The Assemblies of God Leadership Quickly Restored Lee McFarland to the Pastorate After His Predatory Affair and Lawsuit

“I feel that some people have a hard time with the truths around us, not only the sexual abuse by priests, but all bad things. I call it chosen ignorance. This modified form of ignorance is found in people who, if confronted with certain truths realize that they have to accept them and thereby acknowledge evil, and that scares them. Opening up and letting the truth in might knock them off their perceived center. It is too hard, period.”
Charles L. Bailey Jr., In the Shadow of the Cross

TWW stands with the victims of Lee McFarland!

The Assemblies of God news website presented a story on a pastor, Lee McFarland, who left corporate America to start an AOG church in Surprise, Arizona, a rapidly growing suburb of Phoenix.The article, THE RESTORATION OF LEE MCFARLAND, written by John W Kennedy, discusses the rise of his church, Radiant, to become the fourth largest AG church in the United States, attracting about 6,000+ attendees each week and then there was the fall…

The Assemblies of God

This denomination is Pentecostal and is the largest denomination within Pentecostalism.Their statement of 16 Fundamental Truths is the outline of their core doctrinal beliefs.

They hold to many of the core doctrines found in many evangelical denominations such as the Trinity. (This differentiates them from Oneness Pentacostalism which rejects the doctrine of the Trinity.) They also believe in a second baptism called the baptism of the Holy Spirit of which speaking tongues is the primary evidence of this baptism,

THE INITIAL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.

They hold to divine healing which is deliverance from sickness and is a privilege for all believers.

12. DIVINE HEALING

Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.

Lee McFarland misused his pastoral privileged to have an affair with a church member and the AG (Assemblies of God) leaders seem to believe that it is all in the past.

Let’s first take a look at what the AG news website said about this.

Yet in 2011, McFarland’s idyllic life came to a crashing halt. McFarland confessed to moral failure, resigned from the church, repented, and submitted to a two-year period of healing and restoration.

Subsequently, a couple who formerly attended Radiant, filed a $6.6 million lawsuit against McFarland, the church, and the Arizona Ministry Network, making graphic claims of how McFarland had breached his pastoral and counseling duties over an 11-month period by manipulating the wife.

However, according to AG leaders, he was repentant and that got him back in the pulpit in 2 years.

McFarland’s wife, Sandy, a skilled scanning electron microscope technician, easily could have supported herself. But Sandy recognized Lee’s genuine sorrow and repentance, and stayed in the marriage, now in its 36th year.

…Phoenix Dream City Church Senior Pastor Tommy Barnett encouraged McFarland to stay in the ministry. After a two-year rehabilitation process overseen by Barnett, the AG reinstated McFarland’s ministerial credentials in 2013.

The AG leaders and McFarland do a *Tullian Tchividjian*

Tchividjian did exactly the same thing and is now claiming that he has been restored to preach. We wrote about this in Tullian Tchvidjian and a Lutheran Response.

.Just as he preached openly about his struggles at Radiant, he remains transparent about his failures at Covina. That has given him an inroad to reach millennials, many of whom have absentee dads.

…People are more willing to listen to someone who’s traveled through intense hurt and pain — and talks about it from the pulpit — than someone who just says life’s always been good,” McFarland says. He says he submitted to the rigorous AG restoration process, in part, to be an example to young people who looked up to him, especially his two children, Josh, 25, and Krissy, 24.

“People are more willing to listen to someone who’s traveled through intense hurt and pain — and talks about it from the pulpit — than someone who just says life’s always been good,” McFarland says. He says he submitted to the rigorous AG restoration process, in part, to be an example to young people who looked up to him, especially his two children, Josh, 25, and Krissy, 24.

To make matters worse, the AG leaders seem to be more concerned about the *lurid* details and the settlement of the lawsuit which are still online.

Although the suit has been settled, the lurid accusations still are on the web.

Why is it that I get the feeling that the AG leaders would rather that we not know about the details? Perhaps because the details may call into question the decision by the AG leaders.

What really happened to Lee McFarland and his victim? Let’s look at those lurid details.

In 2012, the Phoenix Family Law News reported in Couple Claims Pastor Planned to Destroy Their Marriage.

Jody Gallagher says she turned to a pastor, Dale Lee McFarland of Radiant Church in Surprise, after her daughter was allegedly victimized by a youth minister.

Look at the bizarre claims that McFarland allegedly made to Gallagher.

McFarland allegedly told Gallagher that “he was receiving direction from God,” and that God had told him that Gallagher should divorce her husband because he had abandoned her emotionally. McFarland then allegedly instructed her to go home and change the locks, which she did.

Gallagher filed for divorce soon after. Then things took a turn for the weird. McFarland started sending Gallagher “pornographic” messages and got her to send him nude pictures, according to the suit. He expressed his desire to “(expletive) her on his Harley” and described her body in “crude ways and intimate detail,” the complaint states.

The two began meeting at motels and even had sex “in the inner sanctum of the pastor’s chambers after he arranged for all staff to be absent,” the Gallaghers allege.

Couthouse News Service reported more in Couple Say Pastor Was a Predator.

     Jody Gallagher claims McFarland told her “that he was receiving direction from God regarding his counsel to her and told her that Derek had abandoned her emotionally.”

She claims that McFarland “love bombed” her “with romantic declarations telling her of his love for her and God’s approval of him and Jody becoming sexually involved.”

Derek Gallagher claims he too sought counseling from McFarland, and told him “of his love for Jody and his children and his complete inability to understand why his family was falling apart and Jody drawing away from him.”

After meeting with Derek, “McFarland told Jody that Derek was the most dangerous and violent man he had ever seen and that he was personally ‘scared to death’ of Derek during his counseling session,” the Gallaghers say. McFarland also told Jody “to change the locks on the house for the safety of herself and their children,” according to the complaint.

…The Gallaghers claim that McFarland’s wife, Sandra, “knew about her husband’s adulterous behavior and his penchant for pursing vulnerable women congregants of his flock, married or unmarried and was complicit in his behavior by choosing to allow it to continue, knowing other women would be harmed and victimized.”

In 2012, WND reported Sex Charges rock Purpose Driven “Healthy Church” that McFarland was fired from the church.

The Gallaghers, who are reportedly still married and seeking counseling elsewhere, are suing McFarland, Radiant Church Assembly of God and the Arizona District Council of the Assemblies of God in Maricopa County Court for $6.6 million, claiming breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and other claims.

McFarland, meanwhile, is no longer employed at Radiant Church, and in fact, the church has scrubbed all mention of him from its website.

The lawsuit then got settled, presumably out of court, and McFarland got reassigned as the lead pastor of Covina Assembly of God church which has changed its name to Luminate.

Did the Assemblies of God ever consider the possibility that Lee McFarland could be a predator? They appear to have lower standards for their pastors than the secular community has for their counselors.

I believe that the AG is at high risk of a lawsuit because they did not take seriously the predatory behavior of McFarland.

First and foremost, Ms. Gallagher came to McFarland for counseling after her daughter had been molested by a youth pastor. And what did this pastor do? He misused her vulnerable emotional state in order to start an affair with her.

Then, McFarland became the counselor for Gallagher’s husband and lied about his sessions with him to Gallagher’s wife, trying to get her to apply for a divorce.This pastor did not just have an affair which is bad enough. In fact, a pastor who has an affair with anyone in his congregation whole NEVER be allowed in the pulpit again.

McFarland lied about his counseling sessions with Mr. Gallagher, claiming that Mr. Gallagher was the most violent and dangerous man he had ever met and that Ms Gallagher should be afraid of him.

If McFarland had been a counselor, he would have lost his license for doing this. My husband often notes that the church often has lower standards than the culture around them. What say you, AG leaders?

What is even more concerning is that McFarland’s wife was accused of knowing about his behavior, not only with Gallagher but with other women. This is a potentially a dangerous situation and the people at Luminate Church should be made aware of the actual details of McFarland’s actions.

I have a prediction. We will hear of McFarland again. If he abuses another church member, I believe that the Assemblies of God leaders should bear the responsibility for putting this man back in the pulpit.

I believe these quotes from a Lutheran pastor are worth repeating.

For starters, it would acknowledge that the fact that their continued public teaching of the faith, notwithstanding their many and great talents, needs to cease. It needs to cease for the sake of those they sinned against. Remember their sin of adultery was not simply a sin against God, but also a sin against their fellow man (the families involved, their brothers in the office, their parishioners and students). Fruits of repentance in the forgiven sinner display concern for the one sinned against. Fruits of repentance in the forgiven sinner are made manifest in prayer for those sinned against, that their faith will not be made a shipwreck by this sin. Fruits of repentance in the forgiven sinner do not stop with thanksgiving to God for forgiveness, but with that forgiveness look beyond it to make, as far as possible, restitution for what has been destroyed.

… They have disqualified themselves from public teaching, their sin has a consequence.  While we have no authority over them, as Christians we call on them to stop and will continue to tell other fellow Christians that they should not follow men who have disqualified themselves in this way.

…And yet, faith is never alone. The fruits of the spirit and repentance spring forth therefrom. May it be also with these men for the good of those whom they have wronged, for the good of the church at large and its reputation in the world, and for their own good also. This is how they are to use their many and great gifts. They are to employ their gifts in the places where God has actually called and put them: in their homes to repair the ruins and limit the further harm they can do to those they’ve already abused.

Shame on the Assemblies of God for ignoring the victims and putting McFarland back in the pulpit.Have they restored a predator? Shame on Lee McFarland who returned to the pulpit. Remember this if there are claims of abuse in the future.

TWW stands with the victims of Lee McFarland. We believe them.


Comments

The Assemblies of God Leadership Quickly Restored Lee McFarland to the Pastorate After His Predatory Affair and Lawsuit — 175 Comments

  1. From the article:

    “…People are more willing to listen to someone who’s traveled through intense hurt and pain — and talks about it from the pulpit — than someone who just says life’s always been good,”

    This is so incredibly insipid. He had known hurt and pain BECAUSE HE MANIPULATED, ABUSED, AND RUINED THE LIVES OF HIS PARISHIONERS. It’s his fault, everything that’s happened. If we follow this tortured logic, every pastor should go hurt people so they can better relate to millennials.

    The other super creepy thing was how he told this woman that God was telling him they should be intimate. Systems where people claim special revelation from God seem ripe for abuse.

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  2. Ugh. Covina is only about an hour away from me. Went to the new church’s website and look at what the ladies’ man is preaching on: “What your wife wishes you knew about her” and “What your husband wishes wives you knew about him”… yeah, your wife wishes you knew that the pastor was making a move on her.

    I don’t have the stomach to watch this phony, but here’s the link:

    https://luminate.church/watch/archive

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  3. Oh my, scrolled down at the new church’s archives page after my previous comment, and he preached a sermon in July titled “Hot, Holy, and Sexy”

    Seriously? Did I accidentally click on Babylon Bee? Nope, he’s preaching on sex (done Biblically, don’t ya know) Learning truths from Solomon, since he was an expert cuz he had so many wives. I listened to just a bit. That was enough.

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  4. I read down a little further in that church’s sermon archive, and he preached a sermon in July title “Hot, Holy, and S3xy” (My first attempt at mentioning this ended up in moderation I think. Changed the “e” to a “3” and we’ll see if it goes through. Pretty bad when a sermon title is too steamy for mentioning here.

    Really, is this fellow for real?

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  5. “People are more willing to listen to someone who’s traveled through intense hurt and pain” oh, that’s true, that’s very true. I’d be open to that myself and you know what? There’s a strange scarcity of such persons out there telling others how life should be done. The big talkers and prolific writers have invariably not been there. You’d almost think the experience of actually going through such pain has the effect of shutting people’s mouths. And frankly, in my eyes those who haven’t been there have little credibility. But you know what’s worse? Some a$$ who’s had to sit out a paltry couple of years on the stage as a result of his own out of control sinful appetites who has mistaken that for intense hurt and pain. You know what bud? Talk to me when you’ve lost the dearest person in the world to you to cancer. Talk to me when you’ve nursed someone through their last days in hospice. But you know what? You still wont because everyone in your life is probably expendable to you or, if they’re not, you will suddenly find you don’t have s&%# to say afterall.

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  6. EricL:
    Ugh. Covina is only about an hour away from me. Went to the new church’s website and look at what the ladies’ man is preaching on: “What your wife wishes you knew about her” and “What your husband wishes wives you knew about him”… yeah, your wife wishes you knew that the pastor was making a move on her.

    I don’t have the stomach to watch this phony, but here’s the link:

    https://luminate.church/watch/archive

    You are kidding me. Seriously? They have no shame. 6,000 people have nothing better to do with their lives than play props to this guy’s ego? You can’t make this stuff up.

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  7. Wisdom is not a virtue seemingly valued much in churches these days. How is it possible to have this many red flags regarding being a high level manipulator (God told me…) & still think this person should spiritually lead others? Where is the wisdom? Where is the accountability?

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  8. That the church in America is hemorrhaging young people is a good thing. When they return to God (whatever that looks like, but it’s inevitable because God calls all) it will be with a greater respect for people of every imaginable group (per book of James) and an inherent rejection of patriarchy. I’m watching this in my own young adult son. He hasn’t *left the faith,* he’s learning respect and compassion for all people, a lesson the secular world is teaching him. I am fascinated by what I see in younger adults. The huge population of old people in the church will eventually shrink and take with them the mindset described in this article. (And they’ll take a certain *news* channel as well).

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  9. I’ve seen a whole lot of evangelicals and charismatics on social media condemning the Catholic church scandal when their ranks are no different. Maybe they are even worse because they hide the scandals, then they come out, and then only a few months later that person is back in the pulpit. Atrocious.

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  10. ishy: I’ve seen a whole lot of evangelicals and charismatics on social media condemning the Catholic church scandal when their ranks are no different.

    Yes. When people on TWW were saying that the word was out that protestants are even worse than the catholics about sex abuse, and referencing Boz T (?) on that, I though at first that they were probably just being extreme. I have changed my mind. When whole churches, leadership and pew alike, rally around an abuser, when there is some abominable standing ovation for an abuser, I think that what those who know have been saying about protestant sex abuse are telling the truth. Here is something which is truly despicable. Deplorable.

    That does not let the catholic church off the hook, but it might say something good about most of the catholic laity who don’t seem to be defending abuse or abusers.

    God forgive us when we side with with abuser, go to court to try to plead for the abuser, have a standing ovation for the abuser. When they do stuff like that I think that the sin is not just or even mostly a clergy problem but rather an entire church problem. I cannot even begin to express my disgust at the behavior of the pew in this matter.

    So when Jesus said that for those who cause one of the little ones who believe in him to sin it would be ‘better that…’ I ask better than what. I conclude that he was saying better than what is going to happen to you in the judgment. So I ask myself, who ’causes’, and I cannot help but conclude that those who ’cause’ are the abusers and also all those who enable and also all those who look the other way.

    I have to stop right here. I am either going to cry or throw up at the enormity and expanse of the problem.

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  11. I grew up in the AG, was a pastor there, and I still move in that circle. Suffice it to say I know it inside and out.

    A few thoughts in no particular order:
    1) I depart from my denomination in their stance on restoration. If a pastor engages in moral failure, we can work to restore that person and their victims but that person should never again be in active pastoral ministry.
    2) In most large churches, pastoral ministry is dead. It’s charisma-led. You will never get a pastoral visit in the hospital or elsewhere from them.
    3) HOWEVER, if you reject my stance in #1 and believe in full restoration then it seems to me that the AG does it right. Their 2 year program of counselling and restoration is pretty thorough. Certainly better than anything else I’ve seen in other denominations. I’m not sure that outstanding litigation should always be a barrier.

    I believe in restoration for all parties involved….but that shouldn’t include elevation back to pastoral ministry. But if you’re going to do it, the AG does it right.

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  12. Let the lawsuits roll. Church institutions of all flavors seem to not take grievous sin on the part of ordained officers seriously until it starts impacting budgets. Hmmm… what did Jesus say about “where one’s treasure is”?

    Perhaps some day it will be standard in “new believer indoctrination” that when one hears someone (and especially someone speaking from an “office” of “authority”) affirm that that person has specific new revelation from God concerning them, then one should run away as fast as one can.

    Traditional Reformed call this “binding the conscience” and reckon that one should never do that without clear warrant in the plain meaning of the written text of Scripture. Anything else is not “word/command from God” but simply “counsel,” which is subject to analysis as to whether it is wise or not, as well as what the motives of the speaker might be. (Though it seems to me that they do not observe this principle in the ways they bind the consciences of officers, compelling them to take oaths to not deviate from the confessional standards. Perhaps this is an example of the idea that the visible church institutions are not really “the church”, but rather a kind of integument within which, if one looks carefully, one can sometimes find instances of “the church”)

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  13. The Assemblies of God Leadership Quickly Restored Lee McFarland to the Pastorate After His Predatory Affair and Lawsuit

    SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

    Rank Hath Its Privileges, and Sexual Predation has become a Privilege of Pastoral Rank.

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  14. ishy: I’ve seen a whole lot of evangelicals and charismatics on social media condemning the Catholic church scandal when their ranks are no different. Maybe they are even worse because they hide the scandals, then they come out, and then only a few months later that person is back in the pulpit.

    Piously Intoning “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PAPISTS OVER THERE…”

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  15. Loren Haas: He puts butts in the pews, so everything else is secondary.

    So did the pro wrestling angles cataloged at wrestlecrap.com.
    Except pro wrestling fans (unlike Christians) didn’t fall for it.

    P.S. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard AoGs called “Asses of God”.
    (“Arses of God” in European/Commonwealth English.)

    My old college dorm roomie went from Catholic to AoG, but then he’d sometimes get these weird “God Saith” ideas and run with them. (Such as the one time when he got convinced God was going to give him an invisible starship to leave Earth and go throughout the galaxy; that was probably the weirdest. And he was so convincing he had me believing it; when he left to go away on his invisible starship (waiting for him in a park down the street) and I was freaking out the cops were going to come after me for his murder. It would have made a GREAT episode of a sitcom — South Park? Family Guy? Big Bang Theory?)

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  16. EricL: Ugh. Covina is only about an hour away from me.

    He’s in COVINA?
    When I was in-country, that was Calvary Chapel turf.
    (Wonder when the drive-bys are going to start…)

    And “Luminate”?
    “Radiant”?
    Is it possible to get More TRENDY than that?
    Is this an episode of South Park? Family Guy?

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  17. she turned to a pastor, Dale Lee McFarland of Radiant Church in Surprise, after her daughter was allegedly victimized by a youth minister.[snip}McFarland allegedly told Gallagher that “he was receiving direction from God,” and that God had told him that Gallagher should divorce her husband because he had abandoned her emotionally.

    So he abused both the counseling relationship to manipulate her, which is against ALL PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS on this for a good reason, when she was in a terrible place because of her daughter which is very sad and who knows if anything happened to that youth minister, and then abused this AOG direct line to god preaching to say he knew her husband abandoned her. Terrible, predatory behavior on his part. This is not a good man.

    “McFarland’s wife, Sandy, a skilled scanning electron microscope technician, easily could have supported herself. But Sandy recognized Lee’s genuine sorrow and repentance, and stayed in the marriage, now in its 36th year.”

    I feel so sorry for wives in these situations. If they leave, they lose their entire social structure, ostracized, etc. But it’s treated like she gave him the OK or something. Awful. The men cheat and they keep everything or get it back and then whine about their self caused ‘pain’. I see the Gallagher’s are blaming her, too, for not stopping her husband I guess? It seems like often people get madder at the wives than the person doing the manipulating. I see that differently now than I used to.

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  18. Certain Assembly of God congregations were also instrumental in “restoring” Mark Driscoll to the pulpit. For a people who focus on the gifts of the Spirit, I haven’t observed much spiritual discernment in their ranks over the years. (and I say that as a Bapti-costal)

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  19. Bryan: t seems to me that the AG does it right. Their 2 year program of counselling and restoration is pretty thorough. Certainly better than anything else I’ve seen in other denominations.

    It appears you have done some research on the restoration process of many church denominations. Could you please elaborate on why you know AG process is thorough compared to other denominations?

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  20. Max: Certain Assembly of God congregations were also instrumental in “restoring” Mark Driscoll to the pulpit.

    Funny how it appears that one’s doctrinal stances can change on the fly so long as one can continue in ministry.

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  21. Samuel Conner: Traditional Reformed call this “binding the conscience” and reckon that one should never do that without clear warrant in the plain meaning of the written text of Scripture. Anything else is not “word/command from God” but simply “counsel,” which is subject to analysis as to whether it is wise or not, as well as what the motives of the speaker might be. (Though it seems to me that they do not observe this principle in the ways they bind the consciences of officers, compelling them to take oaths to not deviate from the confessional standards. Perhaps this is an example of the idea that the visible church institutions are not really “the church”, but rather a kind of integument within which, if one looks carefully, one can sometimes find instances of “the church”)

    You are dead on in your ponderings. The Traditional Reformed are very careful to provide plausible deniability as they claim to adhere to longstanding ‘safeguards’, but they are simply words.

    If, as you say, all pastors and elders must commit to unquestioningly uphold the orthodox creeds of the church, you have authoritarian abuse from square one. They bind the consciences of their ‘ruling elders’ who are then obliged to teach this doctrine to their congregants. Many will still ‘allow’ people to walk away for differences in doctrine, but in practice, week in and week out, they are brainwashing the pew to believe what they insist is true. This is done so subtly, that the peoples ‘differences in doctrine’ are often gradually managed until they quietly fade away. I suppose one might argue that this is better than brute force, but I am not so sure I would agree. I would rather confront a known tyrannical force rather than being love-bombed and mind-controlled into subservience.

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  22. okrapod: s about sex abuse, and referencing Boz T (?) on that, I though at first that they were probably just being extreme. I have changed my mind. When whole churches, leadership and pew alike, rally around an abuser, when there is some abominable standing ovation for an abuser, I think that what those who know have been saying about protestant sex abuse are telling the truth. Here is something which is truly despicable. Deplorable.

    When I saw that happen in a church, I decided to start a blog and here I am. I get it!

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  23. okrapod: That does not let the catholic church off the hook, but it might say something good about most of the catholic laity who don’t seem to be defending abuse or abusers.

    Sadly, that is not the case. Did you see this? “Catholic League president defends pedophile priests: It’s not rape if there was ‘no penetration’”
    http://deadstate.org/catholic-league-president-defends-pedophile-priests-its-not-rape-if-there-was-no-penetration/

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  24. SiteSeer: I don’t have the stomach to watch this phony, but here’s the link:

    https://luminate.church/watch/archive

    His July 30 sermon is entitled, “Hot, Holy, and Sexy.” Wow.

    I know we’ve asked this before, but is there some sort of connection between being a abusive, narcissistic basket-case, and the showmanship that enables a person to hold the attention of an audience?

    Years ago, my spouse and I saw Bill Cosby on stage. Just an older gentleman, in grey sweats, with a chair, a side-table, and a glass of water. He talked for 2 hours, and people asked for more. Just brilliant. We didn’t know we were watching a serial rapist and abuser of women.

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  25. Bryan: HOWEVER, if you reject my stance in #1 and believe in full restoration then it seems to me that the AG does it right. Their 2 year program of counselling and restoration is pretty thorough. Certainly better than anything else I’ve seen in other denominations.

    It doesn’t say much for it to me that this guy seems to have no shame about preaching ‘hot sexy’ sermons without really really long disclaimers first…Where is the followup?

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  26. Bryan: HOWEVER, if you reject my stance in #1 and believe in full restoration then it seems to me that the AG does it right. Their 2 year program of counselling and restoration is pretty thorough. Certainly better than anything else I’ve seen in other denominations.

    Eh, this guy seems to have no shame preaching about ‘what your wife should know about you’ and hot sexy sermons without massive disclaimers…I’m not real impressed. Shouldn’t there be some sort of followup?

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  27. TS00: If, as you say, all pastors and elders must commit to unquestioningly uphold the orthodox creeds of the church, you have authoritarian abuse from square one. They bind the consciences of their ‘ruling elders’ who are then obliged to teach this doctrine to their congregants. Many will still ‘allow’ people to walk away for differences in doctrine, but in practice, week in and week out, they are brainwashing the pew to believe what they insist is true.

    This is not how I see it in my denomination. I think your experiences were bad and that makes you see them through that filter. But when a church has a doctrinal stance, you join and decide to become an elder or deacon, and you agree generally with that stance. There are a few things you have to agree with to be ordained. You do NOT have to agree to be a member. It’s not brainwashing if you write your beliefs on the website and open them up for everyone to see. It’s just what your church thinks is closest to truth.

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  28. dee: Sadly, that is not the case. Did you see this? “Catholic League president defends pedophile priests: It’s not rape if there was ‘no penetration’”
    http://deadstate.org/catholic-league-president-defends-pedophile-priests-its-not-rape-if-there-was-no-penetration/

    This man has made his entire life’s work being a contrarian, in my opinion. And now some of the hierarchy are saying one thing and some another about Francis and this issue, debating who knew what and when. However, I have not seen reports of groups of pew persons actually defending in court abusers or doing standing ovations in support of abusers like the groups you are reporting. If I am wrong then I stand corrected. So far, I think their laity is doing better than our laity on this issue.

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  29. If they were really convinced of his “repentance,” wouldn’t knowledge of how bad it was be a badge of honor—See! God took me from there to here?! When you have an impulse to cover up deeds of darkness, you can be sure something is unholy about the stance.

    Lee McFarland has absolutely no business re-entering the pulpit. He abused the trust and vulnerability of those seeking his care. Such actions are criminal for pastors in Minnesota as I read the law as a non-lawyer. This story is truly disturbing!

    Also, those lines are SOOOO typical. The “emotional abandonment” and “dangerous” husband narrative are typical ways to separate a wife from her husband (assuming–as they were in these cases–they are slanderous lies). Satan’s lies aren’t new. Pure evil. And they undermine support for REAL victims of abuse and abandonment. Disgusting.

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  30. okrapod: However, I have not seen reports of groups of pew persons actually defending in court abusers or doing standing ovations in support of abusers like the groups you are reporting.

    To be fair, is that a thing that would even have a place within a catholic service? It’s not quite the same setup and that affects things. It could be that people in various protestant churches are more likely to simply jump ship, either to another church or to no church, when something like this happens.

    I think they both have issues, they just come out differently. Similar to the way the hierarchy in a catholic church makes formally moving priests around an option, whereas Baptist/non-denom churches were moving them more informally, or they were moving themselves. But it leads to the same issue, which is that a predator shows up and the local church doesn’t know and has no one to warn them.

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  31. So somebody brought up the issue is it rape if there is no penetration. I googled that. Apparently there does have to be penetration to meet the legal definition of rape but various states have different ideas about what actually that means.

    Maybe using the term sexual assault would be better since it would shut down the argument as to what is or is not rape.

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  32. Lea,

    Getting up a group and going to court is not a religious service. For that matter, family night dinner or farewell gatherings or church league ball games or or or are not religious services. Liturgy well might result in a transfer of demonstrations to other venues, but again, court is not a religious liturgy. But hey, I am all for liturgy, and you may be correct that it would mean fewer standing ovations all around.

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  33. Lea,

    “It’s not brainwashing if you write your beliefs on the website and open them up for everyone to see. It’s just what your church thinks is closest to truth.”
    ++++++++++++++

    it’s how things play out over time. church leaders with influence using language, tone, and facial expression to convey that these beliefs & practices are the only reliable and legitimate ones in christianworld. or regularworld.

    since it all involves God, the stakes couldn’t be higher. people are tricked into embracing the party line because the sky will fall otherwise.

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  34. On a slightly different subject–I haven’t mentioned this because I know many people do not consider Mormons to be Christians but now this has escalated.

    The Mormon church has a practice of congregation leaders (“bishops”) holding one-on-one interviews with children to determine their worthiness for baptism, doing baptisms for the dead in temples as teenagers and for boys, being ordained. These questions can be VERY EXPLICIT. Adults have reported trauma and their stories can be read on the Protect LDS Children website.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, Mormon bishops are not trained for anything. Your bishop could be an accountant, or lawyer, or in the case of Sam Young, owner of an office supply concern. But they are supposed to ask children and teenagers if they masturbate or have had premarital sex. And some of these bishops get very detailed about it. VERY.

    Sam Young is the guy behind Protect LDS Children and he owns an office supply in Houston. He didn’t know about this kind of questioning, even though he was once a bishop, and he was unaware of it until one of his six adult daughters came to him about it. That lit a fire under him. In the last year, he’s collected stories from people harmed by this questioning (seriously, the stories are hard to read), he led a march and rally against institutionalized questioning in Salt Lake City, and most recently, he fasted for 23 days during July and August in front of Temple Square, trying to get the highest leadership of the church (“Apostles”) to come down and just talk about it. (Guess what? Nobody showed up.)

    Now he’s been notified that he’s being summoned to an excommunication. Of course, Sam could just resign, he knows this, but he’s going to go out kicking and screaming. He is tired of people being asked horrible, horrible questions, and it’s institutionalized as a good thing in the Mormon church.

    https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/08/30/ex-lds-bishop-who-went/

    I’d also note that a week or two ago, the new head of the Mormon church, one Russell Nelson, asked the press to start calling the church by its official name (“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”) in the first instance, or “The Church” or “The Church of Jesus Christ” in second and subsequent instances. Nelson said this was an impression from “the Lord.” I can’t hardly stop my eyes from trying to roll out of my head. In a world where children are being asked by untrained men if they masturbate or what sexual positions they’re engaging in and whether they experienced pleasure from same (I wish to God I was lying, but I’m not), that God would think having the press call the Mormon church by the pretentious name of “The Church of Jesus Christ” just floors me. And some wags are now calling the Mormon church “Ziontology” (as an obvious takeoff on my favorite cult).

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  35. I was in an AOG church in Arizona when the Jimmy Swaggart scandal made the national press. In his case the AOG headquarters demanded the same and he refused to submit and he was thrown out of the organization. This did not happen this time, which is one good thing. Still I do not think that restoration, as the scriptures talk about it, means that every scandal should end in ministers being restored to the pulpit. We live in an age of celebrity Christians whose powerful lust for power propels them into the spotlight. This is not the way of the cross. This is not humility. This is not the way any leader becomes the greatest. It serves nobody but the ego of the celebrity.
    All that said, I am now attending an AOG church which so far is good, but not perfect. There are some terrible AOG churches out there. It all depends on the leadership and what is actually driving them to do what they do. Sexual sin is rampant in all of the denominations, which is a good reason not to place yours or mine on a pedestal. There is plenty of pride and self-seeking to go around as well.

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  36. okrapod: However, I have not seen reports of groups of pew persons actually defending in court abusers or doing standing ovations in support of abusers like the groups you are reporting. If I am wrong then I stand corrected. So far, I think their laity is doing better than our laity on this issue.

    I have seen two concerning issues from conservative/traditional Catholics online. And disclaimer here, it is hard to figure out how prominent these positions are without actual surveys. A few loudmouths can make something look like a big problem that actually isn’t.

    The first thing I have seen is the defense of “well, 100 over 70 years isn’t that many. It happens way more often in the public schools.” I have no clue if the comparison of numbers is correct, but that isn’t the point. For starters, churches should be held to a much higher standard. These institutions claim to speak for God. Simply being better than the public schools isn’t something to hang your hat on. Also, I’m a teacher, and when a story like this breaks, it almost always ends in firing and prosecution. I’m sure shuffling teachers who sexually assault students does happen, but no high-level conspiracies to cover it up have been revealed that I know of. Certainly not ones that involve 300 teachers. If the Church wants to set itself up as the direct representative of God with unbroken apostolic succession from Peter, then the “but we are better than the public schools” argument doesn’t wash.

    The second is blaming this all on a “homosexual subculture” or a “gay mafia.” The argument being that the majority of these assaults are against males, and lots of them are against male seminary students over the age of consent. I still think blaming this on homosexuality is a red herring and is a defensive importation of culture war rhetoric. Teachers should not be sexually involved with their students. Period. Full Stop. To me, the sexual orientation of these encounters is a very minor point. This argument seems to me to try to fit the current controversy within the liberal vs conservative argument to score political points rather than address the issue that priests were abusing their authority by having inappropriate relationships/sexually assaulting parishoners/students. It is wrong whether they are over or under the age of consent.

    Again, maybe these are just fringe arguments, but I’ve seen them come up quite a bit online, and I think both of them are a really bad look for the Catholic Church. It makes me wonder if the fact that the Church claims that the Institution was ordained by God leads people to defend the institution at all cost. I’m not a Catholic, but I’m not a Catholic hater either. I do think this is an important question.

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  37. Mr. Jesperson: I am now attending an AOG church which so far is good, but not perfect. There are some terrible AOG churches out there. It all depends on the leadership and what is actually driving them to do what they do.

    This seems to be the paradox of denominational hierarchy. At its best, a denomination that has a tight, hierarchical organization can keep any one pastor/congregation from running amok. At its worst, it can institutionalize abuse and force conformity on its members. I don’t think this contradiction can be resolved. Anyone have thoughts on what the right answer is?

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  38. Ricco: It makes me wonder if the fact that the Church claims that the Institution was ordained by God leads people to defend the institution at all cost. I’m not a Catholic, but I’m not a Catholic hater either. I do think this is an important question.

    That is what I think also about claiming to be the one true church instituted by Christ and that all others are schismatics, heretics and not even real churches. That thinking would certainly tend to keep people in line, though how many and for how long I have no idea.

    The business about sexual orientation is being brought up on catholic sites, but the Deebs do not want it brought up here.

    And yes, teachers do get involved in sexual misbehavior with students and yes it is a career ending mistake lots of the time-if the accusations are shown to be true. My daughter is a teacher, and they are not allowed to be alone anywhere at any time with any student-ever. It is BGR on steroids.

    And I am also neither a catholic or a catholic despiser.

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  39. About the statistics of how many and over what period of time is something to be considered. I would like to see a chart comparing rate and severity and type of abuse per year and percentage per year that this represents. I would like to see if any of this is better or worse, if it compares with fluctuations in the population at large, and how we compare to other nations. One problem is that there are so many more catholics than evangelicals. None the less, regardless of percentages, both are mishandling these issues.

    You know, when incidence rates of STDs are reported to the general public via the usual secular media there is more to the story. If one hunts around a bit one can find a break down of the figures according to other variables and some of it is interesting. I am thinking that similar stats broken down by several variables would be essential in discussing sexual abuse.

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  40. okrapod: Getting up a group and going to court is not a religious service.

    I was talking about the standing ovations there. I think liturgy is great and likely helpful at minimizing the hero worship of individual ministers and priests.

    I haven’t researched it heavily so I can’t say if its the church only or also laity, but catholic groups have protested and lobbied on behalf of keeping statutes of limitations. I’m not familiar with what happens when priests are actually on trial.

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  41. Lea: I’m not familiar with what happens when priests are actually on trial.

    To expand on this, Dee and Deb have a focus and it tends to be stuff in their wheelhouse, which is protestants. I don’t think I can say what laity do and don’t do simply based on what I know because it’s limited to other denominations. I know more about what the catholic hierarchy has done than its members.

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  42. Max:
    Certain Assembly of God congregations were also instrumental in “restoring” Mark Driscoll to the pulpit.For a people who focus on the gifts of the Spirit, I haven’t observed much spiritual discernment in their ranks over the years.(and I say that as a Bapti-costal)

    Speaking of Mark Driscoll, did you see his latest post at Charisma?

    “Rather than dating, relating and fornicating, this single and broke young woman worshipped, worked and waited.”

    https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/72877-this-old-testament-book-is-more-relevant-now-than-ever-before

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  43. Linn:
    And the AG hasn’t learned after Jim and Tammy Faye Baker…short memory, Iguess.

    Maybe, but I give the AG credit that they never restored Jim Bakker’s ministerial credentials. Of course, that didn’t stop him from preaching again.

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  44. “McFarland told her “that he was receiving direction from God …””

    There is a tremendous abuse of the prophetic ministry in Pentecostal ranks. Beware of a church leader who proclaims “Thus saith the Lord …” to speak words over you like a fortune-teller. In most cases, God is not speaking through him … he is using his position of authority to gain an advantage over you – to manipulate you in some way, to get in your wallet, to use and abuse you. While I believe in spiritual discernment, this is an area where the counterfeit supplants the genuine in most Pentecostal churches.

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  45. Lea,

    “I haven’t researched it heavily so I can’t say if its the church only or also laity, but catholic groups have protested and lobbied on behalf of keeping statutes of limitations.”

    I am not sure what I think about statutes of limitation. Research on memory has pretty much convinced me that some of what I ‘remember’ never happened that way, so I tried to verify some things and sure enough I no longer all that much trust my memory in just a lot of things. And research on eye witness accounts has pretty well trashed the former gold standard of belief on the accuracy of eye witness. If there is/is not to be a statute of limitations it needs to be consistent with what is known about memory accuracy, or not. In Bart Ehrman’s book ‘Jesus Before the Gospels’ he quotes research that totally blasts the idea of any great accuracy in the process of oral tradition.

    I remember something from when I was less than 3 years old, and something from age 3 and something from age 4 which I have confirmed with other people and yes they happened. I remember something which happened involving my children when they were middle school/high school years old, respectively, but neither of them remembers any such thing remotely. And now I have forgotten the latter, maybe because it was not confirmed before some time limit on the memory ran out.

    Laws have to be fair to everybody, and I don’t see how that works out one way or the other on statutes of limitation. But for sure I hope that lawmakers decide based on the research and not on politics or religion.

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  46. singleman: Speaking of Mark Driscoll, did you see his latest post at Charisma?

    https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/72877-this-old-testament-book-is-more-relevant-now-than-ever-before

    Note the bio at the end of the article:

    “Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor and the author of many books …”

    Those of us who have followed Driscoll for years could add important elements to his bio … that he was a potty-mouth preacher from Seattle, who wrote a pornographic book on marriage, who plagiarized the writings of others, who misused church funds to promote his books, who abused church elders and rejected their council, who was removed from his Mars Hill megachurch and the Acts 29 organization he founded, who was a key influencer of the New Calvinist movement which is wreaking havoc in the American church, who emerged from a season of “restoration” still unrepentant to weasel his way into charismatic circles. For a group which thinks they are the most discerning on the planet, they have missed much about Driscoll. Restore him to fellowship if he is truly repentant? Certainly! Restore him to leadership? NO!

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  47. Max: Note the bio at the end of the article:

    “Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor and the author of many books …”

    i.e. the Official Story/Party Line.

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  48. Max: “McFarland told her “that he was receiving direction from God …””

    There is a tremendous abuse of the prophetic ministry in Pentecostal ranks. Beware of a church leader who proclaims “Thus saith the Lord …” to speak words over you like a fortune-teller.

    Long ago in this blog, there was a comment that “The phrase ‘God Hath Said Unto Me’ should only be spoken with the same caution and forethought as ‘Please Castrate Me’.”

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  49. okrapod: So somebody brought up the issue is it rape if there is no penetration.

    “I did not know that woman in a Biblical sense.”
    — Doug Phillips ESQUIRE (i.e. “Loophole! Loophole!”)

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  50. Headless Unicorn Guy: He’s in COVINA?
    When I was in-country, that was Calvary Chapel turf.
    (Wonder when the drive-bys are going to start…)

    And “Luminate”?
    “Radiant”?
    Is it possible to get More TRENDY than that?
    Is this an episode of South Park? Family Guy?

    My first thought at reading “Luminate” and “Radiant” was that scripture (if I remember right) about Lucifer appearing as an angel of light.

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  51. Divorce Minister: Also, those lines are SOOOO typical. The “emotional abandonment” and “dangerous” husband narrative are typical ways to separate a wife from her husband (assuming–as they were in these cases–they are slanderous lies).

    Also shows these PUAs can’t even think of an original pickup line…

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  52. dee: Funny how it appears that one’s doctrinal stances can change on the fly so long as one can continue in ministry.

    Driscoll (and others like him) have found comfort in the AoG teaching that you can lose your salvation but be saved again … lose your salvation but be saved again … lose your salvation but be saved again … etc.

    This, of course, does not agree with Driscoll’s old teaching within New Calvinism: perseverance of the elect who never lose their salvation, no matter what they do. Driscoll apparently has married his Calvinist background with the charisma found in Pentecostal ranks to emerge as a Charismatic Calvinist – a new gimmick which could make him visible again with a new following. McFarland is also benefiting from the easy-believing, easy-forgiving, easy-restoring environment within some corners of AoG.

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  53. okrapod,

    Donohue has been roundly castigated online for his “it-wasn’t-really-rape-rape” nonsense. Even his former defenders have abandoned him.

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  54. singleman: “Rather than dating, relating and fornicating, this single and broke young woman worshipped, worked and waited.”

    I don’t even want to click this, but I will confidently say that it is stuffin’ nonsense.

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  55. I’ve had a lot of exposure to Word of Faith Pentecostalism via my next-door neighbor, who is also heavily involved in Toronto Blessing / Catch the Fire. Re “God told me this or that”: Hoo boy, the tales I could tell. And I will, after I meet a freelance deadline.

    This stuff is seriously weird. My neighbor tried to suck me in via her ladies’ Bible study, but I eventually just got so weirded out that I couldn’t handle it anymore.

    She is a nice person and all, and she loves Jesus, but I can’t handle all the weirdness.

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  56. okrapod: I am not sure what I think about statutes of limitation

    Regardless, in this context it seems clear that certain groups lobbying against it are motivated by self-interest.

    Memory research is pretty fascinating. You can implant memories under certain conditions, but recovered memories are also a real thing. And although witness testimony can be faulty in details, my understanding is that it doesn’t mean that they get the important stuff wrong. Anyway it’s very interesting stuff, but when something happens at 10 or 12, and it is noteworthy in a good or bad way, we can generally remember it.

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  57. This doesn’t surprise me in the least. AoG is all about restoration. Pastor in my wife’s church had an affair, after a few years of laying low, he’s president of a pentecostal college.

    AoG may hold some different theologies but is just as smug and self assured as any other religious group.

    Interesting that we talk of “the christian church” but in reality this “universal church” is a bit a sham.

    The AoG church I attended definitely did not consider Baptists, Anglicans or Catholics christian, I’ve been to Roman Catholic churches that don’t consider anyone other faith legitimate, I’ve know Baptist congregations that feel the same way.

    To me, it seems everyone makes it up to suit themselves then kit bashes the bible to fit what they already believed or in some of the recent posts, using it to get out of hot water, a cosmic “get out of jail free” card.

    No god is leading this charge, it’s more like a herd of cats.

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  58. singleman: “Rather than dating, relating and fornicating, this single and broke young woman worshipped, worked and waited.”

    So according to Driscoll, the only two options are courtship a la Josh Harris or sleeping around.

    I really hate when people set up false choices like this to make their position look sane relative to a counter example. Courtship is not the only pathway to a life that respects your own body, and these other paths don’t leave nearly as much wreckage in their wake.

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  59. Max: Charismatic Calvinist

    This may not be as rare as you think. Wayne Grudem is basically a Charismatic Calvinist. He holds to TULIP, but he also believes in healing, tongues, and is definitely NOT a cessationist. He is the unofficial theologian of the YRR church I am leaving, so I feel pretty acquainted with his stuff. Driscoll must be taking the charisma stuff pretty far to have found a home in AoG.

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  60. Ricco: So according to Driscoll, the only two options are courtship a la Josh Harris or sleeping around.

    Also, what on earth is wrong with ‘RELATING’? How is that ever a bad thing? Sheesh.

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  61. singleman: this single and broke young woman worshipped, worked and waited

    Ok, I broke down and checked the site just to make sure it was ruth because…This is a STUPID description of what Ruth did? Really just…did you read? She ‘waited’? As opposed to showing up in the middle of the night in his bed basically?

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  62. Lea: As opposed to showing up in the middle of the night in his bed basically?

    Yeah, not so sure that Ruth would be welcome in the evangelical church today

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  63. LeaThis is a STUPID description of what Ruth did? Really just…did you read? She ‘waited’? As opposed to showing up in the middle of the night in his bed basically?

    This was a stretch even by Driscoll’s standards. Ruth is about the most blatant counterpoint to the “man pursues, woman waits” model so beloved by patriarchal evangelicals. I’m surprised Driscoll didn’t notice that in his rush to get to his predetermined point… well, maybe I’m not that surprised. 😉

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  64. SiteSeer: You are kidding me. Seriously?

    No, they’re not kidding you. And yeah, they’re very serious, only pretty people with beautiful crest-white-strip-teeth need apply.

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  65. SiteSeer: You are kidding me. Seriously?

    No, they’re not kidding you. And yeah, they’re very serious, only pretty people with beautiful crest-white-strip-teeth need apply.
    Almost forgot, a significant amount of disposable income helps too.

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  66. Eeyore: Ruth is about the most blatant counterpoint to the “man pursues, woman waits” model so beloved by patriarchal evangelicals.

    Right? IT’s hilariously awful that evangelicals are pawning this ‘wait for your boaz’ nonsense at people. Ruth, as directed by Naomi, is SO calculated in her actions. It basically puts the lie to their entire gender roles platform.

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  67. singleman: Speaking of Mark Driscoll, did you see his latest post at Charisma?

    “Rather than dating, relating and fornicating, this single and broke young woman worshipped, worked and waited.”

    https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/72877-this-old-testament-book-is-more-relevant-now-than-ever-before

    *cough* I’ve heard that the phrase “uncover his feet” is actually a euphemism for something else. Even if it’s not a euphemism, widowed women didn’t go somewhere at night where a man might be and then lay down at his feet, even if it was the most innocent thing ever. I mean, seriously, she was throwing herself at Boaz, to be blunt.

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  68. Perseverance of the saints does NOT mean once saved you can live anyway you want. It means that if you return to a livestyle of sin (fail to persevere) you were never saved. Preservation of the saints (osas) usually means the same. Only the most extreme in the dispensational free grace camp would say the saved can “sin all they want and still be saved.” Most of them also hold instead that if you continue to want a sinful lifestyle, or revert to one, you never possessed salvation.

    Classic Arminianism is that if you lose your salvation you cannot get it back. Wesleyan or Pentecostal Arminianism allows regaining salvation but ONLY WHEN AND ONLY IF God allows repentance. So you can’t just assume you can always go back and sin safely.

    This is where a wee bit of John Macarthur teaching (a wee bit, not the tooooo far he goes) is probably correct: those that want to skip hell but live like the devil are not saved to begin with.

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  69. Naomi told her what to to because Boaz was a kinsman who had the right to redeem her from the nearer kinsman whose responsibility it was to have seen to her but who had not done so, and Boaz had the money to solve it. So he got a real message, if you people won’t fulfill the law as regards me then I will have to take up prostitution so do you want to be the first ‘john’ in my new life. Imagine the public humiliation for the men who were required by law to help this woman and who did not do so. Now since Boaz’ mother was Rahab the harlot I doubt if any of this made him think badly of Ruth but apparently he did rethink his responsibilities, and maybe he liked what she had to offer.

    Smart woman Naomi. Smart woman Ruth. Good man Boaz.

    I read this somewhere long ago, I was not there and I am no authority on the Jewish customs of the day. I know not what the truth may be; I tell the tale as ’twas told to me.

    Incidentally, all five of the women mentioned in Matthew 1 in Jesus’ genealogy according to Matthew broke modern evangelical rules so badly they would have been forever excluded from fellowship. That would be especially the one who claimed to have had a vision and turned up pregnant as a result. Really? The other women were just sexually aggressive; this one sounded psychotic.

    The real question is why these women were mentioned at all by ‘Matthew’. There may be some message here, but I probably don’t get it.

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  70. Max: Note the bio at the end of the article:

    Those of us who have followed Driscoll for years could add important elements to his bio … that he was a potty-mouth preacher from Seattle, who wrote a pornographic book on marriage, who plagiarized the writings of others, who misused church funds to promote his books, who abused church elders and rejected their council, who was removed from his Mars Hill megachurch and the Acts 29 organization he founded, who was a key influencer of the New Calvinist movement which is wreaking havoc in the American church, who emerged from a season of “restoration” still unrepentant to weasel his way into charismatic circles.For a group which thinks they are the most discerning on the planet, they have missed much about Driscoll.Restore him to fellowship if he is truly repentant?Certainly!Restore him to leadership?NO!

    Perhaps I have grown too cynical, but my interpretation of the swift restoration/recovery of probably-more-dismayed-by-the-consequences-than-deeply-grieved-over-their-transgressions religious celebrities is that it is a manifestation of “under-the-sun” wrath of God. Churches get the leaders they choose. If they don’t know what to value in the people they trust to lead them, how is that not “darkened understanding?” It looks to me to be a kind of “giving over” by God. I don’t expect the end of this process to be edifying or encouraging.

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  71. It wasn’t an affair. If he had been a licensed therapist or other helping professional it would have been a criminal act of abuse. I don’t believe anyone should feel safe seeking any type of help from a pastor until there are detailed laws in every sine state spelling out clergy counseling malpractice.

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  72. Samuel Conner,

    Good thought. It does look like the way God deals with some things is to let people have enough rope. Wait long enough and either they actually repent or else they do themselves in, but either way nobody makes God look foolish when all is said and done. Consequences, and all the meanwhile a chance to repent (perhaps). Playing a game of wits with God is foolishness.

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  73. Max:
    Certain Assembly of God congregations were also instrumental in “restoring” Mark Driscoll to the pulpit.For a people who focus on the gifts of the Spirit, I haven’t observed much spiritual discernment in their ranks over the years.(and I say that as a Bapti-costal)

    It wasn’t AOG that got Driscoll back in. It was NAR (Gateway Church and Trinity Fellowship, otherwise known as BFF’s Robert Morris and Jimmy Evans).

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  74. “The Gallaghers claim that McFarland’s wife, Sandra, “knew about her husband’s adulterous behavior and his penchant for pursing vulnerable women congregants of his flock, married or unmarried and was complicit in his behavior by choosing to allow it to continue, knowing other women would be harmed and victimized.”

    Seems there could likely be more than just one victim: Sandra knew about her husband’s PENCHANT for pursing vulnerable women (pl) – married or unmarried. So…how many more are out there yet to come forward?

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  75. Darlene,

    How evil.

    These people get in between people/relationships, pathologically lie, isolate, smear campaign, and manipulate.

    It’s a really scary thing. To be honest, I have seen this *a lot* in churches, ministries, etc. at some level, though not always this extreme.

    Underneath, there is a lot of projection going on. For instance from the post:

    …. After meeting with Derek, “McFarland told Jody that Derek was the most dangerous and violent man he had ever seen and that he was personally ‘scared to death’ of Derek during his counseling session,” the Gallaghers say. McFarland also told Jody “to change the locks on the house for the safety of herself and their children,” according to the complaint.

    …….

    It appears and is very likely that what McFarland was saying about Derek actually applied to *him*, not Derek. It’s all bait and switch, gaslighting, projection.

    And that puts the victim of the smearing in a lose lose situation. If he tries to defend himself, it gets turned around on him and he gets accused of manipulation and the very things that the disordered person and instigator is doing. If the victim gets angry or upset about what’s happening to him, it’s like “Look! See! I told you!”

    There are multiple layers of evil involved in these situations.

    I find people in the church and ministry culture to be the most naive and/or uneducated (or maybe just uncaring?) about this kind of disordered behavior. And then the deeper issue is a lot of our theological anthropology actually supports or enables that kind of behavior.

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  76. Mark R: It wasn’t AOG that got Driscoll back in. It was NAR (Gateway Church and Trinity Fellowship, otherwise known as BFF’s Robert Morris and Jimmy Evans).

    Oh yeah, Morris was certainly involved with Driscoll’s restoration. But before he started his church in Arizona, Driscoll did a speaking tour at several AoG churches. I’m sure he was exploring how best to re-invent himself for a new market share.

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  77. okrapod: The real question is why these women were mentioned at all by ‘Matthew’. There may be some message here, but I probably don’t get it.

    I’ve thought about this for a long while.
    It’s intriguing, and I have my own take.

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  78. okrapod,
    The statute of limitations means that when my husband was recorded saying to me,”Shortly after our wedding I forced myself on you against your will and I raped you” nothing will happen. We both remember it. He is recorded saying it. But nothing can be done. It seems like when there is admission or evidence that should count for something. (If you are wondering why, he explained that he “was just really, really angry!”)

    Forget the court of law. The church elders refused to believe me. Would not investigate. I recently sent them a 3 min clip including also the admission of emotional and verbal abuse along with the throwing me into the wall incident with lying about porn for 30 years.

    Note to readers: Next time your wife says she is going to record all future conversations, you should believe her. Pastors, next time you lie, slander, break clergy confidentiality and reveal your efforts to alienate adult children from their mom, you should check to see if the phone is recording. (I live in a 1 party consent state on recordings.)

    Never mind…no worries. Church leadership will refuse to investigate any evidence when they “know” you are a good man. Say whatever you feel like to whomever. And don’t let facts or truth slow you down. Ugh.

    When there is a statute of limitations on impact of the abuse, I will be more keen on letting the perps off the hook.

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  79. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Laws in CO and NE do not require penetration. Lips to the genitals without consent qualifies as do other things. Maybe other states are different…I do not remember ever hearing the word consent about sexual contact until #metoo. That is beyond pathetic. Bless your foot fetish “pure” little heart, Bill Gothard! I was “blessed” to spend a week at Family Camp with Doug Phillips and Dr. Bilezikian was my advisor at Wheaton. I have known some unstellar dudes without realizing it at the time.

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  80. Bryan: I grew up in the AG, was a pastor there, and I still move in that circle. Suffice it to say I know it inside and out.
    A few thoughts in no particular order:
    1) I depart from my denomination in their stance on restoration. If a pastor engages in moral failure, we can work to restore that person and their victims but that person should never again be in active pastoral ministry.
    2) In most large churches, pastoral ministry is dead. It’s charisma-led. You will never get a pastoral visit in the hospital or elsewhere from them.
    3) HOWEVER, if you reject my stance in #1 and believe in full restoration then it seems to me that the AG does it right. Their 2 year program of counselling and restoration is pretty thorough. Certainly better than anything else I’ve seen in other denominations. I’m not sure that outstanding litigation should always be a barrier.
    I believe in restoration for all parties involved….but that shouldn’t include elevation back to pastoral ministry. But if you’re going to do it, the AG does it right.

    I don’t see how someone in this situation could be made above reproach/blameless as per Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3, which may well make moot the rigor of the AG or any other process.

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  81. linda: Perseverance of the saints does NOT mean once saved you can live anyway you want. It means that if you return to a livestyle of sin (fail to persevere) you were never saved. Preservation of the saints (osas) usually means the same.

    This is where a wee bit of John Macarthur teaching (a wee bit, not the tooooo far he goes) is probably correct: those that want to skip hell but live like the devil are not saved to begin with.

    A “wee bit” of truth does not a correct theology make! John MacArthur’s teaching, and that of his minions, continues the fine work of the founder of their philosophical system; destroy any assurance of salvation and keep people in bondage to the law at all costs.

    None of the system is quantifiable. It all depends on how you define terms, words, phrases, thoughts, intentions, and all of the other subjective goobaldygoo that they preach and teach. One can never know, even at the point of death, whether or not one has done enough to be saved. It is a system that leads to despair.

    Whatever you say POS means someone else comes along as says that God told them thus and so or the spirit lead them to do thus and so. So the inner guidance from their god – the extra-biblical direct revelation – becomes the highest authority. It doesn’t matter what system of restoration they employ, or how wee bit correct their patron saint of the moment is.

    Fact is they don’t pass the Biblical test to be in any kind of authority in the church. They lost that privileged the moment they decided to go down that road. They no longer pass the smell test. They might be restored to personal faith, but should never be restored to any pulpit.

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  82. okrapod: Incidentally, all five of the women mentioned in Matthew 1 in Jesus’ genealogy according to Matthew broke modern evangelical rules so badly they would have been forever excluded from fellowship. …The real question is why these women were mentioned at all by ‘Matthew’. There may be some message here, but I probably don’t get it.

    Because well behaved women rarely make history? 😉

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  83. linda: This is where a wee bit of John Macarthur teaching (a wee bit, not the tooooo far he goes) is probably correct: those that want to skip hell but live like the devil are not saved to begin with.

    Umm. Nope. Your comment was a good review in very readable form of various beliefs on the subject. However then you note that J McA says thus and such so therefore he is right. Oops. Other people choose some other conclusion, like ‘the church has said’ and therefore the church is right. Or ‘the weight of the biblical evidence seems to me to be’ and therefore I am right. Choosing who is right is more complicated than that, especially since the various ideas you discussed have been accepted ideas by various legitimate church bodies and theological systems.

    I don’t know which of the good sources are ‘right’, but I would like to suggest something. Why does it have to be either/or? Why would it not be that some left us because they were never part of us ( 1 John) and meanwhile some met all the criteria for truly saved and then deserted Christ (Hebrews 6) . And just based on observation and common sense since we do not know another person’s heart could it not be that there are some who are somewhere not quite that ‘either/or’ as far as we know so we best leave the adjudication of individual cases to God himself.

    If we do that, however, we have to give up wanting to be surely sure of the really correct and unassailable answer. That is very appealing, but IMO is a wrong headed approach, J MsA and others notwithstanding.

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  84. Lea: Because well behaved women rarely make history

    Nobody in scripture said that these women were not well behaved. Judah praised Tamar. There is no hint in scripture of condemnation for Rahab or Ruth or Bathsheba or Mary. We are the one who are apt to say tsk, tsk. The scripture told their stories apparently without glossing over anything and glaringly, or so it seems to me, failed to criticize them at all.

    But interesting also is the fact that Matthew is the only one to point this out. I think he must have had some reason which may now be lost to history.

    One idea that crosses my mind is that perhaps there was criticism of Mary-the comment at one point of ‘we know who our father was’ which could be understood more than one way. Matthew may have been putting it into the perspective that they had a history of worthy women with spotty details so why pick on Mary.

    On the other hand there is the matter of disagreements between the two geneologies, and the idea of 14 generations repeated can only be achieved by leaving out certain generations they say, and the lack of emphasis anywhere except Matthew and Luke of the details of the conception of Jesus–it just does not all add up remotely well. And I think the proposed answers have been effectively countered by various other proposed answers concerning these matters. So–I have no idea what was in his mind at the time, but I do note that I have never heard a sermon on the matter so I assume that the great answers have not descended on wings of angel messengers yet.

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  85. linda: Classic Arminianism is that if you lose your salvation you cannot get it back. Wesleyan or Pentecostal Arminianism allows regaining salvation but ONLY WHEN AND ONLY IF God allows repentance. So you can’t just assume you can always go back and sin safely.

    Over the last few years I discovered there are other ways to view the process of salvation that make a lot of sense. For example, the Eastern Orthodox do not view salvation as point in time. Here is a good example of that way of thinking:

    The reception of the gift of salvation is not a one-time event but a life-time process. St. Paul employs the verb “to save” (sozesthai) in the past tense (“we have been saved,” Rom 8:24; Eph 2:5); in the present tense (“we are being saved,” 1 Cor 1:18; 15:2), and in the future tense (“we will be saved,” Rom 5:10). He can think even of justification as a future event and part of the final judgment (Rom 2:13, 16). For Paul, Christians are involved in a lifetime covenant with God in which we work, planting and watering, but it is “only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor 3:7). We are “co-workers with God” (synergoi Theou, 1 Cor 3:9; 1 Thess 3:2). (Not “co-workers under God” as some translations would have it). The mystery of salvation is a duet, not a solo. It is a life-time engagement with God. It has ups and downs, twists and turns, with opportunities to grow in the love of God, knowing that we can turn to Him again and again and receive forgiveness and a new birth. When we come to Christ as sinners, we have no works to offer to Him, but only faith and repentance. But once we come to Him and receive the gift of salvation, we enter into a sacred covenant to honor Him with good works. We read in Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God . . . [We are] created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph 2:8-10).

    This is a quote from: https://www.goarch.org/-/how-are-we-saved-
    When viewed this way it makes the OSAS discussion irrelevant.

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  86. okrapod: it just does not all add up remotely well. And I think the proposed answers have been effectively countered by various other proposed answers concerning these matters. So–I have no idea what was in his mind at the time, but I do note that I have never heard a sermon on the matter so I assume that the great answers have not descended on wings of angel messengers yet.

    I suspect part of the “problem” is 1) there was a lot of oral tradition that did not need to be written down at the time because it was common knowledge, and 2) the writers did not expect the 2nd coming to take so long. As a consequence, we struggle 2000 years later with lack of clarity. One could argue that the finer points don’t matter and that we don’t need such clarity. That is what bothers me about those who argue for doctrinal precision. I truly believe doctrinal precision is unobtainable.
    (/heresy)

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  87. Lea:
    “Covina Assembly of God church which has changed its name to Luminate

    Stupid twee church names.

    “I’m so TRENDY,
    Oh so TRENDY…”

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  88. Ken F (aka Tweed): I suspect part of the “problem” is 1) there was a lot of oral tradition that did not need to be written down at the time because it was common knowledge

    That’s what drives historians up the wall tearing their hair out:
    All the necessary background context that nobody ever bothered to write down because “EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT!”

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  89. SiteSeer:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Funny names for a church that really needs the light of day to shine into the dark corners…

    Remember TV Tropes’ “People’s Republic of Tyranny” trope:

    “The more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.”

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  90. Lea:
    “Covina Assembly of God church which has changed its name to Luminate

    Stupid twee church names.

    Better yet Expectorate.

    Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

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  91. linda: This is where a wee bit of John Macarthur teaching (a wee bit, not the tooooo far he goes) is probably correct: those that want to skip hell but live like the devil are not saved to begin with.

    But an obvious corollary/result to the OSAS Fire Insurance model of Salvation.

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  92. Max:
    Certain Assembly of God congregations were also instrumental in “restoring” Mark Driscoll to the pulpit.For a people who focus on the gifts of the Spirit, I haven’t observed much spiritual discernment in their ranks over the years.(and I say that as a Bapti-costal)

    Max, just curious,what makes you a bapti-costal ?

    Would you consider yourself a continuationist?

    Or do you rely more on the Holy Spirit leading/ guiding you than the run of the mill Baptist will admit?

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  93. Ken F (aka Tweed): I truly believe doctrinal precision is unobtainable.

    That’s why there are 30,000+ Christian denominations and organizations worldwide (according to Christianity Today) … all of them think they have the corner on doctrinal truth. Christians have been fussing about the jots and tittles of Scripture for two millennia … there’s more legalism than life in the average church.

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  94. Benn: do you rely more on the Holy Spirit leading/ guiding you than the run of the mill Baptist will admit?

    Yes. The run of the mill Baptist thinks the Holy Spirit is something that only the Pentecostals deal with and they don’t want it to get on them! Southern Baptists, my upbringing, have been called a “People of the Word” but don’t read it much under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    I hesitate to assign an “ist” to my walk of faith, but I consider myself a Biblicist. Just give me the Word and the Holy Spirit to teach me and I’ll be OK. I’ve spent my Christian experience trying to unlearn most of what mere men have taught me in church. But what the Holy Spirit has deposited within me is in my “knower” and I can’t un-know it.

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  95. Bryan: I believe in restoration for all parties involved….but that shouldn’t include elevation back to pastoral ministry. But if you’re going to do it, the AG does it right.

    If by all parties, you include the victims, then I disagree. The victims didn’t do anything wrong and don’t need restoration.

    This is the primary problem. If you are Christian then sure, we’re all sinners but that does not abrogate our responsibilities to look out for the vulnerable in our communities.

    Forgiveness is not a “get out of jail free” card and in my opinion forgiveness can only truly be given by the victim and only under circumstances that the best for the victim.

    And all sins are NOT equal. Taking 11 items in the 10 item or less checkout line is not the same as abusing a child.

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  96. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    “Long ago in this blog, there was a comment that “The phrase ‘God Hath Said Unto Me’ should only be spoken with the same caution and forethought as ‘Please Castrate Me’.””
    ++++++++++

    ha… that was me. i believe my original comment was,

    Makes me think one should use the words “God is leading me to” with the same caution you would normally reserve for “Please castrate me.”

    but all credit goes to Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings & A Funeral, Vicar of Dibley, etc) who dreamed this one up in his script for “Bernard And The Genie”, and Lennie Henry who gets to deliver the great line.

    from the script, here’s the great line: “Say the words “I wish” with the caution you would normally reserve for “Please castrate me.””

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  97. I have AG credentials; but, I and my father have suffered injustice at the hands of AG district politics. I have a great education (not indoctrination) – TEDS MDiv. I consider myself an Armilvin, so my classmate said he is a Calvinian – Law of First Mention, I guess.
    I do believe in full restoration. Either the blood of Christ cleanses us fully, or it does not. I do not believe in automatic forgiveness as if it is an equation to be manipulated (idols are manipulated) with inputs to acheive the desired output. So I do not have an equation to put forth. I cannot even outline a plan that guarantees an outcome.
    Too many present day hucksters offer a plan or equation that people can “feel” good about. Just give your inputs, and be confident in the output then cheerleaderism in the Happylujahs to yahs – congratulations you’re “in” – a la Rick Warren. The so called plan of salvation is not a plan, but a Person – the Person of Jesus Christ!
    Levi (and his sister) attempted a coup against the LORD’s anointed (Moses). According to history and Malachi, he was fully restored. Peter denied Christ, yet was fully restored. These appear to me to be more grievous than to succumb to the temptations of human sexuality (even of predatory nature). I’m sure the victims don’t think so, though. For me, my theology needs to incorporate the possibility of full restoration – I say possibility. Israel was restored to the land (inheritance) after 70 years in exile and she has a priestly function, too.

    In this case, I would have preferred that a small-church pastor (educated) had been the rehab counselor. Bennett is another mega-church pastor. These megas show up with everything already decided and scripted (rubber stamp), then they’re off to the next conference appearance, or international speaking engagement (oops, I mean world missions). If McFarland would submit to a small-church pastor, and be willing to work/toil in a small church setting going forward, then I could be comfortable with restoration. But what I see seems to be just more of the same ego and market driven strategy of formulas for success – more banal driven purpose strategies for ones’ own feel goodness – barf.
    We don’t get away with our sin. We will be judged for every word and deed done in the body. We are forgiven the death penalty (separation from God) – but we don’t get away scott free. There will be a time where God remembers them against us no more (accusatory), but He does not forget (omniscience). Many people in the Bible have their sins recorded forever in His Word that lasts forever. Are we better than them? Some fear and humility needs to be recovered, here. We are awash in Immanence and have forgotten Transcendence.

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  98. TEDSgrad: Peter denied Christ, yet was fully restored. These appear to me to be more grievous than to succumb to the temptations of human sexuality (even of predatory nature).

    People love to say this sort of thing and it always bothers me. Suffice it to say I don’t agree.

    Peter wasn’t using his position to prey on the vulnerable either. Pretty sure Jesus would have had some very strong words to say if he was.

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  99. elastigirl: but all credit goes to Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings & A Funeral, Vicar of Dibley, etc) who dreamed this one up in his script for “Bernard And The Genie”, and Lennie Henry who gets to deliver the great line.

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  100. elastigirl: but all credit goes to Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings & A Funeral, Vicar of Dibley, etc) who dreamed this one up in his script for “Bernard And The Genie”, and Lennie Henry who gets to deliver the great line.

    I remember when Lennie Henry was new on the scene! He’s always been that good.

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  101. TEDSgrad,

    “Either the blood of Christ cleanses us fully, or it does not.”
    ++++++++++++++

    then it seems to me the “above reproach” thing in requirements for leaders is rather meaningless.

    rationalized away.

    (although what’s not rationalized away is “leaders as husbands of one wife = leaders must be men”. that’s always literal and binding)

    ugh

    doublestandard city of opportunist schmucks in this silly religion of mine.

    (which doesn’t necessarily mean you)

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  102. Lea,
    I understand where you are coming from. That’s why I said the victims would probably not agree.
    I come from an understanding that ministry is primarily “unto the LORD.” This does not mean that we do not minister unto each other, but that primarily it is unto the LORD. Too many post-modern errors in ministry are occurring because we believe that we are the primary objects of ministry/service. It allows for all kinds of justifications and pragmatism’s as long as people are being ‘helped’ – but what does God get out of it? It is because of service in the tent of meeting, that one has ministry unto one another. A denial of Who Christ is, is pretty grievous. It negates the “unto the LORD,” where all other ministry flows from.
    My intent was not to minimize those hurting who have been sinned against (my father and I are victims), but to give examples of priestly functionaries who challenged/sinned directly against God, and were restored to priestly function.
    That said, to sin against one another is to sin against God as well. That is also why the acts of adultery in the church building are so grievous, as well. That kind of defilement is a direct affront to the presence of God in the midst of His people – in the Temple. I’m not trying to minimize the pain felt by people, but I am trying to amplify the direct affront to a Holy God.

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  103. TEDSgrad,

    “A denial of Who Christ is, is pretty grievous. It negates the “unto the LORD,” where all other ministry flows from.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    perhaps this comes down to ‘forgiveness does not equate restored trust’.

    a bookkeeper, accountant participates in managing church money. this person steals, embezzles, financially defrauds.

    this person has abused the trust placed in them. they are not worthy of that trust. they are no longer permitted participate in managing church money.

    how is this a denial of Christ?

    they are forgiven by God and by church folks. their name is in the lamb’s book of life.

    why on earth should a priestly functionary who abuses the trust placed in them be given special treatment in being able to resume priestly participation?

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  104. elastigirl,

    I don’t think above reproach is rationalized away. Maybe our concepts and understandings need constant modification (mine does). Paul lambasted Peter later on, as well, for his Judaizing. Christ bore our reproach (different but similar). Is one who bears the reproach of others still above reproach? – can it be conceived that we can be called to do this? Maybe I am rationalizing, but like I mentioned, full restoration is a possibility in my theology, not a given. Mercy and Grace enhances God’s justice.

    As for leaders as husbands of one wife – Peter is the only Apostle we know that was married. Jesus never married. Most of the early Church Fathers were NOT married men. I have never married and have been excluded from ‘leadership’ by social convention, I would say. So you touched on a sore point with me regarding having to be married to be a leader. So many married people (with a sexual outlet) committing sexual sins.

    As for men and not women, I admit that I don’t know and am born into one gender which makes me biased – you as well. I want to be egalitarian and the AG ordains women. I know that humanity fell in Adam (some leadership, huh). It did not fall in Eve. Adam was called a Son of God. Eve was never called a Son/Daughter of God. Paul’s argument was not a social argument, but that Adam was created first. The Second Adam, was also a man. I try to be as egalitarian as I can within the statements in this paragraph, and I just don’t know enough.

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  105. TEDSgrad: Eve was never called a Son/Daughter of God.

    Where are you going with that, exactly?

    As for the rest, I do think you’re rationalizing. I see no need to let someone back into ‘ministry’ who has been caught actively hurting the people he was supposed to ministering to. You rationalize by saying his actions were for God more than man? I disagree. We are on earth. If he wants to pray to God, he can do so outside of church. He can do from the pew. He does not need a position.

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  106. TEDSgrad: I come from an understanding that ministry is primarily “unto the LORD.” This does not mean that we do not minister unto each other, but that primarily it is unto the LORD.

    I don’t understand. The Lord does not need anyone to minister to him, who are we to think we could minister to the Lord?

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  107. elastigirl:
    TEDSgrad,

    “A denial of Who Christ is, is pretty grievous. It negates the “unto the LORD,” where all other ministry flows from.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    perhaps this comes down to ‘forgiveness does not equate restored trust’.

    a bookkeeper, accountant participates in managing church money. this person steals, embezzles, financially defrauds.

    this person has abused the trust placed in them.they are not worthy of that trust.they are no longer permitted participate in managing church money.

    how is this a denial of Christ?

    they are forgiven by God and by church folks.their name is in the lamb’s book of life.

    why on earth should a priestly functionary who abuses the trust placed in them be given special treatment in being able to resume priestly participation?

    The denial of Christ was in reference to Peter 3X denial. He was restored. I was giving an example in scripture that it occurred. It wasn’t in reference to anything/anyone else.
    I am not trying to give a roadmap, formula, or a plan for restoration processes. I do not believe that once a person falls in a certain area, the Church can never trust that person in that area ever again – that does not seem like full forgiveness to me (would be a cause for despair). I admit this is difficult, very difficult, and takes time. There are no equations, just Christ Himself. The Power of God is greater than all our sin. This takes a whole lot of discernment – not discernment of a restoration process – but of the Person of Jesus Christ in the repentant person. I gave examples that priestly function was restored in scripture – it is possible.
    Israel will yet again be restored to her priestly function among the nations (IMO). She is not above reproach, but she will pay a very very heavy price before she recognizes her Messiah and King, and then is restored.

    I am sorry that I can’t argue (I like to debate) specific case studies with you. I just don’t know enough. I hope to learn a few things, here. I know there are examples in scripture, though, so the possibility exists.

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  108. TEDSgrad: These appear to me to be more grievous than to succumb to the temptations of human sexuality (even of predatory nature).

    “Full restoration ” to what? To fellowship with Christ, if one is truly repentant, yes. To a position of authority, no. Paul spoke of being disqualified. Being a minister is a privilege, not a divine right. A privilege which can be lost. Also, what bothers me about your comment is that you are aware victims will think differently, you are aware people will be hurt, yet you say you must think of it this way. Following your understanding of theology is more important to you than protecting and caring for God’s people?

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  109. TEDSgrad: and takes time

    They give people a set timeline and say ‘check these 5 boxes for 6 months or 2 years (or what have you) and you get to pastor again’. That’s a huge part of the issue to began with. They restore trust without seeing proof of repentance.

    There is no reason for these people to be given trust.

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  110. SiteSeer: I don’t understand. The Lord does not need anyone to minister to him, who are we to think we could minister to the Lord?

    Leviticus and Numbers (especially Ch 8) – the Levites shall be Mine!
    The Levites are to perform service in “the tent of meeting and to make atonement on behalf of the sons of Israel, so that there will be no plague among the sons of Israel by their coming near the sanctuary.” (Numb 8:19)
    The Levites were to minister unto the LORD/perform service unto the LORD on behalf of the people SO THAT (resultant clause) no plague will occur when the people approach.

    The LORD doesn’t need, but He chooses to use people. To minister is to serve! Who are we to think we should serve the LORD??? Surely you will rethink that.

    I serve/minister to Him and Him alone. The result being, I also serve my fellow mankind. Ministry is first and foremost, “unto the LORD.” He is the object of all my service/ministry. He is my All in All. Then, the result being, I also serve others. Idolatry is putting the created before the Creator.

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  111. TEDSgrad: I serve/minister to Him and Him alone. The result being, I also serve my fellow mankind. Ministry is first and foremost, “unto the LORD.” He is the object of all my service/ministry. He is my All in All. Then, the result being, I also serve others. Idolatry is putting the created before the Creator.

    I don’t see it this way.

    Jesus said Love God is the first commandment and the second is ‘like it’, love others. It certainly sounds like its very important and related, not way down the list into idolatry or something.

    I think we might fundamentally disagree about what church is even for.

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  112. Ken–yes, and Wesleyan Arminianism comes closer to EO than many traditions do. I was just pointing out that there is a difference between OSAS (preservation of the saints) and perseverance of the saints, and that only the most extreme of both of those have a “sin all you want and stay saved” or “one sin and you must not have been saved at all” mentality. And that classic Arminianism is different from the Wesleyan and its offshoots such as Pentecostal, AoG, etc.

    Some Wesleyan groups stress two “crisis of faith” acts of God on the soul with growth in grace to follow. Others are more about the slow path both to justification and sanctification.

    Just a pet peeve of mine I guess when all the various and very varied ideas get lumped into the accusation, quite unfair, that ANY of them teach all you have to do is walk an aisle, fill out a card, pray a certain prayer, and you are guaranteed heaven no matter how horrendously you sin.

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  113. TEDSgrad,

    “Christ bore our reproach (different but similar). Is one who bears the reproach of others still above reproach? – can it be conceived that we can be called to do this?”
    +++++++++++

    can you explain what you mean? i’m sure i’m slow today.
    ————————-

    “full restoration is a possibility in my theology, not a given. Mercy and Grace enhances God’s justice.”
    ++++++++

    mercy and grace does not equal restored trust. the embezzler no longer gets to manage church money. the abusing-sexually-unprincipled-breaker-of-trust pastor no longer gets to be in a position of authority, influence, & trust over people.
    ———

    “I have never married and have been excluded from ‘leadership’ by social convention, I would say. ”
    ++++++++

    that totally and completely sucks. i’m very sorry you’ve had to deal with such morons, only capable of wooden understandings in shades of black and white. cardboard for brains… cardboard souls… i’ll stop.
    ———-

    (your final paragraph)
    +++++++++

    it’s not possible to be without bias, for anyone. Yes, AG is ordains women and presents itself in egalitarian ways (or so say their position papers).

    Read some articles by their women pastors and you will see how male-centric and male-favored it is. and how demeaning.

    My experience at AG allowed me to do much in leadership-type things. But i observed that i and all women had to be sort of babysat by a man. Men were not subjected to such things. Egalitarian-but-with-a-leash is male headship, just dressed up.

    Eve was not a daughter of God? was she a mere derivative of God, like Bruce Ware says? i imagine that that goes for me, too, then. sort of sub-human.

    it really is the ultimate insult.

    i think you read far too much into all the Adam/Eve/son/man/male stuff.

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  114. Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    Ken F (aka Tweed),
    We Catholics also consider salvation a process, not a one-time event. The Bible backs up this view IMHO.

    Respectfully disagree. Salvation is a one-time event. Sanctification (growth and maturity into the likeness of Christ) is a lifetime process. I could also say the Bible sufficiently supports this view.

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  115. BillToo: Salvation is a one-time event.

    One can hold this opinion, but one should also recognize that it is not what the earliest Christians believed. It’s possible that Christianity got it wrong for 1500 years, but the new theory has to justify itself agaist the old. Since the bible itself describes our salvation in past, present, and future terms it seems like we should be cautious about insisting it is a once and done deal. Did you read the perspective I posted higher up in this thread?

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  116. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Thank you, Ken F! As you say, no one in the early Church saw salvation as a one-time event. All the early Church Fathers saw it as a lifelong process. That includes the earliest Fathers who knew the Apostles personally. Were they all wrong? Was everyone wrong for 1500 years until Luther and Calvin came along?? So much for the Gates of Hell not prevailing!

    If you are willing to read more recent theologians, then why not read the earliest Church Fathers as well, including those who actually knew the apostles? Surely their testimony carries **at least equal weight** with that of people who came along 1500 or 2000 years later?

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  117. BillToo: Respectfully disagree. Salvation is a one-time event. Sanctification (growth and maturity into the likeness of Christ) is a lifetime process. I could also say the Bible sufficiently supports this view.

    I accepted Jesus. The whole nine yards. It felt very real at the time. Now I am no longer a believer. So…am I saved or not? If it was a one time event then I’m in, right?

    Now, according to TEDSgrad, I’m worse than a predator.

    Well…at least I’m not female…

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  118. drstevej:
    This message has got to be awful:

    I’m guessing it is not an exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (but maybe it is if your mind is twisted enough).

    After seeing that it just re-affirms my decision to go to a liturgical church. Why do pastors think they need to talk to that subject.

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  119. Catholic Gate-Crasher: As you say, no one in the early Church saw salvation as a one-time event. All the early Church Fathers saw it as a lifelong process. That includes the earliest Fathers who knew the Apostles personally. Were they all wrong? Was everyone wrong for 1500 years until Luther and Calvin came along?? So much for the Gates of Hell not prevailing!

    Frankly, if you are a Protestant (as I always was) that is exactly what you (often unwittingly) believe. Everything pre-sixteenth century was pretty much chucked out the window, as if life didn’t exist until Luther and Calvin showed up. And most Protestants no more check into the history of these men’s actions than they do their favorite skinny-jeaned, latte-sipping celebrity pastor. Gee, wonder why there is so much abuse in The Church?

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  120. Muff Potter,

    Thank you so much! I apologize for leaving in a silly huff. I’ve missed y’all a lot, and I’ve been lurking on and off.

    You know that Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times”? I think it’s being fulfilled. LOL!

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  121. TS00: Frankly, if you are a Protestant (as I always was) that is exactly what you (often unwittingly) believe. Everything pre-sixteenth century was pretty much chucked out the window, as if life didn’t exist until Luther and Calvin showed up.

    This is one of the funny things about sola scriptura. If there really was a great apostasy after all the disciples died, then the Bible was canonized by apostates and therefore cannot be trusted. But if we can trust that it was not put together by apostates, then we have to face the reality that godly people were teaching godly stuff that deserves our attention. I am now coloring outside the lines by trying to get in touch with those early Christian teachings that developed in parallel with the NT canon.

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  122. Ken F (aka Tweed): Since the bible itself describes our salvation in past, present, and future terms

    I think that the word “salvation” can refer to different types of salvation, in different contexts, not always referring to going to heaven when we die. The word has more than one meaning /application but we tend to always read the same meaning in.

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  123. TEDSgrad: Leviticus and Numbers (especially Ch 8) – the Levites shall be Mine!

    Leviticus? The veil was rent in two. What about all of the book of Hebrews on the superiority of Christ?

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  124. Lea: They give people a set timeline and say ‘check these 5 boxes for 6 months or 2 years (or what have you) and you get to pastor again’. That’s a huge part of the issue to began with. They restore trust without seeing proof of repentance.

    There is no reason for these people to be given trust.

    If only their victims could heal and regain a sense of trust on such a brief and predictable timetable. No, for many the loss of trust is lifelong.

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  125. SiteSeer: I think that the word “salvation” can refer to different types of salvation, in different contexts, not always referring to going to heaven when we die. The word has more than one meaning /application but we tend to always read the same meaning in.

    Agreed. I even suspect its typical usage within Christianity is often far from its intended meaning.

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  126. SiteSeer: The word has more than one meaning /application but we tend to always read the same meaning in.

    This is a very important point. It seems to me that in much of the protestant world salvation is primarily viewied in a legal sense as being saved from sin and its consequences, with justification being focused on moral improvement. Here is an example from a reformed perspective: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/sequence-salvation/. Not too long ago I learned that the Orthodox view of salvation focuses on becoming godly (thoeosis). Here is an example of that perspective: https://saintpaulemmaus.org/what-is-orthodoxy/salvation/. The two perapectives are very different.

    The different understandings of common “Christian” words can make dialogue difficult. I think quite a lot of religious arguments are based on not taking the time to understand how the other side is using words.

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  127. Jack,
    I’m not going to sit in the place of God and say if you are or are not saved. That would be presumptuous of me and probably rude as well. I’m sure you can answer that question for yourself in your own heart. But to clarify my original response to CatholicGatecrasher, I’ve come to the conclusion from my study of the Bible that a Christian believer is saved (initial), being saved (growing into the likeness of Christ), and will be saved (passing through earthly death into eternal life). I see this as ONE salvation with different phases. Maybe that is splitting hairs but that’s the conclusion I have come to.

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  128. SiteSeer,

    “They restore trust without seeing proof of repentance.”
    +++++++++++++

    is repentance something that can be proven?

    even if it is, no repentant pedophile is getting near my kids. no repentant embezzler is getting near my finances. no repentant betrayer of my trust gets anything but a very small portion of my trust back.

    they’ll have my respect, though.

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  129. elastigirl: TS00

    I wonder how may abusers ‘repent’ between rounds of abuse? That’s the sort of naiveté that has allowed the horrific amount of abuse that is now being exposed in The Church. Only God has the qualifications to judge another man’s heart – the rest of us are just going to have to stick with safeguards.

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  130. TS00: I wonder how many abusers ‘repent’ between rounds of abuse? That’s the sort of naiveté that has allowed the horrific amount of abuse that is now being exposed in The Church.

    That’s exactly why the church should never restore a fallen pastor to leadership. Their “repentance” is sometimes only skin deep. Truly repentant? Crying without tears is a good sign they are not. Disappearing for a short season to be “restored” is sometimes just going through the motions to find an avenue back to the pulpit. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly” (Proverbs 26:11). Church, a man is a fool for sacrificing an office to represent God to pursue the flesh – don’t be deceived again.

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  131. Ken F (aka Tweed): The different understandings of common “Christian” words can make dialogue difficult. I think quite a lot of religious arguments are based on not taking the time to understand how the other side is using words.

    Bingo.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
    — From Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll —

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  132. SiteSeer: Leviticus? The veil was rent in two. What about all of the book of Hebrews on the superiority of Christ?

    The ethnic portions of the Mosaic Law are done away with. But there is truth/kerygma that does come forward into the NT, and the NT cannot be understood without the OT. And yes, Christ has fulfilled the Law.
    Too easily, a charge of Legalism is levied at those who desire to do the Law; not as a means, but as a consequence of redemption. We are to be holy for He is Holy. The Law was given after redemption from Egypt through the sea as a means of maintaining the relationship so that the Presence of the LORD would not destroy them (ongoing cleanliness needed).
    I’m of the persuasion that: salvation if free; then, it costs you everything.

    In the Gospels we are set free by the blood of the Lamb. God speaks to us from without. We have the ground of fellowship – redemption. This corresponds to Exodus where the Paschal Lamb was provided and the people were brought out of slavery and bondage before they were brought to Sinai and given the Law.

    In the Epistles, we are indwelt by the Spirit of God. God speaks to us from within. We have the walk of fellowship with God – sanctification. In Leviticus 1:1, God speaks from within the camp. The Levitical sacrifices typify how this new relationship must be maintained. The Levitical law shows the work of atonement as it bears on those who are already redeemed! It gives us the most complete description of Christ’s atoning work anywhere in the Bible. As Paul wrote most of the Epistles, he was intimately acquainted with it (had it memorized).

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  133. SiteSeer,

    Jut imagine how much ‘law this and grace that’ we might be drowning in if Paul had not had to allocate time to his paying job in the tent business. Thank God for the realities of basic survival needs. Balance.

    I want a sarcastic Christmas T shirt that reads: “Emmanuel (Doctrine With Us)”

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  134. elastigirl: is repentance something that can be proven?

    even if it is, no repentant pedophile is getting near my kids.

    On the first, perhaps we cannot see it entirely or in truth. Some people are great liars. But generally we can see how they act towards their victims, how much responsibility they take for what they did, etc. We can perhaps judge rightly over time and see if the old behaviors come back. I know one of the things mentioned about domestic violence groups is that you have to talk to the spouse or partner to see whether behaviors have really changed. I don’t think we see that in most of these quicky ‘repentance’ programs. What do the people involved think? Do they trust? I don’t believe you can put ANY of this on a set timeline. It will happen in its own time or not at all, and then you need a long time to see if it is real.

    As for the second, no. I would say there are occasions where trust is NEVER regained in the sense that a person who abused power over others should not be put in a position of power ever again. Children are not adults and cannot protect themselves.

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  135. Jack: I accepted Jesus. The whole nine yards. It felt very real at the time. Now I am no longer a believer. So…am I saved or not?

    That’s above my pay grade.
    And above the pay grades of ALL those Christians who just KNOW Who’s Saved and Who’s NOT.

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  136. TS00: Frankly, if you are a Protestant (as I always was) that is exactly what you (often unwittingly) believe. Everything pre-sixteenth century was pretty much chucked out the window, as if life didn’t exist until Luther and Calvin showed up.

    Isn’t that the same pattern as the followers of Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, and Sun Myung Moon?

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  137. BillToo: I’ve come to the conclusion from my study of the Bible that a Christian believer is saved (initial), being saved (growing into the likeness of Christ), and will be saved (passing through earthly death into eternal life). I see this as ONE salvation with different phases. Maybe that is splitting hairs but that’s the conclusion I have come to.

    That assumes that A automatically leads to B which then leads to C. You can give yourself to Jesus, I suppose but what about egregious crimes?

    The problem is Christians are being duped into all sorts of weirdness around this. These Christians no matter what a Christian does, their being saved means they are above any sort of reproach. By the time all’s said and done, we’ve got otherwise good Christians standing up in court to defend abusers, standing ovations in churches. Parents refusing to prosecute based on a skewed reality that places “salvation” as its crown jewel.

    I read in my news feed this morning that the Pope is lamenting against those “seeking scandal”. The abnormal is becomes normal and in the patriarchal world that many of these authoritarian organizations follow, who loses? Women and children, mostly.

    When I left the christianity, I made my peace with mortality. “salvation”, if there is such a thing is not binary -yes or no, 1 or 0 – if there a god and he/she/it is a just god then it can’t be. Sure you can profess but A does lead to B or C.

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  138. Jack: *sigh* or just get a new phone with a bigger screen…

    Or use a laptop where you have a real keyboard and can enlarge the font.

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  139. Jack: The problem is Christians are being duped into all sorts of weirdness around this. These Christians no matter what a Christian does, their being saved means they are above any sort of reproach. By the time all’s said and done, we’ve got otherwise good Christians standing up in court to defend abusers, standing ovations in churches. Parents refusing to prosecute based on a skewed reality that places “salvation” as its crown jewel.

    I once coined the term “a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.”

    Which is itself a specific application of something Christian Monist wrote about; his continuing theme of cross-contamination from Platonic Dualism resulting in a separation/antithesis between the non-physical Spiritual Realm (Yay!) and Physical Reality (Boo!). His most extreme type example was a suicide bomber taking out a school and all in it to accomplish something far superior in the Far More Important Spiritual Realm.

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  140. There is no sin greater then denying God. Yes he sinned yes he is a sinner, we are all sinners, God gave up his only sin for us knowing our sins before us. Who are we to judge this man? There are plently of people who found God while in prison who got out and started churches. I have the pleasure of saying I knew this man his wife and children before this during this and even after all this happened. How long should he have to carry the cross? He is not here to prove to anyone anything, he is here to spread Gods word and bring people closer to God. He made mistakes he is only human. How many times has the Catholic faith had minor predators mixed in with their church? He is only trying to bring Gods word to as many people as possible, through catchey titles,jokes and Gods mercy. Leave him and his family alone, let God be the one to judge him, dont bash him his family and the church, they are all in Gods hands just as each and everyone of you are.

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  141. Jack:
    TEDSgrad,

    Sorry, you lost me after “Ethnic portions of the Mosaic Law are done away with…”

    Hi Jack,
    It was necessary to form a people/nation and to be set apart, so that the Promised Seed could come in fulfillment of the prophecies (which were ethnic; Abrahamic, Judah, house of David, etc.). So a Theocracy was necessary (King and Priest). Circumcision and dietary laws were the ethnic portions of the law which set them apart. Paul had his argument with Peter that these things were done away with, and the Gentiles were included in the people of God (NT Church). The NT Church was no longer a theocracy, but was transnational and spiritual. Now that the Good News had come, it was no longer bound by ethnic concerns. The Kingdom of God is not ethnic. But the Promised Seed was an ethnic descendant according to the promises.
    We are to be set apart (holy, consecrated) so that carries forward into the NT. The mechanism by which we are set apart is not by ethnicity (physical circumcision or dietary laws) but by faith (spiritual). We are still bound by covenant in the NT, just not the old covenant. So the truth principles still carry forward (do not turn to the left or the right) and we must remain faithful. We are brought out of bondage (Exodus)first, and then brought into covenant keeping (a New Covenant). There are stipulations to the covenant! There is also constant cleansing needed to remain in covenant and for His abiding Presence (corporately and individually). I hope this explains in a small post without opening up too many more questions.

    The seed and the land were always connected in the prophecies. This is where theologians scratch their heads (ethnic vs spiritual). Seed is ethnic (literally semen). There are still prophecies to be fulfilled that involve ethnic (not spiritual) Israel and the land. Christ will return to be enthroned on the throne of David (ethnic). There must be a nation for the throne to exist. That throne is tied to the house of David.

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  142. Kristine M Hoffmann: How long should he have to carry the cross?

    He has been forgiven. He should not longer be a pastor. He gave away his pastor card the day he used his office to hurt another. he s restored. the Bible means to church membership. It is NOT discussing being a pastor.

    Kristine M Hoffmann: he is here to spread Gods word and bring people closer to God.

    Ummm, I don’t know what you are taught in your church but most of se believe that one can spread God’s word without being a pastor. So this makes no sense whatsoever.

    Kristine M Hoffmann: Yes he sinned yes he is a sinner, we are all sinners,

    Some sin are worse than other sins. There is a reason that counselors in secular organizations lose their licenses when they do this. In your model, the church should have lower standards than secular society.

    Kristine M Hoffmann: He made mistakes he is only human

    Hmm, so what you are saying that he only made a mistake because he is human? First of all, he sinned. Secondly he abused a woman under his care. Thirdly, and I think this may be hard for your to understand, but not everyone our there does this to other people. I am human. I have never done this to another. He did and he forfeits his right to be a pastor.

    Kristine M Hoffmann: He is only trying to bring Gods word to as many people as possible, through catchey titles,jokes and Gods mercy. Leave him and his family alone, let God be the one to judge him,

    Interesting discussion on how one brings God’s word. Jokes, catchy titles and then maybe throw in God’ word? Now, you may have not been taught this in your church so thank about this carefully. We are called to judge actions of one another. That is why the Bible lists out sins. the Bible even tells us to help one another not to do this. The judgement that you are speaking of is the judgement of salvation. Only that is in God;s hands. I never said he wasn’t saved. I said what he did was despicable and abusive and that he should never return to the pulpit. I can say that. The Bible tells me that I can.

    What are they teaching in your church? I am concerned that there is far more wrong than an abusive pastor. Maybe he has left the teaching at jokes and catchy titles…? Please find a healthy church and a good pastor and red your Bible bit more carefully.

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  143. dee: He has been forgiven. He should not longer be a pastor.

    Indeed.

    It’s also a bit narcissistic and wild to label it ‘carrying the cross’ when in actuality all that is being asked is that he get a regular job…like the vast majority of other Christians do.

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  144. Kristine M Hoffmann: How many times has the Catholic faith had minor predators mixed in with their church?

    What? Minor predators? Child abusers are “major” predators and should be in prison for a long, long time.

    Wow! This explains the rest of your thoughts . . .

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  145. Kristine M Hoffmann: He is only trying to bring Gods word to as many people as possible, through catchey titles,jokes and Gods mercy.

    The delivery of God’s Word does not need “catchey titles” nor “jokes.” God’s mercy? It’s amazing that He extends as much mercy to pulpit shenanigans as He does … or perhaps, He gave up on such ministers and ministries long ago.

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  146. TEDSgrad: The seed and the land were always connected in the prophecies. This is where theologians scratch their heads (ethnic vs spiritual). Seed is ethnic (literally semen). There are still prophecies to be fulfilled that involve ethnic (not spiritual) Israel and the land. Christ will return to be enthroned on the throne of David (ethnic). There must be a nation for the throne to exist. That throne is tied to the house of David.

    Problem is, there’s been a LOT of Woo accreted around that, to the point you can’t see the core behind all the accretions. Like Medieval Angelology & Deomonology, great edifices of speculation-taken-as-fact-for-further-speculation founded on minimal original sources (like a couple verses mentioning angels here and there).

    And as a survivor of the Gospel According to Hal Lindsay and Christians For Nuclear War, I’ve seen some of that Woo.

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  147. TEDSgrad,

    Respectfully, it sounds like a very complicated religion (Christianity in all its variants). But then again, what religion on the planet is not complicated?

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  148. Kristine M Hoffmann: He is only trying to bring Gods word to as many people as possible, through catchey titles,jokes and Gods mercy. Leave him and his family alone, let God be the one to judge him

    Dear, have you ever read the story of Uzzah in the old testament? God does not need anyone’s help and, indeed, it is impudent to think that he does.

    I find that in the church, simply throwing out that one is all about bringing the gospel message to the unsaved is all it takes to defuse all judgment on the part of other Christians. Somehow that makes it okay to overlook all manner of destructive behavior. We really are a gullible lot.

    You say this man and his family are your friends. It’s hard to see our friends objectively sometimes, particularly if we are loyal by nature. But we need to look at the victims of bad behavior as friends, too. It isn’t fair to others to put them in harm’s way because we believe in and want to support our friend. You can support your friend without putting him back in a position of temptation. The Bible is clear that there are standards for pastors.

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  149. TEDSgrad: Too easily, a charge of Legalism is levied at those who desire to do the Law; not as a means, but as a consequence of redemption. We are to be holy for He is Holy. The Law was given after redemption from Egypt through the sea as a means of maintaining the relationship so that the Presence of the LORD would not destroy them (ongoing cleanliness needed).
    I’m of the persuasion that: salvation if free; then, it costs you everything.

    Listen, if you want to follow the law, for whatever reason, that’s your prerogative. But if you are able to overlook the harm that predation does and easily return a predator to a position of authority, it all looks pretty ridiculous to me, I’m sorry. Love does no harm to a neighbor, love is therefore the fulfillment of the law.

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