Updates on Anne Miller, the IMB Apology and the Tom Chantry Trial. Also, Who Exactly Is Brad McDaniel of Highpoint United?

A stiff apology is a second insult… The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt. Gilbert K. Chesterton

Anne Miller and The IMB

There is little doubt in my mind that Anne Miller was molested by former IMB missionary, SBC pastor and SCSBC employee, Mark Aderholt, who has been arrested and charged with 3 felonies and misdemeanor.

  1. If you have not read her story, here is the link.
  2. On 7/18, after social media pressure, the IMB responded in this now deleted, much derided statement. Basically, they claimed that they didn’t do anything wrong. Yawn… You can read about the statement here at Baptist News.
  3. On 7/18, Anne Marie Miller promptly responded to the ridiculous IMB statement here.
  4. On 7/25, an embarrassed David Platt issued an apology to Anne after apparently meeting with her, along with Russell Moore.
  5. Today, The Gospel Coalition posted an article by Russell Moore which condemned social media, claiming that it brings out the trolls. I have decided not to let this pass, so read between the lines. Russell Moore would never have met with and supported Anne, as well as enjoyed a photo op apology, if social media did not exist. All I can say is we have read the initial email… Social media has brought out the victims and their advocates who will not allow abusive or inconsiderate statements from the SBC, the IMB or Russell Moore to go unchallenged.

Questions and concerns

  • Will the IMB and the investigative agency they hire contact ALL of the mission fields impacted by Aderholt? He was allowed to go on many mission trips through the years. At the time of his arrest, he was teaching teens in a church that are the age of his victim. We are waving a red flag! They must follow up with every country and group that experienced a visit from Aderholt.
  • The independent investigation team must be independent – not aligned with the SBC or BFFs and family members of SBC leaders.
  • There has been rumor of a hot line being set up by the IMB for victims to call for assistance. STOP! This is a move that is dangerous. The Catholic Church set up such a hot line during the pedophile crisis. Those hot line calls were manned by lawyers whose job it was to make these victims go silent. Such a hot line should not be managed by the IMB or the SBC. It should be manned by an independent organization whose priority it will be to help the victims to report their assault to law enforcement and provide them with resources. Given the fact that the fancy Stanford lawyer at the IMB told Anne to *let it go*, there is no reason to suspect that he would not do the same thing on this hot line.

The good news is this. Social media is changing how organizations do business and courageous women like Anne Marie Miller are coming forward.


Todd Wilhelm reported yesterday on Day 3 on the Tom Chantry trial

Wow! Our good friend Todd is an incredible writer. I highly recommend that you read his post on the trial yesterday. He will also post one tonight. There is a graphic description of the abuse suffered by the victims of Tom Chantry. I believe the victims.

The defense appears to be claiming false memories on the part of the victims. That is hard for me to believe since they all have similar, yet different, memories of their abuse. I hear he is also claiming that they cannot remember the dates of these assaults. ROFL. This happened 20 years ago. Yesterday, I was asked to remember the exact date in which I took my last arthritis med injection. I couldn’t remember and had to consult calendars on which I had not written the date of the injection. I finally figured it out and this was less than two weeks ago.

Here is an excerpt from Todd’s post. Warning, there are some graphic details.

Chantry administered the spankings with Matthew either lying across his lap, bending over a table or bent over holding his ankles. When Matthew rubbed his bottom after one of the spankings Chantry stopped him from doing so stating that Matthew could not comfort himself, only Chantry could do that. Chantry would rub Matthew’s bottom then he would have Matthew sit on his lap and he would rub his genitals, initially through his clothing.

Catechism lessons were conducted with Matthew over Chantry’s knee. Every wrong answer, or answer not given quickly enough resulted in a spanking to Matthew’s bottom. On one occasion Chantry volunteered to keep Matthew at his house overnight. Larry and Linda were traveling to Phoenix and Chantry suggested he babysit so they didn’t have to rush home late that night. Additionally, Matthew had a catechism class the next morning, so it would be easier for all to have Chantry babysit. During this time Chantry told Matthew “he was being punished for sins not yet committed” and told him to drop his pants and underpants. What then occurred was the worst beating and worst fondling Matthew ever received.

At times Matthew’s brother, Michael was at the church when Matthew was being “tutored.” He sometimes heard the spankings and cries of Matthew emitting from Chantry’s office. Matthew talked about the beatings, but never about being fondled. When Matthew’s parents learned of the bare bottom spankings Larry and fellow elder Rich Howell confronted Chantry.  Chantry said he spanked Matthew, but never bare-bottomed. He said Michael is making that up or dreamt it happened or if it did occur Chantry did it in his sleep.

In January of 1998, Chantry asked Carolyn Ladner if he could tutor her son, David. Carolyn will testify to seeing deep purple bruises on David’s buttocks and upper thighs. The bruises looked like he had been struck with a 2 X 4. She said David had trouble walking.

Continue reading at Thou Art The Man if you can stomach it. Todd is doing a great job.


Brad McDaniel: the non-member leader of the Highpoint opposition may not really be a counselor.

Today I received a message from a person who shall remain unidentified for good reason. Here is what the email alleged. Can anyone confirm this? Brad strikes me as a sales type in his demeanor. He sure is selling something to the Highpoint people!  Maybe he is one of those *biblical™ counselors. The goings on at Highpoint  should continue to be of interest.

Here are some things that we conveyed/claimed. (ed. update)

Brad McDaniel isn’t a counselor and is involved in the sales industry. He hasn’t worked as a “counselor” in any official setting where he got paid nor received official higher degrees to allow him to be a certified counselor.  This person claims that he may have volunteered, and may have had some Bible training.  This person claims that he may be misleading people by calling himself a counselor.


Comments

Updates on Anne Miller, the IMB Apology and the Tom Chantry Trial. Also, Who Exactly Is Brad McDaniel of Highpoint United? — 109 Comments

  1. drstevej: YES!!!!!!!!!

    … to this from the post:

    “The good news is this. Social media is changing how organizations do business and courageous women like Anne Marie Miller are coming forward.” – TWW

    Todd Wilhelm is documenting the trial. Others are contacting the Deebs. All good.

    We go to church and sit below a guy on stage whom we trust to keep the fox out of the henhouse. Turns out he doesn’t. Repeatedly. The system is flawed.

    We think we need hierarchy in the church. Maybe we don’t. Different jobs for different people, but without rank, importance, power levels and silencing.

    “But we need overseers to keep everyone in line.” We have overseers and they harbor predators or they ARE the predators.

    We all need to step up. The overseers have silenced the truth, their solution. In our secular communities now, everyone is a reporter. “If you see something, say something”.

    The address this flawed church culture, everyone is a reporter. God bless all of the truth tellers, and may He also deal with the silencers.

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  2. Russell Moore has come across often as an opportunitist/virtue signaller when it comes to different issues. Due to his tight ties with Mohler et al, he has commented on sexual ethics relating to abuse everywhere but within his own SBC. Institutions before individuals. He has supported calling complementarianism by the name “patriarchy” and has refused to decry the support of CJ Mahaney from within the SBC’s upper eschelon. With all that transpired thanks to Rachael Denhollander’s bravery, Moore was silent.

    Platt openly supported CJ.

    I wouldn’t accept an apology from them until they apologized for their blatant mishandling of the SGM debacle over the last several years.

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  3. “Today, The Gospel Coalition posted an article by Russell Moore which condemned of social media, claiming that it brings out the trolls.” (Dee)

    Reminiscent of Robert Morris calling blogs “Satan’s Hit List”:

    “But, but I have to say this, um, I’m really concerned about how much time people spend on the Internet. I’m extremely concerned about it. Extremely concerned about it; here’s one thing, just even the blogs that mention Christian leaders, and I’m one of ‘em. Praise the Lord, I’ve made the Satan, Satan’s hit list now you know” (Robert Morris)

    Ever wonder if Russell Moore is a TWW troll under another name? Mark Driscoll used to comment criticizing folks who criticized him – he signed on under “William Wallace II” … he later “repented” of that.

    Maybe Dr. Moore is concerned that somebody is getting ready to reveal some scandalous thing about him and wants us all off social media? New Calvinism and its cast of characters is ripe for the pickin’ in cyberspace – they are so entertaining in their stealth and deception.

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  4. beatitude: Russell Moore has come across often as an opportunitist/virtue signaller when it comes to different issues. Due to his tight ties with Mohler et al, he has commented on sexual ethics relating to abuse everywhere but within his own SBC. Institutions before individuals. He has supported calling complementarianism by the name “patriarchy” and has refused to decry the support of CJ Mahaney from within the SBC’s upper eschelon. With all that transpired thanks to Rachael Denhollander’s bravery, Moore was silent.

    Platt openly supported CJ.

    I wouldn’t accept an apology from them until they apologized for their blatant mishandling of the SGM debacle over the last several years.

    Russell Moore has higher aspirations, IMHO, and those aspirations are outside the church sphere.

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  5. Brad McDaniel’s Facebook associated with his Highpoint venture says he
    “Studied at Union University
    Studied Leadership at Focus on the Family Institute
    Studied at Crichton College”

    That info leads to a Linked In account which indicates he is a “Partner Lead at Transworld Systems” (a debt collecting company). He has an MBA from Union University and and “degrees in Liberal Studies, Biblical Studies, and Psychology” from Crichton College. He also studied, Christian/Family Studies, at the Focus on Family Institute under James Dobson and John Eldredge.

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  6. beatitude: Russell Moore has come across often as an opportunitist/virtue signaller when it comes to different issues. Due to his tight ties with Mohler et al, he has commented on sexual ethics relating to abuse everywhere but within his own SBC. Institutions before individuals. He has supported calling complementarianism by the name “patriarchy” and has refused to decry the support of CJ Mahaney from within the SBC’s upper eschelon. With all that transpired thanks to Rachael Denhollander’s bravery, Moore was silent.

    Platt openly supported CJ.

    Frauds and opportunists.

    It was very hard to read Todd’s blog but I’m so thankful he’s covering this.

    Is it possible that the whole church system is a fraud and we who are sincere are the beards (if you know what I mean) that keep the system appearing normal? I’m sorry, these abuse stories seem to be pouring out of the woodwork now that the little people have a voice yet this is barely the beginning of a trickle and I think we are fooling ourselves if we think these cases are rare. I feel sick to my stomach and sorry I was ever involved in church, to be honest.

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  7. GMFS

    Condemning social media because it brings out the trolls would be like condemning the pulpit because it brings out the sociopaths.

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  8. Erp: Brad McDaniel’s Facebook associated with his Highpoint venture says he…”Studied Leadership at Focus on the Family Institute”

    Paige Patterson apologist/shill Sharayah Colter also had training from that outfit:

    https://www.colterco.com/about

    “She also earned a leadership certificate from the Focus on the Family Leadership Institute”

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  9. SiteSeer: Frauds and opportunists… Is it possible that the whole church system is a fraud and we who are sincere are the beards (if you know what I mean)… feel sick to my stomach and sorry I was ever involved in church, to be honest.

    It is these sorts of things that continue to convince me that organized religion (i.e., “christianity” expressed as bureaucracy) is the polar opposite of what Jesus Christ and the Apostles intended and taught in the New Testament. Personally, I am all for casting off the entirety of denominational structures and returning to meeting in small groups (not to be confused with “contractual home care groups”) in homes. The smaller the group, the harder it gets for sociopaths and narcissists to hide.

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  10. Bill: Personally, I am all for casting off the entirety of denominational structures and returning to meeting in small groups (not to be confused with “contractual home care groups”) in homes

    What you are advocating would be a philosophical society. It would eliminate any schools/ universities/ seminaries related to christianity, no church related or financed hospitals/ clinics/ medical missions endeavors, no christian adoption agencies or social work agencies, no nothing except people who get together and talk in limited size groups.

    So when we stand in the judgment and get asked what did we do about the hungry and the naked and those in prison, and when we eventually give an account for what did we do about preach/teach/baptize into all the world, what would be the defense put forth by isolated individuals who only co-operated with a few others in their little circle?

    So, no, the organized church is not the polar opposite of what Jesus taught. And no, designating some individuals as representatives of the gospel with specific tasks is not opposite of how Jesus picked the seventy and the twelve and the three.

    Sure, the church needs cleaned up, but throwing it into the fire does not end up with a cleaned up anything; just a pile of ashes, the good with the bad equally gone. God reserves that sort of judgment for himself. Meanwhile we have a job to do and need to repent, refurbish and get on with it.

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  11. Here’s the closing sentence from Moore’s TGC article:

    “After all, you weren’t created for a hive or a pack. You were created for a church. And for that, you need more than a tribe. You need a soul. Your church needs that from you, too.”

    Huh? If this is so, then why do so many pastors want the pew-sitters to just shut up and sit down and just want us to mindlessly be part of their ‘hive’ or ‘collective’? Also, why does the church ‘need my soul’? My soul belongs to Christ and no other! No, I wasn’t created for a church, I was created to live for Him! The whole article reads like “word soup” to me.

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  12. So let me tell you a good thing that can come from an organized church. Today in this town a large predominately black church is doing their annual community outreach in which they let whole families come to the church for a day of seminars (and free book bags) and in which people some of whom are from the school system, tell and show people how to navigate the school system and how to fit the school into the work and economic and social issues of the family. GK#1 along with others has the opportunity to go help and in doing so meet the CrosbyScholars college grant program for herself. Last year they had in excess of one thousand people turn out. And yes, it is in ‘that part of town’ where poverty is a problem.

    Whose small group could do that all by their lonesome?

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  13. Nick Bulbeck: Condemning social media because it brings out the trolls would be like condemning the pulpit because it brings out the sociopaths.

    I can’t tell when you are being sarcastic, so if I misread your statement…oh. well.

    But another analogy, and I am serious. It would be like condemning the use of medications and going back to shamanism because BigPharma needs major reform. It is worth noting, of course, that we do have some people who are pretty close to that very thing.

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  14. Bill:

    It is these sorts of things that continue to convince me that organized religion (i.e., “christianity” expressed as bureaucracy) is the polar opposite of what Jesus Christ and the Apostles intended and taught in the New Testament.Personally, I am all for casting off the entirety of denominational structures and returning to meeting in small groups (not to be confused with “contractual home care groups”) in homes.The smaller the group, the harder it gets for sociopaths and narcissists to hide.

    Bill, I WAS involved with a home group for a number of years, and it did not work for me. Our home group was started in direct response to abuses we suffered when we were part of a network of churches in our denomination. For me, it turned out to be just as bad as when I was in an abusive church. We went from, “you have to do things the way we say, and if you leave us, you leave God,” to, “Oh, you can believe pretty much anything you want as long as you believe in God and believe in Jesus.”

    We did not have mature leadership in our group, and that was another problem. I remember one meeting that happened at my apartment where one member said either that sin didn’t separate us from God or that sin didn’t separate us from the love of God. Another member said, that’s dangerous to say (I think he was thinking of Isaiah 59:2, which says “your sins have separated you from God”.). In the discussion that followed, it got so intense, with each person defending their side, that I was afraid that they were going to come to blows.

    I finally told my husband that it was time to leave. We moved to another city and we are now part of a healthier congregation.

    Although home groups can and do work (especially in places like China), I’m very reluctant to endorse home groups as a “cure all” for everything that ails the church.

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  15. My baby actually found a tree out in the Iraq desert. Sent me a picture of it. Pitiful looking thing. Scrawny and scraggly with sparse and puny little leaves. One can see how it struggles and adapts. Bless it. Reminds me of some folks’ lives. Bless them. Life (noun) and to live (verb) is impressive in its ferocity and tenacity to exist (verb).

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  16. okrapod,

    Not necessarily. People could still organize into groups and do those things. Other groups do do those things! But as someone who goes to a very small fellowship, I have to say that the smaller groups, where people are able to know and be known by their leaders-who truly are one of them-are way more conducive to actual discipleship and growth. There may be a place for large churches in the great scheme of things but as one who has been in both mega and small-I will never go back to big.

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  17. Bill: I am all for casting off the entirety of denominational structures and returning to meeting in small groups (not to be confused with “contractual home care groups”) in homes. The smaller the group, the harder it gets for sociopaths and narcissists to hide.

    Beware, most megachurches with their cast of sociopaths and narcissists started as a small group meeting in a home! While denominational structures can be a good thing (as okrapod notes), I hope I live long enough to see some of their funerals preached. Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. An institution we call “church” is OK if it is reaching the lost for Christ, equipping ‘them’ to do the work of the ministry, and engaging their various gifts in fulfilling the Great Commission together. Anything less than that is doing church without God – whether it meets in a 5,000 seat auditorium or in a home.

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  18. bunny,

    I am not just talking about large churches but about denominations and even the universal church. Even a large church does not usually have it to do a university or a hospital. A local VBS perhaps, and that is certainly worth mentioning, I grant you that is that sort of thing is happening.

    So what is it that your group is doing for the greater good-greater meaning more than just those in the group? Jail ministry? Pro life something? Tutoring for the poor who may have limited English? Church affiliated pre-school? I am mentioning some things that some smallish local churches of which I am familiar are actually doing.

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  19. Bill: The smaller the group, the harder it gets for sociopaths and narcissists to hide.

    But don’t think that unhidden sociopaths can be easily held in check just because the group is small. It could just as easily go the other way. If you get one in your group you are screwed because they will take control one way or another and make it miserable for everyone (professional victims are especially good at this). And in a small group setting like you describe there is no way to get help from the larger organization because there is no larger organization. I’ve been burned badly enough by small groups that I now have very little hope that they are inherently any better than a structured denomination. It all depends on the people in them and the rules everyone agrees to follow.

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  20. okrapod,

    Oh, I don’t know. My dad, who rarely arrended church was not Catholic, and some other businessmen raised a lot of money for a Catholic hospital. People support what they believe in.

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  21. Root 66,

    There are 7 black pastors here demanding school choice. One of them is on local media all the time. They are done with our Byzantine public school. It’s uncanny.

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  22. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    There is a certain “ignorance is bliss” attitude I saw with people who attend Megas. ‘Just entertain me and I will check the church box off’ sort of approach. There are no easy answers. Perhaps one step in the right direction is educating children to become self governing citizens so they don’t grow up always looking for someone to “lead” them as adults. I see that as the biggest problem.

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  23. Lydia: There are 7 black pastors here demanding school choice. One of them is on local media all the time. They are done with our Byzantine public school. It’s uncanny.

    There is just a whole lot of stuff I could say relative to that about how the current school system is not meeting the needs of large chunks of the population. Or so I am informed. I cannot talk about racial issues here or in public because-. But more power to the middle class professionals of whatever race or ethnicity or mother tongue who are being beset from various angles.

    End of statement. Sorry. Wish I could talk about it but it would be totally counterproductive given the large reading audience of TWW.

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  24. Thersites: I’ll second that observation.

    Russell Moore just “trolls” on the opinion page of WaPo. A guardian “gatekeeper” media for us as per religion reporter Sarah Bailey. Lol.

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  25. SiteSeer: Is it possible that the whole church system is a fraud and we who are sincere are the beards (if you know what I mean) that keep the system appearing normal? I’m sorry, these abuse stories seem to be pouring out of the woodwork now that the little people have a voice yet this is barely the beginning of a trickle and I think we are fooling ourselves if we think these cases are rare. I feel sick to my stomach and sorry I was ever involved in church, to be honest.

    Seriously wondering the same. Whore of Babylon?

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  26. Lydia: Oh, I don’t know. My dad, who rarely arrended church was not Catholic, and some other businessmen raised a lot of money for a Catholic hospital. People support what they believe in.

    Yes they do, and good for your dad and others. But if it was a Catholic hospital then it was not the business men who set it up but rather the Catholic church. Which is pretty much my point, or at least I am trying to do that.

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  27. okrapod: What you are advocating would be a philosophical society. It would eliminate any schools/ universities/ seminaries related to christianity, no church related or financed hospitals/ clinics/ medical missions endeavors, no christian adoption agencies or social work agencies, no nothing except people who get together and talk in limited size groups.

    So when we stand in the judgment and get asked what did we do about the hungry and the naked and those in prison, and when we eventually give an account for what did we do about preach/teach/baptize into all the world, what would be the defense put forth by isolated individuals who only co-operated with a few others in their little circle?

    So, no, the organized church is not the polar opposite of what Jesus taught. And no, designating some individuals as representatives of the gospel with specific tasks is not opposite of how Jesus picked the seventy and the twelve and the three.

    Sure, the church needs cleaned up, but throwing it into the fire does not end up with a cleaned up anything; just a pile of ashes, the good with the bad equally gone. God reserves that sort of judgment for himself. Meanwhile we have a job to do and need to repent, refurbish and get on with it.

    Those are some really good thoughts I am going to have to chew on, as I find myself pretty much ready for the ashes. Is there a kernel of good worth saving in this thing? And if so, how does one keep from getting sidetracked by the bandits?

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  28. This is a weird coincidence as I found this blog rabbit trailing on Twitter. Moore and Miller spoke at my college chapel the same days at Ouachita and engaged with each other there during that theme week. He also contributed to her last book (I’ve since enjoyed getting her different books). Perhaps he actually did support her through this since they have known each other since at minimum 2014, when they were at my school.

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  29. SiteSeer: Is it possible that the whole church system is a fraud

    This is a good question. Jesus promised to lead the church and guide it into truth, and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Was he mistaken? Did he lie? But I understand where you are coming from – it can be very difficult at times to have much confidence in the whole church thing.

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  30. Max: Beware, most megachurches with their cast of sociopaths and narcissists started as a small group meeting in a home!

    Not only megachurches. The small church I attended led by a pastor I now believe to be narcissistic started as a small group meeting in a home. The people who have attended from the beginning (as in joining the first five years or so) are extremely loyal to him to the point of it feeling cultish. He is definitely idolized. Being an outsider who came in 20 years later I could sense it but the preaching and singing were so good I chose to attend with my eyes at least somewhat open. They consider themselves very unique, as all these churches do, but there was nothing unique in the pastor’s decision to out the abused (me) and keep the abuser. An all too familiar story.

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  31. Lydia: Perhaps one step in the right direction is educating children to become self governing citizens so they don’t grow up always looking for someone to “lead” them as adults. I see that as the biggest problem.

    I agree – this is a big problem. I tried to teach my kids to think and ask questions. Now that they are all on their own they are doing well, so I hope that what I did helped. One of the huge problems with the YRRs is how they have been trying to dumb down the masses. The websites from all the unusual suspects (TGC, desiringgod, challies, the cripple gate, core christianity, ligonier, etc) all pump out numerous articles telling people what to think about a myriad of topics, what books to read, what movies to avoid, what preachers to avoid, how to raise kids, etc. I hope their followers are not really that idiotic. But perhaps they are. Perhaps they don’t feel insulted by having some young arrogant punk (I can say that since I am in my 50s) tell them how to “do” life.

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  32. Ken F (aka Tweed): I agree – this is a big problem. I tried to teach my kids to think and ask questions. Now that they are all on their own they are doing well, so I hope that what I did helped. One of the huge problems with the YRRs is how they have been trying to dumb down the masses. The websites from all the unusual suspects (TGC, desiringgod, challies, the cripple gate, core christianity, ligonier, etc) all pump out numerous articles telling people what to think about a myriad of topics, what books to read, what movies to avoid, what preachers to avoid, how to raise kids, etc. I hope their followers are not really that idiotic. But perhaps they are. Perhaps they don’t feel insulted by having some young arrogant punk (I can say that since I am in my 50s) tell them how to “do” life.

    Here’s the thing. Life is scary. And you take a naive, humble new or young christian parent and they don’t want to risk doing it wrong. They don’t want to see their children suffer from divorce, unwed pregnancy, substance addiction, pornography, rape, etc.

    So what do they do? Exactly what they have been so well-trained to do – go to the experts! You have a physical ailment, you are told to go to the medical experts. You have depression or other mental irregularity, you go to the psychologist. You have car issues, you go to the car repair shop. The Institutional Church got in on the same game, only instead of merely offering help and advice, as we see increasingly even in the medical field, we are expected to follow the proffered advice without question. When we were young parents, and computers were relatively new, our pediatrician encouraged us to research the physical issues our infants were facing. He acknowledged, when our third child had some of the same issues, that, due to our intensive research on the ailment, we were more ‘expert’ than he was, and should just follow our gut. That simply is not something you see much of anymore, in medicine or in religion.

    So, if the religious experts told us dating was evil, we kissed dating goodbye. If they told us to spank, we spanked. If they told us to read, do, eat or sing – we did it. I considered myself a fairly independent minded person (understatement) and the truth us, I never could just blindly follow someone else’s advice, without pondering its veracity and value. But my spouse could. So much so that my own insistence on using our own brains was considered ‘rebellious against authority’. That’s right, the desire to carefully question, study and seek other input before implementing some ‘suggestion’ was tantamount to insurrection. Why couldn’t I just ‘trust’ and ‘submit’ to my elders, like all godly christians should?

    I suspect that others have undergone similar experiences.

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  33. okrapod: Sure, the church needs cleaned up, but throwing it into the fire does not end up with a cleaned up anything; just a pile of ashes, the good with the bad equally gone. God reserves that sort of judgment for himself. Meanwhile we have a job to do and need to repent, refurbish and get on with it.

    I agree. There never was a perfect ‘New-Testament-church-Shangri-La’ that so many folks pine and wish for, nor is such a thing possible at present day.

    In my opinion, the best that can be done in an imperfect world with imperfect people is a well regulated system of checks and balances that minimizes the damage that sociopaths and narcissists can wreak upon a ‘church’ body.

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  34. Lydia: There are 7 black pastors here demanding school choice. One of them is on local media all the time. They are done with our Byzantine public school. It’s uncanny.

    Lemme’ guess. Is the white-liberal-latte-set at Starbuck’s in denial that there could be such a thing amongst black pastors?

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  35. drstevej,

    Thank you. I used to think about these things prior to the rise in blogging. Deb and I would get together at Panera and discuss this stuff, wondering if anyone else would be interested. I am so glad that people find this helpful. The blog has saved us a ton of money which would have been spent on endless coffee and salad at Panera.

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  36. Max,

    They may as well get used to it. Bloggers are not going anywhere. Finally, the little guy (and I am talking about me) can speak to the world. And sometimes, people actually listen.

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  37. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Russell Moore has higher aspirations, IMHO, and those aspirations are outside the church sphere.

    I have heard others say the same thing. What sort of office do you think he might try to get? Or are you thinking about a political appointment?

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  38. Erp: He also studied, Christian/Family Studies, at the Focus on Family Institute under James Dobson and John Eldredge.

    Thank you for you informative comment. Here is the skinny on Chricton College which became Victory University which is now closed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_University

    I have to admit that I had a giggle about his CV. It is interesting that he chose, in his podcast, to represent himself as some sort of counselor as opposed to a debt collector. That got me to thinking that his background in debt collection might be useful to Highpoint unless the church can get it together.

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  39. okrapod,

    Great comment. My church has a clothes and home goods ministry several times a year in which people can come in and pick out what they need. They also deliver brown bag lunches when school is closed for kids who are dependent on school lunches.

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  40. dee: They may as well get used to it. Bloggers are not going anywhere.

    It’s clear that we need more policing of organized religion … too many authoritarians, sociopaths, narcissists, and/or perverts in the pulpit. The blogosphere is a place where victims can find encouragement and support, where abusers can be revealed and shown the exit. If there is no accountability structure (or one that is working) in a church or denomination to deal with these things, bloggers can provide that service to the Body of Christ.

    Thank you Deebs for your fine work.

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  41. Muff Potter: There never was a perfect ‘New-Testament-church-Shangri-La’ that so many folks pine and wish for, nor is such a thing possible at present day.

    I looked for it and found it never existed, does not exist now, and will not exist on this side of the second coming. I agree with you on the checks and balances. I believe this might be the most important thing to look for in a church. After quitting an SBC church a couple months ago my wife and I settled on a very large mainstream church. I suppose it is on the “liberal” (whatever that means…)
    side, but there seem to be reasonable checks and balances in place in this particular congregation. So far, so good.

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  42. dee: They may as well get used to it. Bloggers are not going anywhere.

    And another thing … if America’s enemies can penetrate our economic and political systems via the Internet to disrupt our society, bloggers should be allowed to penetrate corrupt religious systems on behalf of the Body of Christ, to disrupt the enemies of God who show up in pulpits and movements.

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  43. okrapod,

    I plan to let people know that the wonderful people on this blog raised $1700 for the human trafficking victim who needed dentures. Since it will not cost that much, we will be able to care for another need.

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  44. Brad has a new video up, and oh my goodness you could set clocks as to how predictable this stuff is:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/hpleadershipforum/permalink/216182522289877/

    Highlights:

    – A call out to “The Haters”
    – He claims Conlee wasn’t fired because of his plan, but he offers no evidence of this.
    – We don’t see it all but he has knowledge he can’t tell us yet.
    – Matthew 17 keeps us from knowing everything he does.
    – A “Religious” Spirit is controlling the people who removed Conlee. This is stated many times.
    – The people were “tricked” into removing Conlee by the devil
    – Conlee predicted “the enemy” was at work, directly to Brad, 15 years ago.
    – He addresses “Bad theology,” which — he equated to having Highpoint w/o Chris and Andy. Really?
    – He reminds us that Chris and Andy gave their everything to make Highpoint as awesome as it is and they deserve better.
    – Lots of rambling about warfare
    – They’re gathering weekly to “listen” to the Lord, and they’ll teach you how.

    I feel like I’m watching a slow-motion implosion of a church: Everything on the outside looks fine, but one doesn’t realize how weak the structural integrity is until things start to fall. This guy’s attempts are merely another symptom of the problems.

    (and FWIW, I’ll point those three long fingers back at me: I’m in a church that’s only 15 years old and while we’re weathered some things I pray that we could withstand something this serious yet have the integrity to boldly call out abuse if/when it happens.)

    I downloaded the video from FB in case it disappears. I can send it to Deebs if needed.

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  45. Tina: We did not have mature leadership in our group

    Very common in home churches and small group meetings.

    Tina: home groups can and do work (especially in places like China)

    The persecuted church is perhaps the healthiest church in the world. No room for nonsense when you are trying to survive, no room for the counterfeit to flourish when you are willing to lay down your life for Christ. Narcissists don’t try to take over things in which participants could end up imprisoned, tortured, or executed.

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  46. okrapod: So when we stand in the judgment and get asked what did we do about the hungry and the naked and those in prison, and when we eventually give an account for what did we do about preach/teach/baptize into all the world, what would be the defense put forth by isolated individuals who only co-operated with a few others in their little circle?

    Not disagreeing with you, Okrapod, but it seems that one hand is raping children while the other is feeding the needy… I read recently that in one city where a certain Catholic priest had been a prolific child molester, it was thought that most of the problems with drug abuse and crime in the community were directly connected to that man. The children whose spirits he ravaged became the damaged individuals the church was visiting in prison, in other words…

    At the very least, it’s time for a reckoning. A huge reckoning with no more cover ups and excuses. I’m really not sure what all would be left afterwards.

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  47. dee:
    Jerome,

    Can you imagine listing a *leadership certificate* from Focus on the Family?

    Again, apologies for getting off-topic, but the Leadership obsession in Evangelicalism is one of those things that goes fairly unnoticed if you’re not in the right circles. The Willow Creek one was one of the most famous, but when I was in Evangelical media we were swamped with books on leadership (or “Servant-Leadership” as it’s often called in Evangelical circles) from celebrity pastors, Christian businessmen, Christian consultants, Christian CEOs, musicians, and on and on. Seminars could be attended for hundreds of dollars. Sermon series on Biblical leadership are still all the rage.

    Mark Galli at Christianity Today did an excellent essay on The Leadership Cult a decade ago. Google it, he was surprisingly prescient.

    Frankly, at my former evangelical workplace leadership seminars were a way to reward the high-ups with two days off work to watch a video screen while the rest of us non-leaders held down the fort for awhile. Hmm…

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  48. dee: I plan to let people know that the wonderful people on this blog raised $1700 for the human trafficking victim who needed dentures. Since it will not cost that much, we will be able to care for another need.

    Wonderful!

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  49. Good reporting here. Keep it up! I do not care about civil war issues inside the church (they need to repented of and simply stop,) but I do care about Narcissism which causes all of this b.s. to happen. This narcissism knows no doctrinal bounds. It runs wild throughout all denominations including the ones that we are involved in. It does need to be exposed for these are the wolves preying on the sheep. Jesus warned us about them long ago.

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  50. dee: I plan to let people know that the wonderful people on this blog raised $1700 for the human trafficking victim who needed dentures. Since it will not cost that much, we will be able to care for another need.

    Glad to hear it, was wondering how that turned out!

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  51. dee: Thank you for you informative comment.Here is the skinny on Chricton College which became Victory Universitywhich is now closed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_University

    I have to admit that I had a giggle about his CV. It is interesting that he chose, in his podcast, to represent himself as some sort of counselor as opposed to a debt collector. That got me to thinking that his background in debt collection might be useful to Highpoint unless the church can get it together.

    FYI–Chricton College (always pathetic and now defunct) is where Fellowship Memphis was meeting when Rick Trotter was taking his illicit videos of women and children in church office bathrooms (and elsewhere), only to have the leadership was cover it up. The former President of Chricton is Larry Lloyd, a Memphian who is tight buddies with a variety of the local pastors who have been covering up the illegal sexual shenanigans plaguing the city.

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  52. Lydia: There are 7 black pastors here demanding school choice. One of them is on local media all the time. They are done with our Byzantine public school. It’s uncanny.

    School choice is no panacea. In between the guy who has a mansion yet has mortgaged his 12 campuses to the hilt on notes that go to 2052 (<<< not a typo) and the charter high school closest to me that is basically teaching Mormon doctrine to the teens (and being sued for it), there's a lot to be concerned about. Unfortunately, my state has to pretty much be coerced into enforcing the few regulations already on the books for charter schools by lawsuits and threats of lawsuits. And there's no clear evidence that charter schools are better for the students, at least here in Arizona.

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  53. dee:

    I have heard others say the same thing. What sort of office do you think he might try to get? Or are you thinking about a political appointment?

    I don’t know…it’s hard to say. He could probably go into an appointed position directly from ERLC but if he’s looking for a national stage, he needs to get his hands dirty in electoral politics. Hence, I think he’s looking for an appointment. But he could surprise us.

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  54. SiteSeer: Is it possible that the whole church system is a fraud and we who are sincere are the beards (if you know what I mean) that keep the system appearing normal? I’m sorry, these abuse stories seem to be pouring out of the woodwork now that the little people have a voice yet this is barely the beginning of a trickle and I think we are fooling ourselves if we think these cases are rare. I feel sick to my stomach and sorry I was ever involved in church, to be honest.

    I’m starting to feel the same way myself. For me it’s more personal – my church leadership’s reaction when I came to them asking for help for an abusive marriage. I don’t think I will ever stop believing in God, but at the moment his church is making me sick. There are a few exceptions, this blog being one of them. But in my situation I have been shown more kindness, respect and compassion by the secular authorities than by God’s people, who are supposed to be known by their love for one another.

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  55. Bill: The smaller the group, the harder it gets for sociopaths and narcissists to hide.

    True, although it doens’t always help. My church is less than 50 people, and the leaders still are advising me to reconcile with my abusive husband. They invited him to preach despite knowing that he assaulted our son. I’m starting to think it’s not that they’re ignorant, it’s that they don’t care, and the outward reputation and structure is more important to them than the people within.

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  56. dee,

    I personally wouldn’t be at all surprised if he went for political office at some point. He’s always struck me as trying to keep a little bit more in step with the world so as not to appear too crazy for office. Although such a qualification may no longer be necessary…

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  57. Deb:
    okrapod,

    Definitely sarcasm.

    Irony, rather than sarcasm. The context is the idea of Russell Moore condemning social media, and he wouldn’t be the first church-funded celebrity to do this because they don’t like the way some social mediums challenge their behaviour.

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  58. Max,

    True. When your life is on the line, only those who are willing to lose their lives are steadfast. Over the years we went into Poland and Romania before the wall came down, supporting the tiny evangelical Baptist churches with goods and medical necessities. Those who persisted in their faith in the face of extreme opposition had no time for empire building. I spent many months in Spain during Franco’s dictatorship, and many of my friends were from families where their parents had been imprisoned for their evangelical faith, or had lost their jobs. No overt evangelism was allowed and even the little church buildings were not allowed windows on the street side. When we came out of services we were aware of Guardia Civil officers noting who was present. People stuck together and supported each other in those difficult times.

    Our little Baptist church here joins with many others to provide Tree of Life to the many needy people in the area. For this reason I understand the need to reform rather than abandon the church, but wherever there is an autocratic leadership I say – leave. The temptation for narcissists or power hungry men to grasp authority is too great for many, especially as there are no dangers to life or limb!

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  59. Since y’all follow and dissect Christian trends…
    I saw this recently.
    There seems to be some new trend among Christian patriarchal gender role advocates:

    The Future of Complementarity: When Newfrontiers became accidentally feminist
    https://www.christiantoday.com/society/the-future-of-complementarity-when-newfrontiers-became-accidentally-feministexecute1/130003.htm

    This was part of a three-day event I attended run by Think Theology, an offshoot of the Newfrontiers network of churches, entitled The Future of Complementarity.

    Andrew Wilson, arguably evangelical Christianity’s most well-known complementarian, organised this conference to move ideologically away from US conservatives who want to return to the 1950s (John Piper et al).

    We are to no longer call it complementarianism, it is complementarity, which presumably makes Andrew Wilson a complementarityist.

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  60. truthseeker00: The Institutional Church got in on the same game, only instead of merely offering help and advice, as we see increasingly even in the medical field, we are expected to follow the proffered advice without question.

    Overreach.
    This is where church gets autocratic, undemocratic (against the mores of our free society), unhealthy and downright dangerous (Andy Savage, for example). Church crosses over to the dark side. There we are in church, but do we see it? That’s the problem, and why TWW, for example, is important.

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  61. Daisy: The Future of Complementarity: When Newfrontiers became accidentally feminist
    https://www.christiantoday.com/society/the-future-of-complementarity-when-newfrontiers-became-accidentally-feministexecute1/130003.htm

    I wanted to quote one more bit from that:

    The speakers tried to present this new ‘complementarity’ idea as an evolution of complementarianism, which lets complementarians off the hook in acknowledging the huge harm their theology has caused.

    Interesting.

    Complementarians are trying to market complementariarnism differently now, because the old brand is such a horrible, obvious failure and has been taking a hit in the court of public opinion.

    They’re even calling it by a new name now, “complementarianist” or however it’s spelled. They need to trash the whole thing instead of trying to white wash it or spin it differently.

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  62. Daisy: They need to trash the whole thing instead of trying to white wash it or spin it differently.

    To get healthy people into their system, it is all about spin, aka snake oil.

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  63. dee:
    Max,

    They may as well get used to it. Bloggers are not going anywhere. Finally, the little guy (and I am talking about me) can speak to the world. And sometimes, people actually listen.

    Dee, I have been watching the blogging scene for a while and after a huge wave of voices in the 2000’s, then a silent period, there seems to be an upsurge in new blogs surrounding the #churchtoo movement. The Willow Creek situation, for example, gave us at least 3 new blogs from victims (Nancy Ortberg, etc) and one guy (Steve Carter) on the other side speaking out on his own platform when he had something to say on behalf of himself. Very interesting. I wonder if we are about to see a revival of personal internet platforms (blogs) which allow victims to speak with their own voice on their own stage, without having to couch themselves [is couch the right word???] inside the cul-de-sacs of Facebook and Twitter??

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  64. dee: They may as well get used to it. Bloggers are not going anywhere. Finally, the little guy (and I am talking about me) can speak to the world. And sometimes, people actually listen.

    dee: And sometimes, people actually listen.

    Lots of listeners/readers meet here at TWW. On level ground. No hierarchy – only parameters of staying civilized and on topic, which makes sense. Healthy. Functional.

    Ditto what you wrote about yourself, Dee. You have provided a platform for the rest of us and we thank you for being the administrator who values everyone and quality parameters.

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  65. jyjames,

    How many have wandered into these pages, broken, discouraged, feeling alone and wondering if they have imagined all that has happened – only to discover that they are not alone, or crazy? Others have seen and experienced the same manipulation, abuse and are grappling with the same questions.

    This, and other blogs not only hold the abusers’ feet to the fire, but offer hope to those who have been used and hurt, that it was not their own doing, not a product of an overactive imagination. Thank you, one and all, for encouraging and supporting the many who have, sadly, had to deal with inappropriate behavior in the last place they ever expected it – the Church.

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  66. truthseeker00: Thank you, one and all, for encouraging and supporting the many who have, sadly, had to deal with inappropriate behavior in the last place they ever expected it – the Church.

    Yes! Thank you, all!

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  67. Liz: True, although it doens’t always help. My church is less than 50 people, and the leaders still are advising me to reconcile with my abusive husband. They invited him to preach despite knowing that he assaulted our son. I’m starting to think it’s not that they’re ignorant, it’s that they don’t care, and the outward reputation and structure is more important to them than the people within.

    Sorry for your situation. I think you are right, they probably don’t care – which makes me wonder if they are even true Christians. I hope everything will turn out okay for you. Don’t let them push you around!

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  68. Grainne: Over the years we went into Poland and Romania before the wall came down, supporting the tiny evangelical Baptist churches with goods and medical necessities.

    Thank you Grainne for your ministry during those tough times. Our daughter attended a home Bible study with a group several years ago which included a Romanian exchange student. It was a typical small group meeting in the U.S. where the participants focused more on fun and fellowship, than study of the Word and prayer. After attending a few times, the young lady from Romania responded to the host when he invited her back “No, thank you. You people just don’t get it.” Christians who have been through persecution know more of Christ’s love, protection, and provision for them, and long for more spiritual life and worship when they gather with other believers. The organized church in America would be completely different if it went through some tough times.

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  69. Root 66: The whole article reads like “word soup” to me.

    MERLIN AMBROSIUS!
    QUIT PRACTICING THE CURSE OF BABEL!
    YOU HAVE A BANQUET AT N.I.C.E. TO GET TO!

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  70. Max: Beware, most megachurches with their cast of sociopaths and narcissists started as a small group meeting in a home!

    “Today, ten guys chanting in socks in my living room —
    TOMORROW THE WORLD!”

    That’s the problem with little house churches — no reality check if things go sour. JMJ over at Christian Monist was involved in house churches for a while, and he saw some really ugly things happen as Entropy set in. Mostly a blend of “One True Church — Us Four, NO MORE, Amen” arrogance and Cultic drift into a Cult under the most dominant personality.

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  71. Daisy: Complementarians are trying to market complementariarnism differently now, because the old brand is such a horrible, obvious failure and has been taking a hit in the court of public opinion.

    They’re even calling it by a new name now, “complementarianist” or however it’s spelled. They need to trash the whole thing instead of trying to white wash it or spin it differently.

    ChEKA changes its name to OGPU which changes its name to NKVD which changes its name to KGB which changes its name to FSB…

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  72. https://youtu.be/6FEuAr8f6bo

    ( hope this link works)

    In the midst of all these difficult and wrong situations, here is a song that my church sang today after a message from Revelation 5 … Truly only one is worthy as has been stated in comments for a number of TWW articles. I trust it may be deeply meaningful to you today.

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  73. Max: After attending a few times, the young lady from Romania responded to the host when he invited her back “No, thank you. You people just don’t get it.” Christians who have been through persecution know more of Christ’s love, protection, and provision for them, and long for more spiritual life and worship when they gather with other believers.

    Doctors “getting it” in the medical field:

    https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2017/11/favor-leave-country-see-health-care-abroad.html

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  74. Wait. The kid here sounds like “Victim 2” in the latest update. Has Todd’s website redacted the name? Should that be changed here as well? (My phone is not cooperating at the moment, or I would go and check the blog reports myself and send an email to the Deebs.)

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  75. Daisy:
    Since y’all follow and dissect Christian trends…
    I saw this recently.
    There seems to be some new trend among Christian patriarchal gender role advocates:

    The Future of Complementarity: When Newfrontiers became accidentally feminist
    https://www.christiantoday.com/society/the-future-of-complementarity-when-newfrontiers-became-accidentally-feministexecute1/130003.htm

    An “-arity” is so much warmer and fuzzier than an “-ism”. Would that it became instead a rarity or “isn’t”.

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  76. refugee: An “-arity” is so much warmer and fuzzier than an “-ism”. Would that it became instead a rarity or “isn’t”.

    The Gospel Coalition wants you to know all about “The Beauty of Complementarity”:

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/beauty-complementarity-goes-beyond-gender/

    The New Calvinists are beginning to put a more gentle spin on complementarian belief and practice. But at the end of the day, it’s still all about men controlling women in every compartment of life. They really aren’t female-friendly when it comes to recognizing the spiritual gifts of women as important as those of men.

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  77. truthseeker00: That’s right, the desire to carefully question, study and seek other input before implementing some ‘suggestion’ was tantamount to insurrection. Why couldn’t I just ‘trust’ and ‘submit’ to my elders, like all godly christians should?

    “If you question what I say or do
    YOU REBEL AGAINST THE FATHER, TOO!”
    — Steve Taylor, “I Manipulate”

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  78. Just posted on the Justice For Anne [Miller] site: “A Joint Statement Regarding the SBC Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group.” It includes questions and concerns about the group, some suggestions, and recommendations for survivors, advocates, and activists we believe should be invited to participate.

    https://justiceforanne.com/2018/07/31/a-joint-statement-regarding-the-sbc-sexual-abuse-presidential-study-group/

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  79. Nick Bulbeck:
    GMFS

    Condemning social media because it brings out the trolls would be like condemning the pulpit because it brings out the sociopaths.

    I know exactly what you’re driving at and agree with your sentiment, as usual.

    But…I do condemn the pulpit, at least as it’s so often presently understood, i.e., a place for one who thinks they have the primary vision and authority to expound in the light of spotlights and on a stage to those not possessing that vision and authority. That is certainly not a biblical perspective, at least as understood in the age of all believers making up a royal priesthood. So I think the world would be a better place tomorrow, much better, if axes were taken to every pulpit and they were reduced to kindling or shards of polycarbonate, or stainless steel (or whatever trendy substance used nowdays) and everyone who calls themselves “pastor” and/or puts their name up there on the church sign were dragged bodily out of the church building and told never to return. Some decent people would be tossed out, but they’d quite naturally find legitimate ministry opportunities that didn’t encourage their worst natures, and probably serve the Lord all the more effectively, and some cold-blooded sociopaths would also be run out. Win/win.

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  80. David:
    Brad has a new video up, and oh my goodness you could set clocks as to how predictable this stuff is:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/hpleadershipforum/permalink/216182522289877/

    Highlights:

    – A call out to “The Haters”
    – He claims Conlee wasn’t fired because of his plan, but he offers no evidence of this.
    – We don’t see it all but he has knowledge he can’t tell us yet.
    – Matthew 17 keeps us from knowing everything he does.
    – A “Religious” Spirit is controlling the people who removed Conlee. This is stated many times.
    – The people were “tricked” into removing Conlee by the devil
    – Conlee predicted “the enemy” was at work, directly to Brad, 15 years ago.
    – He addresses “Bad theology,” which — he equated to having Highpoint w/o Chris and Andy. Really?
    – He reminds us that Chris and Andy gave their everything to make Highpoint as awesome as it is and they deserve better.
    – Lots of rambling about warfare
    – They’re gathering weekly to “listen” to the Lord, and they’ll teach you how.

    I feel like I’m watching a slow-motion implosion of a church: Everything on the outside looks fine, but one doesn’t realize how weak the structural integrity is until things start to fall. This guy’s attempts are merely another symptom of the problems.

    (and FWIW, I’ll point those three long fingers back at me: I’m in a church that’s only 15 years old and while we’re weathered some things I pray that we could withstand something this serious yet have the integrity to boldly call out abuse if/when it happens.)

    I downloaded the video from FB in case it disappears. I can send it to Deebs if needed.

    That sounds crazy and delusional. It reminds me of the admonition made in the Bible against those given over to a depraved mind.

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  81. Maple LadyThey consider themselves very unique, as all these churches do, but there was nothing unique in the pastor’s decision to out the abused (me) and keep the abuser.An all too familiar story.

    This is perhaps more the hallmark of a destructive cult than even abusive behavior. They’re all just oh so UNIQUE: “We do things differently here.” “You’ll never feel loved like you do here!” “We’re a very doctrinally-sound church.” “When are those fellowships down the street going to stand on the true Gospel like we do?”

    I’ve seen it before, heard it before. Ho-hum. Standard operating procedure of virtually every cult. And as you surely know, “cult” is more a state of mind and a smug, self-sufficient, holier-than-the-average attitude than a set of overtly bad doctrines. Of course, those eventually come in time, the bad doctrine, at least in practice. But the great majority of cults that seek with vigor to stomp out the love of God and the work of the Holy Spirit have a very tidy and correct link on their website entitled “What we believe”.

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  82. of Tom Chantry. I believe the victims.
    The defense appears to be claiming false memories on the part of the victims. That is hard for me to believe since they all have similar, yet different, memories of their abuse. I hear he is also claiming that they cannot remember the dates of these assaults. ROFL. This happened 20 years ago. Yesterday, I was asked to remember the exact date in which I took my last arthritis med injection. I couldn’t remember and had to consult calendars on which I had not written the date of the injection. I finally figured it out and this was less than two weeks ago.

    My comments at ThouArtTheMan on the above subject:

    I will add that defense attorney John Sears did a good job challenging these witnesses on details of their memory. The witnesses difficulty in being sure of exact dates and places will undoubtedly play well into Sear’s plan to show distorted memories.

    Gaslighting by Proxy.

    IMO Sears is the major culprit here. The man is a seasoned lawyer so perhaps he has a strategy involved in laboriously going over timelines and details that appear to me, a legal neophyte, to have no bearing on the case. For example, he put a photo of the parsonage on the overhead and then asked Victim 4 to describe in detail the interior of the house. She did an amazing job of describing the place, but that was not the end of it. Sears then pointed to each window along the side of the house and asked what room each window was in.

    I know this drill.

    It’s an old Debater’s trick beloved by sociopaths going for the kill (Twirl those Pens!)

    Nitpicking for any flaw, ANY TRIVIAL FLAW WHATOSEVER in victim’s memory that he can expand to discredit her entire testimony Because She Couldn’t Remember It EXACTLY RIGHT! HOW CAN WE TRUST ANY OF HER TESTIMONY?

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  83. “We’re a very doctrinally-sound church.”

    PURITY OF IDEOLOGY, COMRADES!
    (Ask any survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields about Purity of Ideology and what it can justify.)

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  84. Law Prof: But the great majority of cults that seek with vigor to stomp out the love of God and the work of the Holy Spirit have a very tidy and correct link on their website entitled “What we believe”.

    My writing partner once told me about one very scary one whose “tidy and correct link” was “GOD HATH SAID!”

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  85. Max: The New Calvinists are beginning to put a more gentle spin on complementarian belief and practice.

    Like that Jerk with his Kirk in Moscow, Idaho put a more gentle spin on Animate Property in a certain Peculiar Institution?

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  86. Muff Potter: I agree. There never was a perfect ‘New-Testament-church-Shangri-La’ that so many folks pine and wish for, nor is such a thing possible at present day.

    But there are a lot of flim-flam men who promise one — THEIRS and theirs alone.

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