience but all signs point to where they are going which is parallel to the Catholic and Lutheran NGO’S. Big UN/Fed money. My sources agree. I do think the long term plans included getting rid of missionaries over 50 for many reasons not just age but what “missonaries” will eventually be doing. What often looks like separate moves are usualky part of a bigger picture for these guys. Like making Patterson the propitiation for their exact same sins. All of that was planned and coordinated. And suddenly the former bad guys are “woke”. Nothing to see here now Move Along. Maybe they should unseal the Great Commission task force documents. What sort of Christian leaders operate in secrecy from their donors? Well– they have for decades now. What else is new? I mean who could have known the far-reaching implications of Mohler adding an “s” to “priesthood of believer” in the bfm 2000 would have? Trust me when I tell you they are 20 steps ahead. I despise deception with the passion of a thousand white hot suns.

  166. jyjames,

    Yes. They *are* the environment. Scapegoating a couple men from the environment while sustaining the same ideals, functions, and forms (environment) that allowed and enabled abuse to occur in the first place – does not effect or produce lasting change and cultural transformation.

    The abuse and mistreatment of one overt kind may even leave or be largely diminished (sexual or physical abuse for examlle) but if the environment is not dealt with one form of abuse will merely manifest or keep itself in another form and keep doing more damage. And these many other forms of more covert abuse it will manifest in (emotional, spiritual, psychological) already exist and are necessary partners to the existence and prevalence of sexual and physical abuse.

  167. Muff Potter: So how does that pan out? And where do reason, common sense, and conscience come into play?

    Who needs “reason, common sense, and conscience” when You Have a Verse?
    “SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!”

  168. truthseeker00: Tried an EV-Free Church in a small community for a while, but quickly saw that they were in the midst of a Calvinist takeover.

    Oh yes, EFCA appears to have been targeted by the New Calvinists. Even some Assembly of God churches are falling victim to the reformed movement.

  169. truthseeker00: I am convinced that Jesus never intended his body to be an authoritarian-led, hierarchical institution with ‘rulers’ … I see no suggestion that this means a single man is to stand up once a week and tell everyone what he personally thinks about scripture!

    Ephesians 4 is clear that each local gathering of the church is to have various giftings in operation. They are to come together to perfect the saints, do the work of the ministry, build up the Body of Christ, reach unity of faith, and achieve the fulness of Christ in all that they do. Unless that be the case, believers will be only partially perfected, not engaged in ministry, not walking in unity, and running around half-empty.

  170. truthseeker00: He was all agog about not taking an already Reformed Church when he graduated, but wanted the thrill of reforming a non-Calvinist Church.

    They probably think they will receive another star in their crown by restoring the gospel (= Calvinism) in churches which lost truth along the way.

  171. Lydia,

    I’ve pretty much answered my own query.
    It would go quite a ways in explaining how they’ll fund their high-on-the-hog lifestyles.
    But do keep us apprised of any new info.
    Maybe the DEEBS should do an expose?

  172. Athletics

    Eilidh Doyle has pulled out of the UK championships this weekend, to protect an injury.

    “Eilidh” is the gaelic equivalent of “Helen” and is pronounced to rhyme with “ceilidh”.

    IHTIH

  173. Fitba’

    As the curse of the defending champions strikes again, Germany were eliminated at the Group phase as they lost 2-0 to South Korea while Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 – Sweden and Mexico qualify from Group F. Brazil and Switzerland qualified from Group E, as the former beat Serbia 2-0 and the latter drew 2-2 with Costa Rica.

    England are up tomorrow, playing Belgium; the winner of that match will top Group G. If it’s a draw, it’ll come down to who has the fewer yellow cairds as both have identical goal difference. Oddly enough, the group runners-up may have the “easier” route to the semi-finals as the group winners are likely to meet Brazil in the quarters – if they beat Japan/Senegal/Columbia in the last 16.

    IHTIH

  174. Cricket

    England beat Australia by 28 runs in today’s TwentyTwenty match; chasing a formidable 222 to win, Australia were all out for 193 after 19.4 overs. It’s been a dramatic change in fortunes between the two teams, after Australia’s comprehensive gubbing of England in the Ashes this winter.

    IHTIH

  175. Politics

    … ha! Just joking. I’m not going there. Generic issues of social justice perhaps, and commentary on the challenges of world events, but Deebs and GBTC spend more than enough time as it is cleaning troll-dung from the blog. I’m not going to create more.

  176. Max: Ephesians 4 is clear that each local gathering of the church is to have various giftings in operation.

    Yes, and add to Eph. 4, Romans 12 and 1 Cor. 12 for a total of 18 gifts.

    It seems that the 18 gifts provide checks and balance. Isn’t God wonderful in design, with demagoguery avoidance and abuse prevention at the very core of His org., His Body, the Church. Ananias and Sapphira were on the quick study track.

    Evangelicals can be quick to point out the Pope and then settle into their own routine of show up and fall in line on Sunday while dropping $$$ into the plate.

  177. Muff Potter,

    muff, My bigger point was to Okrapod and Max, that most traditionalist ( Non C) apologist, when they are debating a “C” will admit (wrongly imho) that romans 9:13 is the verse that they struggle with the most in a debate, see the debate between Michael Brown and James White et al, on free will vs. predestination/election. But I think your point about the choice between Jesus and our own families is valid, but I think Christ is talking about the eternal things, over the temporal, which I think we all struggle to find balance in.
    But back to your point, I think there is a big difference between saying that God loved Jacob more than saying that he actually hated Esau in the womb, but in full disclosure I do hold to biblical inerrancy, in the original greek, if God couldn’t get that done, (preserving his word), then he really isn’t all powerful, and if that is the case, it frees up my Sundays for golf………..

  178. emily honey,

    “. They will prop up priveleged or sheltered women in their system and claim change.”

    They’re already doing that. Pravda is having pastors wives post a lot more articles!

  179. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    Whoops, I mistyped privilege with my little tappers. 🙂

    Anyways, yes…I noticed that in different SBC communications over the past year. It started before that, but especially lately.

    You’ll notice it is always the same few select women writing and speaking when women are trotted out. They don’t recognize the inherent privilege of that, and also how merely having a woman speak or write does not necessarily equate to accurate representation of the SBC nor does it necessarily indicate a sign of true cultural transformation taking place. Adding women voices is paramount, but we need to ask why and who behind the surface actions and behavior in order to discern and test what’s really going on and where things are headed.

    Most women in the SBC are
    not well connected or positioned in the SBC like these women. And of course, most women in the SBC are not in vocational ministry and entity pathways – most don’t have access in the system to having a voice or microphone, platform of any sort, etc.

    There’s a bit or rather a lot of self-fulfilling prophecy and confirmation bias going on, as a result.

    I’d rather come here or other similar places, private conversations, the back streets of social media :), etc. to get a picture of how people really feel and how they are thinking, etc.

  180. emily honey,

    When the women are trotted out ………
    Yep, just another dog and pony show. When these women speak ……… Hmmmm……. Well, I don’t pay much attention when I know there’s a male ventriloquist in the act!

  181. mot:
    Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    IMO, the SBC is not serious about changing its mind about allowing women to serve in the SBC.IMO, they will never admit they were wrong the last 40 years.

    I agree with you 100%.
    They believe that if they go all smiley faced and say the words we want to hear, it will all just blow over. Then, back to business as usual.

  182. emily honey,

    “Adding women voices is paramount,”
    (Sorry, I can seem to get my ipad to do quote small sections)

    Beyond adding women’s voices, they need to add women’s actions. Let us use our abilities beyond the kitchen, choir, and nursery! Don’t relegate our IQs and hours of study to the “women’s classes”!

    At our church, women are not allowed to speak at business meetings ……. not allowed to speak in mixed gender classes …… not allowed to teach mixed gender classes above 5th grade ………. etc, etc, etc. one deacon continually poke fun at my husband for “allowing” me to drive to church!

    I have no musical talent, and I used to teach middle and high school math. Teaching ages 12 – 17 is my forte! And, my math education could have stopped/solved some problems in a couple of business meetings! But, no! I have interior plumbing, so I’m restricted to the “women’s SS class” and bringing covered dishes —- while smiling, of course!
    I couldn’t take it any more without losing my temper, so I stopped attending in Feb. 2016! I had originally intended to just take a break for a few weeks, but I just can’t go back there.

  183. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    If these SBC leaders are serious they need to seek out and personally repent and reconcile with the ones they forced out of the SBC for daring to support Women in Ministry. They will not do this IMO.

  184. Nancy2(aka Kevlar)

    And mot,

    I think some are experiencing the uncomfortable position of realizing they were wrong – but their paycheck and SBC social status depends on them not acknowledging that publicly. They are likely privately struggling and repressing and internally wrestling.

    I experienced a lot of cognitive dissonance myself in the SBC and saw it in quite a few other people.
    Including professors but I won’t nname names and my discernment ccould have been wrong. 🙂

  185. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    And you shouldn’t go back. I view that as serious disrespect and devaluation of you as a person. Their loss.

    A lot of SBC churches aren’t as bad and limiting as your’s, but the ideals behind the actions are still the same. Even if women are allowed more freedom and choice of expression and opportunities.

  186. emily honey:
    Nancy2(aka Kevlar)

    And mot,

    I think some are experiencing the uncomfortable position of realizing they were wrong – but their paycheck and SBC social status depends on them not acknowledging that publicly. They are likely privately struggling and repressing and internally wrestling.

    I experienced a lot of cognitive dissonance myself in the SBC and saw it in quite a few other people.
    Including professors but I won’t nname names and my discernment ccould have been wrong.

    For these SBC folk to admit quilt might still cost them their ministerial jobs or speaking opportunities. Most will not take that kind of risk or do not feel strong enough to be willing to lose their position over this.

  187. mot,

    There are too many men in certain positions who firmly believe that the men, and only the men, are the prophets, priests, and kings.
    I see/hear proof every time I attend church.

  188. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    Nancy2(aka Kevlar):
    mot,

    There are too many men in certain positions who firmly believe that the men, and only the men, are the prophets, priests, and kings.
    I see/hear proof every time I attend church.

    And IMO they are not going to change their positions. They will say the right words publicly but will not change. I have watched this dog and pony show in the SBC for almost 40 years now. I have no faith in these men-Jesus I still do!

  189. Meanwhile I just saw a wonderful movie about one of the most famous Presbyterian ministers, about whom there is not even a hint of a whiff of scandal. I recommend you all see it: Won’t You Be My Neighbor (a documentary about of Mr. Rogers).

  190. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): etc, etc, etc. one deacon continually poke fun at my husband for “allowing” me to drive to church!

    You should point out to the good deacon that they (the guys who tried to stop the relaxation of the law which forbids women driving) don’t like women driving in Saudi Arabia either.

  191. me: I just saw a wonderful movie about one of the most famous Presbyterian ministers … Won’t You Be My Neighbor (a documentary about of Mr. Rogers)

    The New Calvinists have a different spirit on them than Mr. Rogers.

  192. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    “When the women are trotted out ………
    Yep, just another dog and pony show.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    ha…. they found yet another way another way to use women for their own convenience. played with the God card, as usual.

    i typically reserve hate for the world’s most notorious criminal dictators, but….

  193. Finegold,

    I haven’t read through to know if anyone answered, but check out Trinity Baptist on Six Forks. The pastor’s column in last week’s newsletter (right after the SBC and CBF conventions) will tell you a lot about their direction. So far so good.

  194. mot,

    “For these SBC folk to admit quilt might still cost them their ministerial jobs or speaking opportunities. Most will not take that kind of risk or do not feel strong enough to be willing to lose their position over this.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    it’s incredible…. these are God’s Leaders.

    they fuss about the ‘plain-reading of scripture’ when it’s to their advantage. whatever happened to the plain-reading of “above reproach”?

    L for Losers, in my book.

  195. elastigirl:
    mot,

    “For these SBC folk to admit quilt might still cost them their ministerial jobs or speaking opportunities. Most will not take that kind of risk or do not feel strong enough to be willing to lose their position over this.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    it’s incredible…. these are God’s Leaders.

    they fuss about the ‘plain-reading of scripture’ when it’s to their advantage.whatever happened to the plain-reading of “above reproach”?

    L for Losers, in my book.

    These leaders must believe they are always right and IMO would never dream of publicly repenting or doing something that shows they have repented.

    I am still waiting to find out more about the 1,000 missionaries and the great deal Frank Page got for “retiring.”

  196. Max: I hope you are more successful than me in that endeavor – it’s a valley of dry bones here.A gathering of ex-SBC shunned, excommunicated, exiled, and otherwise done would make a great Church if you could round up enough of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free … provided you could find a “pastor” to lead them who doesn’t have some sort of ungodly agenda.

    Max,
    This is my prayer for our church…we have already brought into our fold a number of folks disillusioned and wounded by their “9-Marx” disciplinarian gulag. As you have said before, the mission field is white unto harvest for people who have been burnt by these arrogant preacher boys! It reminds me of that old hymn “Rescue the Perishing!”
    After our ordeal with our former deceptive YRR pastor, our new pastor patiently addressed our myriad of questions posed to him by our search committee. He seems like the real deal to me and his preaching is spot on. He even still has those “superstitious altar calls!” I have commended him many times since his arrival that no one can leave that building after a service not having an opportunity to respond to the (real) Gospel!

  197. okrapod,

    I don’t know about you. But I was kind of disappointed by the responses. I wasn’t swayed. In fact I didn’t see good exposition about Romans 9. In my opinion.
    I want to hear a good argument. I have read Gisler’s “Chosen but Free”. It really was all that good either. I would rather stick with what scripture says. I am more like you. I can’t reconcile from scripture the Sovereignty of God and the responsibility of mankind. God is sovereign. We are responsible for rejecting. I don’t think the Bible absolutely reconciles those two points. The Bible says we must “believe”. It also says that “those who were appointed believed”.

  198. Max: Speaking of codes of silence and secret agendas, does anyone have any idea why SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force sealed its records for 15 years … not to be opened until 2025? What the heck is so secret about the activities of a group charged with a resurgence of the Great Commission in SBC ranks that Christians should be prevented from knowing about it for 15 years?! And who the heck (task force members?) would agree to such a thing in Christian ministry?! We need a world of truth to shoot forth on this!

    This is not a small matter. Just what is it that they are trying to hide? If I were in the SBC I would be making a really big fuss about this. What possible, legitimate explanation can a so-called religious organization give for sealing records? How bout it Deebs? Someone needs to demand transparency – and take a look at whatever it is they are hiding.

  199. Root 66: we have already brought into our fold a number of folks disillusioned and wounded by their “9-Marx” disciplinarian gulag. As you have said before, the mission field is white unto harvest for people who have been burnt by these arrogant preacher boys!

    When the New Calvinist bubble breaks (it will), the landscape will be littered with a confused mass of ex-reformers. To borrow a line from Al Mohler “Where else are they going to go?” I pray that God will raise up a new breed of preachers of the Gospel (the real one) who will be used to draw them by His Spirit to hear and receive the message of Christ while they still have breath this side of eternity.

  200. Ken A,

    Read Dr. David L Allen’s tome The extent of the Atonement.

    God is sovereign, totally agree, but I believe a totally sovereign God can still give man a free will to choose.
    It is a logical contradiction to hold the human race responsible, and not allow them the ability to respond.

    Over a long cup of coffee, ask a full 5 pointer if our sanctification is predestined as well as our justification, you will get some hard to comprehend answers, at least John Piper is consistent with the full sovereignty of God on this, but he does weasel his way out of other pointed objections…..

  201. Max,

    Max, I wish you were correct on the Calvinist bubble bursting, but alas I think you are incorrect, they have full control, both hands on the wheel, and with this cultures attention span they are oblivious, we have taught multiple generations to accept what the church leadership says, deacons WILL give way to elders, yada yada yada.
    This cake is baked……

  202. Benn: they have full control, both hands on the wheel

    Everything is for a season. Movements come and go. Other groups have controlled SBC in the past – they are recorded in SBC annals. The New Calvinist movement is a cult of personality; personalities get old and die – new personalities rise to take their place. Once the generational shift in SBC belief and practice is accomplished under the new reformers, another generation will take it to God knows where.

  203. Benn:
    Max,

    Max, I wish you were correct on the Calvinist bubble bursting, but alas I think you are incorrect, they have full control, both hands on the wheel, and with this cultures attention span they are oblivious, we have taught multiple generations to accept what the church leadership says, deacons WILL give way to elders, yada yada yada.
    This cake is baked……

    Benn,
    Perhaps you are correct, but I have learned that when confronted as deceivers and liars, these ‘reformers’ will flee, or at the very least take their foot off the gas. As more and more churches become aware of this destructive and heartless “movement” the stronger and more boisterous the resistance against it will become. They’re not willing to work hard enough to ‘reform’ sheep that bite back! They may have presently won the battle, but Christ has already won the war!

    I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: When your theology won’t allow you to look a person in the eye and say, ‘Jesus loves you and died for you’ then your theology STINKS!

    It is only through deception and trickery that reformed theology has traveled as far as it has into the SBC. Once it is widely exposed, it will go away–especially if their funds suddenly dry up!

  204. Ken A,

    For what my opinion is worth, you may never get a personally satisfactory answer in this life. When Paul brought up this issue in Romans 9:19 (How can God hold people responsible for what they do when He is in control of their actions?), instead of answering the question, he reproves those who in effect question God’s justice and mercy. I personally believe that he wasn’t able to explain further. I used to wish that I could go back in time, not only to see original NT manuscripts, but to get Paul’s lowdown on this or that theological issue, this one certainly. I now believe that the NT was all she wrote for the time. Even if I had been able to get comments from him about his inspired writings would those words have been as accurate?Systematic theology (the gathering of scattered facts in Scripture and building them up into a logical system) was yet in the future. This process has occurred throughout at least most of the history of the church and in a logical order. When justification by faith was clarified by Martin Luther, vs a rudimentary understanding on the part of some people earlier, it was the next step rather than the beginning of light in the church once more as has been thought.

  205. Root 66: They’re not willing to work hard enough to ‘reform’ sheep that bite back!

    Some are. One of the deceivers lied his way into the pulpit at a local SBC traditional church. It took him two years, after much weeping and gnashing of teeth from non-Calvinist members, but he successfully captured the church and its assets for the New Calvinist movement … thanks to new reformed members tipping the balance. Long-established members left the church they had paid for and set up a new one across town. I’m sure SBC’s New Calvinist elite are very proud of the “pastor” for staying the course. What God thinks about his heavy-handed, cold-hearted methods is another matter.

  206. Max,

    Fortunately for us, our former YRR pastor didn’t have the patience and couldn’t put the ‘right’ people into places of ‘authority’. When he was exposed as a liar, he had the audacity to tell the congregation that he was resigning because we didn’t have a spirit of “unity” (translation: we didn’t do what he wanted!) He was straight out of Southern Seminary and ours was his first (and hopefully his LAST) pastorate.

    I know that sounds rather harsh, but even the “near miss” at our church caused a lot of hurt to a lot of good people! I have little sympathy for any pastor that gets ridden out on a rail after doing this kind of stuff to Christ’s bride. It’s merely sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind! I can’t even imagine what the spirit of a church is like that has been completely taken over. It hurts my heart to even think about it.

  207. Root 66,

    Good comment, they think their systematic is full proof, I.e. they have an answer for everything. But in actuality, when the storms of this life hit,( and at some point they will hit for all of us) when the cals cant find the answer in their systematic file cabinet, their default setting is the mystery of God’s will ( blame him).
    I used to occasionally go to the SBC voices blog, for the back and forth of the run up for the coronation of JD Greear, they would always castigate me for not believing that God was totally sovereign, and nothing happens without God predestinating it, what ever it was, and that God would get the glory for it, whatever it was.
    Two things happened in SBC life during that time; 1- the president of the executive committee resigned due to a moral failure, ( so sad), I asked them if God had indeed predestined the moral failure, and the first response I got back left me speechless, “ yes God predestined the failure, and God will get the utilmate glory for that, my response back to him was tell that to his wife and children..( or better yet if it happened to him, how would his wife and kids respond to that answer.)

    2- the second event was one of the lead moderators for SBC voices came down with multiple health issues, and then the post after post after post voicing “praying for you” started to roll in. Now as a non C traditionalist, that is the best response, but after they ( cals) had lectured me about everything happens because it was predestined, and God is sovereign, and all we can do is set back and watch, well I wanted to call them out on their hypocrisy, but I couldn’t hit send, the man was in multiple health battles….

    I guess both issues get filed in the cals misc. ( mystery of God file)

  208. Max,

    Unless you define “New Calvinists” to mean those with a different spirit – in which case you are by definition correct – I wouldn’t paint with such a broad brush. I do think it is nice to get some good news occasionally, though — and you would definitely enjoy the movie if you are in need of such.

  209. Benn:
    Max,

    Max, I wish you were correct on the Calvinist bubble bursting, but alas I think you are incorrect, they have full control, both hands on the wheel, and with this cultures attention span they are oblivious, we have taught multiple generations to accept what the church leadership says, deacons WILL give way to elders, yada yada yada.
    This cake is baked……

    And the Rule of The Party is Forever.

  210. Max: When the New Calvinist bubble breaks (it will), the landscape will be littered with a confused mass of ex-reformers. To borrow a line from Al Mohler “Where else are they going to go?” I pray that God will raise up a new breed of preachers of the Gospel (the real one) who will be used to draw them by His Spirit to hear and receive the message of Christ while they still have breath this side of eternity.

    When the New Calvinists bubble breaks, the pewserfs of those ex-reformers will have been vaccinated against any hint of “the message of Christ”.

    Remember how vaccination works. By exposing someone’s immune system to a fake/dead/weakened version of a pathogen, when exposed to the REAL thing, their immune system will immediately REJECT it.

  211. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): They believe that if they go all smiley faced and say the words we want to hear, it will all just blow over. Then, back to business as usual.

    It’s worked before.
    Christians are easy to con.

  212. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): There are too many men in certain positions who firmly believe that the men, and only the men, are the prophets, priests, and kings.
    I see/hear proof every time I attend church.

    What are these guys afraid of?

    The way I read Scripture, women can be powerful allies, and not relegated to just one cast-in-concrete-role based solely on plumbing received at birth.

    To continue in the way things have always been done is just plain stupid.
    It’s akin to the old mariners of the Med who refused to sail past the pillars of Hercules (Gibralter) because they feared they’d sail off the edge of the world.

  213. Root 66: They may have presently won the battle, but Christ has already won the war!

    I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: When your theology won’t allow you to look a person in the eye and say, ‘Jesus loves you and died for you’ then your theology STINKS!

    It is only through deception and trickery that reformed theology has traveled as far as it has into the SBC. Once it is widely exposed, it will go away–especially if their funds suddenly dry up!

    Which rather tellingly suggests just whose side the Institutional Church is on. I hate to have to point it out again, but the institutions of this world always serve the gods of this world. From start to finish, the gospel story is about how those who reject the gods of this world and put their trust in the unseen, but real, God of the universe. They will always be persecuted, killed, called heretics, liberals, communists, anarchists and whatever else justifies their torture and murder. Every time the wicked ways of the false shepherds are exposed, they simply don a new mask, and it all starts over, as the gullible sheep fall for it again and again.

    Sometimes I think we have simply allowed our ability to see what is really happening in the world to be shaped by the ages-old controller of ‘fake news’ – starting with the first false broadcast:

    ‘Newsflash! You will not surely die!’

  214. me,

    Mr. Rogers was a hero around our house when our daughter was a child. A classical Calvinist, I wouldn’t put him in the same category as the “New” Calvinists. He was much more civil in his discourse and respectful of other faiths than this new tribe. I suppose there are some New Calvinists who are not arrogant know-it-alls who believe they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the gospel that the rest of us have lost … I just haven’t met any yet.

  215. Headless Unicorn Guy: When the New Calvinists bubble breaks, the pewserfs of those ex-reformers will have been vaccinated against any hint of “the message of Christ”.

    Yep, most likely. The real Gospel is simple enough that even a child can understand it. The New Calvinists are too steeped in intellectualizing Scripture to come down long enough to get it.

  216. Max: A classical Calvinist, I wouldn’t put him in the same category as the “New” Calvinists.

    I wouldn’t have cared if he was a Muslim.
    He was a kind and good man.

  217. okrapod,

    I would be glad to give my thoughts on sovereignty and election, but can I ask you a question?

    You say that you lean toward Catholic faith, what is your views on the five solas of the reformation?
    And how does that mesh with Catholicism’s grace plus works soteriology?

  218. Muff Potter: What are these guys afraid of?

    The way I read Scripture, women can be powerful allies, and not relegated to just one cast-in-concrete-role based solely on plumbing received at birth.

    “Patriarchy is not just the rule of men over women, but is the rule of a few men over every one else, male and female. Patriarchy involves not only the subordination of women and children, but also the subordination of most men.”

    – S. Scott Bartchy, professor of Christian origins and New Testament History at UCLA

    My humble guess is that it has a lot to do with the above quote. Which is why it is not too surprising to see how SBC aligned with the Religious Right decades ago, and the alliance continues.

    Just as all former church/state alliances were made to protect the power and authority of a select few over the many. Once they lost the people’s belief that slavery was ok, the only people left to biblically ‘lord it over’ are women. The church has always provided the cover the authoritarian state needs to pretend as if their tyranny is right and necessary.

  219. okrapod: I would be really interested to know what you all who emphasize that you are non-calvinist do with the ideas of election and sovereignty as seen in scripture.

    Considering how this topic has been wrestled with for thousands of years, I don’t think there is much that any of us can offer in a short comment here. But I’ll try to give a few thoughts:
    1) We humans have always been trying to create gods in our own images. I’m guessing that none of us have it exactly right, even after Jesus Christ came in the flesh. After three years of intense fellowship with the 12 they still did not understand who he was (all of them were shocked by the cross). I don’t think we can do much better than they did. He did not reject them for seeing him wrongly, so perhaps perfectly parsed theology is not as important to him as it is to us.
    2) God gets to decide what his sovereignty means, not us. Given how Jesus came as a servant, and claimed to only do what he sees his Father doing, I wonder if God is more humble than we imagine him to be.
    3) I’ve heard that Jesus Christ is the elect, and that predestination is not about who gets selected but about what awaits those who choose. For example, if you choose to go to a particular restaurant, the type of food you will eat is predestined – the menu was set before you chose it.
    4) Romans 9 is about nations, not people. The Messiah was chosen to come through Jacob, not Esau.
    5) If Jesus really had two natures in one person (an apparent contradiction), perhaps free-will and sovereignty can both be true without contradiction.

    Even though I am not Eastern Orthodox I often investigate their way of seeing things because their theology was locked down quite a few centuries ago – well before the Reformation. As a consequence, they very often have a way of seeing things that is completely different from the Protestant vs Roman Catholic perspective. Here is an example on free will: https://theorthodoxlife.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/romans-9-teaches-free-will/

    I don’t know who is right in all of this and whether or not it matters that much. The older I get the more I realize I don’t know, and probably cannot know.

  220. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Ken, that was a gracious and humble reply. I also find it helpful to go the Eastern Orthodox for insight, as, like you mentioned, they mostly stayed out of the Calvinism/Arminian controversy.

    I also agree with you, in that the older I get, the more I realize how little I know, and the looser I hold to my opinions and concept of understanding. I would, however, suggest that, in my own opinion, there are some vital reasons why it is important to understand what Reformed Theology genuinely asserts and examine scripture carefully to see if it is consistently upheld.

    It is not like many other debates which, while important to many, do not really have any serious effect upon one’s eternal destiny.

    Reformed Theology, when consistently applied, asserts that God has determined, long before men are ever born, if they will be granted forgiveness and eternal life. There are no ifs, ands or buts – either you were ‘chosen’ to be one of the ‘elect’ to salvation, or you were created for destruction. It has nothing to do with anything you ever think, say or do, as it was all God’s ordaining and doing, from start to finish.

    When we fully understand what is really being asserted (and there is much confusion, even among different Calvinists) we begin to see why it is so weighty of an issue. It is a completely different take on the gospel than what any non-Calvinist holds to. There is no atonement for all men, as Jesus’ sacrifice is limited to a set few. Thus, when it is asserted that people are condemned for not believing, it is not without merit that the incredulous decry the injustice of being punished for not believing in what was never done for you. IOW, the unregenerate do not ‘believe’, not merely because they are allegedly unable (dead in sin) but because there is no atonement provision for them. God never intended to grant them eternal life.

    It is easy to throw around prooftexts, and debate about the meaning of this and that, but such things are rather meaningless in the face of the horrible reality, if Reformed Theology (Calvinism) is true. For if RT is true, and God did not ordain me to be among the chosen few, I have not a shred of hope in the world. There is no ‘good news’, no glorious hope of the gospel and, as even Sproul acknowledged, it would have been better for me had I never been born.

    That is not only a horrid, futile thought, it is, IMO, a direct contradiction and denial of all that God intends and desires. RT offers a ‘sure thing’ to a lucky few, and a terrible, equally ‘sure thing’ for all others. If it is true – and I absolutely reject it – then there is no unqualified ‘good news’ that can be taken to all men. I cannot honestly offer to any broken, needy person the only real and lasting hope that some of us have. People who have lost, or never had, health, love, community, purpose or the many things we often take for granted, cannot be assured that there is something better in which they can put their hope. At best, I can shamefacedly offer that God ‘might’ love them, ‘might’ have sent his Son to reveal that love and ‘might’ forgive their sin and grant them a blessed eternity with him. Then again, maybe not.

    Such significant things are far weightier than defending God’s ‘right’ to be Sovereign (which non-Calvinists do not deny, but define differently). If God does not love all men, and did not send his Son to truly give every man an opportunity to repent and be saved from death, then he is a liar when he states that he desires that none perish. I do not say that to be snarky – I simply do not see any other reasonable conclusion. Scripture defines love as ‘laying down one’s life’ for another. If God did not do this for some, then those some are not loved.

    I am overjoyed to assure all men that God truly, truly loves them. I can state without the slightest hesitation that God truly, truly desires that no man perish, but that all turn from wickedness and live. And I am thrilled to know that God’s chief desire is not glory and praise (though he both deserves and will receive them endlessly!), but to love and spend eternity with his beloved children. He made us for himself, he desires nothing but good for us and he has given so much to demonstrate this to us. Nothing that I can think of makes me sadder than the thought of people believing in the ugly, cruel, loveless doctrines of Reformed Theology, which I have studied for many decades, mostly embraced and served under for over a decade and rejoice to say I have completely, unequivocally rejected as false.

    Can some verses of scripture appear to support Reformed Theology? Without question. Have other, godly, educated, biblically literate men and women offered up other interpretations of those same verses? Without question. And I would encourage any who sincerely desire to know God and understand what his ‘good news’ to them and to the world is to study with open minds the many, many resources available to explain that there are other alternatives to the very harsh and hopeless message – for all but a select few – of RT/Calvinism.

    I apologize to any I might offend in offering up these thoughts. I have studied these things from the outside, then the inside, then back on the outside. I have no agenda. I gave up nearly everyone and everything that mattered to me when I reached the conclusion, once and for all, that Calvinism was false and offered no hope to a lost and dying world.

  221. truthseeker00: I gave up nearly everyone and everything that mattered to me when I reached the conclusion, once and for all, that Calvinism was false and offered no hope to a lost and dying world.

    We think alike. I started my investigation into Calvinism about four or five years ago because of how badly it damaged my sons when they were in college. In hindsight, I am surprised by how much it influenced me throughout my adult life. I suppose we cannot be 100% certain that Calvinism is not true, but I certainly hope it is not. Based on historical Christianity, the odds are against the veracity of Calvinism.

  222. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I will add your sons to my prayer list, along with my own much loved children, spouse and friends. It is very difficult to reexamine and potentially give up something that has been your life, community and ‘religion’ for so long.

  223. truthseeker00: “Patriarchy is not just the rule of men over women, but is the rule of a few men over every one else, male and female. Patriarchy involves not only the subordination of women and children, but also the subordination of most men.”

    I know it well. I survived the Calvary Chapel Moses Model instituted by Papa Chuck. Complete and total rule by an autocrat. No if(s), no and(s), no but(s), no discussion, and no dissent.

  224. okrapod: When Jesus said, for one example, that those whom the Father had given him would come to him, what do you all make of that?

    Here is a really good explanation of this passage that offers an alternative interpretation than the one asserted by RT:

    “Jesus ultimately saw Israel’s disbelief in Him rooted in Israel’s prior rejection of the truth – a truth given to them by the law and prophets by the Father (Jn. 5:37-38, 46). Had they fully listened to and accepted his Father’s instruction in the old covenant they would have been taught by the Father and belonged to the Father and He would have led them to Christ in the New Covenant emerging. It is with this in mind that Jesus states,

    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him . . . Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to me”(Jn. 6:44-45).

    Since they did not listen to God in the past, they did belong to God in the present; and on that basis they would not be part of the covenantal transfer (i.e “giving”) from the Father to the Son. For we read,

    “Everyone the Father gives to me will come to Me.” (Jn. 6:37).

    It must be repeated – had they abandoned their false presuppositions, cast aside their resistance and surrendered to the Father’s teaching prior to Christ’s advent, they would have been taught by the Father, recognized the voice of the Good Shepherd in Jesus and ultimately been led to Jesus – the new covenant shepherd of their souls (Jn. 6:45). In essence they would have had “ears to hear.” Jesus’s remarks in John 6 have Jews of his current day chiefly in view. His emphasis is to underscore that not one of them can come to Him unless they first have a relationship of faith with the Father born out of the old covenant. For at the inauguration of the new covenant in Christ, those who responded to the graceful initiatives of God in the old covenant will be drawn by the Father to their new covenant Shepherd. That is to say if one wants to come to the Son they must humble themselves before the Father’s drawing and instruction (a matter of faith not works). Again that is why Jesus stated,

    “Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me” (Jn. 6:45).

    Jesus’ thrust in pointing out the drawing, giving and enabling of the Father as a criteria to come to Him is to establish that true faith and true religion flow out from a relationship with the Father. Thus those who are in communion with the Father will likewise be channeled into communion with the Son. Jesus’s statement in John 6:65, “No one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father” should not be read as saying, “You can’t come to me because my Father is prohibiting you.” Rather Jesus is saying, “You can’t come to Me because you don’t know my Father – you have not submitted to Him!”

    Even in this Jesus is offering them hope and a way out of their unbelief. For if they return to the Father, surrender to Him and learn from Him, the Father would reveal the Son to them as the shepherd of their souls in the new covenant being inaugurated. In point of fact Jesus highlights the unrestrictive nature of His new covenant by couching it in universal terms: “I am the bread of lifew . . . which anyone may eat and not die . . . whoever eats this bread will live forever . . . given for the life of the world.” (Jn. 6:48-51). That is why John could later quote Jesus’s saving intention as universal in scope,

    “If I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to Myself” (Jn. 12:32).”

    https://atheologyintension.com/2018/05/18/romans-9-11-part-2-the-thriving-of-arminianism/

  225. Benn: I would be glad to give my thoughts on sovereignty and election, but can I ask you a question?
    You say that you lean toward Catholic faith, what is your views on the five solas of the reformation?
    And how does that mesh with Catholicism’s grace plus works soteriology?

    Either you have misunderstood or else I have failed to communicate. I did not say that I ‘lean toward the Catholic faith’. I have as clearly as possible stated my position too much already on TWW and to get into repeating it now would be really almost a form of religious bullying. People here have heard enough already. I spent many decades as first SBC, then FWB and finally UMC and rather speak that language more or less well at least theologically. I was not convinced of some things which are part and parcel of Baptist thinking. It is not that I do not understand but rather that I disagree. Strongly disagree on some issues. I and my entire family are now anglo-catholic episcopalians. We all got very close to converting to Roman Catholicism but did not. And no, we do not espouse the reformation solas; some not at all and some not as commonly understood by some people. You can check out what it is to be an anglo-catholic episcopalian on line. Enough said about that.

    So, what I was trying to find out in my original question was not what Calvinists think-I understand what they think. And it was not to find out what Armininians think, the FWB are Arminians. I know what they think. And I was not trying to find out what Catholics think-I also know what they think. My intent was to try to understand the thinking of not just those protestants who are just non-Calvinists but apparently anti-Calvinist and try to see what they do with election and with sovereignty. Some people are using some slogans (?) or something which can be interpreted in more than one way and I am having a bit of a time understanding that.

    I see ‘election’ and ‘sovereignty’ in scripture, and I see various ways that these can be explained. You did hear me say ‘various ways’. What I do not see is how the ideas can be totally dismissed, and some people seem to totally dismiss them. I wanted to try to understand where they are coming from. I do not speak everybody’s dialect of christianese. I am no doubt missing what some people are saying.

  226. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Good info, Ken.

    Number 3 seems to fit better with the whole Israelite/chosen people narrative of the OT whereas Western Christianity sought to obliterate our Hebrew roots early on..

  227. Root 66,

    Unity always means conformity. Better to be an “individual” who is willing to cooperate on “specific” issues that are laid out in detail. Lol.

  228. Lydia:
    Root 66,

    Unity always means conformity. Better to be an “individual” who is willing to cooperate on “specific”issues that are laid out in detail. Lol.

    Lydia,
    Exactly. I tried on occasion to explain to our former pastor that what the church should have is harmony–not unity. Harmony is where you have differences that all work together toward a common end. The Apostle Paul also tried to get us to understand this concept with the analogy of different body parts doing different things, yet has one purpose.
    Our former pastor clearly didn’t want that. He wanted us to be mindless, tithing automatons that were part of his ‘Borg Collective’ to do his bidding. No thanks!

  229. Root 66,

    “Unity” is, as you’ve indicated, a manipulative tactic of those who seek personal power and complete and unchallenged authority (vs the power and authority necessary to fulfill one’s responsibilities). One time I came across the book “Letters to a Devastated Christian”. It included characteristics of authoritarian groups and seemed to describe the Restoration church that I had by then become disillusioned with. One of those behaviors is frequently quoting 1 Cor 1:10 (all say the same thing, no divisions, same mind and judgement). It was only after reading a different application (answering the challenge to following the steps of restoration in Matt 18: “I think we should agree to disagree.”) that I realized that those words referred to what God says rather than the church party line (need for persuasion vs dictation). In my church the verse was used to keep people from expressing contrary opinions. (We were allowed to have them and express them to those in leadership. The church also rejected extreme discipleship a la the Shepherding Movement.)

  230. okrapod,

    Gotcha, I may have misunderstood where you were coming from. I don’t dismiss Calvinism as some on this or any other blog might do, in all reality they (Cals) do have their verses to justify their soteriology, they do. But also fwb ( traditionalist, as I refer to them), have their verses to justify how one reconciles with God. I take Classes with some cals, and my teachers, some are cals, some are baptist, some are reformed baptist, some are conservative pryesbeterians. I operate under the mantra that “ All who wonder are not lost, but all that are lost will wonder”

    I wish all believers would take their quest to know God, and make him known much more serious than they do most of the time..

  231. Root 66: When he was exposed as a liar, he had the audacity to tell the congregation that he was resigning because we didn’t have a spirit of “unity” (translation: we didn’t do what he wanted!) He was straight out of Southern Seminary and ours was his first (and hopefully his LAST) pastorate.

    On the contrary, your church did have a spirit of unity … they were united to question and confront the error that had come in the back door. I wish more SBC churches had as much sense.

  232. Root 66,

    The pastor of that church eventually went too far. He moved by stages: 1 domineering 2 bullying and driving away attenders (we didn’t have formal members) 3 financial boondoggles (cash purchase of a large building in another city that didn’t attract nearly enough people to justify it, contributing to our inability to pay for our new and consequently incomplete building) 4 a sexual affair with a church employee 5 embezzlement of church funds. Only the last action motivated his removal, occurring over an, er, interesting weekend. The church became freer, but I don’t believe that the people are essentially different. When I phoned the church one time, asking about about incidents of church discipline under the old regime (had they been rescinded, citing my own victimization as an example), I was told that they were still in effect. The receptionist’s cruel demeanor convinced me that the church was as toxic as ever. The pastor couldn’t have done what he did without the support and cooperation of numerous other (compatible) people, some are still there.

  233. Max: they were united to question and confront the error that had come in the back door

    I actually had a young reformer at an SBC church plant tell me “We are coming in the back door.” To which I responded “Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1). He smiled and walked away.

  234. Max: I suppose there are some New Calvinists who are not arrogant know-it-alls who believe they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the gospel that the rest of us have lost

    Isn’t that the same Ideological Dogma as the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Branch Davidians, and every Reverend Apostle Joe Soap with his Original New Testament Church?

    And mapped over into Islam, the Dogma of the Wahabi, Talibani, al-Daesh, Boko Haram, etc?

  235. B Badger: Root 66,
    “Unity” is, as you’ve indicated, a manipulative tactic of those who seek personal power and complete and unchallenged authority (vs the power and authority necessary to fulfill one’s responsibilities).

    Unity for The Collective, Comrades.

  236. Root 66,

    That pastor’s middle management should have pulled the plug over the first misbehavior instead of only doing so over the last. I heard that they did speak up over at least some of his misconduct, certainly his cultic behavior, but he didn’t listen.

  237. Root 66: “unity”

    When New Calvinism began to rear its head in SBC, Frank Page (ex-CEO of SBC’s Executive Committee) chaired an advisory team to look into Southern Baptist concerns about this belief and practice in a predominantly non-Calvinist denomination. (The advisory team included Danny Akin and Mark Dever). Page essentially reported back that the committee couldn’t find anything to be disturbed about … that Southern Baptists should be united, agree to disagree, get along to go along, and make room under the big SBC tent for divergent theologies. Which provided a huge green light for Calvinization of the denomination to proceed.

    (Yes, the same Frank Page who wrote a book “Trouble With The Tulip”, later resigning from his top position at SBC because of moral failure)

  238. Max: On the contrary, your church did have a spirit of unity … they were united to question and confront the error that had come in the back door.I wish more SBC churches had as much sense.

    In retrospect, I feel like what happened to us was like the end of every “Scooby Doo” episode: the villain always says, “And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you nosy kids and your stupid dog!”

    Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He doesn’t sneak in the back door!

  239. Root 66,

    Well, that’s the first blog comment I’ve ever read mentioning both Scooby Doo and Jesus. But you make a great point! 🙂

  240. Max:
    Root 66,

    Well, that’s the first blog comment I’ve ever read mentioning both Scooby Doo and Jesus.But you make a great point!

    I didn’t get it from a “10,000 Sermon Illustrations” book, but it’s what always comes to my mind when I think about his rapid departure and the way he ‘disciplined’ the whole church by cancelling the Lord’s Supper on his last Sunday.

    Thankfully, our new pastor seems to really have a heart for the Lord AND for the congregation. I find that very refreshing! 🙂

  241. Root 66,

    I read that Jim Jones’ behavior also escalated. At first he was content with his followers’ love and adoration, then he wanted them to fear him (e g public beatings), then came sexual abuse, and finally he watched them die.

  242. okrapod: What I do not see is how the ideas can be totally dismissed, and some people seem to totally dismiss them. I wanted to try to understand where they are coming from. I do not speak everybody’s dialect of christianese. I am no doubt missing what some people are saying.

    My guess is that some, familiar with only Calvinism’s extreme definitions of ‘sovereignty’ and ‘election’ choose to reject the terms entirely. I understand their predicament, and basic ignorance (in the purest sense of lack of good information) gives them no option but to throw out the whole concept of (Calvinistic) election.

    I would dare say it is similar to what has been provoked in the fundamental church over ‘complementarianism’. The original feminists were righteous crusaders against the centuries-old abuse and repression of women. Witnessing how today’s media creates polar opposite crusaders at war with one another, in spite of having the same hearts and desires for good, we can recognize how this was accomplished in the past.

    I recall ‘learning’ from Dobson, Phyllis Schlaffly et al. how feminists were laying in wait at our cultural doors, eager to destroy marriage, the church and all that most ‘Christians’ valued. I was young, gullible, and had no idea how media (including the newly arising Christian media) was manipulated and/or controlled by powerful interests.

    My best guess is that on the other side, secular men and women were fed the worst kind of stories about how patriarchal monsters in ‘The Church’ sought to take away all of the hard won gains of women’s rights and send them back to the kitchen and bedroom. (Maybe they weren’t so far off in those claims? All propaganda is based on a germ of truth.) This would, naturally, incite great angst, and convince some – the newly minted radical feminists – to fear and hate men altogether.

    This strategy of divide and conquer has been used throughout history, not only in nations, but in churches, families and whatever relationships conflict was desired by people with a destructive agenda. (Scripture simply calls them ‘the wicked’.)

    I mostly reject labels, as they can so easily be misconstrued, but if its meaning was properly understood, I could probably call myself a classical feminist. I do not believe that God created women to be second-class, inferior creatures, but I do recognize that they have an innate possible vulnerability that comes with the God-given role of childbearing. I look at the male ‘role’ as similar to the task of the male goose, among others, who patrols the vicinity while the female is on the nest. It is a short term, protective role, and, once the babies get on their feet, one would be hard pressed to distinguish the female from the male as they return to their egalitarian relationship and activities. If anything, the female is more outgoing and productive in personality and tasks, and essentially keeps the family boat afloat.

    Don’t get me wrong here – I am not asserting that childbearing is the sole or even primary task of women. I am not stating that women who do not marry, or do not have children are in any way inferior or incomplete. But denying that childbearing is a task uniquely possible to the female gender is like denying that ‘election’ even exists in scripture, simply because both have historically, endlessly been improperly defined and abused.

    I would assert that the implications of women being a ‘weaker vessel’ are wrapped up in the unique, but temporary state of childbirth that men do not, cannot ever experience. And yet, this concept has been horribly abused, turned into claims that women are weak, gullible, inferior, incapable of leadership and so on! So some ignore, and all but deny the very undeniable fact that females of all species have been given the civilization-sustaining role of bearing the young. I refuse to deny reality, simply because it has been so often distorted.

    Having been in complementarian (patriarchal) circles for most of my adult life, I can assure you with some degree of certainty that in many cases, the ‘weaker vessel’ was the only thing that kept the boat afloat, whether the boat was a marriage, family or church. How often I witnessed the unofficial input of elders’ wives – themselves barred from the boardroom – being the true wisdom being brought to bear on many subjects. Everyone knew this, and yet we had been brainwashed into believing that it was supposed to be that way. The pastor would literally instruct an elder to go home and ask his wife what she thought. Women had all the sense necessary for dealing with difficult decisions that were beyond the men, and the men got all the credit when they applied it. Don’t laugh – it even works, if the women do not mind being treated as second class citizens, and if they find the ‘rewards’ sufficient.

    I know many ask incredulously, ‘How could they . . .?’ but the truth is, some women may find it ‘safe’ and comfortable to leave the responsibility on the shoulders of their husbands, while effectively calling all the shots. I have seen it over and over. And seriously, who enjoys dealing with car repairs, leaky roofs, broken appliances and other inconveniences that men in those settings mostly take on? (And yet, I have a sister whose husband cannot so much as change a light bulb without breaking into a sweat. Needless to say, they never bought into comp teaching.) If the husband is not turned into a monstrous tyrant – and that is a big ‘if’ – the relationships in these churches are often complementarian in name only, as ours was. Until an extreme patriarchal pastor sought to turn happy, healthy marriages into ugly, unhealthy dictatorships, pitting husbands against their own wives and families.

    My children always guffaw at the thought that their mother was ‘submissive’ to their father. They knew it was a ‘game’, just as everyone else did (or so we thought); and frequently questioned why we played it. I regret much now, but in the situation and community we were in, it worked. For a while.

    For many, who have been brainwashed with the official complementarian narrative it is only as their children grow older that they begin to question, ‘What if my daughter ends up married to one of those authoritarian control freaks, who actually believe the propaganda? What if my son is incited to be uncaring, insensitive and manipulative due to a complete misunderstanding of what relationships genuinely ought to look like?’ All of a sudden, the role-playing ‘games’ they tacitly agreed to play take on new significance. And many of us were eventually compelled to formally and vocally reject them.

  243. dee: I believe they are making an inroad because of my readings on websites such as The Gospel Coalition and seeing the lineup for a number of related conferences. I am increasingly noting Anglican pastors who write articles and speak at these conferences. I have seen it so frequently, I’ve even considered writing a post about the matter.

    Thank you, Dee! When I googled the topic I came across at least one such link.

  244. okrapod:
    This is complicated, but it explains the issue well.Please, people, do not be surprised to find both calvinism (actual calvinistic beliefs)and catholicism (actual catholic beliefs and practices) in anglicanism.Along with a lot in between.

    Thank you for the link to the informative article. For any not in the know, there is a Three Strand Theory re the Anglican Church: Low, High, and Broad. Low = low view of Catholicism: emphasis on Scripture, making it the most appealing to Evangelicals in the church. High = high view of Catholicism: emphasis on ceremony, priests, vestments, furnishings. Broad = diverse, inclusive. (These characteristics are not complete, nor are the distinctions as clear cut as they might seem). Anglican joke: Low and lazy, High and crazy, Broad and hazy.

    http://www.oldjamestownchurch.com/blog/2012/6/10/is-traditional-anglicanism-calvinist-or-arminian.html

    I am mostly catholic in thinking but I see some value in some of the things that calvinists are saying; they both emphasize grace.So do I.

  245. B Badger: My reply to okrapod ended up in the middle of her comment.

    It gets even weirder than okrapod said. I went to a continuing Anglican church for about two years (Anglican Catholic Church). It was like going to a Reformed Baptist church with Anglo-Catholic, High Church vestments. The parish priest even ended up rejecting baptismal regeneration and teaching that regeneration precedes justification (a la Calvinism), even as he continued to baptize new born babies. I kid you not. Bless his heart, but the cognitive dissonance was really weird to me. (Historical fact: Anglicanism has taught baptismal regeneration. Period. It’s strongly implied in the Prayer Book in the section where a person is to be baptized.)

    We were getting D.A. Carson commentaries in the weekly homilies and Table Talk inserts into the weekly flier (featuring Al Mohler, et. al.) These things were not apparent at first and snuck up on me, largely because I was naive to think an Anglo-Catholic parish in a strongly Anglo-Catholic denomination/jurisdiction wouldn’t be steeped in the neo-Calvinist stuff, but they were. I get the feeling the priest inherited an Anglo-Catholic parish and steered it more Reformed.

    I finally had enough with the Table Talk inserts and D.A. Carson commentaries, especially with Rachel Denhollander on the evening news driving home the C.J. Mahaney support from Table Talk’s contributors and from Carson himself. That, and having the little green book by the late Rev. Tarsitano they use to teach confirmation that clearly stated women don’t belong in civil authority, even though my priest tried to make it out like it didn’t really say that. Bless his heart, he’s functionally in an egalitarian marriage, even though he’s doctrinally complementarian, and he definitely doesn’t have a problem with women leading in the civil sphere. But, again, it’s the cognitive dissonance that gets to you after a while. He always erred on the side of defending the outrageous, from John Piper to Rev. Tarsitano. I finally just returned to my old ACNA parish, which is in a diocese that ordains women. No more Carson, no more Table Talk. The worst you might get is Keller. But mostly it’s N.T. Wright. (But I’ll warn you, in spite of his support of women’s ordination, Wright is actually complementarian when it comes to marriage. I guess he believes in equality for women, except when it affects him personally.)

    Anyway, my ACNA parish has it’s own quirks, which I happen to like. It’s sort of Vineyard with vestments. Well, the vestments are really just the pastor wearing business casual, and putting on a stole when it’s time for Communion. Some Prayer Book snippets on the projector (from the 1970s TEC Prayer Book, I think). We sing the Apostles Creed to contemporary guitar instead of reciting the Nicene Creed. They don’t mind some beauty and candles. Communion is every week. It’s sort of in between low and high church. I think it’s nice that the pastor doesn’t look like he’s competing in a Miss America pageant. Though I suppose my old ACC parish could have been worse. The priest could have been wearing lace, which some in the ACC do. As they harp on about “masculine” Christianity and men being in authority. Hahahahaha.

  246. Clockwork Angel,

    Yep, that’s weird. Meanwhile over at our place our priest is a priest associate of the Whichever of Our Lady of Walsingham and has put up a bank of candles with a little statue of Mary and the infant Jesus as we have a few people lighting a few candles from time to time, while at least one person that I know is so opposed to that stuff that they refuse to even look in that direction when walking out of the church.

    They offered a whole class of about 8 or 10 weeks in ecclesial Latin. I went for a bit because my Latin was in high school and I do classical Latin pronunciation, except for the fact that actually nobody knows what classical Latin pronunciation even was. What, for instance, does the ‘growl of a dog’ sound like for the letter ‘r’? But I quit the class because, frankly, who cares all that much about ‘v’ and ‘w’ and the hard ‘g sounds. If they don’t like it, that is their problem.

    Just saying that it may be the vestments that are noticed, but there is a whole lot more going on hither and yon, sometimes, more or less, but only on days that end in a ‘y’.

    I am joking about these things (though they are true) but I am very serious about the serious stuff. Latin pronunciation is not all that serious for me. I am seriously serious about certain beliefs. The rest is just sort of a hobby, partly for old time’s sake.

    And because we kneel-right much. I think we ought to kneel. When I was FWB we used to kneel in Wed. noc prayer meeting. We used to say that eventually every knee shall bow, so better practice that skill now. And because creeds, and history, and remembrances of the saints, and prayers and readings. You know: catholic stuff.

  247. truthseeker00: I will add your sons to my prayer list

    Thank you. One of them recovered very well, probably because he was pretty apathetic about meeting the standards. The other one is now pretty much done with Christianity, probably because he tried so hard to conform with the expectations of the college ministry leader. Isn’t that ironic?

    I like what you post here. I wish I could find more like-minded people where I live in the Bible belt. I’m not from here, which does not help.

  248. okrapod,

    I do recommend the book “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” by J I Packer. In it he stresses the importance of taking both God’s sovereignty (determinism) and man’s responsibility (free will) seriously. I have heard/read that Arminians pray like Calvinists and Calvinists preach like Arminians, and this seems to be Packer’s ideal.
    The very fact that we ask God for things (daily bread, the conversion of others) and thank God for things (our conversion) proves that we believe that God is sovereign. (We credit ourselves for our earlier blindness, stubbornness, indifference, and evasiveness in face of the gospel message.)

    Only faith in the absolute sovereignty of God can give Christians the strength they need to fulfill their task of evangelism. If we focus only on human responsibility, we may go beyond our duty (questionable methods), rather than merely performing our duty and leaving the results to God. Focusing only on God’s sovereignty may lead to failure to perform our duty.

    It is possible to believe in Divine Sovereignty and the 5 points of Calvinism and wholeheartedly and warm-heartedly evangelize, proclaiming the work of Christ in securing salvation (without expressing one’s opinion re the extent of the Atonement).
    John Wesley (Arminian) and George Whitefield (5 point Calvinist) had different views on the Atonement but preached essentially the same message: living Christ, reconciling death, Christ offered to sinners, lost invited to come to Him and thus find life.

    Salvation (evangelistic results) is God’s work, but non-believers are responsible for rejecting God’s offer of eternal life.

    This is not Packer, but Spurgeon’s and Whitefield’s 5 point Calvinism did not prevent them from powerfully appealing to the will, offering Christ to all, earnestly and compassionately urging them to receive God’s gift of eternal life.

  249. okrapod,

    To answer your question directly, I believe that Calvinists and Arminians differ in details but share essentials.

    The 5 points of Calvinism follow logically from determinism while the equivalent 5 points of Arminianism follow logically from free will.
    Total Depravity vs Partial Depravity: both believe that we are sinners by nature, Calvinists believe that we are now unable to choose good and must be regenerated before we can, Arminians that we still can so choose.
    Unconditional Election vs Conditional Election: both believe that true Christians are chosen by God, Arminians believing that God selects according to foreseen future repentance and faith, Calvinists believing that no such criterion is used.
    Limited Atonement vs Unlimited Atonement: Calvinists believe that it actually secures the salvation of the elect, Arminians believe that Christ died for all, but only those who believe are saved. Only Evangelical Universalists believe in a truly unlimited
    atonement.
    Irresistible Grace vs Resistible Grace: both believe that God gives motivation and ability to come to Him, the difference is whether such grace is strong enough to overcome all human resistance or not. Calvinists believe that a general call is extended to all who hear the Gospel, but the elect are given a special inward call that is invariably effective.
    Perseverance of the Saints vs Falling from Grace: Calvinists believe that God’s power keeps the elect in faith to the end, guaranteeing eternal salvation; John Wesley, at least, believed that he was kept by God’s power from first to last and looked to the grace and mercy of God to preserve him to the Heavenly Kingdom but did not consider it strong enough to rule out becoming once more. Modern eternal security is different from Calvinist perseverance, and some Arminians have believed in eternal security.

  250. B Badger: Calvinists and Arminians differ in details but share essentials

    Do Arminians have anything that corresponds to evanescent (vanishing) grace?

  251. My recommendation of Packer’s book is for everyone, in case there is any misunderstanding.

    I am not so much concerned where believers fall on the Calvinism-Arminianism spectrum as long as they avoid extremes. When determinism becomes exclusive, depriving people of a sense of personal responsibility, failing to see the need to actively obey truth, then such Hyper-Calvinism is unbalanced. When free will becomes exclusive, leading to the perception that we can always choose good, then we become Pelagians, losing our sense of need of God in this respect. Salvation is of us not God. To ascribe attributes of God (Savior in this case) to ourselves as an act of faith is to deify ourselves (Humanism).

    The most that sincere Christians can hope to agree on is the essentials of faith and practice, with the necessary instruction and persuasion. Those who get the essentials right will get some of the details wrong. (Since potential is always in proportion, those get the essentials wrong will get some of the details right. We must never be guilty of “Four legs good, two legs bad”.) When it comes to essentials: “He who is a heretic, reject after the first and second adequate persuasion attempt, knowing that such a person has an underlying unresolved moral issue.” (Titus 3:10,11) When it comes to details: “Accept the person who is weak in the faith, but not in order to engage in futile persuasion attempts”. (Rom 14:1) Essentials indicate our actual religion (which may be different from the one we think we have); details indicate thoroughness and consistency therein.

    No individual, group, place, or time in history has ever gotten every concept, ethical ideal right, let alone actual practice. Our fallen nature ensures that personal and corporate utopias will never occur in this life.

  252. Well if nothing else, we know the leadership at First Baptist Houston and Second Baptist Houston are complicit in Paul Pressler’s child abuse allegations. That poorly kept secret is now exposed in legal documents since they knowingly passed him around their youth groups when he got his hand caught in the cookie jar. I’m sure they enjoyed those tithes though!

  253. Yes. Wow, Badger, that was excellent.

    I want to add something from experience and observation only. When somebody gets fed up to the eyebrows with what they see as the errors or weaknesses of their current belief system, and they then go find something which they experience as better than what they had in some aspects, there is a pitfall to be avoided. The new thing also has its errors and weaknesses, and when that person realizes the problems with the new thing it is easy to just call it quits and become if not a done at least a chronic complainer. The opposite pitfall is also possible, and that is to see the new thing as the OneTrueWay which can do no wrong.

    Either pitfall can be disastrous. And because these pitfalls tend to be due to emotion rather than objectivity they can easily be overlooked while one debates doctrine and practice and in our current climate politics and economics. In short, the search for utter truth now and for perfect community now and for a problem-less religious experience now can steal the joy right out of life.

  254. B Badger: My recommendation of Packer’s book is for everyone, in case there is any misunderstanding.

    I am not so much concerned where believers fall on the Calvinism-Arminianism spectrum as long as they avoid extremes.

    I’ve read enough of Packer to know that he is not balanced in his view of non-Calvinists. This is a long a tedious article that shows what Packer thinks about Arminians: https://www.the-highway.com/articleSept16.html

    Some quotes:

    “all Arminian positions are intrinsically and in principle unstable. Arminianism is a slippery slope, and it is always arbitrary where one stops on the slide down.”

    “the Bible forbids us to take a single step along the Arminian road.”

    “We still conclude, therefore, that Arminianism should be diagnosed, not as a creative alternative to Reformation teaching, but as an impoverishing reaction from it, involving a partial denial of the biblical faith in the God of all grace. The lapse is less serious in some cases, more so in others, but in every case it calls for responsible notice and compassionate correction.”

    “Satanic malice and the natural darkness of the human mind are, no doubt, contributory cause of Arminianism in its various forms; but what has directly produced it in history, as we have already begun to indicate is reaction against an image (not necessarily correct) of Calvinism.”

    “How can Arminianisms be cured? Only God can finally set men’s heads right, just as only He can ever set our hearts right.”

    Articles like this make it difficult for me to take him seriously.

  255. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I don’t believe so: Evanescent Grace is not an essential Calvinist doctrine and does not appear to be a true one. It has been equated with Resistible Grace. I suppose that it would be Calvin’s attempt to explain those who at least appeared to be evangelical Christians who later left the faith. Arminians might say that they were true believers who fell away and became lost once more.

    You are in any case dealing with a home talent amateur. One reason I don’t sweat the details is that I may be ignorant of them and may not feel qualified to decide which is right.

  256. Ken F (aka Tweed): Articles like this make it difficult for me to take him seriously.

    Oh, he should be taken seriously, even by those who disagree with some of what he says.

    But I want to use this opportunity, if I may and you don’t mind, to make a strong statement. Anybody who has been prone to think that there is no Calvinism in Anglicanism could not be more mistaken. Do not be fooled by the complexity of Anglicanism. Calvinism is alive and well in Anglicanism, catholicism (little c) is alive and well in Anglicanism, and there are even some Universalists and Atheists and Heretics who are also alive among us.

    N T Wright has self identified as ‘evangelical’ though it is not clear to me exactly how he is using the word. C S Lewis has been identified by others as anglo-catholic in his beliefs, and during his life there were those (or so they say) who were surprised that he did not join the Romans.

    Good men both. Worth reading and taking seriously.

  257. okrapod: Oh, he should be taken seriously, even by those who disagree with some of what he says.

    I take him seriously in the sense that he is dangerously devisive and therefore should be avoided. I have grown so terribly tired of religionists who make histrionic claims and sow discord by claiming those who don’t agree with them are somehow inspired by Satan and are on a dangerous slippery slope. Reading Packer is no longer worth the effort for me because he does not contribute anything good that cannot be found in more reasonable sources.

    I also want to state that I very much value your input because you always bring balance and nuance to discussions.

  258. B Badger: I suppose that it would be Calvin’s attempt to explain those who at least appeared to be evangelical Christians who later left the faith

    That is exactly why he proposed it. He found it critical enough for his system that he included it in his Institutes (3.2.11). If true, it means that absolutely no one can be certain of their election, and it makes God a deceiver. I have not yet been able to find any Calvinistic resources that address it an any way. So far I have only been able to find commentary by non-Calvinists who reject it. This is why I call it the silent point of Calvinism.

  259. okrapod:
    Yes.Wow, Badger, that was excellent.

    I want to add something from experience and observation only.When somebody gets fed up to the eyebrows with what they see as the errors or weaknesses of their current belief system, and they then go find something which they experience as better than what they had in some aspects, there is a pitfall to be avoided.The new thing also has its errors and weaknesses, and when that person realizes the problems with the new thing it is easy to just call it quits and become if not a done at least a chronic complainer.The opposite pitfall is also possible, and that is to see the new thing as the OneTrueWay which can do no wrong.

    Either pitfall can be disastrous.And because these pitfalls tend to be due to emotion rather than objectivity they can easily be overlooked while one debates doctrine and practice and in our current climate politics and economics.In short, the search for utter truth now and for perfect community now and for a problem-less religious experience now can steal the joy right out of life.

    Thank you, okrapod, those are also good insights!

    I believe that different Christian groups and, yes, Calvinists and Arminians have their complementary strengths and weaknesses. One Anglican strength, regardless of theological stripe, is quality of thought. Think of such luminaries as C S Lewis, J R W Stott, and J I Packer. (The latter two were good friends. Packer never met Lewis but heard him speak.) I had an uncle who was reportedly a devout (non-evangelical) Anglican. A broadcaster for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, ie national public broadcaster) and writer, he had a custom of reading a poem of his over the air every Easter. Having the most cerebral of temperament blends, e g quirky sense of humour, it was both profound and an apologetic for Christianity. His pen name on articles for a mining publication was D Badger.

    Intellectual and ethical pitfalls are numerous, e g I have read that few of our decisions are rational vs influenced by bias and emotion. A W Tozer once opined that personal positions on Calvinism and Arminianism were influenced by temperament. I have had a more positive emotional response to my personal image of Calvinists than to the Arminian equivalent (cool, lofty intellect vs strident and emotional). To the degree of my knowledge about these positions (not much), my emotional response to actual Calvinistic beliefs has been generally less positive.

    We do tend to go through phases: I myself have, both within and without Christianity.
    Searching for the perfect whatever is indeed a waste of time. (In my assembling plastic models phase [addiction], mostly military aircraft, I remember wanting to find the perfect WW2 plane.)

    Having a non-evangelical background (United Church of Canada, nearest US equivalent being United Methodist), I have had no abiding denominational affinity and have attended churches of various denominations, depending on time and location, e g Baptist, Alliance, Charismatic, Mennonite Brethren (MB). My last church was MB, and I was becoming increasingly discontent. My mostly British roots were calling me, and I wanted a non-pacifist group. Having taken a partial look at “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” and impressed with his thinking, I wanted to attend his church. Imagine visiting a building constructed as a memorial to men and women who had served Canada in a military capacity, e g a large stained glass window for that purpose on one of the side walls, and lots of people of UK heritage.

    Yes, the excitement of novelty has, over about 10 years, at least mostly worn off. As an underachiever, am I really compatible with the (fair number of) high achievers in our midst? Given the law of moral attraction, have I never run into those that I thought that I had (happily) left behind? (They have been more personable than they were at times earlier, and some interactions at this church were brief.) Do I and will I ever agree with every teaching and practice? Have I never been bullied there?

    It has been a bit of a homecoming. When we are older, we may seek out our roots, and I think that I was doing this. At times I was even reminded of my childhood United Church. In my youth, during the ecumenical movement, there was talk of the Anglican and United Churches, er. uniting, but, as was true of the movement in general, nothing came of it. In essence, I feel more at home here than I have elsewhere and appreciate such social contact there as I have. (Anglicans have a reputation for being welcoming and friendly as well as rational [open to questions, study, and debate, including the aforementioned apologetics].) As for being welcoming, getting onto the Parish List requires mere attendance and giving (I was told that I would be put on the list after I had made my first contribution).

  260. B Badger: When free will becomes exclusive, leading to the perception that we can always choose good, then we become Pelagians, losing our sense of need of God in this respect. Salvation is of us not God. To ascribe attributes of God (Savior in this case) to ourselves as an act of faith is to deify ourselves (Humanism).

    In my opinion, Pelagius got a bad rap, mainly by Augustine, because Augustine hated him anyway. Same with Erasmus (a humanist) and Luther.

    Luther was as convinced as Calvin was that man is born irretrievably evil and can do nothing good on his own. When it became clear to Luther that Erasmus would not endorse his tome: On the Bondage of the Will, Luther turned on him like a rabid pit bull. I no longer endorse Luther’s theology on this core issue and am now considered heretic and anathema by the LCMS.

    Insofar as deification?, There’s no need for me to try, God has already done that for me in the Hebrew Scriptures via Psalm 8 and Psalm 82.

    In my view, and in some aspects, Judaism makes much more sense than Christianity.

  261. B Badger,

    I’m normally pretty good at finding different points of view on any topic. But on this one I have yet to find anything from a Calvinist perspective except for what is in the Institutes. Literally nothing. I was hoping you might have some information. I find it odd that I cannot find anything on it except criticism by non-Calvinists.

  262. Muff Potter,

    “ A Humanist “

    But, the factual, accurate diffenition of humanist in that day was, “Back to the sources”

    Erasmus was their version of a Renaissance man, he tried to go to the original sources for everything.
    He work on what would eventually become the TR texus receptus is fascinating….

  263. Ken F (aka Tweed): I have grown so terribly tired of religionists who make histrionic claims and sow discord by claiming those who don’t agree with them are somehow inspired by Satan and are on a dangerous slippery slope.

    I have finally managed to finish reading that link. We used to have a rather gutter expression that something was ‘mental m….’ that being the practice of taking one’s mind out and playing with it. I come away thinking that this piece was just that. But I got through it partly because his theological progression in part was consistent with my own sense of how things relate to each other. I went from one sort of arminianism mixed with a smattering of ‘eternal security’ (SBC) to a different style of arminianism not mixed with eternal security (FWB) then to UMC which was much like Packer described Wesley’s arminianism but then I went in the opposite direction of Packer.

    I found his descriptions of arminianism to be not entirely consistent with what I had experienced, and his descriptions of what he thinks are misunderstandings of calvinism to be just plain unconvincing.

    But, on a continuum of soteriology, and trying to look at the actual explanations of the various positions from the actual people who hold those positions, I find that everybody is misunderstanding the other folks either innocently or else maliciously, and that is where I get off the ‘choose sides’ wagon.

    But he is right that there is a continuum of beliefs with different kinds of arminianism. And he is right that, compared to calvinism, arminianism shares some beliefs with catholicism. (I can hear the staunch arminians even now preparing their comments on that.)

    (continued in my comment to Badger to follow)

  264. I don’t know who said it, or where it went, but it will stick with me for the rest of my days..and it was on here somewhere. If you can’t look every single person in the eye and say Jesus died for YOU, then it’s not the Christianity of the Bible. I can’t go to a church that believes in anything but that. Christ Church in Jax seems to believe that way.

  265. B Badger: A W Tozer once opined that personal positions on Calvinism and Arminianism were influenced by temperament.

    That surely has something to do with it. Calvinism and Arminianism see God differently, and one is bound to prefer one of idea of God to the other idea of God. I just don’t relate to the Calvinist God; he seems like a machine, or like the atheists among the scientists would say just a set of principles as to how things work.

    ‘My mostly British roots were calling me..’ ‘It has been a bit of a homecoming. When we are older, we may seek out our roots, and I think that I was doing this.’

    This is an interesting idea in our case, because my people have been in the US some of whom all the way back to the colonial times, and as far as I knew we were mostly hybrids with some English, some German, some French and some Irish. Until we had some DNA run and they told us our DNA was statistically more English that the majority norms for the current population of England. I was dumb struck, not because I am or ever was an Anglophile but rather because of what we are/ are not coming to believe about what our DNA does to us, or not. It is kind of scary, but I will wait for further evidence. And they did not find anything ‘French’ which was to me a disappointment given some family tales about fleeing France at the time of the revolution. But, yes, I felt an immediate affinity to some things including some which were non-religioius and I kept thinking what is going on here in my attitudes. Epigenetics maybe? Some virus attached to some religious emotion impacting set of genes since we know that these things are passed to future generations, for a while at least. Enough of that-pure speculation- sci fi and all.

    But there has been some interesting research using functional imaging techniques which has shown that sometimes they have watched people become consciously aware of stuff which came from an unconscious section of the brain. The issue of ‘free will’ or not. And of course there is the issue of how it got into our unconscious in the first place? Genetics? Prevenient grace? Ancient primate leftovers? Heard it but forgot it? Who knows.

    So if the Calvinists will get off this chosen by God exclusivity and maybe think chosen by my own brain and whatever may or may not be there and how it got there–it might be interesting. And this in one reason why I like my/our local parish kind of Anglicanism. Nobody would put a sign in my yard or burn a cross in my yard if they heard me say that. Even if they thought I was wacko. Nor would they act ugly toward me or mine.

  266. okrapod: I find that everybody is misunderstanding the other folks either innocently or else maliciously

    This seems to contribute to the vast majority of conflicts – work, family, church, etc. I’ve had success in resolving misunderstanding, but such success is often elusive – probably because it can be hard work.

  267. okrapod: But there has been some interesting research using functional imaging techniques which has shown that sometimes they have watched people become consciously aware of stuff which came from an unconscious section of the brain. The issue of ‘free will’ or not. And of course there is the issue of how it got into our unconscious in the first place? Genetics? Prevenient grace? Ancient primate leftovers? Heard it but forgot it? Who knows.

    What many are unwilling to consider is that those who scripture terms both ‘the gods of this world’ and ‘the powers that be’ have long studied and sought how to influence people’s beliefs and behavior. How many of our subconscious beliefs were deliberately crafted and implanted via the controlled influential institutions of this world, including media, education, government etc. If you have not read Bernays, you ought to, as he reveals that men in influential positions have sought to use the tools of mind control and propaganda to control others for a long, long time.

    In other words, how many of our core beliefs were implanted by the churches and pastors we sat under? Mr. Rogers? Our kindergarten teacher? Scooby Do? Yet there they sit, firmly lodged in our subconscious, entirely unknown to or examined by our conscious mind, unless compelled by the Spirit of God to renew be examination.

  268. okrapod,

    It was this revelation from the Spirit, when I was weighed down by a spiritually abusive situation but did not yet understand it, that ‘woke’ me to my true state. How much of what I believed, not only about the world, but about God, had seeped into my mind subconsciously, without careful, scriptural and reason-filled examination? I fear that many never awake to this realization, and the need to carefully examine and be willing to surrender our most cherished ‘idols’ of belief. It feels to me a little like that call to give up one’s life, for it may lead to separation from beliefs, things and people that you hold dear.

  269. But it is politics! Church politics to be precise.

    The issues you ladies have spotted come from the SBC being very authoritarian in some ways. You have to believe this, and only this.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read The Authoritarians by Bob Altmeyer. It’s a fascinating book. It’s also a free download.

    http://theauthoritarians.org

  270. Wayne: I don’t know if you’ve ever read The Authoritarians by Bob Altmeyer. It’s a fascinating book. It’s also a free download.

    http://theauthoritarians.org

    I’ve been reading through the book. He has a bit of a bias, IMO, but I really like the following two paragraphs describing those who appear eager and willing to follow authoritarian dictators:

    “. . . I said in the Introduction that we would figure out why authoritarian followers think in the bizarre and perplexing way they so often do . . . first and foremost, followers have mainly copied the beliefs of the authorities in their lives. They have not developed and thought through their ideas as much as most people have. Thus almost anything can be found in their heads if their authorities put it there, even stuff that contradicts other stuff. A filing cabinet or a computer can store quite inconsistent notions and never lose a minute of sleep over their contradiction. Similarly a high RWA can have all sorts of illogical, self contradictory, and widely refuted ideas rattling around in various boxes in his brain, and never notice it.”

    “So can everybody, of course, and my wife loves to catch inconsistencies in my reasoning when we’re having a friendly discussion about one of my personal failures. But research reveals that authoritarian followers drive through life under the influence of impaired thinking a lot more than most people do, exhibiting sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and–to top it all off–a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic. These seven deadly shortfalls of authoritarian thinking eminently qualify them to follow a would-be dictator. As Hitler is reported to have said, “What good fortune for those in power that people do not think.””

    I would add that authoritarian dictators, including in the church, work very hard to create the sort of thinking exemplified in this work. When I began to question my former Calvinist pastor, I found to my amazement that I had unknowingly been under the influence of teaching that deliberately encouraged “sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and–to top it all off–a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic”.

    Such thinking creates mindless servants who can be manipulated into believing or doing nearly anything. When my spouse did not see a problem with the pastor/elders harboring a fugitive with a federal warrant out on him – all without informing the trusting congregants who were feeding, housing and inviting him into their homes – I was more than stunned, I was devastated and frightened. What sort of mind control was this, and how could I – thinking person that I believed myself to be – have fallen under its spell?

  271. truthseeker00,

    I recall a comment I read once, I believe on a thread here several years ago, of a person who had the sickening feeling that his pastor could order the elders to murder the entire congregation, and they would do it unquestioningly. That was almost the exact comment I made to a friend at the time. The complete mind control seemed more than the simple feeding of a narcissist’s ego – it seemed almost demonic.