“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.”
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.
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