Fourteen Small Children Reportedly Molested at NewSpring Church Even Though Jesus Is Their Lead Pastor

“Abuse is never contained to a present moment, it lingers across a person’s lifetime and has pervasive long-term ramifications.” ― Lorraine Nilon


Crying boy-Creative Commons

Update on NewSpring and Perry Noble:Yes, it’s all a bit weird…

Perry Noble:

You all know NewSpring. This is Perry Noble’s previous church. For those of you wondering what Perry Noble is up to these days… alright, most of you don’t wonder about this at all but I’ll tell you anyway… In July 2018, The State reported Former SC megachurch pastor makes big announcement about his new ministry.

Apparently, Noble has a brick and mortar location for his new Second Chance Church. I wonder when he’ll get Tullian to preach there…

Noble closed his post with a slogan he uses often and one that is his page’s image — “The best IS yet to come!”

And then, in the Christian Post, Perry Noble Issues ‘Last Apology’ 2 Years After NewSpring Church Firing: ‘Time to Move On’ (You gotta read this one.)

The pastor, who following rehabilitation went on to start Second Chance online, said that he has been able to see some of the benefits of what he went through, noting that “God makes everything beautiful in His time.”

“Alcohol was a coping mechanism I ran to in order to numb the pain in my life,” he reflected.

“Going through and completing an intense treatment program put me on the path to discovering how to deal with the real issues from my past (trauma) that was causing me to overmedicate on alcohol — and it’s incredible to live in a place of true healing and freedom.”

He admitted that his life is still far from perfect and that he still has daily regrets. He thanked those who offered him prayers and encouragement, but at the same time noted that “there are some people who are not supportive, welcoming or even accepting of what I’ve been called to do.”

“Let me clearly say…I don’t need you. I feel like I have apologized over and over for two years — and — while I am truly sorry, it’s time for me (and you) to move on!” Noble declared.

“You did not call me into ministry — and you can’t call me out of it,” he continued.

NewSpring:

NewSpring, on the other hand has NewSpring Named ‘Jesus Christ’ as Senior Pastor After Perry Noble Left, Church Was $47M in Debt.

The church is currently run by a team of four lead pastors, three teaching pastors including King, as well as 14 campus pastors.

When asked to explained how Jesus as senior pastor works if there is not a clear single leader, King was quick to explain and suggested it might be a new way forward for church leadership.

“Well by the grace of God it’s working. We’re healthier than we’ve ever been. We’re stronger than we’ve ever been,” King said.

…He (King)pointed to the relationship he enjoys with pastors Dan Lian and Brad Cooper as part of the teaching pastor team to explain how the leadership model NewSpring is pursuing has made them healthier.

“All three of us are alpha males. And so the team approach for us is a beautiful thing because it forces us, when we felt like the Lord told us to do this at NewSpring, it forced the three of us as well as the lead team, to submit our egos to the Holy Spirit, cause you can’t hide from your ego in that kind of space. And so the three of us are great friends. We are very close. We’re brothers and we just have revival every Tuesday we get together for a couple hours,” said King.

Since Jesus is the lead pastor at NewSpring, do we blame him for the molestation of a number of children at NewSpring.

It was initially reported that a single three year old child was molested by a volunteer male who took the child to a bathroom alone. Read that again. It appears that a security camera caught the act because the door to the bathroom was somehow opened.

The following are some accounts of what happened. What to consider as you read them:

  1. What did the children’s ministry do wrong that allowed this to happen?
  2. What does the church appear not to get, even today.
  3. Do we blame Jesus for this since he is the lead pastor?

Fox News reported: South Carolina megachurch camera caught man performing sex act on 3-year-old: cops.

Surveillance video caught a South Carolina church volunteer performing a sex act on a 3-year-old child on Sunday, authorities said.

Jacop Robert Lee Hazlett, 28, a volunteer at NewSpring Church in North Charleston, was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, South Carolina’s WCSC-TV reported. A judge denied bond.

The volunteer escorted the boy to a restroom in the church and performed oral sex on him before pulling up the 3-year-old’s pants, the station reported, citing the affidavit. The act was caught on a camera positioned outside the bathroom, an investigator said.

Newsweek reported: SOUTH CAROLINA MAN CAUGHT ON CAMERA PERFORMING SEX ACT ON 3-YEAR-OLD DURING MEGACHURCH SERVICE

In this account a church spokesperson says the bathroom door “may have been ajar” which allowed for the incident to be recorded.

Following his arrest, the church sent a letter to families of the children in the preschool ministry to confirm that they are cooperating with police and are immediately took steps to “prevent Hazlett from volunteering in any capacity at our church in the future.”

Pay attention to this next quote from the church.

NewSpring is steadfastly committed to safety and security, and because of this commitment, we have an extensive screening process for all adults before they are allowed to volunteer with children, birth through 12th grade,” the letter added, reports WCSC.

“As a part of NewSpring’s child safety and security program, we perform criminal background checks, interview each potential volunteer candidate one-on-one, and provide detailed training for volunteers serving with children of all ages.

“Hazlett successfully completed our volunteer screening process before he was allowed to volunteer. Also, as part of NewSpring’s commitment to safety and security, every KidSpring room contains video cameras.”

The letter added the background check included verification of his Social Security number, address history, National Criminal Database Search, National Sex Offender Search, and making sure he had records of criminal convictions or use of aliases.

The State reported: More charges for SC megachurch volunteer being sued for sexually assaulting 14 boys, cops say.

The North Charleston police are going after this big time and I am gratified by their response. Also, in this report we are told that oral sex was performed on the young boy.

On Monday, Dec. 3, (2018-ed)North Charleston Police said more charges were filed against Jacop Hazlett. The 28-year-old megachurch volunteer was charged with seven counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and an additional count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, WHNS reported. Hazlett was previously charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years old.

Many children involved and a lawsuit has been filed by one of the parents.

Here is where things get even worse. As you all know, a sex offender is rarely caught during his first offense. According to The State (this one will upset you):

The lawsuit, filed by the parents of a different boy Wednesday in Dorchester County, states, “NewSpring Church reviewed its security camera footage going back ninety days and found fourteen separate incidents where Jacop Hazlett sexually abused boys in the three-to-four-year-old day care room bathroom.”

The attorney representing the family that filed the lawsuit said there could be more than the 14 victims cited, WCSC reported.

“The reason the church was able to identify 14 victims so quickly is because this was all happening right under their nose on that security camera that is being monitored live,” Josh Slavin said, according to the TV station. “There could be countless more victims that we just don’t know more about yet.”

…The parents who filed the suit learned of the assault on their son Tuesday, according to the court filing, but it does not say if the police or church officials told them about what happened.

According to the lawsuit, the parents ”noticed changes in (their son’s) behavior, including him screaming that he did not want to go to NewSpring Church or its daycare.”

…Once we were made aware, we reviewed video footage from the past 90 days in which Hazlett served as a Kidspring volunteer,” the church told CBS 17, referring to the preschool program. “In the videos, it appears there was inappropriate conduct by Hazlett,” the church told the television station, explaining that NewSpring officials were cooperating with the investigation.

While we are at it, we should note that, in February 2018 there was another abuse incident happened at NewSpring and reported by ABC News: Former Lowcountry youth pastor charged with soliciting minor for sex.

It is important to understand that the church claims nothing happened at the church. They, along with police, believe this sexual exploitation happened outside of the church. However, a former church member isn’t buying it.

 Caleb Lide Jordan, 30, was arrested and charged with four counts of exploitation of a minor, including solicitation of a minor for sex. (ed: no age given)

The current Charleston-area real estate agent and former youth pastor at NewSpring Charleston was arrested in late February after an investigation by local and state law enforcement.

“Once we were made aware of these charges, we immediately terminated his ability to volunteer in any capacity at NewSpring,” Swift added.

NewSpring leaders have no reason to believe anything inappropriate has happened between minors at the church and Jordan, and they have not been contacted by law enforcement, according to Swift.

Still, the former member who spoke to us is concerned given Jordan’s former position of trust.

“Caleb’s primary role was to provide care to young men, ages of 12-18, through his role at Fuse at their youth pastor,” she said.

She described “care” as a type of closed-door Christian counseling.

And in a statement from NewSpring that should go down in history as one of the dumbest utterances by a church ever:

The Post and Courier wrote Lawsuit: At least 14 kids abused at hands of North Charleston church volunteer.

“We stand by this process but are willing to make changes should they be warranted,” Swift said in a statement. “We are in regular communication with, and are providing our full cooperation to law enforcement, evaluating our processes and procedures internally, and we will be inviting in an external expert to help us determine if any changes need to be made to help ensure something like this does not happen again.”

The attorney, Josh Slavin, for the first family which filed a lawsuit against NewSpring (I say first since I expect that there will be more lawsuits and I support the families who wish to do so) nailed it with this statement:
While the criminal justice system will address Hazlett’s alleged crimes, the purpose of the civil lawsuit is to expose the blatant oversights by NewSpring Church,” Slavin said in an email. “What makes this case so tragic is that the abuse was entirely preventable — these crimes were repeatedly committed in front of security cameras that were monitored by NewSpring Church.”

Here are my thoughts.

  • I don’t know how many times I have to say this before churches get it through their thick skulls. The background check merely catches those who have already been caught and convicted. The average pedophile molests many times before he/she is caught.
  • A child must NEVER be alone with an adult at the church. Everyone knows that. Why didn’t NewSpring have this policy?
  • Who reported this to the police?
  • Yes, NewSpring, you need to wise up and change you child care policies. I’m stunned you haven’t done so yet. I believe that kids are not safe in your church until you do.
  • Parents: you may need to supervise your own children in the kids area for the foreseeable future.
  • If any parent would like to tell their story at TWW, please contact us.
  • I would suggest that all involved parents speak with an attorney about this situation.
  • So, underling pastors, are you implying that we should blame Jesus for failing in his role as lead pastor?

Comments

Fourteen Small Children Reportedly Molested at NewSpring Church Even Though Jesus Is Their Lead Pastor — 126 Comments

  1. “What makes this case so tragic is that the abuse was entirely preventable — these crimes were repeatedly committed in front of security cameras that were monitored by NewSpring Church.”

    But why didn’t it get stopped at the first incident? This makes no sense.

    “Hazlett was previously charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years old.”

    Charged, but never convicted? That would be the only way to pass a background check.

    ALWAYS HAVE MORE THAN ONE ADULT IN BATHROOM!!

    It’s best to have a floating person to be the second adult whenever needed.

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  2. One thing I will mention that I have seen in reports about this situation here in local SC media, is that the restroom in question, apparently has a dutch door and the top half is supposed to remain open when a volunteer or staff member takes a child to the restroom and according to some reports this is how the incident(s) were captured on camera.

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  3. Kind of beside the point, but if you have to say that you’re an alpha male, you are not. What’s with American pastors and their gag-worthy comments??

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  4. dee:
    Jarrett Edwards,

    If that was the case then why didn’t anyone see what was going on? Whatever they were doing was darn stupid..no, even worse, despicably dangerous.

    I have to say I don’t understand why it wasn’t noticed when it was going on, which was my question when I read that they had those doors, unless the reporting was wrong and they don’t have those doors. Where were the other adults, and the person who was supposed to be monitoring the cameras. Though, I must at least give them credit for at least having the foresight of having cameras and dutch doors, as it is at least more prevention than other churches have done. However, if they installed those doors shouldn’t they have made a rule that the adult should just stand outside the door, so they could monitor if there was a problem but wouldn’t actually be in the restroom with the child.

    Honestly, I just don’t have any frame of reference for this since I was never in a large church as a child, or a daycare and therefore I can’t remember anyone other than my parent taking me to the restroom.Plus, I was potty trained earlier than a lot of children today are, so I didn’t need assistance in the restroom. My Kindergarten and Elementary School had individual restrooms in each classroom that we used by ourselves. And, even in my small country church growing up there was always two people in the Nursery, so no child was ever left alone with an adult.

    Now, with the other situation involving the former youth pastor. I am torn about the closed door counseling, on the one hand I understand that one-on-one closed door counseling can of course open the door to trouble but, I’m also concerned that teenagers might not seek counsel from people if they have to seek it from multiple people at a time or with the door open. I know in High School I shared things with teachers, one-on-one in a classroom with the door closed that I never would have if we had to leave the door open or if I had to speak to two or more at a time. Basically, other than background checks and closer monitoring and accountability from others, including the parents, I don’t really see a solution.

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  5. One child would have been too many, but 14? isn’t someone responsible to review the security footage?

    I think it might be a blessing to shut New Spring down for good.

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  6. This is just sickening. I have a strong suspicion he did this to every child on his watch.

    So they had a video camera on this bathroom that caught what was happening yet over this whole period of time no one ever noticed? Is the camera monitored by anyone? Did they figure it would be a deterrent just by itself? If no one had come forward he would still be doing this today.

    My heart aches for all of these children who will carry this with them the rest of their lives.

    So, is this an aberration or is this the norm? When there are no cameras and no way to rewind and check, when all that happens is a child suddenly cries and doesn’t want to go to church… How often is this really happening and in how many churches? Was there something special about Newspring that attracted this guy? I doubt it, there are too many stories in the news coming out of all kinds of churches.

    All it takes is one person to damage countless children.

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  7. As far as the Perry Noble/Newspring/2nd Chance (what will the next one be, 3rd Chance?) fiasco, how long til someone comes out with a parody sitcom about a loony megachurch pastor? There’s so much material…

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  8. When I was volunteering with children, we had a detailed plan for taking children to the bathroom, if there weren’t quite enough volunteers. Every child was under observation at every moment, and every adult was also always under observation. There was no chance for any adult to be alone with a child. It’s not hard to have a plan like this, and it doesn’t have to include cameras. There’s simply no excuse.

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  9. I would bet that the child protection system Newspring is using is MinistrySafe. A while back I looked into one of their templates and felt it insufficient to prevent abuse. Grace protection is far superior in their custom approach that would have prevented this and enabled others to see the guy was violating policy. Security cameras aren’t a bad thing, but shouldn’t be relied upon. Their procedures shouldn’t allow for kids to be alone with any adult, even screened ones.

    They should call in Grace to do an external investigation.

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  10. Jarrett Edwards:

    Now, with the other situation involving the former youth pastor. I am torn about the closed door counseling, on the one hand I understand that one-on-one closed door counseling can of course open the door to trouble but, I’m also concerned that teenagers might not seek counsel from people if they have to seek it from multiple people at a time or with the door open. I know in High School I shared things with teachers, one-on-one in a classroom with the door closed that I never would have if we had to leave the door open or if I had to speak to two or more at a time. Basically, other than background checks and closer monitoring and accountability from others, including the parents, I don’t really see a solution.

    I think student conversations can be supervised by other adults, an environments can be created that allows for the teen to be able to talk with another adult without someone listening in. For instance, a youth pastor could meet in a very large room with a student on one side while another trained adult is on the opposite side. Every interaction should be observable and interruptible or else there is potential for abuse.

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  11. “All three of us are alpha males…” Yuck, that’s a big turn off. Sounds like Mark 7:15-Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    Alpha male wolves pretending to be sheep.

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  12. Counseling spaces should have glass walls. Allows for visual contact but not the disclosure of what the counseled person is saying.

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  13. My ❤ heart gone out to all the children & parents. Who had to go through this. I pray all New Spring Churches will learn from this sad situated that took place there.Because people trusted to believe there children was safe while they are learning about Jesus Christ. It hurt me to my heart that all these innocent children was target in the house of God. May they families get the help the needs to get though this & my prayers are with them all.

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  14. Linn: I think it might be a blessing to shut New Spring down for good.</blockquote
    Agreed. Unfortunately, these sad reports will continue to stream in across America as long as looney "alpha males" and their counterfeit churches are allowed to exist by a loyal following of giving units who don't have one ounce of discernment. To invoke the name of Jesus as your lead pastor doesn't guarantee that He is going to show up! He obviously wasn't in the house when the devil did his work!

    If this doesn't shut the doors at NewSpring, nothing will. Good Lord! How many reports of child abuse in church must there be before 'every' church in America takes the necessary steps to protect the little ones under their watch. Church leaders across the land need to be scared to death about the prospect of millstones in their future if they fail in this regard. Whether they are the abuser or not, accountability floats up to them; God will hold them responsible when the cries of innocents rise to heaven.

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  15. “All three of us are alpha males.”

    INSTANT hard pass on this church! (Also, as I told my ex, you aren’t a werewolf, stop calling yourself an ‘alpha’.)

    Bridget: “What makes this case so tragic is that the abuse was entirely preventable — these crimes were repeatedly committed in front of security cameras that were monitored by NewSpring Church.”
    But why didn’t it get stopped at the first incident? This makes no sense.

    They were obviously not monitoring all these cameras live! If they were, they need to fire the person who was supposed to be doing the monitoring because they were sitting on their phones or something.

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  16. Jarrett Edwards: Basically, other than background checks and closer monitoring and accountability from others, including the parents, I don’t really see a solution.

    Until we as a society understand pedophilia, we will have to survive by not letting an adult be alone with an underage child. Physicians have sol bed this by having a second person in the room. This has not hindered open communication since patients records are confidential under Hipaa rules. Confidentiality can be had with 2 adults as opposed to one adult.

    Churches must accept the fact that they will be targeted by pedophiles and people with other paraphiliacs because they are stupidly trusting nothing will happen. Until they get that, children will not be safe. I think they can do more and the lawsuit (s) will help churches to see that. Sadly, it takes a big lawsuit to pound this into the thick skulls of church leadership. Money talks. The safety of children is secondary, sadly. This is why I support lawsuits against churches which have acted in a manner which puts kids in harm’s way.

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  17. Lea:
    “All three of us are alpha males.”

    INSTANT hard pass on this church! (Also, as I told my ex, you aren’t a werewolf, stop calling yourself an ‘alpha’.)

    They were obviously not monitoring all these cameras live! If they were, they need to fire the person who was supposed to be doing the monitoring because they were sitting on their phones or something.

    Yeah, real wolf packs are led by an alpha male and female. There are virtually no females on the staff of Newspring that I could see, but then they might have to “submit to their fellow workers” as Paul said so there can’t be any females I guess. That said, having more females on staff wouldn’t necessarily prevent the abuse of kids, but it only takes one person to monitor the cameras when kids are in attendance so this could have been seen earlier. Smacks of negligence all the way around.

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  18. Lily Rose: “All three of us are alpha males…” Yuck, that’s a big turn off.

    Because I expect that sentence to end “…you Omega Cucks!”

    “Alpha Male” bragging is all too often tied up with Hypermasculinity, i.e. reducing masculinity to aggression, domination, sexual conquest, and Winning At All Costs — the logic of Power Struggle. “PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT! PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT!”

    And the type example of such Toxic Hypermasculinity?
    A cult leader named Adolf Hitler; I’m sure you’ve heard of him.

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  19. dee: If that was the case then why didn’t anyone see what was going on?

    Well, their Alpha of Alphas Pastor Pee was hanging out with Jack Daniels and Jim Beam…

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  20. readingalong,

    “Quicksand Church” maybe?

    “Stan’s Lair”?

    Seriously tho, this church needs to be dissolved. These people should be ashamed of themselves. This is sackcloth and ashes time because these victims will be marked inside for the rest of their lives and no one there cares apparently. They are too careless to run a church. Period.

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  21. Lily Rose: it only takes one person to monitor the cameras when kids are in attendance

    As someone noted earlier, that person was probably gazing at his cell phone instead … probably some Millennial tweeting his life away rather than doing his job … or the cameras were simply recording and not actively monitoring. When kids are in attendance, you need more trustworthy boots on the ground rather than cameras. It is against all acceptable protocols to have only one church volunteer watching children. Pedophiles love to volunteer to watch your children; church is a great place for them to hide in plain sight because church folks are so trusting.

    And another thing … When I was a child, I sat with my parents in church along with my siblings. We didn’t need someone to watch us, my mother simply gave us “the look” if we started acting up – that was enough to keep us in line for the remainder of the service. If we didn’t respond to the look, my father moved discipline up a notch after the service … always in love, of course.

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  22. Jarrett Edwards:
    “Honestly, I just don’t have any frame of reference for this since I was never in a large church as a child, or a daycare and therefore I can’t remember anyone other than my parent taking me to the restroom.Plus, I was potty trained earlier than a lot of children today are, so I didn’t need assistance in the restroom. My Kindergarten and Elementary School had individual restrooms in each classroom that we used by ourselves. And, even in my small country church growing up there was always two people in the Nursery, so no child was ever left alone with an adult.”

    I remember being about 7 years old, and I was waiting in line at a shopping mall to use the rest room which had three stalls. When it was my turn to use one of the stalls, a creepy old lady standing behind me told me that it “would be all right” to use the stall together so she didn’t have to wait for another one to open up. I remember just staring at this lady thinking that I didn’t want to share a stall with her, but I was too afraid to say no because I might get in trouble or something. I instinctively knew this wasn’t right, but at the time, stranger danger was all about the old man in the trench coat enticing kids with candy so I wasn’t sure what to do. Anyway, this old lady told me I could go to the bathroom first, but I was so grossed out and upset that she stood there and watched. She didn’t touch me or anything, but I then had to stand there while she used the bathroom before she would let me out of the stall. I never told my mom, who was shopping just outside this restroom, but I know she would have been upset. This was in the 70s when parents thought it was safe to let kids unattended in the toy aisle while they shopped as I often was. I think this ended when Adam Walsh was murdered as his mother also left him by some video games while she shopped.

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  23. Max: As someone noted earlier, that person was probably gazing at his cell phone instead … probably some Millennial tweeting his life away rather than doing his job …

    Them things (smart phones) will rotcher’ brain out…

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  24. Muff Potter: So Jesus is Newspring’s lead pastor huh?

    I’m sure it’s their play on “Jesus is head of the church” … a cute way to say that Jesus is on the throne here and we “alpha males” are just his associates. While it is true that Christ is Head of ‘His’ Church, He doesn’t have much to do with the thing we call church in many places.

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  25. Max: I’m sure it’s their play on “Jesus is head of the church” … a cute way to say that Jesus is on the throne here and we “alpha males” are just his associates.While it is true that Christ is Head of ‘His’ Church, He doesn’t have much to do with the thing we call church in many places.

    Like the Sons of Zebedee who wanted to be on his right and left side.

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  26. Lily Rose: This was in the 70s when parents thought it was safe to let kids unattended in the toy aisle while they shopped as I often was. I think this ended when Adam Walsh was murdered as his mother also left him by some video games while she shopped.

    Before the world had moved on (as Stephen King would write), these things were virtually unheard of.

    Generally speaking, Mothers back then watched over their young like she-wolves and she-bears, always on the lookout for anything that could coalesce into danger.

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  27. Max: To invoke the name of Jesus as your lead pastor doesn’t guarantee that He is going to show up!

    *He had better show up if He’s pulling down 6 or 7 figures a year!

    *sarcasm

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  28. “All three of us are alpha males.”–Clayton King
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    “…you see all these other guys? they’re betas, gammas, deltas, whathaveyou… that one over there, he’s an omega, of course.

    But not us 3. Because each of us is the “ideal man”, we are the example of Gospel Manhood for all the others. We’re rock stars. And it works out very well — you see, they simply don’t know how to be men. But by God’s grace we are there to show them.” –what Clayton King was thinking

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  29. Even with good safeguards you don’t know those folks, you can’t really know who will and who will not abuse your child. My experience helping in Sunday school is that safeguards are in-place but it’s usually on an honor system whether you follow them or not with little or no punishment if you don’t follow them because there’s often a shortage of trained volunteers. A brazen abuser could easily get away with a lot and no one would say a thing until it’s too late.

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  30. I feel fairly certain that the obsession with “alpha male” status among evangelical church leaders and the abject failure of evangelical churches to protect children (or to deal openly and honestly with abuse of children) are closely linked. Also closely linked – the almost complete absence of women in evangelical church leadership. Yes, churches like NewSpring sometimes have a woman as “Children’s Ministry Leader,” but men (“alpha males”) maintain the power and control.

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  31. Lily Rose: , but it only takes one person to monitor the cameras when kids are in attendance

    The thing is, it was an accident that these episodes were recorded as the upper half of the Dutch door was open. There should NOT be cameras in bathrooms. These episodes should not have been recorded (in this case it helped, eventually). There should be a system whereby one worker is never alone with children, and “the two” should never be in the same family.

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  32. Lily Rose: Like the Sons of Zebedee who wanted to be on his right and left side.

    “To sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared” (Jesus, Mark 10:40). I doubt that Jesus had a couple of young whippersnapper alpha males in mind when He said this. That honor will be for those “for whom it has been prepared” … not for folks doing church without God in the world of Christianity Lite.

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  33. I get the alpha male thing in fundagelicalism, they’re like bronze age chieftains and Native American shamans all rolled into one.

    Here in my locale, Greg Laurie fits the bill with aplomb.

    But how pray tell does a church rack up a debt of 47 mil?

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  34. Re: “All three of us are alpha males.”

    This is stated as though it were an unqualified good.

    I am reminded of a stanza toward the conclusion of a wonderful old song by John and Terry Talbot (from the album “No Longer Strangers”, IMO one of his best; Terry seemed to bring a biblical “edginess” that was less overt, or even missing, in most of the later albums)

    Who will remain and ask to cry in tribulation?
    Who will remain and ask to hunger in the fast?
    Who will remain and ask to die to save another?
    Who will be first and ask to be rewarded last?

    Any “alpha male” who does not have the heart of a shepherd does not belong in an oversight role over the souls of others.

    The response to the abuse revelations appears to be more nearly that of “company men” than of “good shepherds”

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  35. Max–we too were raised by our parents, so when we went to church we were with them. Same with our kids.

    In today’s world I would prefer to do SS material at home like we did with a grandchild, then take them to “big church” to stay with us.

    So simple and so safe.

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  36. Bridget: There should NOT be cameras in bathrooms.

    ^Yeah….I wondered about that too. Is the whole incident on camera???

    I remember when they started putting up those ‘dressing rooms are monitored by security personnel’ signs and they definitely creeped me out.

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  37. Samuel Conner: Re: “All three of us are alpha males.”
    This is stated as though it were an unqualified good.

    It’s definitely stated as thought they are proud of it.

    Then they say ““Al And so the team approach for us is a beautiful thing because it forces us… it forced the three of us as well as the lead team, to submit our egos to the Holy Spirit, cause you can’t hide from your ego in that kind of space.”

    So now we have an admission that alpha male = ego? So teamwork isn’t ‘natural’ for them.

    It’s kind of like the guys who go on and on about how men need to be in charge because they are manly men or whatever, and then in the same breath about how they can’t control themselves so women have to do everything or accept everything – do you honestly not hear the issue?

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  38. This does not surprise me,these are EVIL times.My family was in inter city ministry a number of years ago.We had a relocated big city policeman start attending and he and my husband( which was the chairman of the board of directors )started to review the child safety program and start to change some things.(Before that no one really had any Knowledge and the church grew so fast that we were playing catch up).The pastor gave limited support and it was the straw that broke the camels back to our leaving.In the meantime had a known male peophile start attending and he would get up and roam around during the service.He let that continue for months only going so far as saying that you could not get up during the service,that did not stop this guy. The ladies of the church got together and forced the pastors hand and he finally ask him to leave the church.In the meantime(and really since day one) I/ we ladies started getting up and taking our own “walks”.One time I caught him down in the child dept and had to tell him in not so nice words that he needed to get back to the service.After that I basically sat in the child dept until I forced my husband to leave the church.When it comes to the children it is more cost effective to worry about the new equipment for the worship band than the children,after all they do not bring in the money.The ironic thing is he lost a lot of money when we left.ha ha

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  39. Samuel Conner,

    Your point deserves to be made loudly and often!

    It’s easy to forget that the Alpha and Omega Male did not, by the standards of his time, go out in a blaze of glory dying a hero’s death. Crucifixion was the ultimate loser's death. Even the losers crucified with him held him in contempt (though it seems one of them thought better of it before the end). The end of his public life and ministry was as a nobody: the losers’ loser.

    If we suffer with him, said one of his early followers, we will also be glorified with him. Judging by the number of times he was captured, flogged, shipwrecked and generally driven the **** out of town, that laddie was a bit of a loser too. There’s something about the self-proclaimed alpha male that sits uneasily alongside this profoundly challenging religion.

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  40. I just don’t worry so much when this type of situation hits the nedia. It’s over for this church. Watch attendance and tithing decline….

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  41. dee,

    Re: “NewSpring Named ‘Jesus Christ’ as Senior Pastor After Perry Noble Left, Church Was $47M in Debt.”

    Are we sure Jesus Christ is the new hire, and not the epithet they yelled when they saw the $47M?

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  42. Muff Potter: Here in my locale, Greg Laurie fits the bill with aplomb.

    That PastorGregLaurieCalvaryChapelVineyard?

    But how pray tell does a church rack up a debt of 47 mil?

    Pastor must keep up with The Furticks — TITHE! TITHE! TITHE!

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  43. mandavilla: When it comes to the children it is more cost effective to worry about the new equipment for the worship band than the children

    Because the Kick-Ass Band (fog machines and all) is what Putt$ Butt$ in $eat$.

    “WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS!
    TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS!
    WE’RE SO GLAD YOU COULD ATTEND!
    COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!”
    –Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, “Karn Evil Nine”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwSTe9uit48

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  44. Bridget: There should NOT be cameras in bathrooms.

    You are absolutely right. They are banned at our local rec facility, but I have seen people taking selfies of their new swimsuits, or filming their toddlers in the shower. That’s bad enough, but they don’t realize there are other naked people in the shot. I make a point of gasping in alarm and saying loudly, “Please! No cameras with naked people in the bathroom!” That always works.

    I don’t even want to think about where live security video of bathrooms might end up…

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  45. mandavilla,

    I attended a church 20 years ago and I found the custodian a bit creepy. Turned out the PASTOR had given church keys to a registered sex offender who needed a job. I was floored. I left when the guy began calling women and panting into the phone in the middle of the night. I’m not sure if people are stupid, naive, or both.

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  46. Muff Potter:
    I get the alpha male thing in fundagelicalism, they’re like bronze age chieftains and Native American shamans all rolled into one.

    Here in my locale, Greg Laurie fits the bill with aplomb.

    But how pray tell does a church rack up a debt of 47 mil?

    “debt-funded growth” is pretty standard in modern business management. Provided that the plan is intelligent, it can work for a while.

    In my Dad’s generation, businesses, and especially small businesses, tended to grow gradually through retained earnings. “Getting rich slowly”, I think they called it.

    That present-day religious “best practice” (or at least, “mainstream practice”) is to fund ministry expansion through debt is perhaps another illustration of the conversion of christianity in US from “movement” to “business.”

    I’m thinking, of course, of Eric Hoffer’s famous dictum about the life stages of great causes, the final stage being “racket.” And there is already plenty of evidence that we have reached that.

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  47. I am so angry about this situation that I don’t even have words for it! I hope that guy is put in jail for the rest of his life.

    I also hope New Spring is done for. If these incidents aren’t enough, the whole alpha male thing should be.

    “As neuroscientist Dean Burnett suggested: “Maybe the supposed human alpha male is a combination of disgruntled male wish fulfillment and borderline-pseudoscientific justification for resorting to bullying, intimidation and generally all-round unpleasant behaviour by men hoping to impose their will on a world they find too complex and unnerving so revert to their baser instincts to get what they want, despite knowing deep down they don’t deserve it and shouldn’t have it?’”
    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/the-myth-of-the-alpha-male-a7724971.html

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  48. Lea: It’s kind of like the guys who go on and on about how men need to be in charge because they are manly men or whatever, and then in the same breath about how they can’t control themselves so women have to do everything or accept everything – do you honestly not hear the issue?

    Well, at least they haven’t claimed to be ex Navy Seals, give em’ that.

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  49. GC: I feel fairly certain that the obsession with “alpha male” status among evangelical church leaders and the abject failure of evangelical churches to protect children (or to deal openly and honestly with abuse of children) are closely linked.

    Well, one thing’s for sure … the alpha males at NewSpring – these real men, these warriors, these stand-up guys – failed the children under their watch … proving they are not God’s men.

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  50. Linn: the PASTOR had given church keys to a registered sex offender who needed a job

    We attended a church once where an associate pastor reached out to a young lady on parole by offering her a job to fulfill her public service obligation … watching the children in the nursery, by herself!

    Linn: I’m not sure if people are stupid, naive, or both.

    Yes.

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  51. Samuel Conner: “debt-funded growth” is pretty standard in modern business management. Provided that the plan is intelligent, it can work for a while.

    Only has to work long enough for the MBA CEO to get his seven-plus figure Golden Parachute and go on to the next prey.

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  52. GC:
    I feel fairly certain that the obsession with “alpha male” status among evangelical church leaders and the abject failure of evangelical churches to protect children (or to deal openly and honestly with abuse of children) are closely linked. Also closely linked – the almost complete absence of women in evangelical church leadership. Yes, churches like NewSpring sometimes have a woman as “Children’s Ministry Leader,” but men (“alpha males”) maintain the power and control.

    I think these ‘pastors’ claiming to be ‘alpha males’ must have very small, ummm, senses of self-esteem.

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  53. roebuck: ‘pastors’ claiming to be ‘alpha males’

    In wolf packs, the alpha male will mate with every female in his territory. I don’t think a pastor should self-proclaim that trait – it’s just not befitting of the ministry.

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  54. I agree – it is an absurd thing for a pastor to proclaim about himself. But these are absurd people, these mega-‘church’ ‘pastors’.

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  55. roebuck: it is an absurd thing for a pastor to proclaim about himself. But these are absurd people, these mega-‘church’ ‘pastors’

    They have also self-proclaimed themselves to be “pastors” … IMO, few mega-church leaders who hold that position have been genuinely called and equipped to carry that awesome responsibility before God. If you are going to say you are a pastor, you need to be one … protecting ALL the sheep, particularly the least of these, is evidence that you have a shepherd’s heart.

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  56. 1.). I, too, hope these new revelations close the doors at NS.

    2.). I came to the conclusion, a long time ago, that any male who has to declare that he is an alpha male is clearly nothing more than a wannabe, at best.

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  57. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): any male who has to declare that he is an alpha male is clearly nothing more than a wannabe

    The thing about it to me is that this isn’t the sort of descriptor of themselves that a preacher of the Gospel should be using. Ever since Driscoll showed up, these whippersnappers want to be a man’s man, macho, the dominant male in church, the boss. It’s so not Christlike, particularly for the pulpit to be aspiring to.

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  58. Max,

    I think they’re busy puffing up their egos instead of submitting them to the Holy Spirit, like he claims.

    Pfffft. They need to go play flag football with John Piper.

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  59. GC,

    “Also closely linked – the almost complete absence of women in evangelical church leadership.”
    +++++++++++++++

    it’s laughable.

    Go onto many church websites, and on the leadership page you’re accosted with a full frontal assault of rows of men’s faces, usually large-scale.

    if they weren’t smiling and trying hard to convey a carefully crafted image,… to be honest, it brings to mind all the rows of men’s faces on a sexual offender registry website.

    it is the wrong message and most foolish to make it an exclusive male-run organization (except for the nursery and obligatory ‘luncheons for the ladies’).

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  60. Max: Does anyone remember the TWW piece with a photo of alpha male church leaders strutting on stage with assault rifles?

    Sure do.
    An’ there ain’t a one of em’ can hold a candle to the Russian women who fought and died on the Eastern Front (1941-1945).

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  61. Pingback: Wednesday Connect | Thinking Out Loud

  62. Max: In wolf packs, the alpha male will mate with every female in his territory. I don’t think a pastor should self-proclaim that trait – it’s just not befitting of the ministry.

    This self-description ALWAYS makes me laugh as the whole Alpha thing is linked to survival of the fittest, might is right & a whole host of other values that come straight out of a materialistic worldview where the only goal of life is to perpetuate more life. Is that really what they’re trying to communicate?

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  63. Beakerj: Is that really what they’re trying to communicate?

    I think they slip up and admit it because it’s what they really believe. Even Al Mohler has made slip-ups like that (calling pastors “elites”, for example). As much as some of them try, they can’t help revealing their true beliefs sometimes.

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  64. ishy: I think they slip up and admit it because it’s what they really believe. Even Al Mohler has made slip-ups like that (calling pastors “elites”, for example). As much as some of them try, they can’t help revealing their true beliefs sometimes.

    “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)

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  65. roebuck: But the kids love it!

    Yep. Give them what they want and they will come (culturally-relevant pastor, cool band, coffee lounge, free donuts, shallow messages, etc.). And as they come en masse, pedophiles can hide more easily in their shadows.

    Good Lord! The youth group is running much of the church in America!

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  66. Max: Yep. Give them what they want and they will come (culturally-relevant pastor, cool band, coffee lounge, free donuts, shallow messages, etc.).

    And what happens when the venue down the street (not necessarily a church) has a MORE RELEVANT EmCee (Groovy, Man!) COOLER band, TRENDIER coffee lounge, free pastries instead of just donuts, and Feel-Gooder Messages?

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  67. Max: In wolf packs, the alpha male will mate with every female in his territory.I don’t think a pastor should self-proclaim that trait – it’s just not befitting of the ministry.

    But with all the sex scandals from Polishing-the-Shaft Schaapf to Douggie ESQUIRE to ToJo to Tee Tee, it’s ACCURATE.

    Though I would describe it more as “Herd Bull” than “Alpha Wolf”. Muff can tell you Wolves often have more class than that.

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  68. Beakerj: This self-description ALWAYS makes me laugh as the whole Alpha thing is linked to survival of the fittest, might is right & a whole host of other values

    “ACT BRUTALLY! THE STRONGEST IS ALWAYS RIGHT! THE WINNER IS NEVER ASKED IF HE HAS WON FAIRLY, ONLY THAT HE HAS WON!”
    — Adolf Hitler, cult leader, Fuehrerbefehl to the Armed Forces for the Invasion of Russia

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  69. elastigirl:
    Muff Potter,

    they need some GI Joe action figures to play with, too.

    Bring them to Brookhurst Hobbies on game day and see how well they do with WW2 miniatures, Bolt Action, Flames of War, you name it.

    You tough? Okay, let’s see you do three minutes in a boxing ring or MMA cage…

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  70. roebuck:
    I agree – it is an absurd thing for a pastor to proclaim about himself. But these are absurd people, these mega-‘church’ ‘pastors’.

    Don’t forget “Apostles”, “Head Apostles”, “Super-Apostles”, and “Prophets”…

    “If you encounter a preacher who has titled himself ‘Apostle’ and/or ‘Prophet’, RUN!”

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  71. Friend: Re: “NewSpring Named ‘Jesus Christ’ as Senior Pastor After Perry Noble Left, Church Was $47M in Debt.”

    Next thing they’ll be saying their Senior Pastor founded NewSpring in 33 AD…

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  72. Lea: It’s kind of like the guys who go on and on about how men need to be in charge because they are manly men or whatever, and then in the same breath about how they can’t control themselves so women have to do everything or accept everything – do you honestly not hear the issue?

    doublethink, comrade, doublethink.
    (Easy to do when YOU personally benefit from the System as it is.)

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  73. Lea: So now we have an admission that alpha male = ego? So teamwork isn’t ‘natural’ for them.

    The Universe Cannot Have Two Centers.

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  74. Samuel Conner: “debt-funded growth” is pretty standard in modern business management. Provided that the plan is intelligent, it can work for a while.

    “Speculation is the mother of all evil.”
    — Gordon Gekko —

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  75. Max, you it the nail on the head again. The youth group IS in charge of the church. In our recent church search the preacher at one church made it plain in a sermon that they wanted no more input from the senior saints. Point blank said you may be older, have more wisdom, and know how to do things better but you should defer to the young adults as they are the “weaker brethren” and do not know any better.

    Made it clear if you objected to that or refused to tithe or walked away from that church you were a sinning senior saint.

    The youth, he said, are not going to wait around for you to die so they can have their turn running the church. Either they take over now or leave.

    I thought of the young prodigal son and frankly my thought was let them leave. But since I am a senior saint, I have not returned to a church service there 🙂

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  76. Muff Potter: But how pray tell does a church rack up a debt of 47 mil?

    I realise your question was rhetorical, but it is food for thought, isn’t it?

    We have first-hand experience of an organisation at least somewhat like NewSpring – that is, a business that marketed Jesus, and church life, as a product/brand, and that was run by and for a single CEO. Although I can’t be certain how closely the two organisations overlap, I think the following is a plausible account of how a church might run up that amount of debt:

     The “church” has to have a certain mindset: that it is all, really, the property of its management
     The members must have a sense of divine obligation to the management
     The management in turn must have a sense of personal entitlement to the human capital in the “church”
     The CEO must dream of glory and be ruthless in his ambition
     The CEO must persuade the members that his personal dreams are a god-appointed “vision”
     This is true regardless of whether the CEO is deluded, a deceiver, or a mixture of both

    Given the above foundation, the church accumulates debt one extravagant commitment at a time.

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  77. Headless Unicorn Guy: what happens when the venue down the street (not necessarily a church) has a MORE RELEVANT EmCee (Groovy, Man!) COOLER band, TRENDIER coffee lounge, free pastries instead of just donuts, and Feel-Gooder Messages?

    They, of course, migrate there! There is no loyalty to a messenger and his message in 21st century church if another down the road has more bells and whistles. Jesus, of course, owes them no loyalty either.

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  78. linda: In our recent church search the preacher at one church made it plain in a sermon that they wanted no more input from the senior saints. Point blank said you may be older, have more wisdom, and know how to do things better but you should defer to the young adults …

    Your experience reminds me of the story or King Rehoboam: “Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him …” (1 Kings 12).

    Letting the young folks run the “church” didn’t turn out well for Rehoboam or Israel … and it won’t turn out well for the New Calvinists either, as they takeover churches through stealth and deception casting aside the old saints who financed the buildings and assets they enjoy.

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  79. Max: Your experience reminds me of the story or King Rehoboam: “Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him …” (1 Kings 12).

    I always envisioned that as “…consulted his Frat Bros and Drinking Buds…”

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  80. Samuel Conner: “debt-funded growth” is pretty standard in modern business management. Provided that the plan is intelligent, it can work for a while.

    This is called “OPM – Other People’s Money”. You reap the benefitSSS if it works, they lose their shirts if it doesn’t. (And you bail out with your Fat Golden Parachute.)

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  81. Nick Bulbeck: a business that marketed Jesus, and church life, as a product/brand, and that was run by and for a single CEO.

    There’s a decade-long story about the leveraged buyout in 2007 of a chain of nursing homes. A private equity firm stripped assets, laid off staff, and gradually bankrupted facilities for vulnerable seniors. I seriously wonder if this is happening in US churches, although the terminology and applicable law would be different because they are charitable institutions.

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  82. roebuck: I think these ‘pastors’ claiming to be ‘alpha males’ must have very small, ummm, senses of self-esteem.

    A – arrogant
    L – loud-mouthed
    P – pathetic
    H – hopeless
    A – animal

    I don’t know . . . I think they might be on to something.

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  83. Friend: There’s a decade-long story about the leveraged buyout in 2007 of a chain of nursing homes. A private equity firm stripped assets, laid off staff, and gradually bankrupted facilities for vulnerable seniors.

    This is all ‘covered under the blood’.
    Just don’t get caught having sex with another consenting adult outside of marriage.

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  84. Muff Potter,

    don’t you just love how in christian pastor speak, “immorality” includes only one thing (breaking sex rules).

    exploit, steal, commit fraud, manipulate, lie, deceive, abuse, molest, aid & abet sexual assault after the fact…. nah, nothing immoral about these. things.

    my agnostic & atheist relatives’ ethical standards are high enough that they consider carelessness with trash immoral, let alone lying (or anything else mentioned above). it is beneath them to lie.

    a good part of my disillusionment with “christianity” is that my friends and relatives who are agnostic, atheist, muslim, hindu, and buddhist have higher personal standards than the christians i know and observe. especially christian leaders, in positions of trust.

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  85. Lea:

    So now we have an admission that alpha male = ego? So teamwork isn’t ‘natural’ for them.

    Only if it’s the same mentality as the Ultimate Fighting Championship “Team Alpha Male”:). These guys even pose in their Newspring picture with open mouthed smile like they are showing their teeth in a growl or something. Personally, I think that is deliberate so they can humble brag like “well, we are big manly alpha males, but we’re willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to put aside our egos for Jesus so we can be a team…!” Yeah, right.

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  86. Beakerj: This self-description ALWAYS makes me laugh as the whole Alpha thing is linked to survival of the fittest, might is right & a whole host of other values that come straight out of a materialistic worldview where the only goal of life is to perpetuate more life.

    Also, apparently the alpha wolf thing is mostly a myth anyways, because they studied wolves in captivity, not in the wild. The guy who came up with it has reversed course.

    https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-everything-you-know-about-wolf-packs-is-wrong-1664301968

    However, Mech explains, his studies of wild wolves have found that wolves live in families: two parents along with their younger cubs. Wolves do not have an innate sense of rank; they are not born leaders or born followers. The “alphas” are simply what we would call in any other social group “parents.” The offspring follow the parents as naturally as they would in any other species. No one has “won” a role as leader of the pack; the parents may assert dominance over the offspring by virtue of being the parents.

    But it has come to mean a bunch of macho dominant behavior (even though there was an alpha female as well, which everybody seems to forget about). Which is nonsense in a church setting!

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  87. Nick Bulbeck: Given the above foundation, the church accumulates debt one extravagant commitment at a time.

    Yes. Usually buildings and such. And newer churches probably don’t have as much in reserves as older ones. Also, if you have debt and expanded quickly, but then lose membership/money? You can quickly pile up unpaid stuff and debt service charges.

    Our church maintains a commitment to be debt free, owns the building, etc, but you have to watch the money. That should be basic church stuff. “Good Stewards” and all that.

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  88. Max: Letting the young folks run the “church” didn’t turn out well for Rehoboam or Israel

    Counterpoint, people like paige Patterson, and Piper aren’t young.

    I think balance is good here, rather than blaming youth or age. Input and leadership from both should be welcome.

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  89. Linn:
    linda,
    I don’t think this pastor had any idea who paid the church bills, or his salary.

    It always amazes me to hear this stuff, because even if they are purely concerned with money, they should be smarter about. Older people, for various reasons, give more to the church. It’s stupid to cut them off and treat them badly, in addition to being very rude and wrong.

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  90. Lily Rose: Only if it’s the same mentality as the Ultimate Fighting Championship “Team Alpha Male”:). These guys even pose in their Newspring picture with open mouthed smile like they are showing their teeth in a growl or something.

    Something I’ve encountered in Furry fiction:
    Always smile to a Furry with a closed mouth; at least if they’re unfamiliar with humans.
    Showing teeth is a Threat Display to non-humans.
    If their base species is a Carnivore/Predator, their hindbrains read it as a Dominance Challenge.
    If Herbivore (Prey), as a Predator closing in to attack.

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  91. elastigirl: don’t you just love how in christian pastor speak, “immorality” includes only one thing (breaking sex rules).

    As HUG would say, when it comes to human sexuality, there’s no discussion, no dissent, no debate, no if(s), no and(s), and no but(s), it’s cut off at the brain stem with one or two verses.

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  92. Lea: I think balance is good here

    Agreed. We need the energy of youth, coupled with the wisdom of age. Young folks to speed things up a bit, old folks to slow it down. However, gray hair doesn’t necessarily equal wisdom … nor is the energy of youth always expended on the right things. Yep, church was always intended to be multi-generational. Unfortunately, some of the current church movements have cast us older folks aside … we just ain’t culturally-relevant, I suppose.

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  93. Lea: Counterpoint, people like paige Patterson, and Piper aren’t young.

    Neither was Chairman Mao (First Emperor, Hong Dynasty).
    He just gave the orders, and the youth of the Red Guards joyfully obeyed.

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  94. Sometimes your only consolidation is to remember how that Rabbi from Nazareth SNUBBED the Godly Alpha Males to hang out with all us Omega Cucks.

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