Directingt Holy Rage at NewSpring Church, Once Again. Parents, Watch Out for Your Kids.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Crying_boy.jpglink

“Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” C.S. Lewis 

Holy Rage at the Spring.

Early on in my blogging, I came across a stunning story of abuse. It is probably the most despicable story I’ve ever read that did not involve sex abuse. Dr James Duncan and his family were the targets of NewSpring pastors/ leaders gone wild. Duncan has posted his story in the tom of a PDF; Holy Rage at the ‘Spring: How NewSpring Church leaders motivated and monitored a campaign to destroy a critic and his family.

If you have never read this story, I urge you to immediately read it so you have an idea of what kind of church leadership we are dealing with in this story.

Perry Noble/NewSpring Church got the boot from the SC Baptists in 2015.

Dr. Duncan guest posted Baptists’ Message to NewSpring: You’re not one of us. Do you know how hard it is to get kicked out of the SBC? Look at all the churches they kept around that had credible accusations of child sex abuse!

The South Carolina Baptist Convention has told Perry Noble and NewSpring that they must correct serious errors in their church before they can once again associate with the Convention. In a bold and praiseworthy statement, the president of the SCBC, Tommy Kelly, turned what has been general public criticism of NewSpring into official church discipline, though the public rebuke went much further than just the Ten Commandments sermon. Kelly condemned Noble’s pulpit profanity, his sloppy exegesis and preaching, his lack of accountability and inability to receive correction. It also criticized NewSpring’s regular use of anti-christian music in its services.

Perry Noble spins the drain, gets thrown out of the church and starts a new church while finding time to get divorced.

It was during this time period that I began to suspect that Perry Noble had a substance abuse problem and wrote Perry Noble Goes on a Rant and Demonstrates Why He Doesn’t Belong in the Pulpit This post lists a myriad of documented problems, not the least of which was his serious alcohol abuse.

Noble was fired from his church. After taking the *cure* and discovering that he may not be an alcoholic…he started a new church for all the losers out there. His old church, NewSpring, said that he was disqualified from preaching, as if Noble gave a hoot.

At this point, I will start receiving threatening comments and tweets from the Perry Noble fanboys who just know he is 100% OK. “Do you know how many people he’s saved?”

NewSpring predators

Given the DNA of Newspring, it should not come as a shock to discover that there have also been 4 child predators who were overlooked by the less than diligent church leaders who function more like a frat than a church.

A volunteer was accused of molesting 14 kids! And guess what? They should have known. They had cameras all over the place but no one reviewed the footage. Maybe the fog machines were blurring their vision??

The Post and Courier reported in Volunteer accused of assaulting 14 kids is 4th alleged predator in SC megachurch.

On Nov. 25, Hazlett was watching over a group of children — none older than 5 — in a portion of NewSpring’s KidSpring ministry called the Tree House. During the session, Hazlett escorted a 3-year-old boy to the restroom. During that visit, he sexually assaulted the boy, affidavits show.

The following day, the boy’s parents complained to NewSpring that Hazlett had an “inappropriate interaction” with their son, the church would later tell worshipers. Church officials decided to check their video surveillance system to see what had happened.

More than three dozen security cameras are situated in the rooms that comprise the children’s ministry, according to court filings, including at least one camera that is trained on panel doors that open to the restroom where Hazlett took the boy. Footage from that camera showed Hazlett looking around to make sure no one was watching before he sexually assaulted the boy, according to an arrest affidavit.

Church leaders reviewed footage from the cameras dating back three months — as far back as their surveillance system has storage. After observing what NewSpring staff described as “inappropriate conduct by Hazlett,” the church reported their findings to law enforcement, according to a letter the church sent to worshipers.

The leaders produced crocodile tears and claimed they did their best.

In a prepared statement, NewSpring officials said the incident occurred despite their best efforts to protect children.

The church also said it has plans to create a fund that will be made available to families who have accused Hazlett.

“We know this happened on our watch, and though we have taken great measures over the years to protect our children, evil found a way to breach our best efforts,” the statement read. “This devastates us to the core.”’

Except that the statement  was the same old, same old from this church.  You see, they had three other predators in their children’s programs and they did everything that they could for them as well.

Newspring is now being sued by 7 families.

Once again, the Post and Courier reported in Lawsuit in North Charleston church sex abuse case expands with seven families

Tuesday’s suit alleges that NewSpring officials failed to contact either of the churches in North Carolina where Hazlett had volunteered, failed to check his criminal background in Ohio, and either ignored or failed to properly monitor security cameras around its campus.

NewSpring  says that *evil is to blame,” not them, and that’s why Dee is *raging at the Spring.*

The State posted Megachurch had 4 alleged child predators — and over a dozen victims, SC police say causing Dee to lose it.

A volunteer at the NewSpring Church campus in North Charleston, South Carolina faces charges for sexually abusing more than a dozen young boys in his care last year, a lawsuit says.

But he’s not the only one.

Another volunteer in Florence was charged in 2016 for kissing and fondling a teenage boy at the NewSpring church campus there, WBTW reported. In Anderson County, yet another volunteer at NewSpring faced charges in 2016 after police say he fondled a 10-year-old boy, according to WYFF. In early 2018, police arrested a former youth pastor and then-volunteer at NewSpring’s Charleston church for sexual exploitation and solicitation of a minor, WCIV reports.

…A new report from the Charleston Post and Courier details the allegations against the three former volunteers and one employee, and the church’s response.

“Each time NewSpring reckoned with the fallout from these allegations, the church was consistently measured in its response. Its leaders offered nearly identical explanations in every case: NewSpring vetted its staff and volunteers through an extensive screening process. The accused individuals had been removed from their posts. Evil was to blame,” the Post and Courier reports.

The church is playing word games about the videos.

In NewSpring leaders ‘gutted’ as lawsuit suggests volunteer molested 14 children in 90 Days, the Christian Post reported how the church seems to be unwilling to explain why no one was watching the videos.They keep repeating the mantra that they have video cameras and isn’t that really great? They claim to be monitoring the cameras in case a crisis arises. Helloooooo Spring…. A crisis did occur and you boys were nowhere to be found. No one is monitoring those videos.

Addressing a question on why it took so long for Hazlett to be caught even with cameras in the room, church leaders did not provide congregants with a clear answer.

“We have video cameras in all of our KidSpring rooms at permanent campuses, and they are positioned to make the entire room visible. We monitor these cameras at each campus to provide a level of oversight and quick response if there is a crisis situation in a room. We also have them in place to make sure we can verify anything a parent would have concerns about when talking with their children about being in KidSpring. Somehow, Hazlett’s independent and individual acts were missed as they happened,” the leaders said.

“We are thankful that we have 90 days of footage. This has allowed us to provide law enforcement with crucial evidence as they move forward in proving criminal actions by Hazlett. The footage has also allowed us to identify the children directly impacted by Hazlett, quickly reach out to their parents, and begin the process of notification and care,” it added.

Your kids are in danger at NewSpring Church. Enter at your own risk.

The Friendly Atheist wrote an accurate assessment of the problem in One SC Megachurch Has Harbored Four Child Predators With Over a Dozen Victims.

Yeah. Blame Satan. Not the flimsy background process that green-lights these abusers or the church officials who still can’t work out how to avoid leaving kids alone with adults.

At this point, attending that church is like not vaccinating your kid: It’s irresponsible, dangerous, and a sign of how some adults are willing to sacrifice their own families for a lie.

…At this point, parents should consider sending their kids to a Catholic Church, where it’s safer. Or, if they actually gave a damn about any of these incidents, they could pull their kids from the youth ministry. Or at least stop giving money to the church until it shuts down its youth ministry or outlines exactly how it plans to prevent these incidents in the future.

…he fact that physical abuse is happening either on site or with people vetted by church officials shows how little they actually care about preventing these crimes.

Mehta is  correct. It appears that NewSpring leaders didn’t care enough to prevent abuse against children in their church. I bet they spent far more time discussing and picking out their sound system than they did caring for the kids. All they had to do was a few minutes viewing the video and they could have prevented much of the abuse .I bet they were all sipping their lattes at the coffee bar.

I believe that the leaders lied to the parents. I bet the parents thought that the church really cared since they had installed *video cameras.*  The church leaders didn’t care and I don’t believe that they are *gutted.* It is just one more proof that the Spring is a mess up with Noble and a mess up without Noble.

Parents: protect your children. Keep them away from the kids program until they drastically change up what they are doing. I would also be concerned about leaving older kids in the middle school and high school program. Also, see if they have a line item for someone to actually look at the videos…

In case you haven’t noticed, Dee is pretty mad about this. Child sex abuse is my hill to die on.


Comments

Directingt Holy Rage at NewSpring Church, Once Again. Parents, Watch Out for Your Kids. — 116 Comments

  1. It should be clear by now that Newspring Church is a haunt for evil spirits. Newspring leaders don’t have enough spiritual discernment to detect them before they are manifested in the flesh to abuse children. Newspring is not a healthy place for believers to attend. Keeping children away from youth programs is not enough … leave, for God’s sake! Even a lick of common sense at this point should send members scurrying for the exit.

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  2. I’m in my sixties. Back in the day we used to sit through the entire sermon every Sunday. I do remember being given little pink peppermints when I sat nicely. Maybe we ought to start keeping kids with parents again. ..

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  3. Abigail,

    With a few exceptions in our early days, our 5 sat with us through church every Sunday. We got a lot of comments. The nice thing was that this also meant that they knew how to sit quietly at restaurants and when visiting friends. We got lots of comments over the years, especially at nice restaurants, where people were always amazed that 5 young children would dine quietly. And yes, we had one son that did not like sitting still, ever. He never did sit as still as I would have liked, but did not disturb anyone but me. A young adult now, he still doesn’t much like to sit still. 😉

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  4. “Do you know how many people he’s saved?”

    Not one, my friend, not a single one. Jesus Christ is the only one in the business of saving souls.

    It’s a shame the church didn’t give as much attention to those video cameras as it did to destroying Dr. Duncan. Their quote-

    “We monitor these cameras at each campus to provide a level of oversight and quick response if there is a crisis situation in a room. We also have them in place to make sure we can verify anything a parent would have concerns about when talking with their children about being in KidSpring.”

    leads me to wonder if the cameras were more about protecting themselves than protecting kids.

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  5. Max,

    Well Max, I wouldn’t know what heavenly beings do or do not hang out there. But have you thought about the name at all?

    1. It’s a spring.
    2. It’s distinct from other spring/s by it’s “new” designation.
    3. It is definitely part of the Lord’s Church he is constructing here on Earth.
    4 New Spring is not a stand-alone structure or thing.
    5. Last one….New Spring is a Baptist church. So, we are not talking about drawing water with a bucket, or what not. Baptism means a person gets in and gets wet.

    Any guesses on any corresponding New Springs found in the Bible?

    Btw. This post contains an extream sexual element….and the church is large. One would presume there would need to be a sexual element and corresponding mention or issue of the size in the biblical spring.
    Don’t forget, this sexual element also is youthful.

    Really curious how many can name the obvious real life spring. It’s Middle Eastern.

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  6. “All three of us are alpha males,” bragged Clayton King, about himself and Brad Cooper and Dan Lian, the teaching pastors at Newspring.

    these men and their self-congratulating male-dominated culture did not serve Newspring well — they get an F for failure.

    every single church website i’ve happened to look at over time is a full-frontal assault of men’s faces. the presentation & the function behind it — it is so unwise. it is wrong. and it is as obnoxious as the smell coming from the men’s room at church (which i ended up cleaning, as a volunteer).

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/12/03/fourteen-small-children-reportedly-molested-at-newspring-church-even-though-jesus-is-their-lead-pastor/

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/newspring-named-jesus-christ-senior-pastor-perry-noble-church-47m-debt.html

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  7. Abigail: Maybe we ought to start keeping kids with parents again. ..

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    Except that NewSpring, at least when we visited 6 years ago, did not allow children in their worship service. Anyone 12 and under *had* to go to KidSpring.

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  8. I don’t know why anyone liked Perry Noble in the first place. But thousands thought he was a great preacher.
    I see now that he teaches church growth. See, people for years said that a church will grow because God blesses the work – and said it was because of the faithfulness of the pastor or his prayer or whatever. It’s not. There are lots of reasons for church growth in America. And many of them aren’t good.

    I feel sorry for the laypeople at that church. I’m sorry, but I’m so naive that years ago I would never have dreamed it could happen at church.

    People are attracted to churches because of youth and kids programs. But I don’t think we even need them. Some youth on a Saturday could be helping around the house or just being with family.

    Just let everyone attend the church. the only ones who needn’t be there are babies, and why not let the parents look after them.

    Some people don’t even want to teach Sunday school or look after kids anyway, but get bullied into it.

    And then others as we see here – are the last ones to be looking after kids.

    Sorry,, but I don’t trust men anymore to look after kids.

    Basically, pastors want to get bigger and bigger churches so they get more tithes, But do huge churches really need more tithe money? Where does it go? Small churches and missions and programs have no money. But huge mega churches like that have too much and it just gets wasted anyway.

    Watch Perry Noble for 10 minutes and ask yourself if you think he’s normal. Its like Todd Bentley. How can anyone in their right mind think these guys have anything to do with God.

    Is that all too harsh?

    I guess it is.

    The only criticism of this article is calling people who attend Perry’s church losers.

    They may be sincere people.

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  9. emr: Except that NewSpring, at least when we visited 6 years ago, did not allow children in their worship service. Anyone 12 and under *had* to go to KidSpring.

    We once visited a church that frowned on kids in the service, too. We didn’t bother ever going back. We never really made a point to send our four kids to a ‘children’s church’ for the very reasons discussed in this post. Besides, as previously mentioned in the comments, it teaches them to be patient and to have manners (i.e.–they aren’t acting like ‘feral’ or ‘free-range’ children!)

    It also makes me wonder if the church is afraid the kiddos might hear something come out of the preacher’s mouth that they shouldn’t hear!

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  10. elastigirl: “All three of us are alpha males,” bragged Clayton King, about himself and Brad Cooper and Dan Lian, the teaching pastors at Newspring.

    Worst bf I ever had referred to himself as an ‘alpha’. Should start seeing that for the red flag that it is.

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  11. emr: Except that NewSpring, at least when we visited 6 years ago, did not allow children in their worship service.

    I heard this before and it is TERRIBLE.

    I don’t mind ‘kids church’ being an option, but it should never be a requirement.

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  12. emr: Except that NewSpring, at least when we visited 6 years ago, did not allow children in their worship service. Anyone 12 and under *had* to go to KidSpring.

    Maybe it’s because the “pastor” was consistently PG-13. Sometimes worse. I’m thinking of Perry… I’ve never listened to the other “alpha males.”

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  13. Lea: I don’t mind ‘kids church’ being an option, but it should never be a requirement.

    Amen! Where young children go should a parent’s decision not a church leader’s. I’ve been in churches where children church volunteers went from pew to pew actually reaching in and snatching kids when the preacher said something like “All children must leave now.” A church with such rules would be reason enough for me not to join. Most children churches are nothing but nurseries for older kids any way, with shallow teaching like coloring a picture of Jesus or watching a cartoon about Moses.

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  14. Root 66: We never really made a point to send our four kids to a ‘children’s church’ for the very reasons discussed in this post.

    Wisdom. TWW posts should be required reading for any parents considering a new church. As my daughter used to say when she was little “There are bumblebees out there.”

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  15. Friend: Truth has never been about attendance numbers. If it were, the Gospel would be all about the feeding of the 5000, with no mention of the garden of Gethsemane.

    Now that’s a comment which needs to be posted on your refrigerator folks!!

    You have to look hard in mega-mania seeker-friendly church to find those touched by the agony of Gethsemane. The American church is doing a better job of attracting and feeding the multitudes with stuff, than equipping them to pick up their cross and follow Jesus.

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  16. Max: I’ve been in churches where children church volunteers went from pew to pew actually reaching in and snatching kids when the preacher said something like “All children must leave now.”

    I have never seen this, so I don’t know how widespread it might be. The place I joined has a little mini kids sermon before the main one.

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  17. Max: Most children churches are nothing but nurseries for older kids any way, with shallow teaching like coloring a picture of Jesus or watching a cartoon about Moses.

    Ours when I was a kid was a fully sermon, worship service, etc. Not coloring/movies. That sounds more like sunday school for toddlers.

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  18. So I am worried about every church in our area now. 4 abusers is probably a very low percentage of how many are actually there. Some studies show 1/10 to 1/25 men have abused a child (and that’s not counting the women). Even if we drastically lower that percentage and say 1/100, each mega-church should have at least 25 child sex abusers, each who on average abuses 100-200 times before being caught, either the same child or multiple. This is insane and the protection for children should be ratcheted up to def-con!!

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  19. emr: Except that NewSpring, at least when we visited 6 years ago, did not allow children in their worship service. Anyone 12 and under *had* to go to KidSpring.

    That’d be a deal-breaker for me right there. No one, except under extraordinary circumstances, tells me what I can and cannot do with my kids. Wonder what Jesus would think of that? You know, that God among us who, when His own close friends were trying to shut the kids up because they were evidently “making a mess of things” and perhaps interrupting His talk, He instantly shut THEM up and told them to leave the kids alone? I’d just like to know how irrelevant do the people at Newspring think they can make Jesus, what He said and did?

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  20. justaguy:
    I don’t know why anyone liked Perry Noble in the first place.But thousands thought he was a great preacher.
    …Watch Perry Noble for 10 minutes and ask yourself if you think he’s normal.Its like Todd Bentley. How can anyone in their right mind think these guys have anything to do with God.

    I agree. I look at the guy and wondert what the heck are people thinking. He seems unhinged, honestly like someone who could end up on the streets. I know that’s harsh, but that’s what he impresses me as, a confused, menatally ill man.

    As for his speaking skills, I have yet to see a preacher, mega or otherwise, who has great speaking skills. Never seen one. And speaking is kind of my gig, I fly around the country sometimes to speak for fees; speaking is about the only thing I’ve ever been consistently excellent at (those who can’t do, teach). Not even Billy Graham was a great speaker—but he was a very good speaker with one of the best voices I’ve ever heard in my life, right up there with James Earl Jones.

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  21. Max: Amen!Where young children go should a parent’s decision not a church leader’s.I’ve been in churches where children church volunteers went from pew to pew actually reaching in and snatching kids when the preacher said something like “All children must leave now.”

    These are pastors who care more about having an uninterrupted opportunity to hear their own voices in front of the crowd than they care about Jesus. Anyone tried to do that to me, I’d make a scene and I’d shout at the pastor until they dragged me out of there, and I wouldn’t be an easy drag out. My thinking of such pastors is that they’re scum. Not backing down from that. There you go.

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  22. That’d be a deal-breaker for me right there.No one, except under extraordinary circumstances, tells me what I can and cannot do with my kids.Wonder what Jesus would think of that?You know, that God among us who, when His own close friends were trying to shut the kids up because they were evidently “making a mess of things” and perhaps interrupting His talk, He instantly shut THEM up and told them to leave the kids alone?I’d just like to know how irrelevant do the people at Newspring think they can make Jesus, what He said and did?

    Sadly, the actions of NewSpring “leaders” in dealing with the abuse that has occurred within the church and in their treatment of Dr. Duncan indicate that they view Jesus as a figurehead to get paying customers into the seats and keep the tithes flowing.

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  23. Law Prof,

    ha, yeah, isn’t that right. (no sarcasm, but i suppose that goes without saying)

    just like any guy (who may or may not have a shiny head and beard) who poses for a picture with his arms folded and uses his hidden hand to push up his biceps is overcompensating.

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  24. Law Prof: Anyone who has to remind you that they’re an alpha is a beta.

    If not Omega.

    “Think he’s compensating for something?”
    — Shrek upon first viewing Lord Farquar’s high-towering castle keep

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  25. Law Prof: justaguy:
    Watch Perry Noble for 10 minutes and ask yourself if you think he’s normal.Its like Todd Bentley. How can anyone in their right mind think these guys have anything to do with God.

    I agree. I look at the guy and wondert what the heck are people thinking. He seems unhinged, honestly like someone who could end up on the streets. I know that’s harsh, but that’s what he impresses me as, a confused, menatally ill man.

    Possible dynamics in play:

    1 Cor 1:25 & 3:19: “The wisdom of GOD is foolishness to men” —> The Dumber & Crazier he acts, the more Godly he must be.

    Street Gang taboo: Nobody messes with a Crazy; trigger him and what’s he gonna do to YOU?

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  26. Lea: Ours when I was a kid was a fully sermon, worship service, etc. Not coloring/movies. That sounds more like sunday school for toddlers.

    Considering a LOT of these Toxic Pastors like to keep their flock arrested at the toddler level…

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  27. elastigirl: every single church website i’ve happened to look at over time is a full-frontal assault of men’s faces. the presentation & the function behind it — it is so unwise. it is wrong. and it is as obnoxious as the smell coming from the men’s room at church (which i ended up cleaning, as a volunteer).

    God says you’re a woman after his own heart:

    ‘Cause they can hold back the tide
    But they can never hold the woman
    I said the woman in the moon…

    — Songwriters Paul Williams & Kenny Ascher 1976 —

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  28. Max: You have to look hard in mega-mania seeker-friendly church to find those touched by the agony of Gethsemane.

    Remember that Rabbi from Nazareth used to snub the MegaManiaPastors of His day and hang out with the freaks and losers like you and me. A good chunk of my life experiences are those which can create Lamentation — something else you’ll never find in a “mega-mania seeker-friendly church”.

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  29. Headless Unicorn Guy: Never played Dee & Dee, have you?

    I played D&D back in the day. Bought all the books, the DM guide, the whole nine yards. I was the sort of guy who hung out with the freaks and nerds—but didn’t think I was a freak or a nerd (which probably means I was either freak or nerd).

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  30. Law Prof: My thinking of such pastors is that they’re scum. Not backing down from that. There you go.

    I stand with ya’ Law Prof.
    I called em’ morally derelict jackals on a previous thread.
    I’ll stand on that one too.

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  31. Law Prof: I played D&D back in the day.Bought all the books, the DM guide, the whole nine yards.I was the sort of guy who hung out with the freaks and nerds—but didn’t think I was a freak or a nerd (which probably means I was either freak or nerd).

    Professor..I didn’t take you for a D-D man.

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  32. Muff Potter,

    neat. i love the moon. even more now.

    (wherever i am on the globe, be it a faraway exotic place or the tiny speck of my kitchen window in front of my sink, i always look for the moon [& orion]. connects me to loved ones and sweet memories from other times and places. connects me to my ancestors. connects me to every human being who ever was and is. it’s so companionable. so equalizing.

    and if the tides can feel it, it’s not a stretch to think i can, too)

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  33. Nathan Priddis: Professor..I didn’t take you for a D-D man.

    Oh yeah, the Dungeon Master’s guide, all the multi-sided dice, the whole thing. Definitely not the captain of the football team type. I was captain of the golf team, though—which is about 10th percentile status in the average high school.

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  34. Max: The American church is doing a better job of attracting and feeding the multitudes with stuff, than equipping them to pick up their cross and follow Jesus.

    Sad truth: this goes on in churches all over the world. Some leaders we train in east Asia (to make disciples) recently told us, “If we draw people in with big Christmas parties and cool rock bands that is what those people expect forevermore.” And yet this attractional model of providing goods, services and programs is exactly what 99% of churches worldwide focus on! Yes, even good sermons become a service the church provides. It’s foolishness to bait people with “excellent programs” then expect anyone to seek spiritual rewards from self denial and service. If suffering for Jesus and serving others were the main menu many churches would be nearly emptied overnight. Except in places like China, India, Iran… Christians there aren’t attracted to anything but Christ and him crucified.

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  35. emr: Except that NewSpring, at least when we visited 6 years ago, did not allow children in their worship service. Anyone 12 and under *had* to go to KidSpring.

    That makes this situation even more infuriating. If they are going to demand children leave their parents, keeping them safe is on them!

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  36. justaguy: I don’t know why anyone liked Perry Noble in the first place. But thousands thought he was a great preacher.
    I see now that he teaches church growth. See, people for years said that a church will grow because God blesses the work – and said it was because of the faithfulness of the pastor or his prayer or whatever. It’s not. There are lots of reasons for church growth in America. And many of them aren’t good.

    I feel sorry for the laypeople at that church. I’m sorry, but I’m so naive that years ago I would never have dreamed it could happen at church.

    People are attracted to churches because of youth and kids programs. But I don’t think we even need them. Some youth on a Saturday could be helping around the house or just being with family.

    Just let everyone attend the church. the only ones who needn’t be there are babies, and why not let the parents look after them.

    Some people don’t even want to teach Sunday school or look after kids anyway, but get bullied into it.

    And then others as we see here – are the last ones to be looking after kids.

    Sorry,, but I don’t trust men anymore to look after kids.

    Basically, pastors want to get bigger and bigger churches so they get more tithes, But do huge churches really need more tithe money? Where does it go? Small churches and missions and programs have no money. But huge mega churches like that have too much and it just gets wasted anyway.

    Watch Perry Noble for 10 minutes and ask yourself if you think he’s normal. Its like Todd Bentley. How can anyone in their right mind think these guys have anything to do with God.

    Is that all too harsh?

    I guess it is.

    The only criticism of this article is calling people who attend Perry’s church losers.

    They may be sincere people.

    I relate to everything you wrote.

    All I can think is that people were attracted to him because it gave them license to be as he was.

    If I had my way (lol, who am I?), pastors would see themselves as called to minister to the believers God sent them to. They wouldn’t come to a church with the idea of how huge or impressive they could make it but with the attitude of, God, how can I serve your people who are here? What are their needs? Numbers would be immaterial.

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  37. Seems like everyone agrees here.

    Law Prof, I agree totally re the “Unhinged” comment. There are many times I see preachers and think they are mentally ill.

    So, here is my theory that I’d like to submit to you all. I’m not saying it’s right, but something I’ve thought about over the years – and I think it applies especially in both the big C and little C Charimatic worlds.

    Charimatic leaders of churches and movements are often mental.

    The average Joe or “normal” person, really isn’t that confident. The average Christian thinks they aren’t good enough, don’t have enough faith, isn’t sure they are really hearing from God, struggle over whether or not they are really doing the will of God, don’t feel confident enough to preach with boldness etc etc.

    But the half crazy, and narcissists and downright evil people are different.

    They are good at getting up, speaking, saying boldy what is right, what God is saying etc etc.

    The normal good people sit back and are amazed, and think “Well he is so sure and speaking so boldly that he must be “led” “annointed” full of power etc.

    And so, they are better at getting people to follow them than nice Mrs Jones who is ten times a better person, but who wouldn’t put themselves out there.

    From Hitler to mega pastors to politicians and actors.

    How many times have we seen someone who is leading a church or a denomination successfully for years and even decades who is revered – to be found to have addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, have depression, be suicidal, and even worse -have molested kids.

    I’m not a psychiatrist, and even have my doubts about the way people are diagnosed, but – many of the Pastors of even large churches are basically nuts.

    But, in the western world, if you can speak in front of people confidently, you’ll never be out of a dollar.

    Law Prof says that Billy Graham etc aren’t good speakers. Not sure I’d agree with that. But, most people don’t even try.

    What Perry could do, is just get in front of people and talk – and he loved it. But he’d love talking in front of a crown and speak as boldly about what car he liked as what book of the Bible he liked.

    I suggest that if no preacher could make more than an average salary or if there were some rule that said a preacher had to have a normal 9-5 job, half the pastors would quit.

    Sorry for raving.

    Back to kids.

    Parents are responsible for kids.
    Just like teachers aren’t responsible for teaching manners, churches shouldn’t be seen as child minding centers, or places where you get your teenagers fixed.

    Jesus had children come up to him (and it was out where everyone could see too)

    Why not have shorter services? We basically have childrens church because the services are too long.
    How about a short service and more time for people to talk and pray together (in the same room where everyone can be watched).

    Just a thought from just a guy.

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  38. In Australia, a 20yr old swimming instructor was arrested for touching a 6 and 8 year old girl.

    It’s not just in churches. What on earth do adults do this?? Has anyone come up with a simple explanation?
    I’m as weak as anyone when it comes to sexual temptation. Hopeless. But, kids?

    Why?

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  39. Justaguy: Why not have shorter services?

    Because the big guys in the pulpit think they’re that important and you’re that needy. “The sheep” they call us. Great way to create a dichotomy between “them” (those seminary educated preachers) and “us” (the unwashed masses whom they think couldn’t understand a Bible passage on our own if we tried).

    Justaguy: How about a short service and more time for people to talk and pray together

    Most churches no longer have prayer meetings. Prayer is done for us from the pulpit by the pastor or relegated to two minutes in small group after everyone has talked 40 minutes giving their “prayer requests”. IMHO this is a key reason why many Christians have no discernment or power- no vital connection with the vine.

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  40. ___

    High-Tech 501c3 Survivors :“The Media Inclined Biblically Uneducated Unwashed Masses, Perhaps ?”

    (grin)

    hmmm…

    “(…the unwashed masses whom the 501c3 sheepskined credentialed professionals think couldn’t understand a Bible passage on our own if they tried).

    huh?

    Tools of the proverbial 501c3 professionals available for the proverbially clerically despised pew peon masses?

    —> What?

    “Logos Bible Software is available, compatible and portable with more than 43,000 titles related to the Bible from 200 plus publishers, including Baker, Bantam, Catholic University of America Press, Eerdmans, Harvest House, Merriam Webster, Moody Press, Oxford University Press, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale House, and Zondervan. Logos also publishes Bible Reference series, features scholarship resources in the original Biblical languages. and other languages as well. Logos Bible Software 8, its latest software platform, was released at the end of October 2018. The current software allows users to access Logos resources on PC’s, tablets, and phones. Thousands of sermons from history’s most renounced preachers of the past are available at a click of a button. Educational courses are available as well.[1]

    There are many other internet bible resources as well utilizing a search engine, many of them free.

    Sheeple Ignorance is bliss?

    hahahahaha

    Say hello!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw_DqUrK0EE

    SKREEEEEEEEEETCH!

    hum, hum, hum…Better start swimming or you’ll drown in the proverbial Internet media flood, for the times they are a changin’…

    Turning the lackluster ‘Bible Crowd’ ™ around?

    hmmm…

    could b.

    ATB 🙂

    Sòpy
    ___
    Notes:
    [1] edited. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos_Bible_Software
    https://www.logos.com/?ssi=0

    ;~)

    – –

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  41. ___

    Bat sh/t cr@zy : Death Cultural Watch, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Justaguy:
    In Australia, a 20yr old swimming instructor was arrested for touching a 6 and 8 year old girl.

    It’s not just in churches. What on earth do adults do this?? Has anyone come up with a simple explanation?
    I’m as weak as anyone when it comes to sexual temptation. Hopeless. But, kids?

    Why?

    **

    Last time I checked we are spiraling down Satan’s depravaty hole as fast as hellatious speed demons can muster their proverbial insanity…

    SKREEEEEEEEEETCH !

    “IF My people called by My Name…”

    …Will humble themselves…

    …And pray…

    bump.

    Ya know when King Solomon finished praying at the dedication of the first temple, fire was seen cammng down from heaven…and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying:

    “He is good;
        His love endures forever…”

    KRunch.

    What are you waiting for?

    A greater than Solomon is here…

    (His precious ‘blood’ covers us, our sin, and makes us fit for heaven.)

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)

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  42. ___

    Dead Pastoral Heads: “Declining 501c3 Professional Rate(s) Of Return, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Advancing pedo melodrama bat sh/t simply means broken families, less kids in attendance, prominent lawsuits, advanced legal fees, unfavorable media exposure, bad brand reputation, emptier seats, sparsely filled offering plates, 501c3 parking lots, and far greater none, and dones.

    SKREEEEEEEEEETCH!

    Put your proverbial head between the pages of your bible and simply kiss your profound profusely errant 501c3 goodbye.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qCckREvD22w

    ;~)

    – –

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  43. @Fisher. It’s not the “seminary educated” preachers that are the problem.
    It’s the guys that get their degrees out of a cornflakes packet that preach the longest, and are the most overbearing.

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  44. Law Prof: Oh yeah, the Dungeon Master’s guide, all the multi-sided dice, the whole thing.

    I think I can top that.
    How’s this for REAL Old School?
    THREE LITTLE BOOKS PLUS GREYHAWK in a little brown box, circa 1975. Production quality (and coherence) like scribble-notes printed & pubbed out of Gygax’s garage.

    The Burgess Shale Period of FRP gaming, when D&D was the only game in town, there were no published scenarios or campaign worlds, and every DM homebrewed his own. A variety of anything-goes gaming not seen before or since.

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  45. Justaguy,

    “I suggest that if no preacher could make more than an average salary or if there were some rule that said a preacher had to have a normal 9-5 job, half the pastors would quit.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    i appreciated your comment, Justaguy.

    My contention i that if money were removed from the church equation, things would clean up ethically and psychologically, and pretty dark quick. there wouldn’t be an incentive to manipulate.

    there would be no careers that command handsome paychecks that are built around using people.

    my experience of the church institution is being persuaded that i am needy, that i have problems x, y, and, z and they have the answer and the program and the professional christian(s) to fix it.

    that i am guilty of being human but how lucky i am that they are there to fix me.

    that i am guilty of having other interests and responsibilities that have nothing to do with the institution and how dare i use my time and energy for those things.

    the solutions to all these invented problems provide jobs for professional christians and make their jobs more fulfilling for them and easier with more free time — because of course these jobs are so very, very hard.

    invented problems and invented answers, like any number of products that people are manipulated to buy by tricking them into thinking they have a serious problem.

    (however this doesn’t address sexual assault in church)

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  46. Justaguy,

    Justaguy: They are good at getting up, speaking, saying boldy what is right, what God is saying etc etc.

    The normal good people sit back and are amazed, and think “Well he is so sure and speaking so boldly that he must be “led” “annointed” full of power etc.

    I have long had the intuition that church leaders (this is especially true among conservative and evangelical types; not to pick on them, but I think the observation is most valid of that part of the tapestry of the traditions) consider it important to imitate the way Jesus “spoke with authority, not as the scribes”. There’s also a text in Paul in which he writes that those who speak should speak as if speaking the very words of God.

    To me, this is an invitation to say very little, lest one convey authoritative-sounding but false ideas. But in consensus practice, it’s taken as warrant to say a lot, authoritatively. And of course it helps to lead to the vast proliferation of competing views of the theology that is contained in the Scriptures.

    Didn’t mean to end here when I started, but I have found Andrew Perriman’s ideas about rooting the Church’s discourse in historical rather than theological readings of the Scriptures to be helpful. It’s deeply disorienting at first, but it grows on one after a while and, for me at least, helps to answer questions (not all of them, of course) that have nagged for decades.

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  47. For what it is worth, some Baptist groups have a rule against paying the preacher. That might be suspended to paying gas money if say you ask a guy in Tennessee to take time off from work and come to Arizona to preach your revival services. Maybe.

    Some of groups in the greater Mennonite circle do not pay their pastors and bishops. Some independent holiness churches do not pay the pastor.

    Personally I would love to see us go back to volunteer preachers rather than full time hand holding pastors. To that end, we put back our $$ on a regular proportional basis and give it to where we see a direct need. That way it doesn’t go to pad the pigpen of big buildings, lavish lifestyles for preachers, or church growth movement drivel.

    Where we go for preaching service the preacher has a day job, music is from a hymnal (less expensive that way), the whole Bible is preached not just the feel good parts, and they are not after you for more money all the time.

    You do not have to wait for your church to stop paying a preacher. If enough people sit on their wallets I would guess it to take 5-10 years tops to return the church to being the church, rather than a religion dispensing profit making machine. And if the $$ was actually going to improve lives of people, I would think true conversions would rise exponentially a the same time.

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  48. Justaguy: It’s not the “seminary educated” preachers that are the problem.

    Traditional (non-Calvinist) Southern Baptists would have a problem with that assessment! “Seminary educated” young pastors are taking over traditional SBC churches through stealth and deception as they attempt to reform (Calvinize) the denomination. In my Christian journey of 70+ years in the American church, some of the best preachers of the Gospel that I sat under were not seminary trained – they were filled with the Holy Spirit, rather than teachings of mere men.

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  49. Samuel Conner,

    There is a historical background and development to sermons and teaching format. This is circa 390’s and there abouts.

    (I did not properly save the citation and can’t recall what translation this is quoted from. Remember Samuel, this is the Father of the Western Church speaking below. Both Catholic and Protestant.)

    book 4- Chp. 9
    23. For there are some passages which are not understood in their proper force, or are understood with great difficulty, at whatever length, however clearly, or with whatever eloquence the speaker may expound them; and these should never be brought before the people at all, or only on rare occasions when there is some urgent reason.

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  50. elastigirl: My contention i that if money were removed from the church equation, things would clean up ethically and psychologically, and pretty dark quick. there wouldn’t be an incentive to manipulate.

    Eh, I think this is true for the ones motivated by money. People motivated by power or adulation or control over a vulnerable population would still be around. Youth pastors don’t much money, but they have jurisdiction over young boys and girls, and for a predator that is enough. We have issues with people who volunteer as well.

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  51. I didn’t think anyone would get the “New Spring” idea.

    The only “New Spring” in the Bible, is the Gates of Hell. Moses struck the Rock in the wilderness, but it was not disribed as springlike. This is foundational to the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ. The Gates where part of the temple/public works complex of Ceasaria Philipi. The Gates had a highly sexual context.

    The history of this area is mentioned going backwards in time through the Old Testament.

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  52. Nathan Priddis: The only “New Spring” in the Bible, is the Gates of Hell.

    Hmmm … sort of like the church in our area named Corinth Baptist Church. While there were a few things good about the Corinthian church described in the New Testament, Paul spent a lot of time addressing the internal tension among members, divisive leadership, and abuse of Christian liberties. Yeah, folks need to think these things through better before affixing a name to their ministry.

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  53. Lea: Youth pastors don’t much money, but they have jurisdiction over young boys and girls, and for a predator that is enough.

    I don’t think it would remove the predators either, because there will always be predators who think church people are gullible. They’d still probably think they could change the rules.

    But a lot of youth pastors are really just wanna be megapastors.

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  54. Ishy: a lot of youth pastors are really just wanna be megapastors

    IMO, there should not be a church office of “youth pastor.” We should think more of our children than that, than to put youngsters under youngsters. They should be taught and discipled by mature saints of God, not inexperienced young men fresh out of seminary who do their time as youth pastor on the way to senior pastor. There is no Biblical position of youth pastor in the early church; older Christians mentored younger Christians, as it should be in the 21st century church. A lot of these guys are flesh-babies, waiting for an accident to happen … the SBC expose’ in the Houston Chronicle painted a disturbing picture of youth pastors. The SBC and other denominations need to seriously rethink how they approach youth ministry.

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  55. Nathan Priddis,

    The Augustine quote relates to “The Proper Age and the Proper Means for Acquiring Rhetorical Skill”. The conclusions are these:
    “Only two conditions are to be insisted upon, that our hearer or companion should have an earnest desire to learn the truth, and should have capacity of mind to receive it in whatever form it may be communicated, the teacher not being so anxious about the eloquence as about the clearness of his teaching.”

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  56. Noevangelical,

    Nathan should perhaps take Augustine’s advice and speak plainly when the He occasion merits it. The following is a lengthy quote from MormonInterpreter.com which “might” be helpful.
    “Caesarea Philippi sits at the base of the most massive mountain in the region of Israel, Mount Hermon.19 If one were only reading the words of Matthew 16 and had no access to visual and geographical contextual clues, it would be impossible to appreciate, let alone be aware of, the meaning-making significance of the geography for why Jesus chose this location for this teaching moment. It is standard procedure for Biblical interpreters to focus on the word play in Jesus’ statement to Peter, because words are all they can see if they are not reading Matthew 16 on site. “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). The Greek name Peter is related to the Greek word for rock. So Peter is the great rock upon which his church will be built. Literary interpreters can see those words and thus see the significance of that statement. What interpreters miss, if they do not see the visual and geographical context of the dialogue setting, is the use of real rocks for Jesus to make his point. At 9232 feet in elevation, Mount Hermon is the largest and most immovable rock anywhere for hundreds of miles in any direction.20 When Jesus said to Peter “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18), Jesus could not have found a better teaching backdrop to reinforce the reality that the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s work, just as it is incomprehensible to imagine Mount Hermon being moved. That is why Jesus had his disciples hike for some 25+ miles to have a teaching moment that on paper could have occurred anywhere. Teaching that message from the foot of Mount Hermon was a necessary ingredient for the full-force of Jesus’ teachings to sink in.
    There was another significant, geographically significant reason that Jesus had this interchange with his disciples at Caesarea Philippi. But this reason is no longer visible on Google Earth. Archaeologists have found evidence of a temple dedicated to Caesar Augustus in or near Caesarea Philippi.21 If Jesus was at, or near the temple dedicated to Augustus when he asked his disciples, “Whom do men say that I am”, the meaning and significance of Peter’s reply “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16) would be deeply enhanced. Augustus, the Roman Emperor, was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. After Julius Caesar died, the Roman senate voted him divine honors, in effect, giving him the title of a god.22 What did that make Augustus? The adopted son of a god. More precisely, the adopted son of a dead god.
    In contrast, Peter says, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16, emphasis added). Jesus is not an adopted son of a god. And he is definitely not a son of a dead god. Jesus is the true son of the living God. The full meaning of Peter’s grand declaration would hardly be lost on anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear at Caesarea Philippi.
    Furthermore, there was a natural spring that issues forth from the base of Mount Hermon at this location. It was believed that a chthonic god controlled the springs and access to the underworld, or Hades. Worshippers would seek knowledge from the god by asking a question (typically a yes or no question),23 making an animal sacrifice, and then throwing that sacrifice into the cavernous spring of water. If the animal sacrifice sunk and did not return, the god had accepted the sacrifice and provided an affirmative response. If the bloody animal sacrifice remerged then this signaled a negative godly response and a rejection of the sacrifice. These ideas may better contextualize the statements by Jesus to Peter “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against [the Church]” (Matthew 16:16, emphasis added)”

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  57. Lowlandseer,

    Did not expect Mormoninterpriter.com.
    Who knew?
    I would say that everything appears factualy correct after an initial read. This would not be the only significance of the site, but this correctly identifies its importance.

    Drawing from the passage and moving forward 2000 years:
    I would accept New Spring Church as equally part of the Body of Christ. Reports of sexual impropriety would not diminish that status in any way. Nor, invoke a special anger needing to be directed to that local assembly.

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  58. Oops. I was distracted a bit when commenting.
    Paul was the Apostle to the gentiles. The Church is primarily gentile.
    The Rock is a gentile temple complex and sits both above, and at the base of the Rock. The Gates of Hell, and descending pool is the lower.
    A separate word for rock is used to denote Peter.

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  59. Muff Potter,

    Mulder and Scully? Had to look that one up. Not a big TV guy myself.

    You did realise this is an archeological site? It’s an artesian spring. Jesus took his disciples there to describe what it meant to be the Christ, and the foundation of his new Congregation.

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  60. Nathan Priddis,

    That explanation sounds like a combination of the old Amazing Facts TV show and Mel’s Hole. Lot’s of speculation in there.

    I just figured that “New Spring Church” came from the “Corporate Church Name Generation Software” package designed to appeal to the big evangelical donor demographic that is too embarrassed (or too sneaky) to call themselves a Baptist church. It’s all about seats sold and bucks raised with these guys. Good ol’ fashioned greed is probably the more likely rationale behind the name.

    But hey, that was an interesting story…

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  61. “I’m thinking about starting a social club. Once a week or so, we would rent a building, line up the chairs in rows, and invite people to show up. There would be a warmup band, but the main event would be a motivational speech — by me. I mostly just want to get a bunch of people to listen to me.”

    Justaguy: Charimatic leaders of churches and movements are often mental.

    It’s ironic that we’ve created a job that attracts a large number of unhealthy, narcissistic people. Not all pastors are nutjobs, by any means. I know several who are kind, loving, hardworking people. But the job, and the expectations that people place on them, tend to wear them out over time. Many healthy ones wear out and quit, while many unhealthy ones thrive, by creating churches that feed their unhealthiness.

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  62. It isn’t a Calvinist thing alone, this mistreating children. A church in our area just had the pastor arrested for molestation. In the past the same church had a volunteer youth pastor convicted of the same thing, and looks like the pastor now arrested gave the other perp quite a bit of aid.

    A concerned church member tried to open the can of worms earlier but powers that be kept sending her back to the pastor. This is an AoG church.

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  63. Noevangelical:
    Nathan Priddis,

    That explanation sounds like a combination of the old Amazing Facts TV show and Mel’s Hole. Lot’s of speculation in there.

    I just figured that “New Spring Church” came from the “Corporate Church Name Generation Software” package designed to appeal to the big evangelical donor demographic that is too embarrassed (or too sneaky) to call themselves a Baptist church. It’s all about seats sold and bucks raised with these guys. Good ol’ fashioned greed is probably the more likely rationale behind the name.

    But hey, that was an interesting story…

    Neo.
    Here are a couple of take aways on an otherwise boring Wed.

    1. You use a moniker that dates from circa 1947, and is partly connected to the Los Angeles basin. There is a bigger and much older World besides Evangelicalism, and it can seem bizarre. But humans of antiquity would think you are bizarre too.
    2.God is not a theological construct. He is a person with personality. God has a sense of humor. He appears to enjoy punking humans on occasion. Don’t blame it on software.

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  64. Noevangelical: I just figured that “New Spring Church” came from the “Corporate Church Name Generation Software” package designed to appeal to the big evangelical donor demographic that is too embarrassed (or too sneaky) to call themselves a Baptist church.

    One might hear an echo of Jesus’ remark in John about those who “drink that water that Jesus will give” never thirsting but rather finding springs of aionial life welling up within them.

    But the thought that came first to me in contemplating the name was, “one wonders whether that new spring is fresh or salty.”

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  65. linda: It isn’t a Calvinist thing alone, this mistreating children.

    No it’s not.
    The Calvary Chapel cult has been embroiled in several child sex-abuse scandals over the last 5 to 10 years.
    And they take pains to make it clear that they don’t subscribe to reformed theology.

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  66. Justaguy:
    Seems like everyone agrees here.

    Law Prof, I agree totally re the “Unhinged” comment.There are many times I see preachers and think they are mentally ill.

    So, here is my theory that I’d like to submit to you all.I’m not saying it’s right, but something I’ve thought about over the years – and I think it applies especially in both the big C and little C Charimatic worlds.

    Charimatic leaders of churches and movements are often mental.

    The average Joe or “normal” person, really isn’t that confident.The average Christian thinks they aren’t good enough, don’t have enough faith, isn’t sure they are really hearing from God, struggle over whether or not they are really doing the will of God, don’t feel confident enough to preach with boldness etc etc.

    But the half crazy, and narcissists and downright evil people are different.

    They are good at getting up, speaking, saying boldy what is right, what God is saying etc etc.

    The normal good people sit back and are amazed, and think“Well he is so sure and speaking so boldly that he must be “led” “annointed” full of power etc.

    And so, they are better at getting people to follow them than nice Mrs Jones who is ten times a better person, but who wouldn’t put themselves out there.

    From Hitler to mega pastors to politicians and actors.

    How many times have we seen someone who is leading a church or a denomination successfully for years and even decades who is revered – to be found to have addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, have depression, be suicidal, and even worse -have molested kids.

    I’m not a psychiatrist, and even have my doubts about the way people are diagnosed, but – many of the Pastors of even large churches are basically nuts.

    But, in the western world, if you can speak in front of people confidently, you’ll never be out of a dollar.

    Law Prof says that Billy Graham etc aren’t good speakers.Not sure I’d agree with that.But, most people don’t even try.

    What Perry could do, is just get in front of people and talk – and he loved it.But he’d love talking in front of a crown and speak as boldly about what car he liked as what book of the Bible he liked.

    I suggest that if no preacher could make more than an average salary or if there were some rule that said a preacher had to have a normal 9-5 job, half the pastors would quit.

    Sorry for raving.

    Back to kids.

    Parents are responsible for kids.
    Just like teachers aren’t responsible for teaching manners, churches shouldn’t be seen as child minding centers, or places where you get your teenagers fixed.

    Jesus had children come up to him (and it was out where everyone could see too)

    Why not have shorter services?We basically have childrens church because the services are too long.
    How about a short service and more time for people to talk and pray together (in the same room where everyone can be watched).

    Just a thought from just a guy.

    I agree with everything you said. Only one thing wrong, I do think Billy Graham was a very good speaker with a fabulous, one-in-a-million speaking voice. But not a GREAT speaker. That’s all.

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  67. linda: It isn’t a Calvinist thing alone, this mistreating children. A church in our area just had the pastor arrested for molestation.

    It’s a problem in all churches, all religions, anywhere there is a lack of transparency, adults have access to children and a trusted position given them by the parents.

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  68. Nathan Priddis: Drawing from the passage and moving forward 2000 years:
    I would accept New Spring Church as equally part of the Body of Christ. Reports of sexual impropriety would not diminish that status in any way. Nor, invoke a special anger needing to be directed to that local assembly.

    I guess I’m not understanding your point in regards to how the ancient site relates to New Spring church. Is it an interesting aside or is there some significance between the two? I had first thought you were referring to passages about the springs mentioned in the book of Isaiah.

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  69. elastigirl: invented problems and invented answers, like any number of products that people are manipulated to buy by tricking them into thinking they have a serious problem.

    (however this doesn’t address sexual assault in church)

    Actually, it does.

    The phoniness of their trustworthiness, decency and zeal for God hides a depraved mind which serves only self. Sexual deviance is so likely in the God-defying man, as lust is such an innate part of the sensual (physical) nature. The distinction I see is between those who treasure and protect innocence and those who view it as easy pickings.

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  70. linda: It isn’t a Calvinist thing alone, this mistreating children. A church in our area just had the pastor arrested for molestation … This is an AoG church

    These demons don’t have a specific theological or denominational affiliation. They slither in wherever they find an opening, where there’s not enough discernment in the church to detect them, where they can establish trust among the members. Many churches in America are easy places for them to hide in plain sight, where church members are more focused on enjoying the entertainment than keeping a close eye on church staff.

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  71. TS00,

    (however this doesn’t address sexual assault in church) [removing money from the church equation]
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    well, on second thought, if there is no money to protect, no paychecks and livelihoods to fund, no mortgages to pay, no hefty insurance premiums to pay, then much less of an inclination to protect church’s “image” by interfering with an “uncompromisingly forthright” response to abuse/assault.

    but as Lea has pointed out, there are other currencies besides $. such as power and fame, and the ability to control others.

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  72. RE our local situation with an AoG church: the pew peons were complaining regarding the associate pastor. Senior pastor ruled no contact with youth or children until it goes through the courts. It went, the guy was sentenced to prison. But think of the extra opportunities senior pastor afforded him. Well, now the senior pastor is arrested for the same crime–sex abuse against minors. At least one church member has stated in the papers she did contact the local district office who sent her back to the pastor (now arrested.)

    At this point he has been fired, arrested, defrocked by the AoG.

    Another abuser who protected an abuser until both were caught.

    Never mind what you could do in Little House on the Prairie days. Today, parents, skip the SS, the nursery, the children’s church, and the youth group. Keep your kids with you. Too dangerous out there, especially in church where so many check their brains at the door because someone sounds spiritual.

    And keep your spidey senses up and working. If someone seems a tad…smarmy…don’t trust them to flip a light switch, much less tend a child. As to pastoral sexual abuse of adults, always remember the idea of sex, or flirting, or whatever between pastor and layperson should make you puke. If they bring that idea up, feel free to puke on them then and there. If you need psychological counsel see a licensed therapist. If you need spiritual counsel talk to a trusted, more mature in the faith close friend of the same gender. Cup of coffee over a kitchen table and good friends may do ya more good than newly minted and anointed wet behind the ears hormonal elder.

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  73. elastigirl: well, on second thought, if there is no money to protect, no paychecks and livelihoods to fund, no mortgages to pay, no hefty insurance premiums to pay, then much less of an inclination to protect church’s “image” by interfering with an “uncompromisingly forthright” response to abuse/assault.

    I would think that, but then I’ve seen men on the internet defend complete strangers from accusations for seemingly no reason at all except their view of women. I suppose this has been a disheartening year on that front. I can only guess that men who do so for their own reasons, but whatever they are, they aren’t about money.

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  74. Lea,

    “I’ve seen men on the internet defend complete strangers from accusations for seemingly no reason at all except their view of women.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    well this is a majorly disappointing state of affairs.

    maybe all this light brought to this issue (and the public outcry against wrong, and public support for right) will wake up the comatose conscience in such people.

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  75. Max: They slither in wherever they find an opening, where there’s not enough discernment in the church to detect them, where they can establish trust among the members. Many churches in America are easy places for them to hide in plain sight, where church members are more focused on enjoying the entertainment than keeping a close eye on church staff.

    Agree. And it’s not just entertainment, sadly. IME, many people are in church for the social network and sense of belonging. Many people are eager to give and receive trust, hospitality, and kindness. That’s not so evil, and churches often actively promote it, but bad guys can certainly exploit it easily.

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  76. elastigirl:
    Lea,

    “I’ve seen men on the internet defend complete strangers from accusations for seemingly no reason at all except their view of women.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    well this is a majorly disappointing state of affairs.

    maybe all this light brought to this issue (and the public outcry against wrong, and public support for right) will wake up the comatose conscience in such people.

    I doubt it. Every time I read about SBC abuse scandals, etc., there’s always Comp guys dismissing what happened, trying to deflect with what about the Catholic school, or accusations that feminism is Satan’s tool to destroy the church.

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  77. Lily Rose: there’s always Comp guys dismissing what happened, trying to deflect … accusations that feminism is Satan’s tool to destroy the church

    Complementarianism, with its ungodly subordination of female believers, is doing a good job in itself destroying half (or more) of the church.

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  78. Max,

    Yes. I’m thinking of how much I’ve seen church promoted as a safe place for the weary and wounded, the place where we can be glad and worry-free that other adults are involved with our children, the place to make real friendships, the place to bare our souls, the place to be transformed, our chosen family, the place no Christian can survive without…

    And considering the abusive things that I eventually saw go down in that church, I’m starting to wonder how much of that talk was grooming.

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  79. Continuing and clarifying from above…I’m replying to Max’s comment, “Their father the devil is a master at exploiting the undiscerning” and thinking about how much the church encouraged the belief that discernment was not necessary at church.

    Connected, I think, with the emphasis on unity. To be shown by “trusting the elders,” remaining quiet in church business meetings, and spending all your time and energy at whatever programs they came up with next.

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  80. Fisher,

    That’s because the gospel has been conflated with “American middle classness”.
    It’s become a cultural phenomenon to be a Christian rather than a marker of a commitment the individual made to live as Christ did (for others). This is why preachers have been calling America a “Christian Nation” while ignoring injustice, inequality and racism.

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  81. besred: the church encouraged the belief that discernment was not necessary at church … trusting the elders

    A recipe for disaster in the 21st century church! Folks, don’t check your spiritual brains at the church door!

    Apostle John’s warning to the church is still applicable today:

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

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  82. Lea: I would think that, but then I’ve seen men on the internet defend complete strangers from accusations for seemingly no reason at all except their view of women.

    They gave the secret handshake/tribal recognition mark of the He-Man Woman-Haters Club.

    “ONE OF US!
    ONE OF US!
    GOOBLE! GOBBLE!
    ONE OF US!”
    — Todd Browning, Freaks

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