P.J. Smyth’s Church Plant – Monument Church

“In light of PJ’s plan to plant a church locally, Covenant Life members face fresh decisions.”

Membership intentions form CLC members are to complete (see screen shot below)

Should they stay or should they go???

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScN9VzsKTlfGFShw5ir03Hwj7SA09y6yqZj_RuEfK9d6o6VYw/viewform

We had planned to write about P.J. Smyth’s church plant several weeks ago, but other pressing topics demanded our attention.

As we discussed In our previous post, P.J.’s father, John Smyth, died last Saturday (August 11th) at his home in South Africa. In light of this stunning development, we wonder whether the schedule for planting P.J.’s new church will be adjusted.

Before delving into those plans, we are left wondering how much P.J. knew about his father’s horribly abusive behavior toward young men. So far around 80 men have come forward, revealing that they were brutally beaten by John Smyth. As our previous post states, Smyth was about to be extradited to the U.K. for prosecution. The timing of his passing is certainly suspect, and we expect an autopsy will reveal his cause of death.

Given that these beatings took place over decades and involved so many individuals, we find it extremely difficult to believe that P.J. Smyth did not know that his father was caning young men. Since this seems to have been John Smyth’s mode of discipline, how is it that it P.J. was spared the rod by his father?

A year and a half ago, Dee addressed this most serious matter and purported that P.J. was not telling the truth regarding his father. Here is an excerpt from her post entitled: Why I Do Not Believe the Statements From P.J. Smyth and the Elders of Covenant Life Church

A further clarification by P.J. Smyth leads me to believe that he is not fully disclosing the truth.

Brent Detwiler wrote an excellent post dealing with the changing statements of P.J. Smyth who is now the lead pastor of Covenant Life Church. In Lead Pastor P.J. Smyth Deceives Covenant Life Church About Knowledge of John Smyth’s Violent Beating of BoysBrent outlined what he considers to be deception by both P.J. Smyth and the elders.

P.J.’s original statement.

Here is a link to P.J.’s original statement. In my opinion, he is implying that he had a happy childhood albeit he appears to hint at the use of corporal punishment in the home. he also denies seeing any sort of abuse.

During the time we lived in the UK, I was in boarding school from the age of 8 to 13. When I was home I never saw or heard anything that led me to suspect my father was engaged in the activities alleged. I had a happy childhood at home, and my father disciplined me in a manner consistent with the laws and cultural trends of the UK at the time, not in a manner alleged in the recent reports.

P.J. admitted that he was *mistaken* in his original statement.

The update is quoted in Brent’s post.

UPDATE, FEBRUARY 22: Since writing this I have realized that it is not strictly accurate to say, “I was not involved with those interactions” and I am sorry for the confusion this has caused.  I was seeking to write in a timely way what I remembered, but my memory was flawed. The Covenant Life elders have commented here. —PJ Smyth

Here is what the CLC elders had to say about his amended statement.

Update from the Covenant Life Elders was written to the church on February 22, 2017. In this update, they actually express sympathy for those who are suffering. However, I do not know if they mean the alleged victims or John Smyth and the family or both. I sure wish they could come out and express concern for the victims but that does not appear to be the style of this ex SGM church.

It appears P.J. *suddenly* remembered a meeting in the 90s in which these problems were discussed. Oddly he remembered it after receiving a letter from Zimbabwe reminding him.

As we began to read these reports, questions naturally arose: Did PJ know of such allegations against his father? If so, when did he learn of them? Anticipating these questions and more, PJ wrote an open letter on February 4. Among other things, PJ stated in this letter that he was “aware that a delegation of pastors and parents insisted that [his] father and the Board of Zambesi Holidays make adjustments to camp life.” He also wrote that he “was not involved with those interactions.”

Two days after posting his open letter, PJ received emails from a UK reporter and a pastor in Zimbabwe that referenced his attendance at a meeting in June of 1993 where certain allegations of his father’s misconduct were discussed. Though he could not remember details of the meeting, PJ immediately informed the elders that his open letter was inaccurate. The following day he and his wife Ashleigh spoke directly with the Zimbabwe pastor.

And, of course, P.J. was being honest.

we also believe PJ was seeking to communicate honestly and in a timely way what he remembered. We believe he acted in good faith but his recollection of these earlier events was flawed.

Likewise, the Zimbabwe pastors who attended the June 1993 meeting have told us they do not believe PJ was being deceitful in his open letter but instead was struggling to remember details from events over two decades ago. In addition, family, friends, and ministry colleagues who have known PJ for many years affirm PJ’s consistent pattern of integrity and honesty. And ever since the media reports about his father broke, our experience with PJ is that he has been humble, open and eager to do whatever would honor the Lord and best serve the church.

I say hogwash to all of this.

Not long before Dee wrote this about P.J. Smyth, he became lead pastor at Covenant Life Church. Here is his message delivered on January 29, 2017. The title of his message was “Perhaps the Lord Will Act.”

And perhaps He has…

Six months ago I wrote a post entitled Covenant Life Church (soon to be Christ Church Metro) Joining Advance? link

What ever became of this plan???

Then several weeks ago Brent Detwiler put together a detailed post that revealed plans for a new church plant to be called Monument Church. It will be led by P.J. Smyth. Here are some screen shots that Brent included in his post.


https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScN9VzsKTlfGFShw5ir03Hwj7SA09y6yqZj_RuEfK9d6o6VYw/viewform


It appears that several of these Vision Nights have already taken place. Does anyone know how many P.J. has conducted in light of his father’s passing?

Then there is this Covenant Life Church form on which CLC congregants are to indicate their intentions regarding church membership. Should they stay or should they go???




Brent Detwiler indicated in the above-referenced post that there had been a tremendous decline in church membership at Covenant Life Church – from around 4,000 to approximately 800. Will Monument Church be siphoning off some of CLC’s membership, which appears to have shrunken considerably?

We will continue to follow these developments and let our readers know what happens with P.J.’s church plant, which will be located in fairly close proximity to CLC.


Comments

P.J. Smyth’s Church Plant – Monument Church — 152 Comments

  1. The Clash! So appropriate!

    What I want to know is what organization will be sponsoring PJ’s Religious Worker visa?

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  2. The fifth choice:
    O -I don’t know how I got involved with you Bozos and I am getting as far away from CLC and PJ as possible

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  3. “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” John 8:44

    Consider the source of all lies, straight from such evil. We shouldn’t be surprised that lies are the first response in all of these horrible events.

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  4. Other CLC members have told me that many of the wealthiest donor families have been seen at PJ’s new church “Vision Nights”. Sunday morning attendance at CLC is only a few hundred with no wealthy donors visibly present.

    Right now it appears that PJ has taken more than half the congregation and all the wealthy donors from CLC.

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  5. Should they stay or should they go? Frying pan or fire?

    Proverbs 27:12
    A prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

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  6. How many people actually care about CLC or PJ? Pretty small turf battle if you ask me Deb. [Of course you wouldn’t ask me ].

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  7. senecagriggs,

    Except that these ‘small turf battles’ are being repeated again and again, all ignorant of one another. Just one more little (or big) church destroyed. Just one more set of members deceived, manipulated and seduced by the ‘latest and greatest’ worship experience.

    The hurt, swindled and disillusioned walk away, most never knowing that this same evil has and is being repeated in ‘churches’ across the land. To what end? Is this what we call the ‘building of the kingdom’? Whose kingdom?

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  8. Meh. There are no good guys here. The losers are those whose entire social life revolves around these controlling churches. That and the family members stuck behind the theological barbed wire linked by personal relationships.

    If the survey is just info gathering, then why do they need to know your names.

    Let them eat each other. Maybe some folks will take the third unstated option and leave both churches. Unlikely but you never know.

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  9. Jack:
    Meh. There are no good guys here. The losers are those whose entire social life revolves around these controlling churches. That and the family members stuck behind the theological barbed wire linked by personal relationships.

    If the survey is just info gathering, then why do they need to know your names.

    Let them eat each other. Maybe some folks will take the third unstated option and leave both churches. Unlikely but you never know.

    From reports, something like 80% have already taken the third option. Those who remain presumably have the strongest sense of attachment to what remains.

    “Under the sun” wrath of God strikes another self-described church. Beware the superapostles.

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  10. Option: “I would like to speak to an elder before making a decision”

    Church elders are the last folks that members should talk to if they want to get the real scoop about their pastor! As long-time TWW readers know, elder boards at New Calvinist churches will always give you a pro-pastor spin – these folks stick together to the bitter end. (Covenant Life Church is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition – you don’t get any more New Calvinist than that)

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  11. TS00:
    senecagriggs,

    Except that these ‘small turf battles’ are being repeated again and again, all ignorant of one another. Just one more little (or big) church destroyed. Just one more set of members deceived, manipulated and seduced by the ‘latest and greatest’ worship experience.

    The hurt, swindled and disillusioned walk away, most never knowing that this same evil has and is being repeated in ‘churches’ across the land. To what end? Is this what we call the ‘building of the kingdom’? Whose kingdom?

    Sadly mr, griggs does not care about others not like him IMO.

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  12. Max: Option: “I would like to speak to an elder before making a decision”

    Church elders are the last folks that members should talk to if they want to get the real scoop about their pastor!

    I suppose it would be extremely cynical to stop at ‘if they want to get the real scoop.’

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  13. Monument Church? Is this for real?
    “And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, ‘Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.’ ” 1 Samuel 15:12

    Enough said?

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  14. “People who remain at CLC are concerned that P.J. will take many people with him. Rightly so, he is a masterful manipulator and has more “charisma” than the three full-time pastors that remain …” (Brent Detwiler)

    “Charisma” is not a divinely conferred gift that is on New Calvinist leaders; much of what you see is simply fleshly talent and appeal (which may come with good looks, but not always – e.g., Piper & Mahaney). Unfortunately, the American pulpit is full of folks who have a natural form of charisma that makes them able to influence other people and attract their attention and admiration. Buyer beware! The goal of such leaders is to control and manipulate you … and get in your wallet.

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  15. TS00: The hurt, swindled and disillusioned walk away, most never knowing that this same evil has and is being repeated in ‘churches’ across the land. To what end? Is this what we call the ‘building of the kingdom’? Whose kingdom?

    Seneca is right that individually it’s small potatoes. In my day-to-day life, church has little influence. But taken collectively? It’s definitely a ‘christian trend’.

    I don’t know the exact stats but how many new church plants are really made up of recycled christians? A few may be returnees but most returnees will go back to the church they were raised in, like lapsed Catholics.

    But how many new (as in never been identified as Christian) actually go out and join a church? This could apply to RC, Baptist or any other denomination.

    There was a burst of new church plants about 20 years ago in my city, mostly evangelical but the people were mostly former “mainliners” – Catholics, Anglicans, Uniteds, Lutheran, Mennonite or other evangelicals.

    In all my years attending church I only heard of one Muslim family that converted – they were kind of the poster children for my wife’s church.

    So it’s really water transferring from smaller leaking buckets to bigger leaking buckets.

    With a billion christians the leaking can probably go on for some time but will likely become more pronounced in North America/Europe as people like me pack up and leave the church.

    There’s nothing to bring me back and how likely do you think my descendants will identify as christian. My kids may be influenced by my wife’s beliefs but even my wife isn’t tithing to same extent as when we both attended.

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  16. Jack,

    Good comment.

    For many, at least mainliners, the church is considered essential because it is the place in which you are baptised, married and buried. People send their kids to get just enough instruction so that, they too can be married, have their kids baptised, and get buried, . . . and on it goes. I would not be surprised if a portion of ‘seekers’ return to the mainline church of their parents.

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  17. Loren Haas: The fifth choice: O -I don’t know how I got involved with you Bozos and I am getting as far away from CLC and PJ as possible

    I cann ot believe these poor folks at CLC. First CJ. Then PJ. They sure know how to pick em.

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  18. I was under the impression that PJ helped out at his father’s camps where much of the abuse was alleged to take place. If so, then I have two thoughts.

    1. He is an psychologically damaged who knows how to block out abuse when he sees it. This could be due to his now *spankings* as child/teen. If so he needs to be in intensive counseling.
    2. He knows and he is a liar.

    If #2 is correct, then people attending his church should keep their children and teens fas away from him.

    Monument Church? ROFL

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  19. Warning to Monument/CLC attendees:

    It appears that PJ came from an abusive past. I find it hard to believe that everything was fine at home while his father was beating the crap out of kids.

    if what I say is true, then I can assure you that something will rear its ugly head. I pray that it doesn’t hurt more kids and teens. Given the fact you all attend these churches means you are used to hearing about abuse. Do not stick your fingers in your ears and say *la la la* this time. This is serious.

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  20. dee: First CJ. Then PJ. They sure know how to pick em.

    It would be wisdom in the future for CLC members to stay away from pastors who don’t use their names, just their initials … and watch out for the “Js”! I guess these guys are trying to keep up with R.C. Sproul, J.I. Packer, etc. It’s part of the aura surrounding their charisma – there’s a certain coolness and mystery to it.

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  21. dee: I was under the impression that PJ helped out at his father’s camps where much of the abuse was alleged to take place.

    Give me a break. Kids talk to each other about stuff. PJ knew.

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  22. Re PJ Smyth’s stay at Covenant Church. It’s very strange to me that he was given the platform within CLC to promote his church after he appears to have been removed from leadership for being unfit [see Brent’s post where he quotes the letter from CLC]

    http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/five-covenant-life-pastors-who-resigned-talk-about-sin-issue.html

    And the involvement of various ‘apostles’ from the NFI rings alarm bells, and rather sounds like the events related here – from a few years ago – by a pastor who was removed from his church by the NFI movement:

    http://eutychus.free.fr/nfiabuse

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  23. dee: Monument Church?

    “monument”: a statue or other structure placed by or over a grave in memory of the dead

    “Here lies the remains of Covenant Life Church”

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  24. dee,

    What, you think P.J. and Welby might have noticed the guys who wearing nappies and could barely walk? Welby was a dorm supervisor; being at these camps up to the age of 21, chances are so was P.J. though I haven’t heard it confirmed or denied. They would most likely have seen these boys getting dressed or showered. In any case, what are the chances that anyone present did not know something terrible was going on – something so terrible that boys screamed, were bruised and bleeding and had to wear diapers?

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  25. PJ Smyth, “All About Smacking” in his Quick Start Parenting manual:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160624132532/http://www.solidground.org.za/retired/images/Downloads/Quick_Start_Parenting_0.pdf

    page 15

    “May I say at the outset that if the law of you country forbids this form of discipline, then I would recommend that you either fully obey the law, or move to another country where the government are not such a bunch of controlling sissies.”

    “due to the potential dangers associated with inflicting physical pain on a child, I am only advocating a very selective and measured form of smacking. To let images of heavy-handed lashing into the mind is ridiculous.”

    page 16

    “We use a wooden spoon.”

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  26. Jerome:
    PJ Smyth, “All About Smacking” in his Quick Start Parenting manual:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160624132532/http://www.solidground.org.za/retired/images/Downloads/Quick_Start_Parenting_0.pdf

    page 15

    “May I say at the outset that if the law of you country forbids this form of discipline, then I would recommend that you either fully obey the law, or move to another country where the government are not such a bunch of controlling sissies.”

    “due to the potential dangers associated with inflicting physical pain on a child, I am only advocating a very selective and measured form of smacking. To let images of heavy-handed lashing into the mind is ridiculous.”

    page 16

    “We use a wooden spoon.”

    Sounds like the son of Jack the Whipper.

    And as for “controlling sissies”, can you say “Tough Guy Hypermasculinity”?

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  27. Headless Unicorn Guy: “May I say at the outset that if the law of you country forbids this form of discipline, then I would recommend that you either fully obey the law, or move to another country where the government are not such a bunch of controlling sissies.”

    “due to the potential dangers associated with inflicting physical pain on a child, I am only advocating a very selective and measured form of smacking. To let images of heavy-handed lashing into the mind is ridiculous.”

    These are telling and frightening quotes. The first is quite revealing, as in the very process of supposedly describing appropriate authority, he mocks the appropriate authority of the state to prevent child abuse.

    In the second quote, it is his strange wording, and what he chose to not say that is most disturbing. There does not appear to be a genuine concern for not inflicting inappropriate harm so much as a concern for being accused of inflicting inappropriate harm. ‘[P]otential danger associated with inflicting physical pain on a child’ sounds more like an attempt to avoid the dangers of prosecution than to avoid the more important risk of actually harming your child. ‘To let images of heavy-handed lashing into the mind is ridiculous’ sounds suspiciously defensive rather than protective of the child. Why would he not very clearly say that a parent should never be heavy-handed, or inflict marks or wounds, rather than simply express scorn at ‘images of heavy-handedness’?

    I could be reading too much into it, but find this wording very disturbing.

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  28. dee:
    I was under the impression that PJ helped out at his father’s camps where much of the abuse was alleged to take place. If so, then I have two thoughts.

    1. He is an psychologically damaged who knows how to block out abuse when he sees it. This could be due to his now *spankings* as child/teen. If so he needs to be in intensive counseling.
    2. He knows and he is a liar.

    If #2 is correct, then people attending his church should keep their children and teens fas away from him.

    Monument Church? ROFL

    3. Both #1 and #2!!!

    *******
    Stay or go???? They should all grow brains and go, but not to Monument!

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  29. Scripture says that the sins of the father are not passed to their children; each child is responsible for his own sin. There are those who are saying that P.J. bears no responsibility for what his father did. However, “if” P.J. knew about the sins of his father which were criminal in nature and claimed that he knew nothing about the abuse of children is a sin in my mind … a sin which should disqualify him from ministry.

    “Any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)

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  30. TS00: ‘To let images of heavy-handed lashing into the mind is ridiculous’ sounds suspiciously defensive rather than protective of the child.

    Didn’t P.J’s father Jack the Whipper “heavy-handed lash” until his naked victims bled onto the floor? After which, the ManaGAWD would press his nekkid body up against their bleeidng nekkid body and whisper in their ear? (But never got an erection from it so it wasn’t REALLY Homosexual BDSM?_

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  31. BoughtTheField:
    Other CLC members have told me that many of the wealthiest donor families have been seen at PJ’s new church “Vision Nights”. Sunday morning attendance at CLC is only a few hundred with no wealthy donors visibly present.

    Right now it appears that PJ has taken more than half the congregation and all the wealthy donors from CLC.

    When discussions about your church sound more like a scene from the movie Wall Street than a scene from one of the Four Gospels, something is wrong with your church.

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  32. Covenant Life Church has had a dismal history with church leaders. Much has been said about C.J. Mahaney (and much more needs to). And then there was former pastor Joshua Harris, author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” who kissed CLC and TGC goodbye after CLC youth group leader Nathaniel Morales was convicted on five counts of sexual abuse against three boys … Harris later repented of giving bad advice on courtship in his book (written when he was only 21). Oh, and don’t forget former pastor Grant Layman who admitted in court that he withheld incriminating information from the police about Morales’ abuse. And now CLC has thrown P.J. into the mix! Yep, CLC needs to rethink how they recruit church leaders … like praying for discernment and seeking God’s face rather than looking for charismatic preacher-boys. For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone would want to be a member of CLC! Is it the cool music?

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  33. Burwell,

    Without knowing what type of visa PJ was granted it is hard to give a definitive answer, however, assuming he went the route of applying as a Minister of Religion, his visa would have been granted based on him intending to work SOLELY as a minister of religion of his denomination. So… this suggests that if he (and his family) want to stay in the US he would need to get back to being the pastor of a New Frontiers/Advance church as soon as possible, hence the new church plant, presumably affiliated to New Frontiers/Advance, with PJ in charge.

    I wonder if CLC knows that by firing him they have jeopardised his right to stay in the US, and that if Immigration thinks his original application was fraudulent or deceptive, or he is in breach of the conditions under which his particular visa was issued because he is not currently working as a minister of religion, he would be deported and blacklisted from ever entering the US again, so they are supporting his new church plant for reasons not transparently disclosed.

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  34. dee:
    I was under the impression that PJ helped out at his father’s camps where much of the abuse was alleged to take place. If so, then I have two thoughts.

    1. He is an psychologically damaged who knows how to block out abuse when he sees it. This could be due to his now *spankings* as child/teen. If so he needs to be in intensive counseling.
    2. He knows and he is a liar.

    If #2 is correct, then people attending his church should keep their children and teens fas away from him.

    Monument Church? ROFL

    As one who spent 3 months on a camp summer staff, I don’t think caning could go unnoticed. There could always be extenuating circumstances, such as the size of the camp, but you would know something has taken place.
    At the very least, caning leaves visible signs for several days. A serious caning leaves long term scars.

    The practice of caning alone will be talked about by students. I attended a Gothard influenced school in 6-7th grade. The teacher in the class ahead of me, had a planed baseball bat. I have no memory of it being used. But the knowledge of its existence alone, I viewed as a form of menacing, and was discussed amoung students.

    He would have to know his father was caning. It was practiced throughout specific portions of the British Empire.

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  35. Max,

    ““Charisma” is not a divinely conferred gift that is on New Calvinist leaders; much of what you see is simply fleshly talent and appeal (which may come with good looks, but not always – e.g., Piper & Mahaney). ”
    ++++++++++++

    i never thought of john piper having charisma. does he? what’s charisma, then?

    he has some kind of power over people, but i’ve tended to think it as a perfect storm of least likely-person-to-have-power somehow saying the right thing at the right time which somehow resonates with lots of people.

    i think he just got lucky.

    or did he know what he was doing, paid attention to how the wind was blowing, and make this happen? manipulating the moment, circumstances,…
    ——–

    back to ‘charisma’: not entirely sure what it is… i think of it as a kind of magnetism — when such a person speaks, people pay attention with a kind of riveted fascination.

    i think it’s a neutral gift. a powerful one. like spiderman says, with great power comes great responsibility.

    how does a person with charisma employ this great responsibility?

    –accountability?
    –what else?

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  36. Whatever happened to him in the past, it doesn’t seem to me that his course of action in the past few years has been for the good of humanity in the name of Christ. CLC certainly has had scandal after scandal, then going off to plant his own church by stealing their members doesn’t really bode well, either. Where has that “good faith” been?

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  37. elastigirl:
    i never thought of john piper having charisma.does he?what’s charisma, then?

    I’ve thought he was super creepy from the first time I heard him speak 15 years ago. But the soon-to-be New Cals in the group were totally enamored. Spiritual blindness?

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  38. Max: Covenant Life Church has had a dismal history with church leaders.

    Don’t forget founder (and CJ’s mentor) Larry “God the Rod and Your Child’s Bod” Tomczak.

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  39. Headless Unicorn Guy: “May I say at the outset that if the law of you country forbids this form of discipline, then I would recommend that you either fully obey the law, or move to another country where the government are not such a bunch of controlling sissies.”

    I typically don’t like the term “toxic masculinity.” I think there are extremists who use the term to mean that all masculinity is toxic. Not everyone uses it this way, but some people do, and I think now the term means whatever people want it to mean, rendering it ineffective.

    However, THIS IS TOXIC MASCULINITY!! Maybe people don’t want to hit their kids because, like me, they were paddled so hard as kids that they couldn’t sit down for days. I was so gaslit by my dad that I would tell my friends how glad I was that he hit me because who knows how I would have turned out . . .

    Also, how incredibly elitist by a member of the gospel glitterati telling people to just up and move to a new country. Newsflash: almost NO ONE can afford to do that.

    I have a friend using Growing Kids God’s Way (Ezzo) on her kids, and it makes me cry just to think about all the kids getting hit in the name of Jesus. I know some people disagree on this, and that’s fine. I gave my daughter one spanking 3 years ago, and I knew then I will NEVER do that again.

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  40. Ricco,

    I smacked my son once – not sure who was more surprised. We just stood there looking at each other. Mind you, he was fifteen at the time and had never been smacked. In the end we both laughed.

    It is appalling that hitting children is being promoted amongst the Christian community.

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  41. blockquote cite=”comment-380942″>
    Ricco: I typically don’t like the term “toxic masculinity.” I think there are extremists who use the term to mean that all masculinity is toxic. Not everyone uses it this way, but some people do, and I think now the term means whatever people want it to mean, rendering it ineffective.

    I have yet to see someone actually define masculinity or femininity in any consistent way.

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  42. In this day of the internet with blogs discussing these pastors and churches I would say to the congregation that their ignorance/blindness makes them a part of the problem. They give money that keeps these men employed. They have no excuse.

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  43. Dave A A: Max: Covenant Life Church has had a dismal history with church leaders.

    Don’t forget founder (and CJ’s mentor) Larry “God the Rod and Your Child’s Bod” Tomczak.

    Oh yeah! Lord, what a zoo!

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  44. ishy: I have yet to see someone actually define masculinity or femininity in any consistent way.

    The way I was thinking of it was the traits a society typically associates with men. That may be a poor definition, but when I hear that word, that’s what I think.

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  45. Q. How manny RCC victims need come forward and to be identified before kind religious folk get it that there is something wrong with this U.S. 501c3 religious establishment —requiring SERIOUS addressing?

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  46. ishy,

    So when someone says that rules against hitting children are for “sissies,” that seems like a toxic form of traits society typically associates with men.

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  47. Max: Harris later repented of giving bad advice on courtship in his book (written when he was only 21).

    I would like to know where this repentance is documented. Harris for all his talking really hasn’t said much.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  48. ishy,

    “I’ve thought he was super creepy from the first time I heard him speak 15 years ago. But the soon-to-be New Cals in the group were totally enamored. Spiritual blindness?”
    ++++++++

    enamored with what? i’m truly at a loss. what could it possibly be? does he have some kind of a charles manson-ish tractor beam?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  49. elastigirl: back to ‘charisma’: not entirely sure what it is… i think of it as a kind of magnetism — when such a person speaks, people pay attention with a kind of riveted fascination.

    Papa Chuck (founder of Calvary Chapel) definitely had it. He could hold a crowd in such rapt attention, they became completely mesmerized.

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  50. TS00: ‘To let images of heavy-handed lashing into the mind is ridiculous’ sounds suspiciously defensive rather than protective of the child.

    On TV Tropes, this is known as “Suspiciously Specific Denial”.

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  51. Steve240: I would like to know where this repentance is documented. Harris for all his talking really hasn’t said much.

    He has expressed regrets over the possibility that people might have been hurt because of his book, and some willingness to hear them out. It hasn’t flowered into true repentance yet, as far as I know.

    Mind you, this is not all he needs to repent of. Harris admitted from the pulpit that he assisted in the cover-up of child sexual abuse at CLC, back when Mahaney was at the helm. Again, he has voiced regrets, but he still needs to go on the record with what he knows, and name names.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  52. elastigirl:
    enamored with what?i’m truly at a loss.what could it possibly be?does he have some kind of a charles manson-ish tractor beam?

    You got me? It’s clearly that same pull that TGC has when they say the stupidest stuff and their little cloud of minions tweets about how smart and on target it is.

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  53. Serving Kids In Japan: He has expressed regrets over the possibility that people might have been hurt because of his book, and some willingness to hear them out. It hasn’t flowered into true repentance yet, as far as I know.

    This was regarding Josh Harris and his “kissing dating goodbye” philosophy.

    My impression is that so far Josh Harris has pretty much danced around the issue and really never said anything so far. He may have done some interviews and said sorry but never really admitted much.

    What was really disapointing with Harris is how he hid and didn’t talk about problems with IKDG at CLC as I point out here:

    https://ikdg.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/what-problems-joshua-harris-acknowledged-about-how-singles-relate-at-his-church-but-doesn’t-share-on-his-website/

    This was a long time ago. Harris chose to remain silent when he could have 13 years ago admitted there were problems. I really doubt there will be that much substance to the video he is working on but hopefully I am wrong there.

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  54. So what’s the problem with a screening mental health inventory, some basic personality inventories and a baseline polygraph (Are you aware of abuse? have you ever hidden abuse? do you consider corporal punishment acceptable?)? I imagine this stuff is done in other vocational venues, and these megas certainly can afford to do it.

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  55. Janet:
    So what’s the problem with a screening mental health inventory, some basic personality inventories and a baseline polygraph (Are you aware of abuse? have you ever hidden abuse? do you consider corporal punishment acceptable?)? I imagine this stuff is done in other vocational venues, and these megas certainly can afford to do it.

    I think there’s a couple reasons that churches like CLC and other megas will never do this. One is because there are abusers on the current leadership. Maybe not child abusers, but the most people who set out to run megachurches care way more about their bottom line than they do about people. They believe that they can get away with anything, they are invincible, their opinion is never wrong, and they find the same kind of people to be the face of their church.

    The second reason is that, just from experience, many in the church equate charisma with spiritual depth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “But they preach such great sermons!” when something horrible comes to light about a pastor. And most don’t realize that many of these pastors don’t write their own sermons–they buy them, have a staff member write them, or they flat out steal them. People don’t want to go deeper because they don’t want to believe they were so naive to support a terrible person.

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  56. elastigirl:
    Max,

    ““Charisma” is not a divinely conferred gift that is on New Calvinist leaders; much of what you see is simply fleshly talent and appeal (which may come with good looks, but not always – e.g., Piper & Mahaney). ”
    ++++++++++++

    i never thought of john piper having charisma.does he?what’s charisma, then?

    he has some kind of power over people, but i’ve tended to think it as a perfect storm of least likely-person-to-have-power somehow saying the right thing at the right time which somehow resonates with lots of people.

    i think he just got lucky.

    or did he know what he was doing, paid attention to how the wind was blowing, and make this happen? manipulating the moment, circumstances,…
    ——–

    back to ‘charisma’:not entirely sure what it is…i think of it as a kind of magnetism — when such a person speaks, people pay attention with a kind of riveted fascination.

    i think it’s a neutral gift.a powerful one.like spiderman says, with great power comes great responsibility.

    how does a person with charisma employ this great responsibility?

    –accountability?
    –what else?

    Isaiah 53:2 comes to mind:

    “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (NIV)

    I have wondered whether it may have been the case that Jesus was of homely appearance.

    Paul, of course, was said to have been unimpressive in person and a poor speaker (2 Cor 10:10).

    Me thinks that the churches are looking for the wrong things in their pastors. OTOH, megachurches are (whatever else they may be) businesses that need to generate revenue, and people who are like Jesus and Paul may not be what the business model requires. It’s another reason, IMO, to steer clear of groups larger than a certain (relatively small) size.

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  57. Steve240: Max: Harris later repented of giving bad advice on courtship in his book (written when he was only 21).

    I would like to know where this repentance is documented. Harris for all his talking really hasn’t said much.

    I suppose “apologize” would be a better word than “repentance”:

    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/joshua-harris-apologizes-for-i-kissed-dating-goodbye-i-was-religiously-zealous/121086.htm

    “He said he was young and “religiously zealous” when he wrote the book, and he was also “restlessly ambitious.””

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  58. Samuel Conner: people who are like Jesus and Paul may not be what the business model requires

    You can certainly test that hypothesis by looking at the Christian industrial complex. Do you see many leaders who look like Jesus or Paul, who live like Jesus or Paul, who develop disciples who look like Jesus or Paul?

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  59. Max: I suppose “apologize” would be a better word than “repentance”:
    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/joshua-harris-apologizes-for-i-kissed-dating-goodbye-i-was-religiously-zealous/121086.htm
    “He said he was young and “religiously zealous” when he wrote the book, and he was also “restlessly ambitious.””

    Max

    Thanks for the link. I read the article and will have to listen to the TED talk again. At least in this case Josh did in this article be quoted as actually saying something about kissing dating goodbye. In the past it was only along the lines of I am sorry etc.

    If Josh could have even been willing to blog and clarify what he was “kissing goodbye” but couldn’t bring himself to even do that.

    https://ikdg.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/what-is-“dating”-and-what-did-harris-supposedly-“kiss-goodbye”/

    That might have helped. At least now you see a number of people blogging and writing books critiquing the IKDG philosophy vs. the almost blind acceptance that so many did when Harris’s book first came out.

    Thanks again.

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  60. elastigirl: back to ‘charisma’: not entirely sure what it is… i think of it as a kind of magnetism — when such a person speaks, people pay attention with a kind of riveted fascination.
    i think it’s a neutral gift. a powerful one. like spiderman says, with great power comes great responsibility.
    how does a person with charisma employ this great responsibility?

    Below is one of the best definitions that I have heard for all of this and how it works. The author was talking about another but similar cult called Maranatha Ministries.

    https://maranathaministriesrevisted.com/2017/09/29/66-staying-leaving-and-recidivism/

    “In her book “Captive Hearts, Captive Minds” Janya Lalich lays out four interlocking aspects of a sociological cult[3]; these aspects are [quoted from her work]:

    Charismatic Authority– the emotional bond between a leader and the followers. This bond lends legitimacy to the leadership and justifies and reinforces the follower’s response to their actions and goals.
    Transcendent Belief System– the overarching ideology that binds the group members together and keeps an individual’s behavior within the group’s rules and norms. Transcendent means that it offers a total (totalist view) of the past, present and future; including a narrowly defined path to salvation. Most importantly is that the group/leadership specifies the exact methodology for personal transformation required to travel on this path and to be accepted as a group member. This belief provides meaning and purpose through a moral imperative. The effect is that the member feels connection to a much larger goal whilst pursuing salvation. The goal is complete identification of the member with the belief system.
    System of Control– an acknowledged network of mechanisms that guide the operations of the group. It includes the overt rules and procedures that guide and control member’s behavior. This system provides structure with the goal of enforcing sanctions and punishment. Its goal is to ensure obedience and compliance.
    Systems of Influence– The network of social influences that resides in all relationships. The interactions within the group, and the culture that results, teaches members to adopt their patterns of thinking, their thoughts, and their actions to the Transcendent Belief System. Peer pressure and the wish to get along with the group has the effect of producing conformity, denunciation of any non-conformists, and just importantly, self-renunciation by the member.”

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  61. Serving Kids In Japan: Steve240: I would like to know where this repentance is documented. Harris for all his talking really hasn’t said much.

    He has expressed regrets over the possibility that people might have been hurt because of his book, and some willingness to hear them out. It hasn’t flowered into true repentance yet, as far as I know.

    Mind you, this is not all he needs to repent of. Harris admitted from the pulpit that he assisted in the cover-up of child sexual abuse at CLC, back when Mahaney was at the helm. Again, he has voiced regrets, but he still needs to go on the record with what he knows, and name names.

    Agreed. Too much CYA passing for repentance in the church world.

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  62. Deb, are our children safe in the ‘average’ American 301c3 church? Why or why not? Are priority safeguards being considered? It is hard for today’s 501c local churches to teach our children about God, the Bible, and praying (which are all integral and normal parts of our local community church lives) when child abuse, and the associated coverup is such a present and compelling danger. The necessity of safeguarding our children in 501c3 church establishments have now become a full time job in and of itself.

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  63. ishy: I think there’s a couple reasons that churches like CLC and other megas will never do this. One is because there are abusers on the current leadership. Maybe not child abusers, but the most people who set out to run megachurches care way more about their bottom line than they do about people. They believe that they can get away with anything, they are invincible, their opinion is never wrong, and they find the same kind of people to be the face of their church.

    The second reason is that, just from experience, many in the church equate charisma with spiritual depth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “But they preach such great sermons!” when something horrible comes to light about a pastor. And most don’t realize that many of these pastors don’t write their own sermons–they buy them, have a staff member write them, or they flat out steal them. People don’t want to go deeper because they don’t want to believe they were so naive to support a terrible person.

    Wow, such an insightful comment! You hit the nail on the head.

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  64. Max: You can certainly test that hypothesis by looking at the Christian industrial complex. Do you see many leaders who look like Jesus or Paul, who live like Jesus or Paul, who develop disciples who look like Jesus or Paul?

    Did you coin this phrase? I might just make CIC (Christian industrial complex) my new go-to phrase, as it is much more accurate than ‘The Church, which is supposed to make us all bow to our golden idols whenever the music plays.

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  65. Steve240,

    A Harris full disclosure during SGM prosecution would have most likely brought its house of cards down. Mahaney’s (presumably obstruction of justice) aid of education assistance and relocation to Canada most likely prevented this.

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  66. elastigirl:
    ishy,

    “I’ve thought he was super creepy from the first time I heard him speak 15 years ago. But the soon-to-be New Cals in the group were totally enamored. Spiritual blindness?”
    ++++++++

    enamored with what?i’m truly at a loss.what could it possibly be?does he have some kind of a charles manson-ish tractor beam?

    In the crowd I run with, that’s called “Shining his Stupid Ray on people.”
    Or “His Mutant Superpower to Induce [fill-in-the-blank].”

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  67. senecagriggs: How many people actually care about CLC or PJ? Pretty small turf battle if you ask me Deb. [Of course you wouldn’t ask me ].

    You would be amazed how far reaching CLC has been with its negative impact. But maybe you meant who among the celebrities care.

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  68. Jerome,

    Wow, thanks for posting PJ’s outdated mode of Christian child abuse. Longitudinal studies have proven that smacking does not work to raise a productive member of society. Now the character of PJ is beginning to make sense. I suspect he was smacked around a little himself and that’s why he thinks he is so great.

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  69. TS00: Did you coin this phrase? I might just make CIC (Christian industrial complex) my new go-to phrase

    I can’t remember. That sounds like something I would come up with. When you get as old as me, you can’t remember where all the stuff in your head came from. I do believe I coined “Pied Piper” however.

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  70. Patti: smacking does not work to raise a productive member of society

    “If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.” (John Piper)
    “Simply hurting her”?!! For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone listens to anything John Piper says!!

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  71. Steve240,

    “i think it’s a neutral gift. a powerful one. like spiderman says, with great power comes great responsibility. how does a person with charisma employ this great responsibility?”

    “Below is one of the best definitions that I have heard for all of this and how it works. The author was talking about another but similar cult called Maranatha Ministries.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    but how would an honest, sensible human being with a gift of magnetic ‘charisma’ demonstrate great responsibility?

    surely accountability plays in — but those to whom the person is accountable can just as easily exploit the ‘charisma’ for their own purposes.

    something like the 3-way checks and balances in the constitution?

    …looks like a big topic.

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  72. TS00: In any case, what are the chances that anyone present did not know something terrible was going on – something so terrible that boys screamed, were bruised and bleeding and had to wear diapers?

    A big, fat ZERO.

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  73. TS00: Why would he not very clearly say that a parent should never be heavy-handed, or inflict marks or wounds, rather than simply express scorn at ‘images of heavy-handedness’?

    I could be reading too much into it, but find this wording very disturbing.

    So do I. People often leak information as they speak and this is such a statement. Who would even think to use the expression “heavy handed lashing”? Lashing? Exactly what his father did? The concept is obviously on his mind for him to have brought it into the conversation.

    The fact that he has made himself an apologist for whipping children is telling. He is his father’s protoge.

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  74. ___

    “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Black And Blue Fish?”

    hmmm…

    CLC Co-Founder Larry Tomzack Promoted Child Abuse in Jesus’ Name?

    https://www.amazon.com/God-rod-your-childs-bod/dp/0800750829

    Before buying this book, you need to read the about a sexual and physical abuse case in which Larry Tomczak is listed as a defendant.

    See the paragraphs under “Carla Coe”
    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2013/01/14/amended-lawsuit/

    “I went to the church Larry Tomczak helped to start (CLC). As a result of this teaching, parents walked around with spanking instruments in their pockets, ready to walk through the whole spanking procedure for incidents as minor as toddlers not greeting a stranger properly. Kids were spanked multiple times a day for not obeying “immediately, cheerfully, and completely” and then spanked for not receiving the “correction” correctly.

    The author has also been personally named in a class-action lawsuit with the following allegations:
    “Carla Coe is a female who was repeatedly abused by Defendant Tomzcak, primarily in Maryland and Virginia. Due to the nature of the lawsuit, she wishes to use the pseudonym Carla Coe to keep her identity confidential. Carla Coe brings this action on her behalf and on behalf of those similarly situated.

    FACTS REGARDING CARLA COE

    Carla Coe was repeatedly assaulted by Defendant Tomczak and his co-conspirators during a 25-year period spanning her childhood and young adulthood. Defendant Tomczak assaulted Carla Coe with his hands, as well as with various instruments, including but not limited to, plastic and wooden sticks.

    On multiple occasions, including occasions after Carla Coe reached the age of majority, Defendant Tomczak forced Karla Coe to strip out of her clothing against her will, and be beaten on her bare buttocks. Defendant Tomczak continued to engage in this forced undressing and beating of Carla Coe until she fled and escaped from the abuse.

    On several occasions, Defendant Tomczak imprisoned Carla Coe and denied her food for extended periods of time.

    Defendant Tomczak verbally admitted on one or more occasions to the individual Defendants and to the Church that he abused Carla Coe. No one reported the beatings to the secular authority. ” -Anne Ehlerson

    – –

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  75. SiteSeer: Has anyone seen something about a movie coming out?

    Here is the link for the movie or documentary coming out. I haven’t heard of when it is actually going to be released.

    https://www.isurvivedikdg.com/

    They will sell you a “back stage pass” if you want. I have balked at that so far. I think this has been delayed. I know it takes time to produce a documentary especially by students but still.

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  76. ___

    “The art of loving correction for Christian parents?”

    “And what if I ‘blow it’; administer a spanking and later discover the child was sick or teething.” (p.48)

    https://www.amazon.com/God-rod-your-childs-bod/dp/0800750829

    Larry Tomczak (co-founder of CLC and what later became SGM) answers,

    “Simply ask the child’s forgiveness and be assured that children are not as fragile as many of us think. They’re flexible. They’re tough. Plus, they forget quickly!” -Larry Tomczak; “God, the rod, and your child’s bod: The art of loving correction for Christian parents”

    https://www.amazon.com/God-rod-your-childs-bod/dp/0800750829

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/08/15/p-j-smyths-church-plant-monument-church/comment-page-1/#comment-381026

    – –

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  77. SiteSeer: What has that got to do with anything?

    Seneca is a long time fly-by.

    I’m wondering what Seneca’s thoughts are about his friend from Pyro, Tom
    Chantry.

    I couldn’t stand Chantry’s smugness the few times I read Pyro.

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  78. SiteSeer: Who would even think to use the expression “heavy handed lashing”? Lashing? Exactly what his father did? The concept is obviously on his mind for him to have brought it into the conversation.
    The fact that he has made himself an apologist for whipping children is telling. He is his father’s protoge.

    Jack the Whipper II?

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  79. Steve240,

    I hadn’t looked up Joshua Harris for a while. But I saw that he was trying to raise money for a film and I see now he close. It seems to be centered on I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I would like to hear him address his other book Boy Meets Girl where his formula examples two couples who later divorced. Hopefully though, the film will be ok about his former doctrine. I was introduced to IKDGB while listening to Josh on the radio when my kids were young teenagers. Not knowing who he was, I said that I would not even let them read the book. I live on the West Coast. Joshua grew up not all that far from us. Ironically, one of my daughters ended up in college on the East Coast and seriously dated a CLC lifer who was raised under CJ and Harris. They ruined this fine young man IMO. Also IMO, it must be a rare young man who actually followed the teachings in their private lives. Sadly, too many of the girls took it very seriously and wasted their young adulthood waiting for a pure man.

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  80. Quoute from Larry Tomczak:

    “Simply ask the child’s forgiveness and be assured that children are not as fragile as many of us think. They’re flexible. They’re tough. Plus, they forget quickly!” -Larry Tomczak; “God, the rod, and your child’s bod: The art of loving correction for Christian parents”

    Um, no. We remember.

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  81. ;~): “I went to the church Larry Tomczak helped to start (CLC). As a result of this teaching, parents walked around with spanking instruments in their pockets, ready to walk through the whole spanking procedure for incidents as minor as toddlers not greeting a stranger properly. Kids were spanked multiple times a day for not obeying “immediately, cheerfully, and completely” and then spanked for not receiving the “correction” correctly.

    Quote from defendant about Larry Tomczak

    This is all gross and horrifying. Especially the part about spanking kids for not receiving the correction correctly. It’s called being a human. If someone hits you, the human response isn’t “thank you sir, can I please have another.” Only people who have been severely traumatized would react this way. I think this method of parenting confuses submission caused by trauma with an obedient child.

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  82. These clowns think they have a God given right to abuse. They’re a frustrated generation that has been raised to believe that they are chosen yet has seen their percieved position in society eroded.

    Guys like Chantry, Smyth, Driscoll, Mahaney etc. Actually believe they are on the side of God. It’s a play on divine right. If God didn’t want these horrible things, they wouldn’t be happening. Worse, they happen for his glory.

    In their worldview, it’s all predestined. This is why we will never understand why they continue to garner support. To those that share their worldview, this is all the will of God.

    My cynical self is saying, God isn’t really stepping in to stop it. People are stepping up where they can, but not a lot of divine intervening going on.

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  83. Jack: but not a lot of divine intervening going on.

    Completely agree. Now, I’m not sure what that actually says about God, who I still do believe in most days. That will take a lot of thought

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  84. So: climbing

    Had a bash at the new 7a route on 13 tonight at the climbing wall. And I managed all the moves apart from the crux, which is at around 4/5 height and consists of two very hard moves on side-pull slopers with very little to stand on. TBH, I don’t really have any ideas at this stage..! Apart from that, I found it interesting-hard but not now-what?!?!-hard, and it’d probably go at around 6b+ if it weren’t for the crux. Not too disappointed for a first try.

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  85. Jack: They’re a frustrated generation that has been raised to believe that they are chosen yet has seen their percieved position in society eroded.

    In Europe during the enlightenment, the church’s nose was very much out of joint. For generations, the clergy class had been used to being able to claim that black was white, up was down, two and two made five and “god” has told you all to obey/fund us. Or anything else they wanted. Then, suddenly, these horrible scientists (or feminists, or satanists, or whatever) came along and started shouting from the rooftops that the emperor had no clothes. And they produced previously-unheard-of working technology to prove it; thus pulling the rug out from under they how-dare-you-question-god argument. Ironically, they did to the professing church what (according to the gospel accounts) one Jesus of Nazareth did to the 1st-century Judean equivalent.

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  86. Jack: My cynical self is saying, God isn’t really stepping in to stop it. People are stepping up where they can, but not a lot of divine intervening going on.

    I’m willing to admit I struggle with that. I ‘yell’ at God a lot, but I figure if David could whine and complain, so can I. I just can’t bear evil, and ya know what? I think God is okay with that. I don’t think he’s going to come down on me for hating wickedness, and being impatient for its end. And if my views of God and life are unorthodox – who cares? 😉

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  87. Nick Bulbeck: In Europe during the enlightenment, the church’s nose was very much out of joint. For generations, the clergy class had been used to being able to claim that black was white, up was down, two and two made five and “god” has told you all to obey/fund us. Or anything else they wanted. Then, suddenly, these horrible scientists (or feminists, or satanists, or whatever) came along and started shouting from the rooftops that the emperor had no clothes. And they produced previously-unheard-of working technology to prove it; thus pulling the rug out from under they how-dare-you-question-god argument. Ironically, they did to the professing church what (according to the gospel accounts) one Jesus of Nazareth did to the 1st-century Judean equivalent.

    And what a lot of we heretics are clamoring for today. I dared question the authority of eldership on another blog and was accused of fomenting the French Revolution and pretty much every other evil under the sun. Can’t challenge the authoritarian privilege of the ruling class, now can we?

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  88. Nick Bulbeck: Ironically, they did to the professing church what (according to the gospel accounts) one Jesus of Nazareth did to the 1st-century Judean equivalent.

    The inhabitants of Judea wrestled with their place in the empire they had once ruled but now were not dominant. God had promised them the land and hadn’t seemed to keep his word.

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  89. TS00: I’m willing to admit I struggle with that.

    This is an honest statement that I have heard echoed by others here.
    You can be a person of faith but still question and understand right from wrong.
    I’ve had to attend church the past couple of weeks since my father in law is in town.
    If there was ever a sign that I don’t belong, it was given to me loud. & clear with that weeks sermon.
    The kids camp pastor gushed how god was guiding every aspect of her life. How she went to buy a new car and it HAD to have heated mirrors. But the dealership had the car with heated mirrors but wouldn’t budge on the price. And she cried out to the lord and that night the dealership called and they lowered the price…praise god…and she got on her knees and thanked the lord!
    Truly a miracle.
    How do you think a person in that mindset computes the horror of child abuse?
    Now it is possible she cried out to the lord while negotiating. The salesperson might cut a deal to get rid of her.
    The next couple of weeks I stayed for 15 mins then cut out “to use the bathroom”.
    Figured out how to access the church wifi. Two words folks…weak password.

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  90. Jack: The kids camp pastor gushed how god was guiding every aspect of her life. How she went to buy a new car and it HAD to have heated mirrors. But the dealership had the car with heated mirrors but wouldn’t budge on the price. And she cried out to the lord and that night the dealership called and they lowered the price…praise god…and she got on her knees and thanked the lord!

    Yuck yuck yuck

    If your (the pastor’s) theology doesn’t work for someone in prison or a poor single mother living in Haiti, it isn’t worth a d*mn

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  91. Steve240: Max: I suppose “apologize” would be a better word than “repentance”:
    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/joshua-harris-apologizes-for-i-kissed-dating-goodbye-i-was-religiously-zealous/121086.htm
    “He said he was young and “religiously zealous” when he wrote the book, and he was also “restlessly ambitious.””

    Max

    Thanks for the link. I read the article and will have to listen to the TED talk again. At least in this case Josh did in this article be quoted as actually saying something about kissing dating goodbye. In the past it was only along the lines of I am sorry etc.

    I did take the time and listen to this Ted Talk again actually a few times. I will say that there is a lot of good information there and Josh Harris does seem to be coming around on his book. If you have any interest in IKDG then I would encourage you to listen.

    Harris did seem to confirm some thoughts I always had about him and his IKDG phiosophy and just how hard it was for Harris even to consider that what he wrote just might be wrong. After all admitting the book that brought you to fame and got you noticed just might not have all things right is hard to admit. He also indicated that he was young when he wrote it and youthful zeal and fears were some of the drivers of his book. Hopefully Josh Harris is sincere and we will see what this documentary is really all about and if it says or even admits anything.

    It was also interesting to hear him share the pressure he seemed to be getting from people to keep the status quo and not reconsider his views on his book which really isn’t surprising. There are at least some groups that still believe in what he wrote despite all the results showing it as one person (a former courtship proponent Thomas Umpstattd) calling it a failed experiment. Umpstattd also has a book out title “Courthip in Crisis.”

    To sum maybe Harris’s upcoming video (site says fall of 2018 planned release) might have some promise. Time will tell. It is hard to be skeptical when as I shared earlier Harris failed to disclose problems at CLC on his own blog.

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  92. Sòpwith: Steve240,

    A Harris full disclosure during SGM prosecution would have most likely brought its house of cards down. Mahaney’s (presumably obstruction of justice) aid of education assistance and relocation to Canada most likely prevented this.

    It really is a shame if that is true.

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  93. Ricco:
    Quoute from Larry Tomczak:

    “Simply ask the child’s forgiveness and be assured that children are not as fragile as many of us think. They’re flexible. They’re tough. Plus, they forget quickly!” -Larry Tomczak; “God, the rod, and your child’s bod: The art of loving correction for Christian parents”

    Um, no. We remember.

    You are so right that we remember. After the redness fades, or the bleeding stops, even the memory can block the experience, but the brain remembers. And if it continues and there is inadequate support, there are actual changes in the brain that are not good. You all know here that there are lifelong consequences for the victims that affect them very deeply. What a horrible, selfish viewpoint in the quote. God loves all these children, and the adults they become. That millstone is coming.

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  94. Patti: I hadn’t looked up Joshua Harris for a while. But I saw that he was trying to raise money for a film and I see now he close. It seems to be centered on I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I would like to hear him address his other book Boy Meets Girl where his formula examples two couples who later divorced. Hopefully though, the film will be ok about his former doctrine. I was introduced to IKDGB while listening to Josh on the radio when my kids were young teenagers. Not knowing who he was, I said that I would not even let them read the book. I live on the West Coast. Joshua grew up not all that far from us. Ironically, one of my daughters ended up in college on the East Coast and seriously dated a CLC lifer who was raised under CJ and Harris. They ruined this fine young man IMO. Also IMO, it must be a rare young man who actually followed the teachings in their private lives. Sadly, too many of the girls took it very seriously and wasted their young adulthood waiting for a pure man.

    Good for you for not letting your children read the book. On the other hand a lot of the problem was how legalistically and blindly so many people embraced his book with little if any questioning. Though Josh certainly have could done more to mitigate the problems with IKDG people need to accept responsibility for their blind acceptance. From what I have seen even the system proved to have issued it took quite a while for people to admit it wasn’t all it was professed to be.

    I am glad you are one of the ones that didn’t blindly buy into it or follow the herd in acceptance. Hopefully this young man that was messed up wasn’t a promising suitor for your daughter though I seem to recall hearing someone with a similar story where that was the case.

    One thing interesting about Harris is that on one of his messages he indicated how his “kissing dating goodbye” was his answer to being too focused on girls at too young of an age. It sounds analogous to his answer almost an addiction. If that is the case then probably not a good way of doing things for the majority.

    I will never forget one person’s comment that said it sure was something for Josh Harris to date for a while and thus develop social skills with those of the opposite sex and then come and tell everyone else that they shouldn’t date or should kiss it good bye.

    I would agree with you that more women than men seem to buy into the courtship philosophy. Also it sure is something that two of 4 (I believe it was 4?) couples that Josh Harris featured in his Boy Meets Girl book divorced. These were supposedly exemplary couples that supposedly did all the right things. That is a good question if that will be addressed in this documentary.

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  95. ;~): Carla Coe was repeatedly assaulted by Defendant Tomczak and his co-conspirators during a 25-year period spanning her childhood and young adulthood. Defendant Tomczak assaulted Carla Coe with his hands, as well as with various instruments, including but not limited to, plastic and wooden sticks.

    On multiple occasions, including occasions after Carla Coe reached the age of majority, Defendant Tomczak forced Karla Coe to strip out of her clothing against her will, and be beaten on her bare buttocks. Defendant Tomczak continued to engage in this forced undressing and beating of Carla Coe until she fled and escaped from the abuse.

    Though this plantiff used a pseudonym in all likelihood it was one Tomczak’s daughters that is making this allegation. I hate to think this allegation was done by Larry Tomczak to someone other than his daughter.

    Something is seriously wrong and probably perverted for a father to think it is within his duty to physically punish a grown women in her mid 20’s as has been alleged. If you are going to use physical punishment then I would think it would need to stop by at least by the early teens.

    One thought is that if you are so use to only using physical punishment and not learning other was of disciplining and correcting a child then that is all they know how to use and stick with it even way beyond when it is appropriate, especially on a child of the opposite sex.

    One of Larry’s other children also had issues despite Larry being an “authority” on children’s discipline. The one child had “behavior” that allowed C.J. Mahaney to use to blackmail Larry. Not saying the blackmail was correctbut just sharing the results Larry obtained with one of his children. I guess the rod wasn’t successful for that child.

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  96. Steve240: He also indicated that he was young when he wrote it and youthful zeal and fears were some of the drivers of his book.

    He was probably also at least a little screwed up, considering that he’s publicly admitted to being a victim of molestation as a boy. That’s the main reason why I’m willing to be patient with him. I really hope he’s getting the help he needs to heal — both for his own sake, and for the sake of those he’s complicit in hurting.

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  97. Steve240: It really is a shame if that is true.

    It is certainly shameful. Although I’m tempted to use some… stronger terms to describe it.

    ♪ Spilt milk tears run down your chin
      This cryin’ shame’s a f—— sin! ♪

    — Spirit of the West, “Dirty Pool”

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  98. Jack: My cynical self is saying, God isn’t really stepping in to stop it. People are stepping up where they can, but not a lot of divine intervening going on.

    If there was divine intervening going on, none of these children would suffer these terrible things. There is no divine intervening going on. Sometimes I’m astounded by the lengths my Christian friends go to to convince themselves God is intervening but I don’t have that power of self delusion. “God is good! The grocery store had the bread I needed!” Ugh. If there is a God, intervening in our human experience is not part of his plan, that much is painfully obvious to anyone who cares to look. This world is an evil, brutal place and random chance overtakes everyone sooner or later. Some people suffer much more than others. Some people get reprieves from illness or death, others do not. There’s no difference between Christians and non-Christians or between the innocent and the guilty. The question is, do you have to see God as intervening in order to believe?

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  99. TS00: I’m willing to admit I struggle with that. I ‘yell’ at God a lot, but I figure if David could whine and complain, so can I. I just can’t bear evil, and ya know what? I think God is okay with that. I don’t think he’s going to come down on me for hating wickedness, and being impatient for its end. And if my views of God and life are unorthodox – who cares?

    I’m right there with ya, TS00.

    I know Christians who are convinced God won’t let good or faithful people suffer. But, they don’t even read the news (“it’s too upsetting”), they don’t keep up with blogs like this so they have no idea what is going on in the church behind the scenes. I feel like that’s not faith, it’s ignorant bliss.

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  100. Steve240,

    “n one of his messages he indicated how his “kissing dating goodbye” was his answer to being too focused on girls at too young of an age. ”
    ++++++++++++++++

    perhaps i’m wrong, but i suspect it was very normal. christian culture can make a person paranoid about sexuality (especially a young person). such an unfair pressure.

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  101. Siteseer,

    Yeah, everyone knows the powerful one’s tweet of the day, and the latest celebrity divorce but I was stunned that most of my family – christians all – knew nothing about the Hybels affair, aside from the one who is still a Creeker. You can bet your life they know nothing about Savage, Chantry or CJ. Wouldn’t want to troll those evil abuse blogs, which want to bring down the church.

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  102. It is hard to even talk about Joshua Harris, as I was a part of that group manipulated by his propaganda. My children attest to a lot of young people in their generation who were extremely confused or damaged, thanks in great part to IKDG. There are a lot of thirty year old singles who feel as if much was stolen from them. IKDG is probably the most scorned tome in all of homeschoolingdom.

    Let’s see, this young man wrote this amazing book – all on his own, of course – which just happened to be pushed to celebrity status throughout the homeschool movement (like the Dougs were, both with abuse issues of their own), then, with literally no experience or preparation was given an important role to facilitate CJ’s crimes, then conveniently ‘disappears’ when things get hot. Personally, I don’t give much credence to anything he says.

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  103. elastigirl: perhaps i’m wrong, but i suspect it was very normal. christian culture can make a person paranoid about sexuality (especially a young person). such an unfair pressure.

    One might fairly assert that Harris contributed more than anyone to fostering this paranoia, which many are still grappling with. Breaks my heart to see these young adults who are still very uncomfortable with the opposite sex, thanks to the ‘unfair pressure’ Harris and friends put on them.

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  104. TS00: Personally, I don’t give much credence to anything he says.

    Same here. And here is another reason besides the current marketing of his early relationship books that I am not holding my breath on his “open-mindedness” toward his critics: https://joshharris.com/documentary/
    Notice that the first 5, yes 5 letters that Joshua posted first are of high accolades to him for writing the book. Then a critique peppered here and there, but mostly positive pump him ups. After reading about 3 of the first 5, a guilty cloud for being so negative begins to settle over you, designed exactly to do that, me thinks.
    I mean, at least Jim Bakker wrote a followup book entitled with giant letters I WAS WRONG!

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  105. Siteseer: I know Christians who are convinced God won’t let good or faithful people suffer.

    I know them too, and they are so discouraging. They are like Job’s friends. What keeps me interested in the Bible is the countertestamony. Job, Ecclesiastes, the Lament Psalms, Jeremiah, and ultimately, the life of Jesus. They speak against the idea that if you do the right thing and believe, everything will turn out good. The blessings and curses don’t always flow like it says at the end of Deuteronomy

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  106. elastigirl: perhaps i’m wrong, but i suspect it was very normal. christian culture can make a person paranoid about sexuality (especially a young person). such an unfair pressure.

    It has been my experience that churches where “kissing dating goodbye” is taught the singles learn to AVOID relationships with those of the opposite sex (including basic frienships) rather than LEARNING HOW to properly relate. It is really sad when you see single men and women in their 20’s and 30’s acting like teenagers around those of the opposite sex.

    I am glad that now there are a number of people speaking against kissing dating goodbye.

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  107. TS00,

    i think a healthy starting point is being comfortable and not afraid of one’s own body and impulses. they are good in the sense that they just “are”, the result of being alive.

    and then being comfortable with other people’s bodies. i mean, we all have them. there’s really no mystery or mystique about it.

    a matter of fact perspective. like observing that a pumpkin is orange, an elephant is gray, the sky is blue (or streaked with apricot and lavendar)…

    all this fear…. christianity (& most religions?) do a total disservice to the human race by making people terrified. afraid of their own shadow.
    afraid of ‘your’ shadow. afraid of God’s shadow. teaching them to overanalyze absolutely everything to the point they don’t even know where to put their foot to take the next step on any given day.

    (bit o’hyperbole, there — but not much, i don’t think)

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  108. Steve240,

    “the singles learn to AVOID relationships with those of the opposite sex (including basic frienships) rather than LEARNING HOW to properly relate.”
    ++++++++++++++

    boy, that sure sounds like life in all its fullness.

    😐

    please…

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  109. TS00,

    I doubt that any seekers will turn to mainline churches. Those churches have all the minuses of the most corrupt of fundie churches without the pluses.

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  110. elastigirl:

    ““Charisma” is not a divinely conferred gift that is on New Calvinist leaders; much of what you see is simply fleshly talent and appeal (which may come with good looks, but not always – e.g., Piper & Mahaney). ”
    ++++++++++++

    A thought I’d like to offer is the idea that perhaps we should not think of “spiritual gifts” as being primarily “supernatural endowments of competency from the Holy Spirit” but rather something like inclinations that are already present in people but that require development to be expressed and employed skillfully and that can, in the context of assemblies of believers committed to ministry one to another, serve the Holy Spirit’s purposes in the group.

    This is parallel to an hypothesis that I’ve previously offered that perhaps we should reckon the “location” of the Holy Spirit to be as much “among” the group (Paul’s ‘corporate temple’ theology) as “within” individual believers.

    That “spirit gifting” is not simply “supernatural endowment of competency” (and I’m not implying that this is the intended meaning in the quote above, but I think it’s a common understanding in conservative Evangelicalism) scarcely needs to be stated; we spend a lot of time and money training pastors and teachers, and even after training, they clearly improve with “practice”.

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  111. Patti: Same here. And here is another reason besides the current marketing of his early relationship books that I am not holding my breath on his “open-mindedness” toward his critics: https://joshharris.com/documentary/
    Notice that the first 5, yes 5 letters that Joshua posted first are of high accolades to him for writing the book. Then a critique peppered here and there, but mostly positive pump him ups. After reading about 3 of the first 5, a guilty cloud for being so negative begins to settle over you, designed exactly to do that, me thinks.
    I mean, at least Jim Bakker wrote a followup book entitled with giant letters I WAS WRONG!

    That sure is something that more favorable comments are at the beginning here. Coindidental or arranged? Who knows except maybe Josh and whoever set up his site.

    There are 38 pages so might be interesting to see what happens on other pages. It wouldn’t surprise me if the supporters of IKDG were more vocal and even stuffed the comments with favorable comments.

    Though the TED Talk Harris gave is quite promising I still have a wait and see attitude about what the documentary on IKDG will be all about.

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  112. Steve240: It has been my experience that churches where “kissing dating goodbye” is taught the singles learn to AVOID relationships with those of the opposite sex (including basic frienships) rather than LEARNING HOW to properly relate.

    I’m guessing that the whole impetus of this environment is to….
    Ward off the possibility of ….
    Gulp…
    (and horror of horrors!…)
    Sex outside of marriage!

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  113. Muff Potter,

    To some it would appear that they were more interested in keeping the free cooking, cleaning and ‘watching the younger siblings’ labor of all those young ladies who had not received their invitation to courtship. Many of these young ladies remained in their homes up into their late twenties or early thirties, pursuing no further education and, often without outside jobs, effectively running the household for their mothers. Often they had to escape against their parents’ wishes, and establish a life of their own.

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  114. TS00,

    Even though we initially drank a good deal of the Kool aid, we could never ignore the toxic effects of much of the teaching we had embraced, and found ourselves rejecting it one piece at a time. We, and our kids, began to encourage their friends to seek further education and jobs, in order to ‘escape’ from the well-meaning tyranny of their own parents. To this day we keep an open door for any of them. One thirty year old young lady asked, only half jokingly, if we could adopt her.

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  115. TS00,

    “Many of these young ladies remained in their homes up into their late twenties or early thirties, pursuing no further education and, often without outside jobs, effectively running the household for their mothers.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    so very sad, and hideously twisted.

    i don’t know/understand all that’s behind such a horrible belief system that would cause people to conduct their lives like this, here’s how i see it:

    fear of choices. fear of making decisions.

    perhaps because of lack of experience — they follow a gameplan that tells them what to do.

    and when it doesn’t tell them what to do, their superiors tell them what to do.

    and after that, they simply wait until a lightning bolt from God should strike near them to compel them.

    fear of making decisions? perhaps fear of their very own selves, fear of making a mistake, fear of stepping outside the lines of God’s perfect will, fear of the evil scary worldly world…

    i believe God wants us to use our know-how and moxy to make decisions. i believe God can work with plan A, B, C, D, E, F… Mess happens. God’s not afraid of mess.

    God and us, we work together, to build successful machines, works of art, and good roads for people to travel on (speaking highly figuratively, here).

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  116. elastigirl,

    Beautifully said. A very dear friend sought patiently for many years to help me see just this. She was there for me as my whole world came tumbling down, and helped me (is helping me) pick up the pieces. My desire is to learn to be that sort of non-condemning, gracious, patient and loving friend to others, who, just like me, are frequently ignorant, frightened, and misled into faulty beliefs and too good to be true promises.

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  117. Ricco: Quote from defendant about Larry Tomczak

    This is all gross and horrifying.Especially the part about spanking kids for not receiving the correction correctly.It’s called being a human.If someone hits you, the human response isn’t “thank you sir, can I please have another.”Only people who have been severely traumatized would react this way.I think this method of parenting confuses submission caused by trauma with an obedient child.

    And I wonder, “what would it take to drive folly from the heart of a parent?” Perhaps an old age without the loving care of children who were alienated when young.

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  118. ;~):
    ___

    “The art of loving correction for Christian parents?”

    “And what if I ‘blow it’; administer a spanking and later discover the child was sick or teething.” (p.48)

    https://www.amazon.com/God-rod-your-childs-bod/dp/0800750829

    Larry Tomczak (co-founder of CLC and what later became SGM) answers,

    “Simply ask the child’s forgiveness and be assured that children are not as fragile as many of us think. They’re flexible. They’re tough. Plus, they forget quickly!” -Larry Tomczak; “God, the rod, and your child’s bod: The art of loving correction for Christian parents”

    https://www.amazon.com/God-rod-your-childs-bod/dp/0800750829

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/08/15/p-j-smyths-church-plant-monument-church/comment-page-1/#comment-381026

    – –

    This seems to be a paradigm in contemporary church: the people in charge can punish those they are over for small infractions, and expect to be forgiven, without consequences, if they are later found to have done so in error.

    Naturally, as **** flows downhill, parents are expected to treat their children the same way.

    No wonder the ranks of the post-evangelicals are swelling.

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  119. Samuel Conner: And I wonder, “what would it take to drive folly from the heart of a parent?” Perhaps an old age without the loving care of children who were alienated when young.

    Karma and her sister Comeuppance are relentless aren’t they?

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  120. TS00: Let’s see, this young man wrote this amazing book – all on his own, of course – which just happened to be pushed to celebrity status

    I know, right?! Give me a break!

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  121. As a current member of Covenant Life Church I am amazed that they haven’t asked if there is anyone in the congregation who is against their continued alignment with PJ Smyth. When I got the church plant vision night email I looked for the box I could check entitled “Run the Wolf Out of Town.”

    But their lack of addressing my (and many other people’s) position made it clear that there isn’t a place for me there.

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  122. emcee,

    Emcee, I hear you. You are right that many people were upset about this. I’m so sorry we will lose you from our fellowship. =o

    The email that offered members the chance to sign up for PJ’s “Vision Nights” was sent out by just one pastor. At first I wondered if, crazily, he was manifesting some kind of death-wish for the church, but then considered the possibility that perhaps he might be positioning himself for a future staff position with PJ. The executive pastor (M.M.) was on vacation when that email was sent out. I assume we’ll never know who signed off on that email.

    But I am told that PJ can be very persuasive. He certainly has a forceful personality, unlike most of our remaining pastors who are more conciliatory and kumbaya. 🙂

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  123. Peach,

    “But I am told that PJ can be very persuasive. He certainly has a forceful personality,”
    +++++++++++++++

    could we call that, ‘manipulative’?

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  124. SiteSeer,

    Sitedeer – I am not religious in any way, but am aware through a friend of the antics of SGM and CLC. I don’t think it is relevant to query as to how many really care about these two institutions. What is relevant is that CLC and SGM have a motherload of bad ideas, and bad ideas have consequences. One of the most manifest consequences has been the appalling pattern of child abuse. But need one list the awful ideas? Not reporting or stopping child abuse? Having staff commit child abuse? A silly courtship cultlike ritual which has left many lonely, unhappy or dysfunctional in the modern world. So-called care groups which would have been the envy of Beria’s Soviet Union apparatus (an exaggeration, but one made to explicate lack of boundaries). A monolithic focus on sin, likely because it served as a means of control and was within the shallow intellectual grasp of the lead pastor. A pastor’s college, too, even though there are more than enough legitimate seminary grads to meet demand – again – for cultlike control. In the end, these bad ideas were about money. CLC and SGM are business enterprises, albeit ones with a crumbling business model. As a serious student of history at one of the Wartburg authors’ schools, we ignore bad ideas at our peril. I can’t support the efforts of Wartburg enough.

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  125. Jack: The kids camp pastor gushed how god was guiding every aspect of her life. How she went to buy a new car and it HAD to have heated mirrors. But the dealership had the car with heated mirrors but wouldn’t budge on the price. And she cried out to the lord and that night the dealership called and they lowered the price…praise god…and she got on her knees and thanked the lord!

    Yet another of God’s Speshul Pets.

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  126. ;~): “I went to the church Larry Tomczak helped to start (CLC). As a result of this teaching, parents walked around with spanking instruments in their pockets, ready to walk through the whole spanking procedure for incidents as minor as toddlers not greeting a stranger properly. Kids were spanked multiple times a day for not obeying “immediately, cheerfully, and completely” and then spanked for not receiving the “correction” correctly.

    From a long-ago posting & comment thread at Homeschoolers Anonymous:
    https://homeschoolersanonymous.org/2016/05/20/that-christian-man-selling-child-training-whips-is-back/

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  127. Chris Knight: TS00,
    You are so misinformed. Anyone who knows somebody on the inside of this story knows everything on this blog isn’t 2% accurate.

    As far as we know, what we post on this blog is 100% accurate and truthful to the best of our knowledge. If we make a mistake, we correct it immediately.

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