Wade Burleson Writes the Story of Paige Patterson and Dead Sea Scrolls: Fun Picture Included.

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. Helen Keller

I am in the middle of meet ups with people at the Course Conference. Yesterday, after a nice interview with The Washington Post reporter, Sarah, I met up with Julie Anne Smith. We drove up to Southeastern Seminary and took a picture in front of (Paige) Patterson Hall. She is as wonderful, fun and beautiful in person as she is on her blog.

I am reprinting another article by Wade Burleson. I love history and enjoyed teaching church history in various churches along the way. This story will make you laugh until you realize that money which could have gone to help others was spent on fake scrolls (actually-pieces of scrolls…)


SWBTS Donors and the Folly of Funding Scrolls and Museums Instead of Scholars and Ministries

The new leadership of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is worthy of Southern Baptist’s full confidence.  College graduates from our church who are interested in ministry are now considering enrolling at Southwestern, the first time SWBTS has been a viable option for over a dozen years. The future is bright.

However, there remain a few people who need to completely sever ties with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Some of them are employed by the school. The new administrative leadership will handle the resolution of their employment with professional courtesy and class.
Others who need to completely sever ties with the school are financial donors. Seventeen donors to Southwestern to be exact.
These SWBTS donors have made a tragic mistake that could have ongoing consequences for both the school and for them personally.
They have signed a letter written by Houston oilman Gary Loveless, a letter in which Mr. Loveless lambasts the Executive Committee of Southwestern for their unanimous vote to sever ties with former SWBTS President Paige Patterson. Mr. Loveless is a close personal friend of Paige Patterson, a former trustee at SWBTS, and a previous multi-million dollar donor to SWBTS.

Many news outlets have published Gary Loveless’ letter.

I have three serious questions that I’d like to ask Mr. Loveless about his letter. I’ve called his office in Houston (twice) and left my personal cell number. I’ve not heard back from him  I have friends in North Carolina who have also read the letter. Megan and Vincent Lively have asked me what I thought of it. I told them that before I wrote a response, I wanted to speak with Gary Loveless. Another friend from North Carolina, a man named Wade Smith,  has also visited with me about the letter.  I think Mr. Loveless and the other SWBTS donors would rather this Wade (me) ask questions more so than the other Wade.

Meet Gary Loveless

Gary and Stephanie Loveless
Gary and Stephanie Loveless seem like a nice couple. They are members of Second Baptist, Houston, Texas. They are involved in philanthropic work around the world. They are people who give evidence of desiring to serve Christ and His Kingdom.
But they seem to me to be a tad naive.

Or, to be more specific, Gary and Stephanie Loveless may be guilty of “hero-worship,”

Hero-worship is the deadly disease that plagues many Southern Baptists, particularly since 1979 and the beginning of the Southern Baptist Conservative Resurgence.

Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlisle (1795-1881) says hero-worship is a part of human societies throughout the world:

“Society is founded on Hero-worship. Human association rests on what we may call a Hero-archy (a Government of Heroes). Society everywhere is some representation, not insupportably inaccurate, of a graduated Worship of Heroes—reverence and obedience done to men.”

Carlyle is correct about societies in this world.

But Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world. Christians are called to worship none but Christ.

Gary Loveless gave over a million dollars to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to purchase fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He also assisted in the fundraising required to permanently display those fragments at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Gary did so because Paige and Dorothy Patterson told Gary that the scroll fragments were real Dead Sea Scroll fragments. The Seminary, the Pattersons told Gary Loveless, would benefit from having them.

Gary believed his heroes.

The Houston Chronicle reported six years ago how Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary came into possession of the scrolls. It all started when Gary and Stephanie Loveless were on a tour of Israel with Paige and Dorothy Patterson in 2009.

Gary Loveless said they were busy visiting the usual sights of Holy Land travelers, and the group stopped at Kando’s Shop, now run by Mr. Kando’s son, William Kando Jr. Stephanie Lovelesspurchased a small oil lamp, and the couple returned to the tour bus, with her husband thinking he’d just gotten out of a pricey store with way more money in his pocket than he expected.

Then the Pattersons waved at him to return to the shop. Kando had just made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: His family had decided that their Dead Sea Scroll fragments, locked away in a Swiss vault for decades, should be on public display. And they wanted them to be exhibited with his treasured friends at Southwestern Baptist.

The Lovelesses knew it was time for the important work of Christian charity – and they ultimately became the major sponsors of the exhibit with their $1 million donation.

Let that visual sink in.

Khallil Kando at his Jerusalem Shop

The President and First Lady of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are running out of a souvenir trinket shop in Jerusalem with hands raised, shouting at their millionaire friend (Mr. Loveless) to come and hear of “Dead Sea Scroll fragments locked away in a Swiss vault for decades.”

Cynthia Loveless must have been rubbing her recently purchased oil lamp and a Hebrew genie popped out.

Gary Loveless didn’t seem bothered by the fact Mr. Kando kept these artifacts a secret for decades.

Nobody seemed to question why a souvenir gift shop owner, known for “making deals” might suddenly want to make a deal with a rich Texas oilman.

The Hebrew scrolls were real. The Pattersons said so.

I’ve considered running into Square Mile Energy in Houston with my hand raised, breathlessly shouting:

“Mr. Loveless, the Ark of the Covenant is hidden in my basement in a safe I bought from Lowes and I’m wondering if you’ll buy it from me for two million dollars? If you position it properly at SWBTS, you may be able to replicate the Shekina glory as the sun shines through the stained-glass windows

Think I’m being harsh?

Do you think that questioning the authenticity of SWBTS Hebrew scrolls is off-limits to proper Christian decorum?

CBS News doesn’t think so.

Hebrew manuscript scholars don’t think so.

The Research Project administered by the University of Agder, Norway, doesn’t think so.

But Paige and Dorothy Patterson say they’re real. Dorothy Patterson authenticated them on five trips to Zurich.

Her son, Armour Patterson, wrote the story of the intense negotiations for the scrolls in a self-published e-book entitled Much Clean Paper for Little Dirty Paper.

Southwestern Seminary Buys Hebrew Scroll Fragments (Thanks Gary!)

In 2011/2012, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary – through the generosity of donor Gary Loveless and under the leadership of Paige and Dorothy Patterson – dedicated a 3,500 seat chapel with stained-glassed images of the Pattersons and other SBC Conservative Resurgence leaders, opened an exhibt space for the recently purchased Hebrew scrolls, and began charging $25.00 per person to come see what God has done.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary would later deem the Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit a success.
Self-proclaimed successes always remind me of the Iraqi Minister of Information.

SWBTS was in serious financial trouble during the years 2008-2012, the same time seminary donors and trustees like Gary Loveless were busy building monuments and dedicating museums. For example:

1. SWBTS student enrollment declined to historic lows.
2. Southwestern Seminary stopped contributing to professor’s retirement to save money.
3. The SWBTS Counseling Program was closed in 2010 due to a budget shortfall.
4. Faculty positions were cut.
5. The Dead Sea Scroll fragments eventually cost the school millions of dollars.

As Gary Loveless was contributing millions of dollars to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to build museums and monuments in honor of the Battle for the Bible led by the Pattersons,  the seminary contined to struggle financially. Even if the fragments were actually real, is it wise for seminary leaders to lose focus of the school’s chartered mission?

Fiduciary responsibility for Southwestern Seminary and oversight of ministry training at SWBTS didn’t seem nearly as important to SWBTS trustee Gary Loveless as purchasing and displaying the Dead Sea Scroll fragments.

I wrote about Southwestern trustee Gary Loveless over eight years ago. In a post dated January 29, 2010, I expressed concern over the closing of the SWBTS Counseling Program, a center for training pastors how to effectively counsel those in emotional and spiritual need. In that post, I directed readers to an interview with CBS News (link now removed), Gary Loveless revealed his motive for giving the money to purchase the Dead Sea Scroll fragments (quote):

“One day, when we are all standing before Him (Jesus Christ), and we got millions of people out there, when I hold my hand up, He will know who I am. That’s really, for me, you know, what it is all about.”

Mr. Loveless, there’s a lot more people besides Jesus who now know who you are.

Additional information regarding Gary Loveless and his connections to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, including how he led the capital campaign for the now-defunct SWBTS Houston campus (note: the facilities, not the school), can be found in this SWBTS article (page 43).

As someone recently said to me, “Gary Loveless has been the captain of every sinking ship SWBTS has launched in the last dozen years.” Gary Loveless’ threat of withdrawal from involvement in SWBTS matters may, in the end, be helpful for future seminary accreditation.

Three Serious Questions about Mr. Loveless’ Letter to SWBTS Trustees

With that background regarding Mr. Gary Loveless,  I am asking three serious questions of him regarding his letter to SWBTS trustees. The letter is public, so my questions to Mr. Gary Loveless are appropriately public.

1. Who disclosed to you that Dr. Patterson “has no recollection” of the 2003 rape allegation at Southeastern Seminary, that there is “no proof” that he is speaking dishonestly, and that the 2003 “alleged victim” has given “contradictory statements?”

2. Who disclosed to you that the 2015 SWBTS female seminary student you reference in your letter (p. 5) “had engaged in consensual sexual activiites on more than one occasion and those acts had taken place in public buildings at the Seminary, and that campus security were shown the nude pictures she texted to the male student….(and) that she begged Dr. Patterson to not call the police“?

3.  Who led you to believe that “Chairman Ueckert …acted in a premeditated manner and with malice aforethought to intentionally mislead others, while simulteanerously defaming and disparaging the honorable name of Dr. Patterson”?

Mr. Loveless, these are serious questions. I tried to get a response privately, and it’s unfortunate we’ve not connected.

Your letter causes several concerns. It is possible that some very privileged information in student files may have been released to you without the students’ consent. It also seems the letter publicly demeans the character and testimony of an “alleged” (your word) rape victim. Finally, if you are truly concerned about Southwestern Seminary, particularly as a recent SWBTS trustee (2007-2017), then you should know that public statements impugning the motives and character of  SWBTS trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert, while at the same time publicly declaring SWBTS trustee Bart Barber’s comments to the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention “false and slanderous,” are detrimental to the institution you once served.

I will not presume to answer the three questions for you Mr. Loveless, but after examining your ten-year legacy of serving as a trustee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, it seems that Dr. and Mrs. Paige Patterson have again waved their hands and asked you to come and listen.

And like all followers in hero-archy societies, you seem to want to believe your heroes to the neglect of both logic and evidence.


Comments

Wade Burleson Writes the Story of Paige Patterson and Dead Sea Scrolls: Fun Picture Included. — 112 Comments

  1. Wow, that new Patterson Hall sure is fancy!

    I wonder how much of IMB money went to expanding SEBTS? Because it’s about twice the size since I went there…

    I’d like to ask Mr. Loveless why he thought maybe fake Dead Sea Scroll fragments and giant stained glass windows in a church of people not from the Bible were worth giving money to instead of paying the retirement benefits of SWBTS faculty? Or to IMB to keep missionaries on the field? Those things have little to no benefit to the mission of Christ on earth.

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  2. Where’z are your scarvez an mooztachez? Youz could have beenz recognized without your mooztachez! They have derh eyez everywherez nowz!

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  3. Or perhaps it is a fake. If it is, l can’t believe anyone could be that gullible.

    Worse possibility is that some other ancient parchment was sacrificed to make a fake, ant whatever it was is now lost. Reminds me of the come on of the last carpet merchant in the sook in Sharjah “I will not cheat you as the others will.”

    J.M.

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  4. ishy: I wonder how much of IMB money went to expanding SEBTS? Because it’s about twice the size since I went there…

    Has the IMB given any money to SEBTS? If so, why?

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  5. “The new leadership of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is worthy of Southern Baptist’s full confidence. College graduates from our church who are interested in ministry are now considering enrolling at Southwestern, the first time SWBTS has been a viable option for over a dozen years. The future is bright.” (Wade Burleson)

    I wouldn’t get in a big hurry to encourage church youth to consider SWBTS until it’s clear who the next President will be. You can bet that Al Mohler is working diligently behind the scene to put one of his followers on the throne there, as well as at NOBTS which is looking for a new leader. It’s clear that Mohler had a hand in the leadership at MWBTS and SEBTS. Capturing SWBTS and NOBTS would give him a clean sweep of the seminaries for the New Calvinist movement. The man is a brilliant strategist.

    With Calvinization of the SBC largely accomplished, I don’t see a bright future for this once-great evangelistic denomination. But, then I’m a non-Calvinist and a firm believer of whosoever-will-may-come … the default theology of the SBC for 150 years until the New Calvinists showed up. I recently left the SBC after 70 years realizing that the new reformers had won the day through stealth and deception.

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  6. Craig Blaising (Executive Vice President and Provost and Professor of Theology) is a good guy. We were friends in Seminary (Dallas /82-86), He was ordained at Travis Avenue Baptist (My in-laws church).

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  7. Bridget:
    “Dorothy Patterson authenticated them on five trips to Zurich.”

    Is this a joke?

    It’s mind boggling is what it is. She isn’t allowed to make decisions about adopting a dog in her own home, but she’s authenticating scrolls for her hubby. K.

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  8. ishy: I’d like to ask Mr. Loveless why he thought maybe fake Dead Sea Scroll fragments and giant stained glass windows in a church of people not from the Bible were worth giving money to instead of paying the retirement benefits of SWBTS faculty?

    Are the Loveless’ depicted in one of the windows?

    I can’t believe someone smart enough to become a multi-millionaire in the oil industry would fall for a Dead Sea Scroll scam!

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  9. Ken P.: Has the IMB given any money to SEBTS?If so, why?

    The claim by IMB was an extreme budget shortfall, which is why they had to fire all the missionaries. But about the same time, NAMB’s budget went way up. SEBTS suddenly built a number of new buildings. From what I’ve read about SWBTS even above, the same thing happened.

    Did SEBTS have a huge increase in enrollment in a very short amount of time? Maybe? But my program was halted along with several others for a few years, so that couldn’t have helped.

    I think something is very strange about all of it.

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  10. ishy: The claim by IMB was an extreme budget shortfall, which is why they had to fire all the missionaries.

    BTW, perhaps Max can confirm because I stopped going to the convention about then, but I don’t think Southern Baptists were ever given the option to prevent IMB from firing all those missionaries or reallocating money to the IMB. It was all done at the executive level with little warning.

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  11. ishy: ishy: The claim by IMB was an extreme budget shortfall, which is why they had to fire all the missionaries.

    BTW, perhaps Max can confirm because I stopped going to the convention about then, but I don’t think Southern Baptists were ever given the option to prevent IMB from firing all those missionaries or reallocating money to the IMB. It was all done at the executive level with little warning.

    Confirmed. The big boys did the decidin’ and the choppin’.

    IMB cited a fund shortage for recalling 1,000+ veteran missionaries. However, at the same time NAMB spent $60 million per year to plant 1,000+ churches (annually). Southern Baptists weren’t given the opportunity to redirect church planting funds to foreign missions. While IMB and NAMB monies come from different funding streams, it all comes from Southern Baptist pockets. I think the average Southern Baptist – if asked – would have opted to keep missionaries on the field rather than plant new churches – they already have 45,000+ churches that folks are leaving.

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  12. “Gary Loveless revealed his motive for giving the money to purchase the Dead Sea Scroll fragments (quote):
    “One day, when we are all standing before Him (Jesus Christ), and we got millions of people out there, when I hold my hand up, He will know who I am. That’s really, for me, you know, what it is all about.””

    Honestly, Gary, I don’t think Jesus will he that petty.

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  13. Ray,

    I strongly believe the whole trustees should resign. They failed over the last 10+ Years to hold PP and his group accountable. Completely wracked SWBTS reputation as the top theological school. All the great professors with patoral hearts that I had the chance to study under were all gone – Karen Bullock, Jim Spivey, Bruce Corley, David Kirkpatrick, Bert Domainy and Eddie Smith to name a few.

    I longed for SWBTS board of trustees to openly confess and repent of their own doing(How long, O Lord?). I feel like watching a sci-fi movie with nameless(sometimes faceless) senators holding a meeting remotely deciding the fate of a nation or hero without explanation. The board of trustees met, pet each other’s back and pray over it and everything is fine and move forward.

    Where is the open morning, where is the admission how bad things become, where is the admission they failed in their responsibilities, where is the reconcilation to student, faculty and staff, alumni, SBC church who supported SWBTS before offering your prays at the alter.

    Where is the leadership that the school so desperately wanted the students to-become. Set the example for the students and not hiding behind the coperate body – the board of trustees – which means not one of them is responsible. I am done here. I think I am asking for too much of SWBTS’s leadership.

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  14. John,

    It means that the charges relate to incidents that happened too long ago – statute of limitations barred. That is one of the saddest things with many sexual assault cases – our minds protect us by minimizing, deflecting, dissociating until it deems it safe to let us understand what happened. It can be decades later – and the SOL may well have run out. One of the saddest things I’ve seen in the last decade is churches, like but not limited to the Roman Catholic Church, fighting attempts to remove or lengthen the SOL period for sexual abuse crimes. One can only imagine why.

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  15. Rambler: It’s mind boggling is what it is. She isn’t allowed to make decisions about adopting a dog in her own home, but she’s authenticating scrolls for her hubby. K.

    *drily* Dorothy Patterson isn’t qualified to make those kinds of assessments. Her doctorate is not in papyrology, in palaeography, nor in any other academic profession that could conceivably authenticate a tiny scrap of papyrus or parchment that could date back two millennia. She’s got a theology degree. In that, she’s as qualified as I am to make an assessment. I, however, would rather listen to the scholars who make up the “Lying Pen of Scribes” project (https://lyingpen.com/), because they do have the credentials.

    It’s my personal opinion, after doing all the reading I could get my hands on in English without having to pay money to Brill or any other academic publisher, that the Lying Pen project has landed on something fascinating. I am of the belief that many, if not all, of the “Dead Sea Scroll-like” fragments which have turned up since 2002 are fakes of some sort or another. Their provenance (past history) can’t be established. Some of them have issues when they’re looked at microscopically or under certain lights, in that it’s possible recent writing was made on top of genuinely old scraps of parchment. And it appears that the people “finding” or putting into commerce what look like “Dead Sea Scroll-like” fragments have figured out that rich American Evangelicals are a real soft touch when it comes to tiny scraps of parchment the size of a credit card with barely legible writing on them. As has been documented, these very wealthy but ignorant people are willing to shell out half a million dollars or more for these fragments based on the word of people like the Pattersons, who are not qualified to make those assessments!

    At least when I was looking at a 170,000 yen (~$1500.00) golden ash glazed chawan (tea bowl) in Japan 10 days ago and wishing I could justify paying that kind of money, I knew who made the bowl (the pottery master was standing in the next room) and where the clay and ash came from (deposits in the town). *sigh* I had to settle for paying 3,000 yen (~$26.65) for a bowl by the master’s up and coming son. But again, I know where the bowl came from and who made it. None of these tiny parchment fragments have the same kind of provenance as the tea bowl and yet people paid good money for what are probably very well executed fakes.

    (As you can tell, I really wanted that bowl but no, it didn’t happen.)

    It saddens me that people were (again, IMHO, I am not a scholar or expert in the field) duped into paying millions of dollars over time for things that are probably forgeries. This money could have gone into educating students, paying faculty more or ensuring their retirement funds, but no…those are not “sexy.” “Sexy” is buying an unprovenanced fragment and trumpeting its existence. I think this is messed up thinking.

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  16. ___

    “Jumbotron Not Required”

    hmmm…

    The fields are apparently white with harvest,
    Yet certain ‘religious ‘brains are fill with marbles…

    Imagine that?

    (sadface)

    Lord, they have apparently sold their lampstand for face recognition. Might wanna act accordingly, huh?

    *

    “God, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

    Kind Folks, No illustrious seminary needed.

    Pray this small prayer today,

    You’ll be glad you did!

    (Sēē your bible for details…)

    *

    Remember, I’m just the messenger.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bIwQLscOXlM
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aCbMOQIs45s

    ;~)

    – –

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  17. Ray:
    I strongly believe the whole trustees should resign. They failed over the last 10+ Years to hold PP and his group accountable. Completely wracked SWBTS reputation as the top theological school. All the great professors with patoral hearts that I had the chance to study under were all gone – Karen Bullock, Jim Spivey, Bruce Corley, David Kirkpatrick, Bert Domainy and Eddie Smith to name a few.

    You’re hoping that new trustees would be better. I don’t think that would be the case. Patterson was not a great guy, but the change wracked at SEBTS when the New Cals took over was worse. And there’s no doubt that any new trustees would be Mohlerites.

    Not that SWBTS doesn’t already seem to be on that path. They had Jonathan Leeman speak at their meeting. 9 Marks is about the worst thing that could happen to Christianity, because there’s no Christ in it.

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  18. ishy,

    I agree with you, Ishy.
    All the SBC is now is a racket, a religious mafia.
    I wouldn’t really care anymore if my husband wasn’t still putting money in the offering plates. (PS – hubby is now a Gideon. Uhg.)

    And, I don’t believe the #metoo/#churchtoo movements have made any real difference for women. The subjugation (slavery status) of women is still “Christlike” ………. they just insist on a kinder, gentler form of slavery. (Women deserve a little dignity, but only men can be HOLY.). I am so done with the SBC.

    Hey, Dee and JA: Love the photo; and the facial expressions!!!

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  19. ishy,
    I don’t think new trustees would be better. Deep in my heart, I am craving to see a display of integrity, honesty, and ownership of responsibility – all the stuff SWBTS suppose to infuse to students. I know I am asking for too much of them. *Sigh*

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  20. ishy: there’s no doubt that any new trustees would be Mohlerites

    That’s how the New Calvinists gained a foothold at MWBTS … new pro-Mohler trustees. Jason Allen, current MWBTS President, was formerly Al Mohler’s executive assistant … think about it.

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  21. Ray: I feel like watching a sci-fi movie with nameless (sometimes faceless) senators holding a meeting remotely deciding the fate of a nation or hero without explanation.

    In SBC’s high places, Al Mohler is the man behind the curtain, the puppeteer, the godfather in the smoke-filled room, the mover & shaker behind the scenes. SWBTS will soon discover that.

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  22. Janet:
    “WhenI raise my hand, Jesus will know who I am.” Yowza.

    Looks like this rich man has never heard of Luke 16, and the Patterson’s sure aren’t going to tell him about it!

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  23. Max: In SBC’s high places, Al Mohler is the man behind the curtain … SWBTS will soon discover that.

    On the other hand, things were not always virtuous and righteous under PP’s leadership as Southern Baptists are finding out.

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  24. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:
    And it appears that the people “finding” or putting into commerce what look like “Dead Sea Scroll-like” fragments have figured out that rich American Evangelicals are a real soft touch when it comes to tiny scraps of parchment the size of a credit card with barely legible writing on them. As has been documented, these very wealthy but ignorant people are willing to shell out half a million dollars or more for these fragments based on the word of people like the Pattersons, who are not qualified to make those assessments!

    It saddens me that people were (again, IMHO, I am not a scholar or expert in the field) duped into paying millions of dollars over time for things that are probably forgeries. This money could have gone into educating students, paying faculty more or ensuring their retirement funds, but no…those are not “sexy.” “Sexy” is buying an unprovenanced fragment and trumpeting its existence. I think this is messed up thinking.

    This might be the Evangelical manifestation of whatever it is within the Catholic communion that leads to fascination with “relics of the Saints.”

    I wonder whether there might be a universal human tendency to want a material connection to the transcendent. Doubtless the specific shape of the theology influences the form that takes.

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  25. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): I wouldn’t really care anymore if my husband wasn’t still putting money in the offering plates. (PS – hubby is now a Gideon. Uhg.)

    What’s a Gideon?
    (other than: the doctor came in stinking of gin, only to find gideon’s bible)

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  26. Yikes. Don’t Baptists believe that Jesus the God-Man is *omniscient*??? He doesn’t need you to raise your hand in order to recognize you. No matter how many millions of people surround you, He knows and recognizes you. Because He knows and recognizes everyone and everything.

    This is downright scary theology.

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  27. Muff Potter,

    https://www.gideons.org/about

    Mostly multi-faith bible passer-outers and fundraisers .
    The Gideon Bible is no longer the KJV, but the Wayne Grudem ESV.

    You can ignore what the website says about “wives”. Women cannot be Gideons.

    There is a Women’s Auxilary – consisting of wives of Gideons only ……. Mostly a club, some secretaries and stamp lickers……. You know – women doing the tedious stuff that the men don’t want to do.

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  28. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    Never mind about providing me to a link on the Gideons’ ESV Bible. I just read the TWW article about this. Hard to believe that a whosoever-will-may-come evangelistic group like the Gideons would distribute a “sword” produced by the Calvinist publishing house Crossway.

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  29. Max: Gideons’ ESV Bible

    I suppose the bare-bones ESV is a harmless enough translation, but Crossway’s ESV Study Bible is loaded with Calvinist commentary intended to indoctrinate.

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  30. More on trustees’ ouster of Patterson loyalist Candi Finch:

    https://baptistnews.com/article/womens-studies-professor-out-at-southwestern-seminary/#.W8uFhd9lAit

    “Finch’s faculty page has been removed from the seminary website. Interim President Jeffrey Bingham said in an e-mail she is ‘no longer a member of the faculty at Southwestern.'”

    “Finch was elected to Southwestern’s faculty effective the beginning of 2015, after serving under presidential appointment since 2012. She was the first person to occupy the Dorothy Kelley Patterson Chair of Women’s Studies, named in honor of the seminary’s former first lady.”

    “Finch also served as executive assistant to the first lady at Southwestern before former President Paige Patterson was fired in May for past remarks deemed offensive to women. She defended Patterson in May after thousands of women signed a petition calling for his ouster”

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  31. This kind of thing is what can happen when people believe things about Scripture that even Scripture does not say about itself. It’s a move toward bibliolatry, if it’s not already there.. Scripture is important – and it is not God. Scripture points to Jesus Christ, who is the Lord. Bibliolatry is one of the things that sent me into the Evangelical Wilderness.

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  32. Janet: Also, I want to go on a field trip with you [Deebs] and Julie Anne.

    Now, if you can brag about that on the day of judgement, I’ll be impressed.

    Best regards,

    God

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  33. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): You know – women doing the tedious stuff that the men don’t want to do.

    Sigh. Bless you… if only you understood that these things are just as precious as the cool and highly-paidweighty and burdensome responsibilities that the men display their sacrificial love by shouldering, you’d be thankful that women are allowed to lick stamps for Jesus.

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  34. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): Mostly multi-faith bible passer-outers and fundraisers .
    The Gideon Bible is no longer the KJV, but the Wayne Grudem ESV.

    I’ll stick with my King James Bible and Rocky Raccoon (From The White Album).

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  35. Muff Potter: Wouldn’t ya’ know it.
    Another boyz klub.
    No gurlz allowed.
    I wish to God Christianity would grow up.

    “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” (1 Cor. 13:11)

    In Christianity Lite (most of the American church), believers remain immature – falling far short of the spiritual resources available to them.

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  36. dainca: Scripture is important – and it is not God.

    I’m sure you understand the basic problem. In saying even that, you have said that scripture is less important than… [who cares what], and thus you have devalued scripture.

    There are exactly two kinds of person:

     Those who worship the scriptures as being the very nature of God – not ‘the fourth person of the Trinity’, but eternally transcending the Trinity; and
     Liberals

    Actually, that’s not true. But for the purposes of “defending the scriptures” …

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  37. ““Mr. Loveless, the Ark of the Covenant is hidden in my basement in a safe I bought from Lowes and I’m wondering if you’ll buy it from me for two million dollars? If you position it properly at SWBTS, you may be able to replicate the Shekina glory as the sun shines through the stained-glass windows“”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    well, that would be Mr. & Mrs. Loveless’ very own stained-glass window, of course.

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  38. Bridget: I don’t know if the person who said that is even Baptist. It is often simply a figure of speech.

    Well, it’s a darned weird and problematical figure of speech. I don’t know anyone from a creedal or liturgical church who would use such a strange “figure of speech
    ” Not just talking about Catholics here. Talking about conservative Lutherans, Continuing Anglicans, and classic Presbyterians as well.

    Anytime you cling to “No Creed But Christ,” ISTM you open yourself up to the endless refighting of battles that were fought and resolved at the early Ecumenical Councils.

    And thereby hang many tales!

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  39. Max: In Christianity Lite (most of the American church), believers remain immature – falling far short of the spiritual resources available to them.

    Painfully true (especially in fundagelicalism).
    They’re like the Eloi.
    Totally cowed and herded by the Morlocks.

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  40. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Anytime you cling to “No Creed But Christ,” ISTM you open yourself up to the endless refighting of battles that were fought and resolved at the early Ecumenical Councils.

    Some Baptists have said “No Creed but The Bible”, but that will change if the Neo-cals get their way.

    We traditional Baptist just aren’t as smart as Roman Catholics that accept the “early Ecumenical Councils”.

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  41. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Well, it’s a darned weird and problematical figure of speech.

    Agreed. Don’t even know what such a figure of speech would suggest – that Jesus recognizes the big spenders? But we have long been taught such distorted concepts concerning what salvation and the love of God is that I think many are genuinely confused. If we have been ‘in Christ’ he will know us. Jesus knows his sheep, and they know him. I would have grave concern for someone who puts their trust in ‘good works’ to earn them recognition. But maybe the Pattersons played on this man’s ignorance to encourage donations.

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  42. Oh, good grief, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. So the evangelical church is now pursuing relics and casting themselves in stained glass windows. I think that while many of us were busy living our lives, a big part of the church has been steadily losing its mind.

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  43. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Yikes. Don’t Baptists believe that Jesus the God-Man is *omniscient*??? He doesn’t need you to raise your hand in order to recognize you. No matter how many millions of people surround you, He knows and recognizes you. Because He knows and recognizes everyone and everything.

    This is downright scary theology.

    I’m going to guess this “theology” is modeled after the way the organization works; the example that he’s seen. You know how many say that man creates God in his own image… Without his money and his purchases, would Loveless be able to wave his hand and have any of the bigwigs in his church know who he is? Or would he be an easily discarded nobody like the rest of us?

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  44. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): I wouldn’t really care anymore if my husband wasn’t still putting money in the offering plates. (PS – hubby is now a Gideon. Uhg.)

    i.e. You get to winsomely lick stamps in the Women’s Auxiliary.

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  45. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Anytime you cling to “No Creed But Christ,” ISTM you open yourself up to the endless refighting of battles that were fought and resolved at the early Ecumenical Councils.

    It’s called “Reinventing the Wheel”, with the addition of “DIE, HERETICS!”

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  46. TS00: Agreed. Don’t even know what such a figure of speech would suggest – that Jesus recognizes the big spenders?

    Anyone remember a certain Simon Magus?

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  47. Muff Potter: I’ll stick with my King James Bible and Rocky Raccoon (From The White Album).

    KJV Only has its own set of problems.

    (And I don’t think White Album, I think Marvel Comics and its periodic Silly Seasons.)

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  48. Muff Potter: Wouldn’t ya’ know it.
    Another boyz klub.
    No gurlz allowed.
    I wish to God Christianity would grow up.

    But Gurlz Have COOTIES!

    “IT’S IN REVELATIONS, PEOPLE!”
    — Kent Brockman, The Simpsons

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  49. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: And it appears that the people “finding” or putting into commerce what look like “Dead Sea Scroll-like” fragments have figured out that rich American Evangelicals are a real soft touch when it comes to tiny scraps of parchment the size of a credit card with barely legible writing on them.

    “I go chop you dolla!
    I make you money disappear!
    Four-One-Nine just a game!
    You be the Mugu,
    I be the Masta!”
    — Nigerian pop song about a con man

    As has been documented, these very wealthy but ignorant people are willing to shell out half a million dollars or more for these fragments based on the word of people like the Pattersons, who are not qualified to make those assessments!

    So how does that differ from the Modern Art market?

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  50. SiteSeer: casting themselves in stained glass windows

    IMO, the beginning of the end for the Pattersons at SWBTS. God does not look upon idolatry favorably. That chapel will remain stained until the windows come down.

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  51. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Anytime you cling to “No Creed But Christ,” ISTM you open yourself up to the endless refighting of battles…

    I agree, on at least two counts.

    For one thing, unless Christ is actually here to speak for himself, then there must be a battle for who gets to speak for him. I say “must be”, not because it’s a good thing or a worthwhile goal, but because it’s inevitable. There will always be those who not only hunger for power for themselves, but are adept at gaining followers who will fight for them.

    For another, Christ is not a creed, so in this context, “Christ” is a metaphor. There will inevitably be endless battles over exactly what that metaphor means.

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  52. ION: motor sport

    The US Grom Pree is due to begin in Austintexas in, at the time of writing, just over half an hour. If Sebastian Vettel finishes third or worse and Lewis Hamilton wins, Hamilton will win the 2018 F1 title. Ferrari have improved significantly on their qualifying performance in the last few races, so it could be interestingly close.

    A comparison of F1 and IndyCar is always interesting. The two are similar in many ways but different in a lot of respects.

    IHTIH

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  53. Going back to the beginning:

    Judas Maccabeus: Fund looters in the Middle East rather than students.

    Good one.

    Another factor in this is that the Dead Sea Scrolls (or other documents of antiquity) have a Mythic Value to this kind of Christians.

    Like Finding Noah’s Ark, it’s another straw to grasp that PROVES The Bible Is TRUE!
    PROOF! That I’m Right And You’re All WRONG! HAW! HAW HAW!

    (And when you want to Believe that bad, I’ve got this scrap of parchment with that PROOF I can sell you…

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  54. Ken P.: Some Baptists have said “No Creed but The Bible”, but that will change if the Neo-cals get their way.

    At which point, the Eternal Party Line becomes “No Creed but Calvin”.

    Calvin as a new Mohammed, the Final Prophet superseding all the previous ones (like that Rabbi from Nazareth) with his Koran. (Didn’t someone say “Calvin Islamized the Reformation”?)

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  55. Nick Bulbeck: A comparison of F1 and IndyCar is always interesting. The two are similar in many ways but different in a lot of respects.

    My favorite F1s are the mid-Sixties “slipper bodies” between four wheels. Simple, elegant, in national rqcing colors with maybe a manufacturer’s mark instead of today’s over-greebled starship enterprises/rolling billboards.

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  56. So how does that differ from the Modern Art market?

    Nobody buying modern art does so thinking that latest Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst or (fill in the blank, there’s so much “art” out there) is the word of God.

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  57. Serious question for those in the SBC or attending one or up on their materials.

    We are back to a church search. One is a reformed SBC church. It doesn’t seem to be Calvinista, but more the generic reformed type. Time will tell. But most of the SS classes we have visited (very large church lots of classes) use Lifeway material.

    Which often has me going huh? See, I did a study a while back of prosperity teaching. Prosperity preachers start often with the assumption God has chosen you to bless with His wonderful awesome fantastic plan. You are a chosen prince or princess and so of course God’s plan for you is wonderful stuff, not slogging through rough times.

    Which is pretty much what we are getting in that SBC SS. Not to mention from the pulpit. It appears to us they are out Hagin-ing Kenneth Hagin. Out Pealeing Norman Vincent.

    Is it just me getting jaded, or are the new Calvinists either the world’s more poorly educated in Calvinism or have they been blinded by the prosperity bug and do not even know it?

    It all seems vacuous and yet so me me me I am so special oriented. And delivered in such a fake emotional breathy style.

    We are alternating with a pretty fundamentalist independent Baptist church. I am not into some of the fundamentalism stuff but the teaching and preaching is about 5% that and 95% old time SBC. Very oriented towards Jesus, towards seeing people saved, on the sin–wages thereof–redemption–salvation message rather than on felt needs.

    The SBC feels more Joel Osteen over a base of reformed theology, the fundamental one more classic W A Criswell.

    Am I in some sort of mach speed time warp or what?

    Anyone else see the prosperity teaching in current Lifeway products?

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  58. GMFS

    Very early morning, to be exact – it’s 01:15 here, but I had to get up for carbs as my blood sugar is low. (I get gold stars for my glycaemic control, but I don’t get it right all the time.)

    Anyway, I know Wartburgers the world over will all be hoping this weekend’s Courage Conference in Raleigh went well.

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  59. I was told or I read somewhere that stained glass windows were created to educate the illiterate masses and to inspire. Is that true? I have always admired them myself in the right context with inspirational images and truth. But I would like to think most people would be repulsed by crass images of denominational celebrities and stage a revolt at the sight of such a thing. These sound like they send a horrible message. It’s amazing what is tolerated in the church these days.

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  60. Noevangelical: I was told or I read somewhere that stained glass windows were created to educate the illiterate masses and to inspire. Is that true?

    As far as I know, it is.
    Next time I’m inside my parish church, I’ll try to list the subjects of the stained glass windows. If I remember right, one side has the Seven Fruits of the Spirit and the other the Seven Sacraments, each with a Biblical reference under a portrait of a Saint associated with the virtue or sacrament. Under these are a band of mosaics of the Stations of the Cross (for Lent/Good Friday liturgy); the back wall above the choir loft is another, much larger mosaic about The Martyrdom of the church’s name-Saint. No bandstands, laser shows, or fog machines.

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  61. SiteSeer: Without his money and his purchases, would Loveless be able to wave his hand and have any of the bigwigs in his church know who he is?

    I can’t hear the name “Loveless” without thinking of The Wild Wild West

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  62. linda:
    Is it just me getting jaded, or are the new Calvinists either the world’s more poorly educated in Calvinism or have they been blinded by the prosperity bug and do not even know it?

    I don’t actually think theology is as important to their leaders as they claim. I think it’s all about filling seats and coffers.

    The New Cals change their theology or say different things all the time. Some of them may have real beliefs, but judging by TGC’s weird fascination with Machiavelli, I think their main philosophy is “the end justifies the means”.

    The true believers in the clan say they are all about theology, but they are taught not to think too deeply and just accept things verbatim. I remember one guy who quoted somebody for every question anybody asked about God, mostly Piper or Mohler. He gave the default, “You just can’t comprehend it” any time someone found a hole in what he was saying. Of course, it was clear that he was the one that really didn’t understand.

    So I’m not surprised they are falling to prosperity gospel tactics. It’s probably a way to sucker in people to sign that covenant. If they do require you to join and sign a covenant, I would get out of there fast. Just because New Cals appear one way on the outside doesn’t mean that all the nasty stuff we talk about on TWW still isn’t happening behind closed doors at that church. That’s exactly how they operate.

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  63. Muff Potter: They’re like the Eloi.
    Totally cowed and herded by the Morlocks.

    And we all know what the Morlocks used the Eloi for.

    Or they’re like the totally-domesticated populace in Demolition Man?

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  64. ishy–thanks! Formal membership is not even on our radar screen at this time. Just in the visiting around stage. And at least some of the people have their heads screwed on straight apparently. I’m just curious how prosperity the SBC has gone. I quit attending ladies’ Bible studies in our previous town sponsored by the SBC. Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer and Jennifer Rothschild were indistinguishable to me from Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen teaching. Just Beth is more in your face trust me I know this stuff and you don’t, Priscilla more canned family jokes, and Jennifer more works focused.

    This church is big enough to have some big names coming in the pipeline. So far I’ve just ignored the sign up sheets but I’m sure someone at some point may push for attendees. Nope not me. Bring in someone good (Kay Arthur maybe, or Anne Graham Lotz) but not chick study lite.

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  65. Afterburne:
    Here is how a different museum is handling it’s fake dead scroll fragments:

    https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/10/22/us/bible-museum-fake-scrolls/index.html

    This isn’t any old museum, it’s the Museum of the Bible. It was warned by scholars before opening a year ago that the fragments were likely fakes. In between that and the owner Steve Green’s attempt to smuggle in cuneiform tablets (for which he had to pay a multi million dollar fine), the place is looking a bit cursed.

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  66. The Bible Museum’s lunchroom serves real manna to visiting VIPs:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/is-this-biblical-food-the-next-foodie-fad-this-chef-thinks-so/2018/08/03/1f2cafa2-8b60-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html

    Bible Museum chef Todd Gray “had gotten his first taste of manna from an Iranian named Behroush Sharifi…[who] makes his living selling imported Iranian spices…Gray remembers buying an ounce or two of manna from him for about $35”

    “It comes in semi-translucent clumps that look almost exactly like Grape-Nuts”

    “Last November, Gray bought out much of Sharifi’s remaining manna: He paid $325 for a one-pound bag. He uses his dwindling supply sparingly, sprinkling it on dishes for the museum’s VIP visitors”

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  67. Lea: How many places are buying fake dead sea scrolls!!!

    Con man George Parker sold the Brooklyn Bridge multiple times during the heydays of his scam, Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower ‘twice’, Charles Ponzi defrauded numerous investors and destroyed six banks, C.J. Mahaney continues in ministry, etc.

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  68. The Dead Sea Scroll scam which ensnared Patterson and others is evidence once again that American Christians are gullible, have a dearth of spiritual discernment, and a great lack of common sense. Consider New Calvinism, for example.

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  69. Max,

    In the interests of strict accuracy, I beg to propose an amendment: among professing christians in America, there are people who are gullible, etc etc. Some of those are rich and/or influential, and are gullible (or exploitative) to the tune of megadollars at a time. But there are American christians who are quietly getting on with being decent folk, after all; and if there ever is such a thing as a “day of judgement”, then what they’re doing in secret will be rewarded.

    I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence here – no Wartburger needs me to tell them the above – but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to state the obvious.

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  70. Jerome: Bible Museum chef Todd Gray “had gotten his first taste of manna from an Iranian named Behroush Sharifi…[who] makes his living selling imported Iranian spices…Gray remembers buying an ounce or two of manna from him for about $35”

    “It comes in semi-translucent clumps that look almost exactly like Grape-Nuts”

    “Last November, Gray bought out much of Sharifi’s remaining manna: He paid $325 for a one-pound bag. He uses his dwindling supply sparingly, sprinkling it on dishes for the museum’s VIP visitors”

    $35 an ounce, $325 a pound…
    No provenance as to whether it REALLY is manna from the Book of Exodus…
    Reserved only for VIPs (i.e. the Rich and Powerful)…
    Somebody really ought to add Authentic Gopher Wood Piece from Noah’s Ark.

    “Look, Flim!”
    “What, Flam?”
    “Easy Marks with Too Much Money! Let us Relieve them of their Burden!”

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  71. Headless Unicorn Guy: $35 an ounce, $325 a pound…
    No provenance as to whether it REALLY is manna from the Book of Exodus…
    Reserved only for VIPs (i.e. the Rich and Powerful)…
    Somebody really ought to add Authentic Gopher Wood Piece from Noah’s Ark.

    “Look, Flim!”
    “What, Flam?”
    “Easy Marks with Too Much Money! Let us Relieve them of their Burden!”

    Jerome: The Bible Museum’s lunchroom serves real manna to visiting VIPs:

    “And in the morning there’s Manna hotcakes!
    We snack on Manna all day!
    And they sure had a winner
    Last night for dinner —
    Flaming Manna Souflee!
    Manna-burgers!
    Manna-bagels!
    Ba-Manna-bread!”
    — Keith Green, “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?”, circa-1970s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qokgHJeUqTg

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  72. Lea: I was literally just reading this article and came by to see if it was related to this story. How many places are buying fake dead sea scrolls!!! Sheesh.

    Pardoners with Authentic Relics.

    Remember the anti-Catholic joke about if you collected all the relics of the True Cross you could fill a warehouse with them?

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  73. Nick Bulbeck: there are American christians who are quietly getting on with being decent folk, after all; and if there ever is such a thing as a “day of judgement”, then what they’re doing in secret will be rewarded

    Agreed. Most in the American church will never become subjects of The Wartburg Watch. There has always been the Church within the church, the real-deal Body of Christ who are serving Him faithfully. Praise God!! You can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, but the bathwater in the organized church seems to be getting a little dirtier as time goes on. So we put up with it, I suppose, in our attempt to do church until the sheep are separated from the goats on That Day, when the wolves shed their sheep clothing and you know for sure who they have been. In the meantime, the Church within the church needs to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves … and ready to stand and act when the balance tips to the dark side.

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  74. Max: Most in the American church will never become subjects of The Wartburg Watch. There has always been the Church within the church, the real-deal Body of Christ who are serving Him faithfully. Praise God!!

    Unfortunately, Max, all too often the de facto definition of “the real-deal Body of Christ who are serving Him faithfully” is “MINE, NOT THINE!”

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  75. Lea: To be fair, art museum’s have bought (and displayed) lots and lots fakes, if I understand these things correctly. Still.

    That’s just the secular version of “Authentic Relics”.

    A couple guys I know claim that the fine art scene has become the province of Con Men and rich art collectors with more money than sense, pee-their-pants afraid of NOT being “Hip”, “Artistic”, and “With It”. So they become easy marks for “Artistes” who (sometimes literally) squeeze out a turd, call it “AHRT” and charge (and get) million$ for their “Masterpiece”.

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  76. Headless Unicorn Guy: all too often the de facto definition of “the real-deal Body of Christ who are serving Him faithfully” is “MINE, NOT THINE!”

    Yeah, I’ve heard about folks like that. In Heaven: “Shhhh, they think they are the only ones here.”

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  77. Max: In the meantime, the Church within the church needs to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves …

    Because being wise as guinea pigs eventually ends up harmless as black mambas.

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