Church Takeover Success Using Strategies from the Calvinista Playbook

“What the author of that [TWW] post couldn’t tell you (because it hadn’t happened yet) was that after that pastor completely took over the church, got HIS men in place, changed the church constitution and made sure women were never allowed to speak (not even to read the Scripture publicly).. after ALL THAT he resigned in Aug 2017 and left to plant a church in Florida with NAMB [North American Mission Board] Dec 2017.”

Fisher

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4031&picture=holy-bibleHoly Bible

Last week we featured a post entitled Shaking Up the Southern Baptist Convention, which generated some interesting discussion. One of our commenters referenced a post we published last year about a church takeover. It featured a guest post by someone in the Midwest who provided a detailed account of what happened at a church there.

As soon as I read Fisher’s comment, I clicked on the link and read through that post once again. It is chockfull of information about what happens during a stealth church takeover.

Fisher also provided an update about this takeover, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. (see comment below)

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/06/27/shaking-up-the-southern-baptist-convention/#comment-376112

Because key leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are Reformed, we predict that more and more Southern Baptist churches will become Calvinistic BY HOOK OR BY CROOK.

Far too many Neo-Cal pastors have weaseled their way into churches and methodically changed the constitution and by-laws, along with the church’s leadership structure, to their advantage.

The pain and suffering among our brothers and sisters in Christ has been enormous, and we feel a tremendous obligation to sound the alarm to unsuspecting congregations.

A Southern Baptist seminary president once advised pastoral candidates to lay their theological cards on the table in plain view for all to see. Well, this advice is NOT being heeded, and we’re pretty sure this seminary president knows it.

The Bible says we should be wise as serpents, and that’s exactly what we are doing in sharing this information.

We would like to feature more testimonies of stealth takeovers, so please consider sharing your experiences in this forum in an effort to educate our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Just shoot us an email.

We are extremely indebted to the individual who documented what happened during this church takeover. Her name, as well as the church name, are being kept confidential.

Without further adieu, here it is…


Church Takeover Success Using Strategies from the Calvinista Playbook (link)

“If you’re a theologically minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the Gospel and you want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see Gospel built and structured and committed churches, your theology is just gonna end up basically being Reformed, basically being something like this New Calvinism.”

Al Mohler on New Calvinism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football_plays#/media/File:FB-toss-sweep.pngA Fullback Sweep Play (American Football)

My father was a standout fullback in high school. At our family reunions my uncles and aunts would often regale me on how my dad would score touchdown after touchdown, usually bringing his team to victory. According to them, he was unstoppable! He could have attended college on a football scholarship but decided instead to join the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. No doubt he caught the opposing team off guard many times by running plays like the one pictured above.

Through personal experience and the testimonies of our brothers and sisters in Christ, Dee and I have discovered that there is a Calvinista playbook.

For those of you who may be new to TWW, here is what we mean by “Calvinista” (from our glossary of terms):

Calvinista: These are Calvinists gone wild. They are self-important, self-assured, and absolutely convinced that they know what the Bible says on every subject. They also believe anyone who doesn’t agree with them is utterly wrong. They spend lots of time running around to conferences, getting together with other guys (women have no place in this discussion) who also agree with them 100%. In fact, they spend more time speaking at conferences than pastoring their churches.

New Calvinism is another way to describe this theological trend that is affecting (we would say infecting) conservative, traditional churches far and wide. If you are unfamiliar with these terms and unaware of this trend to ‘restore the Gospel’ to its reformed roots, then let me be frank – you and your congregation are sitting ducks (and the Calvinistas couldn’t be more thrilled!)

Southern Baptist seminaries, along with some Reformed ones, are cranking out New Calvinist clones at an alarming rate. These “enlightened” seminary grads are poised to transform traditional churches to fit the Calvinista mold. Here are Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ligon Duncan, Chancellor of the Reformed Theological Seminary, and Kevin DeYoung, a Presbyterian pastor and seminary professor, discussing this trend:

Let’s carefully consider Al Mohler’s edict (beginning at the 1:09 mark):

That’s another aspect to this and that is where else are they gonna go? I mean what options are there? If you’re a theologically minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the Gospel and you want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see Gospel built and structured and committed churches, your theology is just gonna end up basically being Reformed, basically being something like this New Calvinism, uh or you’re gonna have to invent some other label for what’s just gonna be the same thing. There just are not options out there and that’s something that I think frustrates some people, but when I’m asked about the New Calvinism, I’m gonna say, well just basically where else are they gonna go? Who else is gonna answer the questions? Where else are they gonna find the resources they need? And where else are they gonna connect? This is a generation that understands they want to say the same thing Paul said. They want to stand with the apostles, they want to stand with old dead people, and uh and they know they’re gonna have to if they’re gonna preach and teach the truth.

Those words are stunning! If you have never heard of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement, then it’s time to get educated! The first time Dee and I became aware of this movement was in September 2006 when our latest issue of Christianity Today arrived in the mail. The front cover was adorned with a picture of someone wearing a yellow tee shirt bearing these words: “JONATHAN EDWARDS IS MY HOMEBOY”. Of course, Edwards is best known for his fiery sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.

The CT article was entitled: “Young, Restless Reformed: Calvinism is making a comeback–and shaking up the church” (link).  At first Dee and I didn’t comprehend the significance of this article because we hadn’t been affected by the YRR movement and had little knowledge of its leaders. Several years later, while doing research, the light bulb came on for us so to speak.

Now we are fully aware that Al Mohler and gang have a growing army of lieutenants who are poised to gain access to the pastoral reins of your church and steer it down the ‘correct’ path toward reformational truth. In their theological construct, Reformed (Calvinistic) Theology is the only true doctrine.

So how is the Young Restless and Reformed crowd (whom we call Calvinistas) ‘shaking up the church’? Recently, we received an email from a sister in Christ who experienced such a ‘shake-up’ first hand. She has provided an extremely detailed account of what happened at her church in hopes that others will recognize the stealth moves of these YRR pastors before it’s too late…

Here is how the Calvinista playbook was implemented at a church in the Midwest. Our hope is that should a newly hired pastor at your church attempt to run some of these tricky plays, you will recognize them immediately and be able to defend against them before your congregation is completely overtaken.


Testimony from a Sister in Christ in the Midwest

I have been reading your blog for the past year and a half, and this is the first time I felt led to write you. First of all, thank you for the work you both are doing in researching, writing, and creating awareness on trends in the Christian community. You both seem to genuinely care about the flock of Christ and specifically those who have been hurt by harmful shepherds.

I want to share the story of what my husband and I recently went through in our former church, which is located in the Midwest. You will unfortunately find it all too familiar to others’ stories. As far as myself, I’m a stay at home mom (former corporate girl with an MBA), and I work part time on projects for my old company from home. My husband and I have been married for over 16 years and share a love of Christ, having been believers since our late teens. I felt a similarity to your backgrounds as well.

I believe sharing my story with people who understand will not only be therapeutic but will help me move forward in my Christian walk. The short story is that two years ago my husband and I made the heart-wrenching decision to leave our church home of over eight years due to a Neo-Cal takeover.

Here is the long story:

In late 2006, my husband and I relocated to a Midwestern city to be closer to work and family after living in a far out suburb. I was pregnant with our first child. We had been members of a Baptist church in our former community, but the 45-minute drive to remain at the same church didn’t seem viable as we were expecting and wanting to get plugged into the new community.

After visiting a couple of churches, we found “A. B. Church (ABC)” — an unaffiliated local Baptist church. It was a good blend of both of our church backgrounds. The legalism my husband experienced in the IFB was not an issue. Women could serve in many capacities though not as a pastor. (I grew up in a Quaker church with a woman pastor). Anyway, the people there were warm and welcoming. The messages were sound and challenging, and we made the decision to attend regularly.

During this time, ABC was in the process of searching for a new senior pastor as the former one had recently stepped down due to some disagreements. The associate pastors took turns filling in from the pulpit. We welcomed our son in spring of 2007, and I transitioned to working part-time. (My husband accepted a new job at my same company.) The ABC church body was there for us with meals and support after the birth, and they were what won us over. We started feeling connected to the community, so in the latter part of 2007, we joined the church and dedicated our infant son there.

In early 2008 the pastor search committee announced that after almost 18 months they had found a candidate for Senior Pastor. The candidate then did a guest sermon and a few meet and greets. The congregation, including my husband and I, were very impressed with his knowledge and enthusiasm, and we voted him in as Senior Pastor in March of 2008. At the time all I knew was that he came from a large church in Los Angeles and that he had served and studied under John MacArthur, whom I remotely remembered listening to on the radio from time to time.

Nothing earth shattering happened over the next couple of years. My husband and I became involved in a wonderful small group and made friendships that continue to this day. In May of 2010, we welcomed our second child, a daughter, and our church family was there to celebrate and support us with meals and prayers. I transitioned to staying home full-time with the kids and became more involved at church, helping out with VBS and getting involved in Bible study.

Now the changes begin to happen…

During the summer of 2010 the pastors and elders announced at a members’ meeting that we would be voting to drop our rather large sports ministry. They had determined that it was becoming mostly ‘inreach’ for ABC families and children who attend other churches versus truly reaching unchurched kids. We didn’t see any big deal in that reasoning and voted in favor of the change.

Also, at that meeting, it was decided by the leadership (not a vote) that ABC would be dropping its Preschool and Mothers Day Out program as enrollment was down, and we were in a part of the city where there was a church preschool and MDO program literally around every block. Again, it seemed reasonable for legitimate reasons. Some people voiced their disdain, but there was little drama. We were a little bummed as our son was set to start preschool in the fall, and it would have been nice to have him at our familiar church, but we agreed the leadership was right and there were many quality programs in the area from which to choose. During this time the associate pastor overseeing the sports ministry stepped down to move into the mission field.

In late summer 2011, the long-time Children’s Director resigned. We were all saddened as she had such a wonderful heart for children and served and led by example. About this same time, the senior pastor started “theology reading groups” that met to read and discuss Wayne Grudem’s massive book, “Systematic Theology.” It was by invitation only, and men’s and women’s groups met separately. I was kind of ticked my husband and I were not invited to join one, but looking back, it was a blessing in disguise! Also during this time, my husband was voted in as a deacon and helped with servicing some of the equipment on the church property. I continued helping with VBS, nursery duty once a month, and participated in Bible study.

The next year a search committee was put in place for a pastor to replace the Children’s Director. The leadership rephrased the job title to “Pastor of Family Life and Discipleship” so that the new hire would not be solely responsible for the children’s ministry. About this time, the long time Youth Pastor (12 + years at ABC) decided to go to the mission field for a short time. In late summer of 2012, the new Family Life and Discipleship pastor was hired. He was a millennial (not quite 30), married with children, and had finished his Master’s Degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He had also previously served as a pastoral assistant at Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

Then in the fall of 2012, the elders proposed a new church constitution as they said the old one was over 30 years old, outdated, and didn’t provide legal protection for the church with issues such as same sex marriage agendas being pushed, etc. My husband (still a deacon) and I scrutinized the proposed document. We both felt uneasy about it as it seemed to stress membership covenants, more rigid rules, and discipline. Some of the long-time members on the Deacon board were really concerned about it, and my husband discussed it with them in a couple of meetings. The church sent a pastor or elder to each of our small groups to answer any questions or concerns we had about the constitution. It seemed my husband and I were the only ones in our group who raised objections, specifically about what constitutes ‘discipline’. I remember a couple gals in our small group almost rebuking my husband for asking such questions and insisting that we need to submit to authority (whatever!). Anyway, the pastor who came to our group said the discipline wasn’t meant to be a game of “gotcha” and it was clearly stated in Matthew 18 as ongoing, unrepentant known sin (which still could encompass a lot of things in my opinion).

In January of 2013, the membership was set to vote on the new constitution. Several amendments were added, but they were for other issues such as not having women deacons and a few minor wordings on things. The deep stuff we were opposed to was still on the amended proposed constitution, and we felt it gave a lot of power to the senior pastor and elders with minimal congregational input as well as it being heavier on discipline. Our church voted on the final draft of the constitution, and even though I voted against it, it did pass. After the new constitution was adopted, we noticed that several long-time members of ABC left. My husband and I were still uneasy about it but held a “wait and see” approach to observe how it was implemented and possibly abused.

In the spring of 2013, the aforementioned youth pastor who left to embark on a year long mission trip to Japan with his family returned to ABC. Not long after returning, he stepped down from his position at ABC, stating that God was leading him in a different direction. He actually switched churches and left for stateside missions in South Florida, which has a non-Christian population of roughly 95% in the Miami area. He was missed by many in the church. His parents, who were long-time members, also left the church.

In summer of 2013, the elders stated they were searching for a new pastor to take the place of the former youth pastor. Again, they chose one who was a millennial (late 20s-early 30s guy) with a young family. He earned his Master’s degree from The Master’s Seminary (where our senior pastor has come from). Also, he had been on staff at Grace Community Church, where John MacArthur serves as senior pastor. At this point, the only original pastoral staff member remaining from when we started was the much older part-time, Congregational Care pastor. He was the one who ran our membership class and did our son’s baby dedication prior to the hiring of the senior pastor.

In fall of 2013, I found out I was expecting our third child. Around the same time the elders, who now had much more decision making control, proposed ABC join with the Southern Baptist Convention. They said it would help open up the resources for missionaries and also offer a 50% tuition discount at any of their seminaries. Interestingly, the senior pastor was currently getting his PhD from Southern Seminary, along with one of the pastoral interns. ABC’s senior pastor seemed to be a big fan of Albert Mohler, which makes sense in hindsight. Many in the congregation raised questions and concerns as the elders seemed to slip this into the agenda rather quickly. It did not get voted on that night during the members meeting, as they had planned, so it was pushed back to another special meeting. It finally passed. After this we noticed that more long-time members and even a few folks our age left the church. We were still uneasy but did not feel led to go.

In late spring 2014, we welcomed our third child. My husband had been asked to serve a second term on the Deacon board. He noticed several changes starting to happen. In the fall, the leaders of our small group called a meeting with us and decided to step down as leaders. They were now empty nesters, traveling a lot and in the process of downsizing their large home, so they couldn’t continue to lead us. We were sad but we said we needed to step out of our small group as well because our children were keeping us so busy, and it was hard to participate in church activities during the evening.

As time went on, I noticed that more Grudem study groups were forming. It was during this time that I began to hear about “doctrines of grace”, Reformed theology, and Calvinism. The once Robust children’s ministry was slowly being whittled down. Children’s church ceased to exist, and kids ages 6 and up were required to attend the adult service with their parents. Our son accepted Christ at age 6. For the next two years he asked about getting baptized. We tried to get a pastor to meet with him to determine if he had a grasp on the gospel (we believed he did) so he could be baptized. We were put off on this a couple different times so we finally dropped it. We noticed that children under the age of 16 were not being baptized at ABC, even though we had other friends whose children had also made professions of faith. This was extremely upsetting (to us and our son)! Those who had not been baptized were discouraged from partaking in communion.

The Family Life pastor who replaced the long-time children’s director (who had previously resigned) did not fill her shoes in the same capacity at all. He pushed for more and more volunteers to take over duties such as nursery volunteer coordinating, sign in’s, leading VBS, and leading the fall festival (our former outreach for families). Also, the youth group for the older kids was dwindling under the new youth pastor, who was given additional duties not involving the youth.

During this time I stopped attending evening Bible studies because taking care of my new baby took precedence. However, I noticed all the studies were from books written by Calvinist pastors and writers. My husband and I didn’t like the emphasis on Reformed theology. We pored over scripture and various resources about Calvinism and felt very uneasy about election, limited atonement, etc.  We did not buy this line of theology and did not interpret the Bible or God’s love in that way.

Another thing we noticed was that it seemed the pastors (not the older congressional care pastor) were touting each other from the pulpit and beyond. The Family Life pastor’s wife had another baby the week after I gave birth to my third. The senior pastor’s wife sent out an email to over 60 people, including me, stating we should serve their family with meals because of how they serve us. At the time, I and two other women on the email list had just had babies of our own.

A few months later, the Youth Pastor was involved in a car accident and did not have collision coverage on the vehicle, as it was his second car. Fortunately, he was not hurt, but the senior pastor led an impromptu benevolence offering during a Sunday service to provide him with a replacement car since he didn’t have insurance on it and it was totaled. He and his wife already had another car. The problem we had with that benevolence offering was there were several unemployed folks at the church who were struggling just to put food on the table. They could have benefited more from the thousands of dollars that were raised! The Youth Pastor was then outfitted with a very nice used second van, courtesy of the impromptu benevolence offering.

During our final years at the church, we noticed the senior pastor was becoming less and less accessible to ABC members. On one occasion I had to attend a small group leaders’ meeting in place of our leader in order to take notes. During that meeting the senior pastor stated that he was reluctant to provide counsel to anyone unless they were already in a small group – where they could receive counsel.

We noticed the pastors and several male members would regularly attend Together for the Gospel (T4G). The senior pastor was gone from time to time to preach at other churches or attend conferences. In his absence, one of the associate pastors would preach or a preacher friend of the pastor (who we later learned were YRR guys).

Church discipline began to be administered on different occasions per the constitution. The senior pastor would name the person as well as their unrepentant sin from the pulpit. Most of the cases were people choosing to divorce their spouse and not desiring to reconcile. Per the new constitution, the senior pastor could not be subjected to this public discipline!

It was during this time that our small groups began reading and discussing Mark Dever’s “9 Marks of a Healthy Church”, as requested by the elders. I didn’t agree with everything in the book, which seemed heavy on discipline and being accountable to each other a bit more than I was comfortable with; however, we didn’t think too much about it, nor did we know (at the time) the extent of the “9 Marks” network. We heard Mark Dever’s name mentioned from the pulpit a couple of times and knew the senior pastor looked up to him as well as John MacArthur and Al Mohler.

Fast forward to our final year – 2015. At this point, we were not involved in a small group or Bible study due to a nightwaking baby, two older kids, and my husband’s busy work schedule. My husband still served as a deacon, but that was the extent of his involvement. I no longer served in the nursery despite the Family Life Pastor telling all of us in regards to the nursery, “If you use, you serve” even though he didn’t seem to apply this principle to himself (with his many children using the church nursery every week).

Also, we knew several of the older, long-term ABC members that had left. They were the larger contributors of both time and money. Any “new blood” that was brought in was mostly of the millennial crowd, which didn’t have the financial resources or time commitment to make up for those who had left the congregation. The members’ meetings turned into informational sessions on what the elders had decided. The congregation had very little input and rarely voted on church matters. The elders – with no input from the congregation – voted to spend several thousand dollars to upgrade the church library and pastors’ offices. The renovations were very fancy for a church with a slowly shrinking budget. Elder approved Calvinist books and study guides were later sold through the new “Resource Center” (the former library).

We were feeling more unrest at ABC, but still the thought of uprooting our kids and leaving the only church we had ever known in our current community was still not quite an option.

The final two straws happened in late winter 2015. One Sunday during a bad snowstorm, we somehow trekked to church in our SUV since we lived just two miles away. Because of the snow, only a fourth of the normal attendees made it to church. In hindsight, I believe it was God’s doing that we went that day. In his sermon, the pastor discussed the “U” in TULIP, preaching about Unconditional Election and how we should be so grateful. He also elaborated on other points from TULIP, and I’m fairly certain it was the first time he ever addressed full on Calvinism in a sermon. My husband and I both looked at each other and just shook our heads. Until then, Calvinism had not been pushed from the pulpit, but now it had and we were done!

During this time, my husband was attending extra deacon meetings led by one of the associate pastors/elders. They were reading through a Dever book on becoming better elders and deacons. It was very bait and switch the way it happened…

My husband and the other deacons thought they were being asked to attend 3-4 extra meetings to go over a book to learn about being better deacons. At the last meeting, the pastor/elder (a YRR guy) finished up by telling them that they – the elders – had decided to dismantle the board of deacons. At this point, my husband and a few others were done. After seeing this take place behind the scenes and prior to the roll out to the congregation, my husband offered his resignation from the current board of deacons, stating that he had a difference of opinion regarding ABC’s current theological leanings and the power structure the elders had created.

My husband met with one of the non-pastor elders whom we looked up to and respected. He wanted to go over my husband’s concerns regarding changes to the constitution, power structure (no more checks and balances), whittled down children’s ministry (and no baptisms allowed), and the Calvinist leanings. Sadly, this particular Elder had morphed into one of the senior pastor’s “yes” men and defended the actions and structure.

At this point, my husband and I were fervently praying and reading scripture for guidance on leaving. We spoke to some of our friends (also long-time members) who were disillusioned, too. I kept asking myself how can men who study the Word of God many hours every week be so deceived or blinded by power and the doctrines of men. We both agreed that it was time to pull the plug and search for a new church home.

So in the spring of 2015, we began looking for a new church. After visiting five churches over a two-month period, we landed at our new and current church home. We met with the senior pastor, and he graciously answered all of our questions about his stance on Calvinism, church polity, women’s roles, children’s baptism and ministry, etc. He also seemed like a humble servant leader – something we felt we hadn’t seen for years at ABC. After meeting with this pastor and attending for a few more months, we joined the church and got involved with a small group there.

In the summer of 2015, one of the elders at our former church proposed a sabbatical for the senior pastor. The ABC elders approved it, and the senior pastor took a three-month sabbatical. It was an endowment from a not for profit that funds sabbaticals for pastors, allowing them to take time off from the ministry in order to spend time with their families and/or go on a mission trip. Our former pastor chose to go on a nice tour of the Mediterranean with his family. While he was instagramming his amazing vacation, we were in the process of transitioning churches.

We attended our last members’ meeting at ABC in May 2015. They were voting out the former Board of Deacons and also voting to approve a few new members. When the elders read their testimony, the majority of new people said they had always known they were walking with God and that they did not recall a specific time when they repented of their sins and turned to God. Only God knows their standing with Him and their heart. I just thought it was odd as my husband and I both remember feeling broken and sinful and turning to Christ at a specific turning point in our lives. We noticed this same pattern with several new ABC members.

Anyway, this was the last time we stepped foot in ABC. The senior pastor announced he was leaving for his sabbatical in a couple of weeks and provided a schedule of where he was traveling overseas as well as a list of the guest pastors who would be filling in for him while he was gone. When he returned in August 2015, they were going to have a Reinstatement Ceremony during the service, led by none other than his mentor, Albert Mohler, as he (the senior pastor) was finishing his PhD from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

I found this a bit overboard as he was going on a fully funded three-month vacation with his family – a luxury most of the hard working folks in the pew would never have – then having a big celebration welcoming him back! It further confirmed our desire to leave. He sent a follow-up email after the meeting saying that if any ABC members felt led to, we could encourage his mentors in ministry by writing them a letter of appreciation. He then gave us the addresses of both Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and John MacArthur at Grace Community Church in California. I could not believe this elevation of men going on!

Anyway, we hugged the handful of friends who knew we were leaving and promised to get together. We left and transitioned to our new church home. We did leave “their way” by my husband submitting a letter asking for the removal of our membership due to the several reasons I mentioned before such as the Calvinism, Authoritarianism, lack of focus on children, etc. The elders accepted it and did not hound us. They were gracious, and the senior pastor said we were welcome back.

It was hard leaving but at the same time we felt a lot of peace knowing we were following the Holy Spirit’s guiding of us. Around the time of our leaving, I found The Wartburg Watch. It helped reassure me and answered my question, “Are we the only ones going through this kind of church takeover?” and “Has this happened to others, and are we the only ones who think this is wrong?” TWW has helped me immensely, and I have stayed up to date on this movement.

It was a long and gradually ramped up change that happened at our old church: the turnover of all associate pastors with new YRR pastors coming, the cutting down of ministry programs, the shepherding/authoritarian hierarchy, the constitutional changes, the new focus to Calvinism in the teachings and sermons, etc. Unfortunately, it has not been happening just to our (former) church, and I am saddened to know of the extensive network of this YRR group. Still, God is in control, and I only bow to Him as the one true Shepherd in my life.

Our story does have a happy ending. Our entire family is flourishing at our new church home. The children are thriving. Our son was finally baptized, and our older daughter has been learning more about God’s grace and love. We no longer worry about church discipline and being made to feel like we have to answer to our “under shepherds”. We truly feel like co-heirs with Christ. People are coming to faith in salvation every month. We joined a small group that the pastor and his family are a part of, and this has helped us get to know them better. Our pastor and his wife are humble, servant leaders. God is so good! We still maintain friendships with some of our ABC friends that stayed. We love them and pray that God will open their eyes like He did ours.

We were not abused or placed under discipline in the way some of your readers have been. We were able to leave peacefully and quietly. My heart sincerely goes out to the readers who suffered abuse and church discipline. I am thankful for the safe community you have created and the research and concern you provide. I don’t think it was an accident in finding your blog.

Thank you for letting me share my heart and my story. It was really long but cathartic in telling this to someone who “gets it” and is also a sister in Christ.


Comments

Church Takeover Success Using Strategies from the Calvinista Playbook — 170 Comments

  1. I would add that it does not always have to be a pastor staging the takeover. The EV-Free Church we started attending after leaving our Calvinist church and moving to a new community is in the midst of what is obvious to me a Calvinist takeover. It is being run by an elder, who moved in a few years back, and worked his way into being literally in charge of the church. I was sort of surprised at how all seemed to look to him for answers to any questions, and how, should any ‘error’ occur during the service, all eyes would go to this elder to see his clearly disapproving glare. He was also the pastor’s ‘accountability partner’ and used that opportunity to introduce him to Grudem’s Systematic Theology, along with many other Calvinist writings. The pastor did not seem to be fully aware that he was being nudged into Calvinism, and he frequently taught contradictory concepts, as he sought to reconcile his new Calvinist ideas with his old beliefs.

    Just wanted to share that the playbook does not have to originate with a new pastor, but can begin with the arrival of a new, capable, eager to serve lay person who quickly rises in stature and power, gaining control over the minds of the pastor and/or congregation. When we left, there was lots of talk about amending the church constitution, as well as frequent references to an earlier, apparently contentious ‘worship war’ when the worship music was converted from all hymns to more contemporary praise songs. The pastor concluded that the problem was that the congregation did not rightly recognize that the elders were in authority, and not them. That’s when I ran for the door, and never looked back.

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  2. truthseeker00: but can begin with the arrival of a new, capable, eager to serve

    Again, brings to mind, “The Confidence Game” by Maria Konnikova

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25387895-the-confidence-game

    Jesus spoke of the opposite: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:3.

    Thanks and God bless you and your family, to the “Sister in Christ in the Midwest” who shared very eloquently her story, that clearly aligns with the aforementioned “Playbook”.

    Putting it out there is important, so when we see it we can recognize it for what it is. Another, “Say, what in the world?” post from TWW.

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  3. Such tactics go back to the first century… Diotrephes is the “Patron Ain’t” of these guys

    III John

    9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

    11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

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  4. It all boils down to one concept- *hierarchy*. People of this mindset are drawn to theologies and ideologies that reinforce the notion that there is a rigid vertical authoritarian structure to the universe, where obedience flows up and power flows down. You see it in Neo-Calvinism, in Islamism, in MAGAism, ad infinitum. And as several recent studies have shown, when authoritarian values clash with democratic ones, authoritarians will reject democracy.

    Of course, Christians must grapple with the fact that the Gospels show Jesus lived His entire life in opposition to this principle. “You have One Father, and you are all siblings.” “Whoever would be first must be last” “I came not for the healthy but the sick”.

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  5. I just have to say that I love watching this battle . . .

    As a former “moderate” Southern Baptist pastor who “lived through” the Fundamentalist takeover during the 80’s (my seminary – back when it was a real seminary – Southeastern – was the first to go), many of us speculated on the “next fight” within the SBC. Even as the SBC was supposedly in “one theological accord” as a result of the “conservative resurgence”, it is always the nature of Southern Baptists to find something to fight about, and Neo-Calvinism is the result. The threat of Neo-Calvinism suggests a much deeper theological chasm within the SBC than the supposed radicalism of those of us who were considered “liberals.”

    I am now a psychotherapist, and unfortunately, my practice grows on the backs of persons who have been harmed by Neo-Calvinist pastors and authoritarian church structures. Their pain is real as well as the questioning of the meaning of the faith they have nurtured all their lives.

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  6. This is really amazing. To a tee it describes my former church, Cornerstone Community Church of Atascadero, CA. (Saying its name for the first time here since my church discipline in 2012. Feels good. They want publicity? They got it.) The group of hand-picked yes-men elders (check), the months-long “sabbaticals” for pastor’s family which are really fully-funded vacations to far-off lands (check), the harsh discipline which never applies to leaders (check), the mutual praise of leaders from the pulpit to establish the upper tier (check), using elementary books by the usual Gospel Coalition authors which then establish those authors as credible (check), reinforcing the idea that tithes and offerings deservedly go to pastors (whose true wages are not revealed) because they “serve” God, and that they further should be materially enriched with free or discounted goods and services provided by the congregation, totally flauting the principle of dual relationships in a fiduciary capacity, and finally, sending a junior member of the pastoral team off to Southern Baptist Seminary to take the easiest route to a PhD for the purpose of making others call him “doctor.” Neo-Reformed Evangelicalism wouldn’t exist without a stage, a mic, lots of man praise, books that are one step away from self-published, cultivating followers by feeding their egos with rock music roles, and phony titles.

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  7. drstevej: Such tactics go back to the first century… Diotrephes is the “Patron Ain’t” of these guys
    III John
    9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
    11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

    Wow. Just wow.

    Easy to overlook such profundity in the little book of III John. Just read it with my own eyes – very relevant. verse 7…speaking of those God-appointed leaders who do good in contrast to self-appointed leaders who do evil, “…they went forth for HIS name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.”

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  8. Augustine: Wow.Just wow.

    Easy to overlook such profundity in the little book of III John.Just read it with my own eyes – very relevant.verse 7…speaking of those God-appointed leaders who do good in contrast to self-appointed leaders who doevil, “…they went forth for HIS name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.”

    And for all those who have been wounded by the “self-appointed” leaders cut from the “Diotrephes” cloth…don’t be afraid to… call to mind the nonsensical deeds being done. Paul had no fear and neither should we…even if it means further persecution – it will just mean for a better resurrection!

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  9. ION: Fitba’

    Just a brief update today. The penultimate round-of-16 match kicks off in just over two hours; Switzerland play Sweden. The winner will play Columbia, whose upcoming win over England this evening is a formality (since even the current, somewhat improved, England are incapable of winning knockout-stage matches or of beating quality opposition).

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  10. Thank you Midwest Sister for sharing your story. It is an experience that can be echoed by a great multitude of others as an illegitimate authority sets up shop in the American church.

    Happy to hear about your happy ending and pray that God will continue to reveal the way, the truth and the life to you through Jesus in your new church home. Your final words speak volumes … these are things you will never find in a New Calvinist church:

    “We truly feel like co-heirs with Christ. People are coming to faith in salvation every month. We joined a small group that the pastor and his family are a part of, and this has helped us get to know them better. Our pastor and his wife are humble, servant leaders.”

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  11. Luckyforward: I am now a psychotherapist, and unfortunately, my practice grows on the backs of persons who have been harmed by Neo-Calvinist pastors and authoritarian church structures. Their pain is real as well as the questioning of the meaning of the faith they have nurtured all their lives.

    I have suspected that there are MANY hurting souls out there, and I am so sorry for what they have had to endure. This is NOT Christianity!

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  12. Janet,

    Yes, there’s a playbook, as your experience confirms.

    If you ever want us to tell your story in a post, just let us know. Many could be helped by your sharing your unpleasant experience.

    I cringe to think how this process of converting churches to Neo-Cal is going to ratchet up now that the SBC is headed by someone from this camp, whether he admits it or not!

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  13. Eeyore,

    “You see it in Neo-Calvinism, in Islamism, in MAGAism, ad infinitum’

    I thought this was not allowed here? And I think it’s quite the opposite, frankly. Micromanaging and social engineering citizens using power of gov is what the other side does under the guise of “helping people” which is more like controlling their choices. They also use a bait and switch game that a lot of people fall for. There is nothing more authoritarian than messing with 1A and 2A in policy. And that’s been done quite a bit by your people.

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  14. God bless you for sharing your story. It is heart-wrenching and heart-breaking to hear that people feel the need to leave a church they loved because of this deceptive, pre-conceived, and intentional hostile takeover of a church! The people who practice this are beyond despicable. The same thing would have happened at our own little “Midwest” church, but the new pastor was far too impatient to “win” everybody over to his schemes! He tried to implement changes that the congregation would not tolerate, but since there were yet to be elders, no one really backed him. We also exercised the wisdom that is found in a congregational government, and we would vote some of his items down. When we confronted him with his deception and that he had not been truthful with the search committee about his beliefs, he berated and condemned our church, since we were not obeying his “authority” and then he left without even giving proper two-weeks’ notice.

    I am so thankful that godly people in our congregation had their eyes opened to what was happening. We stumbled across TWW quite providentially during this time because we were looking for more information about reformed theology sneaking into baptist churches, especially through LifeWay materials. Again, I can never thank this site and others like it, who continue to sound the warning. I just hope that Southern Baptists (and other denominations in which this is happening) will get their heads on straight at the local level and cease to tolerate this nonsense!

    Additionally, I am so thankful your son has finally been baptized! Your previous pastor wouldn’t do it, because Mark Dever in his 9-Marx Weekender training manual said that children under 16 shouldn’t be baptized. Funny how Christ desires for “the little children to come unto Me.” I think I’ll stick with Christ on this one! John Piper in another one who doesn’t like to share the gospel with children, since they “may not understand” it. I find that totally repugnant and arrogant. Children oftentimes understand the Gospel better than we do, much to our own shame!

    Again, I am so thankful you have found a place unstained by this terrible, heartless ‘movement’. God bless you and your family, and stay ever-vigilant!

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  15. truthseeker00: Just wanted to share that the playbook does not have to originate with a new pastor, but can begin with the arrival of a new, capable, eager to serve lay person who quickly rises in stature and power, gaining control over the minds of the pastor and/or congregation.

    You make an excellent point! Perhaps this method of takeover is even more sinister and dangerous since it’s someone from the “inside”! This is why we need to more passionately “fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” That way, when the fake stuff shows up, we WILL know it!

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  16. I remember reading this when it was posted and feeling extremely weirded out. Why?

    I’ve been a war gamer for fifty years. In war games winning (without cheating) is the aim. This felt more like what a war gamer would do, than what a priest or minister should be doing.

    I’m also a terrible cynic. When someone does something my instant response is to ask, “What do they get out of this?” Mostly it isn’t anything sinister, but every so often it is. This seemed a classic case of, “I’m out for Number One,” by the leader(s). Not all of the leaders of course. A Silver Tongued Devil (using devil in the secular meaning) can often talk people into taking actions against their own best interests, and the best interests of their communities and churches.

    The fake Rockefeller case is an excellent example of a Silver Tongued Devil in action.

    I feel for these people. I really do.

    I’m not at all religious (for me religion is a hobby — I’m a writer — I need to know everything about people). The only solution I can think of is to vote with their feet. If attendance and membership numbers drop, eventually the SBC may wake up. If they don’t they’ll join the dodo bird in the annuals of the extinct.

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  17. Deb,
    You are correct. Persons with a perfectly valid and meaningful faith have been led to question themselves because they do not “believe as they should.” Thus, along with becoming unsure of their longstanding faith because an “authority” has created their insecurity leads to debilitating anxiety.

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  18. A troubling thing for me is the evident flexibility of calvinists (both old and new, in my experience, anyway) when it comes to the practical implications of their foundational principle of the absolute and comprehensive sovereignty of God (a principle I embrace though I draw a different set of conclusions from it).

    It seems to me that an embrace of a strong view of God’s sovereignty ought to free one to worry less about “how people perceive me” or “what might happen” and to focus on living and working rightly coram Deo. What one sees again and again in these stories, OTOH, is behaviors and practices that seem to indicate that the actual functional theology of these people is that “there is no God at all, and the outcomes have to be engineered, by hook or crook, by me and whatever associates I can recruit.”

    So it seems to me that there is a huge disconnect between confessed and lived theology, and that raises for me the question of “what is really going on beneath the surface?” As someone, I think it was truthseeker00, noted in a previous comment thread, it is heard to avoid the suspicion that these groups are not what the New Testament means when it speaks of the assemblies of the Messiah.

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  19. Janet: reinforcing the idea that tithes and offerings deservedly go to pastors (whose true wages are not revealed) because they “serve” God, and that they further should be materially enriched with free or discounted goods and services provided by the congregation, totally flauting the principle of dual relationships in a fiduciary capacity

    Could you elaborate on this, as you seem to have some expertise on this. These sorts of things have always freaked me out, but I don’t know much about finance. Are you saying that this is illegal, or simply unethical. I’m curious about the “dual relationships in a fiduciary capacity” part.

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  20. Janet: sending a junior member of the pastoral team off to Southern Baptist Seminary to take the easiest route to a PhD for the purpose of making others call him “doctor.”

    It really bugs me when someone flouts a PhD from a Christian diploma mill. I slogged through a rigorous DMA in music performance at an excellent state school. I lived in the practice room for four years, and I know my degree was not as writing or research intensive as a PhD in something like economics or the sciences. All the conservative seminaries look down on places like Harvard and Princeton, but those PhD programs have an academic rigor that the conservative institutions often lack. Christian higher ed is also a good old boys club and much easier to get a job in if you are well connected. The job market in mainstream higher ed is brutal right now.

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  21. Root 66: I think I’ll stick with Christ on this one! John Piper in another one who doesn’t like to share the gospel with children, since they “may not understand” it. I find that totally repugnant and arrogant.

    Completely agree. Who actually does “understand the gospel.” The older I get, the more mysterious it becomes. My wife really thinks that Neo Calvinism is most attractive to people with certain personality types. Basically, people who crave certainty and are fine going along and submitting to rules. People who aren’t rebellious and don’t ask questions. I’d love to be able to give a bunch of Calvinist churches Big 5 personality tests and compare the results to the general population.

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  22. Ricco: Neo Calvinism is most attractive to people with certain personality types. Basically, people who crave certainty and are fine going along and submitting to rules. People who aren’t rebellious and don’t ask questions.

    Yes, they like to have everything parsed out for them and have God packaged up in a nice, neat little box with a bow! However, Psalm 115 tells us something different, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” You can’t put God in a box, but the Neo-Calvinists can think that they can corner Him there with their theology. I for one, am glad that I don’t have God all “figured out!” To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, I hope I never do…’for He is exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or think.’

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  23. Root 66: Yes, they like to have everything parsed out for them and have God packaged up in a nice, neat little box with a bow!

    Check today’s Internet Monk and its comment thread for the same subject from a different angle:
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/81546

    Especially this link from the comment thread to a First Things article about “Cognitive Innocence”, which strikes me as a particularly-insidious form of Narcissism:
    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/01/deliver-us-from-innocence

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  24. truthseeker00: Just wanted to share that the playbook does not have to originate with a new pastor, but can begin with the arrival of a new, capable, eager to serve lay person who quickly rises in stature and power, gaining control over the minds of the pastor and/or congregation.

    i.e. Grima Wormtongue, Power Behind the Throne.

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  25. How closely does the Calvinista playbook resemble the “Salami Tactics” which Comrade Stalin used to sew up Eastern Europe after WW2?

    Called “Salami Tactics” because the Russian Bear went for one teeny-tiny slice of salami at a time. Just one more teeny-tiny slice, then just one more, then just one more until one day the Russian Bear had eaten all your salami and started on YOU. “URRA STALINO!”

    Just one little teeny-tiny step at a time.

    “IS THERE NO STEEPNESS IN THE STAIRS OF HELL?”
    — G.K.Chesterton, “Nightmare”

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  26. Janet: sending a junior member of the pastoral team off to Southern Baptist Seminary to take the easiest route to a PhD for the purpose of making others call him “doctor.”

    Isn’t that more expensive than paying $50 for a PhD diploma like Velour’s pastor?

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  27. Eeyore: It all boils down to one concept- *hierarchy*. People of this mindset are drawn to theologies and ideologies that reinforce the notion that there is a rigid vertical authoritarian structure to the universe, where obedience flows up and power flows down

    Boots stamping on faces, all the way down.
    Kiss Up, Kick Down.

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  28. Samuel Conner: behaviors and practices that seem to indicate that the actual functional theology of these people is that “there is no God at all, and the outcomes have to be engineered, by hook or crook, by me and whatever associates I can recruit.”

    In other words, a strong belief in sovereignty at the divine level is incompatible with control and manipulation at the human level? That’s profound.

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  29. Root 66: It teaches how to takeover and “reform” a church when you aren’t the pastor.

    And reads more like Forbes, that is business strategy, rather than Jesus: Love God, love your neighbor as yourself.

    Somehow the “take-over” paradigm resembles building a business or a church dynasty, rather than Matt. 28:19-20, making disciples of Jesus. Nowhere in the NT are Jesus’ disciples running businesses, except for tent-making enterprises, which indicates they did not build dynasties to fund their private planes and yachts.

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  30. Root 66: Funny how Christ desires for “the little children to come unto Me.” … [then there’s some other oddball] who doesn’t like to share the gospel with children, since they “may not understand” it.

    Whether [generic] you believe that particular good news or not, you can’t hide from the fact that if it doesn’t work for children it doesn’t work for anyone. The “Reformed” hard-liners clearly think that the new testament is supposed to be a kind of hybrid of Plato’s Republic and Machiavelli’s The Prince – i.e., a treatise on how to rule others and feel good about it. If there actually were any existential power in the gospel, these men (and they are invariably men) would be in trouble. If there is any truth in it they’ll be in trouble when they die, of course, but in the meantime they’re doing very well indeed out of it. I don’t think they believe in God any more than I do. But they understand the importance of looking like they do.

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  31. Ricco: It really bugs me when someone flouts a PhD from a Christian diploma mill.

    I once worked for someone in a non-church setting, who insisted on being called Dr. After awhile one of my colleagues decided to investigate where her doctorate came from, and discovered that she got it after attending a two week course at a Charismatic mega church in a neighboring city.

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  32. Nick Bulbeck: I don’t think they believe in God any more than I do.

    Are you a recent convert to don’t-believe-in-God-ism or is this a long standing opinion which you just recently began to mention here?

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  33. Ricco: My wife really thinks that Neo Calvinism is most attractive to people with certain personality types. Basically, people who crave certainty and are fine going along and submitting to rules. People who aren’t rebellious and don’t ask questions.

    Bingo! And many of us fall into one or other of those categories, if not both. Authoritarian narcissists know just how to manipulate people, using their emotional neediness for their own purposes.

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  34. GSD [Getting Stuff Done]: In other words, a strong belief in sovereignty at the divine level is incompatible with control and manipulation at the human level?That’s profound.

    I’m sure it’s not incompatible in the minds of the people who are doing this — they would argue that “God works through creaturely agents to effect His purposes”, and I think that’s true as a theological principle. What troubles me is in the end, the self-conception as “the ordained agent of the Lord” so often leads to compromises. I have repeatedly seen people who had strong senses of personal divine calling do things that I thought were pretty plainly in conflict with explicit Biblical commands in order to help achieve what they thought they were called to achieve. Subjective conviction can overrule objective command.

    It has been repeatedly noted that there seems be to one set of rules for the laity (a rather strict set) and another, much more permissive set of rules for the people in charge. That again kind of looks to me like functional atheism; biblically speaking, the higher you are, the stricter the standard by which you are measured, because your actions more directly implicate God’s reputation. “Not many should aspire to teach”, for example.

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  35. Nick Bulbeck: Whether [generic] you believe that particular good news or not, you can’t hide from the fact that if it doesn’t work for children it doesn’t work for anyone. The “Reformed” hard-liners clearly think that the new testament is supposed to be a kind of hybrid of Plato’s Republic and Machiavelli’s The Prince – i.e., a treatise on how to rule others and feel good about it. If there actually were any existential power in the gospel, these men (and they are invariably men) would be in trouble. If there is any truth in it they’ll be in trouble when they die, of course, but in the meantime they’re doing very well indeed out of it. I don’t think they believe in God any more than I do. But they understand the importance of looking like they do.

    So true! I am sorry that you do not believe in God. If he looked like what these folks exemplify, I would not either. I find myself in the surprising place at 55+ of reexamining everything I believe, but do not rule out God – simply the ‘official’ descriptions thereof. I am open to allowing him to be entirely different from what Christianity or any other institution or person dictates, including my own beliefs and desires. Where that will take me, I am not sure, but don’t think I could endure life if I did not have hope that someday love, truth and justice will prevail. You don’t mind if I pray that if God is real you will encounter him someday, do you?

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  36. Yes, this story is very similar to ours… Midwest church (in our case a Bible Church), a new pastor coming in who was a disciple of MacArthur, slowly restructuring the elder board, special doctrinal classes for the elite, restructuring Sunday School so that only the elders could teach (abolishing a class for women led by a woman), replacing a talented woman who had been in charge of the worship team forever… with a man, changing the church constitution, etc. They made our family an “example” of what happens when someone goes against their authority… our daughter was declared in rebellion and excommunicated for leaving her abusive marriage. We were also pushed out for supporting her… technically we resigned. We actually had been thinking of resigning anyway because the Calvinistic doctrines were being pushed more and more and we were no longer comfortable there. Too bad this is so common. Even though we now attend a (very) small church, we have no trouble understanding the people who are “done”.

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  37. truthseeker00: I find myself in the surprising place at 55+ of reexamining everything I believe, but do not rule out God – simply the ‘official’ descriptions thereof.

    I’m 5 years behind you! Otherwise very similar. I label myself “agnostic”. I’ve seen some interesting things in the past 30 years (that is, the time during which I called myself “christian”), and not all of them were bad. It would be quite wrong for me to forget, or ignore, the fact that religion both attracts and empowers/motivates wonderful people as well as the sociopaths so often (and with good reason) discussed and exposed here at Wartburg. Er – hence the existence of TWW in the first place, as you know. Not only that, but I’ve seen some interesting phenomena too – diverse wee things that at the time I considered to be miracles, clear answers to prayer, and the like. I see them differently now; or at least, I look at them in the light of the many occasions on which nothing happened or things got worse, and the question: over the long term, does “god” do any better than chance?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that “god” doesn’t do better than chance. Over the last decade I have found that I cannot trust the still small voice and it’s really stretching a point to claim that I even hear it. I don’t have spontaneous religious experiences, and everything that’s good about me is good despite, not because of, my years pursuing the christian faith. I have no reason to keep religion in my life and every reason to discard it.

    You don’t mind if I pray that if God is real you will encounter him someday, do you?

    I have every confidence that this is well-meant, and is therefore a very kind offer. Thankyou for your good wishes, and no, I don’t mind.

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  38. Janet: Neo-Reformed Evangelicalism wouldn’t exist without a stage, a mic, lots of man praise, books that are one step away from self-published, cultivating followers by feeding their egos with rock music roles, and phony titles.

    Yep. Wartburgers, if it ain’t there already, it’s coming to a church near you! New Calvinism is cranking out the young reformers with a cookie-cutter … they all walk and talk like each other.

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  39. Janet: sending a junior member of the pastoral team off to Southern Baptist Seminary to take the easiest route to a PhD for the purpose of making others call him “doctor.”

    Southern is ground-zero for New Calvinism. A PhD from there is a young reformer’s ticket to paradise. His diploma will be signed by Pope Mohler – it doesn’t get any better than that!

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  40. Root 66: Yes, they like to have everything parsed out for them and have God packaged up in a nice, neat little box with a bow!

    “Look at the God I Have All Figured Out. The God I can Control like a Familiar Spirit.”

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  41. Max: Southern is ground-zero for New Calvinism.A PhD from there is a young reformer’s ticket to paradise.His diploma will be signed by Pope Mohler – it doesn’t get any better than that!

    Pope Mohler Sits Above God,
    Barbara the Maid.

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  42. On a lighter note, I assume that you all know that some of us have bats in our belfries. It is true. We have bats in the church. Bats are a protected species. Episcopalians are not a protected species. So we have to move to the large-open-space-in-the-other-building until the state issues a permit for the people who do that sort of thing to relocate the bats. Relocate, don’t you know.

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  43. “As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God.”
    ― Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

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  44. okrapod,

    For several years now I have been re-evaluating my assumptions that there is a God who resembles the Jesus of the gospel accounts. I’ve concluded that if there is, he/she/it is neither concerned with, nor accessible to, me.

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  45. Seems to me that Ezra 9:6 is in play.

    The players lead and the leaders play while the pews look up to the pulpits and get lead to the ditches.

    I am told I am projecting my own sin in seeing the wolves in the pulpits while the sheep sit on their hands with blindfolds over their eyes and gags in their mouths.

    Time runs and runs until it runs out and the narrow gate is closed.

    I pray the little ones get protection and mercy.

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  46. Nick Bulbeck: For several years now I have been re-evaluating my assumptions that there is a God who resembles the Jesus of the gospel accounts. I’ve concluded that if there is, he/she/it is neither concerned with, nor accessible to, me.

    Well, again on a lighter note, that is a relief. First because it is based on the assumption that you/we understand the Jesus of the gospel accounts, but enough of that. But also because for a minute there I thought you might be going to say that you had bought a Corvette, taken up with a 20 year old, contracted an unmentionable disease and filed for bankruptcy.

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  47. STOP PRESS – Fitba’

    I wasn’t going to comment, but something so extraordinary happened at the World Cup that I had to mention it.

    England have just won a penalty shoot-out.

    I mean… What.







    The.







    F
    I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime.

    So, bizarrely, the quarter-final lineup is as follows:
    Friday
    Uruguay vs France
    Brazil vs Belgium

    Saturday
    Sweden vs England
    Russia vs Croatia

    IHTIH

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  48. Eeyore: It all boils down to one concept- *hierarchy*.

    Wonder if the underlying need is money – guaranteed income for 501(c)(3) employees with additional perks for the ones at the top: private plane, sabbaticals, etc.

    It’s the opposite of the days of pledge drives and faith commitments to serve, trusting God to provide for you where He guides you to serve – mission field, tentmaker, local church leader, inner city ministry, leper colony, aid worker, etc. Not glorious, but making an impact, and if you are George Müller – completely trusting God for day-to-day support.

    If trusting God to provide where He guides doesn’t work [maybe some “leaders” actually were NOT called by God into ministry], then the answer is to institute rules, demands, and power structure.

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  49. okrapod: the assumption that you/we understand the Jesus of the gospel accounts

    The whole point of the gospel accounts – indeed, unless they are all total nonsense, of the claimed Incarnation – is to be understandable to us.

    There is some circumstantial evidence that at least one early Christian leader believed that “we see God as though in a mirror, dimly”, though I agree that we have no way of knowing whether there ever was such a leader, or whether he made that claim if he existed, or what those words really mean in the first place. But whoever first said them, they simply illustrate the idea that

     Knowing every last detail about god, so much so that he is completely under our control, and
     Being perfectly incapable of ever knowing anything whatsoever about god, so much so that god himself cannot teach us anything about himself

    are not the only two possibilities.

    Nine times of of ten, in my experience, the old we-can’t-know-god chestnut is wheeled out as exactly such a strawman. The fact is that the bible, like its counterparts in other belief-systems, DOES make specific claims about god, and it IS possible to draw realistic inferences from those claims, and those inferences ARE rationally testable in the light of experience. Moreover, if one continues to claim that we don’t understand god, at ever-lower resolutions, then one eventually reaches a point where one is indistinguishable from an agnostic.

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  50. Lydia: Why do they get passes for what they did

    https://www.wral.com/man-held-on-1-million-bond-in-underage-child-sex-case/17672036/

    A Sunday School teacher predator gets a pass and empathy from his pastor right now; no wonder past predators are water under the bridge for clergy “leadership”.

    “I’m heartbroken by it all because it’s unbelievable,” said Pastor Durwood Young. “I hate if anyone is hurt on either side but the young man [predator] is ruined now. I hate it and I don’t know what else to say about it.”

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  51. Root 66:
    God bless you for sharing your story.It is heart-wrenching and heart-breaking to hear that people feel the need to leave a church they loved because of this deceptive, pre-conceived, and intentional hostile takeover of a church! The people who practice this are beyond despicable.The same thing would have happened at our own little “Midwest” church, but the new pastor was far too impatient to “win” everybody over to his schemes!He tried to implement changes that the congregation would not tolerate, but since there were yet to be elders, no one really backed him. We also exercised the wisdom that is found in a congregational government, and we would vote some of his items down. When we confronted him with his deception and that he had not been truthful with the search committee about his beliefs, he berated and condemned our church, since we were not obeying his “authority” and then he left without even giving proper two-weeks’ notice.

    I am so thankful that godly people in our congregation had their eyes opened to what was happening.We stumbled across TWW quite providentially during this time because we were looking for more information about reformed theology sneaking into baptist churches, especially through LifeWay materials.Again, I can never thank this site and others like it, who continue to sound the warning. I just hope that Southern Baptists (and other denominations in which this is happening) will get their heads on straight at the local level and cease to tolerate this nonsense!

    Additionally, I am so thankful your son has finally been baptized! Your previous pastor wouldn’t do it, because Mark Dever in his 9-Marx Weekender training manual said that children under 16 shouldn’t be baptized.Funny how Christ desires for “the little children to come unto Me.”I think I’ll stick with Christ on this one!John Piper in another one who doesn’t like to share the gospel with children, since they “may not understand” it. I find that totally repugnant and arrogant.Children oftentimes understand the Gospel better than we do, much to our own shame!

    Again, I am so thankful you have found a place unstained by this terrible, heartless ‘movement’. God bless you and your family, and stay ever-vigilant!

    Thanks so much for your comment! I am re-posting it in hopes that no one reading here will miss what you’ve shared. Glad you were able to recognize the playbook before it was too late!

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  52. Nick Bulbeck: The fact is that the bible, like its counterparts in other belief-systems, DOES make specific claims about god, and it IS possible to draw realistic inferences from those claims, and those inferences ARE rationally testable in the light of experience.

    Well said. Although with some personal experiences, they thought they had all of their arguments against God ducks in a row, and then were “Surprised by Faith”:

    https://www.amazon.com/Surprised-Faith-Skeptic-Discovers-Measure/dp/1622454138/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=FPBDFKDE64DJE9QXHC1B

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  53. Nick Bulbeck,

    On the other hand, lots has been written that we have many Jesus-es in our culture and in our religious thinking. Two thoughts.

    One thought is that if you listen to what people say there is the ‘love’ Jesus’ and there is the ‘atonement’ Jesus and there is the ‘anti religious establishment’ Jesus and there is the Jesus who said, when asked why he spoke in parables admitted it was in order that some folks would not understand him. And for those scholars who compare the gospels there is the oft repeated conclusion that the gospel writers themselves were look at things from different viewpoints. So-I think it is pretty obvious that humanity cannot decide what sort of person Jesus was.

    Secondly both the spinoff from the Jesus seminar stuff and also the new perspective on Paul stuff, not to mention the Jews and the Muslims all tell us that we have so taken Jesus (and Paul) out of his/their native time and culture and religion that we come up with wrong conclusions about a whole lot of stuff.

    So. with evidence from scholars and from different religions and from the general public I feel that I am on solid ground to say that we don’t understand Jesus. The only issue would be how close do we come and in which ways.

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  54. Nick Bulbeck,

    Congratulations on a game well played! I stayed in my classroom setting up for summer school for the entire game. When it got to the very end, I just listened. I feel bad for , but it still was an awesome game!

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  55. Lydia: Can someone explain to me why Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, still has a job in the SBC along with Mohler and Moore? I forgot all about this that made the news here in 2004. ! Why do they get passes for what they did years ago?

    Ezell and Moore are covered by Mohler. As long as Mohler continues to dodge the bullet, all his lieutenants are bullet-proof, too. It’s the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen. Mohler should have been booted out when he declared his intent to Calvinize the SBC in his 1993 convocation address at Southern. That window is now closed.

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  56. Samuel Conner:
    A troubling thing for me is the evident flexibility of calvinists (both old and new, in my experience, anyway) when it comes to the practical implications of their foundational principle of the absolute and comprehensive sovereignty of God (a principle I embrace though I draw a different set of conclusions from it).

    It seems to me that an embrace of a strong view of God’s sovereignty ought to free one to worry less about “how people perceive me” or “what might happen” and to focus on living and working rightly coram Deo. What one sees again and again in these stories, OTOH, is behaviors and practices that seem to indicate that the actual functional theology of these people is that “there is no God at all, and the outcomes have to be engineered, by hook or crook, by me and whatever associates I can recruit.”

    I think you are onto something here, Samuel. Yes, there’s clearly a theological CONFESSION of the sovereignty of God but a FUNCTIONAL and GLARING disconnect. I believe it has its roots in the 9 Marks plug and play polity of Mark Dever. Seminarians are not relying on Christ to lead his church – they are FULLY relying on executing, “9 Marks of a healthy church.” It just so happens that Dever is a Calvinist – confessionally. But, functionally, he obviously believes all matters must – authoritatively – be controlled by the elders. You could be an Arminian and execute the very same 9 Marks plug and play program of authoritarian and patriarchy governess.

    So it seems to me that there is a huge disconnect between confessed and lived theology, and that raises for me the question of “what is really going on beneath the surface?” As someone, I think it was truthseeker00, noted in a previous comment thread, it is heard to avoid the suspicion that these groups are not what the New Testament means when it speaks of the assemblies of the Messiah.

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  57. Max: Janet: Neo-Reformed Evangelicalism wouldn’t exist without a stage, a mic, lots of man praise, books that are one step away from self-published, cultivating followers by feeding their egos with rock music roles, and phony titles.

    Yep. Wartburgers, if it ain’t there already, it’s coming to a church near you! New Calvinism is cranking out the young reformers with a cookie-cutter … they all walk and talk like each other.

    Todd Wilhelm tweeted a book title: “Let Us Prey: The Plague of Narcissist Pastors and What We Can Do About It”:

    From the book: “Jesus warned of wolves carefully disguised as shepherds who would come into the local church as pastors. It is the perfect disguise from which to devour the flock one lamb at a time.”

    One could add, “… the perfect disguise from which to devour the church at large one flock at a time.”

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  58. Lydia:
    https://truthisincrisis.wordpress.com/stories/

    Can someone explain to me why Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, still has a job in the SBC along with Mohler and Moore? I forgot all about this that made the news here in 2004. ! Why do they get passes for what they did years ago?

    And more here:

    http://stopbaptistpredators.blogspot.com/2010/09/ezells-failed-leadership-on-sexual.html

    “When prosecutors subpoenaed pastor Ezell to testify before the grand jury, Ezell invoked the clergy-penitent privilege. In other words, Ezell claimed that he couldn’t be required to testify under oath (i.e., under penalty of perjury) because he claimed that, as pastor, he was entitled to keep secret whatever Bill Maggard had told him.”

    “Furthermore, as reported in the Courier-Journal, “Ezell said he did not expect the church would announce Maggard’s arrest to the congregation.””

    And this is a guy responsible for planting/resowing scores of churches. And stays in place. Remarkable.

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  59. jyjames wrote (quoting Todd Willhelm):

    “Jesus warned of wolves carefully disguised as shepherds who would come into the local church as pastors. It is the perfect disguise from which to devour the flock one lamb at a time.”

    One could add, “… the perfect disguise from which to devour the church at large one flock at a time.”

    Whether it was the Reformers’ fault or not, the church has already been splintered into thousands of separate flocks, each of whom are easy prey.

    Indeed, a great weakness of the SBC (as I see it from over here) is precisely its belief in the autonomy of the local congregation. The early church don’t seem to’ve believed in that – hence the council at Jerusalem. They believed in one church. But because the SBC celebrates its belief in the splintering of the church into many independent bodies, they are powerless to protect individual congregations from wolves even if they wanted to.

    Well, I suppose it’s better to have a wolf in the pulpit than a woman. Female preachers make God angry and force him into random acts of destructive violence. Apparently.

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  60. Nick Bulbeck: Well, I suppose it’s better to have a wolf in the pulpit than a woman. Female preachers make God angry and force him into random acts of destructive violence. Apparently.

    All notable points, Nick.
    And the one quoted here, gee whiz, you just put it right out there. I do love that we can communicate across the pond now. Thank God for the internet. They can run but they can no longer hide. The modern miracle of “What in the world is going on there?” instead of waiting for it to come out in the printed history books, approved by a major publisher. Again, thanks for your points and “speaking” freely.

    Since it is July 4th here, condolences to King George III from a rebel colony.

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  61. Wanted to add to my comments which the debs used to begin this article. I’m new to TWW since February. When I read the original article about ” ABC church” my world was rocked because I am closely connected to that congregation and have been for many years. We are not there week to week but whenever we went to ABC church we saw many deeply concerning things. TWW has helped me understand the larger context of what happened to the loving congregation I knew.

    And a few more thing to add to your playbook….

    the youth pastor didn’t leave he was let go. Why? For mobilizing the youth to start discovery bible groups around the city instead of “servicing the needs of the congregation”. Read that and weep. He is now working with a dynamic ” simple church” church planting group that’s neither hierarchical nor controlling. Read that and rejoice.

    Members were told they could not take communion unless they were baptized. But to be baptized one had to be examined by the elders AND give a public testimony/ speech at their baptism. One poor woman wanted to comply but was so terrified of public speaking she went down the street to another church which happily baptized her without extra biblical requirements. Her family eventually left.

    But there were still people not yet under the new leaders control… So one fine day without any explanation theological questionnaires were sent to their 20+ overseas workers. No questions were asked about mission, vision or fruitfulness among the lost. Soon thereafter half the overseas workers were cut from the budget because they no longer aligned theologically.

    Let’s see. Shall we talk about the talented women musicians who left because they could no longer say a word into the mic during worship?

    What about the women in the young adults group who bought into complementarianism so fully they said, “it doesn’t matter what restaurant we want. Let the men decide since they are supposed to lead.”

    Yeah, all of this was and is painful.

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  62. Fisher: But there were still people not yet under the new leaders control… So one fine day without any explanation theological questionnaires were sent to their 20+ overseas workers. No questions were asked about mission, vision or fruitfulness among the lost. Soon thereafter half the overseas workers were cut from the budget because they no longer aligned theologically.

    Do you know when this questionnaire was sent to overseas workers? Was it right before all those missionaries were brought home several years ago?

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2016/february/southern-baptists-lose-1132-missionaries-staff-imb-cuts.html

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  63. Nick Bulbeck: Indeed, a great weakness of the SBC (as I see it from over here) is precisely its belief in the autonomy of the local congregation. The early church don’t seem to’ve believed in that – hence the council at Jerusalem. They believed in one church. But because the SBC celebrates its belief in the splintering of the church into many independent bodies, they are powerless to protect individual congregations from wolves even if they wanted to.

    I have a theory that for individuals and groups a weakness and and strength can be the same thing.

    Yes, autonomy of the individual local church is not biblical and is a weakness, but we have also seen a great and very public weakness in central hierarchy in a different denomination. SBCs current problems seem to be related to a movement to establish a de facto hierarchy of power based on doctrine and money. At the same time a weakness of the other denom which I mentioned is that somehow they seem to have produced a large number of people who are ‘used to be’ and/or ‘went to school…’ but who do not believe much less practice what they ‘used to be’, so neither hierarchy nor massive size nor alleged accountability is some panacea because all those things can fail terribly.

    It looks to me like both SBC and the other group (and in the stated opinion of the other group concerning themselves) that we have all produced several generations of either the unconverted or the uncatechized or those neither converted nor catechized and who do not have the spiritual weapons to deal with the issues now attacking the church. Uncatechized is their word-I heard it from them, and I agree. SBC has done the same thing; only the vocabulary is different; SBC would I suppose say untaught. I would say unconverted might be another word to add to the ‘un’ list.

    So, what now? IMO SBC has come to an end of some road or other that they have taken. When they lost their institutions including colleges and hospitals and orphanages and more recently effective missions boards (and this has been in my lifetime) they lost what held them together, the co-operative program which they had said was what joined them together in the first place.

    So what now? I don’t know. But I think that the SBC of old is gone; this is just its death gasps. The idea of ‘conversion’ is not gone and the idea of teaching/learning/catechesis is not gone. But organizationally the thing fell apart when its institutions fell apart.

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  64. JDV: And this is a guy responsible for planting/resowing scores of churches. And stays in place. Remarkable.

    Oh yeah, and spending $60 million annually at NAMB to plant 1,000 new churches per year staffed primarily by young reformers – some fresh out of seminary. A brilliant strategy … should be called “theology planting”, rather than church planting. Southern Baptists in the pew (the majority are non-Calvinist) have little clue that they are funding their own takeover. They are too trusting of their denominational leaders – you just can’t do that any longer!

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  65. okrapod: But I think that the SBC of old is gone; this is just its death gasps.

    Most organizations go through stages similar to the human life cycle: birth, growth, maturity, decline, death. There is no doubt that a once-great denomination, the SBC is now in decline. The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is still alive and well on planet earth … not made by human hands nor subject to the agendas of mere men.

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  66. jyjames: Since it is July 4th here…

    Of course – I noticed that was coming up a few days ago, patted myself on the back for noticing, and then promptly forgot all about it. (That’ll teach me.)

    A joyous Independence Day to American Wartburgers everywhere.

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  67. Max: The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is still alive and well on planet earth … not made by human hands nor subject to the agendas of mere men.

    Amen

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  68. Deb: Southern Baptists funding their own takeover – that sounds like a great post topic!

    Do it!! Before my departure from the SBC, I was saddened to see the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering envelopes distributed in church. Saddened, because I knew most of those funds would be directed to NAMB’s church planting program – all such plants in my area are staffed by New Calvinists. I’m convinced that this is more about planting theology, than Gospel churches (unless one accepts the premise that Calvinism = Gospel). This exercise by NAMB to plant 1,000+ churches per year (predominantly New-Calvinist), coupled with IMB recalling 1,000+ veteran missionaries from foreign fields (predominantly Non-Calvinist) was just too much for this old Southern Baptist to take. So, I entered the Done ranks … done with the SBC, but not done with Jesus.

    P.S. I knew I told you that I would disappear from the blogosphere, but it’s still too darn hot to clean out the shed … so I’m trolling again this morning before the family BBQ. Happy July 4th Wartburgers!

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  69. okrapod: SBCs current problems seem to be related to a movement to establish a de facto hierarchy of power based on doctrine and money. At the same time a weakness of the other denom which I mentioned

    Is there a reason the “other denom” has become an unnamed?

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  70. Bridget: Is there a reason the “other denom” has become an unnamed?

    Politeness. Civility. And the fact that the issue is the issue-and the issue is that there is no perfect system that has not had problems.

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  71. Nick Bulbeck: A joyous Independence Day to American Wartburgers everywhere.

    In fact, that gives me a revolutionary idea. Pondering what to do for tea – remembering I’m in Mayrhofen and catering for six altogether – I decided we could have home-made (i.e. large and magnificent) burgers and fries. I may even get some “dessert” (i.e., pudding).

    Thanks all for the inspiration.

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  72. Our experiences and a few random thoughts.

    I’ll say up front I have had Calvinist preachers in the SBC that were nothing like today’s crop, and that I remember the SBC churches where I grew up before the fundamentalist dispensationalists took over also.

    The first takeover was in northern NM. To my knowledge the pastor that was then at that church has never come out as Calvinist, but has in recent years as a denom exec come out in favor of elder led or elder ruled (don’t remember which.) First thing he did when he came was depose all the women committee chairs in favor of a deacon (male) heading each committee. Women doing the work, men signing it. Yuck. He was very much into manipulating through music tempo, lighting, etc. We left.

    Second takeover was in southern Colorado, at a church heavily influenced by that first church’s pastor. Again, the people were few in number and the new dude was packing them in so it must have “been of God.” This church was talking those awful intrusive membership covenants. I point blank asked the pastor if he was Calvinist. He said he was. He also followed the worst practices of the church growth movement. We left.

    When we moved here to the Ozarks we thought we found a good SBC congregation. Still do. Think the congregation is wonderful. But we were frozen out completely without explanation by the pastor when it came to membership. His wife, the deacons, and the members were warm and keep contact to try to get us back. Not gonna happen. In retrospect his sermons did lean heavily to the “chosen” business. I find things on line that suggest again a traditional church, smallish, trouble finding a pastor, called one and are putting up with Calvinism simply because “who will we get if he leaves?” Local big SBC is going through a takeover and formally describes itself as deeply divided and in turmoil. The divide is openly Calvinism vs traditional SBC.

    Random thoughts: I have tried reading some New Covenant theology. Pretty Calvinistic in some places, less in others. But all of it presents evangelicals with two choices: covenant (reformed) or new covenant (reformed). Much of what the New Covenant people push, if you get rid of the Calvinism, is not this new theology as they claim, but is rather simple Arminian thinking trying to layer in the TULIP somehow.

    And for conservatives still in the SBC? Since our move I can haunt a Lifeway store every couple of months. I check on what Bibles and books are being given the prime floorspace.

    I find most in the SBC around here think Lifeway sells conservative evangelical books and Bibles. Let’s just say it ain’t your grandpa’s Lifeway:)

    The Conservative Resurgence is over. The liberals are firmly in charge.

    As for me and mine, we are gone. Over at a Wesleyan theology church, happily conservative without the fundamentalism and with males and females fully human.

    I would encourage any left in the SBC to sit down and write out your personal theology and beliefs. Don’t refer to or look at any BFMs or other documents but the Bible. If it looks like the new SBC, stay and enjoy.

    But if it doesn’t–and I bet it won’t–either leave or get noisy. And cut off the funds.

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  73. Nick Bulbeck: In fact, that gives me a revolutionary idea. Pondering what to do for tea – remembering I’m in Mayrhofen and catering for six altogether – I decided we could have home-made (i.e. large and magnificent) burgers and fries. I may even get some “dessert” (i.e., pudding).

    Thanks all for the inspiration.

    We have hot dogs in the fridge, a watermelon cooling in ice, and everybody except me is at the pool. Except for young son who is out in the desert in the middle east.

    Land of the free and home of the brave. We got that brave thing down pat, but we are still struggling with freedoms. But we have made peace with the Brits, there being some Brits and Aussies at the same base where young son is.

    God a message a few days back when the temp there had been over 100 there but was now nightfall, and he said ‘some Aussie out there playing the bagpipe-good sound’. Amen to that. But who knew?

    Happy peace to all.

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  74. I can’t believe this article…my heart started pumping so hard because this is almost word for word how it happened at First Baptist Rocky Mount under the master controller , Dennis Darville.
    This is scary!!!! Beware!!! It’s coming to a church near you.

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  75. Watchman on the Wall: my heart started pumping so hard

    <Complete tangent>

    As did mine at around 1 pm UTC today, but only because I was pushing hard towards a summit at just under 3000m. That’s just what 30% less oxygen does. On the plus side, the Popbergschneid on the Ahornspitze is a truly joyous ridge.

    </Complete tangent>

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  76. The seminary president who said a potential pastor should “lay their theological cards on the table” is the same guy, Danny Akin, who preached several times at FBC Rocky Mount prior to their split. After the split, ironically, he preached at the split. The split calls themselves a “plant” and located themselves 5 miles from FBC. My point is that I appreciate Dr Akin’s recommendation, but he aligned himself with the split.

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  77. Watchman on the Wall: I can’t believe this article…my heart started pumping so hard because this is almost word for word how it happened at …

    … (insert an SBC church near you)

    Before there was a “New” Calvinist, there was an “Old” Calvinist at work in the Southern Baptist Convention. To give themselves a measure of credibility, they adopted the name “Founders” and began to attempt to take the SBC back to its pre-Civil War Calvinistic roots. They even wrote a how-to playbook on how to Calvinize the largest Protestant non-Calvinist denomination in America – they called their agenda “A Quiet Revolution” (https://press.founders.org/shop/a-quiet-revolution/)

    The Founders Ministries (https://founders.org/) ignored the fact that SBC members after the Civil War distanced themselves from the Founder’s theology and for the last 150 years have been non-Calvinist in belief and practice (the majority are still that way). Then the “New” kids on the block started doing what the “Old” guys couldn’t accomplish … Calvinization of the SBC. The ole boys may not identify with the young whippersnappers, nor agree with the methodology used by their neo-brethern, but they put up with it as long as the reformed message takes root in SBC life. Yep, this is bigger than just a bunch of Generation XYZ and their generals acting badly … there has been a master plan to reform the SBC for decades.

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  78. Max: Most organizations go through stages similar to the human life cycle: birth, growth, maturity, decline, death.There is no doubt that a once-great denomination, the SBC is now in decline.The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is still alive and well on planet earth … not made by human hands nor subject to the agendas of mere men.

    Seems to me that the SBC has had dementia for several years (decades?) now.

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  79. Max,

    It’s OK to say you’re taking a sabbatical from TWW, but please don’t ever say good-bye. You’re family. 🙂

    Happy Fourth to you and the rest of the TWW family here in the States.

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  80. Peter: The seminary president who said a potential pastor should “lay their theological cards on the table” is the same guy, Danny Akin, who preached several times at FBC Rocky Mount prior to their split. After the split, ironically, he preached at the split. The split calls themselves a “plant” and located themselves 5 miles from FBC. My point is that I appreciate Dr Akin’s recommendation, but he aligned himself with the split.

    Then I would say that Dr. Akin has laid his cards on the table for all to see.

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  81. Max,

    Uh huh. And isn’t it interesting that this resurgence in calvinism after all that time ‘just happened’ to focus on some rebound against ‘the culture’ and that in the aftermath of the civil rights laws of the 60s and the whole resurgence of civil rights issues since then.

    So let me see-SBC was founded over the issue of slavery, calvinism says that some people are specially chosen by God for salvation, calvinism resurges in the old SBC right when the ‘culture’ starts saying that some people who might have previously be considered not special are now equally special under the law. That possibly could appeal to people who felt their specialness slipping away in the larger culture.

    And of course, we are still arguing as a ‘culture’ as to who all those people might be and is it limited to race, and arguing as churches the same issue. What shall we do with the unchosen and unspecial among us? I have an idea: let’s just change categories as to who is special and who is not, leave race out of it, and define as unspecial those who do not agree with our doctrines and of course women and children and all unbelievers and those who vote for the other party and those who object to our special rules since we need rules as identifiers to know who is ‘we’ and who is ‘they’.

    Why no, I see no possible correlation there at all.

    Sarcasm, in case anybody missed it.

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  82. Calvinists believe in a covenant in which God has grandchildren. They believe their infants are born into God’s family under the belief of the parents. I came out of this background. It took guts to leave. They also overemphasize the soverighnty of God which means a lack of evangelism as it’s all determined by God since eternity past. It’s an inclusive type of environment that focuses on the intellect and NOT on the power of the Holy Spirit. If it happens to your church…RUN!

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  83. Deb:
    Southern Baptists funding their own takeover – that sounds like a great post topic!

    The irony of it all. Applause to you, Deb, and Dee for exposure of this insanity. The fact that “leadership” was able to migrate from village to village and spread their dysfunction while leaving a trail of destruction in their wake is tragic. Lots of business for the therapists and counselors, sadly. Growth industry to be a social worker in the aftermath of clergy gone awry.

    However, with the internet and the vision of those who will speak out, those days are over. They can run but they can no longer hide. Not possible. Bravo.

    To think that the pew, as Max terms the rest of us, financially pays for their own destruction as coerced by the authoritarian leadership. Yes, a post of this would be excellent. Someone mentioned “Stockholm Syndrome” on a thread. Good insight.

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  84. Max: They even wrote a how-to playbook on how to Calvinize the largest Protestant non-Calvinist denomination in America – they called their agenda “A Quiet Revolution” (https://press.founders.org/shop/a-quiet-revolution/)

    This book removes all doubt that the Conservative Resurgence was anything but a Calvinist Resurgence. One of their missions is “recovery of the gospel.” Based on the introduction to this book, recovery means conversion to Calvinism:

    “Make no mistake about it. Southern Baptists are at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. The choice is between the deep-rooted, God-centered theology of evangelical Calvinism and the man-centered, unstable theology of the other perspectives present in the convention.”

    That does not leave any room for non-Calvinists. Coming soon to a SBC church near you.

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  85. Ken F (aka Tweed): We have a choice to make. The choice is between the deep-rooted, God-centered theology of evangelical Calvinism and the man-centered, unstable theology of the other perspectives present in the convention.”

    There Can Be NO Salvation Outside of CALVIN.
    (I remember Calvary Chapel saying the exact same thing — No Salvation Outside of Calvary Chapel.)

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  86. Abigail: Calvinists believe in a covenant in which God has grandchildren. They believe their infants are born into God’s family under the belief of the parents

    i.e. Election is Hereditary. If you are Elect, so your descendants Shall Be.

    Anyone remember Divine Right?

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  87. Daisy: Mark Driscoll Rocked the Charisma2018 Conference

    Tag line for Charisma Conference 2018:
    “experience a personal, fresh and transformative encounter with the Holy Spirit” … “WE NEED REVIVAL”.

    Driscoll? fresh? These people are contemptible.

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  88. I remember reading this when it was originally posted.

    As I read the story again, I wonder if these churches aren’t already primed for takeover?

    In my evangelical experience there’s a real “us vs them” mentality. Everyone outside the walls is lost at best, irrevocably damned at worst.

    This attitude creates an insular community that steadily loses touch with the surrounding society. They’re scared of everything from a Muslim takeover to the “homosexual agenda” to godless evolution.

    In my time in a pentecostal church there was a definite anti-intellectual bent. My favorite was the evil scientist puppet show.

    Most of these folks want pat answers so when a pastor comes along stating that they are not only special but “elect”, it only reinforces what they believed in in the first place. Easy answers, easy to fall in line, easy to submit to authority – relax in the safety of your own delusions.

    Before you know it, some guy rubbing your feet becomes perfectly normal.

    2 red flags:
    – the initial “meh” response to the exclusion of women and cutting of programs that engage the wider community.
    – missionary work in the heathen wilds of Miami.

    Maybe I’ll sign up to take Jesus to North Dakota.

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  89. Jesus is quite well known and doing well in North Dakota:)

    Many different denominations there, and even at one time I know Southern Baptists from Beulah had a thriving ministry to the bikers down at Sturgis.

    Upper Midwest is very Christian. Want a real mission field? Try the paganized Colorado front range. Yeah, it has focus on the family and lots of mission centers and seminaries, but the rank and file person in the area is quite…..heathen.

    Soooo glad to have escaped!

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  90. I see in the secular news that the Episcopalians in conference are going to discuss whether they want God for their Father. Well, thank goodness, because now is better than later to find out if the answer is ‘no’ while there is still time to repent. You can’t make this stuff up.

    You think the Baptists have problems-hah!

    When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear ad life stands explained. Mark Twain.

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  91. ishy,

    That was an important post, in spite of the fact that I wrote it. 🙂

    I am hoping to write about more takeover attempts as the Neo-Cals become emboldened now that JD Greear is president of the SBC.

    Folks, we need to tell your stories so we can alert others. Our brothers and sisters at FBC Rocky Mount were able to thwart a Neo-Cal takeover because some of the members were reading this blog as well as other info.

    Bravo FBCRM!

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  92. ___

    Dead Give Away: “The Stealthy Battle For The Believer’s Mind Within The SBC 501c3 Churches, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Why does the gospel as presented in John Calvin’s final edition of his ‘Institute Of The Christian Religion’ (1) ™ [c.1559] present a false Gnostic view of God Almighty, a deformed and limited message of the gospel of Christ, and a distorted view of Christ’s position within the life of the believer?

    huh?

    The zeal of those whose cause John Calvin choose to undertake during the Reformation era, swelled from a short helpful pamphlet [c. 1536] to aid his French countryman into a heretical tome [1559].

    When John Calvin first engaged in his (ICR) tome in 1536,more than likely, nothing was farther from his transfixed thoughts than the heretical volume it had became many years later.

    What?

    Is this what Calvinists are peddling by stealth in the 501c3 SBC churches today?

    KRunch!

    “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Apostle Paul, Colossians 2:8; ESV

    False teachers entering among you, who secretly bring in destructive heresies as Apostle Paul predicted?

    Gump.

    Is it any wonder why they are apparently taking away the crosses in these ‘succumbing’ churches, as well?

    (sadface)

    Jesus said: “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.”

    —> He was lifted up on the cross.

    —> He is, faithfully discharging His word, drawing all men unto Himself. 🙂

    Read Jesus’ simple story (A literactive example of the story of Jesus) : http://bookofjesus.com/BookofJesus.pdf

    Be Well.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    (1) http://www.righteousnessislove.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/John-Calvin-Institutes-of-the-Christian-Religion.pdf

    ;~)

    – –

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  93. ___

    “Rockin’ with Throckmorton, Perhaps?” (1)

    hmmm…

    “I am the Top Calvinist…Errr, the Top Charismatic ‘brand’ NOW, I am what it means to be Spirit-filled…” -Now Defunct proverbial crazy-@zz Mars Hill Calvinist Church Senior Pastor Mark Driscoll; now located in trimed lawns of Scottsdale, Arizona; http://thetrinitychurch.com
    https://markdriscoll.org

    *

    Pastor Mark ; “Out along the edges of religious sanity
    Always where the man longs to be
    The further on the edge
    The hotter the intensity
    Taken the highway to the 501c3 Charismatic Danger Zone…”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yAmMZ9Kz3hA#fauxfullscreen

    ‘Brand’ is everything, right?

    I think he’s flying by the proverbial seat of his pants, keepin’ his hand in the 501c3 religious game…

    Runnin’ away will never make him free.

    (sadface)

    Sòpy

    (1) https://www.wthrockmorton.com/2018/06/30/mark-driscoll-rocked-the-charisma2018-conference/

    ;~)

    – –

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  94. okrapod: Politeness. Civility. And the fact that the issue is the issue-and the issue is that there is no perfect system that has not had problems.

    I guess I’m just dense and don’t get the naming of some denoms, churches, and people, but not naming others . . . because . civility-politeness.

    I agree about the issue of no perfect systems. It would be nice to find some, at least, decent systems — sigh.

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  95. Bridget: I guess I’m just dense and don’t get the naming of some denoms, churches, and people, but not naming others . . . because . civility-politeness.

    I name those churches/denoms to which I belong or have belonged because of prior or current commitment and because people can talk about their own business, or where they got their own scars.

    I try to not name those groups to which I do not belong or never belonged since those people are none of my business. However, when an idea or an issue is public knowledge then I think it is fair game to discuss the idea or the issue as an idea or an issue. In other words, ideas are fair game, persons are not unless I have or did have a dog in the fight.

    Now sometimes i mess that up and get out of line, but those are the rules I try to play by. So, I have been SBC (40+ years with some scars to show for it), FWB for approx 10 years and have had IFB folks by marriage in our family, UMC for approx 10 years, and I am now an Episcopalian. I consider this enough first hand contact to enable me to say some things but not everything while naming those groups as where I got the information or where I observed something. In other words I think I ‘earned the right’ to name the name as long as I am honest and fair.

    Now, sometimes I mess up and do not quote my sources adequately, especially when I think something is common knowledge or common experience and that nothing further needs said, or when I do not want to get involved in some ugliness as has happened from time to time here on TWW.

    That is a bit much, that yes you can say this (Methodist perhaps) but no you can’t say that (Mormon perhaps) because it might start a spate of ugliness, but in fact that sort of thing has happened. Some rather appropriate stuff then gets to be off limits and where is the balance in that?

    So, I try to stick to ideas yes, people no, except where I have been there and done that personally. Except, like I said, where I mess up and break my own rules and get it wrong.

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  96. Jack: – missionary work in the heathen wilds of Miami.

    That really bugged me too.

    “He actually switched churches and left for stateside missions in South Florida, which has a non-Christian population of roughly 95% in the Miami area.”

    That is entirely untrue. While Miami, is not a hotbed of religion it is no where near 95% non-Christian. According to Pew Research Miami is around 68% Christian. 20% of Miami area adults identify as Evangelical, 11% mainline Protestant, 8% Black Protestant, and 27% Catholic.

    It reminds me of two experiences in my life.
    One as a child we were being told how important it was to give money for missionaries in a certain country. I knew that that country was predominately Catholic, so I asked why we were focusing on missions to a country where people were already Christians instead of somewhere that was Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Communist? The answer I received was they aren’t Christian, they are Catholic. I therefore did not give them any money, because while even as a child, I had problems with Catholic teachings I have never considered them to not be Christians. Secondly, I knew a youth leader who was going on about taking his group to do missions in the mountains of Kentucky. Because, and he actually said this, there are no Christians there they don’t even have churches. I pointed out to him that there are churches EVERYWHERE in the Appalachian Mountains. And, again he stated they weren’t real churches. So no I didn’t pray for his trip to be a success, instead I prayed that his eyes would be opened.

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  97. Jarrett Edwards,

    A few years back I was at a meeting at the local SBC mega here in which the issue was how to reach the lost in this area-and start one more ‘campus’ churchette. The pastor quoted statistics about the alleged dire lostness of the local population such that when we checked it out he had eliminated almost every group as non-christian including the moderate Baptists. That was the only way that he could have gotten the figures he put forth. Or maybe he was just making it up as he went along and just plain lying. Either way it was a farce and an insult to other christians. I did the math. As in the old children’s song ‘if you can’t preach like Paul…’ well I can’t preach like Paul but I can do the math.

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  98. okrapod: Uh huh. And isn’t it interesting that this resurgence in calvinism after all that time ‘just happened’ to focus on some rebound against ‘the culture’ and that in the aftermath of the civil rights laws of the 60s and the whole resurgence of civil rights issues since then.

    So let me see-SBC was founded over the issue of slavery, calvinism says that some people are specially chosen by God for salvation, calvinism resurges in the old SBC right when the ‘culture’ starts saying that some people who might have previously be considered not special are now equally special under the law. That possibly could appeal to people who felt their specialness slipping away in the larger culture.

    And of course, we are still arguing as a ‘culture’ as to who all those people might be and is it limited to race, and arguing as churches the same issue. What shall we do with the unchosen and unspecial among us? I have an idea: let’s just change categories as to who is special and who is not, leave race out of it, and define as unspecial those who do not agree with our doctrines and of course women and children and all unbelievers and those who vote for the other party and those who object to our special rules since we need rules as identifiers to know who is ‘we’ and who is ‘they’.

    Why no, I see no possible correlation there at all.

    Very astute. And, whether those teaching it are witting or not, I believe this false gospel of partiality was birthed by the author of all false gospels. Am I alone in perceiving that the major goal of the enemy is, and always has been, to deceive and destroy those who seek to know and follow God?

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  99. jyjames: Ken F (aka Tweed): The choice is between the deep-rooted, God-centered theology of evangelical Calvinism and the man-centered, unstable theology of the other perspectives

    Do God our way, or be a spiritual dolt.

    That was pretty much the mindset of my former (Calvinist) pastor. His interpretation, theology, beliefs, way of doing things was THE way, and all else fell deeply short. All other denominations, belief systems and even those within the denomination with a slightly different view were mocked, condemned and vilified. My poor dear elderly mother, who began attending when she moved up to live near me, and hadn’t the slightest interest in or respect for Calvinism, would always ask ‘Why the constant condemnation of all others?’ and ‘Why can’t he just believe what he believes, and allow others the right to do the same?’

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  100. Deb,

    The two events were not related since none of ABC church’s overseas workers were with the IMB. Another reason it was duplicitous on the leaders’ part to promote SBC membership under the rubric of “our cross cultural workers can get cooperative funds”.

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  101. truthseeker00: ‘Why can’t he just believe what he believes, and allow others the right to do the same?’

    Because he might get Left Behind. Say, that could be a swell book, or even a movie! Go, Hollywood!

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  102. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    When I did some initial research on the trajectory of the takeovers, I sensed a more long term strategy. That doesn’t mean the players were all the same people over time but that it has been nothing but a huge power play for more than 40 years using cultural tactics. Quiet Revolution is more than interesting. Most YRR rank and file had never heard of it. Yet chapter 4 outlined what they did. That just showed me how normalized it had become.

    My “general” overview of the trajectory using these tactics are labeled thusly,

    Conservative
    Calvinist
    Social Justice (this is the latest)

    Hayek once observed that if you have to put another word in front of Justice then it’s not Justice. Lol

    There are always those in every mass movement who don’t get the leaders (power Brokers) unwritten memo that “we are moving on”. (Numbers and cultural constructs demand it now)

    The power Brokers aren’t talking about Calvinism anymore. It ran its course but consolidated the power in money and resources needed and was quite successful in doing so.

    We are not talking about honest leaders of principle or integrity so let’s not pretend. (And dare I say some within power broker circles are strategizing for Mohler’s Pope title)

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  103. Deb: Yes he has.

    Akin’s sons started Baptist 21, an SBC group promoting the New Calvinist agenda. Most of the young reformers who attend the SBC annual meetings go there for the B21 program and only head to the convention floor to vote for items and people benefiting the reformed movement. The main program is not cool enough for them, so they head to B21 or the coffee shops. The B21 panel at SBC-Dallas this year included: Russell Moore, Matt Chandler, Al Mohler, and Danny Akin. How cool is that?!

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  104. It is always the same group of people speaking and presenting. They have approximately 85 million resources and sources of content online (using hyperbole to make a point lol – but it *is* a lot). They are also daily pumping out thoughts and content on Twitter and social media.

    People are paying or jumping over themselves to go sit and hear the same men say the same kind of things over and over.

    It is to establish ministry monopolies and status.

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  105. Daisy:
    From Roger Olson: A Challenge to Evangelical Complementarians
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2012/01/a-challenge-to-evangelical-complementarians/

    What’s really interesting is the comments, which are mostly, “I’m a complementarian, but my wife doesn’t have to submit if it offends her conscience.” To which Olsen replies on almost all of them, “That’s egalitarianism.”

    Many people are so afraid of saying they are anything other than what church people tell them to be.

    I am certain there are a lot of patriarchal husbands who would still expect the wife to submit like in Olsen’s example. They might not just want to admit it.

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  106. Jarrett Edwards: “He actually switched churches and left for stateside missions in South Florida, which has a non-Christian population of roughly 95% in the Miami area.”

    Counting everyone who WASN’T part of his own church/denom as Heathen?

    That was also the normal shtick of every local Calvary Chapel Clone.
    Usually prefacing a Call To Win Souls — “WORK FOR THE NIGHT IS COMING!!!!!”

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  107. linda: Upper Midwest is very Christian. Want a real mission field? Try the paganized Colorado front range.

    You mean Colo Spgs, AKA The Christianese Redoubt?

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  108. Thersites: Tag line for Charisma Conference 2018:
    “experience a personal, fresh and transformative encounter with the Holy Spirit” … “WE NEED REVIVAL”.

    Like all the 3,147 Revivals before this one?

    Speaking of Charisma, last week my writing partner told me about some Pentecostal woman in his area who’s now doing Spiritual Warfare seminars at $49 a seat (plus Buy Her Book) on How To Strangle Mermen for The LORD.
    I am not making that up, and neither is he.

    Her rationale goes like this:

    * ALL Sea Monsters and water cryptids are REAL — AND ALL ARE DEMONS.
    * Mermen (the most common type of physical water-demon) can attack you anywhere, even in the middle of a desert.
    * But her book and seminar tells how to defeat them by strangling them. Only $49 a pop plus the cost of her how-to book at the lobby table.
    * Said woman was on the staff of Charisma Magazine, but left because she got too over-the-top for Charisma (think about that).

    Again, I am NOT making this up. Reality is too weird.

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  109. okrapod,

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, the situations do get unbalanced at times. It was that way for me even when I named a denom I had been part of. My experience of denom was poopooed. Very disheartening.

    I guess I don’t see a problem naming a denom. A denom is not a specific person, and all person’s in a particular denom do not always adhere to the same doctrines of said denom lock, stock, and barrell.

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  110. emily honey: They are also daily pumping out thoughts and content on Twitter and social media.

    Oh yeah! The young reformers anxiously tune into Twitter each morning for the latest Piper Point, Mohler Moment, Dever Drivel, Mahaney Malarkey, etc. They then re-tweet these one-liner gems across cyberspace. Here’s a recent jewel from Piper: “God is sovereign over our willing in such a way that he decisively governs our willing and it is really our willing, and we are responsible.” Huh?!

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  111. emily honey: People are paying or jumping over themselves to go sit and hear the same men say the same kind of things over and over.

    All the time hoping to touch the hem of their garments as they pass by, get signatures on the latest books by their masters, and take home selfies with the great ones to project at their churches. Christendom is so much more exciting than it used to be since the New Calvinists showed up!

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  112. Max: Here’s a recent jewel from Piper: “God is sovereign over our willing in such a way that he decisively governs our willing and it is really our willing, and we are responsible.” Huh?!

    I’ll see your “Huh?!” and raise it to “What the heck?!?!” Either Piper is off his meds, or he’s just far too deep for me! 🙂

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  113. Root 66: Either Piper is off his meds, or he’s just far too deep for me!

    Oh, but across the New Calvinist Kingdom, shouts of “Wow Daddy Wow!” ring out.

    Root 66, we would get it if we were more intellectual. I guess we will just have to settle for being spiritual. 🙂

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  114. Root 66,

    Folks like you and me are rare and endangered species. While we search the Scriptures daily to see if it be so, the new reformers are searching Piper tweets to see if it be so.

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  115. Max: Oh, but across the New Calvinist Kingdom, shouts of “Wow Daddy Wow!” ring out.

    My wife and I were joking about this just the other day. This New-Calvinist crowd is like a modern manifestation of a beatnik!

    Isn’t it funny how that they claim to cling to “sola scriptura”, yet they hang on these gurus’ every word?

    Since the Word tells us that God has chosen the foolish things to confound the wise, then perhaps it’s better that we DON’T “get it” ! 🙂

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  116. Max: Here’s a recent jewel from Piper: “God is sovereign over our willing in such a way that he decisively governs our willing and it is really our willing, and we are responsible.” Huh?!

    MERLIN AMBROSIUS!
    ENOUGH PRACTICING THE CURSE OF BABEL!
    YOU HAVE AN N.I.C.E. BANQUET TO ATTEND!

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  117. Max: Root 66: Either Piper is off his meds, or he’s just far too deep for me!
    Oh, but across the New Calvinist Kingdom, shouts of “Wow Daddy Wow!” ring out.

    Again, Merlin’s getting too free with that Curse of Babel.

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  118. Max: emily honey: They are also daily pumping out thoughts and content on Twitter and social media.
    Oh yeah! The young reformers anxiously tune into Twitter each morning for the latest Piper Point, Mohler Moment, Dever Drivel, Mahaney Malarkey…

    …Dopamine surge, Dopamine hit, connect to the Dopamine pump…

    Check this TED Talk re Internet Porn Addiction and brain chemistry and see if the pattern doesn’t sound similar:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU

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  119. Max: “God is sovereign over our willing in such a way that he decisively governs our willing and it is really our willing, and we are responsible.”

    Pure word salad. I thought it was satire until I found the actual tweet. I wonder if he is purposely trying to see how far he can push the joke until he finally gets called on it. If this is not his plan, then he is truly delusional.

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  120. Ken F (aka Tweed): Pure word salad. I thought it was satire until I found the actual tweet. I wonder if he is purposely trying to see how far he can push the joke until he finally gets called on it. If this is not his plan, then he is truly delusional.

    I think if you combine all his weird tweets together, it’s quite clear that he’s completely off his rocker. But I don’t even think you need more than 2 or 3 of them to come to that conclusion.

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  121. ishy: I think if you combine all his weird tweets together, it’s quite clear that he’s completely off his rocker. But I don’t even think you need more than 2 or 3 of them to come to that conclusion.

    He’s been seduced by the dark side of the force.

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  122. linda:
    Jesus is quite well known and doing well in North Dakota:)

    Many different denominations there, and even at one time I know Southern Baptists from Beulah had a thriving ministry to the bikers down at Sturgis.

    Upper Midwest is very Christian.Want a real mission field?Try the paganized Colorado front range.Yeah, it has focus on the family and lots of mission centers and seminaries, but the rank and file person in the area is quite…..heathen.

    Soooo glad to have escaped!

    I wonder how many of those “heathen” are donee who got tired of heavy pharisaical burdens laid on them by the likes of the teachings of Focus in the Family, missions centers, and seminaries.

    To echo you but with the opposite application: So glad to have escaped.

    Done. So very done.

    While I have encountered a few decent people who call themselves Christians, some here at TWW and some IRL, I have a very dim view of most of those who call themselves by the name of Christ. Like the bumper sticker I saw once, “Jesus, save me…from your followers.”

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  123. Max: Oh yeah!The young reformers anxiously tune into Twitter each morning for the latest Piper Point, Mohler Moment, Dever Drivel, Mahaney Malarkey, etc.They then re-tweet these one-liner gems across cyberspace.Here’s a recent jewel from Piper: “God is sovereign over our willing in such a way that he decisively governs our willing and it is really our willing, and we are responsible.”Huh?!

    Emperor’s New Clothes

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  124. linda: Want a real mission field? Try the paganized Colorado front range. Yeah, it has focus on the family and lots of mission centers and seminaries, but the rank and file person in the area is quite…..heathen.

    I’ll take a kind and thoughtful heathen over a cruel and clueless christian any day of the week and six-ways-to-sunday.

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  125. Muff, sadly, the home invasions and other not nice shenanigans do prove that heathens are no more likely to be kind and thoughtful than are Christians. They can be quite cruel and clueless, especially if you get near their grow or stash. Or they think you have one. Or you don’ espouse whatever their political agenda is, be it conservative or liberal, republican or democrat, whatever.

    Loved Colorado when we moved there. In the last two or three years it has become….a different place. Cartels, crime “groups”, etc. abound.

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  126. Headless Unicorn Guy: make that used to be Christian redoubt. Yes, you still have some oddball “successes” there in the form of charismatics even most charismatics are skeptical about. And while there are still some of those mission centers, etc, they certainly do not dominate the population.

    But truly, the legalization of recreational pot did not have the desired effect. Rather, even young children are testing positive for it (sidestream smoke and edibles), and the hoped for middle class pot tourist isn’t beating down the door to get there so much as the professional pick pockets, those being released from prisons around the country, and professional beggars coming in “families” and working towns. Don’t try panhandling without paying them off, you might not survive it.

    Add that to our home grown wiccans, warlocks, new agers, and various cults and yeppers, it really is a mission field. Of course, church planters want to go to Springs or Ft Collins or Boulder. Not Trinidad or Aguilar or Pueblo or Rocky Ford or Holly.

    Most in ND are some sort of Christian: Catholic, Lutheran, various Protestants, Orthodox. Most in Colorado are not. Or are so in name only, not practicing their faith.

    Got enough of the crime and the refusing to take available jobs and the reek of pot everywhere, even invading our homes due to AC (swamp coolers.)

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  127. Hi, from Colorado Springs, yes our homeless population has increased dramatically due to legalized pot,and kids are smoking their parents pot and coming to school. I work for one of the school districts and it is a problem. And yes there are families of panhandlers. I did not vote for legalization as I suspected this would be the result. I belong to a wonderful SBC church and hope and pray that it stays that way. I agree SBC is being destroyed by the Calvinists. Each church however is autonomous and cam choose its own way. What’s really interesting to me is that Colorado was originally only an Northern Baptist Church by agreement but that the Southern Baptists now greatly outnumber the other Baptist. groups. If necessary I could easily go Assembly of God. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I am somewhat recently from Los Angeles and MacArthurs Master seminary grads have messed up several SBC churches there. It’s like the plague. Maybe in time we will build up a resistance to it.

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  128. Jeffrey: It’s like the plague. Maybe in time we will build up a resistance to it.

    Unfortunately, the evolution of disease resistance takes time. We are on the front end of the Calvinization of the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC pendulum swung back 500 years and had John Calvin riding on it when it returned. Generations X, Y and Z have been infected by it, not yet building up enough resistance to send the pendulum back the other way. What comes after Generation Z?

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  129. does anyone know anything about “accountability groups”? is this part of it? The takeover I mean…any words would be appreciated. They ran a film about them at fbcjax yesterday morning…(i still have a relative there)

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  130. Ct: does anyone know anything about “accountability groups”? is this part of it? The takeover I mean…any words would be appreciated. They ran a film about them at fbcjax yesterday morning…(i still have a relative there)

    The New Calvinists use various names for weekly home meetings of members: small groups, core groups, cell groups, LifeGroups. I’m not familiar with any that are using “accountability groups” to refer to those meetings. That term goes back to days of “The Promise Keepers” where men would meet weekly, confess their sins to each other (accountability), be reminded to be gooder, then go back out and do the same thing again. Since The Promise Keepers movement no longer exists (after being BIG for years), there’s hope that the New Calvinist movement will also become history.

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  131. Ct: takeover … fbcjax

    Jerry Vines was pastor there for several years. He was well known in SBC ranks for his traditional “whosoever will may come” message – thousands came to Christ under his preaching. If Heath Lambert can pull off a New Calvinist takeover of FBCJax, it would not only be a huge jewel in the movement’s treasury, but would earn Lambert a stained glass window somewhere.

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  132. Ct: does anyone know anything about “accountability groups”?

    These were all the rage starting a few decades ago. Ironically, there is zero biblical support for these groups.

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  133. Muff Potter: ishy: I think if you combine all his weird tweets together, it’s quite clear that he’s completely off his rocker. But I don’t even think you need more than 2 or 3 of them to come to that conclusion.

    He’s been seduced by the dark side of the force.

    Or Tweeting new Inerrant SCRIPTURE! ready-cut into 140-character Verses.

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