Why Is There an Appearance of a Coverup at Christ Community Chapel?

“A person who experiences spiritual abuse often begins by asking for dialog or some form of support and is left instead with a weight of guilt or condemnation and feeling less worthy as a person.” link

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The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse

There is a book that I heartily recommend to anyone who is part of a church or seeking to become part of the church. It addresses the problems of spiritual manipulation and false spiritual authority. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse was written by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen.(ed. note:I do not accept Amazon kickbacks not do I accept ads or any payment for what I do on this website.) David Johnson just retired after 38 years as the  senior pastor at Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Jeff Van Vonderen is a former pastor and counselor.

Any church that has nothing to hide will allow church members to freely discuss any questions or concerns that they have with the leaders. Not only that, but the church leadership should welcome such a discussion.

For example:

  • Does a church allow you to see their budget?
  • Does the leadership become irritated when you try to figure out what is going in the church?
  • Do they tell you not to *gossip?*
  • Do leaders use words such as slander or defamation when you ask question?
  • Do they make you feel that you are the problem when you attempt to discuss the problems that you see?
  • Do they use strong arm tactics like removing you from a small group in order to shut you up?
  • Do they spend a lot of time discussing their authority as pastor or elders?
  • Do they tell you that you are not being submissive to their authority in order to get you stop asking questions?

The book carefully delineates the difference between true authority and poor leadership. The authors discuss how such abuse develops and why members are blinded to it, initially. Later, when it’s too late to do anything about it, the congregants finally realizes what happened to their church. Interestingly, it also helps the members of such a church to understand what it is about their own personalities that allows such domineering pastors and elder boards to control them.

One of the finest chapters deals with the misapplication of various Scripture verses that are used to secure the abusive pastor’s position and keep the members of the church in line. They show how verses such as Matthew 18 are misapplied and misunderstood. It is fascinating to see how the Bible can be misused to justify almost any action, including unbiblical ones. The authors stress how the average member in such a church often feels burdened and lacking in joy. It is fascinating to note that even the “really intelligent” individual can be taken in by this sort of a church.

Why I’m concerned about Sankey, Tom Randall, Toto, Joe Coffey and Christ Community Chapel (CCC).

Let me repeat what I said at the beginning. A church which has nothing to hide will welcome questions and concerns in an open and loving manner. There are a number of people who love CCC and who are also concerned about the alleged abuse of children at Sankey. I also believe that there is a serious problem at this children’s home

The expressed concern for the welfare of the children by church leaders appears tepid, at best.

The first thing that jumps out at me is the apparent lack of concern from the victims by those in leadership. In my 10 years of documenting abuse in the church, I find this to be a consistent problem. The involved leaders are discussed in glowing terms and are to be protected at all costs. Somehow, the same passion and concern for the children gets lost in the *So and So is a great leader and speaker.*

I have a question. Who do you think Jesus would spend time with: The locally famous church leaders or the children? Jesus was deeply concerned about the welfare of the children. Matthew 18:6 (NIV) gives one of His most serious warnings.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

There appears to be an attitude amongst some that a pastor cannot be involved in serious sin.

This is one of the most dangerous beliefs of all. I know this hard for many people to hear but no one knows what goes on inside of a man or woman. Have you seen the latest reports on the number of pastors who have been convicted of child sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention? Even the leaders of the SBC acknowledge there is a terrible problem. Abuse of Faith: 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms. How many people at CCC have followed the recent scandal involving Bill Hybels and Willow Creek, a huge church with 30,000 members. He stepped down because of accusations of sex abuse over the course of decades. Do you know how many of the people in that church didn’t believe it because they thought the *knew him?* Instead of hiding it under a rock, after pressure, this church had an outside, independent investigation (that is the gold standard in investigations) to corroborate what had happened.

So, why the apparent abuse of church members who ask questions and demand accountability?

This is the  main reason I believe there is something wrong . There appears to be an attempt by the leadership to shut down questioning by church members.

The criteria for questioning an elder or a leader in the church has been met in this instance. According to 1 Timothy 5:19 (NIV)

Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.

There are videos available of the children along with heavy documentation brought by numerous members of the church.  According the Scripture, the evidence must be considered by leaders as possibly valid. So why the poor treatment of a member of the church who recently brought forth the claims to leadership?

What is an independent, outside investigation and why is it the gold standard?

An investigation must be conducted by those with experience in the matter and who do not depend on support from the victims or the church leadership. If there is any support whatsoever, the investigation will be tainted.

I’ve been told that some leaders are claiming that the FBI is investigating. Today I called the FBI office in Akron. They issued the standard Glomer response.

In United States law, the term Glomar response, also known as Glomarization or Glomar denial,[1] refers to a response to a request for information that will “neither confirm nor deny” (NCND) the existence of the information sought.[2] For example, in response to a request for police reports relating to a certain individual, the police agency may respond with the following: “We can neither confirm nor deny that our agency has any records matching your request.” Such a response is invariably a false statement, regardless of whether the entity actually possesses the information requested, as they actually can confirm or deny it, but simply chose not to. Accordingly, Glomar responses are favored for their ability to reject a request for information without claiming the information does not exist.[2]

Basically, this means they will not say one way or the other. However, unless the FBI has issued a statement “We are investigating so and so,” it is highly unlikely that they will allow a leaders to run all over kingdom come saying *The FBI is involved.” So, I doubt the FBI is involved.

However, I’ve been told that some believe that one of the directors of Rahab Ministries, Suzanne Lewis-Johnson, a former FBI agent, is conducting the inquiry. If this is true, she is not doing it *for the FBI.* Also, she cannot be independent since her ministry receives funds from CCC and the Sankey Family Foundation. This would be a conflict of interest and any investigation would not be considered independent. Apparently, the offices of Rehab are closed on Fridays so I left a message for Ms. Lewis-Johnson to call me.

The testimony of Taylor

If you don ‘t have time to read the entire post, skip down to the section that says “the really important emails.”

I know the identity of Taylor. It was my suggestion that this person’s identity be kept anonymous due to my concern about possible thoughtless reactions by the church. Since I am sure the church leadership will know who this is, I shall gauge their reaction to the documents.

The rest of this post will be the actual emails that were sent by, or to, Taylor. The take place from November, 2018-January 2019.

Taylor to Joe Coffey 11/15/18. Taylor outlines basic concerns.

Dear Joe
After listening to the podcast below my heart is deeply grieved. This is not a fabricated testimony of women- one does not fabricate Truth in this manner/ it is not elaborated.  We are called to discern truth rightly.

I don’t believe Tom is guilty- maybe of loyalty to man- however somewhere in the equation I am hoping discernment has not fallen and loyalty to man may be exceeding loyalty to the Lord.  Joe this is not coming from the outside but people, strong members, inside our four walls concerned about undisclosed monetary decisions and lack of an objective elder board as oversite and covering for you and unilateral decisions.

You are correct time and truth and I am confident the Lord will shine on all that is hidden; yet I also know we are humans and can allow passion and loyalty and friendship to supersede what may be awful atrocities against young people. I know they recanted- under pressure it can be too much.  And money can buy much

I’m sure this email has at first sparked anger/ that is not my intent- Joe I know what passion and pride can do- if even an ounce of this is true- the Lord is quite displeased and it could crash all to the ground-

As our leader, I’m asking that you personally go before the Lord and allow Him to speak- laying aside loyalties – I’m just a small person in the church who has probably annoyed you more than once. But I’m honest and forthright and I pray!

This is not going to end especially if evidence builds that exposes and you will personally go right down with the rest.  I know you don’t walk in fear but first and foremost you have been called to Shephard.

If you have not heard the link below, I’m asking you listen with objectivity- all the way to the end as the last 5 minutes of what they desired from Tom are more than gripping.

In His Grip and with deep prayers in my heart.  God will be glorified always!

You don’t need to respond especially if you are infuriated as you are not accountable to me by any stretch- I just happen to be someone who cares and has enough guts to write.

Here is a podcast / interview with the whistle blower and one of the victims at Tom Randall’s place in the Philippines.

https://phoenixpreacher.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Miriam Bongolan podcast.mp3

I have listened to more than half and I find it pretty disturbing.

Joe Coffey to Taylor- 11/13/18: Joe Mauk’s smearing campaign and evil social media

This is absolutely NOT true. This continues to go on. Joe Mauk seems like he is increasing his efforts to smear Tom and CCC. It’s crazy. I had to address it before the message a couple of weeks ago. Social media is so dangerous and evil at times. Anyone can say anything. The case was investigated for 4 years by the child services and the government authorities of the Philippines. All charges were dropped. Tom was never charged with anything.

Joe Mauk, who triggered the raid, has lost all credibility in the Philippines and is desperate to try to exonerate his actions. Thanks for trusting us. One of the interesting things about anyone who gets infected by Joe is that they all refuse to even meet with Tom and Karen and hear their story. That’s amazing to me. Somehow Joe convinces them that they shouldn’t even talk to Tom when supposedly these are Christian people who want to know the truth. This has been a huge distraction and has been terribly painful for both Tom and Karen. Ok, I’m done.

You can tell whoever sent you this that they should talk to Tom or get the phone numbers for some of the kids and get their perspective. We gladly give anyone their numbers so they can hear first hand what happened and what didn’t happen.
Your friend,
Joe

Taylor to Joe 11/13/18

 but as my pastor I’m coming direct to the source- I have not forwarded this to anyone but you!!!- Joe you have always told me the truth . (Sends links to Phoenix preacher

Joe to Taylor 11/15/18; Note how Coffey talks about an independent investigation.

I appreciate your concern but I would invite anyone who has questions to sit down with Tom and Karen and talk to them. They will gladly connect you to the people who are actually in the Philippines, the kids that actually lived there and know Hazel and the Mauks. You can speak to Hazel’s sister who was also a part of the orphanage. You can see her file over the years, understand her background.

I would suggest looking into the primary sources before you make a judgement based on a blogger or even this video. There’s a lot of information you don’t know. I can pretty much guarantee whoever is spreading this has never taken the trouble to sit down with Tom and Karen and ask them direct questions or researched the primary sources to see what is true or not true. Which is really sad when you think about it because it seems so biblical. Please do the work necessary before jumping to conclusions about whether loyalty has blinded anyone.

We also have asked a group of trained professionals (men and women trained in human trafficking and law enforcement) to conduct an independent investigation into everything to make sure the DSWD (child services in the Philippines who conducted 2 full investigations and the NBI (the Philippine version of the FBI) didn’t miss anything. If you are really concerned then please sit down with Tom or Karen and talk with them. They have both longed for people who have questions about them and what went on in the Philippines to just ask them and let them tell what they know.
Your friend,
Joe

Taylor to Joe 11/17/18: The children have no voice at CCC.

Hi Joe
I’m heeding you advice and doing the work .  Fortunately a few within our midst have also been burdened to do the work-well founded documentation –  this is quite serious in my mind and I cannot treat it casual-

I think to say someone has a vindictive spirit is to underestimate what might have actually occurred- just curious too- why is our church holding 2 million of Toms money-? Is that really a church function Joe. Some things just are not adding up with some of us- we care loads but won’t tolerate if Truth is really falling down.  

You are right much is not known – but what is being presented does not seem to add up either-

One podcast certainly does not tip the scales- what independent investigation and will it be completely objective if CCC is funding it- doesn’t loyalty right now potentially out way striving for Truth- Joe can you honestly say that you would stand in front of everyone if Toto is found to be a wicked man and say to the whole congregation that CCC was wrong to defend- I hope so because in my heart I believe the possibility is there- the documentation is not cheesy- it’s overwhelming!

This is highly serious as our church may have defended a very evil, manipulative, and deceptive man who has hurt kids. And what saddens me more is that it was ignored- these are children Joe who traditionally have no voice.

We have heard Toms side- but our own church is completely minimizing the other side as awful people. Joe the ones concerned are believers under your leadership – even in the level that the church has overstepped the bounds of involvement that are appropriate-

I care lots as well as highly concerned.

Joe to Taylor 11/18/18  Tom Randall has PTSD and Joe Mauk is trying to organize a protest.

You should know that we have had Tom in counseling for PTSD to try to deal with the night terrors he has had at least 5 times per week for the last 5 years from the beatings he took from the NBI while in jail. That’s literally hundreds of night terrors that he and Karen have gone through. Joe Mauk minimizes Tom’s experience in jail. Tom doesn’t tell anyone all that went on. Why would Joe Mauk minimize something like that?
I tell you this because Tom probably had a night terror last night and is going to try to speak tonight knowing that Joe Mauk is trying to organize some kind of protest against him. I’ve told him to try not to think about it and just do what God has called him to do. He will call you Monday to arrange a time to meet.

Further discussions ensure about the need to meet with Tom Randall.This is important later one in the post.

Joe to Taylor 11/18/18 Claims that Toto was an employee of CCC Also, makes claims about Joe Mauk which Mauk refuted.

First, the church has never heard Tom’s side. You haven’t heard Tom’s side. If you are going to “do the work” you need to sit down with Tom and Karen, get the phone numbers of people in the Philippines, talk to the missionaries who have been right there from the beginning, talk to the kids who were there for their entire lives. You haven’t done any of that. The person who is feeding you information, the blogger who is posting this, the “advocates” have never done any of this. Way back in 2013 the only person who did the research was an Akron Beacon reporter who Joe Mauk called and fed all this to called me. I gave her all the numbers to call, she did the work of a real reporter and called me back saying, “wow, there is a completely different narrative that the kids tell” and she said as a reporter she could and would never print what you are hearing and what you are reading.

The bylaws of every ministry I know read the same as our bylaws. If CCC decides to close the elders are bound to find a like minded organization and transfer all assets and liabilities to that organization. The board of World Harvest approached CCC and asked us if we would be that organization for them. We agreed. We took over all their assets and liabilities including all the ministries they were involved in within the Philippines. We have an external audit every year to make sure every single thing we do is above board. Does Joe Mauk do that? Does every ministry you know of do that?

The lies that people are willing to believe are amazing to me. We did nothing for Toto Luchavez and his son Jake except to provide legal counsel for them, which by the way the attorney says was our legal responsibility since they were employees. Would you rather we break Ohio law because of an accusation? Do you know anything about Joe Mauk? Do you know anything about the way he has treated the kids, what he promised or threatened Hazel with or CM? Do you know he owes World Harvest 450k? Have you sifted through all his posts with Tom to see how many lies, flat out lies he has posted about the ordeal? If he is telling the truth then why would he have to lie at all?

you really need to completely stop, make an appointment with Tom and Karen and sit down and let them tell you the mountain of stuff you don’t know and will never know until you ask them. You of all people should know that Satan is most effective when he weaves some truth with some lie. You are reading partial truth and partly lie and you are willing to believe it. Do not go deeper into this terribly dangerous mixture without talking to Tom and Karen.

You say this was ignored. How in the world was this ignored? Do you know how many hours have gone into the investigation in the Philippines and here in the States? You only know what Joe Mauk is feeding you. Do you know anything about GRACE and whether they have forensic interviewers in the Philippines who could help? Do you know what Joe Mauk feels would be resolution? Do you know if Joe Mauk wants more money from World Harvest? Do you know if he has stolen money from World Harvest? Do you know if he ever hit one of the kids? Do you know if he is guilty of crimes in the Philippines, one of which is NOT reporting a sex offender who molested one of the kids 10 years ago when it was his responsibility? Do you now about Miriam and her history? Do you know we sent a team over to the Philippines to meet with the kids to get their story? Do you know that church leaders over in the Philippines have investigated and concluded that Joe Mauk is in disobedience? Do you know if Joe Mauk is accountable to anyone? I mean anyone?

And yet you say we have ignored this whole fiasco and never done the necessary investigation to find out the truth of what happened? Do you know the NBI and the bribes?
What exactly do you know? You know what a single person is wanting you to know. ASK. All you need to do is sit down with Tom and Karen and ask and no one, not a single person, not ONE person Joe Mauk has infected has ever been willing to do that. Doesn’t that strike you as wildly unbiblical? Why would Joe Mauk convince people to not talk to Tom and Karen.

And please do not say to yourself, “Oh, Joe’s loyalty has clouded his judgement” until you have spent the hundreds of hours I have spent with this and until you talk to the one person who is right here who knows more than anyone else about the kids, Joe Mauk, the Philippines, Hazel, the money, CM, World Harvest, the NBI, the Child services, the investigations, the raid that Joe Mauk did 3 weeks before the raid, the raid, prison, the missionary community in the Philippines and all 31 of the children at Sankey Samaritan and what they are doing now.

Google Joe Mauk and then google Tom Randall and tell me who has been maligned. We haven’t said or written anything about Joe Mauk since my first blog back in 2013 which I took down within the week. Joe Mauk has posted literally hundreds of things about Tom(including making fun of Tom riding a unicycle for ministry) and about me and about the church to try to discredit us. Miriam posted that we sit under a “glittering dome of lies”. What lies? What is a single lie we have told about any of this? She says CCC has thrived on the backs of children who have been abused. Really? How have we thrived off of this? Do any of their comments, any of their lies concern you?

Please do not talk to me about this tomorrow before I preach. Call or write Tom right now and set up a time for you and the whole group to sit down to talk with him. He has longed for anyone with these questions to just ask him.

The really important emails

A meeting was held with Tom Randall which did not clarify the issues for Taylor. Then the following communications occurred. Let me preface this by saying that I advise ALL church members to refuse to go to any meeting with leaders/pastors which may involve controversy UNLESS they are allowed to have a witness present. I also encourage then to record these conversations.

Taylor to Joe and Jim 12/17/18 Jim Colledge is the founding pastor of CCC: Taylor outlines  concerns.

Dear Jim and Joe

The last five weeks have been nothing short of horrifying and disturbing.  You must know that I did not “seek” out anything.  In fact, I believed wholeheartedly the stand from the pulpit.  Yet, when I heard some of the tapes of the girls, something inside had a deep check that I could not ignore and I prayed about it – ALOT.  Then things started to happen and I was in touch with people, who independently, unrelated to Joe Mauk also had questions and for years and month started bravely weed whacking through evidence and testimony.  Why, because most abuse cases are not fabricated.  In fact, most of the cases happen with the most unlikely people- not strangers.  Why else, because there are 27 verses in the Bible that talks about the Lords eye on the orphans.

I’m a bit personally surprised and distressed by the following:

1.  Joe C, your initial tweet said there are two sides but I believe Tom – I personally believe your responsibility was to place discernment over loyalty regardless of how you “felt”.
2.  You challenged me to sit down personally with Tom and Karen to hear their side – yet, what you preached to me was not practiced in kind as the response you and the “hidden” elders in our church gave when he wrote a very professional letter was to deny the request.  He too is a brother in Christ – so your challenge to me was not upheld by your own practice – I ponder why and it is unnerving.
3.  I have it on the account of two witnesses – not one Joe, two- who had nothing to gain except to protect kids, that when you were personally presented and avidavit of a young boy sodomized and forced to give a man a blow job that you “arched your back” and said “you know how orphans are” and the tenor of the meeting was anything but a pastors listening ear and humility.  This for me is probably the most disturbing of all.  Joe, you were like the father I never had – you told me the truth years ago and it is with tears while I heard the same account – its two different people who have not spoken in a few years.  They were both there – They had nothing to protect Joe – absolutely nothing – they believed like I would that a pastor would stand up and take notice.  They did not get humility Joe.  This is not anything like my own father.  Given the abuse he suffered he would have cried – did you ever cry Joe when you heard about those kids or was all the focus directed towards protecting your friend al all cost.
4.  Our church did not give one single dime to the orphans to assist in their trial – because we were already pre-disposed to a level of innocence.
5.  If my child was abused and wrote a signed avidavit – I would not read it once, I would read it 10 times regardless of how painful.  When Tom and Karen were questioned on this on Friday – they read NONE of them – that was said “they read NONE of them”.  Their supposed children, and they read none of them
6.  Some of these kids have been made out to be mentally ill and off base as if they decided they were abused to gain something.  Joe, wake up.  They have nothing and if their support is threatened in any way, they will do anything.  We only spoke of “kissing” in our church.  Do you know that one boy is in hiding?  Do you know that one boy physically shook in the courtroom when he saw the face of his perpetrator.
7.  When I personally asked what the charges were against Toto – Tom said he did not know – yet it was his employee.  When I asked Tom on the phone if he released Toto immediately – He said yes.  Yet documented evidence is contradictory – in one place he says he fired him, in another place he said he let him go, in the meeting he said he told him to go across the street and play golf.

8.  If the church truly had nothing to hide, truly, then there would have been absolutely no hesitation to bring in a neutral third party immediately and solicit the help of all who were deeply concerned – this did not happen.  In fact, it makes it almost impossible to believe the story board because the church supposedly picked someone better.  Can you honestly and forthrightly say that the “person” you picked is objective, no strings attached to CCC, no benefit from CC on tithing – absolutely no strings attached – BIG QUESTION JOE, BIG QUESTION- and yes it is caps because to me it is deplorable that the church would not listen to others who came to you time and time again.  Instead you have lifted up your friend above the call to protect the church.

In closing, I came yesterday and will continue to come because I care a tremendous amount that God’s reputation would be preserved and I sit there in pray.  By the way, your message yesterday was very good.  Was it comfortable, no.  You see Joe, whistleblowers are coined as divisive.  Read the account at Willow Creek.  The pastors and the elders ignored what was right under their noses and the victims were single handedly destroyed.  I take the risk that you all will attempt the same on me – but yet I stand in confidence that from the day I have walked into CCC until this day, I have honored the leadership.  So, you can only imagine the horror to have much of this get shattered as I have probed and dug.

The women and men who have come forward are not idiots.  Many top researchers around the country that are not linked by anything have probed and probed and even tried to poke holes in their own investigations only to confirm the evidence.

Most importantly, why did Tom go to such great lengths to defend Toto and Jake who were unsupervised much of the time?  That alone is a very curious question.  He could not even answer who was on his board at the time of the arrest, yet we know.

I also did not appreciate the visual image that Tom portrayed to females in the room that he had to put a straw up his penis to pee.  Seriously! – Also my daughter who is a nurse says this is almost an impossibility.  The church said he got medical help.

Then he claimed that the orphans were starving and had not eaten in three days so he bought chicken.  He did buy chicken for the inmates.  The evidence shows that the children were taken food by two missionary’s daily and provided a cake for one of their birthdays.

I am sure that as you both read this, you believe I am crazy.  Fortunately this entire summer, the Lord has had me in a quiet place to realize that truth will cost me on every level and also to keep redirecting me to my identity in him.  This case is not closed as was conveyed by the pulpit and the final NBI report actually states that they are certain some level of abuse happened at the Sankey orphanage.  No one can tell me that the power and money behind a mega church and the political influences wielded did not have an impact to erode justice.  We know it happens in the secular world Joe.  It is a fact.

In closing, the issue is this.  Did you follow Micah 6:8? – Have you shown one ounce of care to the orphans or is the church no more on a mission to protect their own?  The hiddenness of the elder board, the hiddenness of finances, and the hiddenness and reluctance to work others (correction:3/9/19) as well, seems that there was a desire to “keep it in the family” – that is what Tom did with the kids – “not good to share outside the family”.

I am making one last appeal for the sake of the church that you would both lay down loyalty and possible pride that nothing could possibly happen at CCC.  I am begging you to deeply pray as it is with extreme bravery I wrote this to you.  It was with bravery I sat in my normal spot on Sunday.  And, it was with even more bravery that we challenged Tom in the end.  Remember, God sees the orphans whether the church sees them or not.  Horrific things occurred.  I almost vomited when Tom said Jake was this meek and mild boy who could do no harm.

What if it did happen gentlemen and pastors? – what if the thinking has been clouded by a very polished speaker?  Unfortunately, where there is smoke there is fire.  I hope you will pick up this appeal, be open and forthright and start working with the advocates.  This is not a Satanic bunch Joe.

In His Grip Forever.

Jim to Taylor on the same day.

Having received your email of  December 17th the elders intend to invite you to meet with members of the board to address the subject of your email, as well as the charges within it. The elders have a number of questions for you as we consider the severity of the accusations made. I suggest that we allow the Christmas holiday to pass before scheduling a time to meet in January.
Additionally we would ask that you cease attempting to contact Tom Randall through his cell phone. The elders are asking you to respect both his privacy and the process of the independent investigation that is being done presently.
Respectfully,
Jim Gaul, Chairman of the Board of Elders
Jim Colledge, Founding Pastor

Editor note: Taylor was told time and time again, as documented above, to contact Tom Randall. Now Taylor is told not to do so. Looks like Taylor asked too many hard questions….

Taylor to Jim on the same day.

Hi Jim
My phone and records are available for anyone to review- I have not contacted or harassed in any way and if that is what he is saying- it is false and a lie- you can convey that as he has no proof of such things because they are untrue- I’m not foolish to contact someone like Tom.

I will be praying about this as it took courage to write-

Thank you for your response

In a His Grip

Taylor to Jim 1/1/19: What is this meeting about? I want to bring someone with me.

Happy New Year Jim

In relation to the meeting – I have some key questions

A. What is the purpose
B. What are the questions
C. Who will be in attendance

I would also like to bring another party with me.

In closing, I work full time so it would have to be in the evening.

Since many of my troublings  were associated with Joe Coffey- I Trust He will be in attendance

Thanks much and I hope 2019 brings much blessing

Jim to Taylor 1/2/19 Taylor may NOT have a witness.

I am sorry that I was not clearer. Because the request by the elders is to address your allegations and concerns regarding Christ Community Chapel as a member we do not think it would be inappropriate appropriate(ed. note: there was a followup email that I did not use that corrected this word to appropriate 3/9/19. It is obvious that the church did not want Taylor to have a witness present.) for anyone else to be present.

Regards,
jim

Taylor to Jim 1/2/19 Taylor refused to come to the meeting alone.

Dear Jim:

Thank you for the response.  In view of the decline for someone to be present with me, I will not be a participant in such a meeting.  Previous attempts to engage Joe or engage an objective research of the accusations have not produced any results.  I wrote to you and Joe in the sincere hope that it would be a “wake up”  and a voice that has been a long standing member who has valued the leadership.   I was wiling to sit with the Elder Board provided I could have a “witness” to the discussions. I was trying to provide a final  opportunity to both of for the church to redirect towards pure objectivity.   The supporting evidence cannot be ignored or minimized – there is just too much and it is just too deep.  At Joe’s request some weeks ago, I spoke to the orphans.  Jim, the mantra can be that the affidavits were not true,  the mantra can be that all parties are innocent.  However, God will deal with this and He will deal in a thorough manner.  These, now adults, are not lying Jim.  If the church truly wanted objectivity they would have solicited a totally independent organization capable of a totally unbiased investigation and not selected one in part supported or linked to CCC in any way shape or form.  CCC should have been willing to be completely hands off and let the third party drive the investigation and present the unbiased results.   That did not happen at all which makes it impossible to believe that image has not superseded a real desire for truth to be brought to the light.  

In His Grip

Jim to Taylor 1/4/19: This is the most important email because it outlines the problems with the leadership at CCC.

It is disappointing that you have chosen not to meet with members of the Elder Board. I, for one, looked forward to addressing the issues that divide us as related to the church.
If I may, I believe you misunderstand the purpose of why the elders are asking to meet with you. It is not the intent of the elders to address anything related to the events and alleged charges that may or may not linger in the Philippines. Our desire is to address your position and understanding of leadership and governance of Christ Community Chapel and your willingness to (abide) by the membership covenant that you affirmed when you became a member of this local church. These concerns of the elder board are quite separate from the past events and present investigation of the Sankey School/Home, World Harvest Ministries, and Tom Randall.

Your demonstration of mistrust and disrespect for the spiritual leadership of Christ Community Chapel is astounding. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, you have determined that you have authority to discern the spiritual health of the local church. This is a dangerous position for anyone to assume. I have been a pastor for nearly forty years  and what you are doing I have seen before. The end is always the same. Like others, you will leave the church and settle somewhere else. Eventually you will do the same thing and leave a legacy of harm and divisiveness. I urge you for the sake of the gospel to reverse your decision to meet with members of the elder board of the church.
Respectfully,
Jim

Taylor to Jim a few days later.

Hi Jim
I read your email with openness, although tremendously unnerved  by the concept of divisive, but that is ok. Given I can bring no one- I would be willing to meet with ONE elder and their wife in a public place – , I’m glad you told me the nature of meeting- I will not set myself up to be bullied or intimidated so if these terms are acceptable- I’m willing. If not, then so be it, this needs  to be two way dialogue- not one way battering/ I also know what it means to follow leadership ; however not at all cost if I deem that something is in violation to true Christianity- which is why I take exception to some of your takes. I appreciate your forthrightness on the purpose.  I think my terms are more than reasonable.

Will await your response

In His Grip

This is the last email: Taylor has received no response

An outline of an appearance of abusive tactics on the part of the church

Let’s take a look at a few statements from the leaders.

  • The elders invited Taylor to a meeting to address issues. However, they will not let her have a witness present. TWW does not advise anyone to ever go to such a meeting alone. Leaders usually use these meetings to stomp on the individual who is asking difficult questions.
  • “There’s a lot of information you don’t know.” Pastors try this one on me all the time. However, this is usually a deflection. Ofter times, I have far more information than the pastor. What he really means is that he doesn’t want to talk about this.
  • The elders ask Taylor to stop contacting Tom Randall. This has to be the most confusing instruction of all. I have read email after email from Joe Coffey tellingly Taylor to contact Tom Randall. Now they tell her not to do that. Make up your minds, already!  I would venture to guess that Taylor actually expected some answers to her questions and Tom just didn’t want to go there.
  • Now they get down to the nitty gritty. ” I believe you misunderstand the purpose of why the elders are asking to meet with you. It is not the intent of the elders to address anything related to the events and alleged charges that may or may not linger in the Philippines” This appears to be the beginning of the spiritually abusive tactics of this church. This isn’t about the victims. This is about Taylor. See the next point.
  • “Our desire is to address your position and understanding of leadership and governance of Christ Community Chapel and your willingness to (abide) by the membership covenant that you affirmed when you became a member of this local church.” Do you get what is being said here? These men are now making Taylor out to be the problem. Taylor does not *understand leadership ands governance.” This is the *submit to the elders* nonsense that is often employed in these situations. This is to get Taylor to shut up. They even pull the old *membership covenant* baloney. At this point, I told Taylor that I was concerned for her well being since I saw the abusive and totally tedious tactics of these men.
  • “Your demonstration of mistrust and disrespect for the spiritual leadership of Christ Community Chapel is astounding.” Here is where they begin to turn the tables. Taylor is the problem. Who gives a flip about the children in the Phillipines? Taylor is upsetting *the poor, prevailed-upon leadership.” This is an abusive tactic with is outline in the book on Spiritual Abuse that I recommended.
  • “For some reason, unbeknownst to me, you have determined that you have authority to discern the spiritual health of the local church. This is a dangerous position for anyone to assume.” The leadership is playing the *authority* game and appear to say that the insightful church member cannot be gifted with the ability to judge the spiritual health of a church. In fact, they go further. They now claim she is dangerous….Do the realize how silly they sound? Maybe it’s worse than silly. They are disrespectful to the church members who are also gifted by God and can be useful in pointing out weaknesses in a church.
  • Eventually you will do the same thing and leave a legacy of harm and divisiveness.” Now this member who loves the church is called divisive and harmful. This is almost the full cycle. This dear member who is loved by God and who cares about the children in the Philippines is being relegated to the sidelines. Get ready for the final punch.
  • Taylor may not be a Christian. “I urge you for the sake of the gospel to reverse your decision to meet with members of the elder board of the church. The very gospel is at stake here. Taylor are you listening? The g.o.s.p.e.l!….Cmon, leaders!…at which conference did you learn this belittling tactic? Shame on you.

I believe this entire church needs to read the book on Spiritual Abuse. These emails are standing stones to the abusive nature of some of the leaders in that church.

Final thoughts:

The emails from December 2018-January 2019 are important. The gloves come off and the pastors are demonstrating that they are so uncomfortable with Taylor’s questions that they are willing to become downright spiritually abusive. For those of you who don’t thinks so, I would ask you to read the book recommended at the start of this post.(Leaders of CCC: you all need this book as well.)

As someone who has blogged about abuse in churches for 10 years as of this month, I am in a position to say that I’ve heard this sort of response before. It usually means that something is very wrong at the church.

Perhaps the action which is the most indicative of the problem is the fact that there does not seem to be an independent, outside investigation of this situation unless some members are speaking for the FBI and that would be a first. If this investigation is being undertaken by anyone associated with Rahab Ministries, it is a biased investigation and useless. The church has made a serious mistake by going down this road. I predict that the questions will only get louder and louder. Are there any leader sin that church who are willing to stand up and act like Jesus?


Comments

Why Is There an Appearance of a Coverup at Christ Community Chapel? — 154 Comments

  1. As Luther once said, it is never wise to go against conscience.

    I have found that a useful “rule of thumb” when facing leaders who stand on their God-given authority rather than on sound argument from Scripture is to …”run!”

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  2. I am glad that we can see the emails and see the progression whereby Taylor becomes the problem. It is sad how unethical behavior is crouched in Christian-speak. The issues will not disappear.

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  3. “I have been a pastor for nearly forty years and what you are doing I have seen before. The end is always the same. Like others, you will leave the church and settle somewhere else. Eventually you will do the same thing and leave a legacy of harm and divisiveness.”

    Kinda sounds like an accusation, only future tense, no? Does he have 2-3 future witnesses?

    There’s irony in that what this “pastor” and church is doing, we’ve seen so much of this before over and over and over.

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  4. “For some reason, unbeknownst to me, you have determined that you have authority to discern the spiritual health of the local church. This is a dangerous position for anyone to assume.”

    The invocation of the ‘local church’ once again, alternatively called ‘the storehouse’ when deemed suitable. Paul shared the following with “the saints being in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1b) — not just the ‘local church’ leaders:

    Ephesians 5:11-13 “And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even expose them. For it is shameful even to mention the things being done by them in secret. But everything being exposed by the light is made visible, for everything becoming visible is light.”

    Did Taylor make an unqualified declaration of guilt in what was written? Or did the questions ask go towards “everything being exposed by the light” to make it visible? If there are questions, shouldn’t they be asked for that reason? And as pointed out, didn’t the pastor say Taylor should talk to Tom directly — only to make the adjurations about no cellphone contact etc. along with this bit about questioning authority to discern the spiritual health of the church.

    Here’s a question: could the unjust judge from Luke 18 have a level of discernment the spiritual health of a church? If it was a Jim and Tammy Faye operation, or the Boston diocese in the 1970s, I’d say the judge might be able to figure out given the stated standards of said bodies that there was a health issue or two. Going back again to 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, where is there a word about only a chosen few — chosen by fallible humans, last I checked — being entrusted to discern who meets the qualification of an overseer, including being and staying blameless? And since the grievous wolves who would not spare the flock would likely surround themselves with other wolves or sheep they can keep in line, who exactly is going to accurately cry “wolf” in such a scenario?

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  5. ‘Founding pastor’ — “Our desire is to address your position and understanding of leadership and governance of Christ Community Chapel and your willingness to (abide) by the membership covenant that you affirmed when you became a member of this local church.”

    Ah, there it is, so often used as leverage in a pinch, I fear.

    So for those seeking to read the membership ‘covenant’ at a safe distance from love bombing and sales pitches — say, in the way anyone can pick up a Bible and see what is says openly, you’re out of luck. There’s this after a bit of digging:

    https://hudson.ccchapel.com/connect/membership/

    Membership at CCC
    Church membership isn’t an admittance to the cool kids’ club, nor is it about gaining special rights or a temporary investment. It’s about accountability, sharing your life with others, and leaving an eternal legacy together. Becoming a member of CCC means becoming a member of the body of Christ.

    CCC asks that you consider membership because we want to make a commitment to each other. Membership is about inclusion, which is why we strongly encourage every member to serve locally or globally in the mission of the church. The early church thrived because its members were willing to identify themselves as followers of Christ, committed to supporting each other and acting as one unified body. Today, we embody that same spirit by becoming members of the church and following Jesus together.

    Want to join in on the action, connecting with others in purposeful life together through the church, and connecting with God in the process? You’re in the right place. The first step to becoming a member is completing our series of short courses, CCC 101. Read on to learn more and sign up today.
    CCC 101
    We talk a lot about our vision at CCC to know Jesus, to grow in him, and to serve him daily. To the people of CCC, these three core principles are more than just catchy sayings. We desire for this vision to be the heartbeat of our leaders and church members. CCC 101 is the class that will help you learn how to apply this vision to your life while learning more about us and your own spiritual gifts. You should sign up for CCC 101 if you want to become a CCC member or if you became a member before we launched CCC 101 and now want to brush up on the fundamentals or start serving. In CCC 101 you’ll cover three areas:

    Know 101: Review the fundamental truths of knowing God and Jesus as your savior. Also, learn more about our church doctrines and beliefs.
    Grow 101: Learn practical ways to strengthen your relationship with Jesus and grow in your faith at CCC.
    Serve 101: Discover your spiritual gifts to find out the best ways you can serve Jesus at CCC and in your day-to-day life.
    Ready to get started? Sign up for a CCC 101 class to take the next step! In the meantime, continue getting connected at church wherever you can and feel free to email Denise if you have any questions. We’ll see you around!

    And if thats’s not enough:

    https://hudson.ccchapel.com/2018/08/31/why-church-membership-isnt-like-a-club/

    WHY CHURCH MEMBERSHIP ISN’T LIKE A CLUB
    8.31.2018 | CCC |

    * Membership

    When we think about membership, we usually think about joining a group that will benefit us in some way. Take your local gym for example. You commit to a relationship with the gym in hopes that you’ll get in better shape and they’ll provide you means to make that happen. Others join big box stores, like Costco, to get the best deals on whatever it is you’re looking to purchase, from food to furniture. Church membership is a little different. Actually, it’s a lot different.

    Church membership isn’t about gaining special rights, anonymity, or even a temporary investment. It’s about accountability, sharing your life with others, and joining with them to leave an eternal legacy. Sign up for CCC 101 to learn more about being a church member at CCC, but in the meantime, here are a few essential points to get you started:

    * Commitment: We don’t require membership to exclude people, but rather because we want you to make a commitment to one another and to the church as a whole. You may not even realize how merely being present at church can encourage somebody else! Our hope that in you being a member, you commit to being there for one another, both on the weekends and the week (Heb. 10:24-25).

    * Inclusion: Imagine an entire family of people who have your back through the ups and downs of life. Membership is about inclusion and being a part of something much bigger than yourself. This vision for something greater is why we strongly encourage every member to serve in the mission of the church, whether it be locally or globally. (Gal. 6:2; 2 Cor. 5:18-21).

    * Support: Unlike other memberships where we look for how we will benefit, in this membership we seek to help others. In What is a Healthy Church Member?, Thabiti Anyabwile shares, “A committed member gives resources, time, and talent to the furtherance of the gospel in the local church. He lives out the Bible’s call to the body of Christ.” (Acts 2:42-47) By partnering with CCC, we will walk you through discovering your spiritual gifts in order to serve the greater body of the church.

    The early church thrived because its members were willing to identify themselves as followers of Christ, commit to supporting each other, and act as one unified body. Today, we embody that same spirit by becoming members of the church and following Jesus together.

    Want to join in on the action, connecting with others in purposeful life together through the church, and connecting with God in the process? Start by finding out a bit more about what we believe. Are you all in? Learn more about what membership at CCC looks like during our next membership class! In the meantime, send us your questions and continue getting connected at church wherever you can. We’ll see you around!

    READ MORE ON MEMBERSHIP
    * How Important Is Church Membership? from Desiring God
    * 3 Reasons for Church Membership from Christianity Today
    * Is Church Membership Required? (Gospel Coalition link)
    * CCC and Church Membership
    * Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Email

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  6. Reiterating this one: “For some reason, unbeknownst to me, you have determined that you have authority to discern the spiritual health of the local church. This is a dangerous position for anyone to assume.”

    Speaking of authority, let’s have a look at a level the authority displayed by Dr. Joe Coffey, lead pastor at Christ Community Chapel:
    https://hudson.ccchapel.com/teams/leadership/?person=joe-coffey

    The site says he received a Doctor of Ministry degree at Columbia Evangelical Seminary: http://www.columbiaseminary.edu/accreditation.html

    In short, “Columbia Evangelical Seminary is not Accredited.” (Do yourself a favor and look at the entire page. Here’s the lead-in: “If you have questions concerning accreditation, good for you. If more questions were asked, fewer people would be ripped off.” Also, “Accreditation Alone is Not the Final Word.”)

    Interesting that he might not have availed himself instead of the extensive educational offerings at an extension campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School located in his own church:
    https://divinity.tiu.edu/extension-site/hudson-oh/

    Perhaps the guy who uttered the comment about authority, Jim Colledge, might be led to weigh in on having a lead pastor sporting “Dr.” from an unaccredited institution. (Apparently, Colledge has taught at Trinity: https://divinity.tiu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2013/05/PT-7210.jec_.syllabus.pdf)

    Colledge himself just added a doctorate in 2014:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-colledge-a772a147

    It’s worthwhile to note, spiritual authority comparison-wise, that the doctorate is unspecified as to field, and the school doesn’t appear to offer a Theology-related doctorate program. (He did list Bachelor of Science in Education, Industrial Technology, 1969-74 from Kent State, so maybe in one of those fields.)

    Also worthwhile to note that the Grace College/Grace Theological Seminary from which Colledge lists a Master of Divinity (1976-1979) has two accreditation bodies. One didn’t start its accreditation until 2010:
    https://www.ats.edu/member-schools/grace-theological-seminary

    The other lists its initial accreditation in 1982:
    https://www.hlcommission.org/component/directory/?Itemid=&Action=ShowBasic&instid=1975

    (Also including this link to allow for the possibility that someone else accredited them an earlier merger may mean other records could show an accreditation in the 1970s, though none was apparent):
    https://www.hlcommission.org/component/directory/?Itemid=&Action=ShowBasic&instid=45

    It all goes to show that things on the surface might need further examination to get to the real picture. How dare they imply that members of their own church body don’t have the authority to seek to discern the truth about church conduct. (My mistake, I haven’t seen the “membership covenant”, as it may be that sticking one’s head in the sand rather than appear to some as divisive and contentious — as in Galatians 2 — is part of the deal.)

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  7. “we do not think it would be inappropriate for anyone else to be present.”

    This statement actually admits that it certainly is appropriate for someone else to be present.

    But I’m glad Taylor did not fall into the trap, even with a witness, because their agenda was to blindside her.

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  8. Remnant, I know Taylor, and actually know for a fact there was a short little email back in regards to the “we do not think it would be inappropriate for anyone else to be present.” I have seen the email. It reads: Again my apologies. I meant to say, “we do not think it would be appropriate for anyone else to be present.” jim And, yes, she’s far too savvy to head into a meeting like that alone. Thank goodness.

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  9. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, you have determined that you have authority to discern the spiritual health of the local church. This is a dangerous position for anyone to assume.

    So does one need a special level of “authority” to discern spiritual health? How does one achieve this level? Is spiritual health something only an elite few have authority to sense? What do the rest do, disregard the evidence from their eyes, ears, and reason, and follow blindly those elites with the “authority”?

    If one does not follow unquestioning, it is “dangerous”? Dangerous in what way? Dangerous to one’s standing before God? Or dangerous to one’s standing in the organization?

    I’m trying to think where in the Bible, human authority is given as the thing we are to place our trust in and follow without questioning? And where those in positions of “authority” are said to be, by virtue of their position, always blameless, trustworthy, and beyond the reach of errors in judgment or sin?

    The Bible, rather, describes the church as a bbody- where each indispensable member works in concert, according to the abilities God has given each. It seems to me Taylor is providing service born out of gifts given and is being met by other parts of the body saying, “we have no use for you.” it would appear that they actually do have need of these gifts and ought to accept them with gratitude, that is, if they are seeking to follow Christ.

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  10. Joe Mauk responds to the statements made by Joe Coffey below. He and Taylor both have permission for this response to be shared. I will add that I attended CCC and have met with Joe Mauk, Tom Randall, Taylor, and many others involved. I find Joe Mauk to be credible and forthcoming. I have redacted some names but those people may be able to be contacted should there be a request.

    As to some of the things alleged, any accusations of my improper treatment of Sankey kids have no basis. As mentioned, I was with them so rarely and usually only for public occasions that I never had time or opportunity to mistreat anyone. This can be easily established by testimonies of the larger group if a true investigation were to take place. But I don’t think any of the young people have any accusations against me prior to the raid. After that some may accuse me of cruelty for being the instigator (in their minds).

    Bribes and threats to Heizel and CM? No, I am not the one doing the bribing and threatening. CM is not hiding from me!

    As to me owing Tom $450T, that is pretty close to what was given by WHM to assist in developing and expanding our Rizal Re-Creation Center over the first 10 years. It includes about $60T of stock holdings in my company, of which he was chairman of the board. If the funds for development were a loan and not a gift, where are the documents showing that? Tom built many churches, clinics and classrooms over the years. Do these groups owe him money too?
    On the other hand, stockholdings would be a personal asset and at any time he could ask for a buy-back. But stockholdings are not a debt! Perhaps a buy-back is not requested because maybe it was not personal funds that were used to acquire personally held stock?

    I think Joe C’s portrayal of the ABJ reporter is quite disingenuous. She gives a very different story when contacted personally. I think [name redacted] has talked with her more recently. He also makes a factual error. I did not call her. She called me.

    As to accounting, I think the accounting controls of my company are probably much tighter than CCC’s. I am accountable. The Chairman of my board (Re-Creation Harvest, Inc.) is [ ], owner of the [ ]. Two of our projects are partnerships and the partners have their own accounting and auditing departments monitoring me in addition to my own outsourced accounting firm.

    “Did nothing but provide legal counsel for them”? How about paying for bail?
    But this is a fascinating admission. His lawyer says they were obligated to pay legal fees since they were “employees”. Wow! And double WOW! The Sankey staff were CCC employees (by Ohio law!) The abuse at Sankey is entirely a CCC responsibility!

    “Hours of investigation” but no reports. No lists of those interviewed. No professional interviewers.

    A list of questions of “do you know”. Clever. Not actually accusing me just asking “if you know”.
    No, never hit a kid, Sankey or otherwise.
    Never stole money from WHM.
    Don’t want money from WHM.
    Not guilty of any crimes.
    No church leadership investigation. You would think if a church leadership investigation found me in disobedience, they might have informed me!
    NBI and bribes? Whoa, he’s getting into deep water here. The NBI investigation was at the request of the US Dept of Homeland Security. Where exactly are these bribes taking place?
    I am not convincing people not to talk to Tom and Karen. People make their own decisions. Tom cut off communication with me. It is documented. Joe C. refused to meet with me. It is documented.
    What Joe Mauk feels is resolution? – An independent investigation by anti-abuse professionals. Does GRACE have people in the Philippines? Their global network would have no problem with fielding a truly OBJECTIVE investigation, instead of “just talk to the people Tom is more than willing to put you in contact with!”

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  11. JDV,

    Membership covenants seem to be all about the parishioner’s need for them and responsibility to them yet no equal promises or responsibilities are delineated for leadership. Rather a one-sided contract, isn’t it?

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  12. Remnant: But I’m glad Taylor did not fall into the trap, even with a witness, because their agenda was to blindside her.

    I remember well the day I got ‘the letter’ inviting me to my Inquisition. It was worded oh so formally, and expressed the deepest concern for my spiritual well-being. Right. I told them ‘Later’ and that I’d send them a copy of my book someday. Had I gone to the meeting, you can bet I would have taken a lawyer and an outside pastor, whether they ‘allowed’ it or not. I encourage all to bring biblical witnesses to any interactions with elders.

    Mostly, the whole thing broke my heart. I knew so intimately every person who would be at such a meeting, having led all of them into this church. We, and our children, were each other’s best friends.

    And yet, at a word, they would turn on their closest friends, and be willing to threaten them with ‘discipline’ for, what, some blatant, destructive sin? More like ‘not agreeing with every word that proceeded from the mouth of the Man of Gawd’. They had no real charges, apart from the ‘hearsay’ that I did not agree with all that was said and done within the halls of the mini-kingdom. I informed them that I not only rejected their pretended authority, I rejected every bit of their theology and distortion of the gospel.

    The wording in these covenants, BTW, allows these false accusers to make up anything, and I mean anything, to charge a person with not living ‘worthy of their calling’.

    I am thankful that all but one of the then elders and deacons have since left this church. May they find greater peace and joy in non-abusive fellowships.

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  13. “One of the finest chapters deals with the misapplication of various Scripture verses that are used to secure the abusive pastor’s position and keep the members of the church in line.” (Dee)

    “Those that are unstable twist scriptures unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)

    A church leader who does this is not only unstable buy downright dangerous – he has hidden motives for abusing God’s Word. Using Scripture to control, manipulate and dominate always has a personal agenda attached to it: power, sex, money, etc.

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  14. Lance: I am glad that we can see the emails and see the progression whereby Taylor becomes the problem.

    I agree. These emails are important since they document the turning against the messenger. Sadly, I see this in way too many churches.

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  15. TS00: I remember well the day I got ‘the letter’ inviting me to my Inquisition. It was worded oh so formally, and expressed the deepest concern for my spiritual well-being. Right. I told them ‘Later’ and that I’d send them a copy of my book someday. Had I gone to the meeting, you can bet I would have taken a lawyer and an outside pastor, whether they ‘allowed’ it or not. I encourage all to bring biblical witnesses to any interactions with elders.

    I’m so sorry that you had to go through this. These meetings NEVER turn out well. When the new hyper authoritarian pastor at Chapel Hill Bible Church invited my husband and I to meet with him, we declined and sent him a letter that we were leaving the church.

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  16. JDV: In CCC 101 you’ll cover three areas: …Know 101 … Grow 101 … Serve 101 …

    All CCC members need to have “Go 101” handy … and be prepared to jump once the red flags start going up. Your spiritual health depends on it! Ask members of Mars Hill, Willow Creek, and Harvest Bible Chapel what it cost them to linger too long.

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  17. SiteSeer: Membership covenants seem to be all about the parishioner’s need for them and responsibility to them yet no equal promises or responsibilities are delineated for leadership

    Absolutely. That is why I wrote a post that contracts do not spell out specific actions that would result in discipline. They discipline whatever they darn well wish. Then if you get into a situation like CCC they pull the rug out from under you. There is a pastor and his buddy who has had credible accusations against a ministry that the church supports and the buddy is involved in. They are hunky dory. The people who raised the questions are to be abused with spiritual games.

    I hold the elder responsible for this as well. They are *yes* men and have no backbone. Yet I’m sure they proclaim the glories of their male spiritual leadership. Yet is the women who are brining truth to the situation. Shame on all of them.

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  18. SiteSeer: Membership covenants … a one-sided contract, isn’t it?

    That’s why TWW and various commenters have repeatedly warned those listening in “DO NOT sign a church membership covenant!” Church is voluntary – don’t get duped into signing the bottom line on a member agreement. There is a hidden agenda in the fine print to manipulate, intimidate, and dominate the spiritual life out of you.

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  19. SiteSeer: So does one need a special level of “authority” to discern spiritual health? How does one achieve this level? Is spiritual health something only an elite few have authority to sense? What do the rest do, disregard the evidence from their eyes, ears, and reason, and follow blindly those elites with the “authority”?

    Well said. The women in this situation have documented their concerns and I plan to help them have a place to post the evidence.

    It is blatantly evident that there is something wrong at CCC. The FBI deal is one of those thing. The second is the supposed *independent* investigation which I highly suspect is NOT independent. The church leaders made a huge mistake. Had they gone with GRACE this thing would have resolved. They refused. So, this thing will continue and continue until someone in the church leadership develops a backbone and deals with it.

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  20. I am waiting for a phone call from Suzanne Lewis-Johnson at Rahab…I am hoping she can clear things up. I wonder why the church leadership will not tell the members who is investigating? The fact they won’t say anything means something is wrong.

    The investigation MUST involved the evidence of the women who have come forward. They MUST be interviewed for the investigation. Their evidence MUST be submitted and a response to that evidence MUST be forthcoming.

    If those who have the evidence are ignored in this process, then the whole thing is BOGUS,

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  21. JFS:
    Remnant, I know Taylor, and actually know for a fact there was a short little email back in regards to the “we do not think it would be inappropriate for anyone else to be present.” I have seen the email. It reads: Again my apologies. I meant to say, “we do not think it would be appropriate for anyone else to be present.” jimAnd, yes, she’s far too savvy to head into a meeting like that alone.Thank goodness.

    Well good grief!

    Walking back the previous acknolwledgement that someone else present would be appropriate was in such poor taste and quite a bright red flaming flag flying WARNING DANGER AHEAD!

    After all their emails, they certainly knew that Taylor is quite a discerning little chickie (darn her pesky persistence) so they had to have known she wouldn’t fall for these shenanigans.

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  22. SiteSeer: I’m trying to think where in the Bible, human authority is given as the thing we are to place our trust in and follow without questioning?

    Short answer? (no need to spend 300 words on this)
    Nowhere in Scripture does it say any such thing.
    It’s been manufactured by fallible men.

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  23. TS00:

    Mostly, the whole thing broke my heart.

    Sadly, “Betrayal” has been the motif of my life this past decade. Best friend/pastor being the worst offender. Maybe one day I will be free to tell the sordid tale.

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  24. Oh my gosh! I just now remembered the time when my husband and I were the witnesses brought to a meeting.

    The issue revolved around former friends. One was an associate pastor/worship leader. The other was a former professional singer who would occasionally sing during worship.

    I cannot for the life of me recall the incident which spurred the rift. But quite a rift it was. The singer asked us to go with him to a meeting which was a last ditch effort towards reconciliation.

    At one point the discussion devolved to the point where my husband reminded the pastor that LOVE was a worthy goal, even if the specifics could not be agreed upon.

    Well, it did not go well, no surprise. We left the church shortly thereafter. Not an iota of love from the pastor towards his former friend.

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  25. SiteSeer:
    JDV,

    Membership covenants seem to be all about the parishioner’s need for them and responsibility to them yet no equal promises or responsibilities are delineated for leadership. Rather a one-sided contract, isn’t it?

    Sure seems to be a pattern, doesn’t it? It brings to mind to a convo between 9Marks’ Mark Dever and Paige Patterson:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=22IfJ3OzRbY

    The discussion gets to easy discipline targets, which is recommended by Patterson over someone caught in some “heinous iniquity because you’re going to have sympathy problems there.” Before that bit of illogic (notably inconsistent with Paul’s perspective on dealing with heinous iniquity in 1 Cor. 5), Dever says to Patterson: ”We don’t need to spend this time talking about the abuses of church discipline. Boy, we understand they’re there, but they’re nowhere near that’s the main problem in most of our main churches (sic). It’s not personal vindictiveness, it’s so many things it’s not…” Priorities, don’t you know…

    The priority of anything but top-down authority exercising seems to be dangerously and unacceptably low. For example, check the 9Marks ‘mission and theology’, the marks themselves, and Together 4 the Gospels Affirmations and Denials, all listed as requiring “full agreement” if one wishes to be a 9Marks church (see fine print at bottom of page):

    https://www.9marks.org/church-search/add/

    See if any of those discuss in detail the priority of overseers being above reproach (cf. 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1), or even discipline commensurate with the priority of discipline for the sheep (sic).

    As a bonus, note who’s in the header and the signature line for the active link to T4G’s Affirmations and Denials: “In 2006, at the inaugural Together for the Gospel conference, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler, and CJ Mahaney adopted a series of theological positions in the form of affirmations and denials. Read the complete document below.”

    http://t4g.org/about/affirmations-and-denials/

    Also, examine the list of articles on 9Marks’ staff pages for discussions of disciplining overseers (which per Biblical guidance includes removal and in cases of conduct crossing over to civil and criminal misconduct would logically involve rendering unto Caesar (also cf. Romans 13). You might not find too much on that, but you might some telling items as far as their view on authority, especially top-down:

    https://www.9marks.org/about/mark-dever/

    https://www.9marks.org/about/jonathan-leeman/

    Check out the short article ‘How Mark Dever Passes Out Authority’
    — worth it for the picture alone. See if you see the concept of discipline, which we hear is so needed for the sheep, expressed as a priority.

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-mark-dever-passes-out-authority/

    And noting another article from Jonathan Leeman that caught my eye:

    https://www.9marks.org/article/what-does-first-among-equals-mean-on-an-elder-board/
    An ‘elder friend’ “I need an education on the topic of “first among equals” as it relates to elders.” Leeman begins his answer: “In my experience, this is a question a lot of elder boards wrestle with in one form or another.” The quote “first among equals” doesn’t receive attribution. Noting that it’s not a Bible term, it’s telling to see where it does pop up:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primus_inter_pares

    “Historically, the princeps senatus of the Roman Senate was such a figure and initially bore only the distinction that he was allowed to speak first during debate. … the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Communion and the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church fall under both senses: bearing higher status and various additional powers while remaining still merely equal to their peers in important senses. …. The Dean of the College of Cardinals in the Catholic Church is generally considered to be the first among equal Prince of the Church in the College, which is the Pope’s highest-ranking council and elects as conclave (where an age limit applies) the papal successor, generally from its ranks.

    But wait, there’s more: “In each local Harvest Bible Chapel (or Vertical Church), the Senior Pastor is an elder who is “first among equals” of the other elders within that local church. The church’s position on what this means is that “All elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.” This is differentiated from plural eldership where unanimous voting occurs. Instead, the governing principle is for the first among equals to possess a 50% voting block among a large group of elders. …
    In the People’s Republic of China, during the collective leadership of the Politburo Standing Committee which Deng Xiaoping put into place following the death of Mao Zedong, the term “first among equals” was often used to describe China’s paramount leader.” And for me, Orwell’s Animal Farm maxim that some animals are more equal than others sprung to mind.

    And of course, there’s this, which may not be cited copiously in 9 Marks land as being wrestled with (e.g. how can I avoid ruling and exercising authority over congregants?), but seems apt — and the presence of this mindset would seem to be the mark of a healthy church:

    Luke 22:24-27: “And there was also a dispute among them which of them is thought to be the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over them, and those exercising authority over them are called benefactors. But you shall not be thus. Instead, the greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and the one leading, as the one serving. For who is greater, the one reclining or the one serving? Is not the one reclining? But I am in your midst as the One serving.”

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  26. I’m convinced a large segment of the Church has never actually examined the Scriptures.

    Example: Rahab-Ministries.org
    Did no one realize this is another description along with Satan, Devil, etc, for Lucifer?

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  27. Nathan Priddis: I’m convinced a large segment of the Church has never actually examined the Scriptures.

    Oh yes; that’s a huge problem! I was a Southern Baptist for nearly 70 years … the biggest problem in the SBC is not inerrancy of Scripture, but illiteracy of it. They touted the denomination as a “People of the Word.” Yet, in my experience – as a lay preacher and Bible teacher for 40 years – I found that very few in the pew demonstrated a working knowledge of Scripture. Occasionally, I tested that by asking lifelong members of the SBC to turn to 2 Thomas 1:1 in their Bibles, and then watched them flip pages to find it. (it’s not there)

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  28. JDV: Colledge himself just added a doctorate in 2014…the doctorate is unspecified as to field, and the school doesn’t appear to offer a Theology-related doctorate program.

    Portrait of “The Rev. Dr. James E. College” in his academic robe, coloring indicates theology studies:

    http://www.judithcarducci.com/adult_portraits/theRev.html

    [caution – artist’s website, nudes on other pages]

    Apparently Union (a Southern Baptist school in Tennessee) previously offered a distance learning based DMin degree through an extension in Memphis:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110415151310/http://www.uu.edu/academics/graduate/dmin

    The program ended after just a few years.

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  29. JDV: Colledge himself just added a doctorate in 2014…the doctorate is unspecified as to field, and the school doesn’t appear to offer a Theology-related doctorate program.

    Portrait of “The Rev. Dr. James E. Colledge” in his academic robe, coloring indicates theology studies:

    http://www.judithcarducci.com/adult_portraits/theRev.html

    [caution – artist’s website, nudes on other pages]

    Apparently Union (a Southern Baptist school in Tennessee) previously offered a distance learning based DMin degree through an extension in Memphis:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110415151310/http://www.uu.edu/academics/graduate/dmin

    The program ended after just a few years.

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  30. Max,

    Nathan Priddis:
    I’m convinced a large segment of the Church has never actually examined the Scriptures.

    Example: Rahab-Ministries.org
    Did no one realize this is another description along with Satan, Devil, etc, for Lucifer?

    Nathan Priddis:
    I’m convinced a large segment of the Church has never actually examined the Scriptures.

    Example: Rahab-Ministries.org
    Did no one realize this is another description along with Satan, Devil, etc, for Lucifer?

    Used to go to a neocalvinist church, a Newfrontiers (led by two former SGM leaders, one of whom had his masters from TMS and who had served on the staff of GCC under John MacArthur, so you can imagine what kind of place it was), and we’d regularly sing a tune by Simon Brading called “You Reign”, in which the choruse says, of Jesus, “You rule the world.” Of course, this is in direct opposition to what Jesus said His Kingdom is not being of this world, and in John 12:31, when He explicit calls Satan the “prince of this world” and in 2 Cor 4:4, when Paul calls Satan the “god of this world”. While Jesus rules in the hearts of believers, He is not, according to His own words, the ruler of the world.

    I probably sung that song, and enjoyed the catchy tune a half dozen times before it suddenly dawned on me that it was a phony, biblically illerate song evidently written by a phony, biblically-illiterate person. When I told the young man who headed up the music team that there was a problem with the lyrics and why, he looked at me like I had three heads. If the leaders said it was OK, it was evidently OK, the Bible be darned.

    So apparently, in that neocalvinist church, which an extremely abusive place that imploded, by the way, in a denomination founded by Terry Virgo (more-or-less the Brit equivalent of C.J. Mahaney but sans the child abuse scandals), we were singing songs to Satan! And yet, it seems strangely appropriate in retrospect.

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  31. Muff Potter: Short answer? (no need to spend 300 words on this)
    Nowhere in Scripture does it say any such thing.
    It’s been manufactured by fallible men.

    In fact, Bible’s very explicit that not only are you not to put your trust in men, but that you’re cursed if you do it. Jeremiah 17:5. I pull that one out when I hear anyone talking about how holy and righteous their church leaders are. It gets me blocked, shunned, hated. That’s when, IMO. you’re likely dealing with someone into idolatry rather than love of Jesus.

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  32. dee: I’m so sorry that you had to go through this. These meetings NEVER turn out well. When the new hyper authoritarian pastor at Chapel Hill Bible Church invited my husband and I to meet with him, we declined and sent him a letter that we were leaving the church.

    After going through multiple such meetings and having close friends go through them, I’ve foun you’re almost always outnumbered and almost always they’ll be unfair with you, talk over you, accuse you from multiple sides, never give you a chance to point out how they’re contradicting themselves and the Bible, etc. It’s always unethical bullying to put the questioner or whistleblower in their place.

    They sometimes start out nicely enough, but it’s a thin sheen, they’ll very quickly show their true faces if you don’t just go along. Since it’s behind closed doors and they know they can get away with it, typically they won’t even play the fake nice card, they’ll just go full boat ugly on you from the start, because they know even if you recount what happened, it won’t match the public image they’ve cultivated and it will only make you look more crazy.

    The only way you can deal with this is not to try to reason with them as a fellow brother or sister, because you are very likely not dealing with a fellow, you’re typically dealing with people who do not follow Jesus and do not care one whit about fair play—or if they are believers, they’ll be so steeped in the culture that they won’t know their right from their left and aren’t capable of seeing what’s going on. You cannot reason with them, you just hit hard with the truth and don’t back down for one second, you hammer back with the truth harder than they’re hammering and you refuse to be silenced.

    If you really commit yourself, they’ll typically fold like the bullies they are. Have seen it happen. But that takes real commitment, and most people aren’t willing to go there. I’m a middle-aged lawyer and have only committed to it once in my life. But it was a satisfying once to see the ones doing the abusing who thought they were going to shout me down because they had me outnumbered look at each other with terror and confusion and then turn and run out the door.

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  33. JDV:
    “For some reason, unbeknownst to me, you have determined that you have authority to discern the spiritual health of the local church. This is a dangerous position for anyone to assume”

    So if it’s dangerous for “anyone”, why do these leaders think they have the right to do it? Are they not included within the category of “anyone”? It just shows you how cults will cause one to be given over to a depraved mind—they reach a point where no thought goes into their brains anymore. I’d bet a million bucks that if this were pointed out to them, they’d never acknowledge an inconsistency.

    One other thing: these days, anyone uses the phrase “local church”, I’m out.

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  34. Hi, Dee
    I was wondering. Has anyone ever discussed the fact that today’s contemporary churches really seem to be suppressing women even more that in Biblical times. These churches give virtually full control of the reigns to the men and yet they fail so miserably when it comes to facing conflict. These YRR churches seem to give biggest priority to throwing together a rock and roll band and buying expensive electronic equipment rather than ministering to its church body. The “worship experience” seems to be the focal point and centerpiece of the church life…

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  35. JDV: The early church thrived because its members were willing to identify themselves as followers of Christ, commit to supporting each other, and act as one unified body. Today, we embody that same spirit by becoming members of the church and following Jesus together.

    There was plenty of disagreement and downright disunity in the early church. Like when Paul and Barnabas had such a sharp disagreement they parted company (Acts 15:19). Or When the Apostle Paul “opposed Peter to his face” for not eating with Gentiles(Galatians 2:11-13). Or when Paul pleaded with Euodia and with Syntyche to be of one mind, because by golly they weren’t agreeing (Philippians 4:2). And what about the Corinthian church where people were eating and drinking and leaving others out?

    No, the early church did not always “act as one unified body”. They did however follow Jesus with a seriousness that resulted in the Holy Spirit being poured out on them in power. Something still going on around the world today by the way. Just not in churches which limit the Holy Spirit and sideline Him (though very God He is).

    And let’s also be clear, the early church didn’t prosper because they “identified as followers of Christ” – they thrived because they WERE followers of Christ. There is a rather significant difference between making a confession with your lips/agreeing to a doctrine and following Jesus in one’s daily life.

    Note also the extra biblicalese: “Today we embody that same spirit by becoming members of the church.”

    No. Just no. There is not a single reference in the New Testament which instructs or commands us to become members of a man-made Christian organization in order to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus said, “Go make disciples!” not “Go start 501c3’s and gather members.” The only clear instruction I can think of would be from Hebrews 10:25 which says (in the ESV no less) “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” However regularly meeting with other believers is a far cry from membership covenants.

    Max: the biggest problem (in the SBC) is not inerrancy of Scripture, but illiteracy of it.

    I’m with you Max. SBC, HBC, CCC… it’s easy for leaders of such groups to craft fine sounding statements, yet these easily ring hollow to anyone who actually reads their Bible cover to cover.

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  36. Fisher: No, the early church did not always “act as one unified body”. They did however follow Jesus with a seriousness that resulted in the Holy Spirit being poured out on them in power. Something still going on around the world today by the way. Just not in churches which limit the Holy Spirit and sideline Him (though very God He is).

    Yes. Key: They did “… follow Jesus with a seriousness that resulted in the HS poured out in them in power.”

    Well stated. Yes, God is among the faithful, the remnant – who are not the whiners, the bullies, the manipulators, the power hungry, or, as Dee and Max stated in an earlier comment:

    “‘One of the finest chapters deals with the misapplication of various Scripture verses that are used to secure the abusive pastor’s position and keep the members of the church in line.’ (Dee)

    ‘Those that are unstable twist scriptures unto their own destruction.’ (2 Peter 3:16)

    ‘A church leader who does this is not only unstable but downright dangerous – he has hidden motives for abusing God’s Word. Using Scripture to control, manipulate and dominate always has a personal agenda attached to it: power, sex, money, etc.'” (Max)

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  37. Fisher,

    “Note also the extra biblicalese: “Today we embody that same spirit by becoming members of the church.””
    +++++++++++++++++++

    what a crock o’ sh\t

    (pardon me….)

    …crescendoing again, because it’s warranted- How dare they exploit God, ancient writings, and the goodwill of human beings for the sake of their careers and empires

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  38. elastigirl,

    Bait and switch.

    A sinner walks into an organized church setting. Looks good. Feels good, maybe.
    He/She is ready to confess, surrender, submit, connect, give, and serve. Whole heartedly.

    The question is: who/what do they end up surrendering/submitting to, connecting with, giving to, serving? Who controls the narrative of Next Steps? What are the end results?

    I believe Jesus addressed this, as there were issues with some religious leaders of his day, to the point where Jesus ended up sacrificing his life with the “blessing” of some.

    Max? Examples of Jesus dealing with this Bait and Switch in his day?

    It’s tricky. Note: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

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  39. Law Prof,

    I saw that once myself. A young guy was leading and started headbanging while crying God of this World, come into this place. So, yes, Satan was being summoned.

    I wasn’t losing any hair off my back that night. I figured Satan has bigger fish to fry, and the Kingdom of Darkness never had a reputation for customer service anyway.

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  40. Law Prof: the choruse says, of Jesus, “You rule the world.” Of course, this is in direct opposition to what Jesus said His Kingdom is not being of this world, and in John 12:31, when He explicit calls Satan the “prince of this world” and in 2 Cor 4:4, when Paul calls Satan the “god of this world”. While Jesus rules in the hearts of believers, He is not, according to His own words, the ruler of the world.

    I probably sung that song, and enjoyed the catchy tune a half dozen times before it suddenly dawned on me that it was a phony, biblically illerate song evidently written by a phony, biblically-illiterate person.

    Unreal… or rather, all too real. Wow. Organized church life should never be an unexamined life, apparently. Don’t just accept; scrutinize.

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  41. jyjames: Organized church life should never be an unexamined life, apparently. Don’t just accept; scrutinize.

    Amen! There are two spirits at work in the organized church: The Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. John’s advice to the early church should still be followed today:

    “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

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  42. Nathan Priddis: A young guy was leading and started headbanging while crying God of this World, come into this place.

    Scary. IMO, there are a lot of contemporary songs that don’t hold true theologically. On the other hand, some worship leaders are adept at “preaching” theology in their music … e.g., Bob Kauflin, Mahaney’s director of music and worship, who sings Calvinism.

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  43. dee: Had they gone with GRACE this thing would have resolved. They refused. So, this thing will continue and continue until someone in the church leadership develops a backbone and deals with it.

    This kind of decision always makes me wonder if there is something worse that isn’t known yet, otherwise why not deal transparently with what has come out in the open and fix the problem?

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  44. Nathan Priddis: I’m convinced a large segment of the Church has never actually examined the Scriptures.

    Example: Rahab-Ministries.org
    Did no one realize this is another description along with Satan, Devil, etc, for Lucifer?

    It was also the name of the prostitute who saved Joshua’s spies in Jericho, which is kind of interesting.

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  45. Law Prof: Used to go to a neocalvinist church, a Newfrontiers (led by two former SGM leaders, one of whom had his masters from TMS and who had served on the staff of GCC under John MacArthur, so you can imagine what kind of place it was), and we’d regularly sing a tune by Simon Brading called “You Reign”, in which the choruse says, of Jesus, “You rule the world.” Of course, this is in direct opposition to what Jesus said His Kingdom is not being of this world, and in John 12:31, when He explicit calls Satan the “prince of this world” and in 2 Cor 4:4, when Paul calls Satan the “god of this world”. While Jesus rules in the hearts of believers, He is not, according to His own words, the ruler of the world.

    I’ve had the same thoughts on that song. It can lead to a big disappointment because the things that happen in this world definitely show that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” The older I get, the more clear that is. I think the hymn “This is My Father’s World” has some similar issues, though I see the writer is giving God the glory for creation. But, sadly, this is not currently his world and it shows.

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  46. SiteSeer,

    Seems that a lot of people who write songs and deliver sermons could not possibly care less about Jesus or what the Bible says about Him. Actually, truth be told, IMO many of them do care—to the extent that they care very much to make Him as little of a thing as posible while making themselves as big of a thing as possible. I think many so-called Christian leaders probably hate Jesus with a whole lot more passion than your average atheist. I believe the behavior of many leaders as recounted on this forum is ipso facto proof of this.

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  47. Law Prof: I think many so-called Christian leaders probably hate Jesus with a whole lot more passion than your average atheist.

    Then the “so-called” shall have their film. Today, The Daily Beast previewed Keola Racela’s new film at SXSW. A terrible film about the hypocrisy of the self-identified devout, yet who seek the indecorous. Unfortunately, there may be some truth in this work, even though it is sickening.

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  48. SiteSeer,

    John the Baptist announced that the kingdom of heaven has come near, Jesus said that it has come because he healed the sick and after his resurrection He said that all power was given to Him in heaven and on earth. Paul says resist the devil and he will flee from you. To use a well-known phrase, the kingdom is “now but not yet” and because Jesus has all power we are to go into all the world, preaching the Good News and making disciples.

    “The symbol of discipleship Jesus gave to his disciples is that of bearing a cross! The crown awaits the consummation. The enjoyment of the firstfruits of the kingdom must be tempered by the fact that we still live by fait hand not sight. We still long for the perishable to become clothed with the imperishable, the mortal with immortality ( 1 Cor 15:53 ). In the meantime we are called to endure to the end.

    On the other hand, a one-sided emphasis on the not yet may lead to defeatism and despair in this life and a neglect of the joy and victory over sin and death in theSpirit’s having already come. The “gates of Hades” ( Matt 16:18 ) shall not overcome the church! Even in this life because the kingdom has come, we can be”transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” ( 2 Cor 3:18 ). The now and the not yet must be held in tension. Believers can rejoice in having passed from death into life and in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God. But the victories in the present life, are also accompanied with all too many defeats.”
    (https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/kingdom-of-god/)

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  49. Lowlandseer,

    Yes we stand in the deep hope of His calling. He will lay an axe to the root of what does not belong- both in our hearts and in His church. We should never mistake God patience as agreement and we should never think He is a God just like us- He is God- knows all, sees all – and although kids were ignored – God sees the orphan and protects the orphan and FINALLY these dear orphans are getting a voice!! –

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  50. The old private meeting with no witnesses. Classic.

    When it was my turn to question church leadership, a few people had already gone to private meetings, never to be seen again. So I wrote my questions on paper and handed out a dozen copies to other people in the church. The elders asked me to attend a permanently confidential meeting alone. I declined, suggested we have a recording secretary and several representatives of the congregation present. They refused.

    I asked for a written response and here’s where it gets cute! They told me that based on Romans 1:11 (where Paul says “I long to see you”) it is biblical to meet in person rather than write letters. Really? You can’t put anything on paper because of Paul, the WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS LETTER WRITER?!

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  51. besred,

    Yes and here is the traffic part. I know many have ‘left ‘ CCC or removed but it has been in dribbles . But as long as new money comes in – it’s all good. But it starts to break down when tithes get redirected to give direct to the ministries because there is some disturbance about financial handling or the mere lack of disclosure. A sad state. If I read correctly- this is what started to shatter James M- the financial requirements to maintain were not met. But I know people who have been removed – subtly but in a deeply hurtful way -!!! And it will take them years to recover. – simply because they blew the whistle and tried to get leadership attn simply to get a true third party to investigate- why why why- such rediculous resistance – again has a Wolf been fed at the sheeps expense I ask? –

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  52. Cari: to get a true third party to investigate- why why why- such ridiculous resistance …?

    Because a truly independent third party investigation reveals the depth of an organization’s sin. Sinners resist to the bitter end, including wayward church leaders.

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  53. Law Prof: I think many so-called Christian leaders probably hate Jesus with a whole lot more passion than your average atheist.

    But they use Jesus with a passion as a means to an end. Church history is cluttered with charlatans who “got Jesus” to pursue power, sex, and money. Such pulpits hate the real Jesus if He should start to show up in the lives of pew-sitters, for fear that they might be exposed in His light and their evil plot come to an end.

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  54. Max:Such pulpits hate the real Jesus if He should start to show up in the lives of pew-sitters, for fear that they might be exposed in His light and their evil plot come to an end.

    And that’s exactly what happens, isn’t it?

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  55. besred: I asked for a written response and here’s where it gets cute! They told me that based on Romans 1:11 (where Paul says “I long to see you”) it is biblical to meet in person rather than write letters. Really? You can’t put anything on paper because of Paul, the WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS LETTER WRITER?!

    Your comment made me smile. I have said many times that people can misuse the Bible and make it say anything they want. There is a solution to prevent that from happening and you are an example of how to respond.

    I have long had problems with Bible studies that revolve around a few verses. Instead, I believe those verses need to be shown how they fit into the overall Scripture narrative. That is exactly what you did. Your comment about Paul being a letter writer was fantastic.

    The Bible is replete with examples of bad things done without witnesses. Take David, for example. God Himself bore witness to David’s sin by sending a prophet to kick David in the pants. Basically, “I know what you did.”

    The only reason to not allow a witness or to have a recording is to cover up something.

    However, the sinful leadership can also refuse to listen to a recording. In one church, a recording (legal recording, BTW) which revealed the truth of something that happened was present to the so called elders. They refused to accept is because “you shouldn’t have done that so we won’t listen to it.” There was no truthful or Biblical reason to say it should not have been done. It wasn’t *received* because it showed the inconvenient truth of the matter.

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  56. SiteSeer: This kind of decision always makes me wonder if there is something worse that isn’t known yet, otherwise why not deal transparently with what has come out in the open and fix the problem?

    I have to admit that I have thought the same thing.

    I’m watching the documentary of Michael Jackson “Neverland.” It is sickening to hear the depths of Jackson’s depravity. The two men who tell their stories are incredibly believable. There is one scene when a man who Jackson *married* when he was a boy, took out the ring to show the interviewer. I watched as his hands shook. he had to stop and put the box with the rings away.

    As a world, we overlook Jackson’s known proclivities for sleeping with boys because *It was so innocent* (according to Jackson.) His astonishing musical talent eclipsed his monstrous actions and the world let him get away with it.

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  57. http://www.bigdatabase.com/Big-DB/USFoundation-profiles/SANKEY%20FAMILY%20FOUNDATION-341909797.HTML

    This is a public document. Years of funding to Christ Community Chapel in Hudson, Ohio (originally named Hudson Community). And years of funding to World Harvest Ministries (the name of Tom Randall’s ministry before rolling under Christ Community’s umbrella). Sankey Family Foundation also listed as partner to Rahab Ministries (which Dee noted in this post).

    These are wonderful and generous gifts to Christian causes, but I hope Sankey Family Foundation takes a microscopic look into how their generous gifts are dispersed.

    2017 CCC received $360,000 from Sankey Foundation…

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  58. Law Prof: And that’s exactly what happens, isn’t it?

    There is always a payday someday for church charlatans. There is no fear of God in them … until He shows up to judge them and their ministries.

    “In ‘that day’ many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we preach in your name and do many great things in your name?’ Then I shall tell them plainly, ‘I have never known you. Go away from me, you have worked on the side of evil!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)

    Such is the fate of church leaders who take God’s name in vain … who use His name to benefit themselves … wolves who devour the sheep … charlatans who abuse the innocent. Judgment and Hell await. It’s best that they see that now, repent, and leave the pulpit.

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  59. dee: The gloves come off and the pastors are demonstrating that they are so uncomfortable with Taylor’s questions that they are willing to become downright spiritually abusive

    Of course they are already spiritually abusive, they don’t become that. Abusers and sadists and NPDs and sociopaths are always what they are. The people whom Jesus referred to as “sons of hell” and “whitewashed tombs” (and seem to me to have a LOT in common with CCC leadership) were always sons of hell and dead and corrupted inside. It’s just that their true face only shows itself under certain circumstances, such as when a lower-than-low (to them) woman keeps persisting on a point that’s uncomfortable for them to address. Of course, I say this knowing that I’m preaching to the choir and that you already know this well, Dee.

    The shocking thing is not her view of their leadership authority—it’s their view of their leadership authority. It is utterly, absolutely a spitting in the face of Jesus. He won’t put up with that forever.

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  60. Law Prof: which an extremely abusive place that imploded, by the way, in a denomination founded by Terry Virgo (more-or-less the Brit equivalent of C.J. Mahaney but sans the child abuse scandals)

    I’m still slightly undecided about the UK house-church movement of the last century, (whereof Terry Virgo was a part). There was a mix of very good and very bad things in there, and I saw them both. And a lot of decent stuff in the middle too.

     All of us both sin, and make mistakes
     A wolf is not an “imperfect sheep”; (s)he is a wolf
     Wolves in positions of leadership deceive others into following a bad example
     … so you DO get sheep who look a little like wolves

    I often think about Priscilla and Aquila taking a young Apollos aside and explaining The Way more accurately to him. Luke doesn’t tell us much about what was inaccurate about Apollos, but for some reason they didn’t denounce him as a heretic, liar and deceiver, nor bind and rebuke the satanic power of satan operating through him. At the same time, the early apostles didn’t shrink from exposing Simon the Sorcerer, nor Bar-Jesus, nor Diotrephes.

    Not everything is complicated; some stuff is plain wrong, and other stuff is plain good. But the stuff in the middle can be complicated. And the stuff at each end can look like the stuff at the other end. But sorting out the stuff that’s genuinely simple from the stuff that’s actually complicated? That’s what’s really complicated.

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  61. Remnant: Sadly, “Betrayal” has been the motif of my life this past decade. Best friend/pastor being the worst offender. Maybe one day I will be free to tell the sordid tale.

    Story of my life also over the past decade—have been kicked out of/ran away from three destructive cults, two at which I served as elder. No fun walking around with knives in your back. Kind of hurts.

    At one of those, after I was tossed off the elder team and thrown out of the church, I had to contact and apologize to a young man whom I’d thrown under the bus. I foolishly believed everything pastor said about how he was the source of a demonic attack from a “young Pharisee”. Bought it hook, line and sinker. So I went after the young guy, really let him have it. It was only later, after I saw more of the pastor, the true face, that I realized that young “ungodly Pahrisee” been one of the few who actually cared about the pastor and the church, and he was willing to put his neck on the line over it.

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  62. Nick Bulbeck: I’m still slightly undecided about the UK house-church movement of the last century, (whereof Terry Virgo was a part). There was a mix of very good and very bad things in there, and I saw them both. And a lot of decent stuff in the middle too.

    My beef isn’t with the house church (not that I think you’re saying it is, by the way), it’s just with Terry and the wreckage his NFI has brought. I lived through it, and while he puts a smile on it and a winning Brit accent (at least from a U.S. perspective), I really don’t consider what he’s doing in effect much different from 9Marx, SGM, and the whole motley crew of abusers. He comes across like a pure pragmatist, with institutional church growth the end game, and an authoritarian who’s just less honest than most about his intentions.

    But again, no problem with the larger home church movement—we do a home church and have since we were jettisoned from the institutional one.

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  63. I just broke down this morning and told my pastor that some Sundays it was hard to sit in church after watching so many people, but particularly children, be abused. I’m so tired of the “Don’t tell anyone” routine. I’m so tired of hearing from friends that they are being threatened with church discipline because they tried to bring a very bad problem to light and it might cause problems of honesty or money for the pastor or elders.

    The pastor preached on Matt. 18 this morning, and I guess it just really set me off. However, he made it very clear that anyone who is being abused should get help and get out. That’s a message I never heard in the SBC. But that passage now just triggers me, I guess.

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  64. Ruth:
    ishy,
    At least he did give that caveat. My pastor preached on conflict resolution without mentioning it.

    I was so used to nobody clarifying what to do in abuse that I was shaking until he said that. It was tempted to walk out, but I’m glad I didn’t.

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  65. ishy: The pastor preached on Matt. 18 this morning, and I guess it just really set me off. However, he made it very clear that anyone who is being abused should get help and get out. That’s a message I never heard in the SBC. But that passage now just triggers me, I guess.

    Matthew 18 is a great and wonderful thing, no doubt about it.
    But when it comes to kids being sexually abused by churchmen?
    ‘Get help and get out’ (your pastor’s words) or other ‘Biblical’ ethereals won’t cut it.
    The first stop should be Law Enforcement.

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  66. Law Prof: My beef isn’t with the house church (not that I think you’re saying it is, by the way), it’s just with Terry and the wreckage his NFI has brought.

    I’m glad you added that, because it made me realise how unfocused my previous comment was! I agree: there was and is some very odd leadership. Proclaiming a crusade to free the UK church from dead tradition, men built old-style pyramids.

    I can’t definitively say why. Did they wake up one morning and think: Hmm… that heavy shepherding looks good. I think I’ll work towards that…? I’m not sure they did. I think it’s just that they never grasped some important truths about Jesus’ Kingship. In the drive to re-establish the ministries of Apostle and Prophet alongside Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher, they lost sight of the fact that all of those are given to equip the saints for the work of service, not to micro-manage them in pursuit of the apostolic vision.

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  67. Max:

    Law Prof: And that’s exactly what happens, isn’t it?

    There is always a payday someday for church charlatans. There is no fear of God in them … until He shows up to judge them and their ministries.

    “In ‘that day’ many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we preach in your name and do many great things in your name?’ Then I shall tell them plainly, ‘I have never known you. Go away from me, you have worked on the side of evil!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)

    Such is the fate of church leaders who take God’s name in vain … who use His name to benefit themselves … wolves who devour the sheep … charlatans who abuse the innocent. Judgment and Hell await. It’s best that they see that now, repent, and leave the pulpit.

    I sometimes wonder if many religious persons, like the Pharisees of old, truly believe they have the ‘true religion’? It seems that Jesus came on to the scene to announce that Religion is not what God is about, but an intimate, personal relationship with each individual.

    These verses appear to attest to this sort of situation. I don’t doubt that there are truly wolves who disguise themselves as shepherds in order to feast on the innocent sheep. I am cynical enough I tend to think most fit in this category. Yet now I wonder.

    How many have grabbed onto religion, become an expert in its doctrines and practice, and never understand that there is something more, something far more real and transformative that God desires to give us? The day must arise, for each one, when, confronted with the true God, they either repent and follow the true Way, or cling to their false ways and grow ever more depraved.

    I am willing to grant that these wicked and self-serving religious leaders could fall into either category. Either way, they are not genuine servants of God, growing in knowledge, wisdom, grace and love.

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  68. TS00: It seems that Jesus came on to the scene to announce that Religion is not what God is about, but an intimate, personal relationship with each individual … How many have grabbed onto religion, become an expert in its doctrines and practice, and never understand that there is something more, something far more real and transformative that God desires to give us?

    In my 70-year snapshot of church life in America, I’m convinced that most churchmen have been inoculated with just enough religion to keep them from getting the real thing. To them, the essence of Christianity has been reduced to religious belief and practice, rather than a personal relationship with the living Christ. This is the situation in far too many churches across America, in both the pulpit and pew. For a believer to find a kindred spirit in the average church – who understands the difference between religion and relationship that you can have spiritual fellowship with – is not common, but refreshing when it happens. IMO, the American church is one of the greatest mission fields on the planet, populated with church members who don’t know Christ.

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  69. Nick Bulbeck: I’m glad you added that, because it made me realise how unfocused my previous comment was! I agree: there was and is some very odd leadership. Proclaiming a crusade to free the UK church from dead tradition, men built old-style pyramids.

    I can’t definitively say why. Did they wake up one morning and think: Hmm… that heavy shepherding looks good. I think I’ll work towards that…? I’m not sure they did. I think it’s just that they never grasped some important truths about Jesus’ Kingship. In the drive to re-establish the ministries of Apostle and Prophet alongside Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher, they lost sight of the fact that all of those are given to equip the saints for the work of service, not to micro-manage them in pursuit of the apostolic vision.

    That sounds right to me.

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  70. Max: In my 70-year snapshot of church life in America, I’m convinced that most churchmen have been inoculated with just enough religion to keep them from getting the real thing. To them, the essence of Christianity has been reduced to religious belief and practice, rather than a personal relationship with the living Christ. This is the situation in far too many churches across America, in both the pulpit and pew.

    It’s funny; looking back thirty years or so ago, this is the impression I got when I left my childhood church and began to be exposed to other churches and christians. I felt rather guilty for thinking that way, and scolded myself for being so judgmental. Now, after all these years, I am back to square one.

    I cannot help but believe that for many so-called christians, including the most religious church attenders and givers, their christian experience truly is about belief and practice. I can count on one hand the people I have known through the years who looked at God the way I do, as a real Father, one you can to talk honestly to and come for guidance, comfort and reassurance.

    When my spiritual life was beginning to look like the ‘belief and practice’ religion, I felt that my soul was in danger of dying. I had to have God back, even if it meant giving up my religion, community, friends and even family. I will never regret it. I have found many who are genuine about their search for God on this blog, and it gives me great encouragement to keep trudging forward.

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  71. TS00,

    Yes I had a pastor who looked just like my father. He told me the truth and through that I was massively healed; but then came identity and God said my identity would have to be in Him and truth about sin and what it means to name it rightly would cost me everything – the Truth costs but it is the Truth. It is easy to say ‘I’ll take a stand until you actually have to take a public stand. That is where rubber meets the road. We don’t serve a God that is just like us – we serve a God who holds that place of God with no one else. When people become our idol – our perspective is lost and we assign attributes to them that potentially cloud what is the true reality. A walk with God is day by day grace. I don’t just hold pastors accountable but those that surround them. How dare they leave a pastor vulnerable by thinking that Eldership is a yes mans club rather than a protection that power never overtakes the man. If as an elder you watch and know what is right and you see the signs and do nothing but protect reputation – you my friend are guilty too because you cared more for your self vs. having the guts to challenge the paradigm and challenge the obvious!- leadership has fallen in the streets – why because true leadership is not popular – it is the way less traveled and it will share with courage and open its ‘books’ for all to see and be like David who says ‘you alone oh Lord have I sinned against’ – why was Ðavid the one of the greatest leaders of all – because He saw He sinned against God and that humility and repentance propelled Him forward to be one of the greatest Kings. Brokenness must precede position and with position there must be continual brokenness. A walk with God today does not guarantee a walk with God tomorrow apart from Gods grace and mercy and keeping power.

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  72. ishy,

    It’s been awhile, but I remember when TWW first began to blow the whistle on sex-abuse in the neo-cal outfits, there was an instance of churchmen setting a five year old girl down in front of her molester and demanding that she ‘forgive him’ because ‘she’s a sinner too’.

    There aren’t enough cuss-words in the American Lexicon that could have described my anger and outrage at those morally derelict jackals upon hearing that.

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  73. Muff Potter,

    That is tragic and wrong. That sort of forgiveness only comes supernaturally, if at all, and can never be demanded. And it only follows genuine, long-term processing and healing. It is highly unlikely that a child could even grasp such things, and should never be asked to face her molester under any circumstances. Which is why sexual abuse against children is so often unreported or charges not pursued, as loving caretakers seek to cause no further harm. There should be no statutes of limitations on abuse of any sort, as many victims require years or decades before they are able to talk about what was done to them.

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  74. __

    Black Flack ™ : “Individuals utilizing Holy Scripture to control, manipulate and dominate unsuspecting kind folk, perhaps?”

    Τῷ ἀγαπὼντι ὴμᾶς καὶ λύσαντι
    ὴμᾶς ἐκ τῶν ὰμαρτιῶν ὴμῶν
    έν τῷ αῖματι αὑτοῦ. Rev. 1:5

    hmmm…

    SGM (Sovereign Grace Ministries, now Sovereign Grace Churches) could not hurt me because I knew Jesus, and I was trained and educated in the scriptures from my youth, long before my individual invitational acquaintance with them. And they bloody well knew it. Plus the Holy Spirit was and is my vaulted and most valued constant companion. And they undoubtedly knew that as well…

    (grin)

    What?

    “501c3 Excape Clause” ™ : It is our love for Jesus and His written word that keeps us from harm —as in those past halcyon [1] pre-501c3 ‘Church’ days.

    Beware!

    “The things that you have heard of me, among many witnesses, the same commit to ‘faithful’ men, who shall be able to teach others as well…” -Apostle Paul

    ATB

    ♪♩♪♩hum, hum, hum…“I won’t go livin’ in the past because I believe that Your love can last, that You’d always remain with me, after all, You’re forever the same…” Yeah!

    If we painted the church with His word, we could turn this crowd around,

    Bit by Bit,

    Say Hello!

    Sòpy

    Intermission:
    April Wine – “Say Hello”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw_DqUrK0EE

    Notes:
    [1] Halcyon definition is – characterized by happiness, great success, and prosperity : golden —often used to describe an idyllic time in the past that is remembered as better than today.

    ;~)

    – –

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  75. TS00: I cannot help but believe that for many so-called christians, including the most religious church attenders and givers, their christian experience truly is about belief and practice. I can count on one hand the people I have known through the years who looked at God the way I do, as a real Father, one you can to talk honestly to and come for guidance, comfort and reassurance.

    I wonder if there aren’t many people you have known who relate to God as a real father. It’s just that many real fathers emphasize achievement and outwardly acceptable behavior in their kids and have never offered the sort of fathering you describe. People hear that God is a father and act accordingly?

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  76. ishy,

    I’m glad your pastor mentioned abuse and fleeing it, at least. I remember sitting through a sermon by a visiting pastor on forgiveness. He taught that when someone wrongs us, we must never mention it to anyone, unless maybe we have a friend “in China” who will never know or meet the people involved. We must forgive right away, without concern for repentance, amends, or justice. And unilateral forgiveness proceeds directly to reconciliation.

    Of course, he was brought in from denominational HQ by the church leadership who were practicing rampant spiritual abuse, kicking people out of the church (hmm, why didn’t THEY just forgive those who “would not submit”?), and dealing with an elder charged with felony child sexual abuse. It was a ruse to shame congregants into acceptance and silence.

    I questioned the speaker after church about God’s forgiveness, suggesting that God does not necessarily practice the sort of forgiveness being urged upon us. He addressed the discrepancy by assuring me that Jesus on the cross was forgiving as humans must (Father, forgive them; they know not what they do), but that when Christ died and got to Heaven, he sent those suckers to hell. (not a direct quote)

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  77. TS00: I cannot help but believe that for many so-called christians, including the most religious church attenders and givers, their christian experience truly is about belief and practice.

    “You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Jesus, Revelation 3).

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  78. In The News

    Aternate explanation needed after Founders church steeple snapped in two.

    March 10 – Bill Ascol confused after high winds topple Bethel Baptist Church’s steeple:

    https://ktul.com/news/local/high-wind-speeds-snap-church-steeple-in-half

    [John Piper decreed several years ago when the same thing happened at an ELCA Church in Minneapolis, that such calamities are to be taken as a warning from God to repent]

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  79. besred: I wonder if there aren’t many people you have known who relate to God as a real father. It’s just that many real fathers emphasize achievement and outwardly acceptable behavior in their kids and have never offered the sort of fathering you describe. People hear that God is a father and act accordingly?

    Both this and other spiritual abuse blogs have speculated that a LOT of the abusive Pastor/Dictators who get spotlighted on said blogs seem to have grown up with abusive or otherwise dysfunctional fathers. And that they are acting out what they figure a Father/God is like.

    I do know I grew up with Performance-Based Worth, which often slopped over into Zero Defects PERFECTIONISM-Based Worth. And “getting SAVED(TM)” just upped the ante to COSMIC-level PERFECTIONISM.

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  80. Muff Potter: It’s been awhile, but I remember when TWW first began to blow the whistle on sex-abuse in the neo-cal outfits, there was an instance of churchmen setting a five year old girl down in front of her molester and demanding that she ‘forgive him’ because ‘she’s a sinner too’.

    i.e. “Everybody’s Doing It” Sin-Levelling.
    Sin-Levelling DOWN for the pedo, Sin-Levelling UP for the victim.
    And the Respectable Reputation of the church (i.e. Pastor) is preserved.
    Too bad a five-year-old egg got sexually cracked for the Respectable CHRISTIAN Omelet.

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  81. Headless Unicorn Guy: Both this and other spiritual abuse blogs have speculated that a LOT of the abusive Pastor/Dictators who get spotlighted on said blogs seem to have grown up with abusive or otherwise dysfunctional fathers. And that they are acting out what they figure a Father/God is like.

    I do know I grew up with Performance-Based Worth, which often slopped over into Zero Defects PERFECTIONISM-Based Worth. And “getting SAVED(TM)” just upped the ante to COSMIC-level PERFECTIONISM.

    That has been my experience of the sociopath/NPD–acting pastors whom I’ve known. In pretty much every case, I discovered their environment growing up was hell on earth, with fathers who were sexually hypocritical pastors or other religious-types who slept with sundry women in the flock, were verbal and physical abusers, violent monsters, or all of the above.

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  82. Law Prof: my experience of the sociopath/NPD–acting pastors whom I’ve known. In pretty much every case, I discovered their environment growing up was hell on earth

    So they take their unresolved emotional problems and broken psyches into the pulpit to deliver hell on earth to others. Would that they pursued other careers.

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  83. Jerome,

    Good old fashioned metal fatigue is likely the cause. Years of flexing in the wind can play havoc with such things. It just looks like a pointy spike attached to the base which is attached to the roof. Ugly steeple.

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  84. Noevangelical:
    Jerome,

    Good old fashioned metal fatigue is likely the cause. Years of flexing in the wind can play havoc with such things. It just looks like a pointy spike attached to the base which is attached to the roof. Ugly steeple.

    Your comment is rich with metaphors…

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  85. Max: So they take their unresolved emotional problems and broken psyches into the pulpit to deliver hell on earth to others.Would that they pursued other careers.

    Yep. At one church I attended, the neocal, virtually every guy in leadership had serious daddy issues. It was almost a requirement, like a club, and using the opportunity of leadership to tyrannize and abuse people was the club’s primary recreation.

    Both the head pastor and assistant pastor had horrific issues growing up, downright evil daddies by most accounts, though both daddies were outwardly pious, pillar of the church types. Out of 8 on the elder team, only three of us had decent relationships with our fathers and upbringings that weren’t abusive. Guess which three were kicked off the elder team?

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  86. Law Prof: At one church I attended, the neocal, virtually every guy in leadership had serious daddy issues.

    Interesting. There is an SBC-YRR church plant down the road from me which has a pastor who resented his domineering mother … and brought that unresolved tension into his ministry … he loves to subordinate women! These young whippersnappers with daddy and mommy issues are packing too many unresolved problems to be leading a church! Why did we (we the church) let these guys in the pulpit?!

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  87. __

    “Watz New?”

    Tho I walk through the valley of 501c3 disabuse-ment, I shall not succumb to a lackluster faith in Jesus, my Lord…

    hmmm…

    Many have planed for some time to make covering their proverbial mental & spiritual backside a permanent part of one’s 501c3 ‘Christian’ experience’ …

    Ho!

    Welcome to the New 501c3 Jungle,

    Turn N’ Say ‘Hello’.

    ;~)

    – –
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw_DqUrK0EE

    -=-

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  88. Jerome,

    Noevangelical: Good old fashioned metal fatigue is likely the cause. Years of flexing in the wind can play havoc with such things. It just looks like a pointy spike attached to the base which is attached to the roof. Ugly steeple.

    I hate to be trite and klee-shay-ish but they just don’t build stuff like they useta’.
    And yeah, the steeple’s just plain ugly too, flimsy and with weak attach points.

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  89. Max: So they take their unresolved emotional problems and broken psyches into the pulpit to deliver hell on earth to others.Would that they pursued other careers.

    But this career choice gives them POWER by Divine Right. “GOD SAITH!!!!!”

    Could “taking their unresolved emotional problems and broken psyches into the pulpit” also describe that Austrian cult leader with the funny mustache? Third-party observers did describe his rallies as “revival meetings”. With a probable motivation — Nobody Can Hurt Me Again (because I’ll Hurt Them First) — best described by musician Al Stewart:

    Oh echoed away like a roar in the distance
    In moonlight carved out of steel
    Singing “All the lonely, so long and so long
    You don’t know how I long, how I long
    You can’t hold me, I’m strong now I’m strong
    Stronger than your law”

    — “The Last Day of June, 1934” (on the album “Past, Present, and Future”, 1972)

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  90. Law Prof: In pretty much every case, I discovered their environment growing up was hell on earth, with fathers who were sexually hypocritical pastors or other religious-types who slept with sundry women in the flock, were verbal and physical abusers, violent monsters, or all of the above.

    And “Like Father, Like Son”.
    Wasn’t that the original meaning of
    generational curse”? Passing on your dysfunctional baggage to your offspring as what’s Normal? And they pass it on to their descendants, generation after generation, until somebody breaks the chain? No piggybacking demons (from a sweater you picked up at Goodwill) necessary.

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  91. Max: Interesting.There is an SBC-YRR church plant down the road from me which has a pastor who resented his domineering mother … and brought that unresolved tension into his ministry … he loves to subordinate women!These young whippersnappers with daddy and mommy issues are packing too many unresolved problems to be leading a church!Why did we (we the church) let these guys in the pulpit?!

    Don’t know, but I have some theories. First, people like that who are a big ball of unresolved issues tend to want to ease their pain, just like the rest of us. Maybe they felt inadequate growing up (as can be expected of one with an abusive home life) and carry that pain into adulthood. What better way to soothe those feelings than to not only be a leader, but a leader in the Kingdom of God, a righteous warrior in a great battle with implications of infinite importance? If anything will make you feel Big and Important, that’s it.

    Naturally, these people tend to gravitate towards positions of church power. They flood into the seminaries, particularly ones like SBTS or TMS that teach students they’re the ones to whom the lesser pew dwellers must submit—that stuff is music to their ears.

    Probably many of them have never known true faith in a God who loves them. Maybe they got a warm feeling out of hanging out with Christians, like Elmer Gantry, when they first got “converted”, maybe when they were in seminary with its promise of power, that excited them, and they mistake one of these or both for the “Call of God”. And of course, those feelings are at least a temporary relief to their deeply damaged psyches.

    So when you get in one of these guys’ faces and just tell them the plain hard truth, that they don’t have the level of authority they think they have, that they’re abusive in fact, that what they’ve experienced is likely phony, a fraud, no wonder they circle wagons and support each other, no wonder they hate you and want to destroy you, no wonder they don’t play fair. Many of them probably don’t know the One Who tells us to play fair, they only know the good feelings that exercising their lust for power give them, and they mistake that for the Holy Spirit, and associate anyone who says otherwise with the devil himself—hence, “Daughters of Stan”.

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  92. Muff Potter: there was an instance of churchmen setting a five year old girl down in front of her molester and demanding that she ‘forgive him’ because ‘she’s a sinner too’.

    Earlier, Max quoted a verse about testing the spirits.

    Is there any question what spirit is behind this action . . . in the church, no less.

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  93. I struggle with the concept of God as father, myself, to be honest. What kind of father can see his children being abused, raped, murdered and not intervene? remain resolutely silent? It’s a kind of love I don’t understand. I trust that it will all make sense in the end but meanwhile, how do you come to grips with this?

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  94. I ask a question. If one is conducting an ‘independent’ why does one send one of the accused to the Phillipeans bearing tons of expensive gifts and a weekend getaway at a resort for all the kids who ‘kept quiet’ . Wouldn’t investigation imply hands off or were they ‘prepping’ the now adults to ‘keep things in the family’? Many questions folks!!

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  95. SiteSeer,

    I haven’t thought this out, but I suspect that the people who first called God a father had a different concept of father. Perhaps something along the lines of “Life Giver” or “Person with the Power”? Even “Person with the Responsibility?” Maybe we overtax the metaphor? A metaphor meant to illustrate one facet of God’s nature?

    There certainly is a lot of poetical language in the Bible that we are unlikely to understand as intended because we have vastly different culture, government, daily life, language, scientific understanding, family structure, economic structure, world politics, experience with disease, etc. etc.

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  96. SiteSeer:
    I struggle with the concept of God as father, myself, to be honest. What kind of father can see his children being abused, raped, murdered and not intervene? remain resolutely silent? It’s a kind of love I don’t understand. I trust that it will all make sense in the end but meanwhile, how do you come to grips with this?

    Something I struggle with also. I think that’s why he’s been asking us to speak out. He spoke through people always. I know I for one must not remain silent anymore

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  97. Cari:
    Cari,

    Ps- none of the victims were invited- they have been ‘cut off’!! Of course they have! How obvious does it need to get?

    None of the victims who are speaking out, anyway. I wonder if the others will continue to stay silent. I pray that if something has happened to them they will be free of silence.

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  98. SiteSeer,

    If I were God the Father, I would have nuked the institutional “church” a long time ago! I’m not sure I would “In judgment, remember mercy.” Yep, all the thousands of abusive church leaders and millions of complacent church members better be glad I’m not God the Father.

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  99. dee:
    I am waiting for a phone call from Suzanne Lewis-Johnson at Rahab…I am hoping she can clear things up. I wonder why the church leadership will not tell the members who is investigating? The fact they won’t say anything means something is wrong.

    The investigation MUST involved the evidence of the women who have come forward. They MUST be interviewed for the investigation. Their evidence MUST be submitted and a response to that evidence MUST be forthcoming.

    If those who have the evidence are ignored in this process, then the whole thing is BOGUS,

    Any response from Rahab’s Suzanne Johnson re an investigation?

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  100. SiteSeer,

    I struggle , too, and don’t really think I’ve come to grips with a great deal. But here are some of my thoughts trying to make sense of reality and having hope in the long run and appreciating some things as helpful. Helpful: Martin Luther King’s statement( used by Martin Ginsberg), “the long arm of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”. And I appreciate Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s addition: ” if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion” https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/25/opinion/sunday/justice-ginsburgs-cautious-radicalism.html.

    I struggle with relating to God as Father or Mother, except that those are Family words, beloved family words. I love , love how Jesus spoke to the unclean woman who touched his garment and wanted to hide, “Daughter,….”. Family words. I struggle more with trying to view the church as mother or bride or even as Body. I trust Jesus has/demonstrated empathy and power but the church seems like a body that doesn’t feel the pain of all its parts, especially parts with less power, or are not in positions of power. Friendship and one another as prime directives make more sense to me. I don’t hear, from the pulpit , a priority of friendship or empathy.

    TWW and commenters seem to me to be trying to address the superficiality and hypocrisy problems in the church and are doing what RBG added to a good statement ” steadfast commitment to seeing a task through to its completion”

    Thank you!

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  101. ———- Forwarded message ———
    From: Joe Coffey
    Date: Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 10:29 AM
    Subject: CCC Family Update

    Christ Community Chapel
    Dear CCC Family,

    The following is a brief update regarding the 2013 allegations of abuse at Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in the Philippines and the current action that we are taking. We wanted you to receive this directly from me, and to know that we are available for any questions or concerns.

    Seeking to make Jesus famous,
    Joe

    In September 2018, Christ Community Chapel’s leadership team and board of elders initiated a review into the 2013 allegations of abuse at Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in Lucena City, Philippines in addition to the organizational response to the allegations.

    Sankey Samaritan was funded by World Harvest Ministries, which became a ministry of CCC in 2014. As the legal process proceeded in the Philippines and even after the last of the charges were provisionally dismissed in 2016, CCC continued to receive questions from concerned individuals regarding the case which prompted the initiation of this review. CCC desires transparency and truth in addition to our commitment to pursuing justice and mercy, especially for society’s most vulnerable. Also, CCC desires to know if there are ways in which we could have better-pursued justice in this situation to determine responsibility and seek to best honor Christ through our organizational conduct.

    The person conducting the review is Suzanne Lewis-Johnson. Suzanne is a member of CCC who has served ten years as a federal investigator of child exploitation and human trafficking cases before her involvement with RAHAB Ministries. RAHAB is a ministry that works to fight against human trafficking in Akron and the surrounding areas. Her review is being conducted without influence or involvement by any CCC staff member or elder. If you have firsthand information or documentation that is pertinent to this situation, we encourage you to contact Suzanne at facts4review@gmail.com.

    We are grateful to Attorney Martinez, the attorney involved in the criminal case in the Philippines, for graciously allowing Suzanne access to legal documentation connected to the case, including affidavits, investigative reports, and court documents. We are also profoundly grateful to those both here in Northeast Ohio and around the world who continue to fight tirelessly for justice and mercy for the vulnerable. When Suzanne completes her review, her findings will be released. Until that time we do not plan to speak publicly regarding this situation. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to ask them, and we welcome the opportunity for conversation. Please contact Stacey.DiNardo@ccchapel.com with any questions or concerns.

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  102. Pingback: Linkathon! – Phoenix Preacher

  103. Cari: I ask a question. If one is conducting an ‘independent’ why does one send one of the accused to the Phillipeans bearing tons of expensive gifts and a weekend getaway at a resort for all the kids who ‘kept quiet’ . Wouldn’t investigation imply hands off or were they ‘prepping’ the now adults to ‘keep things in the family’? Many questions folks!!

    Who in the world is responsible for this mess?

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  104. dee:
    Someone Who Cares,

    Suzanne Lewis-Johnson CANNOT conduct an independent investigation. I would venture to guess that she would say so herself.

    Stay tuned until tomorrow when I deal with this mess.

    Suzanne has to know her investigation would not, by definition, be independent. Just like I couldn’t be trusted to ref my son’s soccer game. If Suzanne has integrity, she’ll come right out and say so clearly, regardless of what sort of pressure CCC is putting on her. They may have put her in an awkward postion, but darn it, at some point you have to stand up for the truth. There is no way that a member of the church can conduct a truly independent investigation. She should know this. One of my fields is fraud, I’ve developed courses in it, am writing a textbook on it. She knows that this is not an arm’s length, legit investigation if she’s the one conducting it. She knows she’s not distinterested.

    This is a travesty, and the CCC leadership and enablers should be ashamed, assuming they’re capable of such emotions.

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  105. Jerome,

    Interesting. The steeple at Alistair Begg’s church blew down last year, also.

    A couple of interesting things about Parkside Church: they have no crosses on display in or on the building (this is by Alistair’s edict), and regularly occurring spiritual abuse/bullying in excess of what is described in the article here. Not to mention, Begg rarely preaches on the importance of financial giving, which is ironic since he collects at least three major revenue streams: head pastor ($$ unknown), head of Truth for Life radio ministry (+$250k), and numerous speaking engagements throughout they year ($$ unknown), and lives in a million dollar mini-mansion hidden away on a dead-end road in the woods of the Chagrin Valley, where he can really get out a mingle with the lay-folk as a good pastor should.

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  106. Law Prof,

    This really doesn’t look good. I cannot for the life of me understand why, if there really is “nothing to hide”, the leadership wouldn’t be bending over backwards to make that crystal clear through a completely independent, objective third party investigation. This is like the mob boss telling his driver to check the trunk of the car and report back to the cops that there’s no body in there. “See, ya pigs, ain’t nuthin’ there. Joey says so himself!”

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  107. Remnant,

    Remnant: But I’m glad Taylor did not fall into the trap, even with a witness, because their agenda was to blindside her.

    Having experienced this type of “love meeting” from church leadership before, I too am glad she did not fall for this. I still have anxiety, even years later, whenever I recall those bully sessions. People who I knew closely (or thought I did) and called my friends
    even outside of church for so many years, became abusers when duty called. It was a life lesson learned the hard way. And I now know that kind of church “leadership” is not unique.

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  108. TS00: Mostly, the whole thing broke my heart. I knew so intimately every person who would be at such a meeting, having led all of them into this church. We, and our children, were each other’s best friends.

    I, too, experienced this. I’m sorry you did as well. It is a horrific affair.

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  109. Someone Who Cares: The person conducting the review is Suzanne Lewis-Johnson. Suzanne is a member of CCC … (Joe Coffey)

    dee: Suzanne Lewis-Johnson CANNOT conduct an independent investigation.

    And everybody shouted AMEN! It should be without saying that the key for an “independent” investigation is that the investigator have NO ties to the people and organization they are investigating. Ms. Lewis-Johnson may very well find and report the facts of the matter, but her assessment cannot truly be called an independent investigation.

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  110. Clevin: A couple of interesting things about Parkside Church: they have no crosses on display in or on the building

    Bill Hybels launched that irreverence with his seeker-friendly movement. He felt that displaying the Cross of Christ would hinder seekers from coming to Willow Creek. Hundreds/thousands of WC-model churches took his lead. It’s apparent now that Jesus decided not to join their movement, but demons had no trouble wiggling in.

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  111. Someone Who Cares: Seeking to make Jesus famous,
    Joe

    Reminds me of the tagline a young “lead pastor” uses at an SBC-YRR church plant near me: “Making God Big.”

    I took the opportunity to tell the whippersnapper once that God was already big, very big in fact … and that he probably wouldn’t be able to make Him any bigger. Pastor Joe won’t be able to make Jesus famous, either … history itself is marked by His appearance on earth (B.C. / A.D.). Why can’t these guys just stick to the eternal script?!

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  112. Max,

    “one of the directors of Rahab Ministries, Suzanne Lewis-Johnson, a former FBI agent, is conducting the inquiry. If this is true, she is not doing it *for the FBI.* Also, she cannot be independent since her ministry receives funds from CCC and the Sankey Family Foundation.”

    Double conflict. Sheesh.

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  113. Max: Reminds me of the tagline a young “lead pastor” uses at an SBC-YRR church plant near me: “Making God Big.”

    Sounds like a Christianese knockoff of MAGA.
    Just like Conspiracy Crackheads, CAN’T THESE GUYS COME UP WITH SOMETHING ORIGINAL?

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  114. Amanda: None of the victims who are speaking out, anyway. I wonder if the others will continue to stay silent. I pray that if something has happened to them they will be free of silence.

    Make an Example of One and you Silence a Thousand.

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  115. Max: Reminds me of the tagline a young “lead pastor” uses at an SBC-YRR church plant near me: “Making God Big.”
    I took the opportunity to tell the whippersnapper once that God was already big, very big in fact … and that he probably wouldn’t be able to make Him any bigger.

    Did he order his Armorbearers to have you beaten until you show Proper Respect for one of the Predestined Elect?

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  116. Max: Headless Unicorn Guy: Did he order his Armorbearers to have you beaten until you show Proper Respect for one of the Predestined Elect?

    No, the young arrogant cuss just smiled at me and walked away.

    “And they’ll know we are Christians
    ‘Cause we’re Smug, ‘Cause we’re Smug,
    Yes they’ll know we are Christians ’cause we’re Smug…”

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  117. Clevin:
    Remnant,

    Having experienced this type of “love meeting” from church leadership before, I too am glad she did not fall for this. I still have anxiety, even years later, whenever I recall those bully sessions.People who I knew closely (or thought I did) and called my friends
    even outside of church for so many years, became abusers when duty called.It was a life lesson learned the hard way. And I now know that kind of church “leadership” is not unique.

    So sorry you had to experience that. It’s truly awful because it’s not just anybody doing it. It is people who are supposed to be leading others to God. It’s crushing.

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  118. Clevin,

    Thank you, and I too am so sorry for you and all who have undergone such tragic, life-changing experiences. I will say that God has used it for good in my life – as he always does. I continue to heal, and with my eyes now wide open, I believe I am beginning to understand things I once could not see.

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