John MacArthur and The Master’s Seminary Attracts Media Attention and a Journalist Has a Request

“There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice which does not live by secrecy.” ― Joseph Pulitzer

Tom Chantry has been rearrested and is spending the night in jail. I will post more shortly.


Recently, Caleb Lunetta, reporter for KHTS Radio in Santa Clarita, CA, wrote Master’s University President Calls Allegations Against School ‘Untrue,’ ‘Persecution.’ It is well worth the read.

A report on MacArthur’s chapel address to TMU students.

John MacArthur is getting a long deserved wake-up call. Things that were once hidden and handled behind the scenes are now front and center. These issues must be dealt with and it is going to be hard, not only for MacArthur, but for those who hold admire him.

At the first chapel of the university’s academic year on Aug. 27, MacArthur addressed the assembled student body, according to two students who wish to remain anonymous.

Students said that in addition to “playing down” the WSCUC report, MacArthur went on to call a number of the allegations made against the school “untrue” and “surprising.”

…Furthermore, MacArthur did not specify which of the allegations he was calling “untrue,” and he did not specifically address the other issues that the AVT reportedly found, including: alleged conflicts of interest regarding student financial aid; staff without qualifications for their positions; MacArthur’s son-in-law allegedly overseeing a contract from which he benefited from; how the institution handles reported rape cases; or “a climate of fear, intimidation, bullying and uncertainty” among staff and faculty members.

…Additionally, MacArthur stated that the claims made against the school were sent to an anonymous email run by the AVT so that people can “complain” about the school and “do it in an anonymous way,” according to MacArthur.

People in attendance noted MacArthur seemed “dismissive” of the emails because, as he said during the address, there were “only 40 complaints” filed out of the 15,000 people that were given access to the email.

“That’s a fairly minuscule number,” MacArthur said. “I was really surprised there wasn’t 100 complaints.”

But, according to Studley, the anonymous email account that is set up per standard procedure for any school the AVT visits generally averages a far lower number than 40.

“We received more than 35 messages to a confidential email address in response to our request for comments and concerns about The Master’s University and Seminary,” said Studley. “A typical response for an institution under review would be about five messages.”

TWW also appreciates this well read commenter to the article.  😉

The Signal calls for TMU to restore trust in TMU’s leadership.

This article was followed up by an op ed Our View | TMU Has a Mountain to Climb in Restoring Faith from The Signal editorial board.

A reporter’s request for information from TWW readers

TWW believes in transparency. We also believe that Christians, especially Christian leaders, ought to role model their dedication to following the One called Himself the Truth. The Deebs believe that all truth is God’s truth. To that end, we’ve decided to present Caleb. Lunetta’s request. He is the reporter who wrote the first linked article.

My name is Caleb Lunetta and I am a reporter at KHTS Radio in Santa Clarita, CA. My colleague, Mai Nguyen Do, and I are working on a story concerning the Master’s University/Master’s College & Seminary and past/present allegations made against both school faculty and the school president.  We are attempting to gather as much information as possible regarding the school’s finances, instances of sexual assaults/rape, board members, etc. While we would love to hear individual accounts and testimonies, the most effective information for us would be official court/government/police documents, verifiable emails/transcripts. Those kinds of things.

If you would like to share your story but are more comfortable speaking with a woman, Mai would be happy to speak with you. I have placed our contact information below. You can speak to us by phone, email, or text.

IMPORTANT: We will not print anything old to us unless given explicit permission from you. And all communication is — by default — off the record until we are given explicit permission from you to go on the record. If you don’t want to say anything yourself, but just want to send a .pdf file, that works too.

Caleb Lunetta
KHTS AM 1220 FM 98.1
661.298.1220
Mai Nguyen Do
The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer
530.285.0219

If any reader has questions, please let us know how we can be of assistance.


Comments

John MacArthur and The Master’s Seminary Attracts Media Attention and a Journalist Has a Request — 131 Comments

  1. dee: Jerome,

    Looks like women are not allowed?

    I read it a couple of times and it appears that is the case. I also noted that John MacArthur is part of the Executive Committee. Given how many fingers MacArthur has in the Master’s University pie, that had to raise a few eyebrows. The accreditation committee told him he couldn’t be president of the university and lead pastor of his church.

    In other news, my brother is out of the hospital and now at home. He has to do infusions of two high-powered antibiotics over the next six weeks and he has to wear a hard neck brace. Otherwise he is just so, so, so, SO glad to be home. I am so, so, so, so SO glad he is home and that he was set up to do his own infusions. Because of the way the home health nursing agency was acting, my brother and I believed I was going to have to do the infusions, but thankfully no. The last month has been exhausting and something of a wake up call. I am thankful to God things have worked out!

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  2. dee:
    Jerome,

    Looks like women are not allowed?

    And these are the elders at GCC:
    https://www.gracechurch.org/about/elders
    I know a few of these guys, and they’re nice guys, but it’s pretty obvious that diversity (of thought and other things) is not a value in GCC/TMU/TMS culture.

    It’s a free country, with freedom of association and all that. However, WASC has a duty to uphold standards of diversity (among the institutions it accredits) that our society decided are in its best interest. GCC/TMU/TMS culture is not in society’s best interest.

    Ultimately, I don’t think TMU can keep its current culture and its WASC accreditation, too. Sooner or later they will have to choose one or the other.

    Just a thought, but they could always follow C. Peter Wagner’s example and start their own accreditation organization for their own schools. It’s an option.

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  3. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Glad to hear your brother is home. At-home abx self-infusions are very doable. Our family has a lot of experience with them, both peripheral lines and PICC lines. Those little pressurized balls that they have now make it even easier to carry on with life while you’re doing your infusions. Praying for his swift and complete recovery.

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  4. Jenny: Just a thought, but they could always follow C. Peter Wagner’s example and start their own accreditation organization for their own schools. It’s an option.

    Yes. They could. And the association would be more ripe for hidden abuse than it is already.

    No thank you, to a place like that, is all I have to say.

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  5. Bridget: Yes. They could. And the association would be more ripe for hidden abuse than it is already.

    Agreed. But when an institution essentially self-accredits, you know where they stand. There are no illusions about accountability or transparency. Caveat emptor.

    I don’t think self-accrediting schools qualify to receive student aid. Please correct me if I’m wrong – I don’t know how that system works. I didn’t get financial aid in college. TMU is pretty pricey, so maybe they want the WASC accreditation to get the student aid?

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  6. What comes to my mind in all of this is the NT verse about Christ ‘s followers are not suppose to “Lord it over you, like the pagans do”…… humm

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  7. Jerome:
    The 22 member board of ‘The Masters University’:

    https://www.masters.edu/about/#board

    Notice anything odd?

    It is possible, although my daughter named her two girls, two of my five grandchildren Charley and Andy.
    She says she just liked the names, but I think it was also a tweak to the business world when they would eventually send in a resume…..

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  8. “Things that were once hidden and handled behind the scenes are now front and center.”

    Or as Scripture says:

    “For there is nothing covered up which is not going to be exposed, nor anything private which is not going to be made public. Whatever you may say in the dark will be heard in daylight, and whatever you whisper within four walls will be shouted from the house-tops.” (Luke 12:2-3)

    Church leaders who claim the name of Christ, but act through stealth and deception are always exposed sooner or later … those who control others by manipulation and intimidation will live to regret it.

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  9. Interestingly, since the recent social justice manifesto, the accolades and praise being sent MacArthur’s way on a certain Calvinist Facebook page reveal the popularity that this pastor has within these ranks. He is so revered, perhaps because of his longevity, that to speak out against any wrongdoing is risky in these circles.

    Imagine what it must be like attending TMU where MacArthur’s presence is palpable every single day. To take a stand against any sort of injustice, or to come forward with any complaints about mistreatment/abuse must take courage and resolve. And if the Pyromaniacs blog, a staunch, loyal supporter of MacArthur, is any indication of how MacArthurites behave when encountering disagreement and views different than their own, it is understandable that students would be afraid to come forward with complaints. It is only right and fair that anonymous complaints be directed to a source that will take them seriously. It is not surprising should MacArthur and his followers think this kind of action is persecution. The very idea of opposing anything they might believe can only be construed as persecution when they act like they are the Gatekeepers of Truth. I believe that in their minds they believe disagreement with them is opposing the truth.

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  10. ___

    “I Have A Dream.”

    SRreeeeeeetch!

    *

    (full stop) Muslin, I am praying for your brother’s swift and complete recovery as well, along with praying for a quiet restful provisioned peace of mind for all of your family. 🙂
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rlYkoHkdlCw

    *

    “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

    hmmm…

    —That reputable external media enquirer(s) are first hand fact-finding is encouraging. May their efforts be fruitful. John Mac has on several occasions obviously shown visible contempt and utter disdain for those with injury, and accute inquiry —who bring the social media spotlight down on him, members of his staff, and the organization(s) with acerbated objection he administers.

    Let freedom ring…

    *

    Thou hast made us a little lower than Angels?

    huh?

    If our Heavenly Father has created man only a little less than angels, how much greater must God be than all beings.  —And yet He cares for us.  “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him;”  Psalm 103:11

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://youtu.be/pSEdQGGjB8Y

    ;~)

    – –

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  11. Benn: It is possible, although my daughter named her two girls, two of my five grandchildren Charley and Andy.
    She says she just liked the names, but I think it was also a tweak to the business world when they would eventually send in a resume…..

    There was a pretty interesting thread the other day about how a girl who was black was named ‘Taylor’ or something similar that could pass as both white and male for that exact reason, and then it turned out there were a bunch that were named the same thing. Both funny and sad that it was necessary.

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  12. Lea,

    He had been out on bond until trial and sentencing. Sentencing had not happened yet. Meanwhile, I believe new charges were brought against him. I’m thinking he was picked up on the new charges. He could have broken his bond somehow as well. I believe the DA is also going to retry on the charges that resulted in a hung jury.

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  13. Darlene,

    I wonder if, in the Reformed world, that a degree from TMU or TMS is considered a prestigious thing and gives one a leg up on the competition when going after prime church jobs? Would secular or independent accreditation even matter to them? Just having JM’s seal of approval would be a feather in one’s cap, I would think.

    Like in the evangelical circles I used to run in, if you were a missionary or went to a certain school, you were revered, and an unquestionable authority in every spiritual matter. If you were not, or never went to school, you were just an ordinary bible slob with no standing, regardless of your abilities.

    Jesus and the twelve wouldn’t even be qualified to sit on the boards of these organizations.

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  14. Darlene:
    It is not surprising should MacArthur and his followers think this kind of action is persecution. The very idea of opposing anything they might believe can only be construed as persecution when they act like they are the Gatekeepers of Truth. I believe that in their minds they believe disagreement with them is opposing the truth.

    1) They *are* convinced that they are the Gatekeepers of Truth. That has always been Macarthur’s brand.

    2) They also have a healthy dose of “secular/liberal culture is Evil” which naturally comes along with a mistrust of anything/anyone (including the government) that supports those values.

    3) Evil and Error cannot be tolerated, especially in the Church, and must be sussed out and attacked. See the Pyromaniacs blog for specific examples (if you can stomach it).

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  15. Darlene: He is so revered, perhaps because of his longevity, that to speak out against any wrongdoing is risky in these circles.

    I suspect that there is a “black list” of pastors within the MacArthur network who show any sort of dissent to his teachings and/or behavior.

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  16. Eeyore: They also have a healthy dose of “secular/liberal culture is Evil”

    This is all over that Social justice statement, and all the anti-egalitarian ones really. Instead of ranting at the ‘liberals’, maybe they should consider listening for a change. People have valid complaints but their ears are closed.

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  17. Darlene: It is not surprising should MacArthur and his followers think this kind of action is persecution.

    If you sincerely believe that you have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the “gospel” that the rest of the church has lost, then anything which comes against you and your ministry is not of God. To challenge you is to touch God’s anointed and to persecute God’s messenger. I don’t know how much of this MacArthur actually believes or just promotes to protect his brand.

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  18. Lea: This is all over that Social justice statement, and all the anti-egalitarian ones really. Instead of ranting at the ‘liberals’, maybe they should consider listening for a change. People have valid complaints but their ears are closed.

    It’s only worth listening if you think you have something to learn. Evidently, they don’t. :-/

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  19. ION: Rail travel in Scotland

    So, just passed SirAndyMurrayfield Stadium on the way out of Enbruh, and we have two Loud Lassies in the carriage. (No Loud Laddies today, as it happens.) Both are at the same table and conducting loud phone conversations. Interestingly, one of them has just got out at Enbruh Park.

    IHTIH

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  20. Eeyore: See the Pyromaniacs blog for specific examples (if you can stomach it).

    I used to read the Pyromaniacs blog and occasionally commented there. I’m quite aware of how vitriolic they were towards anyone whom they perceived as their opponents. That would be anyone not holding to the Reformed/Calvinist belief system. I think charity, compassion and kindness are words eliminated from their vocabulary.

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  21. Lea,

    Here is a thoughtful, timely article written by a journalist, a former TMU student, on that Social Justice statement:

    https://sojo.net/articles/latest-evangelical-statement-and-history-stumbling-racial-justice

    Excerpt: “MacArthur is only the most recent in a long line of white evangelicals to stumble over racial injustice, and lead the church away from repentance, reconciliation, and deeper application of the gospel.”

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  22. Benn: It is possible, although my daughter named her two girls, two of my five grandchildren Charley and Andy.

    Rest assured, the ‘Chris’ on MacArthur’s board is NOT a woman. The school’s bylaws dictate that directors must be men.

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  23. Lea,

    “something similar that could pass as both white and male for that exact reason, and then it turned out there were a bunch that were named the same thing. Both funny and sad that it was necessary.”
    +++++++++++++

    it is sad.

    in christian blog-&-tweet land (except for TWW), when i changed my alias to a male name, my comments and attempts at dialogue were suddenly dignified with responses. and respectful & serious engagement.

    all in all, a bit infuriating that it has to come to that.

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  24. elastigirl: in christian blog-&-tweet land (except for TWW), when i changed my alias to a male name, my comments and attempts at dialogue were suddenly dignified with responses. and respectful & serious engagement.

    I think I’ve said before, I never thought my name here was gendered, but people do see it that way. I’m curious what would happen if I switched it to Ken#154 or something.

    But it is so strange to think that people’s responses would be different. I think it’s a fish don’t know they’re wet…I’ve never been a man online so I don’t know how they are treated except watching how people treat others. I have been thrown by some people’s reactions to me at times, but I don’t know if it’s a gender thing.

    But yes, very sad.

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  25. dee: I would have been shocked if they made you do the infusions. That is dangerous. So glad he’s home. I prayed for him.

    Thanks everyone for your prayers.

    I did sit and watch how the infusions were done, not that I shoukd be doing them, because if he can’t hook them up, we need to be calling 911.

    Back in the mid-1990s I worked for a medical device manufacturer and we sold (among other things) PICC lines. I used to see them when they came back as (allegedly) defective but never actually in place. The “defects” were from medical personnel not properly inserting the catheters, the ends of which would eventually break off due to wear from the clavicle. The problem would be discovered on the next infusion when the fluid went into the tissue. Then there would be an X-ray to find the catheter end, which was in the heart. A surgeon would fish it out via the femoral vein. This was a known user error, to the point where the FDA only required us to keep the adverse incident on file but it did not have to be recorded. That was totally different from the dialysis catheters that broke off at the skin entrance because the formula for a cleanser had changed and over time degraded the catheters. THAT was a defect.

    …more than you wanted to know…

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  26. Lea: There was a pretty interesting thread the other day about how a girl who was black was named ‘Taylor’ or something similar that could pass as both white and male for that exact reason, and then it turned out there were a bunch that were named the same thing. Both funny and sad that it was necessary.

    There have been articles and controversies about this.

    There have been studies or anecdotal information showing that women get higher response rates to resumes or articles sent to scientific journals when they use their initials to mail stuff in, and not their full names.

    OTOH, some business guy a few years ago got into a bunch of hot water with feminists when he told them to apply for jobs using their initials to avoid this situation where male names are favored to female names when making job interview choices.

    As for me, I either apply for jobs using initials, or, if my first name is shortened (my real first name is not “Daisy”), it can pass for a male name (and I’ve been seeing it more often the last few years).

    So I sometimes shorten my first name when applying for jobs, too – that or use the initials only approach.

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  27. John MacArthur is terrible on a lot of topics.

    He’s insensitive and ignorant about mental health problems and how they should be treated.

    He’s also firm on complementarianism, so he’s quite sexist, too.

    I’m not surprised to see that his recent response to the Social Justice issue was tone deaf.

    I’m not saying I’m totally sold out on any and all SJW stuff myself, but I was taken aback at how completely clueless he (and his signatories) have been on that.

    But I’m not too surprised to see how moderate- to- liberal Christians reacted in out-rage to his Social Justice statement.
    As I was skimming it over I was thinking, “I bet I know what the reaction to this will be like, lots of fury.”

    I’m not terribly surprised to see how he runs his university is not above-board, either, that there is nepotism and so on. Figures.

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  28. ishy: “True churches don’t have a problem with racism.” Just make sure everyone looks the same!

    This reminds me of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    I see it on a somewhat regular basis with complementarians, who like to argue “but no true complementarian…” any time you show them examples of complementarians who mistreat women.

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  29. Daisy: Lea: There was a pretty interesting thread the other day about how a girl who was black was named ‘Taylor’ or something similar that could pass as both white and male for that exact reason, and then it turned out there were a bunch that were named the same thing. Both funny and sad that it was necessary.

    I had a patient who (obviously w/o thinking) exclaimed to a pregnant employee in my office, “don’t name her that! That’s a ‘Black’ name, then she’ll never get a job!” (employee was white and married to a black man) Did not go over so well…

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  30. elastigirl: in christian blog-&-tweet land (except for TWW), when i changed my alias to a male name, my comments and attempts at dialogue were suddenly dignified with responses. and respectful & serious engagement.

    That happened to me over 15 years ago when I was made a co-mod by the male owner of a heavily- visited Christian discussion board.

    Many of the men there were complementarians who resented a woman (me) having any say-so above them (to make them follow board rules).

    I noticed when I logged in to that same board under a male name (as an experiment to see what would happen), all their problems with me suddenly and magically disappeared.

    And I changed nothing about my moderating approach or tone, either.

    Check out:
    Man and woman switch names in viral workplace sexism experiment
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/man-woman-switch-names-viral-workplace-sexism-experiment-article-1.2994320

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  31. Daisy: As for me, I either apply for jobs using initials

    That won’t really work for me applying internally, but if I were young and just out of school again I would definitely do that.

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  32. Max: If you sincerely believe that you have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the “gospel” that the rest of the church has lost, then anything which comes against you and your ministry is not of God. To challenge you is to touch God’s anointed and to persecute God’s messenger. I don’t know how much of this MacArthur actually believes or just promotes to protect his brand.

    Couldn’t agree more! This mindset allows people to excuse all kinds of bad behavior because they think the cause is more important than individual people

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  33. Daisy,

    When professional orchestras started actually dealing with sexism in the 60s, they instituted blind auditions and women started going in barefoot so the judges wouldn’t hear their heels click on the floor. Female representation rates went from about 15% to 40% over 2 decades. They have been at around 40-45% since.

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  34. Ricco: This mindset allows people to excuse all kinds of bad behavior because they think the cause is more important than individual people

    This is the mind of the YRR. The new reformers have been indoctrinated to believe that they alone hold spiritual truth and that it is up to them to right the church with Calvinism = Gospel. Thus, they justify stealth and deception to take over non-Calvinist churches in order to capture church resources for the reformed movement, the one true church.

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  35. Lea:
    [I’ll wait for the thread on Chantry, but he was convicted, was he not sentenced? Why wasn’t he in jail already? Time served?]

    I believe that sentencing is scheduled for September 28. That’s more than 5 weeks from the trial verdict. I don’t know the details but I suspect that the delay is standard procedure in order to give the convicted time to file appeals.

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  36. I was thinking (ouch!) about Johnny Mac and his strange nastiness. And I got to wondering… how did he get like this? How do these people get like this? It’s just so strange to me…

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  37. Samuel Conner: I believe that sentencing is scheduled for September 28. That’s more than 5 weeks from the trial verdict. I don’t know the details but I suspect that the delay is standard procedure in order to give the convicted time to file appeals.

    He’s in jail on no bail for 9 new counts. The new counts will be tried along with the retrial of the molestation charges from the last trial.

    Todd just updated last night about it: https://thouarttheman.org/2018/09/14/convicted-felon-thomas-chantry-jailed-indicted-on-nine-new-felony-counts/

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  38. Max,

    Yes. At the same time, and coming from a different aspect, it is true that some aspects of ‘social justice’ as seen by some people have usurped the authority of scripture, or at least the utility of scripture in some cases simply by becoming more important in practice than scripture itself.

    In my denom there is a move, which did not entirely prevail yet, to even change the words of Jesus when He called God ‘Father’ and instructed us to do so, in order to be more gender inclusive. So when people say that social justice, while something that needs done in a society by the citizens of that society, does/does not usurp scripture, I personally need more specificity about what ‘justice’ the are actually talking about.

    Is there an obligation in scripture to address the real sufferings of real people? Yes there is. Does scripture say, and should the church say, that secular duties as a citizen are more important than, or usurp the necessity of, the functions of the church relative to the kingdom? That is thin ice. That issue needs addressed from all aspects by everybody.

    I hesitate to say this, but I remember when non-calvinists were as diligent concerning scripture as the calvinists seem to be trying to be, and that seems to have slipped away, at least in the ‘moderate’ Baptist churches around here. I don’t agree with some of the conclusions of the calvinists, but I do not worship either scripture or much less some particular understanding of scripture, but neither do I think we can substitute the state for the church or the laws of any particular land for the teachings of scripture.

    And, dang it, Jesus called God ‘Father’ and told us to do so-just for one example. Regardless of whether some segments of the culture are ‘offended’ or not. The gospel is offensive, it is a two edged sword, it does separate people even in the same household, but christians need not either wallow in or abuse that difficult reality.

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  39. roebuck:
    I was thinking (ouch!) about Johnny Mac and his strange nastiness. And I got to wondering… how did he get like this? How do these people get like this? It’s just so strange to me…

    Unfortunately, it’s not that hard. You stop listening to anyone who disagrees with you. You only listen to people you already know you agree with. You label any deviation from your beliefs as heresy (or leading to heresy). And you occasionally prune your list of approved folks if they get a little too off the mark on any particular issue. Rinse, lather, repeat.

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  40. Ricco: This mindset allows people to excuse all kinds of bad behavior because they think the cause is more important than individual people

    Party First, Comrades!

    And a Righteous enough Cause justifies any means whatsoever to bring it about. Look at the 200 years of Righteous Revolutions from Paris to Phnom Penh, from La Grande Terreur to the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

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  41. Darlene: I used to read the Pyromaniacs blog and occasionally commented there.I’m quite aware of how vitriolicthey were towards anyone whom they perceived as their opponents. That would be anyone not holding to the Reformed/Calvinist belief system. I think charity, compassion and kindness are words eliminated from their vocabulary.

    Again, a Righteous enough Cause justifies Any Means Whatsoever.

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  42. roebuck:
    I was thinking (ouch!) about Johnny Mac and his strange nastiness. And I got to wondering… how did he get like this? How do these people get like this? It’s just so strange to me…

    Eeyore,

    It may not be necessarily explicit “heresy”/deviation from historic dogma. I have noted a lot of “slippery-slope” anxiety among conservative Reformed, broader conservative Evangelicals and Fundamentalists.

    There are a lot of puzzling phenomena in the Scriptures that get glossed over in the standard systems of all the various threads of the tapestry of the history of the Church’s theologies. One ought IMO to treasure such anomalies — they are hints that maybe our systems are flawed and God invites us to examine and perhaps adjust our understandings to bring them into closer conformity to “what is really True.” But it seems to me that there is a tendency to fear that pulling on these loose threads will unravel the whole system and in the end damage “the Gospel” itself. And I think there is among conservatives a deep fear of going anywhere near that out of anxiety that one might find oneself on the wrong side of Paul’s Galatians 1 anathema.

    Of course, the anomalies might indicate that one already may have an imperfect understanding of “the Gospel”; investigation of these ought to be a matter of highest concern to people who are worried about Galatians 1. But I rarely encounter that kind of concern. I suppose that people need to be able to sleep at night and it is easier to suppose that one already has a sufficiently comprehensive understanding of Scripture that the remaining puzzles can be ignored.

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  43. okrapod: ‘social justice’

    Fundamentalists, particularly John MacArthur and company, are coining their own definition and determining if you are with them or against them based on whether or not you buy into their usage. This is very much like the term “inerrant” during the Southern Baptist “Battle for the Bible”. In the SBC, if you rejected the term based on it making claims for scripture that scripture never makes for itself you became an outsider. Their document is tone-deaf at best and racist and misogynistic at worst.

    The best I can understand of the MacArthurites is that they not only find their narrow definition of the gospel not just to be the preeminent thing in importance, but the only thing. Their approach makes inclusion in scripture of the Parable of the Good Samaritan a waste of red ink.

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  44. FW Rez,

    Yes. A concern of mine is that increasingly there is the either/or choice of either fundamentalism which twists scripture to make it say whatever fits with their ideas, on the one hand, and the opposite approach which twists scripture to make it fit into a different set of ideas. They both take the same or similar approach of twisting scripture to fit their particular wishes. That is easy enough to do of course; I can do it and so can we all.

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  45. Samuel Conner,

    The verb in English is in the past tense, ‘the gospel which I preached..’ So what was it that he preached to them? We don’t know. It appears to have been when he was there with them. So-nowhere much to go with that. But no, I guess some people think they have some two thousand year old extra-biblical tradition of specifically what he preached that they are now abandoning and what exactly he is talking about. I am so glad that I am a heretic, don’t you know.

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  46. okrapod,

    I agree wholeheartedly! A concern that has been worrying at the back of my mind for decades is that the little bit that we can discern of “the Gospel” that was preached by the Apostles (most of which is in Acts) looks distinctly different from the thumbnail sketch that you get in standard present-day “gospel presentations” (for example the “Romans road”/”plan of salvation” outlines in many tracts). Another example of the disconnect is that Jesus’ resurrection seems to have been absolutely essential to early proclamation, and it simply isn’t there in most contemporary evangelism (and seems to be de-emphasized in Evangelical soteriology). Perhaps that’s OK; maybe it was an appropriate adaptation to the ancient conditions that is not relevant to ours. But I worry that maybe it’s a hint that our thinking is not quite right.

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  47. okrapod: Is there an obligation in scripture to address the real sufferings of real people? Yes there is. Does scripture say, and should the church say, that secular duties as a citizen are more important than, or usurp the necessity of, the functions of the church relative to the kingdom? That is thin ice. That issue needs addressed from all aspects by everybody

    As always, you provide a point of conversation that highlights how “easy answers” are very difficult to come by.

    My personal opinion is that faith is a, well, personal opinion. Whether someone calls God a father, friend, buddy, spirit is their choice and I don’t think that should be legislated by state or church.

    If you find yourself in a community where that becomes a sticking point then perhaps it’s time to find a new community to hang out in. When I did worship, I found the experience more satisfying if I was among those with whom I the most agreement. Social psychology tells us that we tend to congregate best when we share common ground. I think religion can transcend race or culture in this regard.

    In our liberal democracies, constitutions provide the rules of play to ensure the majority does not have carte blanche to subjugate or impose their belief system on others. Christianity has found this out as its influence continues to diminish in the secular realm.

    One of the great ironies is that the constitutions (many invoking the name of God) actually try to emulate the “treat thy neighbour as you would treat yourself” principle and a vast majority of us (christian and non) have no desire to live in a theocracy.

    So for me if a church does not desire to ordain homosexual clergy or bless same sex marriage, that’s fine – why anyone would want to be part of a faith that considers you an “abomination” that should be executed is beyond me – but to state that same sex union should be outlawed by everyone is not cool.

    The scary thing for me about faith in general is when God’s perceived wants override the rule of secular law. I’m thinking of some groups of abortion lobbyists who believe that clinics should be firebombed and that doctors should be dispatched with extreme prejudice.

    We had an attempted assassination in our city where an american guy came up and attempted to take out a doctor. Shot him in the back through his living room window. According to his memoir the police stated that this guy must have had help, the way the hit happened meant that people were tracking the doctor’s movements and someone provided the weapon (which was never recovered). That’s scary.

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  48. Samuel Conner: Jesus’ resurrection seems to have been absolutely essential to early proclamation, and it simply isn’t there in most contemporary evangelism (and seems to be de-emphasized in Evangelical soteriology).

    Spurgeon realized that too:

    Charles Spurgeon, “The Resurrection of the Dead”

    “Reflecting, the other day, upon the sad state of the churches at the present time, I was led to look back to apostolic times, and to consider wherein the preaching of the present day differed from the preaching of the apostles…the main difference I observed was in the subjects of their preaching. I was surprised when I discovered that the very staple of the preaching of the apostles was the resurrection of the dead! I found myself to have been preaching the doctrine of the grace of God, to have been upholding free election, to have been leading the people of God as well as I was enabled into the deep things of His word; but I was surprised to find that I had not been copying the apostolic fashion half as nearly as I might have done.”

    He also noted the following (uncomfortable for some today):

    Charles Spurgeon, “Mary Magdalene”

    “Lastly, Mary became AN HONORED MESSENGER OF CHRIST TO THE APOSTLES…a preacher to preachers! I dub her Doctor of Divinity, indeed, for she has to instruct these mightiest of messengers in the faith! Note the message. Did ever man preach a better sermon than this woman preached? Had ever minister a more weighty text than this Magdalene had to handle—“I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God”? Angels told of the incarnation, but Magdalene told of the ascension. She must be made to do, alone, what a company of angels had been made to do before—to proclaim another step in the Savior’s pathway to redemption!…May the Lord raise many a Mary Magdalene in the midst of this Church, for His name’s sake. Amen.”

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  49. Jerome: Spurgeon realized that too:
    “Lastly, Mary became AN HONORED MESSENGER OF CHRIST TO THE APOSTLES…a preacher to preachers! I dub her Doctor of Divinity, indeed, for she has to instruct these mightiest of messengers in the faith! Note the message. Did ever man preach a better sermon than this woman preached? Had ever minister a more weighty text than this Magdalene had to handle—“I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God”?

    Well, that’s something all those New Cal self-proclaimed Spurgeon fans would never admit…

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  50. Samuel Conner:
    okrapod,

    Another example of the disconnect is that Jesus’ resurrection seems to have been absolutely essential to early proclamation, and it simply isn’t there in most contemporary evangelism (and seems to be de-emphasized in Evangelical soteriology). Perhaps that’s OK; maybe it was an appropriate adaptation to the ancient conditions that is not relevant to ours.

    I am an Orthodox (Eastern) Christian and the resurrection is central to our worship. It always has been. We speak of it in every liturgy. It was one thing I noticed immediately that was in sharp contrast to Evangelicalism.

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  51. It was one thing I noticed immediately that was in sharp contrast to Evangelicalism.

    I have been involved with many evangelical churches in the past 40 years and the risen Christ is a focal point.

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  52. drstevej: I have been involved with many evangelical churches in the past 40 years and the risen Christ is a focal point.

    It’s more a point of apologetics than a major function of spirituality. No evangelical worth their salt will deny it, but apart from Easter it really doesn’t factor into liturgy, and it certainly doesn’t factor into daily spirituality.

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  53. Darlene,

    That’s admirable IMO.

    I really like a number of EO writers, such as David B Hart and Brad Jersak (though EO thinking is diverse enough that there probably many ordained EO people who are not enthusiastic about the perspective of these two). I suspect that I could not qualify for reception/baptism into the EO communion. I have too many questions, some of which touch on the language in some of the early councils — that (for me) nagging issue of puzzles in the Biblical text.

    But I am very glad that the EO are there and are a robust and thriving community. The wider Church IMO needs the connection you to provide to the great Greek Fathers.

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  54. Eeyore: It’s more a point of apologetics than a major function of spirituality. No evangelical worth their salt will deny it, but apart from Easter it really doesn’t factor into liturgy, and it certainly doesn’t factor into daily spirituality.

    My experience differs from your assessment.

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  55. Eeyore: It’s more a point of apologetics than a major function of spirituality. No evangelical worth their salt will deny it, but apart from Easter it really doesn’t factor into liturgy, and it certainly doesn’t factor into daily spirituality.

    Agreed. My exposure is about as long and perhaps as broad as drsteve’s and my observation is that while “the risen Christ” is indeed the focus, the “risen-ness” of “the risen Christ” does not seem to be that important. The really important thing is the substitutionary atonement and the importance of people’s beliefs about how that relates to their salvation not veering into forbidden terrain. The two, death and resurrection, seem to have been much more closely associated in the Early Church. My historical understanding is still quite shallow (but on my reading agenda), but I think that it is sound to say that the ancient “Christus Victor” (Jesus defeated death and hades, and the array of evil powers associated with them) emphasis held these two closely together. I think “Christus Victor” is still a big deal in the Eastern churches; much less so in the Latin tradition.

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  56. drstevej: My experience differs from your assessment.

    That goes to the heart of the matter, how one experiences something, not just what one believes about something. One issue is how important, or not, how one experiences something actually is.

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  57. drstevej: By experience I mean my observations and study. I have a ThM and PhD in Church History.

    Well, there you go then. If you had said you had a PsyD and years experience as a clinician listening to people delve into themselves then you would be meaning something different by experience.

    As my background is yet different from either of those, I experience ‘experience’ as something yet different. By experience I mean where does God seem to be during a worship service, or at 2 am when trying to get a drunk who just killed some people on the interstate to lie still for imaging while we try to save his life. Now that I am dying, albeit slowly, do I care about doctrine or do I care about what might make me actually think/feel at a gut level that the resurrection matters. In church, and if the Christ is risen and present, how important is it to me that we actually kneel for certain prayers and for the eucharist; what does that say about how and to what extent the risen-ness of Christ affects my behavior. That sort of thing.

    I do not think that we are ‘right’ and others are ‘wrong’, but I do experience that I need more than just stand and sing then sit and listen and every quarter of course the bread and wine. If what we do were wrong, I would cut it out. If what you all do were wrong I would object that you do it. But to say that the experience is different, that difference has been my experience in my journey from one end of the worship spectrum toward the other end.

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  58. roebuck: I was thinking (ouch!) about Johnny Mac and his strange nastiness. And I got to wondering… how did he get like this? How do these people get like this? It’s just so strange to me…

    I was pondering this question as well, just this morning. First possibility is that he is and always has been a wolf in shepherd’s clothing. Another is the Satan problem. It appears that God is the only being in the universe who does not let praise, glory, fame and worship go to his head. Even Moses got a little full of himself, and ended up never setting foot in the land to which he had faithfully led his people all those years. Saul and Solomon seemed to have lost it, and even David thought he could take any woman he wanted.

    I tend to think the Calvinists have it all wrong. It is not that God is such an egomaniac that he can’t bear to share his glory – but he is wise and loving enough to want to protect men from their own egotism.

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  59. TS00:
    I tend to think the Calvinists have it all wrong. It is not that God is such an egomaniac that he can’t bear to share his glory – but he is wise and loving enough to want to protect men from their own egotism.

    Arguably God intends to share His glory with us — on His own terms. I John 3:1-3 comes to mind.

    But certainly we should not imagine that we approach that while we are still “under the sun.” Don’t have the citation, but Jesus remarked that after we have done all that we are commanded [and who manages that?], we should still regard ourselves to be only unworthy servants, for we have only done what we ought to have.

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  60. okrapod: A concern of mine is that increasingly there is the either/or choice of either fundamentalism which twists scripture to make it say whatever fits with their ideas, on the one hand, and the opposite approach which twists scripture to make it fit into a different set of ideas. They both take the same or similar approach of twisting scripture to fit their particular wishes. That is easy enough to do of course; I can do it and so can we all.

    That is exactly why I doubt if I will ever find a church I can belong to. The fundagelicals tell you what you must believe (you can choose your preferred flavor) and so do the liberals. I don’t want anyone telling me what I ‘must’ believe – either extreme. I may not embrace literalism, and I may not embrace homosexuality. That does not mean I do not allow others to take a different view – let’s just agree to disagree. Surely adults can discuss varying interpretations of all sorts of passages and, as for sex, I don’t prefer to discuss my personal life or anyone else’s. I won’t force others to embrace my beliefs, and I request the same respect. I live in a very progressive community, and I see no need to treat people differently based on their appearance, eating habits or partner. I do not hate, fear or belittle people who have differing views on sex, but I also do not expect to have to wear a rainbow sash to sing in the church choir. One is hard-pressed to find a church that allows you to have your own views on the concept of the Trinity. I don’t claim to have a superior perspective, I just have never heard a really convincing argument that suggests it was worth burning people over. Why are we so afraid to discuss things, to consider new perspectives and allow that no one has it all figured out?

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  61. TS00: I was pondering this question as well, just this morning. First possibility is that he is and always has been a wolf in shepherd’s clothing. Another is the Satan problem. It appears that God is the only being in the universe who does not let praise, glory, fame and worship go to his head. Even Moses got a little full of himself, and ended up never setting foot in the land to which he had faithfully led his people all those years. Saul and Solomon seemed to have lost it, and even David thought he could take any woman he wanted.

    Well lets see. When you have a group where someone like MacArthur is so admired and not questioned for long this goes to a person’s head and he begins thinking he is infallible not to mention a culture where people are intimidated if they question.

    Paul warned besides wolves “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”

    That passage doesn’t state these men started with evil intent but eventually these same men “distort the truth” so that they can attract people to follow THEM. That is another option regarding MacArthur.

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  62. Samuel Conner: My historical understanding is still quite shallow (but on my reading agenda), but I think that it is sound to say that the ancient “Christus Victor” (Jesus defeated death and hades, and the array of evil powers associated with them) emphasis held these two closely together. I think “Christus Victor” is still a big deal in the Eastern churches; much less so in the Latin tradition.

    My heart soared the day I discovered the Christus Victor theory of atonement! How marvelous to find an alternative to the Penal substituion theory, which IMO so distorts the character of God and the message of his love. Why had I never heard of this in my 55+ years as a believer, in Baptist, Nazarene, EV-Free and a few other denominations? I believe it is much more in line with the historical perspective of early believers.

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  63. okrapod: On Drudge Report there is a picture of a dog in the storm. Alone. Stranded. Confused. Waiting. God love it; somebody help that dog.

    And I’m guessing somebody will (save the dog).
    And the spirit that causes someone to rescue the dog?
    That spirit is Holy.
    No theology.
    No doctrine.
    No dogma.
    No ethereal claptrap.
    It’s the real McCoy, in real action, and in real time.

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  64. okrapod: On Drudge Report there is a picture of a dog in the storm. Alone. Stranded. Confused. Waiting. God love it; somebody help that dog.

    Ah, hopefully someone will rescue him. I claim to not be an animal lover – I have sort of a farmer’s mentality – treat ’em right, and eat ’em if they’re tasty! But I looked out my kitchen window this morning and saw a beautiful dragonfly caught in a web, with a mighty big spider trying to zap him with her poison. As he was fighting so mightily, it made me think of the web of false religion I was once trapped in. I had to go out and set him free. The spider can rebuild her web, and there are more than enough flies and mosquitoes out there to munch on!

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  65. Samuel Conner: … but I think that it is sound to say that the ancient “Christus Victor” (Jesus defeated death and hades, and the array of evil powers associated with them) emphasis held these two closely together. I think “Christus Victor” is still a big deal in the Eastern churches; much less so in the Latin tradition.

    In the Prayer of Consecration during Holy Eucharist, we in the Anglican church hear from the celebrant:

    “… In obedience to your will, he stretched out his arms upon the cross and offered himself once for all, that by his suffering and death we might be saved. By his resurrection he broke the bonds of death, trampling Hell and Satan under his feet. As our great high priest, he ascended to your right hand in glory, that we might come with confidence before the throne of grace.”

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  66. Jenny,

    Thanks for this!

    I have the sense that the “low church” Evangelical mainstream that I have inhabited for decades is in some respects quite impoverished.

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  67. drstevej:
    By experience I mean my observations and study. I have a ThM and PhD in Church History.

    Going with that, sure, there is plenty of resurrection-centered theology and resources in traditional Protestant theology. I’ve read them myself. What I (and I would guess Okrapod) are talking about is what’s preached, read, and practiced “on the ground” in your typical evangelical church. I have some experience there too, and that fed directly into my initial assessment.

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  68. Jeffrey J Chalmers,

    The lording it over comment, confirmed what i was thinking… Master, etal, seem to use a heavily authoritarian, controlling, domineering style of leadership (seems to be more typical in all male boards/councils)… and very possibly JMac is the key controller…

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  69. Eeyore: It’s more a point of apologetics than a major function of spirituality. No evangelical worth their salt will deny it, but apart from Easter it really doesn’t factor into liturgy, and it certainly doesn’t factor into daily spirituality.

    This^^^ is quite observant. I found the same to be true. Orthodox liturgy and are very way of life is saturated in the resurrection. You cannot attend a liturgy without hearing about the resurrection. And the gospel is necessarily connected to the resurrection. Without the resurrection, there is no gospel.

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  70. I have a New King James MacArthur Bible that I bought years ago. I don’t care for some of his commentary but I don’t want to throw out a Bible or donate it so someone else can be influenced by MacArthur. Any ideas? By the way, what do you all think of the Jeremiah study Bible?

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  71. Samuel Conner: I have the sense that the “low church” Evangelical mainstream that I have inhabited for decades is in some respects quite impoverished.

    That may be true in your Evangelical mainstream, but it has not been my experience. I’ll keep my low church, thank you.

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  72. TS00: That is exactly why I doubt if I will ever find a church I can belong to.

    I feel the exact same way. What I would like is to be able to say the ancient words that generations have said without being dictated to as to what my relationship to and understanding of those words have to be. It seems like both conservatives and liberals have their own “additions” that everyone is expected to think.

    I’m not sure that I’ll ever fit in a congregation again.

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  73. Samuel Conner: The really important thing is the substitutionary atonement and the importance of people’s beliefs about how that relates to their salvation not veering into forbidden terrain.

    Now that comments in this thread have discussed MacArthur, Brad Jersak, and penal substitution, I cannot resist the temptation to post this link from a recent article by Jersak: http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2018/09/does-god-save-us-from-god-brad-jersak.html. The meme at the top is great (or offensive, depending on your perspective).

    Here are a couple of quotes from John MacArthur on penal substitution that tie into this article:
    “There’s only one way to understand the death of Christ and that is under the principle of penal substitution.”
    “the ultimate reality is Jesus saves us from God.”

    I cannot find the tweet that Jersak refers to, but the MacArthur quote is close enough.

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  74. TS00: My heart soared the day I discovered the Christus Victor theory of atonement! How marvelous to find an alternative to the Penal substituion theory, which IMO so distorts the character of God and the message of his love. Why had I never heard of this in my 55+ years as a believer, in Baptist, Nazarene, EV-Free and a few other denominations? I believe it is much more in line with the historical perspective of early believers.

    Same here.

    Christus Victor is one of the most neglected secrets in the Evangelical Bubble. I don’t understand it all that well myself, but from what I do it makes a whole lot more sense.
    (And at age 62 and counting, I have more interest in Victory over Death than in Fluffy Cloud Heaven or various Theology Wonk subjects.

    And Penal Subsitution has so much of the WRONG kind of baggage; it always reminded me more of a Cosmic Child Abuser than anything else.

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  75. Samuel Conner: Don’t have the citation, but Jesus remarked that after we have done all that we are commanded [and who manages that?], we should still regard ourselves to be only unworthy servants, for we have only done what we ought to have.

    “I Am A Worthless Slave.”
    That’s how it was cited in a devotional (The Calvary Road?) during my time in-country.
    THAT was what we had to look forward to?

    Now teachings like that are what egomaniacs need to hear, but the rest of us on the bottom? Survivors of abuse? Manipulation? Belittling? Constant Putdowns? Where nothing we could do was Ever Good Enough? That just makes God into another boot stamping on your face. “Thank You, Sir! May I have another? And another? And another?”

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  76. Ken P.,

    Maybe thinking “low church” or “high church” isn’t the most generous way of looking at things. It’s horses for courses, really. Some of us like more liturgy, some less.

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  77. Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Here are a couple of quotes from John MacArthur on penal substitution that tie into this article:
    “There’s only one way to understand the death of Christ and that is under the principle of penal substitution.”
    “the ultimate reality is Jesus saves us from God.”

    I cannot find the tweet that Jersak refers to, but the MacArthur quote is close enough.

    Yes, that’s a meme that appears to be beloved among the Reformed, both traditional and neo.

    It looks a bit barmy to me, but I think it sits pretty well within the Reformed vision. God hates humanity, a massa damnata except for the elect. Jesus saves the elect from God.

    My mind doesn’t work as well as it used to, but I have an intuition that this view entails some kind of double-mindedness within the Divine Being.

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  78. Headless Unicorn Guy:(T)eachings like that are what egomaniacs need to hear, but the rest of us on the bottom? Survivors of abuse? Manipulation? Belittling? Constant Putdowns? Where nothing we could do was Ever Good Enough?

    The problem with flattening Jesus’s teachings into Eternal Transcendent Truths is that you miss the contexts that the statements were made in. For the abused, manipulated, and downtrodden, Jesus offered comfort and hope. But for the wealthy, the haughty, and the “righteous”, He had harsh words. In fact, I do believe that if you check the context of Jesus’s conversations about hell, He’s almost always talking to those who were sure of their righteousness and sure they were NOT going there.

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  79. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Please accept my apologies; it was an insensitive citation.

    Eeyore,

    I agree; this specific remark was probably aimed at the apostles, who were a proud and competitive bunch, and who seemed to have been a cause of frequent exasperation on Jesus’ part.

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  80. Samuel Conner: Yes, that’s a meme that appears to be beloved among the Reformed, both traditional and neo.

    It’s a natural fallout of the penal substitution theory invented by Calvin (a trained lawyer). The earliest Christians believed that Jesus saves us from death, sin, and Satan. But now we are required to believe that Jesus saves us from God? Most Calvinists present a more nuanced view than JMac. His view is extreme but also honest in terms of what the theory really means.

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  81. Ken F (aka Tweed): The earliest Christians believed that Jesus saves us from death, sin, and Satan. But now we are required to believe that Jesus saves us from God?

    I can think of no more ‘anti-Christ’ message than that Jesus came to save us from God, rather than that Jesus came from God to save us.

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  82. Lea: This is all over that Social justice statement, and all the anti-egalitarian ones really. Instead of ranting at the ‘liberals’, maybe they should consider listening for a change. People have valid complaints but their ears are closed.

    And they attack the motives of people who disagree with them. If you are an egalitarian, apparently you are supporting a “feminist agenda” and you are “anti-God”. If you support gay marriage or same sex relationships, you are apparently promoting “the gay agenda” and you are “sinister”. The possibility that you might be driven by justice and compassion for a fellow human being does not occur to them. MacArthur loves rules for the sake of rules. He cares more about the letter and words of the Bible than he does about the meaning and spirit of it. Love to God and neighbour is the summation of the law but I never heard a sermon on that despite many years in a church associated with TGC. In fact, they obeyed some rules rigidly and they often only did “hospitality” and “visitation” because they were “commanded to do so”. But their facial expressions and vocal tones showed no real heart-felt love or cheerfulness in their practice. It was purely mechanical obedience.

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  83. Eeyore: Evil and Error cannot be tolerated, especially in the Church, and must be sussed out and attacked.

    I agree with that so it begs the question as to why JMac has not severed association with CJ Mahaney.

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  84. ZechZav: The possibility that you might be driven by justice and compassion for a fellow human being does not occur to them.

    This is the very purpose of the statements issued by self-serving Pharisees like MacArthur, Patterson and Mohler. It is the mind control process that turns otherwise compassionate believers into brainwashed ideologues.

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  85. J Brown: I have a New King James MacArthur Bible that I bought years ago. I don’t care for some of his commentary but I don’t want to throw out a Bible or donate it so someone else can be influenced by MacArthur. Any ideas? By the way, what do you all think of the Jeremiah study Bible?

    The problem (as I see it) with “Study Bibles” is that they (not all) are riddled with personal spin based on the author’s likes, dislikes, and the tradition(s) he hails from.

    You might want to give E.W. Bullinger’s The Companion Bible a try.
    It is Not A Commentary and it is devoid of the doctrinal spin found in say John MacArthur’s and David Jeremiah’s stuff.

    The margin notes are extensive as well as the appendices in the back. They are based on factual data, and reputable scholarship. From which, the reader can form his or her own conclusions about Scripture; what it says, and what it does not say.

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  86. TS00,

    It worked on me, and is still working on the vast majority of my ultra-conservative, fundamentalist friends as well as my liberal social justice warrior friends.

    It echoes the paranoid screeds you hear from certain popular radio personalities, or get in the mail from well-known commentators asking for money to stop ‘the liberal/conservative left/right'(you choose) from destroying our culture and eating our children for breakfast. Same ploy, different names and issues. Hegelian Dialectic at work.

    “The Hegelian Dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) today better known as problem reaction solution is techniques used to shape and mold people’s thinking. Whether it be politics, the media, religion, etc. they create or exploit a problem and then blame it on others. The people react to the problem and then look to those who are creating it or exploiting the problem and these people offer a solution that was planned long before they implemented to problem. The dialectic is about controlling both sides of an argument or problem so as to control the overall perception of the issue sought to be controlled. Creating false realities and false perceptions that are used to manipulate those involved.” (https://jerusalemamerica.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/problem-reaction-solution-through-the-left-right-paradigm/)

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  87. The MacArthur Manifesto has secured the support of RC Sproul’s widow Vesta. They’ve placed her name in the first spot of featured signers, right underneath the thirteen initial signers. (Doug Wilson previously held that spot)

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  88. J Brown,

    “I don’t care for some of his commentary but I don’t want to throw out a Bible or donate it so someone else can be influenced by MacArthur. Any ideas?”
    +++++++++++++++

    think of it as a stack of die-cut paper printed with black ink. not a lot of raw material value.

    (this is how i’ve learned to think of all my superfluous stuff that burdens my life and is absolutely not an asset. i’ve learned to separate it from the mystical personified value i’ve somehow ended up giving to objects)

    (it’s much more worthwhile to keep that kind of value in actual people, rather than in fashioned raw materials. ie-appreciating my kids now, as opposed to investing space and emotion in their baby clothes and pining for the baby days)

    (but that’s just me…)

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  89. Jerome: The MacArthur Manifesto has secured the support of RC Sproul’s widow Vesta. They’ve placed her name in the first spot of featured signers, right underneath the thirteen initial signers. (Doug Wilson previously held that spot)

    What?! A woman “subordinated” Mr. Wilson?! Take that Doug!!

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  90. Jerome: The MacArthur Manifesto has secured the support of RC Sproul’s widow Vesta. They’ve placed her name in the first spot of featured signers, right underneath the thirteen initial signers. (Doug Wilson previously held that spot)

    She should, of course, get that honor because her husband had such a pornographic view of the atonement the he called Jesus the ulitimate obscenity and the most dense concentration of evil ever to exist on the planet (see https://www.ligonier.org/blog/forsaken-jesus-became-curse/). Doug Wilson has opined many gross things, but Sproul surpasses anything from Wilson. Sproul also gets special mention for being the originator of the phrase “scream of the damned.”

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  91. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I lost respect for Sproul about 6 years ago while viewing a DVD series of his lectures surveying Protestant systematic theology. I think it was called “Foundations”.

    In the lecture on the Atonement, he seemed to be happy about the idea of “Limited Atonement”; at the “punch line”, he said with a big smile (roughly; memory is porous though this was a vivid moment for me), “this means that Jesus didn’t die for everyone.”

    Limited Atonement may be true (I don’t like it but my preferences don’t constrain reality), but I was dismayed that this widely respected teacher seemed to be pleased by the idea. No weeping over Jerusalem for him, it seems.

    I thought that was bad, but the thing that really “tore it” for me was the lecture on “rewards and punishments.” IIRC, RC said something to the effect that if it wasn’t for the threat of punishments and the promise of rewards — if “this life” were all that there is, he would not follow Jesus; not worth the trouble, not worth foregoing the pleasures of sin. That shocked me. “Fear and greed” ought not IMO to be the reasons one follows Jesus.

    In retrospect, I think that may have been the beginning of my migration away from the Reformed. I had put up with the heartbreaking aspects of the system because I thought it was, of the systems I was aware of, the least incompatible with the Scriptures. But seeing what its leaders are like; I had to look for alternatives. A system that doesn’t promote its adherents’ transformation toward the likeness of Jesus is very vulnerable to “judgment of its fruits.”

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  92. Hmmm, I wonder if “Fear and Greed” as motives to follow Jesus is a theme among the present-day Reformed. Back around 2000 I read Boisvert/Mahaney’s “How can I change”. I didn’t think much of Mahaney’s chapters, but I do recall a memorable line in one of them — something to the effect that if one wants nice things in the afterlife, one had better shape up here and now. They’ve really commodified Christ. It’s all just a bunch of transactions.

    Jesus’ approach to motivation in His followers was rather different; “If you love Me, …”

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  93. Samuel Conner: In retrospect, I think that may have been the beginning of my migration away from the Reformed. I had put up with the heartbreaking aspects of the system because I thought it was, of the systems I was aware of, the least incompatible with the Scriptures. But seeing what its leaders are like; I had to look for alternatives. A system that doesn’t promote its adherents’ transformation toward the likeness of Jesus is very vulnerable to “judgment of its fruits.”

    I suspect there might be a difference between classical Reformed theology and New-Calvinism when it comes to this. The New-Calvinists seem to be tripping over themselves trying to come up with the most shocking statements about their theology. In this sense they are more like the Puritans (e.g. Jonathan Edwards), which is why some say the YRR movement should be called Neo-Puritanism. They are giving traditional Calvinists a bad name.

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  94. Ken F (aka Tweed): “there might be a difference between classical Reformed theology and New-Calvinism … tripping over themselves trying to come up with the most shocking statements about their theology … They are giving traditional Calvinists a bad name.”

    I’ve been saying this for years! As a 60+ year non-Calvinist Southern Baptist (until recently), I worshiped alongside numerous classical Calvinists. I found them civil in their discourse and respectful of other expressions of faith. While I didn’t agree with their theology, I never heard any of them declare that they alone were the sole keepers of truth. They never demonstrated the arrogance and militancy that the new reformers do. New Calvinists have attracted young folks to their movement by sensational preaching/teaching which radically twists Scripture to defend their theology. It is a cult of personality which attracts young minds bent on rebellion against the faith of their fathers. It will not prosper much longer.

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  95. It seems obvious that many people who are at their core evil use the church as a shield for their base motives. This John MacArthur may well be one of those, almost certainly this Tom Chantry is one.

    Patriarchal rule is in my view messed up fundamentally, as nothing makes men more fit to lead us than women. There are wise men and fools, wise women and fools, everywhere. When I was working as a volunteer for a well-qualified woman Senate candidate, I wasn’t surprised to speak to men who said they weren’t going to vote for a Senator, as both candidates were women, and the Holy Bible told them that women were never to be set above men. This to me is proof that you can find anything in a complex and long enough manuscript.

    I attended Presbyterian (traditional) as a very young kid, then my parents with others in the community founded a Unitarian fellowship. They took turns reading sermons and articles by educated UU ministers – they weren’t able to afford a full time minister. When I read the Bible as a young person, cover to cover, I saw the contradictions, the terror and death in the Old Testament. I decided a book of myths from goat herds of 3000 years ago wasn’t suitable for guidance for my life.

    67 years later, I see Evangelicals preaching about the Israelis and the end times, and it only confirms my discoveries as a young man reading the Bible on my own. The contradictions require amazing contortions and the creation of a specialized vocabulary not useful anywhere else. But the leadership of the Theocratic movements of both Christianity and Islam continues to show me that evil lurks in patriarchy everywhere.

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  96. Muff Potter: The problem (as I see it) with “Study Bibles” is that they (not all) are riddled with personal spin based on the author’s likes, dislikes, and the tradition(s) he hails from.

    Send it back to Mr. MacArthur.
    You might want to give E.W. Bullinger’s The Companion Bible a try.
    It is Not A Commentary and it is devoid of the doctrinal spin found in say John MacArthur’s and David Jeremiah’s stuff.

    The margin notes are extensive as well as the appendices in the back.They are based on factual data, and reputable scholarship.From which, the reader can form his or her own conclusions about Scripture; what it says, and what it does not say.

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  97. No fan of jmac here, but we really don’t know his motives. Someone implied one cannot be against gay marriage BECAUSE of a love for those caught up in homosexual relationships. Some do not see homosexual behavior as who you are, but rather as what you do, and see it in a long list of other sins as one of the many that lead straight to hell. In that case, fighting against it IS taking the most loving action. They are doing what they do out of compassion.

    Seems to me that to castigate and judge his soul is as bad as judging anyone else’s soul. AKA doing exacting what we complain about jmac doing.

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  98. linda: Seems to me that to castigate and judge his soul is as bad as judging anyone else’s soul. AKA doing exacting what we complain about jmac doing.

    Who on TWW judged his soul or motives? What do you make of all the various NT verses telling us to exercise discernment, such as Paul’s advice to “beware of the dogs”? Are you saying it is wrong to question his behavior, teachings, and practices?

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  99. Ken F (aka Tweed): Are you saying it is wrong to question his behavior, teachings, and practices?

    “Those outside the church it is not my business to judge. But surely it is your business to judge those who are inside the church — God alone can judge those who are outside. It is your plain duty to ‘put away from yourselves that wicked person’.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

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  100. Ken F (aka Tweed): linda: Seems to me that to castigate and judge his soul is as bad as judging anyone else’s soul. AKA doing exacting what we complain about jmac doing.

    Who on TWW judged his soul or motives? What do you make of all the various NT verses telling us to exercise discernment, such as Paul’s advice to “beware of the dogs”? Are you saying it is wrong to question his behavior, teachings, and practices?

    This is the argument a pastor tried to use with me to stop me from judging his actions. I discontinued my communication with him because he was proof texting, out of context, to try to claim I couldn’t judge him in any way. Mind you, I was not judging his motives or his salvation. I found it pathetic, especially coming from a pastor.

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  101. linda: No fan of jmac here, but we really don’t know his motives. Someone implied one cannot be against gay marriage BECAUSE of a love for those caught up in homosexual relationships. Some do not see homosexual behavior as who you are, but rather as what you do, and see it in a long list of other sins as one of the many that lead straight to hell. In that case, fighting against it IS taking the most loving action. They are doing what they do out of compassion.

    Seems to me that to castigate and judge his soul is as bad as judging anyone else’s soul. AKA doing exacting what we complain about jmac doing.

    If you are referring to a previous comment I made, read it again with your eyes open! I said that HE attacks the motives of anyone who disagrees with HIS dogma. I did NOT say that he has to agree with me. Yes I hold to a non-conservative view on gay relationships but I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. People interpret Scripture according to their own conscience and conviction and I have no issue with that. In fact, I have often criticised the intolerance in the gay community – especially when bakers are told that they must bake a cake with a gay message on it. I also have expressed disagreement with a minister in the UK who supported gay marriage but I was more charitable than many conservative Christians about his motives.

    I also defended the motives of some complimentarians I personally know. I believe they are incorrect but they honestly believe the Scripture teaches their position. Some of my egalitarian friends were quick to accuse them of having misogynistic motives and I defended their character and said “let us stick to exegesis”. But When my complimentarian friends accuse egalitarians of having a “feminist agenda”, that annoys me.

    It seems that you have probably never personally met someone who “struggles with same sex attraction” and cares to consider what they go through. Simply throwing out verses without lifting a finger to help is not loving. It is not enough to say no to abortion unless we are willing to PRACTICALLY help women in that situation. In the same way, it is not loving for churches to tell gay people to “stay single” and then not provide for their emotional needs of friendship and community. In fact, most churches treat all single people badly in this way. Look up situational ethics.

    I personally continued listening to JMac for years even though I disagreed with him on women and gays. I did not impugn his motives but I expect the same grace and charity in return. And when he shares a platform with CJ Mahaney after the lawsuit has become public knowledge, it is fair to question his motives and agenda.

    Who said that his soul was bad Linda?

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  102. linda:
    No fan of jmac here, but we really don’t know his motives.Someone implied one cannot be against gay marriage BECAUSE of a love for those caught up in homosexual relationships.Some do not see homosexual behavior as who you are, but rather as what you do, and see it in a long list of other sins as one of the many that lead straight to hell.In that case, fighting against it IS taking the most loving action.They are doing what they do out of compassion.

    Seems to me that to castigate and judge his soul is as bad as judging anyone else’s soul.AKA doing exacting what we complain about jmac doing.

    Apologies if this appears twice, I hit enter and the post disappeared (not even put in moderation).

    I assume that this is a reference a comment I made. First of all linda, read it again! I said that many conservatives attack the motives of those who disagree with them. I never said that you must not hold conservative views. Even though I take a non-conservative view on same-sex relationships, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me nor do I attack their motives. In fact, most of TWW would disagree with me here and I am fine with that. People have to interpret Scripture in accordance with their own conscience and conviction. In fact I have often criticised the intolerance in the gay community – especially if people are threatened with the loss of their job or livelihood (such as various bakers who would not write a pro-gay message on a cake).

    And it is not loving to just lay down the law without a lifting a finger to help. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for that. It is not enough to oppose abortion if we are not willing to support women in that situation. It is not loving of church leaders to tell gay people to stay single without providing for their emotional needs of friendship and community. I have personally found that liberty breeds love, joy and contentment. Ever since I left the institutional church, I am content with being single again. I love Jesus and trust in God’s providence for my life (even if means being single for the rest of my life). It was the legalism and rhetoric at church that made me feeling frustrated, alienated and excluded. I used to be part of an ex-gay ministry which affirmed all of JMacs dogmas but they did very little help. The leaders were too busy going from conference to conference with TGC crowd and others of their ilk. So I walked out the door.

    I have also defended the motives of complimentarians even though I think they are incorrect. When I heard one of my egalitarian friends quickly accuse a complimentarian friend of “misogyny” before hearing him out, I rebuked him. However when my complimentarian friend accuses egalitarians of feminism before listening to their arguments, that needs to be called as well.

    And it is fair to question the motives of JMac and John Piper for sharing a platform with CJ Mahaney. They have not distanced themselves since the lawsuit become public knowledge. By your own words, MacArthur and Piper are not being loving because they not called this out.

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  103. Again more accusations: many who are anti abortion have adopted and raised the children who would have been aborted. we did so. and who says the conservatives just tell gay people to be celibate but offer no love and companionship? we do offer it. of course, we also offer it to straight singles also called to be celibate until marriage.

    my point stands: the most intolerant people around are usually those who claim tolerance of all but the conservatives.

    are jmac and buds in the wrong? I think so on many points. but assuming they are wrong because they lack compassion is a peer into the heart only God can do.

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  104. linda: who says the conservatives just tell gay people to be celibate but offer no love and companionship? we do offer it. of course, we also offer it to straight singles also called to be celibate until marriage.

    I am describing my experience of going to church and ministry over a 25 year period. I make no apology for that! I know many other single people who said the same about their local church.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10016925/Single-people-feel-ignored-and-lonely-at-Church.html

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  105. Linda,

    I want to apologise if I gave offence. My point was because I have been badly hurt by the church in the past over this and I was treated appallingly at several churches. I never meant to imply that is the case for all.

    You are free to believe according to your own conscience and conviction. I may not agree with you but I will defend your freedom to believe it, express it and act accordingly. I will not cast aspersions on your motives for doing so. However I do ask the same in return. People may not agree with me but I do ask that they try to understand why I came to my conclusions. I don’t want my motives to be attacked in doing so (believe me some people have done so personally).

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