Highpoint Church Needed Police and Armed Guards to Conduct a Family™ Meeting

“When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When things feel extraordinary, strive for ordinary. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.” Kristin Armstrong

Last night, I went to bed early. I was put on a short term med that unfortunately kept me up half the night. That time was well spent in praying for all of you and shaking my head at how weird this whole Highpoint thing has become.

Let’s review what has happened. Some of what I discuss is due to conversations with current members and friends of members. If you think that is weird, what do you think of the guy who is speaking for the members of the church who is not even a member of the church?

Andy Savage stepped down due to the testimony of Jules Woodson.

I believe that Andy Savage was the pastor who drew in the people. He was charismatic and preached seeker driven topics like marriage and the family. I also believe that there was little depth in his preaching which led to some people in his church using the story of David and Bathsheba as a reason for him to be allowed to continue as a preacher. Sadly, the church membership did not seem to understand that David was not a *priest* but a political leader.

Also, a number of members pointed out Paul’s persecution of Christians and he got to be an *Apostle.* Folks, read your Bible. Paul never killed or persecuted Christians after he became a Christian. He was also not put into a position of leadership for a couple of years while he studied and learned about the faith.

Savage attracted people with his focus on Highpoint being the *perfect church for imperfect people.” Once again, the lack of Scriptural depth in this motto, oft quoted by those who felt he should stay on, led to a misunderstanding of the difference between us all being sinners who are redeemed by Jesus and Scriptural admonitions for the behavior of those who are pastors.

Chris Conlee and church leadership demonstrated theological schizophrenia by leaving the SBC and The Gospel Coalition and gets prophesies about his leadership from kids at IHOPKC

I believe that many people at Highpoint had no idea they were Baptists and then they weren’t so I guess it didn’t matter. They would also have been Reformed in their theology if they were members of TGC. I wonder how many of them could recite the *doctrines of grace?* This theology ping pong led to confusion in the church membership about what the church actually teaches. This led to what I now call Highpoint memes

  • “You are worthy, Andy, you are worthy!”(Screamed by a worship team member.) No, Jesus is worthy and that is why we are redeemed.
  • “This is a perfect church for imperfect people.” No, the church is imperfect place for imperfect people. That means pastors and leaders can sin and cause serious harm to the church as can its members. As one of my pastors said “We are positionally holy but are functionally still sinners.” Some sins disqualify people from leadership. Some sins are also crimes and must be dealt with legally. Sins can be forgiven but but that does not mean the pastor should be restored to the pulpit. The restoration is back to church membership.

I wrote with great concern about Conlee’s flip flop theology here.

Highpoint has lost over 1,000 attendees since January.

In a short video clip posted by Tammie Terry which is now not functioning ( I will see if I can find it elsewhere), a leaders told a member that the church had lost 1,000 members. This was probably the reason for closing one of the satellite churches. https://m.facebook.com/groups/208350303073099?view=permalink&id=210907979483998

Oddly, if you have the wherewithal to watch the links to the two videos posted later, you will find the church leaders reported they are in great shape financially. I have a feeling that all is not as wonderful as they claim.

Rumor #1: Chris Conlee’s “accept it or get out or I’m leaving” vision tome

Here is what is being circulated. Apparently a few weeks or so before Conlee was given the left boot of fellowship, he allegedly presented some staff and the Board of Trustees/elders with a huge vision statement that he believes God is telling him to enact. Some have reported it being as large as 70 pages.

Allegedly, the leadership was given three options:

  1. Accept it and implement all of it.
  2. Anyone who doesn’t accept it needs to leave.
  3. It the church doesn’t accept it, then Conlee will leave.

The leadership responded and said it was time to part ways. What I wouldn’t give to read that entire vision statement!

Rumor #2:Chris Conlee was given the boot because he had hired a couple of African American pastors/leaders and the leadership of the church is racist.

This statement is deeply concerning to me because I do not think racism figured into Conlee’s resignation. Racism is alive in our country and I do not think that it should be bandied about cheaply because members are upset they lost the leader.

Before people start spreading ugly rumors about people, first look at the history of all that has happened. The church was not led well in the weeks after Jules Woodson’s story was released.

Police and guards were called in to quell the pandemonium at the private (of course it was secretly taped) family meeting.

Take a look at these reports of the meeting.

The Deebs have been informed by readers at TWW that nothing is more contentious than a Baptist church business meeting.  Well, maybe they are correct since Highpoint, for a short time, was a member of the SBC but were not when this took place.

Here is a link to the family meeting which is posted on Facebook. To save yourself some time, proceed to the 40:00 mark, grab your popcorn and listen in. One man could be heard being dragged out of the meeting screaming something like “I have served this church every Sunday for 2 years.” I was not impressed.

The section that actually made me laugh was the voice of the poor Board member who was quietly speaking over the screams “People, we are a Christian church.* Last night, at 2 AM, while lying awake due to my new meds, I actually laughed out loud recalling his calm voice in the midst of the chaos. It woke my husband who muttered something about the *med side effect.*

My impression of the meeting

I believe that there is an effort underfoot to bring Conlee and Savage back. My thoughts on this matter were bolstered by this next video.

Brad McDaniel, who is not even a member of Highpoint, started a Facebook group called A United Highpoint.

Here is a link to his introduction on the page. It is worth a listen. He claims he is a *counselor* and he loves Highpoint and that is why he is qualified to lead this group while at the same time saying he is not a member.

Here are some things that I thought I heard. Remember, this was after the family meeting from hell.

  • “We are all good guys.” Seriously? Even the ones who were screaming? No, we are all sinners and many members behaved badly.
  • “There were bad mistakes and decisions made.” Presumably these were done by the other leadership, not Conlee or even Savage?….
  • “These decisions can be undone.” This is when I began to believe that he is involved in some sort of attempt to bring Conlee and Savage back. This guy, who never bothered to join this church, is the one talking about undoing decisions?
  • “There is no place for former members to go because Highpoint is unique.” “People need to stay here.” Ummm-seriously? This is a classic line often used by pastors to fake members into thinking that there is nothing out there for them. This sort of statement could be perceived by some, like me, to sound like there is a cult forming. I have news for Highpoint people. There are great churches out there and Highpoint is not *unique.* I am surprised that a *counselor* would make such a statement.
  • He likened Conlee’s forced resignation to “kicking Dad out.” This man claims to be a counselor. if so, he should be aware that many spiritually abusive churches tell their congregation to look at the pastor as “The Dad” and the members as “The Kids.” We wrote about this when we first started blogging in 2009. He called Conlee *The Dad* once again when discussing his resignation, saying that there was no transition period. “Dad just left.” This is a red flog and everyone should think about it.
  • He said that “the church does not belong to the elders.” Note how he words this. Large churches often put the decision for hiring and firing into the hands of the elders. Did he read from the church constitution and bylaws? No. My guess is that such decisions are spelled out. It seemed like he was plotting a revolution.
  • He claimed that this is not about Savage. He claimed that this is wasn’t about money. He claimed that the church has $800,000 as disposable cash and has $2 mIllion in savings which the banks will not allow them to touch. Yet, they lost 1,000 members and had to shut down a satellite? I don’t think the whole story is being told.
  • He did say that Chris sent out a *new vision* a couple of weeks ago. Then the leaders told Chris to go after reading it.
  • He claims that 1,000-2,000 members attended the meeting. Does anyone have an accurate count?

My impressions from Brad McDaniel’s “I am not a member but I am a counselor “video.

  • It sounds like there is a revolution in the works. I hope the church leadership has their ducks and their trebuchets in a row.
  • It is odd to have a non-member placing himself in this leadership role.
  • Chris Conlee is not “like a Dad.” Be careful, folks. This is a classic cult talk. You are not the children. you are grownups and should be treated as such.

Parting Thoughts

If Andy Savage had had an ounce of humility and compassion, he would have called Jules Woodson and asked for forgiveness when she sent him the original email. She would have forgiven him and none of this would have happened. It was his inability to deal with his past and apologize that caused serious problems for his church.

Chris Conlee mishandled the aftermath. The standing ovation for confessing a sin will mark Highpoint for many years to come. In the aftermath, Conlee had many opportunities to teach Biblically about the issues that were affecting in the church. He didn’t. Instead, he attacked the people who dared to speak the truth (bloggers) while running around getting prophecies for himself and writing vision statements summed up by threats- accept it or Conlee is gone.

This, folks, is why that meeting happened and this is why Highpoint has some guy who isn’t even a member attempting to do an end run around the church leadership.

Sadly, Highpoint isn’t unique in the least. It has turned out to be just another typical, bickering, evangelical church without a rudder. Hopefully they will find a thoughtful, theologically stable pastor who gets it.


Comments

Highpoint Church Needed Police and Armed Guards to Conduct a Family™ Meeting — 201 Comments

  1. Bridget: Oh, my goodness! Insanity to message two.

    While the pastors elevate their own importance, the story above certainly calls into question the quality of their teaching.

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  2. I doubt Conlee would want to return to a church that is in the shambles that High Point is increasingly becoming. The FB group will be no more effective in uniting HP than the ones that sprung up in the Mark Driscoll disaster.

    Perhaps Driscoll, Conlee and Hybels could get venture capital from Ambien and start a new work: Highpoint Hill in the Willows Church.

    Stain glass portraits of these three could be installed above the pulpit to draw thousands and provide inspiration for multiple standing ovations.

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  3. It’s still stunning to me how much this church has managed to mangle the response of Jules’s testimony every step of the way.

    I expected Savage to try to get out of responsibility again, but I never would have guessed that her standing up to a celebrity pastor would result in at least 4 pastors resigning (I honestly lost count and may be wrong!), church branches closing down, and people screaming and being dragged out of a church 6 months later in the midst of police. Those were some flimsy foundations at that place, and I genuinely feel sorry for the regular attendees who are now wondering what just happened and why no one took responsibility between 6 months and 22 years ago.

    BTW – Notice how the Facebook group changed its name from “Highpoint Leadership Crisis Group” to “A Unified Highpoint”? The Brad video starts off sounding like someone trying to talk down a Mexican standoff. Even in the movies those things never end well.

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  4. David: a celebrity pastor … and people screaming and being dragged out of a church 6 months later in the midst of police.

    From dynasty to mob rule in one swoop, like the French Revolution.

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

    Thanks, Hybels and the Cool Trending Dear Leaders who led local fellowships to “Showtime!”, aka Cirque du Church, or Pageant and Prayer. Casino Show “Christians”.

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2008/fall/13.39.html

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  5. “It is odd to have a non-member placing himself in this leadership role.”

    Perhaps he’s an interim counselor working his way to being a Teaching Counselor.

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  6. jyjames: From dynasty to mob rule in one swoop, like the French Revolution.

    An apt analogy, a people unpracticed in ruling over themselves tend to botch the job when the rare opportunity arises. Authoritarian leadership apparently provides a very poor breeding ground for responsible self governance. Contrasted with revolutionary France, our ancestors here in the colonies were largely self governed before their war of independence.

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  7. My, my, my. I wonder if Chris Conlee announced that he is an apostle now and, as such, no longer needs a board of elders. Well it is sad to see things ‘descend into chaos’ as was so aptly put. It just goes to show that the size of the church, the size of its budget, popularity or reknown does not translate to its spiritual maturity. Hoping for better things ahead for the members but I’m going to guess this will be a stumbling block for many and hard to get over. Trust must be won painstakingly but can be lost in an instant and once lost, it’s gone.

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  8. SiteSeer: apostle now and, as such, no longer needs a board of elders

    An apostle is an autocrat? Where is that in the Bible?

    In Acts, the disciples were told to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them.

    The Holy Spirit came bestowing 18 gifts that collaboratively make up the Body of Christ (Rom 12, 1 Cor 12, Eph 4). The 18 collaborate equally. The hierarchy is the entire unit under God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and following Jesus.

    Hierarchy in marriage, in the church, in the Trinity. Some people require hierarchy in every human relationship.

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  9. jyjames: Hierarchy in marriage, in the church, in the Trinity. Some people require hierarchy in every human relationship.

    It’s clear-cut, doesn’t require a lot of hard brain work to live by (obey orders from higher up, give orders to down below), and as long as you are at/near the top of the pyramid it’s a pretty sweet gig.

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  10. JDV:
    “It is odd to have a non-member placing himself in this leadership role.”

    Perhaps he’s an interim counselor working his way to being a Teaching Counselor.

    </b

    That's funny.

    Also, Lawdy this got ugly.

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  11. Like so many situations exposed on WW, and many other situtations/events/incidents, time is a great way to really find out what is really going on. What started as Dee says above, Andy Savage not responding to an e-mail, has now turned into the civil war within Highpoint… reminds me of the stupid “break in” of the DNC that led to Nixon resigning, or the “its all about Jesus” Mars Hill Church that melted down when Mark Driscol left….

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  12. The longer I live the more I believe the church needs pastors who use microscopes (committed to looking deeply into God’s Word) rather than telescopes – looking at a grand future vision where they see themselves as the revered visionists/ LEADER. I long for a pastor who understands their role as studying God’s Word and being lovingly present for those under their care. Conlee’s70 page document will probably reveal a telescope mentality.

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  13. FWIW, as much as my theory is that this is in response to the staggeringly bad response in the past 6 months (and beyond), if Conlee is going around talking about his apostolic coverings, prophecies, and other nonsense, I wouldn’t be surprised that the leadership just decided to cut their losses after the past year of disasters (and the bad PR that arises when you give a standing ovation to the abuser in your midst) and told him it was over.

    And so you know who Conlee is endorsing with IHOP: Here’s Mike Bickle on Jim Bakker’s TV show talking about a “prophecy” from Bob Jones. Jones is a man Bickle knows full well was using his position as a church leader to sexually exploit women.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rExwuePliDY

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  14. “It has turned out to be just another typical, bickering, evangelical church without a rudder.” (Dee)

    Where Jesus is not the rudder – the primary authority in a church – this is the way it always ends. Where men are worshiped more than the King of Kings, it never turns out well.

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  15. My gut feeling is that somewhere out there are good, highly qualified people that could do a much better job of leading/pastoring at Highpoint. But somehow the real people who are actually qualified don’t get picked to be the pastors because they aren’t as good looking. Or they aren’t as smooth talkers. So then we end up with this mess that could have been avoided.

    There’s plenty of highly qualified people out there that will never get the chance to utilize their pastoring gift because they aren’t part of the “in” crowd.

    Benny Hinn’s nephew Costi Hinn said in an interview that he was offered a pastoring job at a church affliated with John MacArthur’s group. Being at that church caused him to switch to Calvinism. Then the head pastor left for several weeks and told him to teach the Sunday sermons from a John MacArthur commentary. Think about that for a moment. Was the job offer based on his qualifications or his last name? Would that same job offer have been made to a woman? Probably not considering the photo posted online showing the men of the church gathered around John MacArthur, drinking in every word.

    The church needs to start choosing pastors based on real qualifications not on charm, popularity contests, or looks.

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  16. I remember some Highpoint defenders posting here during the Andy Savage debacle. Nasty bunch.
    This church had a poisonous culture. I feel absolutely nothing for them.
    No doubt some will jockey for position to get their hands on whatever church assets are left.
    Tax free of course.

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  17. The best thing Highpoint Church can do now is close its doors, in my opinion. It seems that the DNA has been thoroughly corrupted with a cultish/leader-worship mentality; clearly those who are pro Andy & Chris will poison the waters of any group that remains because they are sold out to the brand and not to Jesus. I suppose they are like the leaders they idolize in that respect.

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  18. Jack: I remember some Highpoint defenders posting here during the Andy Savage debacle. Nasty bunch.

    The nasty springs from the fact that they are not taught well at the church. It is fun and games and no one gets down to the hard business of learning to ac t like a Christian. In the recording you hear the elder/leader/whatever saying “People, we are a Christian church.” The fact the had to say it was indicative of the level of maturity in that congregation.

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  19. Burwell: The best thing Highpoint Church can do now is close its doors, in my opinion

    The reason it won’t is that there is a building, land, and some $$$ (not a lot but still there.) It is ripe for a takeover.

    We need to get together. Let me know when you have some time.

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  20. David: Those were some flimsy foundations at that place, and I genuinely feel sorry for the regular attendees who are now wondering what just happened and why no one took responsibility between 6 months and 22 years ago.

    This sums it all up nicely.

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  21. SiteSeer: t just goes to show that the size of the church, the size of its budget, popularity or reknown does not translate to its spiritual maturity

    The maturity level of the church was surprising to me during the discussion over whether Andy should continue in the pulpit. They all pulled out superficial Scripture “Paul persecuted Christians,” “David came back” without carefully thinking about what they were saying. I plan to post an article about Bathsheba and David that was written by a seminary professor. It shows that few people really understand what they are reading beyond the superficial.

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  22. Eeyore: as long as you are at/near the top of the pyramid it’s a pretty sweet gig.

    And the boyz are out there, looking for the $$$$. A few years back, a man told me that one of Ed Young Jr’s low level musicians showed up at his church, applying for the lead worship leader position. He demanded a large sum of money, well into the 6 figures. They told him to take a hike.

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  23. David: BTW – Notice how the Facebook group changed its name from “Highpoint Leadership Crisis Group” to “A Unified Highpoint”?

    For real? Better branding.

    What a mess this is. Handle things right from the beginning next time, folks.

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  24. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    Good comment. All Savage had to do was muster up the courage to say “I’m sorry” and “How can I help you.” I know it would have gone away. Jules and I have spoken about it. So many things that happen in the church could be solved with a simple humbling “I did it and I am so sorry.”

    These guy won’t do it. Instead they attempt to smear the victim and teach the people in the church to do the same which is what happened in this situation. Then, they alluded that the bloggers were from *Satan,* the ultimate diss! Imagine what this teaches the people in the church.

    Then Conlee runs around, getting prophesies about his stellar future. Again, what does that teach the people in the church. Those poor people have been miserably failed and they don’t even know it.

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  25. LeRoy: The longer I live the more I believe the church needs pastors who use microscopes (committed to looking deeply into God’s Word) rather than telescopes – looking at a grand future vision where they see themselves as the revered visionists/ LEADER. I long for a pastor who understands their role as studying God’s Word and being lovingly present for those under their care.

    Totally agree. I still remember the phone call I received from pastors who told me they had received the crazy letter last year. I was so afraid they would be mad at me. Instead, one of the first things out of their mouths was “Are you alright. Are you safe?” I started crying because they showed they cared for me.

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  26. David: if Conlee is going around talking about his apostolic coverings, prophecies, and other nonsense, I wouldn’t be surprised that the leadership just decided to cut their losses after the past year of disasters

    David: Here’s Mike Bickle on Jim Bakker’s TV show talking about a “prophecy” from Bob Jones. Jones is a man Bickle knows full well was using his position as a church leader to sexually exploit women.

    Good comment. I don’t know much about Bob Jones and did not know about sexual abuse of women. I need to do some reading on this. Thank you for bringing it up.

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  27. Avid Reader: Benny Hinn’s nephew Costi Hinn said in an interview that he was offered a pastoring job at a church affliated with John MacArthur’s group. Being at that church caused him to switch to Calvinism.

    I did not know about this. Could you tell me how to read about this?

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  28. Wow, did that meeting ever descend into chaos.

    I have seen more than one occasion when a congregation and an ousted (or to be ousted) pastor did not want to follow their own constitution and bylaws. They just wanted what they wanted.

    This is true of human personalities. It can happen in a church, a business, or even a country.

    It takes the adults in the room to not walk away in situations like this.

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  29. JDV: “We are all good guys.”

    ‘My dudes!’ This is like Francis Chan not,wanting to hear anything about Rick Warren ‘cuz he knows him.

    This was the exact response I faced when trying to encourage loved ones to reexamine questionable actions of a pastor. ‘But we know him’. Duh, every abuser is known by someone.

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  30. jyjames: An apostle is an autocrat? Where is that in the Bible?

    In Acts, the disciples were told to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them.

    The Holy Spirit came bestowing 18 gifts that collaboratively make up the Body of Christ (Rom 12, 1 Cor 12, Eph 4). The 18 collaborate equally. The hierarchy is the entire unit under God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and following Jesus.

    Hierarchy in marriage, in the church, in the Trinity. Some people require hierarchy in every human relationship.

    And said apostles were called to ‘take up your cross and follow me’. Note that he did not ascend into a celebrity pulpit with choirs of angels (yet) and the wild applause of the crowds. True apostles follow a humble leader, who chose to give up all authority and glory and deliberately, in great sorrow and suffering, lay down his life for those he loved. Have these guys even read the book?

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  31. ___

    “The Results Of Sudden Eviscerated 501c3 Miscreant Leadership Host, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Experiencing sudden 501c3 spiritual de-compression?

    Has social media rained on your parade?

    huh?

    The New Testament specific biblical qualifications for the Christian church elders apparently no longer matters, and by detailed inspection/trend analysis haven’t for quite some time now. The admonishment to holiness apparently also goes begging, as well.

    What?

    Churches have become sheepskins, shingles, and privately run 501c3 corporations, where the parishioners are called ‘giving units’ ™. Where absolute power corrupts absolutely; and parishioners worship their leaders as their their leader’s words become the unwritten laws governing these 501c3 church.

    They use to call this tyranny.

    Welcome to the new 501c3 church order…

    “I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of My mouth! You say, ‘I am rich; I have grown wealthy and need nothing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked…”

    The Holy Scriptures belong to Jesus’ church and were meant to be read, examined, copied, and distributed freely without cost. Now greed has made that nearly impossible.

    ATB

    Sòpy
    ___
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XvGmOZ5T6_Y

    ;~)

    – –

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  32. jyjames: From dynasty to mob rule in one swoop, like the French Revolution.

    Next comes the reaction against the Mob, restoring order (and maintaining control), i.e. Le Grand Terreur.

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  33. Thersites: Authoritarian leadership apparently provides a very poor breeding ground for responsible self governance. Contrasted with revolutionary France, our ancestors here in the colonies were largely self governed before their war of independence.

    An even worse example: The HAITIAN Revolution.
    A “KILL THE MASTERS! KILL THEM ALL!” uprising where the white Master caste the rebel Slaves (whose average life expectancy after getting off the ships was around five years) exterminated and/or drove out had made sure that in The Old Order THEY were the only ones who knew how to run things. Result — after the bloodbath, Haiti melted down into a Failed State that 200+ years later hasn’t recovered.

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  34. “There were bad mistakes and decisions made.” Presumably these were done by the other leadership, not Conlee or even Savage?….

    “Mistakes Were Made(TM)…”

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  35. dee: I still remember the phone call I received from pastors who told me they had received the crazy letter last year. I was so afraid they would be mad at me. Instead, one of the first things out of their mouths was “Are you alright. Are you safe?”

    They recognized it immediately as “Crazy Stalker Poison Pen”.
    It probably wasn’t the first of its kind they’d gotten.

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  36. dee: I plan to post an article about Bathsheba and David that was written by a seminary professor. It shows that few people really understand what they are reading beyond the superficial.

    I look forward to the article. No offense to the good prof., but I’m wondering if he too has missed the much larger life lesson in the Hebrew Bible apart from the usual juicy-sordid tales of David and Bathsheba.
    I’ve heard em’ all back in the day and they do get tiresome.

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  37. Eeyore: It’s clear-cut, doesn’t require a lot of hard brain work to live by (obey orders from higher up, give orders to down below)…

    The Great Chain of Being.
    Highborn and Lowborn, Kissing Up and Kicking Down.
    Boots on Faces all the way to the Bottom. “DEUS VULT!”

    and as long as you are at/near the top of the pyramid it’s a pretty sweet gig.

    “I Got Mine,
    I Got Mine,
    I DON’T WANT A THING TO CHANGE
    NOW THAT I GOT MINE!”
    — Glenn Frey, “I Got Mine”

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  38. Lea: David: BTW – Notice how the Facebook group changed its name from “Highpoint Leadership Crisis Group” to “A Unified Highpoint”?
    For real? Better branding.

    ChEKA rebrands as OGPU rebrands as NKVD rebrands as KGB, but the Gulag Liquidation Quotas are still met without interruption.

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  39. dee: These guy won’t do it. Instead they attempt to smear the victim and teach the people in the church to do the same which is what happened in this situation. Then, they alluded that the bloggers were from *Satan,* the ultimate diss! Imagine what this teaches the people in the church.

    Many of the people being taken advantage of have been warned to stay away from those nasty bloggers who are trying to take down The Church’. That’s how I found you. Anyone willing to take on the mighty power of the Institutional Church was worth looking into! Last time that happened, (Anabaptists) they were branded as heretics (for daring to challenge the ‘official’ church) but the truth of their words was heard nonetheless, leading more or less to the downfall of the monolithic, authoritarian Institutional Church.

    Sort of seems like we have a new wanna be monolith in our midst, growing its ‘kingdom’ via subtlety and deception. I appreciate the voices being raised to point out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.

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  40. In my mind, what this boils down to is these good people were duped into thinking that Andy Savage was a good guy, had high morals, was a Spiritual Giant. Then Jules Woodson comes along and speaks plainly. “He made me give him oral sex.” And Savage does not contradict it. It creates huge cognitive dissonance in these sheeples’ minds, and they can no longer function as rational, thinking, serious Christians. Or maybe they weren’t that in the first place?

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  41. truthseeker00: True apostles follow a humble leader, who chose to give up all authority and glory and deliberately, in great sorrow and suffering, lay down his life for those he loved. Have these guys even read the book?

    Well said. Many of today’s mega pastors don’t know their people. They are walking podcasts.

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  42. Avid Reader: But somehow the real people who are actually qualified don’t get picked to be the pastors because they aren’t as good looking. Or they aren’t as smooth talkers.

    Bingo. Add nepotism to the pile too – how many pastors kids/son in laws/etc get chosen? Church is not and should not be the ‘family business’ where everybody kids become vp’s.

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  43. Bob M,

    Cognitive dissonance is at play. It is very hard for people o admit that they have been bamboozled by their pastor who they put up their next to Jesus. Sadly, the actual message of the gospel should help them to accept that fact that we are all sinners, even their beloved leader.

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  44. Pingback: Video: Chaos at Highpoint Church Business Meeting

  45. “People, we are a Christian church.”

    Translation: I demand that YOU peon people act like good little minions while I stand up here on stage, all puffed up in my eldership position, and refuse to answer your peon people questions honestly on an open mic.

    Crazy making at its finest.

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  46. jyjames: Hierarchy in marriage, in the church, in the Trinity. Some people require hierarchy in every human relationship.

    And why is that? Because hierarchy gives control to whoever is at the top by handing out little ‘mini-kingdoms’. What is patriarchy (complemntarianism) but an appeal to the flesh, promising men the ability to get whatever they want – as long as they, in turn, give their ‘leader’ whatever he wants.

    Isn’t this exactly how the corrupt Roman Church worked? The priests were granted great lands, castles and wealth, and guess what sort of men that attracted? It really seems as if we are seeing a rerun of the past. And the protests and challenges to these abuses did not, btw, start with Luther or any of the other Magisterial Reformers, who more or less marched in and announced themselves the new leaders of the ‘protestants’.

    Long before their ‘Reformation’ of the Institutional Church, small groups of powerless men and women who simply wanted to be like Christ, threatened the official Church by trying to quietly do church their own way. They were not organizing riots, or even loudly demanding change. They merely attempted to withdraw from the ‘One, true church’ and its authoritarian rulers, and follow the quiet leading of the Spirit of God; to have church their own way.

    This could not be allowed. Take away the monolithic authority, let people realize that you don’t need ‘priests’ to tell you what scripture means or what God wants from you, and you endanger the Enterprise.

    It seems as if we face a very similar situation. Try explaining to a lifelong churchgoer that you don’t need the Institutional Church, or their sacraments to be a part of the kingdom of God. Trust me, you will soon know what being called a ‘heretic’ feels like.

    We have been persuaded that some self-asserted authority has the right to proclaim ‘Truth’ and to demand allegiance and submission to their every dictate, and we don’t even think to question it.

    What did Jesus say? ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. And yet mere men dare to assert that we need them to show us, even grant us entrance into this way, truth and life, under threat of discipline or dismissal.

    Most people would say they no longer fear being cast into hell without official church baptism or other sacraments, and yet these are the very things being reinstituted. No pay, no play. No baptism, or at least membership covenant – no ‘communion’ or fellowship with Christ. Whatever happened to “See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?” No official, anointed ruler necessary, no membership covenant to be signed. Believe and become a child of God.

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  47. Headless Unicorn Guy: Notice how the Facebook group changed its name from “Highpoint Leadership Crisis Group” to “A Unified Highpoint”?

    Btw, is it just me? When I listen to the recording linked to, there is no commotion. Did it get edited out?

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  48. Lea: Bingo. Add nepotism to the pile too – how many pastors kids/son in laws/etc get chosen? Church is not and should not be the ‘family business’ where everybody kids become vp’s.

    Okay, and if you can go there, add in kids, relatives, etc. who have been traumatized by abuse, and all of a sudden you have people who can be manipulated (trauma-based mind control), blackmailed or cast off as scapegoats when needed.

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  49. Remnant: “People, we are a Christian church.”

    Translation: I demand that YOU peon people act like good little minions while I stand up here on stage, all puffed up in my eldership position, and refuse to answer your peon people questions honestly on an open mic.

    Crazy making at its finest.

    Again, this was missing from the recording I listened to. Can anyone link to one that contains it?

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  50. Is it possible that Highpoint Church was just tainted from the beginning and should have never been founded? Just Wondering.

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  51. As requested—here’s the link to the eye opening interview with Benny Hinn’s nephew:

    https://player.fm/series/the-badchristian-podcast/ep-395-benny-hinns-nephew-tells-all

    Some notes:

    1) Costi Hinn describes how he’s been receiving threats since coming forward with concerns about his famous uncle.

    2) Describes that his uncle won’t talk to him anymore but told his parents to get him to shut up.

    3) Describes how his wife was the one that opened his eyes to what was going on. She was asking hard hitting questions that really got him thinking. Hmmmmm……she’s also the one who brought him to the church which is connected to John MacArthur’s group.

    The irony is that this group is heavy on the idea of men leading women—but they’re totally ok with a woman leading Benny Hinn’s nephew into their Calvinism theology. Wasn’t Costi supposed to be leading her, according to their theology? Do they believe that women are more easily deceived?

    4) Says that his family at first didn’t like the lady that he fell in love with because she was asking too many questions. She was invited to a Hinn event and didn’t seem to be influenced by their attempts to influence her.

    5) Costi hints at there being more info about his uncle that hasn’t been revealed yet.

    6) He alleges that his uncle would go on big spending sprees and then pressure people into giving big offerings.

    7) The best part of the interview is Costi describing his grandmother—a godly woman—boldly confronting the whole family over being headed in the wrong direction. He describes her not hesitating to tell them what they don’t want to hear. That made a big impression on him as well.

    8) Costi sounded genuine when describing his prior involvement and how his perspective had changed. My humble opinion is that he deserves some respect for being willing to really open up about his past mistakes and what he learned behind the scenes.

    9) He mentions how this church just suddenly offered him a pastoring job. That sounded a little strange. Makes you wonder if the job offer had anything to do with his famous last name?

    10) Costi describes how he was thrust into teaching when the head pastor suddenly left and put him in charge of teaching the Sunday morning sermon. Says the pastor left him with a John MacArthur commentary on the Bible to preach from. Reading that commentary really started him converting to Calvinism.

    11) Costi’s Facebook page shows a picture of the young men of the church gathered around John MacArthur—drinking in every word. My question is where the women invited to learn theology too? Or were the women banned from that meeting because they are only supposed to learn theology from their husbands?

    12) I want to commend Costi for listening to the wisdom of his grandmother and his wife. Hopefully he will still listen to his wife later down the road when she’ll probably end up clashing with John MacArthur’s rigid views on women! She sounds too smart not to end up asking more questions on theology.

    Just some food for thought. 🙂

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  52. Truth seeker, I don’t know how to link but I just relistened to it and it’s still there, it’s linked in the above article as “Here is a link to the family meeting” scroll to minute 41.

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  53. Headless Unicorn Guy: “Showtime!”, aka Cirque du Church, Pageant and Prayer. Casino Show “Christians”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwSTe9uit48

    The lyrics are play-by-play Mega Church worship.

    – Yes, this show is playing this weekend at a Mega and its satellites with online transmission, near you. Free to enter in and take a seat but drop your soul to the snake oil on the stage. Note, the folks in the MHP audience who surrendered their souls. Only those without a soul applaud a predator on stage. They might as well be worshipping King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol on the plain of Dura in Babylon, Daniel 3:

    “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends
    We’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside
    There behind a glass stands a real blade of grass
    Be careful as you pass, move along, move along

    “Come inside, the show’s about to start
    Guaranteed to blow your head apart
    Rest assured you’ll get your money’s worth
    Greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth
    You’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo
    You’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll, oh

    “Right before your eyes we pull laughter from the skies
    And he laughs until he cries, then he dies, then he dies

    “Come inside, the show’s about to start
    Guaranteed to blow your head apart
    You’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo
    You’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll, oh

    “Soon the Gypsy Queen in a glaze of vaseline
    Will perform on guillotine, what a scene, what a scene
    Next upon the stand will you please extend a hand
    To Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Dixieland, Dixieland

    “Roll up, roll up, roll up
    See the show

    “Performing on a stool we’ve a sight to make you drool
    Seven virgins and a mule, keep it cool, keep it cool
    We would like it to be known the exhibits that were shown
    Were exclusively our own, all our own, all our own

    “Come and see the show, come and see the show
    Come and see the show
    See the show”

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  54. dee,

    “It is fun and games and no one gets down to the hard business of learning to ac t like a Christian. In the recording you hear the elder/leader/whatever saying “People, we are a Christian church.” The fact the had to say it was indicative of the level of maturity in that congregation.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    on the other hand, “act like a christian” can mean anything the person of influence says it means.

    in this hipoint case, the impression i got was that “we are a christian church” means you believe what the leaders tell you simply because they are the leaders.

    my impression was “act like a christian” at hipoint means turn off your own reasoning and intuition, keep sweet, keep smiling, and keep quiet.

    to the extent that the outspoken voices were reacting to leaders’ untransparency, truth embroidering, if not lies in the secret exchanges of information, i was cheering them on.

    ….if i could go back in time and do the same…

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  55. Bridget:
    So Chris doesn’t comprehend that wherever he goes he’s taking the tarnished image with him?!

    I bet IHOPK won’t want him without Highpoint. It was probably the church they were after, not him.

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  56. Muslin fka Deana Holmes:
    Is it possible that Highpoint Church was just tainted from the beginning and should have never been founded? Just Wondering.

    I mean..it was founded by Chris and Andy, right? Andy was a predator and Chris sounds like he has some childhood trauma that may not have been properly processed before deciding to be a pastor. That’s not the most amazing start.

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  57. Thersites: Authoritarian leadership apparently provides a very poor breeding ground for responsible self governance.

    Authoritarian leadership: the apostle-autocrat transforms “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me – Jesus” (Luke 9, Matt.16) to Suspend your brain, then surrender your will to the appointed-anointed-apostle-autocrat for his high level spirituality – which is actually turning his group into zombies.

    Self governance: read the Bible yourself, listen to the Holy Spirit yourself, and carefully audit with filters the church, other Christians, and all appointed-anointed-apostles (leadership) present and past (i.e., Calvin). Vice versa: Self governance has little tolerance of authoritarian leadership.

    The Dynastry to Mob Rule transition of MHP. Stage holds court, crowd emotionally reacts. The crowd is wired for this; their way of assembly in practice weekly. Suspend mind and heart and react, as if this is some sort of magical spiritualism before the Majestics on the stage. It’s snake oil. Authoritarianism creates zombies. Zombies are transfixed by their gods.

    Same crowd chose Barabbas over Jesus. Fast forward 2K yrs, Willow Creek and MHP. “You are worthy,” to the predators. “Crucify him,” regarding Jesus.

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  58. Avid Reader: Benny Hinn’s nephew Costi Hinn said in an interview that he was offered a pastoring job at a church affliated with John MacArthur’s group. Being at that church caused him to switch to Calvinism. Then the head pastor left for several weeks and told him to teach the Sunday sermons from a John MacArthur commentary. Think about that for a moment. Was the job offer based on his qualifications or his last name? Would that same job offer have been made to a woman?

    I heard that interview too and was shocked by that! He said some very interesting and good things, but sounded like he went from one authoritarian system to another.

    I think your point is well taken. Seminary isn’t perfect, but I have a buddy who is a Lutheran pastor who says what seminary did was teach him to read. Learning to read texts as they are in context is a really important skill, and it’s why people like C.S. Lewis, excellent masters of literature, have such good insights into the Bible. Also, just understandingng that your way of being Christian isn’t the only way of being Christian is very helpful perspective for a pastor. These are so much more important qualities that having a big name and drawing a crowd (unless you’d rather build a business rather than a church).

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  59. dee: I plan to post an article about Bathsheba and David that was written by a seminary professor. It shows that few people really understand what they are reading beyond the superficial.

    I listened to a number of sermons puting David on a pestestal. There is this nagging voice in the back of my mind saying to myself “Look at David’s family relationships. It is in utter ruin. I don’t want to be like him as a parent or husband”. I look forward to read the paper about David and Bathsheba.

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  60. Ricco: your way of being Christian isn’t the only way of being Christian is very helpful perspective for a pastor

    Mantra of a theology prof in college: “Everybody does their own theology.”

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  61. dee: The maturity level of the church was surprising to me during the discussion over whether Andy should continue in the pulpit. They all pulled out superficial Scripture “Paul persecuted Christians,” “David came back” without carefully thinking about what they were saying. I plan to post an article about Bathsheba and David that was written by a seminary professor. It shows that few people really understand what they are reading beyond the superficial.

    That would be fascinating.

    I have never heard a discussion that accurately described the situation. I cring at Bathsheeba sermons because they always turn into a sex talk.

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  62. Lea: …Andy was a predator and Chris sounds like he has some childhood trauma that may not have been properly processed before deciding to be a pastor. That’s not the most amazing start.

    This describes so many people in ministry. The foundation for much of ministry culture we see today is built on attracting and enabling both/and those two sets of people, or people who are both. The predator is more rare, but if you also include emotional and psychological and financial predation exuding from narcissism, rather than only sexual, it covers a lot more people.

    When I was in ministry and seminary and as social media/book publishing/Christian fame and monetizing faith really took off, I asked this about myself in response to childhood trauma and repression.
    What was drawing me and shaping me into ministry, the right things? Did I want to be a part of what I saw as ministry culture? To me the culture seemed largely dysfunctional and based on shady and poor values. And it has and enables cult like behavior and lack of self awareness. All of that is enmeshed together.

    I determined that ministry needs to be redefined, and so do th roles and purposes of ministers themselves. There is so much wrong.

    Also came to the same conclusions about much of the theological education world, though that’s a slightly different world than mere ministry culture. But so much overlap and based on similar values. It has a specific dysfunction and enablement of dysfunction in its own right.

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  63. jyjames: “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me – Jesus” (Luke 9, Matt.16) to Suspend your brain

    Side note about suspending God-given attributes like agency:

    For some: Luke 9 and Matt 16 translate: Exalt your gender, take up your slave, and embed with the Patriarchy Crowd, suspending one’s God-given Collaborative Self.

    Because Collaborative Self is neither noble nor male nor godly (for men).

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  64. dee: I plan to post an article about Bathsheba and David that was written by a seminary professor. It shows that few people really understand what they are reading beyond the superficial.

    Please do! I struggle with that story especially in light of Psalm 51 where David says “against You (God) and You alone have I sinned.” He didn’t just sin against God. He sinned against Uriah, Bathsheba, the community, the nation, his wife(s), his children.

    It’s an incredibly complex story

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  65. jyjames: Authoritarian leadership: the apostle-autocrat transforms “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me – Jesus” (Luke 9, Matt.16) to Suspend your brain, then surrender your will to the appointed-anointed-apostle-autocrat for his high level spirituality – which is actually turning his group into zombies.

    Self governance: read the Bible yourself, listen to the Holy Spirit yourself, and carefully audit with filters the church, other Christians, and all appointed-anointed-apostles (leadership) present and past (i.e., Calvin). Vice versa: Self governance has little tolerance of authoritarian leadership.

    The Dynastry to Mob Rule transition of MHP. Stage holds court, crowd emotionally reacts. The crowd is wired for this; their way of assembly in practice weekly. Suspend mind and heart and react, as if this is some sort of magical spiritualism before the Majestics on the stage. It’s snake oil. Authoritarianism creates zombies. Zombies are transfixed by their gods.

    Same crowd chose Barabbas over Jesus. Fast forward 2K yrs, Willow Creek and MHP. “You are worthy,” to the predators. “Crucify him,” regarding Jesus.

    This!

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  66. emily honey: This describes so many people in ministry. The foundation for much of ministry culture we see today is built on attracting and enabling both/and those two sets of people, or people who are both. The predator is more rare, but if you also include emotional and psychological and financial predation exuding from narcissism, rather than only sexual, it covers a lot more people.

    When I was in ministry and seminary and as social media/book publishing/Christian fame and monetizing faith really took off, I asked this about myself in response to childhood trauma and repression.
    What was drawing me and shaping me into ministry, the right things? Did I want to be a part of what I saw as ministry culture? To me the culture seemed largely dysfunctional and based on shady and poor values. And it has and enables cult like behavior and lack of self awareness. All of that is enmeshed together.

    I determined that ministry needs to be redefined, and so do th roles and purposes of ministers themselves. There is so much wrong.

    Also came to the same conclusions about much of the theological education world, though that’s a slightly different world than mere ministry culture. But so much overlap and based on similar values. It has a specific dysfunction and enablement of dysfunction in its own right.

    Emily, I think you are pondering some of the same things I am. As I have looked at the ‘christian’ narcissists in my life, it has increasingly seemed to me that narcissism is really just ‘sin’. It is putting self before others. If we repeatedly exchange the truth for a lie, putting our own desires before the needs of others, and pretending otherwise, are we not becoming the hopeless reprobate described in Romans? When I ask myself ‘How can there be so many narcissists in the world’, the answer seems to suggest that narcissism is just sin fully enshrined.

    Our flesh always tempts us to put our own desires above the well-being of others. Is narcissism just a complete surrender to our own passions/needs, with no regard for the well-being of others, even those we love the most?

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  67. Ricco: It’s an incredibly complex story

    There is also the drama of David’s early life. He didn’t have a good relationship with Jesse, if he was sent out as a shepherd boy. Then the drama of his later life, and how the conflict between his sons split Israel.

    Those poor Highpointers [or whatever they’re called]. The speaker at the meeting actually said, “This is not about sexual immorality.” Really? Kindof sounds like that was where this thing started. Man, what a meeting.

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  68. dee:
    Good comment. I don’t know much about Bob Jones and did not know about sexual abuse of women. I need to do some reading on this. Thank you for bringing it up.

    There’s a lot out there that I simply wish was better written and better sourced. That said, Bickle says a lot about meeting Jones in the 80s in the aforementioned clip. He was a big-named prophet in Bickle’s circles in the 80s and early 90s. After he fondled a few women and told them to undress so he could better “read” them they got rid of him….only for him to turn up at Bethel Church in Redding (birthplace of Bethel Music and Jesus Culture) and Morningstar Church in the new century.

    He died a few years ago, but his “prophecies” were frankly incoherent ramblings — so much so that he had an interpreter follow him around and tell people what he “really” meant. None of the pastors at Bethel or Morningstar seemed concerned about his behavior or history of abuse. Morningstar even put together a monument in his honor!

    Granted, the scandal was in the early 90s so it’s long-forgotten history for many, but here’s some sources to get started on this man and his enablers at IHOP-KC and Bethel. They include such phrases from Church Leaders as “Separate from the incident, he’s a sweet guy” and “our first concern is the restoration of Bob’s relationship with God.” Nothing has changed in 30 years.

    https://www.religionnewsblog.com/16929/minister-removed-after-confession-of-sexual-misconduct

    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/3721-bob-jones

    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Bob_Jones_documentation_1.pdf (PDF of correspondences and transcripts, details allegations)

    Conlee couldn’t have picked a worse horse to back if he tried.

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  69. truthseeker00: it has increasingly seemed to me that narcissism is really just ‘sin’. It is putting self before others. If we repeatedly exchange the truth for a lie, putting our own desires before the needs of others, and pretending otherwise, are we not becoming the hopeless reprobate described in Romans? When I ask myself ‘How can there be so many narcissists in the world’, the answer seems to suggest that narcissism is just sin fully enshrined.

    True. Narcissism is the opposite of “Love your neighbor as your self,” and as you indicate, at full throttle.

    In the collaborative circle of church (under God, equal to each other), when a person stands on a platform even an inch higher than others (figuratively) – it’s off. No longer neighbor as self. Now we have a god, small g, of a group.

    I’ve been on a school board working as equals. The CPA oversaw finance, the Chair oversaw meetings and agendas, PR handled media, the attorney legal matters, HR rep oversaw personnel and if there was an issue used law enforcement, etc., all on equal/level ground, running the district.

    Picture the church as HS-gifted (NOT “annointed” or “appointed” – code) adults working together on level ground. The debilitating power structure (suppressing members’ agency in the name of surrending to God) in the church is confounding. Twisted. Is it a jailhouse for inmates? A nursery for toddlers? A castle with serfdom? A plantation with slaves? An autocrat-led hermit kingdom?

    Noting that Dee and Deb get emails from “inside” individuals, not all have sold their soul tho’ the hermit kingdom is voluntary. Somehow folks have landed in the land of a despot – by takeover or from the beginning or wandered in looking for God and ended up with god, agency gone. Like Max notes, however, they sell out THEMSELVES in such a network.

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  70. truthseeker00: They merely attempted to withdraw from the ‘One, true church’ and its authoritarian rulers, and follow the quiet leading of the Spirit of God; to have church their own way.

    This is a complicated topic. I am trying to imagine what Christianity would look like today if Christians never organized into a “universal” Church. For one, we would not have a Bible because the NT was canonized by the organized “Church.” Without the Church there would many more conflicting gospels and epistles. In the first few centuries of Christianity there were quite a few heresies that were addressed by the organized Church through bishops, priests, and laity meeting in large councils. Without decisions being made on what is and is not “orthodox” in those venues there would be many more competing christianities than there are today, so many that it might not be feasible to assess which ones are closer to the truth. And even without some kind of central organization there would still be local organization because humans are pack animals who cannot resist organizing.

    History shows that the church was hierarchical with bishops, priests, and deacons by the very early 2nd century (see letters of Ignatuius and 1 Clement). Whether we like it or not, we cannot separate the Bible and Christianity from the hierarchical organization that formed it.

    Hierarchy or not, sinful people will find opportunity to be abusive. I suppose if all the bishops, priests, deacons, pastors, elders (and whatever else we call them) truly behaved and loved like Jesus the hierarchy would not be a problem.

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  71. truthseeker00: Emily, I think you are pondering some of the same things I am. As I have looked at the ‘christian’ narcissists in my life, it has increasingly seemed to me that narcissism is really just ‘sin’. It is putting self before others. If we repeatedly exchange the truth for a lie, putting our own desires before the needs of others, and pretending otherwise, are we not becoming the hopeless reprobate described in Romans? When I ask myself ‘How can there be so many narcissists in the world’, the answer seems to suggest that narcissism is just sin fully enshrined.

    Our flesh always tempts us to put our own desires above the well-being of others. Is narcissism just a complete surrender to our own passions/needs, with no regard for the well-being of others, even those we love the most?

    Without feeling any remorse for it

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  72. Then there is this about David.

    Did God tell Samuel to anoint David for future king? Yep, or at least the story says that it was God’ s choice. Did God know at the time about the problems with David and his behavior? Foreknowledge at least?

    If God knew, and chose David anyhow what does that say about God?

    Or we could say that God did not know, but then what does that say about certain theological aspects regarding God?

    And how did it happen that there developed after David’s reign that messianic prophesies that the messiah would be a descendent of David, given the issues with David and his kids. Did nobody care? What is with this ‘son of david’ thing about Jesus? Is there not a character issue here?

    I have some ideas about all this which can get quite disturbing.

    When Dee posts about David it ought to get quite interesting.

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  73. truthseeker00: Our flesh always tempts us to put our own desires above the well-being of others. Is narcissism just a complete surrender to our own passions/needs, with no regard for the well-being of others, even those we love the most?

    Nothing wrong with the flesh and its desires so long as they’re brought into balance with responsible trade-offs.

    Narcissism is only a polar extreme of no balance and no trade-off. Asceticism (fueled by Greek dualism) is the other extreme to which Western Christianity seems most prone to.

    The older I get, the more convinced I become that certain aspects of Judaism make much more sense than Christianity with regard to my fleshly existence in the here and now.

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  74. Ken F (aka Tweed): History shows that the church was hierarchical

    Complex, you mention. Yes. Strictly speaking, hierarchy arranges. Puts in order.

    The problem with hierarchy among people is when order translates into importance and suppresses agency of others. This is particularly problematic when the 2nd commandment of Jesus is to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.

    Specific expertise is not more important or higher in value (more useful in specific situations but not in value as a human being). 1 Corinthians 12. All gifts equally important and valued by God, regardless of historical record, awards, titles, degrees, and accolades. (A real apostle is never autocratic.)

    Is hierarchy about people arranged in position to each responsibly do their job (which is self-control)? Or, is it about control of others, using them, and passing the buck?

    It was the hierarchy of Savage that entrapped Woodson, assaulted her, then silenced her – followed by years of silence of ALL “leaders” in church hierarchy that were informed. That’s not just people in orderly positions doing their job. It’s predation from a power-infused hierarchy, with power flowing from the top down until the teen at the bottom is nothing but a piece of meat at every level of the churches where she was involved, and even to this day at MHP who applauded the criminal predator who assaulted her.

    Simon Sinek writes about leadership in this regard, “Leaders Eat Last”.

    David Marquette, US Naval Officer, transformed his leadership in the military: “Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders”. He calls it empowering leadership. He challenges the paradigm of the hierarchical organization by tearing down pyramids, creating a flat organization, and developing leaders, not followers. Everyone in position, engaged intellectually, taking responsibility.

    I doubt most women involved in the church have felt that they worked with empowering leadership. Regarding church history, TWW posted a theologian whose mistress did his writings, I believe, but he took the credit? Or, maybe I found that after researching a post.

    The power-infused hierarchal nature of leadership throughout church history brings to mind polygamy in the OT. The tribes of Israel came out of polygamy. Yes, it was there. What if Jacob had had only one wife? We don’t second guess that regarding what is now the Nation of Israel. However, are we going back? Not that I know of.

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  75. okrapod: I have some ideas about all this which can get quite disturbing.

    When Dee posts about David it ought to get quite interesting.

    Bring it on okrapod (if and when dee does a David and Bathsheba article). I love it when ideas get disturbing and run counter to ‘conventional wisdom’.
    It’s good to sight along different vectors (points of view) without necessarily signing onto them.

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  76. dee:
    Good comment. I don’t know much about Bob Jones and did not know about sexual abuse of women. I need to do some reading on this. Thank you for bringing it up.

    Dee, it’s possible you are thinking of the Bob Jones in South Carolina. This Bob Jones was a “prophet” associated with Mike Bickle and the Kansas City IHOP movement.

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  77. Bob M: This Bob Jones was a “prophet” associated with Mike Bickle and the Kansas City IHOP movement.

    https://www.religionnewsblog.com/16929/minister-removed-after-confession-of-sexual-misconduct

    And he rebounded. A number of red flags in the article: Outside of the misconduct, he was great, they say.

    From a link in the article:

    “One of the Kansas City Prophets. Seen by some as the most controversial of the Kansas City Prophets. Was removed from the Vineyard Anaheim because of sexual improprieties, which consisted of encouraging women to undress in his office so they could stand ‘naked before the Lord’ in order to receive a ‘word.’ Still active today, with the abundant support of Rick Joyner. Jones is a major proponent of Latter Rain and Manifest Sons theology.”

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  78. jyjames: Is hierarchy about people arranged in position to each responsibly do their job (which is self-control)? Or, is it about control of others, using them, and passing the buck?

    I think this is the key question. If people would lead like Jesus it would be great. But this is rare, so we often get manipulation and control instead. I don’t believe hierarchy in itself is bad, but it can be used very badly. When used well it can be a blessing. Same thing with the size of an organization. My worst church experiences have been in small groups, which makes me reluctant to jump into a home church setting. But I am sure that it can be done well also.

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  79. Ken F (aka Tweed): Hierarchy or not, sinful people will find opportunity to be abusive. I suppose if all the bishops, priests, deacons, pastors, elders (and whatever else we call them) truly behaved and loved like Jesus the hierarchy would not be a problem.

    Honest question here. What was Jesus referring to when he said it would not be so with you? Was he saying that is was okay to have authority over others as long it doesn’t rise to some level of lording it over others? I may be conflating authority with hierarchy but if some form of hierarchy is okay then what is the criteria for when it is done right?

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  80. Thersites: Honest question here. What was Jesus referring to when he said it would not be so with you? Was he saying that is was okay to have authority over others as long it doesn’t rise to some level of lording it over others? I may be conflating authority with hierarchy but if some form of hierarchy is okay then what is the criteria for when it is done right?

    Great question. Brings to mind that Complementarianism is great as long as it is “benevolent” – whatever that means. (The guy is nice so he gets final say?)

    If hierarchy is ranking, it seems Jesus was against it.

    If hierarchy is in place to oversee the church to make it safe (free from child abuse and harassment of women) – fail (few exceptions on the institutional level) with more fails coming to light every day.

    Replace hierarchy with “Everyone is a mandatory reporter and everyone takes reporting seriously.”

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  81. dee,

    In hopes of saving you time—here’s the link to some reading on Bob Jones as requested earlier:

    http://www.banner.org.uk/kcp/Abberent%20Practises.pdf

    Here’s what I read on him:

    1) Bob Jones taught some really weird stuff like that he could come and go to Heaven anytime he feels like it. Nope. That’s called astral projection.

    2) Bob Jones was involved with preacher Todd Bentley who also claims he can come and go to Heaven anytime he feels like it. Bob gave several prophecies supposedly confirming Bentley’s ministry.

    3) Both Bob Jones and Todd Bentley claimed to receive info from a female angel called “Emma.” Bob Jones claims that he “released his angels” to Bentley.

    4) In 1991, Bob Jones had to step down from ministry at a Kansas City church over allegations of sexual misconduct. Mike Bickle was pastoring that church at the time.

    5) The Olathe Daily News reported that “The church is seeking private counseling for Bob Jones, his wife and the two women….Kenn Gulliksen (Coordinator for Vineyard Churches) said the women still loved and regarded Jones and had not planned to bring criminal charges. He said Jones said he felt like he repented and had taken care of the issue in his heart. Church officials hold Jones accountable for the incident and not the two women.”

    6) Bob Jones returned into ministry and became known as one of the Kansas City prophets.

    7) In 1991, Todd Bentley went to prison for molesting a seven year old boy.

    8) Afterward who let Todd Bentley became a preacher and lead the Lakeland Revival?

    9) In 2012, Todd Bentley was not allowed to enter England because there were too many issues with him. For example, he brags about punching people in the prayer line! Shouldn’t that be a red flag?

    10) Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, and Rick Joyner were involved in “restoring” Todd Bentley to the ministry after another sexual scandal.

    11) Lee Grady (editor of Charisma Magazine) confronted Rick Joyner over questions regarding Todd Bentley.

    12) Rick Joyner got upset that people were questioning Bentley’s “restoration.”

    There’s more links to all of this that I can post if you want.

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  82. dee,

    “Then, they alluded that the bloggers were from *Satan,* the ultimate diss! Imagine what this teaches the people in the church.

    Then Conlee runs around, getting prophesies about his stellar future. Again, what does that teach the people in the church. Those poor people have been miserably failed and they don’t even know it.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i can’t help but feel that conley, savage (& by logical extension their staff) don’t even know how, why they have failed miserably.

    i think they have a skewed, confused idea as to what church is. not like many pastors who started out with some sensible understanding but have gotten caught up in any of the trendy business-y, doctrine-y methods. but rather, i have the impression that conley and savage started out misunderstanding things from the get-go.

    kind of like…. there are people who want to be actors on tv, film if they’re lucky — and they approach acting by doing what they see other actors doing. they end up pretending to be actors, assuming that is acting. they are completely unaware of the deeper techniques and skills, & grueling emotional/psychological hard work, involved in becoming the character.

    or at least that is how it seems to me.

    i get the impression that conley and savage were simply doing what they saw other pastors and churches do — pretending to be pastors, assuming that is pastoring.

    or, starting a franchise of their own, copying what the other successful franchises were doing. assuming that is “church”.

    and it all expanded somewhat wide — but a quarter of an inch deep, all of it. (although nobody begins to realize that part)

    …i’m probably just stating the obvious, here.

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  83. ___

    “501c3’s ‘Rat Sinister’(tm) Requiring Proper Parishioner Discernment And Cautious Action, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Mega churches like Highpoint simply need a bottom line giving unit percentage just to open their doors.

    huh?

    Most of the 501c3 churches in the United States have seventy or less members which include a paid pastor and maybe a few paid staff. They may or may not have elders and or deacons, if so most likely unpaid.

    And many of them are barely surviving.

    What?

    Many 501c3 church leaders are now judiciously using the Bible to create a ‘pew serfdom’(tm) by making submission and giving unit demands upon their members.

    KRunch!

    Under the guise of religion they are producing a cult like environment of spiritual tyranny.

    You are expected to submit your life and pocket book to their leadership no matter what.

    Apparently no discernment or Berean questioned analysis is permitted. The New Testament safeguards allow Christians to examine the scriptures to see that it is ‘so’. Now this authorized healthy biblical questioning is off limits and not permitted in many cases.

    Such voices are often slienced or removed from the congregation. Some are long standing faithful members. At times the police are called in to remove these questioning members from the premises or place of religious worship.

    Please be careful if and when you seek to question the validity of their authoritative position. Their names are upon the property deeds. Descanters can be considered disruptive and labeled as trespassers. and judiciously removed. This actually happened in an Acts29 church a few years ago.

    Another example: At Sovereign Grace Ministries (now called Sovereign grace Grace Churches) Parishioners were hood winked for some thirty years before they were made aware by the press and social media that they were being played and their money spent to fuel a foreign denomination and another theological religious system. Many were relay messed up upon reluctantly learning the Trojan religious game they were under.

    The 501c3 church is now a proverbial war zone?

    Yes, the Bible is now being corrupted, and constructed, construed to accomplish 501c3 nefarious objectives. Beware!

    Public safety in these 501c3 churches is your own responsibility—assume it.

    Let us be forthwith aware wise stewards of our time and income.

    Certain 501c3 churches can today be spiritual spiral traps…or worse.

    Again, Beware!

    To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=me5QGrNsRBg&index=6&list=PLx4kFPMlNLaLtBYqep0TdBtRGx0egGtRO&t=0s

    ;~)

    – –

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  84. Thersites: Honest question here. What was Jesus referring to when he said it would not be so with you? Was he saying that is was okay to have authority over others as long it doesn’t rise to some level of lording it over others? I may be conflating authority with hierarchy but if some form of hierarchy is okay then what is the criteria for when it is done right?

    I think he was speaking against abusive leadership. “Lording it over” speaks of tyrannical leadership rather than sacrificial service. I don’t think he was speaking against hierarchy in general, especially in light of the fact that he chose 12 apostles and commissioned them to make disciples, baptize, and teach (see Matt 28). He also expressed compassion when he saw people as sheep without a shepherd (see Matt 9 and Mark 6). Wishing for the people to have good shepherds sounds like there is an appropriate type of hierarchy. And he modeled that at the last supper when he washed their feet. Peter seemed to pick up on that theme in 1 Pet 5:1-3. I mentioned earlier that early Christian writings show the importance of the role of bishops, priests, and deacons in the early church. Here in 1 Peter we see pretty much the same thing – there were already elders in place very early in the Church.

    In my 30+ year career I have been in nothing but hierarchical organizations and I have been in a supervisory/leadership role for all but about five or six of those years. I have always felt like my job as a supervisor is to remove barriers, empower subordinates, get people talking, resolve conflict, help people find their niche, etc. I’ve been very blessed to have had so many great people working “for” me throughout my career. I’ve had some great bosses who were great blessings, and I’ve had some terrible bosses that blessed me by counterexample and learning strength through trial. Overall, I have found hierarchy to be a useful way to organize if there are appropriate checks and balances in place. I also think churches often use it poorly (to put it mildly), perhaps because they can so easily pull the “God card” and scare people into compliance, and because many churches have no appropriate checks and balances.

    I have a hard time thinking of products and services we use everyday that don’t require some kind of hierarchy. For example, if you want to experience a good ballet you will need a hierarchical organization to pull it together because someone has to determine what it will be about, someone will need to write the score, someone will need to choreograph it, etc. There is no way to pull off a good ballet by randomly assembling a bunch of dancers and musicians and letting them free-form it. At one point different people will need to take leadership of the different parts, and there will need to be some kind of means to provide overall direction. Otherwise it won’t turn into much. It’s similar for just about ever major product we buy.

    If one thinks that hierarchy is bad, try to imagine civilization with absolutely no hierarchy. If there is no structure in place the sociopaths would run roughshod over all the decent people. They would tyrannize everyone they could, and we would end up with hierarchy anyway, but in a very abusive form. The right type of hierarchical organization can put limits on how much damage tyrants can get away with.

    I hope this helps.

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  85. Thersites: Was he saying that is was okay to have authority over others as long it doesn’t rise to some level of lording it over others?

    In addition to my earlier reply I should have added that even TWW has hierarchy in the sense that Dee and Deb choose what to post and they set the rules for what kind of comments are allowed. But they don’t lord it over the commenters and they are not doing it for fame, control, or financial gain. That is the big difference.

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  86. Yeah, Bob Jones the prophet is a totally different guy than Bob Jones University.

    And yes, Todd Bentley is another abuser who is endorsed in the IHOP/Bethel circles. It’s a little off topic from Highpoint (except that Chris Conlee wanted to make Highpoint into an IHOP-KC clone, which may be irrelevant now that he’s been shown the boot), but he’s still a thing after his scandal, just like Bob Jones, just like Mark Driscoll who is now in the these circles.

    Oh, and that song “Reckless Love” that was sung at Savage’s last service — most memorably by a women yelling “YOU ARE WORTHY ANDY!”? Written by a longtime IHOP worship leader.

    The movement is sick.

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  87. jyjames: Great question. Brings to mind that Complementarianism is great as long as it is “benevolent” – whatever that means. (The guy is nice so he gets final say?)

    If hierarchy is ranking, it seems Jesus was against it.

    If hierarchy is in place to oversee the church to make it safe (free from child abuse and harassment of women) – fail (few exceptions on the institutional level) with more fails coming to light every day.

    Replace hierarchy with “Everyone is a mandatory reporter and everyone takes reporting seriously.”

    Too bad some apostle didn’t come up with a better analogy, like, say, the body, in which all of its members, with their unique attributes, and their essential contributions are of equal value. Yes, there is a head, but it is made up of many parts, including eyes, ears, nose, etc. There is no ‘head honcho’. The liver does not exist to give glory to the head. The head exists to send the appropriate signals to the members of the body who actually do the real work of keeping it alive. It is a facilitator, that simply serves the role of keeping everything functioning. Note that if the head malfunctions, due to physiological or chemical damage, the body ceases to function properly, and even causes self harm. If proper knowledge or self control is lacking, the head often exchanges the truth for a lie, and all manner of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual damage can ensue.

    I don’t know who came up with the idea that the ‘head’ is some sort of king, to be worshiped, adored and submitted to. A head, minus its functioning body, is nothing but a gross relic of what once was.

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  88. Avid Reader:
    dee,

    In hopes of saving you time—here’s the link to some reading on Bob Jones as requested earlier:

    http://www.banner.org.uk/kcp/Abberent%20Practises.pdf

    Here’s what I read on him:

    1) Bob Jones taught some really weird stuff like that he could come and go to Heaven anytime he feels like it. Nope. That’s called astral projection.

    2) Bob Jones was involved with preacher Todd Bentley who also claims he can come and go to Heaven anytime he feels like it. Bob gave several prophecies supposedly confirming Bentley’s ministry.

    3) Both Bob Jones and Todd Bentley claimed to receive info from a female angel called “Emma.” Bob Jones claims that he “released his angels” to Bentley.

    4) In 1991, Bob Jones had to step down from ministry at a Kansas City church over allegations of sexual misconduct. Mike Bickle was pastoring that church at the time.

    5) The Olathe Daily News reported that “The church is seeking private counseling for Bob Jones, his wife and the two women….Kenn Gulliksen (Coordinator for Vineyard Churches) said the women still loved and regarded Jones and had not planned to bring criminal charges. He said Jones said he felt like he repented and had taken care of the issue in his heart. Church officials hold Jones accountable for the incident and not the two women.”

    6) Bob Jones returned into ministry and became known as one of the Kansas City prophets.

    7) In 1991, Todd Bentley went to prison for molesting a seven year old boy.

    8) Afterward who let Todd Bentley became a preacher and lead the Lakeland Revival?

    9) In 2012, Todd Bentley was not allowed to enter England because there were too many issues with him. For example, he brags about punching people in the prayer line! Shouldn’t that be a red flag?

    10) Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, and Rick Joyner were involved in “restoring” Todd Bentley to the ministry after another sexual scandal.

    11) Lee Grady (editor of Charisma Magazine) confronted Rick Joyner over questions regarding Todd Bentley.

    12) Rick Joyner got upset that people were questioning Bentley’s “restoration.”

    There’s more links to all of this that I can post if you want.

    I’m willing to put myself on a limb here.

    I am completely convinced these are actual phenomena. The subject is left with a lifelong phycosis, of variable scope.

    I’m just as convince in appearances being one of two determining factors behind the course of Church history.

    The types of topics TWW covers, are directly resulting from our history.

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  89. truthseeker00,

    “The head exists to send the appropriate signals to the members of the body who actually do the real work of keeping it alive. a facilitator, that simply serves the role of keeping everything functioning.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    a good description of a good leader. it’s how i understand “leader”.

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  90. truthseeker00: Yes, there is a head, but it is made up of many parts, including eyes, ears, nose, etc. There is no ‘head honcho’.

    This is it. We get proof that every part of our body serves a purpose whenever we injure one of the “unimportant” parts, like not being able to walk easily after breaking a toe (did that recently). Think of what would happen if the anus lost its ability to discern among the three states of matter. Does it have the gift of discernment? (Try exercising that gift in a church and you will know why I chose that analogy.) We are even finding out that the appendix has a useful function: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-function-of-the-human-appendix-did-it-once-have-a-purpose-that-has-since-been-lost/

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  91. Melissa:
    Does anyone have a link to where the worship team member yelled “You are worthy, Andy!” I tried to find it and couldn’t.

    it’s on wartburg watch somewhere in the beginning stories about this. it’s the thing that stuck with me the most…never seen anything so insane in my life from a worship team…and i’ve seen a lot

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  92. Ken F (aka Tweed): The right type of hierarchical organization can put limits on how much damage tyrants can get away with.

    I hope this helps.

    We could like discuss this topic ad nauseam over a year or two. My problem is I have had a lot of bad experiences with “leadership” types. To better explain my point of view I can relate one of my many stories.

    A church was determining what they could do for outreach into their community. A task group was formed and they hire a consultant. Unfortunately, instead of the consultant facilitating the group to form a strategy based on their ideas, he gets them to adopt his “vision”. His vision does not encompass the talents or sentiments of the people present and when he left the interest flags and the process fails.

    When there is a need to get things done it is usually assumed that a hierarchy is needed. An alternate path would recognize the talents to create, analyze, organize, encourage, dare I say leadership qualities, are dispersed through out a group. The necessary ingredients to excel as a group are not likely to be held by a hierarchical figure especially if imposed by some other process that is irrelevant to the task at hand. A group of people functioning together, each using their own talents and passions, is a powerful and joyous thing to be a part of.

    This is not to say that all situations are best resolved by a flat organization. In any endeavor a hierarchy of capability will develop, but I would submit that imposing a hierarchy is often unnecessary and in many cases detrimental. A pyramidal authority structure often carries with it the aspects of central planning that often overlooks the creativity of each person and thereby belittles their worth.

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  93. truthseeker00: There is no ‘head honcho’. … The head exists to send the appropriate signals to the members of the body who actually do the real work of keeping it alive.

    Just to make sure, Jesus is the head of the Church, the pastor is not even an “also ran”.

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  94. Thersites: Just to make sure, Jesus is the head of the Church, the pastor is not even an “also ran”.

    So, filling in the blanks on the Ephesians analogy, if Paul is saying that Jesus is the only authority in the church, then he would also be saying that the husband is the only authority in the marriage. Taking it to the statement ‘the pastor is not even an ‘also ran’ I suppose that the analogy would be that the wife is not even an ‘also ran’.

    Some folks have argued that ‘head’ in this analogy does not mean authority. Lots has been said on that issue. But for the life of me, and whatever one thinks ‘head’ means, I see no way to separate the two halves of the analogy.

    Sorry about that; it was just too tempting to pass up.

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  95. Thersites: When there is a need to get things done it is usually assumed that a hierarchy is needed.

    I suspect we are more in agreement than disagreement. I’ve worked in both flat and hierarchical organizations and have seen advantages and and disadvantes in both. Neither form inherently squashes or promotes teamwork, creativity, initiative, or any other other factors in successful teams. It really depends on the people filling the various positions. All forms have some kind of leadership structure – it’s unavoidable. But something strange happens when churches try to model leadership. I am thinking that pastors are generally not trained in leadership, so they misapply it in church. Also, because of the need for volunteers in most churches there are ample opportunities for people to be put in charge of things even if they have no ability to lead/manage. And then there is the problem of churches assuming a particular leadership model is required even if it has no applicability.

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  96. okrapod: Taking it to the statement ‘the pastor is not even an ‘also ran’ I suppose that the analogy would be that the wife is not even an ‘also ran’.

    I do not follow. If the wife if analogous to the church, nothing was said about the church being an “also ran”.

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  97. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “And even without some kind of central organization there would still be local organization because humans are pack animals who cannot resist organizing.”
    ++++++++++

    it just naturally happens. if we all sit there looking at each other, we might as well be a collection of potatos. as soon as one potato person stands up in an effort to do something (no matter how mundane, like to stretch for comfort), it is motivating, instigating, and a silent “let’s”. a leader rises up (although it seems silly to call it that, and very silly scenario, of course)

    anything done with more than one person, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, a day at Disneyland, vacation, housemates keeping house clean, which restaurant to go to and when and how, a traffic jam, a 4-way stop intersection, a food spill, a car accident, a bomb threat, ….

    …in each of these sets of circumstances people naturally rise to guide others. it is so natural & understood that no one really thinks of it in terms of “leaders who are leading as they lead in leadership”. it’s just simply getting from here to there as well as we can.

    mammals, bugs, fish, & i presume reptiles do this. it’s just what happens.

    sometimes we are the guide, sometimes we are the others. everyone steps in and out of these functions largely without even realizing.

    …and today i have a case of stating the obvious.

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  98. Thersites,

    Great analysis. Thanks for your illustrations and explanations.

    Leadership that guides and organizes a crew of many talents is administrative. Everyone governs themselves and carries their responsibility. They are each adults, legal, cordial, focused on the group goal, motivated. The leader guides the group through the agenda (that all have agreed on) and individuals in their roles/gifts (that they offer themselves, from their own self-awareness).

    A group leader that assumes they have to:
    – monitor and make sure the group members act like grown-ups
    – monitor and keep them in line legally
    – monitor and keep everyone friendly
    – monitor and keep everyone focused on the goal
    – monitor and keep everyone motivated…
    … who wants to be under that leader and a part of that dysfunctional group anyway? Is that what church is? If, with our local high school football program, if a team member needs this amount of monitoring, they are OFF the team. No coach wants to have to babysit their players at this level.

    Engagement in the Christian team (church) should not be like twisting someone’s arm. Do something else, friend, and come back to church when you are ready to be church, from the inside out, on your own initiative.

    Where people are entertained, tricked, sales-talked, cajoled, bribed, or flattered into Christian living, doesn’t work. It also does not seem to come from Jesus.

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  99. jyjames: A group leader that assumes they have to:
    – monitor and make sure the group members act like grown-ups
    – monitor and keep them in line legally
    – monitor and keep everyone friendly
    – monitor and keep everyone focused on the goal
    – monitor and keep everyone motivated…

    What you are describing is not leadership. At best it is bad management. There is a difference between leadership and management. The internet is full of articles on this – here is one example: https://hbr.org/2013/08/tests-of-a-leadership-transiti
    Churches seem to fall into the trap of managing pewpeons rather than inspiring and empowing real and diverse people. Empty suits (or empty skinny jeans) cannot fake leadership, so they resort to bad management under the “touch not thine anointed” banner.

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  100. Ken F (aka Tweed): I suspect we are more in agreement than disagreement.

    I suspect that also. This may also be another yin/yang dichotomy, chaos versus order, where there are two opposing but necessary forces and we have to find the ever moving and ever elusive sweet spot. I may prefer less yang to your yin. This is partly due to my life experiences but also to my reading little where Jesus gave little teaching on leadership and appeared to stress the idea of a priesthood of believers.

    My reading of Jesus teaching may also represent a flaw in my thinking, his words may be corrective rather than prescriptive. He was teaching against the stultifying religious authorities of his day. Like then I think today we can use far less leadership training and much more servant training, how to effectively work in a group and bring out the best in others.

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  101. Thersites: I think today we can use far less leadership training and much more servant training, how to effectively work in a group and bring out the best in others.

    Good thought.
    Semantics, maybe, but I would say much more training in collaboration is needed. How to be a team player has been “the thing” now, from an HR point of view, for a while. How to effectively work alongside of others, on a team, different but equal.

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  102. Thersites: This may also be another yin/yang dichotomy, chaos versus order, where there are two opposing but necessary forces and we have to find the ever moving and ever elusive sweet spot.

    I very much agree with this. I find the problems/errors are normally at the extremes, and it’s not uncommon to escape one extreme by landing in the opposite extreme. I am not advocating for hierarchy any more than I am advocating for something like bipedalism. I believe that humans, as pack animals, cannot avoid organizing and setting pecking orders. It’s as innate in most people as is walking on two feet rather than all four (of course we can always find exceptions). We will end up with some kind of hierarchy (there are many forms) whether we plan for it or not. So it becomes a matter of putting the right measures in place to make it healthy and functional. Even TWW has hierarchy in the sense that Dee and Deb decide what to post, and they establish and enforce the rules for commenters. If this was a truly “egalitarian” non-hierarchical site any dysfunctional person could run amok with it. But Dee and Deb don’t allow it, which is what keeps this site focused on the right things. I find this to be a very healthy form of leadership/hierarchy.

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  103. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Thersites,

    jyjames,

    elastigirl,

    Really interesting comments, everyone. I wonder how much of the problem with heirarchy in church is a function of the hierarchy claiming it is ordained by God and therefore must be upheld at all cost. This leads to an ends justify the means mentality and also drives all the liberals out of the organization. Liberals, broadly and more classically defined, speak against the heirarchy when they believe it becomes oppressive. Conservatives, also broadly defined, defend the status quo and tradition. We need both in any functioning church or society. However, when those who question authority are thrown out as heretics, you loose that important voice that speaks against the heirarchy for the purpose of keeping it from becoming tyrannical.

    Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Ken, I really appreciate your integrity and your knowledge of church history. Would you say that the church heirarchy arising in the first two centuries was “God Ordained?” It seems to me that another possible explanation was that it was the way the apostles responded to Jesus’ message within their cultural context. Maybe is wasn’t The Way, but the way that it was going to happen given the culture and historical conditions they were inhabiting.

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  104. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    This is getting creepy, Ken F, but I keep agreeing with you based not just on opinion but based on what research seems to show, and I don’t even have to go further than Wiki to see it. I don’t keep posting a comment of support every time I agree because that would very soon look just silly.

    I do want to add, however. Not all answers are found in the bible, because the bible never said that it was an encyclopedia covering everything. The bible does not show, for example, either how to treat botulism or does it address how to treat other toxins including informational and idea toxins from the environment. I think it is just as useless to try to argue with the bible-only people as it is to try to argue with the never-the-bible people.

    And I think that one does not have the responsibility to keep trying. There is so much available information and people could access it any time they really wanted to. They have a right to do whatever, but others also have a right to just step over that, take their checkbook and their membership down the block to First Church of Elsewhere, and just move on.

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  105. Ken F (aka Tweed): If this was a truly “egalitarian” non-hierarchical site any dysfunctional person could run amok with it.

    Let’s clear up some confusion here. Eqalitarians believe in authority and have no problem with hierarchy. We believe in the concept of boundaries and don’t want anyone to “run amock.”

    Here’s the difference:

    Comp theology teaches that only men can be leaders in the hierarchy.

    Egals believe that both men and women can be leaders according to the giftings that God gave them. That the circumstance of gender doesn’t exclude one full gender from rising in that hierarchy system.

    Comp theology only allows men to set boundaries. It won’t allow women to say “no” over their own lives, because it allows others to run roughshod over women’s boundaries.

    Its the Comps that keep complaining about female bloggers. Egals have no problem with Dee and Deb running this website. In fact that’s a great example of female leadership that Comp theology won’t allow.

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  106. okrapod: And I think that one does not have the responsibility to keep trying. There is so much available information and people could access it any time they really wanted to. They have a right to do whatever, but others also have a right to just step over that, take their checkbook and their membership down the block to First Church of Elsewhere, and just move on.

    This is a very important point. It crystallizes for me why, if I truly reject an idea, I must, nonetheless, accept that some – even dearly loved ones – will remain loyally committed to it, in spite of any and all refuting logic or evidence.

    I used to search far and wide for well-reasoned alternatives to some of the more unlovely interpretations of scripture Calvinism asserts, only to discover that some people do not want to consider reasonable alternatives. They have made up their minds, and resent being told that there is more than one possible interpretation of words and actions.

    I absolutely believe that when God confronts us with truth – whatever the truth – he gives us the choice to either receive it, or exchange it for a lie. When we are troubled with doubt, do we search far and wide for greater understanding, or do we cling loyally to what we currently defend as our ‘truth’? When my ‘gut’ tells me something is off, I’ll be darned if I can ignore it, even if it leads to the unwilling surrender of my most sacred cows.

    It must sadden God when we stubbornly resist the truth in order to pursue temporary self interests. He offers us the lifeline we need in order to discover real peace and meaningfulness, and we choose, instead, pride, self destruction and wickedness.

    We will ever arrive at full understanding of truth, but coming to that realization should make us more humble, reasonable, and more open to ideas that we have perhaps never considered. It should turn those who think differently from us into potentially helpful resources rather than arch-enemies.

    I must learn to allow others the same choice that I am given by my Creator, to choose this day whom and what I will serve. I tend to pursue, study and do all I can to lead others to what I believe to be broader understanding of issues, but must accept that some simply do not want to reexamine what they think, or acquire more information. If God, who is perfect, allows men to choose their own ways, who am I to think I can ‘force’ someone to think or act in any other way than they now choose to do?

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  107. truthseeker00: I don’t know who came up with the idea that the ‘head’ is some sort of king, to be worshiped, adored and submitted to.

    The proto-Transhumanists at N.I.C.E.?

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  108. Avid Reader: 1) Bob Jones taught some really weird stuff like that he could come and go to Heaven anytime he feels like it. Nope. That’s called astral projection.

    2) Bob Jones was involved with preacher Todd Bentley who also claims he can come and go to Heaven anytime he feels like it. Bob gave several prophecies supposedly confirming Bentley’s ministry.

    3) Both Bob Jones and Todd Bentley claimed to receive info from a female angel called “Emma.” Bob Jones claims that he “released his angels” to Bentley.

    Those three together sound like a couple conjure-men and their Familiars. (And in both Appalachian and PA Dutch lore, witch-men/Hexerai get wealth and power by using the threat of their Powers and Familiars for extortion.)

    Remember how GOP Presidential hopefuls used to make pilgrimage to Bob Jones for his blessing when they started their campaigns? “Releasing his angels” puts a whole new spin on it — supplicants bending the knee to the witch-man for use of his Powers. (I’ve been reading way too much Manly Wade Wellman…)

    Though Tatted Todd seems to have been more of an over-the-top con man than anything else; more Edmund Kelley than John Dee when it came to hooking up with pet Angels. And he gave the marks a SHOW; Tough Guy Driscoll only bragged about punching ’em in the nose; Tougher Guy Todd actually did it! In front of everybody! (With Shaking Stacy as the opening warmup act…)

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  109. Ken F (aka Tweed): It’s as innate in most people as is walking on two feet rather than all four (of course we can always find exceptions).

    “WALK ON TWO LEGS, NOT ON FOUR!
    TO WALK ON FOUR LEGS BREAKS THE LAW!
    WHAT HAPPENS IF THE LAW’S NOT FAIR?
    WE ALL KNOW WHERE WE GO FROM THERE —
    TO THE HOUSE OF PAIN!”
    — Danny Elfman, “No Spill Blood” (AKA from the Island of Dr Moreau)

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  110. Ken F (aka Tweed): If one thinks that hierarchy is bad, try to imagine civilization with absolutely no hierarchy. If there is no structure in place the sociopaths would run roughshod over all the decent people. They would tyrannize everyone they could, and we would end up with hierarchy anyway, but in a very abusive form.

    Like all those trust fund kiddies screaming “ANARCHY NOW!!!!!”
    All they see in “Anarchy” is “I Get To Do Anything I Wanna!”
    They never figure that it also means someone bigger and meaner than them also “Gets to Do Anything I Wanna” — to them.

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  111. Headless Unicorn Guy: The proto-Transhumanists at N.I.C.E.?

    Btw, now you’ve convinced me that I need to read Lewis’s Space trilogy. Somehow that idea came to me recently, and, not being a fan of fiction, I have mostly resisted it. Don’t know if others’ would consider it superstitious, but that’s how God tends to work on me. He gives, then mysteriously reinforces thoughts – which I can either pursue or reject as ‘my imagination’. My kids will be so happy!

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  112. Ricco: how much of the problem with heirarchy in church is a function of the hierarchy claiming it is ordained by God and therefore must be upheld at all cost

    Overreach. Red flag.

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  113. okrapod: Not all answers are found in the bible, because the bible never said that it was an encyclopedia covering everything.

    Good point.
    God speaks through His creation, but then we have to do the work of researching what He has put in place, in collaboration with scientists that may not hold our God beliefs but be experts in their field of research.

    Behavioral sciences (as opposed to “Biblical Counseling”) are another area of research – studying behavior, which also is science. Again, the researcher may not connect with God even though their work is excellent, professional, and authoritative in their field.

    At some point the “all answers are in the Bible” is simply lazy, pompous, and a posturing of false authority that seeks to supersede science.

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  114. Ricco: I wonder how much of the problem with heirarchy in church is a function of the hierarchy claiming it is ordained by God and therefore must be upheld at all cost.

    Beware when church leaders tout the following: “Touch not mine anointed” and “Thus saith the Lord” … those are good signs that the leader is neither anointed or hearing from God.

    Such preaching is designed to control, manipulate and intimidate the pew to follow the pulpit at all costs. In the Kingdom of God, a leader has authority ‘with’ the Body of Christ, but not authority ‘over’ them.

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  115. Avid Reader: Let’s clear up some confusion here. Eqalitarians believe in authority and have no problem with hierarchy.

    I think I added to the confusion by using the word egalitarian. I meant it not in the gender war sense, but in the dictionary sense: “relating to or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.” I don’t think people really believe in it as defined. For example, most sane people don’t believe that convicted felons should have the same rights and opportunities as law abiding citizens, especially in terms of their access to people who could be victimized by them. In reality, we all believe that some people are more equal than others. In the dictionary sense of the word, TWW is not strictly egalitarian because Dee and Deb don’t allow mean-spirited people the same opportunity to comment as polite people. And it should be this way. I was trying to convey the idea that civility requires denying rights and opportunities to people who do not choose to be civil, and therefor there needs to be some kind of pecking order (hierarchy) in civil society so that the abusers don’t run roughshod over everyone else. I am thankful that Dee and Deb don’t allow mean-spirited people to run amok on TWW.

    My use of the word egalitarian had absolutely nothing to do with the egalitarian/complementarian argument, but I can see how what I wrote could have been misunderstood.

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  116. truthseeker00: If God, who is perfect, allows men to choose their own ways, who am I to think I can ‘force’ someone to think or act in any other way than they now choose to do?

    Yes, faith is about persuasion, never use of force. Even with our own children, there comes the day when they choose and as parents we don’t force. God is not an arm-twister. Arm-twisting is stepping into the Dark Side.

    In our freedom of religion democracy, fortunately the Rule of Law and Common Good cut across faith lines. We can agree with our fellow citizens on what makes good laws for civilization (believing – in our faith – that all may not be in Heaven in Eternity – by choice) without forcing our faith on society. Faith being the underlying water table of what is happening on the surface.

    The fact that our evangelical faith community (leaders et al) seems derailed in regard to child abuse and sexual harassment exposes that corporately, Christians are not even in agreement with the Rule of Law and the Common Good.

    Bill Maher (not a fan) has said that at least now we know who the evangelicals really are. No, not really. But the derailment is what gets the headlines. Fortunately, intermittently TWW and others speaking out (Jules Woodson, NYT: “I was assaulted. He was applauded.”) also make the news.

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  117. Ricco: Would you say that the church heirarchy arising in the first two centuries was “God Ordained?” It seems to me that another possible explanation was that it was the way the apostles responded to Jesus’ message within their cultural context. Maybe is wasn’t The Way, but the way that it was going to happen given the culture and historical conditions they were inhabiting.

    I don’t know if anyone can ever know enough to answer that question. I once read a book on Christian history that started with the observation that each generation of Christians responded to the cultural pressures of their times, and whether we like it or not we are doing the same. I find I agree with this because for just about every old church tradition that I don’t like I can find rational historical reasons for the development of that tradition. It certainly shaped how Christianity is expressed today.

    The timing of this topic is interesting because my wife and I have been slowly reading through Isaiah and came across Is 58 yesterday and Is 59 this morning. Is 58 very clearly describes the type of leadership the Lord delights in (this passage specifically addresses leaders). And Is 59 describes the fallout from evil leaders. And then in “Sunday School” this morning we went through 1 Cor 4 where we find this description of apostolic leadership:

    For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

    Paul is describing a “biblical” leadership model that is opposite from how the world (and now many churches?) view it. Can you imagine what it would look like if all people in the pecking order would look more and more like this the higher they get, with the people on top being the greatest sacrificial servants? But that would put Dee and Deb out of blog work.

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  118. Ricco: I wonder how much of the problem with heirarchy in church is a function of the hierarchy claiming it is ordained by God and therefore must be upheld at all cost.

    I personally thing the “God card” is a HUGE part of it. For who can argue with God? We (general humans) tend to believe experts, and we (general Christians) tend to not believe that people in high church positions can be so wrong. But perhaps that is changing.

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  119. jyjames: At some point the “all answers are in the Bible” is simply lazy, pompous, and a posturing of false authority that seeks to supersede science.

    Not just science, but reason, common sense, and one’s own conscience too.
    Try telling one of the old guard Calvary Chapel honchos that the Bible is not a ‘how to’ book for everything.

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  120. As someone who went to Highpoint around 12 years ago up until about 3 years ago, it was not like this in the beginning. Many have left in the last 3 years due to the fact that Sunday sermons were no longer based on scripture itself. They picked a few verses here and there to fit into their narrative. Simply put, they took their eyes off the Jesus and decided to become “self-sufficient”. I believe all of this is due to sinful behavior that started years ago and it is now catching up to them. Jesus has not been the focus for a long time now. Not to mention everything that has happened in the last 8 months. It was pretty bad when I first went to another church and realized how refreshing it was to actually hear sermons based on the Word. Many didn’t realize how bad it was until they got out. Any one who is left there now is still drinking the kool-aid.

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  121. Ken F (aka Tweed): people in the pecking order

    Webster: pecking order:

    1 : the basic pattern of social organization within a flock of poultry in which each bird pecks another lower in the scale without fear of retaliation and submits to pecking by one of higher rank; broadly : a dominance hierarchy in a group of social animals.

    2 : a social hierarchy.

    Maybe this is semantics, but IMHO, Social Order by Rule of Law is neither a pecking order nor a hierarchy. Rule of Law for the Common Good was put in place on level ground by equal citizens. Those in charge of safe-guarding (law enforcement and the courts) are not, in theory, dominating society but rather enforcing what society collaboratively agrees to and wants in the first place.

    Too bad some churches can’t agree on healthy collaboration, everyone as reporters and responders. Equal voice. Level ground. Someone runs the meeting and keeps the agenda (that everyone agrees on), without silencing others while dominating as “annointed and appointed”, then preaching to the choir. Teachers have wide influence, thus stricter accountability the Bible says, but they are still just human teachers – equal to others in value of gift and voice, no matter how many degrees.

    Even a child should not be silenced. Which is what happened in the Chantry case. If we place a child low on the social order and minimize their voice (little theological expertise, limited life experience) then we enable predation via dominance hierarchy and “pecking order”. Maintaining social order should never eclipse addressing child abuse and sexual harassment. Sometimes a child is the only witness (unfortunately for them) and holds the key to the predatory pastor.

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  122. ___

    Questioned Pastoral Qualifications: “To Be Forewarned Is To Be Forearmed.”

    hmmm…

    Today’s 501c3’s pervasive nationally publicized leadership dishonesty, and lack of integrity have put parishioners in a precarious position.

    huh?

    Pastoral lack of integrity has put a very large dent in the parishioners trust, hence any possibility of ‘biblical submission’(tm).

    Note: Now that ‘certain’ entities are pushing Calvinism/TULIP/Doctrines Of Grace/Reformed theology by STEALTHY means, 501c3 church life can be even more precarious.

    What?

    With more and more credentialed 501c3 pastoral professionals exerting alternative hidden motives, one would not be necessarily blindly ‘inclined’ to place trust these religious professionals without exacting extensive examination.

    Parishioners Beware?

    SKreeetch!

    With more and more 501c3 pastoral professionals violating the New Testament qualifications for elders and deacons, something has got to give.

    And at a minimum, that is trust.

    And THAT puts the ball in the parishioners court, don’t ya think?

    Might wanna keep your ēyēs on the 501c3 religious ball!

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)

    – –

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  123. Muff Potter: Not just science, but reason, common sense, and one’s own conscience too.

    Stepping away from the four you list: a click off, from reality. Brings into question the disposition of mental health.

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  124. jyjames: Rule of Law for the Common Good was put in place on level ground by equal citizens. Those in charge of safe-guarding (law enforcement and the courts) are not, in theory, dominating society but rather enforcing what society collaboratively agrees to and wants in the first place.

    This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein: “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.”

    If I was not clear enough in what I wrote above, I am not advocating for hierarchy. Rather, I am observing that there is no way to avoid it in practice, so I am suggesting that we should look for ways to leverage it for good. Or at least we need to find ways to minimize the abuses caused by it. I have personally never found a group, whether it be family, church, work, clubs, sports, or whatever, where there was not some kind of pecking order. I’m not saying it should be this way, but I have never found it to not be this way.

    I like the idea of all of us being equal, but in practice we are all born into different circumstances and with different abilities, liabilities, strengths, weaknesses, religions, finances, laws, etc. Civilized people look for ways to level things, but more often than not there are sharp disagreements over how to do that. And even when they do agree that laws need to be passed, more often than not that cannot agree on the actual laws nor on how to enforce them. Add to that all the uncivilized people who want to exploit those differences – they will never agree to leveling the playing field. In practice, it is a very complicated mess and I don’t think the Church should try to copy the way “the world” is doing it.

    Theoretically, children should be equal to adults. But in practice we know that it would be cruel and abusive to kick a five-year old out of the home to make them live on their own under the assumption that they are equal in every way to the 35-year old video-gamer who finally gets kicked out of the home. The fact that we are supposed to take care of children is precisely because they are not equal in their ability to live on their own. I think this is why the Bible tells us to take care of orphans and widows.

    If I have a point in all this it is that the Bible has a very different model for how hierarchy should be modeled. It makes the greatest the least and elevates the servant. Jesus himself did not seem to speak against authority and hierarchy per se, but he did come down hard against tyranny, domination, manipulation, deceit, lack of transparency, double standards, hiding sin, enabling evil, and all the other things that seem to characterize so many church “leaders” discussed on TWW. And like it or not, there is no surviving written history of the early church where there is not some kind or hierarchy in the form of episkopos, presbyteros, and diakonos.

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  125. I am going to take it a step beyond. Yes, we do naturally form hierarchies and no we are not all equal.

    I think that in controlled situations, like businesses and churches and such, that it is better to have identified people who can do the job and do it well than just leave the hierarchy development process to develop on its own. Because. One example. I was there, at the meeting. Surgeon at top of ‘hierarchy’ in the popular opinion of many because they just really and really ‘liked’ him. His work, however, was so unethical that the people in charge of that sort of thing forced the hospital to curtail his privileges. None the less, patients still loved him to pieces. Another example. Some politicians get elected time and time again when all the while…but people choose these people because…like them.

    I am just not convinced that the natural process of stratification into mob chosen hierarchies is all that much to be trusted. Certainly no better than systems that have requirements for advancements to upper level positions.

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  126. Ken F (aka Tweed): I have personally never found a group, whether it be family, church, work, clubs, sports, or whatever, where there was not some kind of pecking order. I’m not saying it should be this way, but I have never found it to not be this way.

    Collaborative groups with neither pecking order nor hierarchy – yes, this happens. As mentioned, whoever is in charge, coordinates what the group has already agreed upon. Self-governance, group agreement and humility play their roles. Voice is always an option. But, when one has the privilege, one chooses to use it wisely.

    To each their own. Semantics or personal preference may be the difference here. Moreover, if your group engagement works for you with hierarchy and a pecking order, God bless you.

    However, this is not for everyone.

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  127. jyjames: To each their own. Semantics or personal preference may be the difference here. Moreover, if your group engagement works for you with hierarchy and a pecking order, God bless you.

    Just for the record, I did not praise hierarchy as a model to be followed. If you really did find a group as you described you are blessed beyond description. You are in a small minority. I wish I could find the same.

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  128. okrapod: Yes, we do naturally form hierarchies and no we are not all equal.

    I think that in controlled situations, like businesses and churches and such, that it is better to have identified people who can do the job and do it well than just leave the hierarchy development process to develop on its own.

    I hear you. Here’s a thought, coming from Todd Wilhelm’s posts:

    $$$ from donors – church – hired Tom Chantry – parent congregants – child.

    Semantics and ambiguity aside, something went terribly wrong here. And, it seems to have happened many times in many places. The child’s voice was silenced. Ouch.

    From Denny Gunderson’s book, link upthread:

    “Jesus is unarguably the greatest leader the world has ever seen… Yet, remarkably, Jesus spoke very little about leadership and even less about how to attain it. Perhaps that is why many of today’s corporate-driven churches prefer to draw upon the leadership styles of Moses, David, Nehemiah, or Paul.”

    Maybe the priesthood of every believer, which Jesus brought to us, is a key. Maybe that’s what we’re missing in the paradigm or our church practice. Maybe every time a leader steps on our big toe, overreach, as priesthood believers, maybe we ought to say, “Ouch” and step away, and teach our children to do the same. Instead of “bite the bullet, he’s God’s annointed/appointed, all in.” Maybe we ought to teach our kids the same.

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  129. Ken F (aka Tweed): If you really did find a group as you described you are blessed beyond description.

    It is a blessing, refreshing, amazing. However, not in the church, unfortunately. Very disappointing. Moreover, in our family we have no one with the gift of administration to run a group. (We use our gifts as God leads us.) So we won’t do a start-up church. We pray about where we belong and what to do daily. And we interact in the organized church lovingly and carefully.

    TWW is a great asset. Learning alot with this open forum interaction. So, thanks again, all, for comments, and to the Deebs for posts, to Todd Wilhelm for the inside scoop on a court case – shockingly tragic, that one. Difficult to read.

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  130. Thersites:

    truthseeker00: Btw, now you’ve convinced me that I need to read Lewis’s Space trilogy.

    When you get acquainted with the director of N.I.C.E. you will have met my former pastor.

    I’m terribly afraid he will remind me of mine as well. Picked up the trilogy today at a Half Price Book store. My kids were impressed I was going to give fantasy a try. 🙂

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  131. jyjames,

    I don’t know who Denny Gunderson is, but I see a lot about leadership in what Jesus did. He led from the front, not pushed from behind. He hand picked his disciples, they were not voted on. He spent a lot of time with the apostles he was training. He did not tolerate competition among them for position. And he designated and assigned as for example in ‘you’ feed the crowd using what you have to start with, the few loaves and fishes. He left no doubt that he was in charge-even the crowds noted that he taught as one having authority. He corrected them on occasion while visibly being frustrated at times. He modeled the behavior he wanted them to adopt.

    Now we do know that people actually see (recognize) what they expect to see, so that is no doubt at play in what I think I see about how Jesus did. Nevertheless I do not see that he formed a ‘collaborative group’ of disciples with each one free to contribute his ideas as to how Jesus’ ministry and mission should be done. When Peter tried that he got severely reprimanded and called ‘satan’ at one point.

    I am not saying that any leader can duplicate what Jesus did or even try to do that, but I do think there is evidence of how he practiced leadership.

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  132. Ken F (aka Tweed): And like it or not, there is no surviving written history of the early church where there is not some kind or hierarchy in the form of episkopos, presbyteros, and diakonos.

    And even if there was, would that be warrant enough to say that this is the way it has to be?

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  133. okrapod: Nevertheless I do not see that he formed a ‘collaborative group’ of disciples with each one free to contribute his ideas as to how Jesus’ ministry and mission should be done.

    First, thanks for your descriptive paragraph on Jesus’ leadership. Insightful.

    Regarding a collaborative group of Christians working together, what I’ve seen to some degree, is Christians coming together for a common goal using their Holy Spirit assigned gifts – Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4 – as well as trained expertise, and resources to reach a common goal. Highly civilized in social behavior to make it all work – like how you described Jesus had trained the disciples. Leave your ego, but not your brain, etc., at the door. Jesus authoritatively at the helm, Holy Spirit indwelt, with self-governance and commitment of all.

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  134. okrapod,

    Anyone who might lead in today’s world is also not God in the flesh. So I don’t think we can make an exact replica today from what we saw Jesus doing. In fact that is how leaders seem to get in trouble, claiming god-like status which cannot be questioned.

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  135. okrapod: I do not see that he formed a ‘collaborative group’ of disciples with each one free to contribute his ideas as to how Jesus’ ministry and mission should be done.

    Does this include their time together after Christ’s resurrection?

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  136. Bridget: Anyone who might lead in today’s world is also not God in the flesh. So I don’t think we can make an exact replica today from what we saw Jesus doing. In fact that is how leaders seem to get in trouble, claiming god-like status which cannot be questioned.

    True. Somewhere along the line, they get their wires crossed. Too bad they don’t short-circuit on the spot.

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  137. Lauren,

    “I believe all of this is due to sinful behavior that started years ago and it is now catching up to them.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    can you shed any light on what this behavior was all about?

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  138. Thersites: Does this include their time together after Christ’s resurrection?

    If you mean between resurrection and pentecost, I think they were told to do nothing but wait for the coming of the Spirit. If you mean after pentecost that goes into early church history which Ken has been discussing from Acts right on. And of course those apostles who stayed in Jerusalem and who made certain but apparently not all decisions. And yes, taken together it does look like Jesus passed some authority to the church with some but apparently not all named authoritative persons from the get go. And when things go out of hand with people abusing the use of spiritual gifts at Corinth Paul called them on it. And yes there were wolves and false teachers all along.

    Beyond that I am not sure what you are asking me.

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  139. Bridget: Anyone who might lead in today’s world is also not God in the flesh. So I don’t think we can make an exact replica today from what we saw Jesus doing. In fact that is how leaders seem to get in trouble, claiming god-like status which cannot be questioned.

    I agree. At the same time we cannot read back into scripture something which is not there and claim that Jesus himself did not do what he did or act how he acted or require what he required or for that matter that he did not defend the law against the abuses of the religious leaders.

    I think that a huge problem is people who seem to think that they somehow are Jesus in the way they think about themselves and how they expect to be treated. At the same time there is a tendency with some to re-define Jesus into somebody who would better fit today’s thinking and with whom we might be more comfortable.

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  140. And speaking of problems, I can’t sleep. One of my meds has, among other things a side effect of insomnia. I used to work the night shift lots while I went to school in the daytime, and being up at night brings back lots of memories. I always liked the night with the quiet. I liked the sound of starched cotton when I walked. It sounded friendly, as if one were not alone in the night. They don’t do that any more. I have elected to forgo what they call ‘extraordinary means’ of treatment and go only with a couple of things that show temporary at least benefit once you get past the side effects, but I never counted on sitting up at night and remembering.

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  141. okrapod: Beyond that I am not sure what you are asking me.

    After Jesus was no longer present in the physical sense a ‘collaborative group’ of disciples seems a fair description of them.

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  142. okrapod,

    “He left no doubt that he was in charge-even the crowds noted that he taught as one having authority.”
    ++++++++++++++

    i’ve known people who have a certain charisma/magnetism/gravitas about them that naturally draws people to them, and people naturally look to them as trustworthy sources for “how do we do this? how do we get there?”

    (trying to avoid the words lead/leadership, because i think christian culture in particular has repeated the word so many zillions of times it has become separated from the depth of its meaning — like, “love” understood by Hallmark cards.

    christian culture loves the word so much because of the “members only” jacket / backstage pass it has become. i think it’s become a tool for self-promotion [and overcompensation for a sense of personal inadequacies] — which negates the concept right there)

    …so, i believe Jesus had this charisma/magnetism/gravitas, which i think was more key than method. I think a person with this gift can use any number of methods and be successful at leading others (ok, i’ll use the word).

    i think it’s wise to look at Jesus from a high elevation, observing the main points and peaks, and resisting the urge to systematize it all.

    so we don’t get even more rules rules and more rules.

    (must wait til age 30, wear sandals, sport a beard, hand-pick 12 and only 12 apprentices, always take naps while your apprentices keep working, spit in dirt to make mud and apply when praying for healing, after 3 years you divest yourself of it all and move up to oversee apprentices…)

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  143. Bridget: So I don’t think we can make an exact replica today from what we saw Jesus doing.

    Oh yes you can! Just haul out a verse or two, spin it as God speaking to you by way of actual command in the here and now, and you’ll have the pew serfs quaking in their boots and ready to obey anything.

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  144. Muff Potter: And even if there was, would that be warrant enough to say that this is the way it has to be?

    I don’t think so. I am wondering if it has ever been tried anywhere in a way that it could be sustained beyond a very small group. Communinsim and socialism look great on paper, but they left a trail of destruction because they do not take into account the fact that they don’t work in practice because there are always people who don’t agree. Instead of telling us how to pull off a theoretical utopia, Jesus gave a lot of guidance on how to be walked all over, how to endure trials and suffering, how “leaders” are to be selfless servants, how to forgive instead of get even, how to give away everything, and other advice that does not sell books.

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  145. In case anyone missed it: Brad’s Facebook group for “A Unified Highpoint” is no longer public. He has changed it to members only.

    Hmm, you don’t think he was getting unwanted attention, do you?

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  146. Thersites: After Jesus was no longer present in the physical sense a ‘collaborative group’ of disciples seems a fair description of them.

    Here is what I see. The Apostolic Council at Jerusalem was indeed a group which discussed stuff and arrived at a group decision. On the other hand it was a preselected group of Peter and James and unnamed elders, people already vetted so to speak. So IMO one could make an argument either way on the issue.

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  147. Muff Potter: And even if there was, would that be warrant enough to say that this is the way it has to be?

    One either has to say that yes that is how it has to be, or else one has to say that the church has the authority to change things as it goes along. My denom is dealing with this now in terms of sex and gender and marriage and even those who want to change the very words of Jesus from Father (referring to God) to something less gender specific because..may offend somebody.

    I do not see any way to avoid the issue as to whether the church has the authority to do this, and in fact that issue was mentioned by some relative to the issues at hand.

    I think that Jesus did pass on some authority to the church, but then where to draw the lines and who gets to decide become the issues. Migraine City Time. I am waiting to hear the answer about if God is Mother then who is Mary, and what does that say about the incarnation symbolically and actually. This is not about sandals and robes; it is way beyond that.

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  148. truthseeker00: I’m terribly afraid he will remind me of mine as well. Picked up the trilogy today at a Half Price Book store. My kids were impressed I was going to give fantasy a try.

    There are things an author can say in Fantasy that he cannot say in nonfiction or even realistic-background fiction. At the very least, the world and situation can clarify the point being made, and a fresh approach can get by what Lewis called “The Watchful Dragons” in your head.

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  149. okrapod: Here is what I see. The Apostolic Council at Jerusalem was indeed a group which discussed stuff and arrived at a group decision

    And from the original source documents (the Book of Acts), the “Council of Jerusalem” reads more like a knock-down-drag-out than a “discussion among Gentleman Theologians”.

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  150. Muff Potter: Ken F (aka Tweed): And like it or not, there is no surviving written history of the early church where there is not some kind or hierarchy in the form of episkopos, presbyteros, and diakonos.

    And even if there was, would that be warrant enough to say that this is the way it has to be?

    History does say “this is A way”; the devil is in the details of “A way” vs “THE way”.

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  151. Re Conlee: when his High Point Church bio mentioned more about golf and family than the Lord Jesus/Conlee’s calling/etc., a red flag went up. Re the “worship leader”: her passionate babbling was not worship. Someone wise once said that not every email message written should be sent. Corollary: not every thought that pops into one’s head while leading worship ought to be uttered aloud.

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  152. dee: “You are worth, Andy, you are worthy?!!”

    That and the standing ovation didn’t help Andy’s case … then we had Conlee’s standing ovation … then we had the knock-down-drag-out at the family meeting. Whew, this is church?!

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  153. I lived in Memphis for 7 years and have a friend who used to be on staff at Highpoint. I’ve had lunch with Chris. I spoke with my friend recently about this horrible stuff at HP. From my friend’s point of view (he still lives there and has/had friends at HP), the elders lost trust in Chris’ ability to lead well. After Chris came back with his vision from IHOP the elders were even more uncertain. So they began to lead. They rebuffed his IHOP and his continued push to have satellite campuses. They told Chris (per my friend) that HP will close 1 campus and in the others, they would install their own teaching pastor. They had been doing satellite feeds of Chris’ preaching; they wanted to move away from that and have each satellite church have their own pastor.

    I’ve had lunch with Chris and I’ve known people who’ve worked with him – he does not do well with limits and accountability. Chris believes he is the vision for the church – whatever God tells him is what should happen. There is no back and forth dialogue of cultivating a vision with your own people. Instead, he goes and gets a vision and brings it back. This is typical of many churches with “charismatic” leaders – the vision is something external from the church and is not organic, something that is already taking place.

    I think the elders are waking up and are realizing that they have a place of holding leaders accountable.

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  154. mscaltnny: I think the elders are waking up and are realizing that they have a place of holding leaders accountable.

    Your comment with your experience is insightful.

    Good decision-making by Highpoint elders apparently. Where were they during the standing ovations?

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  155. okrapod: I have elected to forgo what they call ‘extraordinary means’ of treatment and go only with a couple of things that show temporary at least benefit once you get past the side effects, but I never counted on sitting up at night and remembering.

    May I ask if you have adequate caregivers available to assist you? Is there any way any of us – I – can help? Praying for your strength, courage and peace. Just lost a friend yesterday, who chose to enjoy his last months rather than lengthen them a bit but suffer the consequences of chemo. His wife reports that he never regretted his decision, and he had a wide ministry for many months blogging about his path. I am grateful that God saw fit to relieve us of the worst sting of death, even if it is yet the least pleasant thing we all must face. I always appreciate your insight and words of wisdom.

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  156. This seems to be a thing in Memphis as of late. Maybe there is something in the water in Collierville. Another church, Central Church (literally a mile from Highpoint Collierville) has had some issues of its own lately. A large portion of the church has left the church due to leadership issues. Central, a church roughly the size of Highpoint, has had 3 senior pastors resign in a 5 year period. Not due to misconduct or an inappropriate matter. It seems to have been simply because the elder board wanted to make every decision that came up in the life of the church. After the last senior pastor resigned there were several family meetings that were called because the congregation wanted answers. It sounds very similar to this one held at Highpoint recently. A lot of smoke and mirrors and vague answers. Why is it that church leadership will not be forthright and honest about why people leave? Am I the only one sick and tired of “resigning because God has called me somewhere else”? God called you somewhere else because there were issues where you were at. The congregation needs to know and address it so it doesn’t continue to happen. Fun fact of the day: there are numerous staff members from Central Church that went to work at Highpoint. Mr. Jim Pritchard being one of them. He was the executive pastor at Central for many years. Maybe that’s why these family meetings have turned out like this.

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  157. dumpster fire: “resigning because God has called me somewhere else”

    The hidden meaning behind those words typically mean “The elders are forcing me to resign” … “I found a church offering a higher salary” … “Folks are starting to see who I really am” … “I better cut and run before my sin is exposed” … etc.

    God doesn’t “call” church leaders somewhere else if they have failed spiritually and/or morally; God never gives little characters big assignments. The American church needs to realize that a lot of “pastors” put themselves in the pulpit, not God. Seminary education does not always equal calling of God … preparing for the ministry does not always equal anointing of God to preach. The pew needs to pray for discernment to test the spirits among them … the pulpit just doesn’t seem to be getting its spiritual act together these days. Don’t waste your time where God isn’t.

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  158. dumpster fire: Central, a church roughly the size of Highpoint, has had 3 senior pastors resign in a 5 year period. Not due to misconduct or an inappropriate matter. It seems to have been simply because the elder board wanted to make every decision that came up in the life of the church.

    Some churches have a Fuehrer,
    some churches have a Politboro.

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  159. mscaltnny: I’ve had lunch with Chris and I’ve known people who’ve worked with him – he does not do well with limits and accountability. Chris believes he is the vision for the church – whatever God tells him is what should happen.

    Does “whatever God tells him” always agree with “What I Wanna!”?

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  160. Max: That and the standing ovation didn’t help Andy’s case … then we had Conlee’s standing ovation … then we had the knock-down-drag-out at the family meeting.Whew, this is church?!

    More like the recent black-comedy movie “The Death of Stalin”…

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  161. LeRoy,

    This is so good that I’m screenshotting it for future use. This gets down to the heart of the matter for so many churches who have lost their way, so to speak.

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