My Advice to Former Members of Cave City Baptist Church: Find Someplace That Isn’t Measuring Your Holiness Quotient.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Let me start this of by making something clear for our newer readers. I believe in church discipline for serious situations. Let me spell a few out. This assumes there is no repentance involved.

  • A man dumps his wife and 3 kids and shacks up with his 20 something honey and continues to attend church.
  • A pastor or church leaders in involved in adultery with members of the congregation (or even nonmembers.

There are also some discipline problems that are also crimes and must involve law enforcement.

  • A youth pastor molests a kid in the youth program.
  • A lay worker embezzles funds.

Dee would also like to get rid of anyone who is involved in multi-level marketing (Joke, folks!)…

So what’s the back story with Cedar City Baptist Church?

The Christian Post wrote Kentucky Church Defends Itself Amid Media Swirl Over Member Roll Purge, Church Discipline Policies.

Cave City Baptist Church, situated in south central Kentucky near Bowling Green, sent letters to approximately 70 members to say were not attending services “habitually,” giving “regularly,” or participating in the congregation’s “organized work,” as is required of members per the congregation’s bylaws.

Notable media coverage ensued with some members expressing anger over how they were delisted. Yet the pastor of the church is not backing down and says he and the church are being misrepresented.

The pastor, Ryan Broers, said the following. Some of our attentive readers will pick up on a meme which I shall helpfully highlight.

The only reason I commented publicly is that it became public knowledge when a man who has not been to the church in 20 years made it public on Facebook. This is a church discipline issue and we are following our bylaws. Many attempts for several years were made both in letters and in person when people could be located and were willing to speak. If anyone feels they received the letters in error, they are welcome to call and have a conversation with me.”

…Cave City Baptist Pastor Ryan Broers said in a Friday text message to Baptist Press he is “weary of the media circus” and that “lots of lies and half-truths are being told.”

Apparently some of the church members didn’t take kindly to this and expressed some rather negative (!) opinions on Yelp.The following reviewer actually hit the nail on the head.

was growing up, churches were a place you could go and feel welcome, regardless of your current situation. In my church there were people of the congregation that, at the time, were down on their luck but the church supported them and donated money, got them jobs, houses, etc. I get the feeling most homeless people wouldn’t be comfortable approaching your “church.” Am I wrong? How many people outside your circle have you helped in the past month? We can stretch it to a year if it helps your numbers?! What I’m saying is help more and judge less. Kicking out semi-members isn’t a great way to grow your crowd, yaknow… Unless you’re just worried about those tithes!! Just admit you’re a business and not a religion?! And this isn’t just you, but you and all your cronies.

Cave City Baptist Church’s website is not operational.

I guess the publicity got to them. The only page that seems to be working is the staff page. My guess is they have ditched social media to ride out the storm.

What is TWW’s beef with church discipline?

TWW has written extensively on the problems with membership covenants which we call contracts. You can access a bunch of them here.

Virtually all covenants state that members must be disciplined when they sin. But, sin is a broad category. Do we throw someone out from the church for cussing out the driver who cut him off? What about a member who doesn’t give a hoot about poor people? Frankly, everyone sins each and every day and is in constant need of forgiveness.

Abusive church leaders refuse to say, a priori, what they will discipline. This means that just about anything can be disciplined by abusive church leaders. TWW’s most famous example is Todd Wilhelm’s discipline by UCCDubai-a 9 Marks church. 9 Marks has earned the name of the *Hotel California” of church discipline. Todd disagreed with them selling books by CJ Mahaney due to the number of sex abuse complaints in his churches.

Todd, exhibiting a righteous right of conscious, left the church. He was disciplined by being put on the church’s *care list*-a 9 Marks euphemism meaning one is under church discipline. His sin? Well, disagreeing with them and refusing to immediately join a 9 Marks approved church. You can read about this in My, My Dubai.

So what does this have to do with Cave City’s actions. Everything!

What is the back story? Simple-the Calvinistas invaded and pulled the rug out from under the church.

There are three main things to understand in order to figure out what just happened.

  1. Ryan Broers is a 2012 graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Brad and his wife Karen have been married for more than 11 years and they have four children (Caleb, Bethany, Joshua, and Jordan). He graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in December 2012 with his Masters of Divinity

This is the home of hard nosed Calvinism and it teaches strict church discipline, claiming, of course, that it is biblical. Funny thing about this is that they are correct, it is biblical. However, not in the way they apply it, in my opinion. This seminary promotes the resources of 9 Marks which is the home for church discipline “done the right way.” Broers stayed in Kentucky, close to his alma mater. I bet he is a true believer.

2. If you are booted from the church, this means your Christianity is called into question. 

Do you think I am exaggerating? Do not doubt me. Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote Jonathan Leeman/Mark Dever: The Keys Are the Key to Understanding Their Words. Leeman is the chief architect for 9 Marks on church membership and church discipline, all of which Boers studied at SBTS and is now applying at Cave City.

The church gets to decide who is a true confessor of the faith and who is a “citizen of the kingdom of heaven.”

But, strictly speaking, I would argue that the exercise of the keys is the pronouncing of a judgment. It is a legal or judicial binding or loosing. It is a church’s decision about what constitutes a right confession and who is a true confessor.

In other words, the keys are put into practice whenever

a church decides upon a confession of faith that will bind all church members,
a church admits a member,
a church excludes a member.

The holder of the keys—the church—is being called upon to assess a person’s life and profession of faith and then to make a heavenly sanctioned and public pronouncement affirming or denying the person’s citizenship in the kingdom and inclusion in the church.

3. Leeman believes that communion cannot be given to shut ins.

This means that elderly members may be sidelined by pastors attempting to limit input into church changes.

Addressing the former and current members who have been ill-treated at Cave City Baptist.

I have a question for members of Cave City. Did Broers tell you upfront what he was going to do? Did he tell you that he was instituting a strict church membership program? Did he make you sign a membership contract? Did he explain that it was a legal document? Did he change the bylaws? Did the *cleaning of the church roles* occur prior to changing any bylaws or the church constitution? Did he appoint new elders who agreed with him?

As former members you might want to read this story that Boers’ seminary thinks is the epitome of how to take over a church. Andy Davis and First Baptist Durham: I Wonder If Wormwood Grinned?  I have some wonderful friends who were hurt by Davis’ holy takeover.

My guess is that Broers is using the 9 Marks materials from SBTS on church discipline. So, Broers plays games with what constitutes the sins that will get punished. He has decided that includes:

  • Not giving enough money
  • Not doing enough *organized work* for the church
  • Not attending a certain amount

Oddly other churches who do this pick other sins like:

  • Not appropriately supporting the vision casting
  • Asking too many questions
  • Refusing to support CJ Mahaney who is worshipped at SBTS
  • Confronting the church about how they handled a sex abuse situation

SBTS weighs in an attempts to defend Boers while apparently telling a bit of a fib

Can any or readers or members of Cave City Baptist Church figure out what is wrong with the following statement?

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary administrator Hershael York posted several tweets in defense of Broers and expressed his irritatation with the media. He asked the Lexington Herald-Leader, which reported on the matter, “if the Rotary Club dismissing members for non-attendance and non-payment of dues is noteworthy.”

An accurate headline for what happened at Cave City Baptist, he said, was “Church requires members to take their commitment seriously,” and inquired if the Kentucky newspaper pays “a reporter to troll Facebook and report the latest rant against a church as news.”

“Hershael, Hershael, Hershael, tell the truth so the poor former members at Cave City can figure out what just happened to them. Or do you want to keep them in the dark since it is a but awkward?

As you know, the church is an entirely different entity than the Rotary Club. Let me count the ways.

  • The Rotary Club does not deign to judge the very soul  and salvation of their members like 9 Marks discipline claims to do.
  • Most people who join the Rotary Club have access to the internal records. They know about the money situation. Most people at SBTS does not want people to know how much their pastors make, right?
  • Do members of the Rotary Club pursue former members to their new club such as Junior League or the Knights of Columbus to inform them they shouldn’t accept the formerRotaians as members since the Rotary Club has judged their very souls?
  • Oh, Hershael, do you really think the Rotary Club would keep CJ as a member?
  • Do members of the Rotary Club suddenly switch their raison d’être?
  • The Rotary Club simply removes the name of a former member. It doesn’t kick him in the pants on his way out the door. (This is the caveat I was mentioning.)”

Broers’ comments that social media is really just lies and half truths.

As an expert at confronting church leadership, I laughed at his response. Please note that Broers, unlike me, will not tell you what is a lie and what is a half truth. He keeps it undefined because he does not have an examples of “lies and half truths.” I always document the lies and help truths. He should do so as well if he wishes to be thought of as credible.

In fact, former members have outlined their concerns. It is up to Broers to respond but he does the typical, ho-hum, Calvinista response “Not true and you are making me tired.” In other words, “I ain’t talking because that is what they taught me to do.”

Church discipline is meant to produce joy but these men need to understand how it is erratically employed and causes terrific pain.

Apparently things are not settling down. The initial discussion occurred in July 2018. Further discussion occurred on November 14, 2018 in the Christian Post. Church Discipline Is ‘Meant to Produce Joy’ Not Oppression, Theology Professor Says

Thankfully, this article stresses the need for extensive deliberation before applying discipline. However, once again, it does not define what should be disciplined. They.refuse.to.do.this. The question is why? I believe they want the freedom to go after someone with whom they are not comfortable-like the guy who questions how they handled a pedophile situation.

“If we can get back to that doctrine of sin, we can then start saying something like, ‘Discipline is done for progress and joy in the faith.’ It’s not meant to produce a, as you said, a grim, austere kind of environment. It’s meant to produce joy,” replied Kimble.

Kimble then drew a parallel to when a parent disciplines a child and explains to them that “I’m doing this because I love you.”

Dr Bock claims that poorly applied discipline is bad but he doesn’t seem to understand the life-long consequences of bad, sinful discipline. This, in itself, is a terrific sin that can push people away from the church. I know. Many have told me this.

“The worst thing you want to do is discipline someone who doesn’t deserve it, and deal with whatever the array of factors might be that could be in play.

The authors admit that there are legal implications of discipline. What they miss is advising church members to discuss their membership contracts with a lawyer prior to signing. TWW believes that NO ONE should sign such a document without first discussing the long term implications with a lawyer. Sure, churches need to protect themselves but so do church members. And don’t give me the line that the members are the church.  Just see how that goes by the wayside in a legal dispute.

There is also a potential legal dimension, Bock added, noting that, “in an American legal context,” practicing discipline “might get the church into trouble.”

“We have some good lawyers in our church that are able to give us some guidance in that regard, as well, to know what kinds of documentation do we need,” Kimble replied.

“If you’re committed to membership and discipline, and you want to do those things biblically and correctly, and you get into that process, you have to be able to account for, not just church realities, but world realities.”

Hershael York once again demonstrates why church members need to protect themselves. Read this carefully and see if you see what I see.

“Church membership is a covenant relationship. We are accountable to the Lord and to one another,” York tweeted earlier this year.

“Worship attendance, service, communion, the ministry of the Word, submission to the elders, and holiness are not arbitrary requirements of membership but mandatory commands of Jesus.”

York claims that *holiness” and “submission to the elders” are mandatory commands of Jesus. But he NEVER gives examples of what holiness looks like in the church community. This means a mean, power hungry pastor could claim that Joe Member is not being holy in how he says things. Then Joe Member is open to be abusively disciplined by the church. Oh yeah, and he must submit to the elders, even if they are wrong and abusive.

Bad news for former Cave City Baptist members.

Broers is a true believer and really doesn’t give a fig about your concerns. He has a bigger agenda and SBTS is standing in back of him. They have lots of money and lots of influence. Protect yourselves. Whatever you do, do not meet with Broers in a one on one meeting unless you are recording it. You can do this without telling him because Kentucky is a one party consent state. In the end, you will not win unless he leaves the church. You can try but it is bound to end in misery and pain.

Share your stories on social media and TWW

You have a legal right to tell your stories on social media in order to warn others. You just need to tell what you believe to be the truth. Please contact dee@thwartburgwatch or on Twitter @wartwatch. Any communication will be held in strict confidence. I would like to document what happened at your church.

Church should be an adventure as you learn about the God of the universe. If pain is chronically attached to a church, get out and find a good one with great pastors. They are out there but you may need to leave your comfort zone. I did and found peace and joy. My church is not in the business of measuring your holiness quotient and the pastors are actually nice guys.

Remember: “Not all who wander are lost. “JRR Tolkien


Comments

My Advice to Former Members of Cave City Baptist Church: Find Someplace That Isn’t Measuring Your Holiness Quotient. — 99 Comments

  1. Ryan Broers is a 2012 graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
    Brad and his wife Karen have been married for more than 11 years and they have four children (Caleb, Bethany, Joshua, and Jordan). He graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in December 2012 with his Masters of Divinity.

    Confused. Who is the pastor, Brad Asbury or Ryan Broers?

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  2. Bronze!

    Dee, one correction: in Jonathan Leeman’s article, he was quoting (and disagreeing with) Mark Dever on whether a shut-in can be served communion. Dever says no; Leeman says yes, but that it may not be necessary outside of the context of the congregation.

    I’m not a fan of Leeman, or of Dever. This is controlling, nit-picky stuff. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them…” Applies to shut-ins too.

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  3. Quote: “Kimble then drew a parallel to when a parent disciplines a child and explains to them that “I’m doing this because I love you.””

    How many parents discipline their children for doing what they believed to be necessary and right? (i.e. leaving an abusive spouse) How many parents shun their children after they discipline them? How many parents tell all their children’s friends to have nothing to do with them… unless they pile on them and scold them for being “bad”? How many parents tell their children not to cross the door of their home again unless they are “truly repentant” (for doing what they thought was right)? In my humble opinion… most church discipline is done NOT because of “love” but rather because the power and control of the leaders has been threatened and this is their way to scare everyone else into submitting to whatever rules they decide to make.

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  4. ___

    Shtick Pastor(s): In This 501c3 Plaze: “Mistaken For A Divine Depository Of Amazing Grace, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    After being removed from the rolls of my PCA church quadruple times (i.e. the church I attended in my youth) , I asked the Lord about it and He said it was not any of His doing, essentially, that it was not of His will. This from a God, whom the Calvinists there say doesn’t speak to anyone anymore outside His Holy Word…

    huh?

    Imagine dat?

    They simply had absolutely no idea that amongst the scafellting, rain water, and the crushed empty beer cans, amid this newly constructed church building without a roof, this insignificant little one, alone, unattended quietly prayed a special prayer of dedication, the effects of which are felt today…

    The moral of this little one’s story?

    The Lord knows His own, even if the 501c3 ‘church’ authorities don’t.

    *

    I love thee, O LORD, You are ALL my strength. You have never failed me.
    With thanksgiving in my heart, and praise upon my lips, Church is where Your little ones are!

    Please Watch for them… 🙂

    ATB

    Your Sòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rQSaPjasi3Y

    ;~)

    – –
    Musical Clift Notes: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gKd58Nfr-dM

    -=-

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  5. My wife and I dared not to sign (without alterations) a “Leadership Covenant” at a Vineyard church that said we would give them 10% of our gross income. One senior pastor dared to lecture me that I was spiritually immature for disagreeing with their rigid giving rule. We left, of course.

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  6. As you know, the church is an entirely different entity than the Rotary Club.

    That’s true. The Rotary Club isn’t (as far as I know) split into thousands of small local rotary clubs, each claiming to be the one true Rotary Club and opposing other local rotary clubs in the same town. Though I’d be very surprised if there were no politics in a Rotary Club chapter, to be fair.

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  7. “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary administrator Hershael York posted several tweets in defense of Broers and expressed his irritatation with the media. He asked the Lexington Herald-Leader, which reported on the matter, “if the Rotary Club dismissing members for non-attendance and non-payment of dues is noteworthy.”

    Dues? Really? Cheerful giving as one is led is compared to dues? What the Lord said about those who tithe of mint and cumin disregarded the weightier matters of the Law — justice, mercy, and faithfulness — comes to mind. Of course, note the agricultural nature of tithes, which is one of many aspects that make this old covenant Mosaic law action not a straight proscription for modern churches. Speaking of what is noteworthy, having it makes news that the use of giving standards and church memberships may be used as barriers to fellowship in the brave new SBC and elsewhere is not the worst thing I can think of.

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  8. As many on this site have observed before, LOVE is not one of the 9-Marx! If you are a member of a 9-Marks affiliated church, my advice to you is—RUN! Run and don’t look back. If they already have the wheels in motion and have made everyone sign a membership contract, it’s most likely too late to get rid of them.

    Our little church narrowly missed destruction by one of these fresh-faced Southern Seminary graduates. Fortunately, godly people challenged his 9-Marks’ teachings before he could put ‘his’ people in place, and he left in a huff. I am thankful for that every day.

    My prayer is that the people in Cave City can find a church that truly loves them. Anybody thinking of joining a church should carefully study Romans 12 and see if the people and pastors there emulate it. If they don’t, keep on walkin’!

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  9. Just a thought, a hypothetical question, what should Cave City Baptist do ( members or staff alike ) if LGBQ+ come forward to join cave city baptist church ?

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  10. Ken P.: Ryan Broers is a 2012 graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
    Brad…graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in December 2012 with his Masters of Divinity.

    Confused. Who is the pastor, Brad Asbury or Ryan Broers?

    Brad Asbury is the former pastor (moved to Georgia in early 2017). Looks like the church website has not been updated. Apparently this new pastor Ryan Broers (bachelor’s degree in Bible/counseling from SBTS’s Boyce College) has been much too busy alienating folks to bother with that?

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  11. OK, so the members in question were:

    (1) not attending services “habitually”
    (2) not giving “regularly” or
    (3) not participating in the congregation’s “organized work”

    Which one do you think bothered Brother Broers the most?

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  12. Not at Cave City so I have no real clue what has happened or is happening there.

    Currently my official membership in a local church (which I no longer attend) does include in its rule book (denominational)some standards of behavior members agree to live by. Nothing radical. Plus there is provision that if you do not attend unless providentially hindered (illness, old age, deployment) for six months you are removed from membership.

    They do not judge your salvation, just state that by not attending, giving, participating in ministry, or otherwise behaving like you still want to be part of the church, you may be removed. They don’t have to contact you as you know this going in, but most of the time pastor’s do contact and make sure you are not sick, going through a crisis, moved, dead, etc.

    But it sure beats having a membership of 1600 with about 400 that are in any way active like the local SBC. The church where I am member is not Calvinist either.

    So while I do not know HOW this was handled at Cave City, I am all for folks who COULD attend at least sporadically but NEVER attend being considered to have tacitly left the church and removed from membership. I’ve encountered too many in the SBC who “joined the church my family has been part of for 150 years” when they were 10 in VBS, essentially drop out at 20, and then want the reduced rate on church facility use for weddings, and expect the pastor they have never met to hold their hand through a death and funeral, all for free or dang near it because “I am a member of this church.” That, and showing up to vote on something controversial when they have not darkened the door of the church in years.

    Church membership has nothing at all to do with one’s status as saved or not. It is only a question of organizational “taking care of business.” If you never attend, or give, or participate and are able to do those things, you are not a member. Sort of like the “family member” who disappears for 30 years, hits some hard times or wants a share of an estate and comes back bashing their family for “abandoning them in their time of need.” You want to be family, you act like family.

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  13. I suspect some of those 70 members were “traditional” Southern Baptists and dropped out when they realized that New Calvinism had arrived. It would be interesting to know if Brother Broers deceived his way into the pulpit by eluding questions from the pastor search committee about his theological leaning, which is modus operandi by many young reformers coming out of SBTS.

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  14. “My guess is they have ditched social media to ride out the storm.” (Dee)

    Well, that’s not a very social thing to do! Yep, too many folks peeking in on them. Hard to see through closed doors … and scary to think about.

    IMO, those members who received the “my way or the highway” letter should count it all joy!! There is freedom in Christ, not at Cave City Baptist.

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  15. Still, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why otherwise intelligent and rational adults put themselves under these kinds of religious dictatorships.

    What is the mechanism in the human psyche that drives folks to do this?

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  16. If church leaders didn’t implement formal membership, they wouldn’t have these membership problems and never would the members.

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  17. Muff Potter,

    “Still, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why otherwise intelligent and rational adults put themselves under these kinds of religious dictatorships.

    What is the mechanism in the human psyche that drives folks to do this?”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    perhaps…

    God is so huge, mysterious, so other — an overwhelming prospect (if not a little frightening)

    we are so rotten & insignificant & stupid

    the way to God must surely require some pain

    the way to a huge and mysterious God must surely require an expert to tell us what to do

    therefore, the more discomfort, the more sacrifice as explained by the expert, the more we are on the narrow road and the closer we are getting to the huge and mysterious God.

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  18. Muff Potter: Still, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why otherwise intelligent and rational adults put themselves under these kinds of religious dictatorships.

    What is the mechanism in the human psyche that drives folks to do this?

    TruthSeeker touched on this earlier this week on TWW’s piece about Karen Porter and Andy Savage. In regard to the New Calvinist cult:

    ” … your entire life is built around this cult. You have held and/or hold positions of leadership. All of your friends derive from this cult. Most of your family’s activities center around this cult. You have absorbed and personally adjusted your beliefs and behaviors based upon what has been proclaimed as ‘true’ within the walls of this cult. You have shared these ‘truths’ with others. If this cult falls, you lose the center of your world, affecting everything and everyone that matters to you.” (TS00)

    My response to TS00:

    “It is a psychology they (cult leaders) depend on to gain the upper hand by indoctrinating followers with “This alone is truth.” They set up “we vs. they” (we have truth, they don’t) to keep you in the fold. The deeper one slips into the dark abyss of aberrant faith, the harder it is to think critically. When doubt begins to rise, cult converts look around them and see that their friends and family who are also ensnared in the cult have no problem with it, so they fall back under the spell.

    When we think of cults, we think of the extremes (Jim Jones, etc.), but aberrant faith (e.g., New Calvinism) can kill you spiritually. Sadly, many who continue to believe the lie do so out of a sincere quest for religious connection. They find a church family, while their leaders find their pocketbooks.” (Max)

    I call this desire to maintain religious connection at all costs “soul ties.” It’s hard for some folks to break religious family ties. Some soul ties will stunt your spiritual growth if you hang on too long … it’s best to do the hard thing – break them and move on. Jesus said “My yoke is easy” … in the authoritarian world of New Calvinism, the yoke is hard.

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  19. Banning multi-level marketing (couldn’t actually ban, but could appeal to people to not market to each other, and to not listen to marketing pitches from each other) is not bad idea; it feels quite a bit like the bringing of commerce into the Temple precincts, that greatly offended Jesus.

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  20. elastigirl,

    the way i see it:

    i remember when my firstborn was born. as soon as i saw him it was like, “there you are! i’ve known you my whole life but here you are! I see you!”

    it wasn’t like “finally…i’ve waited so long to actually see you” — it was like i had always known him, he’d always been there.

    i think that’s God and all creation. i think God is as familiar as the air we breath, as the warm sun on our skin, the smell of special food cooking we may remember from our childhood, the smell of coffee in the morning,…

    i truly don’t think God is complicated or mysterious at all.

    i absolutely do NOT believe God is counter-intuitive.

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  21. re: “The church gets to decide who is a true confessor of the faith and who is a “citizen of the kingdom of heaven.”

    there is a very large unstated assumption underlying this — that we can be confident that present-day church leaders are legitimate heirs of the apostles and inherit the promises Jesus made to the apostles (such as “the keys”).

    My thought in regard to this is that Jesus also promised the apostles that after His departure, they would pray to the Father in Jesus’ name, and the Father would do for them whatever they asked.

    I don’t know any contemporary church leader who can do this. The options are not encouraging. Either a) contemporary leaders are not legitimate successors of the apostles and so do not inherit promises made to them (in which case they DON’t have “the keys”), or b) this promise is no longer operative, in which case one is justified in wondering whether the “keys” promise is also operative, or else c) present-day church leaders don’t know how to “pray in Jesus name”, in which case one is justified in wondering whether they know how to rightly use “the keys.”

    Either way, one is justified in regarding these people with deep skepticism.

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  22. Instead of a pastor measuring the holiness quotient in the pew, it would be better for him to demonstrate holiness himself … beginning with dropping the authoritarian gimmick to keep the pew in line. Love them, don’t rule them.

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  23. elastigirl,

    or, like this:

    we are organic beings, being birthed and living and sleeping and following the arc of life in the organic world.

    we are surrounded by the elements (of nature, of the periodic table, however you want to break it down) and they are not strange to us. they are familiar.

    the science behind the elements and why and how they are and why and how they interact with each other is mysterious and complicated (to me, at least).

    but the elements are familiar to us and not foreign.

    i see it the same way with the spiritual.

    we are spiritual beings. we are birthed and live and sleep and follow the arc of life in the the spiritual world. we are surrounded by spirit. it is familiar, not foreign (even for those who don’t believe in the spiritual).

    the what/how/why behind it all is mysterious and therefore seemingly complicated.

    but God and spirit is not mysterious or complicated. it is familiar and not foreign.

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  24. Root 66:
    As many on this site have observed before, LOVE is not one of the 9-Marx!If you are a member of a 9-Marks affiliated church, my advice to you is—RUN! Run and don’t look back.If they already have the wheels in motion and have made everyone sign a membership contract, it’s most likely too late to get rid of them.

    Our little church narrowly missed destruction by one of these fresh-faced Southern Seminary graduates. Fortunately, godly people challenged his 9-Marks’ teachings before he could put ‘his’ people in place, and he left in a huff.I am thankful for that every day.

    My prayer is that the people in Cave City can find a church that truly loves them.Anybody thinking of joining a church should carefully study Romans 12 and see if the people and pastors there emulate it.If they don’t, keep on walkin’!

    Well said!

    And perhaps like zealous and doctrinally sound and well-disciplined but loveless church at Ephesus that Jesus threatened with closure, 9-Marks churches will eventually find that their lampstands are also removed.

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  25. I was quite surprised to read that this happened back in July and wasn’t a recent event. I was also surprised that people were offended by the letter sent to them. Presumably when they became members, they were baptised as adults and gave testimony to their faith, like all good Baptists, whether Arminian or Calvinist. And presumably they agreed to abide by the rules laid down by their church. If they then fell away from attendance and the commitments they had given, it seems only right to remove them from membership.
    I was also surprised to read that this process of updating the membership records had been going on for a number of years prior to the new pastor’s arrival and long before the letters were sent out. So it doesn’t look like it happened out of the blue.

    What isn’t surprising is the way TWW chose to report it as if it were a terrible deed hatched by evil Calvinists, who, rather than sticking another chicken on the Saturday night barbecue ( à la pot luck Arminians), decided to cause mayhem instead by actually asking members to live up to their profession, much like Lutheran churches that insist on similar commitment (see as an example: http://www.waconiafaithlutheran.com/hp_wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Membership-Covenant.pdf)

    As the guys at PulpitandPen said “Wow. It seems like the pastor was doing his job. Now, cue the outrage.”

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  26. I read the Christian Post article and then the next one under it. Here’s an interesting quote from that one:

    “According to the data, 29 percent of Pentecostal pastors, 23 percent of Holiness pastors and 19 percent of Baptist pastors said that their churches disciplined members within the last year. Just 4 percent of Methodist pastors and 9 percent of Presbyterian pastors said the same.”

    Watch out for those Pentecostal and Holiness guys!

    https://www.christianpost.com/article/infinite/most-pastors-say-their-churches-never-discipline-members-for-sinful-misconduct-222605/

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  27. A final word from Luther Himself (p153 of Volume 41 of His Works)
    “God’s people or holy Christians are recognized by the office of the keys exercised publicly. That is, as Christ decrees in Matthew 18 [:15–20], if a Christian sins, he should be reproved; and if he does not mend his ways, he should be bound in his sin and cast out. If he does mend his ways, he should be absolved. That is the office of the keys. Now the use of the keys is twofold, public and private. There are some people with consciences so tender and despairing that even if they have not been publicly condemned, they cannot find comfort until they have been individually absolved by the pastor. On the other hand, there are also some who are so obdurate that they neither recant in their heart and want their sins forgiven individually by the pastor, nor desist from their sins. Therefore the keys must be used differently, publicly and privately. Now where you see sins forgiven or reproved in some persons, be it publicly or privately, you may know that God’s people are there. If God’s people are not there, the keys are not there either; and if the keys are not present for Christ, God’s people are not present. Christ bequeathed them as a public sign and a holy possession, whereby the Holy Spirit again sanctifies the fallen sinners redeemed by Christ’s death, and whereby the Christians confess that they are a holy people in this world under Christ. And those who refuse to be converted or sanctified again shall be cast out from this holy people, that is, bound and excluded by means of the keys“

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  28. elastigirl,

    or, like this:

    i don’t need a so-called expert to tell me how to breath.

    in fact, the more we overanalyze how we breath the more labored our breathing becomes. we think about it too much. it ceases to be the rhythmic thing happens naturally and easily and keeps our bodies running right.

    i think spirituality and God are similar. too much overanalysis from so-called experts messes it up and hinders function.

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  29. Lowlandseer,

    I will admit, as much as I appreciate all here, that I sort of felt as if this particular incident was being overblown. (Everyone must own their own opinion, eh?)

    I recall when we were young, my spouse and I making the difficult decision to leave a church we had been with for some years. Not that we did not love or think highly of the pastor, who seemed sincere, humble and gracious. His daughter was our children’s first babysitter. However, we discovered, upon the loss of our highly regarded Sunday School teacher, that we felt as if we were no longer being adequately challenged and fed.

    This was in the midst of the whole seeker movement, and we were not terribly impressed with the changes this wrought within the institutional church as a whole, and in the individual churches we attended. We found ourselves, unhappily, ‘church shopping’ as we sought a place in which we felt comfortable with the teaching, ministries and, yes, music.

    Being young, and not knowing how to properly share our concerns without seeming unloving, we simply left for another church. I know now that former friends were hurt and troubled by our leaving, and, in hindsight, would have done things very differently. Six months later, when we received a letter of possible ‘termination’, from an elder with whom we had once been very close, it did not surprise or offend us. It seemed appropriate, upon our no longer attending, that the church would wish to clarify if we wished to remain members. Yes, we took our tithes along with our attendance and works of service, and all three of these were integral contributions to the church.

    I guess I would assert that there are enough heinous abuses taking place that we might go easy on what might simply be viewed as less than perfectly carried out actions of particular churches or leaders.

    I view as very different the ‘If you wish to remain a member . . .’ letter that any organization might rightly send out from the spiritually abusive practice of putting an individual ‘under discipline’ for whatever alleged shortcoming some ‘ruling elder’ views as sin, or the absurd attempt to ‘forbid’ members to leave a church without consent of the elders. Just my opinion.

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  30. linda:
    Not at Cave City so I have no real clue what has happened or is happening there.

    Currently my official membership in a local church (which I no longer attend) does include in its rule book (denominational)some standards of behavior members agree to live by.Nothing radical. Plus there is provision that if you do not attend unless providentially hindered (illness, old age, deployment) for six months you are removed from membership.

    They do not judge your salvation, just state that by not attending, giving, participating in ministry, or otherwise behaving like you still want to be part of the church, you may be removed.They don’t have to contact you as you know this going in, but most of the time pastor’s do contact and make sure you are not sick, going through a crisis, moved, dead, etc.

    But it sure beats having a membership of 1600 with about 400 that are in any way active like the local SBC.The church where I am member is not Calvinist either.

    So while I do not know HOW this was handled at Cave City, I am all for folks who COULD attend at least sporadically but NEVER attend being considered to have tacitly left the church and removed from membership.I’ve encountered too many in the SBC who “joined the church my family has been part of for 150 years” when they were 10 in VBS, essentially drop out at 20, and then want the reduced rate on church facility use for weddings, and expect the pastor they have never met to hold their hand through a death and funeral, all for free or dang near it because “I am a member of this church.”That, and showing up to vote on something controversial when they have not darkened the door of the church in years.

    Church membership has nothing at all to do with one’s status as saved or not.It is only a question of organizational “taking care of business.”If you never attend, or give, or participate and are able to do those things, you are not a member.Sort of like the “family member” who disappears for 30 years, hits some hard times or wants a share of an estate and comes back bashing their family for “abandoning them in their time of need.”You want to be family, you act like family.

    My parents have recently encountered a similar situation. They are looking to finalize their death arrangements (funeral plans, etc.). Living out in the countryside, cemeteries are limited and often attached to churches. There is a cemetery about 2mi from the house we all know as “home.” This cemetery is affiliated with a church where we used to visit for candlelight Christmas Eve services and although my parents are members of a different country church, are faithful Christians and upstanding citizens of their small community – they are barred from purchasing a burial plot…because they are not members of said church. However: my parents’ friends (who live on the same road as my parents) once attended this church (decades ago) and left over doctrinal differences to attend the same church as my parents are welcome to purchase a plot be buried in this cemetery because their name is/was on the “membership roster.” It’s all very political.

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  31. Find Someplace That Isn’t Measuring Your Holiness Quotient.

    Because “Can You Top This?” will ALWAYS get added to Holiness Quotient.

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  32. elastigirl: therefore, the more discomfort, the more sacrifice as explained by the expert, the more we are on the narrow road and the closer we are getting to the huge and mysterious God.

    A form of One-Upmanship to PROVE “More Godly Than Thou”.
    Coup Counted.

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  33. TS00: We found ourselves, unhappily, ‘church shopping’

    When things went wrong in our church, we were too exhausted to go church shopping. We decided instead to step back for awhile. Our congregation has fortunately recovered. I was recently ill, and both clergy and members were very kind and helpful. In gratitude, I will again become a more active member.

    Still, I remain a bit wary. When people in Authoritah get anywhere near stepping on my toes, I just give them a sweet little smile and say, “I’m the parish malcontent.” If a church “disciplines” people straight off the membership rolls, it will never, ever be a healthy place.

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  34. Charis: cemeteries are limited

    Oh, this makes me heartsick. I can understand tiny walled cemeteries having burial restrictions, but space doesn’t seem to be the excuse in the situation you describe.

    Forgive me for offering two general suggestions. Many veterans and their spouses are eligible for burial or inurnment in our national cemeteries, which are beautiful and well maintained. Cremation is not acceptable to everyone, but it does give families a lot of flexibility, and time to plan.

    I hope your family can work something out.

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  35. elastigirl: i think spirituality and God are similar. too much overanalysis from so-called experts messes it up and hinders function.

    And so long as they gotchu’ thinkin’ you gotta’ have them to do it right, they can perpetuate themselves as a professional clergy class just like they’ve always done.

    Just who the hell does Leeman think he is, saying that an elderly shut-in cannot be given Communion right where he or she is at???

    I’ve got a colorful euphemism or two that would never clear customs as to what Leeman is.

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  36. I know in our church we need a Quorum of members present for all voting on church matters to be valid, so if people are on the membership books but never come that would be a detriment to getting any church business done, including the budget which is voted on yearly.

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  37. Friend: When things went wrong in our church, we were too exhausted to go church shopping.

    Doing church without God is an exhausting exercise. Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3). Sometimes, in our Christian journey, it’s necessary to step away from the contention and division in the institutional church to find a place of refreshing, to get in the presence of the Lord so that your soul can find rest and peace.

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  38. In the 25 years I was a Southern Baptist pastor and a state denominational executive dealing directly with churches, pastors, and congregational issues, I never “disciplined” anyone. Fortunately I was never experienced a situation that called for true Biblical discipline. Yes, we had “lukewarm” members, members that were on the roll but came at Christmas and Easter, members that asked much of the church but gave little in terms of time, talents, and money, and members that were a pain in the, well, you know. I just tried to love them, shepherd them, be there when life was bad, offer grace to them, and if nothing else, provide the Ministry of Presence. Then again, I was also called a “liberal.” As Max said so well, I only had keys to the church door, and I keenly and humbly remembered that fact.

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  39. Luckyforward,

    Not that they don’t have their own blind spots (who doesn’t?) but after many decades in fundagelicalism, liberals are a breath of genuine, fresh air. Unafraid to pursue a ‘social gospel’, they actually seek to meet real needs of others rather than preening in front of the mirror seeking that ever elusive ‘purity’ in doctrine and life. If being ‘liberal’ means being gracious, loving, non-judgmental and concerned for the abused and oppressed, count me in!

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  40. Max: Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3). Sometimes, in our Christian journey, it’s necessary to step away from the contention and division in the institutional church to find a place of refreshing, to get in the presence of the Lord so that your soul can find rest and peace.

    Amen, and a blessed Sabbath to all.

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  41. Mary27:
    Quote: “Kimble then drew a parallel to when a parent disciplines a child and explains to them that “I’m doing this because I love you.”

    How many of the people they discipline are children?

    I’m guessing none. Pastors and elders are not parents of church members, nor necessarily acting more maturely. From what I’ve seen of most 9 Marks church disciplines, usually the pastor is the one acting out of immaturity.

    I also still want to see some stats on how many women are church disciplined as opposed to men. I am betting the numbers are way higher. Women are supposed to act in total submission without any sin, but men are just “worms” and acting according to their sinful nature.

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  42. Lowlandseer:
    And presumably they agreed to abide by the rules laid down by their church. If they then fell away from attendance and the commitments they had given, it seems only right to remove them from membership.

    That’s not how New Cal takeovers work. Covenants are usually retroactive and mass applied whether you signed them or not. Once the pastor has put his elder board in place, the church constitution is changed to a covenant that is declared binding.

    Many of the people in these churches may have never signed or agreed to a covenant, but may still face church discipline and being stalked from church to church for disagreeing or leaving.

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  43. Samuel Conner:
    Banning multi-level marketing (couldn’t actually ban, but could appeal to people to not market to each other, and to not listen to marketing pitches from each other) is not bad idea; it feels quite a bit like the bringing of commerce into the Temple precincts, that greatly offended Jesus.

    I was actually in a church that banned selling anything on church premises, but people still did. I’m even pretty sure it just made the MLM people more determined to do it.

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  44. Reading their letter, for example at http://www.scottmdouglas.com/blog/in-defense-of-cave-city-baptist , what immediately struck me that they signed their names as “Rev. XY”.

    If you have your title as part of the typed name underneath your signature, OK – but who except these clowns would have the “Rev.” bit as part of their signature?

    The most dangerous weapons are men of small caliber – often most dangerous to themselves, unfortunately often to others as well.

    If you send one of these letters to an elderly woman who for health reasons is not able to attend (this happened in one of the cases), shouldn’t you first have contacted her to see why she was not coming to church any longer? Shouldn’t you first have tried to find out if she would appreciated being visited instead? IIRC, visiting the sick used to be part of pastoring, as well as “church business” for everyone in the church …

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  45. Luckyforward: I just tried to love them, shepherd them, be there when life was bad, offer grace to them, and if nothing else, provide the Ministry of Presence.

    Thank you for this. This is what pastoring is all about: serving! Sadly, many pastors today want to BE served rather than TO serve.

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  46. Ted:
    I’m not a fan of Leeman, or of Dever.This is controlling, nit-picky stuff.Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them…”Applies to shut-ins too.

    And here I thought that my opinion of Dever could not get lower…

    I can’t even imagine a church that would not only withhold communion from those too sick to attend, but actually DEFEND the practice! Why, in many churches I have attended, it was considered a PRIVILEGE to bring Communion to such people! The kind of hyper-control-freak pseudo-sacramentalism displayed in that policy would make a medieval Inquisitor embarrassed.

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  47. Eeyore: And here I thought that my opinion of Dever could not get lower…

    I can’t even imagine a church that would not only withhold communion from those too sick to attend, but actually DEFEND the practice! Why, in many churches I have attended, it was considered a PRIVILEGE to bring Communion to such people! The kind of hyper-control-freak pseudo-sacramentalism displayed in that policy would make a medieval Inquisitor embarrassed.

    Dever’s the same one who proudly “disciplined” over half of his church and dropped over 250 members from his rolls. He is one of the most arrogant, haughty and pharisaical men to ever come down the pike. The problem is: so many of the Neo-Cal preacher boys mimic his every move and try their hardest to out do him! Jesus wisely warned us of the likes of him in Matthew 23:15, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”
    ‭‭

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  48. Luckyforward: I just tried to love them, shepherd them, be there when life was bad, offer grace to them, and if nothing else, provide the Ministry of Presence.

    Thank you Brother for your servant’s heart. It’s amazing how many 21st century “pastors” just don’t get that. They are to watch over souls, not rule them.

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  49. Root 66: Dever’s the same one who proudly “disciplined” over half of his church and dropped over 250 members from his rolls.

    And to think that there was an army of New Calvinist pastor-wannabes cheering him on “Way to go Dever!” They are now at a church near you.

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  50. elastigirl: something like the technical name for HMOs? (Helen Hunt in “As Good As It Gets”?)

    Great flick!
    Saw it when it first came out.
    Makes me wanna’ rant about the for-profit-health-care-industry.
    OOPS! (it would never clear customs either)

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  51. Cricket: a simplified summary

    Cricketing news for Wartburgers who are struggling to grasp the laws of cricket:

     England and Sri Lanka are countries
     They each have a national cricket team
     The respective teams have just finished playing a match
     Both teams were trying to win
     It was a close match
     England won
     IHTIH

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  52. Lowlandseer: this process of updating the membership records had been going on for a number of years prior to the new pastor’s arrival and long before the letters were sent out. So it doesn’t look like it happened out of the blue.

    What isn’t surprising is the way TWW chose to report it as if it were a terrible deed hatched by evil Calvinists…

    Thank you Lowlandseer, correspondent from Wee Free land, for clarifying that this was afoot previously at this Kentucky church. Indeed, if you check the Internet Archive, you see the pastor several years ago was Stephen Cavness, a bigtime Mark Dever disciple. So Cavness began pushing for a purge, and Broers revived it? (there was another pastor between the two)

    Stephen Cavness blog:

    https://thelowercase.wordpress.com/2010/11/

    “a few months ago i started a reading challenge at our church…here are the current titles in the reading challenge (in no particular order at all):

    What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
    Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow by R.C. Sproul
    The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
    What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile
    What Does God Want of Us Anyway? by Mark Dever
    Worldliness edited by C.J. Mahaney…”

    [list goes on, but I think you get the picture]

    And his blogroll!

    9 marks
    between the times
    desiring god
    desiring god blog
    just the simple truth
    justin taylor
    monergism
    my christian blogs
    the southern baptist convention

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  53. “a few months ago i started a reading challenge at our church …”

    A typical indoctrination tool used by young reformers in their takeover of “traditional” (non-Calvinist) churches is to introduce congregations to books and videos by New Calvinist icons. In SBC churches, referring them to literature they can find at the LifeWay bookstore deceives them into thinking they can still trust the SBC publishing house.

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  54. I noticed that there is one book not on their “Reading Challenge”; The Bible.

    I wish that pure Bible reading was emphasized more (even the ESV, without commentary). Other books and websites have their place (except for John Piper, who is a NUT!), but men tend to over-complicate the Word of God. Christians have the best Bible teacher of all in us, the Holy Spirit. With Him, The Bible is not that complicated.

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  55. I’ve been to/through Cave City several times. It is a very small town. The town’s major source of income is tourism dollars from the nearby Mammoth Cave Park system. Mark Dever’s hometown of Madisonville, KY looks like a huge, bustling metropolis compared to Cave City.

    I believe that if this church continues down the path it is on it could very well have to close it’s doors, unless it can lure suckers in from Bowling Green, Glasgow, Brownsville, Edmonton, and Munfordville.

    I do personally know someone from a church in a small town close to Cave City that tried to purge church rolls more than 15 years ago. That church was, and still is, congregationally led. The plans were voted down.

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  56. Ken P.:
    “unless it can lure suckers in from … Glasgow …”

    Maybe Nick can check it out for us!

    Ha ha. The Glasgow I’m talking about (population around (15,000) is a good little drive for Nick!

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  57. Ken P.: I noticed that there is one book not on their “Reading Challenge” … men tend to over-complicate the Word of God. Christians have the best Bible teacher of all in us, the Holy Spirit. With Him, The Bible is not that complicated.

    AMEN! In this instant-everything age, the pew desires the pulpit to tell them what the Bible says so they won’t have to read it! Thus, the popularity of Christian books, videos, and conferences … the Christian Industrial Complex is a mega-money-making deal! Which, of course, is a perfect set-up for indoctrination into error … and the very reason that so many have been deceived into following aberrant religious movements over time (the latest being New Calvinism).

    Such attitude by Christians reminds me of a passage from Exodus 20 when the Israelites wanted Moses to relay Truth rather than hearing it themselves from God: “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us.” Piper ain’t no Moses, so it’s best that we seek the Holy Spirit to teach us rather than mere men. The Berean Christians were considered more noble than the rest because they searched the Scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was true … Paul!! Yep, it’s best to let the Holy Spirit teach you through prayer and a disciplined study of Scripture … allow that to serve as your filter to sort out all the noise coming from the institutional church.

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  58. Leeman believes that communion cannot be given to shut ins.

    Of all the crazy stuff coming out of the crowd, this is one of the ones that makes me very angry.

    Leeman is supposed to be a pastor, and giving communion to people who are unable to attend due to age and/or illness is part of his job. This comes out of pure laziness.

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  59. Lea: Leeman is supposed to be a pastor, and giving communion to people who are unable to attend due to age and/or illness is part of his job.

    The young New Calvinist pastors in my area do not (1) visit or call shut-ins, (2) visit sick folks in hospitals, or (3) preach funerals. If any of this sort of ministry is done, “pastor” delegates it to church elders. But they find plenty of time to tweet their lives away in coffee shops.

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  60. Lowlandseer: “Wow. It seems like the pastor was doing his job. Now, cue the outrage.”

    I guess that depends on what you think the Pastor’s job should be. In the NeoCalvinist mindset, it seems that the Pastor is to enforce the church covenant and keep the membership rolls purged. It sounds like he’s exercising a minor form of discipline to toss out people who don’t show up regularly, or who don’t give enough, or who ask too many questions.

    Sounds more like a CEO than a Pastor, to me anyway. And I’ve known some CEOs.

    Actually, I met a real Pastor the other day. It was so weird. I could sense a real interest in my life, in my emotional state and my family, and there was a sincere invitation to visit a service when I’m in their town, where she and her husband oversee a small church.

    I do think there is a time to toss people out, like when they are sleeping with their ex-stepmom, or abusing their spouse or kids. But it’s a much higher bar than someone who sleeps late on Sundays, or doesn’t show up often because of their job.

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  61. Lea: Of all the crazy stuff coming out of the crowd, this is one of the ones that makes me very angry.

    Leeman is supposed to be a pastor, and giving communion to people who are unable to attend due to age and/or illness is part of his job. This comes out of pure laziness.

    Laziness?
    More like pure chicken$|-|it thoughtlessness to me.

    Hence my anger at Leeman up-thread.

    When I was little tyke (Wisconsin), one of the worst blizzards in memory swept down out out of Canada.
    The city snowplows could not keep up with the drifts which topped 15 foot in places.

    That didn’t stop an old Lutheran pastor and one of the parish men who set off on snow shoes to get to an old saint (in her 90s) in hospital who wouldn’t make it through the night. She was given Communion and the Lutheran equivalent of last rites.

    For all the bad mouthing that passes for gospel about those “bad old days”, they had some real men, men for whom principle was everything. They were certainly not the dandies and fops we have today.

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  62. linda: If you never attend, or give, or participate and are able to do those things, you are not a member. Sort of like the “family member” who disappears for 30 years, hits some hard times or wants a share of an estate and comes back bashing their family for “abandoning them in their time of need.”

    I have family members I haven’t seen in years, but if I DO see them, they are still family. Dropping the assumption that they want something, if your church ‘family’ was really family they would be happy to see you even if it had been a long time. Hello prodigal son.

    But they aren’t. So.

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  63. ishy: I also still want to see some stats on how many women are church disciplined as opposed to men.

    I have been wanting to see a good breakdown of ‘offenses’ that lead to discipline, and a breakdown by sex as well. If the data exists, they aren’t sharing it. I bet it’s all kind of messed up though.

    I have to say, I find it RIDICULOUS to refer to cleaning up the rolls as ‘church discipline’. If someone leaves, there is nothing wrong with finding out if they’ve moved on (or elected to stop attending church) and want to be removed. That’s not discipline though! Its creepy the way they talk about it like it is and like they’ve removed them from heaven or something when they update lists in a computer of who to send church stuff to, basically.

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  64. Lea: Its creepy the way they talk about it like it is and like they’ve removed them from heaven or something when they update lists in a computer of who to send church stuff to, basically.

    The new reformation has a lot of silly stuff like that.

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  65. Lea: If someone leaves, there is nothing wrong with finding out if they’ve moved on (or elected to stop attending church) and want to be removed.

    My wife volunteered one year as church secretary in a rural Southern Baptist church. She noticed that several folks on the church roll were (1) no longer in the community – they had moved, (2) attending another church, or (3) dead. When she suggested to church leaders that they be removed from church membership, she was met with much weeping and gnashing of teeth … you would have thought that she had committed the unpardonable sin! You see, each year SBC churches provide a report to their State conventions listing total members, total revenue, number of baptisms, and assorted other statistics. No church wants to appear to be on the decline, so they “fudge” the records a bit. It’s commonly reported that there are 16 million Southern Baptists. After spending 70 years in SBC life, I can tell you that about half of those folks simply cannot be found for one reason or another … of the remaining 8 million, only about 4 million attend on a regular basis.

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  66. ishy: From what I’ve seen of most 9 Marks church disciplines, usually the pastor is the one acting out of immaturity.

    These whippersnappers just want missing church members to be back under their thumb so they can initiate shunning and excommunication. They like to wield narcissistic power so the New Calvinist icons will notice them and the reformed tribe will accept them into the fold.

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  67. Lea, you missed my point or I communicated badly. Suppose I have a nephew that chooses to ignore the family for 40 years. Yes, when I see him he is still my nephew and I would still treat him like family. But suppose as I age he cannot be bothered. My own kids, grandkids, nieces and other nephews are there for me when I need them, visiting me and clearing snow for me and mowing my lawn, taking me to drs appts etc. I kick the bucket and leave a modest estate, to be divided as per my wishes among my kids, grands, and the nieces and nephews who actually remained part of my life, but nothing to the nephew who disappeared. When he howls and screams that this is not how you treat family I would think it would mostly fall on deaf ears.

    There is a huge difference between being part of The Church and a local church. No one can kick us out of The Church. (I am OSAS so don’t believe even Jesus would kick out a backslidden child of His.) But a local church is a group of believers who have organized themselves to accomplish tasks for the Master. If a person joins and then disappears they have pretty much removed them self from that local body. No reason that body must still consider them a member. Sure it is a kindness to check and see why they are not around and if they need to be ministered to but it is also ok for that body to have in its bylaws something like: if you do not attend or give or in someway show continued interest in a set period (6 months, a year, whatever) you will be removed from the roll.

    Most ridiculous how some churches will report a person as a member 20 years after they leave town and have perhaps joined some other group hundreds of miles away. Just as silly how some people think they can join, disappear, and reappear years later expecting all the privileges of active membership.

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  68. Max: It’s commonly reported that there are 16 million Southern Baptists.

    There are generally thought to be over 7 billion adherents of Nickism, even though many of them have misunderstood it and do not properly represent its true meaning.

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  69. Nick Bulbeck,

    Say, do you have to sign a membership covenant in Nickism? What are the terms? What is your salary, and what means of financial accountability have you established? Do you assign salvation to grace, cheap grace or Grace Kelly?

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  70. linda: There is a huge difference between being part of The Church and a local church. No one can kick us out of The Church.

    Amen! Too many folks wrongly associate the “church” with the “Church.” While there has always been the Church within the church, not everybody that goes to church is the Church. You can be booted from the church by a mere man, but no man can ever remove you from the Church.

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  71. TS00: Say, do you have to sign a membership covenant in Nickism?

    What’s important is that one has a passion for a truly Nickist vision to equip leaders for today’s world. There are bad or ineffective systems of financial accountability, but to apply them is to misrepresent Nickism.

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  72. linda: leave a modest estate

    All of your negative examples about family seem to revolve around money, though. This is my point. Family is family. Let’s stop using church = family analogies if we don’t really believe them.

    Also, is your only concern that someone at church might ask for a pastor to do a funeral, wedding, etc? Honestly, it seems a very dare I say christian thing to do a funeral for someone who needs one, if you are able, but aside from that…Why the need to police the membership so heavily? If someone feels a connection to your church and wants to stay a member, I don’t see how telling them you don’t think they’re active enough/give enough money is necessary or right. All of these financial considerations ignore the emotional side of things. If I went to a church as a child and drifted away, I may still feel that connection and want to drift back one day. Why would you toss a person like that out???

    As I said, no problem with cleaning the lists with people who moved, left, died etc. But don’t toss people off because you don’t think they are active enough. Or because you are afraid they might actually ask for something at some point, potentially. And whatever it is, it ought not be called ‘church discipline’.

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  73. Lea: I have family members I haven’t seen in years, but if I DO see them, they are still family. Dropping the assumption that they want something, if your church ‘family’ was really family they would be happy to see you even if it had been a long time. Hello prodigal son.

    But they aren’t. So.

    I don’t quite get how someone coming to a church and asking for a funeral when they (or the deceased) have been away is the same as “asking for a share of the estate,” as Linda put it, do you?

    In point of fact, I don’t remember the father of the prodigal son getting all stern when his younger son came back. Linda actually sounds more like the older son. (Sorry, Linda, If I have misunderstood your point. If so, please clarify?)

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  74. The more I read about people like this “pastor” I can’t believe we are reading the same Bible. Now I know he is probably reading the ESV edition, and I prefer the KJV and NRSV, but regardless of the translation the meanings stay the same, and these people seem to have completely missed the meaning.

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  75. FYI on removing non-attenders. Some years ago a church I was a part of had a major business meeting to sell the building and move the church. All of the current attenders were in favor of the move. However, a large number of people who had not attended church in years showed up and because they had never been removed from membership, there was no way to exclude them from the vote. They all voted no and carried the vote. So the church body was unable to sell the building because people who no longer attended the church did not want the church to move. That church was stuck in a declining neighborhood and was unable to grow and pay their bills. The building is falling apart and they can’t afford to repair it.

    So there might be bad reasons in some cases, but there are good reasons to do it in other cases. It protects the church from people who are no longer interested in it.

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  76. Anonymous,

    Witnessed something similar. I suspect what we are seeing is the ongoing New Calvinist plundering of established churches which have served the same families in communities for decades. These churches often sit on valuable real estate, and their buildings are sold off for the equity, with no concern for the people who look to these churches as the place for baptisms, marriages and funerals, even if they do not attend regularly. They never even know what hit ’em.

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  77. linda: There is a huge difference between being part of The Church and a local church. No one can kick us out of The Church.

    Someone needs to tell this to Leeman and Dever. It seems they haven’t gotten the memo.

    linda: Sure it is a kindness to check and see why they are not around and if they need to be ministered to but it is also ok for that body to have in its bylaws something like: if you do not attend or give or in someway show continued interest in a set period (6 months, a year, whatever) you will be removed from the roll.

    It would also be a kindness to actually be consistent in how they apply their bylaws — something which Cave City Baptist apparently failed to do in at least one case:

    “Broers also said that the people who had not attended in the past year that received the letters last week were former congregants who had received previous letters inquiring about their membership.

    Yet Samantha Esters, who said she had been attending the church since she was a child, told the local ABC affiliate that the only message she received from being delisted is to never return to the church again. She disputed the notion that letters were sent to people who had not been attending as she was just there a few weeks ago.”

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  78. refugee–yes, you completely miss my point. and apparently do not or have not served on the church committees that have to make the hard calls with funds. first off, weddings and funerals are expensive in today’s world. amazing how many people do not bother to support a church with their time and talent or money or prayers or service but when it is wedding or funeral time expect the largest church in town to “treat them like family.” now, if I died tomorrow my church would of course be willing to do the funeral. and my family would expect to defray some of the costs, offer the pastor an honorarium, etc. but finances are finite and they could not offer that to everyone in the world no matter how much they might desire to do so. but I am a member, until recently quite active, and they know my current church search is not a beef with my local church but with the denom. the relationship is still there.

    but the church where I was baptized is now nearly 2000 miles from where I live. I have not attended there since 1978. No contact with them at all. Why on earth would I ever expect them to host my funeral now? It is large and gorgeous, not our current tiny church. If a grandchild were getting married why would I demand the “member’s rate(yes, they exist)”for use of the building at my home church instead of the church where I live now?

    And yet it happens. So churches, trying often to use ministry money in a sane way, clean up rolls. I would much rather my old church use its funds to feed the hungry, or provide day care, or tend widows and orphans than be prepared to host for all of us former member’s big days.

    I too have been through calvinistas stealing buildings. that is flat out wrong. but just as wrong is the idea I join a church, get my name on the rolls, never attend or contact the church or give or serve or in any way act like a member but get fried if my name is removed from the roll.

    I don’t know, as I said to begin with, if Cave City did things correctly. I do know I have been part of churches that did quietly “expel” members for gross sin, remove the dead from the rolls, move the moved to inactive rolls, and contact the still around but never attend folks before removing them. Where I attend now has one of those “expiration clauses” where if I am totally absent 6 months membership lapses. No biggie, no shock, was in the by laws when I joined. Much simpler than trying to track someone down who has moved. I’ve also tried to help do that.

    None of that is remotely like the elder brother. In fact, I would posit that church members who never attend, give or serve are more like the elder brother.

    However, I will say I have also never encountered a church that sent letters telling people not to come back. Always, always, we were both trying to find out who really were around and wanted to be members, and to find those who might be backslidden and see them restored to active membership.

    But good grief even the local garden club drops folks who join, don’t attend meetings or pay dues or help on service days or at least call someone and say “gone to Jamaica see ya when I get back.”

    And again, local church membership is a privilege, not a right. And has zilch to do with one’s salvation. So if you are not providentially hindered from attending or serving whether by use of your time and talents or money or whatever but choose not to do so, why would you want membership? And if you are a great Christian but have moved why not move your membership to where you are?

    And if you get the left boot of fellowship for not being a Calvinist, join a non Calvinist church around the block. When enough of us do that, and the money runs out, so will this fad for Calvinism.

    And yet I would tell anyone please don’t think you can join First Church of Whatever Wherever, never darken the door or participate at any level and think you have the right to vote, to be able to tell everyone you are a member there, to expect member privileges, or in some cases be a real embarrassment in the community to that church. Any church worth its salt won’t be up for that.

    But then I grew up in a time in history where the Catholics, the Nazarenes, the Baptists, etc all had rules of membership. Break them and you were out. Today I know of Catholics still in good standing by utilizing the new rules on annulment for what then would have been a divorce and remarriage meaning excommunication. I know Nazarenes who now get around rules about alcohol by citing addiction.

    And shoot, I even know Baptists who dance.

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  79. I’m with those who wonder why anyone would choose to remain a member of a church taken over by an authoritarian nimrod like these calvinistic nimrods. It seems insane that anyone would choose to pay a fixed tithe to a pastor who doesn’t even perform pastoral duties.

    I have a good friend (former Vet doctor, professor of epidemiology, had a calling and went to theology school, now pastor of a large Episcopal church) who happened to be seated beside a more fundamental pastor on an airline flight. They had some things in common and had a conversation. Then the fundamental pastor asked “What’s your take?” meaning what percentage of the Sunday giving was the pastor’s to take home as payment.

    My friend was dumfounded, as in the Episcopal church, pastors are employees of the Episcopal diocese, receive a salary, insurance, pensions, just like a school teacher.

    Perhaps if these calvinistic baptist preachers were employees of an institution rather than self-employed skimmers of their flocks there wouldn’t be such a need to rule the members with an iron fist. Also might be required to preach funerals, weddings, visit the sick, etc. I know my friend does all that, all the time, often at 3 am in ICU at hospital.

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  80. Max: They like to wield narcissistic power so the New Calvinist icons will notice them and the reformed tribe will accept them into the fold.

    Sucking Up to Power.
    Kiss Up, Kick Down.

    Like something I said once about North Korean culture:
    The only way to survive to adulthood (much less advance in the System) is to become a stone Psychopath.

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  81. Lea: Its creepy the way they talk about it like it is and like they’ve removed them from heaven or something when they update lists in a computer of who to send church stuff to, basically.

    Almost getting an orgasm over their Power of Life, Death, and (especially) Eternal Hell over others?

    Come to think of it, didn’t the Reformers these guys worship have a big beef with Romish Popery over its use of the exact same “binding and loosing”?

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  82. Samuel Conner:
    Banning multi-level marketing (couldn’t actually ban, but could appeal to people to not market to each other, and to not listen to marketing pitches from each other) is not bad idea; it feels quite a bit like the bringing of commerce into the Temple precincts, that greatly offended Jesus.

    Not only commerce, but a very sketchy Pyramid-scheme form of commerce.

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  83. Mary27: In my humble opinion… most church discipline is done NOT because of “love” but rather because the power and control of the leaders has been threatened and this is their way to scare everyone else into submitting to whatever rules they decide to make.

    “Make an Example of one, and a hundred will fall right into line bleating praise and adoration.”
    Because they KNOW they could be next.

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