Ed Stetzer Confirms That James MacDonald Gave Him a Car and Pastor Mohan Zachariah Confirms MacDonald Gave Him a Motorcycle, Both Paid for With Church Money.


Computer simulated view of Venus by NASA

When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. C. S. Lewis


How professional journalists handle gifts

I have been working with a journalist for a well known publication on a story that you will learn about in the near future. This person has been more than professional in our relationship and has made it easy to with him/her. Recently I wanted to send this writer a couple of books for the family to use in reading to their children. They cost about $15.00. This writer’s response was “I’m not allowed to accept ANY gifts. Please give me the name of the books and I will pick them up instead.”

Ed Stetzer blows James MacDonald’s gift giving sham wide open

Let’s go back to Friday’s post and look at what I wrote about Ed Stetzer. Another Letter From an Employees at Harvest Bible Chapel and a Question: Were Ed Stetzer and Other Pastors Given Cars Paid for by HBC?

Does anyone know if pastors at HBC are given cars for their use? I’ve been informed by some reliable folks that James MacDonald gave Ed Stetzer a vintage Volkswagen Beetle convertible. I’ve even been given the vanity license plate but won’t post that. I was informed that the car was paid for by HBC funds. Given the recent reports out of HBC, I felt that this was worth investigating.

I left a message for Pastor Stetzer today but have not heard from him at this time. I will post an update if I find out. If that car was given to Stetzer(and if other cars were given to pastors) and the cars were paid for by church funds, I believe the car(s) should be returned to the church or the church reimbursed. Goodness knows, they need the cash.

Ed Stetzer did not return my query but a dudebro friend of Ed’s posted this tweet and also wanted to let us know that James MacDonald was a generous sort of guy…Ummm…

He also said that Ed doesn’t have to answer to anybody on Twitter which got a resounding *Excuuuuuuse me* from me.

Joe Thorn also stated that Ed Stetzer does not have to answer to *randos* on Twitter. Dee is so excited to have a new name to add to her collection which leads nicely into the subject at hand. I did mention to those on Twitter than I am an adorable rando…

Joe Thorn changes the story a bit on his broadcast.

If you want to hear how stories change, listen in at about the 3:40 mark for about 5 minutes. Stetzer did not describe the shape of the car that he received from MacDonald. I do wish these guys would stop trying to sound like warmed over Mark Driscoll dudebro wannabes. Good night! This is a serious subject and you will see what I mean momentarily.

Joe Thorn broadcast

Ed Stetzer got a car, confirmed it happened and then claimed to have paid it back, quite recently, while at the same time getting stabbed in the back by MacDonald.

Julie Roys tweeted about this. Read the last sentence.

Folks, no matter what you thing about the ethics of a journalist accepting a car from a potential subject, we should be glad that Stetzer confirmed that this whole thing happened. This means that everybody who ever got a gift from MacDonald needs to consider that the gift was paid for by the church. I will get back to that statement in a minute with another example.

James MacDonald was no friend of Stetzer and I have proof. Let’s go back to the audio from Mancow’s show I posted {Updated}The James MacDonald Audio From the Mancow Show: What’s MacDonald Like Behind the Scenes?

Look at what MacDonald said about Stetzer and Christianity Today. Not only does he insult Stetzer, he insults Mark Galli, his boss. He then discussed how he was going to influence Stetzer for his own benefit. Also, it raises a question. Did Ed Stetzer use his influence to get CT to do that ridiculous Op-Ed by MacDonald? Folks, Ed Stetzer was had.

–(Moore) I’ve worked with JEREMY a long time. He will change things. He will adjust things. He’ll respond.”
–(Moore)  Let’s see if JEREMY changes it. And if JEREMY . . . either way you call HAROLD. But first, you know, you see if JEREMY . . .
–(MacDonald) Do you know MARK GALLI MARK GALLI is a certifiable prick.
–(Moore) Yeah, I agree with that.
-(MacDonald) Oh yeah, so I’m suggesting the following. Um,
“HAROLD SMITH Exposes Himself During CT Mishandling of Scandal”
(laughter)
“MARK GALLI Acknowledges Ongoing Tension Re: Affair With JULIE ROYS”
And, “ED STETZER Fails To Stop Unwanted Erection of CHRISTIANITY TODAY Tabloid”
JULIE ROYS is going to be riding around with a midget on her shoulders and CHRISTIANITY TODAY’s going to be saying she’s awesome.
–(Moore) if JEREMY doesn’t change it, then it’s a different conversation.
–(MacDonald) I will call off the plan to put, uh, child porn on HAROLD’s, uh, computer.
–(MacDonald):  I also told ED that he had to let me do a guest, a guest spot on his blog. So, um, we’ll see what he says. He’s very, very loathe to do anything that, you know, um. I’m also am working on an article, “BRIAN McCLAREN, ROB BELL and OTHER APOSTATES Endorsed By CT.”

Was Christianity Today used/influenced by MacDonald and the rest? I am waiting for an answer and will post one if I get it.

We now know that Christianity Today allowed MacDonald to write this ridiculous Op Ed. Be ashamed, editors. James MacDonald: Why Suing Is Sometimes the Biblical Choice

From this point forward, many, including myself, will wonder if CT was unduly influenced by MacDonald. Does this happen frequently? I don’t know.

Today, I called Christianity Today for a comment. I also asked what their ethics code is. Can journalists accept gifts? My husband often says that the church andparachurch often appear to have lower standards than secular counterparts. I hope that isn’t the case here. I am a long time (decades) subscriber to CT.

What did the HBC leadership know about misdirected funds and when did they know it?

I have some bad news for those dear people who are giving money to Harvest Bible Chapel. Something is seriously amiss beyond James MacDonald’s “lets go shoot bears” trips paid for by HBC. Carefully read this part of the statement from Ed Stetzer again.


Take a minute and think about what Stetzer just told us…

He *reached out* to HBC and asked about the source of the funds that purchased his vintage VW Beetle convertible. Shockingly…the *guy at Harvest* told him that the VW Beetle was paid for by Walk in the Word funds!

Imagine how that convo went…

Stetzer: “Hey *guy at Harvest,* did James MacDonald pay for my VW Beetle out of his pocket?”

“Guy at Harvest”: “No, Ed. I have it right here in my little black book. James said to have money from WITW diverted for your tricked out ride.”

Who has that book and who has the ability to get that information??? Holy Moly! 

There is somebody at HBC who obviously has the dirt on James MacDonald’s purchases for his BFFs.

Pastor Mohan Zachariah’s motorcycle

It was not a one time occurrence that the *guy at Harvest* gave out info. I was told that at least 4 church leaders got expensive motorcycles given to them-wither partially paid for or totally paid for.

I only had the time to call Pastor Mohan Zachariah.

From: Mohan Zachariah <mzachariah@harvestbiblechapel.org>
Date: Monday, April 8, 2019 at 2:41 PM
To: Dee Parsons <dee@thewartburgwatch.com>
Subject: Statement

Hi Dee,

Thank you for calling me about this.

Here is the statement you can use about it:

When James purchased a motorcycle for me in 2017, I was thankful, but didn’t think it unusual as I was aware of his gift giving to others.  I believed it was a gift from him.  After learning that the gift was not paid for directly by James, I made a donation to the church for that amount and put the bike up for sale.

Sincerely,

Mohan

Harvest Bible Chapel members would ask for a full, forensic audit by an independent outside agency.

Folks, did you think church money would be used by James MacDonald to give expensive gifts to his friends or those he wished to influence? Can any of you think of better recipients of this money? One alleged recipient of MacDonald’s largesse allegedly lives in an $800,000+ home.

I have many more people to contact in the coming weeks. If any of you received expensive gifts from James MacDonald, it’s time to get proactive and call the *guy at Harvest* who has the book on these gifts.Imagine what would happen if this information gets released to the public?

The church must answer the questions. “How many gifts did James MacDonald give on the church’s dime? ” It could be a lot…

So, the *guy at Harvest* knew about this as well. So, who is this guy?

Is there a coverup occurring at HBC? Did the *guy at Harvest* report his black book of expensive gifts given by MacDonald to those in charge? Or did those in charge all get gifts?

Is this why Harvest Theologian in Residence Michael Vanlaningham gave his not so theologically based sermon as reported by Julie Roys in The Lawsuit, The Sermon, The Selection of Elders: An Update On The Disappointing Developments at Harvest

How much does a theologian in residence get paid? Do they also get a residence? Whose paying for this gig? Did he get a car or motorcycle?

It seems like Vanlaningham does not want you to listen to social media. I don’t blame him. He needs to make sure the money flow continues so he can remain *in residence.* Apparently he does not understand the definition of slander. Maybe they don’t teach that in theology classes. Slander is the deliberate and knowing telling of a lie in order to bring harm to another. I have news for you. There is no lying going on here. Read what I wrote.The misuse of money is not gossip. It’s called fraud in many circles and sometimes it can even be a crime.

Now I just want to suggest, “I promise I will not bring up this incident” and “I promise I will not talk to others about this incident”—that rules out social media. Listen up! Social media has become social mania. Blogging has become flogging. Tweeting is now beating. And Christians are doing that against Christians! If somebody does you wrong, you don’t go home and post about it on Facebook for your 1,000 friends so it’s out there forever guys. It’s just wrong. That’s sin. It’s called slander. It’s called gossip. It’s called something we ought never to do to one another in the body of Christ. And, oh my goodness, how we’ve gotten out of control with that stuff! We have to learn to forgive.

As for forgiving, that will occur when the full truth has been revealed. Right now, it appears there are still lots and lots of dirty, little secrets.


Comments

Ed Stetzer Confirms That James MacDonald Gave Him a Car and Pastor Mohan Zachariah Confirms MacDonald Gave Him a Motorcycle, Both Paid for With Church Money. — 272 Comments

  1. It always happens. They claim we don’t understand, and are unjustly criticizing. They claim by talking about it that we are damaging their ministries with lies.

    But each of these guys always ends up proving everybody was right about them–with their own words.

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  2. It is easy to be generous with other peoples’ money, especially when you do not tell them you are using their money to look generous.

    Joe Thorn, please ask Ed for the name of his contact at Harvest who knows the score about the “generous gifts”. Or maybe Ed can do some investigative journalism and publish the name and the facts in CT.

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  3. These gifts seem extravagant to say the least and I’m questioning if these guys really didn’t know whose funds were paying for these. Then when things started leaking decided “Whoa I’d better ante up a donation quick.”

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  4. The slander’s coming from the leaders, not so much the watchblogs. And I think you can make a fair case that the biggest slander was Dr. V’s misrepresentation of the concept of forgiveness. Because if your concept of forgiveness would make you forgiving and Jesus, Who seldom missed an opportunity to expose the sins of abusive leaders and make a public point of them.

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  5. It’s obvious from a cursory glance that Christianity Today is more PR than journalism. Right now, they are doing a full-court press to drum up interest in the upcoming Pilgrim’s Progress movie. That’s promotion, plain and simple. And it always seemed weird (at least to me) that Stetzer became one of the top voices at CT. He’s a church planter/pastor guy, and right now I believe he is employed by both Moody Church and Wheaton College. Where in all that is his journalism training? Did CT even WANT journalism chops? It seems not.

    I sometimes think evangelicalism has reached its decadent phase. The amount of money tossed around conservative megachurches, ministries and think tanks is huge. James MacDonald rides a Harley into the church. Stephen Furtick preaches in $1,000 sneakers. Bill Hybels lounges on his yacht at his second home. In this environment, the “gift” of a classic VW just fits right in. And Stetzer’s ability to quickly pay back an expensive gift should also raise some eyebrows; I have a feeling the lower-rung employees at Moody, CT and Wheaton College don’t exactly have $10K in the couch cushions. The wealth inequality in Christian ministry reflects the wealth inequality in the real world, and probably explains why evangelical thought leaders steadfastly refuse to ever talk about this issue.

    I wonder what CT’s response will be to all of this. My hunch is that it will be anemic and far too late, or maybe they won’t address it at all.

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  6. From the post: “If somebody does you wrong, you don’t go home and post about it on Facebook for your 1,000 friends so it’s out there forever guys. It’s just wrong. That’s sin. It’s called slander. It’s called gossip. It’s called something we ought never to do to one another in the body of Christ.”

    People who say this should spend a little time in Galatians 2 : “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned… But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all,…”

    Paul didn’t just post it to FB, he posted to the most widely printed book in history. And I think we can argue that what these guys are doing is worse than what Peter did.

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  7. Ken F (aka Tweed): Paul didn’t just post it to FB, he posted to the most widely printed book in history.

    And the authors of the synoptic gospels don’t seem too concerned to protect the reputations of the apostles; Jesus was continually reproving them; they are portrayed as ignorant and afraid to ask Jesus to clarify the things they don’t understand.

    I have a memorable experience of being corrected by a church elder for pointing out something unflattering that was written in one of the synoptics concerning the Twelve. I’m guessing that speaking truth about misdeeds of the powerful is not regarded by God to be “tearing down the body of Christ”.

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  8. Ken F (aka Tweed): Paul didn’t just post it to FB, he posted to the most widely printed book in history. And I think we can argue that what these guys are doing is worse than what Peter did.

    There’s also the fact that they have no problem doing what they are telling everyone else they can’t do.

    It’s laughable that someone would say that nobody can talk about things Ed Stetzer does, with evidence even from his own words, when he claims to be a journalist and writes about everyone else for a living. And I question how much journalistic integrity Stetzer has, because his articles often lack sufficient references, unlike TWW.

    In their minds, it’s “spiritual leadership” when they do it. It’s “gossip” when someone else does it about them.

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  9. re: “As for forgiving, that will occur when the full truth has been revealed.”

    Let’s not be hasty. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that there is eventually a full forensic accounting of HBC, HBF, WITW, etc, etc and “the full truth” of the misdirection of church and ministry funds for the purposes of influencing people does come to light.

    Does anyone really expect the people who ordered and facilitated those transactions to sincerely “own” their sin, and to experience a genuine change of heart about this? Is it not much more likely that these people already have hearts hardened from above, like Pharaoh’s?

    “Full disclosure” is a necessary condition for “forgiveness”, but it alone is not sufficient.

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  10. What it boils down to is that James McDonald is just an ego-driven bully. There are other words that may better suit him by there is no sense to resorting to his type of language.

    I wonder if there was a time when he was on the right track… and if so, what got him off track and when?

    I am a Calvinist (not really a NEW one)… and I have to wonder if what we are seeing is a lot of what Paul wrote about in II Corinthians 11: “false apostles and deceitful workers”. For all their “proper” doctrine they seem to pick and choose what scriptures that want to emphasize and disregard others.

    I am not anyone’s final judge… but Paul’s warnings in I Cor 6 and II Cor 11 really look like he is saying that people that fit these descriptions are not believers.

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  11. “After learning that the gift was not paid for directly by James, I made a donation to the church for that amount and put the bike up for sale.” (Pastor Mo)

    Where do these guys think James got his personal money? Didn’t his personal wealth come from church money … directly or indirectly? His book and conference revenue come from his HBC exposure. Even investment income would have come indirectly from money he received from HBC – his salary used to buy stock. Perhaps he has other income streams outside of direct or indirect HBC sources, but most of these “Rich and Infamous” celebrity Christians are tapping money provided by trusting souls in the pew to support their lavish lifestyles and gracious giving to others (mansions, summer/winter retreats, vintage cars, motorcycles, big-game safaris, over the top restaurant tips, etc. etc.). The whole affair stinks to high heaven! Stetzer knew what kind of guy MacDonald was – the masquerade he was playing … these guys use each other.

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  12. You are hovering over the target.

    I have come to believe that if the main focus on religious organizations and leaders, including churches, seminaries, conferences, and parachurch organizations was on finances, many other problems would be fixed as a happy byproduct.

    Follow the money.

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  13. “Harvest Theologian in Residence Michael Vanlaningham gave his not so theologically based sermon” (Dee)

    Which was essentially a shot over the bow of HBC members to sit down, shut up, and pay up. Stop the madness on social media?! Lord, when will the madness stop at HBC?! A look at this sort of rebuilding the church there is disturbing.

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  14. drstevej:
    I heard that a motorcycle was a great gift to give a kid for his LAST birthday.

    Think about it.

    Several FB Friends of a Certain Age and I were just reminiscing about the early ’60s “Dead Boyfriend/Girlfriend Song Fad,” including that iconic hit number, “Leader of the Pack.”

    My kid sister had a motorcycle. She bought it from the proceeds of the sale of her rambunctious horse. Our money m was not amused.

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  15. Oracle at Delphi: You are hovering over the target.

    I have come to believe that if the main focus on religious organizations and leaders, including churches, seminaries, conferences, and parachurch organizations was on finances, many other problems would be fixed as a happy byproduct.

    Follow the money.

    You are right. Perhaps it is because, unlike adultery or pornography, stealing and lavish spending are almost impossible to hide. If you want to find out who is or is not following God’s commands to love others as self, yes indeed, follow the money.

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  16. Re: Joe Thorn audio

    Somehow, I doubt James “I charter private jets and have my bodyguard drive me around in a Tahoe” MacDonald is the type of man who frequents auto junkyards looking for fixer-uppers.

    And even *if* Ed’s VW was a rustbucket that was up on cinder blocks when MacDonald bought it, the motorcycle that he gave to Mo certainly doesn’t look like a fixer-upper.

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  17. “When James purchased a motorcycle for me in 2017, I was thankful, but didn’t think it unusual as I was aware of his gift giving to others.”–Mohan Zachariah
    +++++++++++++++++++

    what kind of alternate universe do these guys live in?

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  18. Max: Which was essentially a shot over the bow of HBC members to sit down, shut up, and pay up. S

    This quote comes from Julie Roys blog about that sermon:
    What’s worse, at the 11:00 a.m. service at the Rolling Meadows campus, Vanlaningham upped the ante, passionately urging congregants to raise their hands if they’re willing to “stop the madness on social media.”

    According to Alex Hageli, who attended that service, only about a third of the people in the congregation raised their hands. Vanlaningham then responded, “There’s a lot of you who aren’t (raising your hand). Oh, that’s too bad. Pray for the Holy Spirit to get a hold of you.”

    If that doesn’t ring out loud and clear “Spiritual abuse!” I don’t know what does. Mr. Vanlaningham is the one who needs to be praying for God’s Holy Spirit to get hold of him- the Spirit of truth, humility and justice.

    Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14

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  19. Fisher: Vanlaningham then responded, “There’s a lot of you who aren’t (raising your hand). Oh, that’s too bad. Pray for the Holy Spirit to get a hold of you.”

    The Holy Spirit has been grieved and quenched at HBC. Dr. Vanlaningham is not helping much with preaching like that. And he’s the resident theologian?!

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  20. AnonInNC: And even *if* Ed’s VW was a rustbucket that was up on cinder blocks when MacDonald bought it, the motorcycle that he gave to Mo certainly doesn’t look like a fixer-upper.

    Ed’s too crazy busy for a fixer-upper. As a pastor, he doesn’t even have time to visit, call, go to meetings, or do funerals.

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  21. From observation by reading media updates and Elephant’s Debt, and growing up in an abusive home, spiritual abuse is the same as mental/emotional abuse in a religious format. The abuser, a weak minded person themselves, uses shaming, attacking the person, demeaning the person emotionally to control them. The person doesn’t respect the abuser, only fears him/her. The current HBC pastors seem to be continuing in their own ways. But, it sounds like they are losing their influence. They are no better than the the man that abuses his wife and children. Or the women who has her children shaking in the corner, but makes everybody think she’s the neighborhood mom.

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  22. Devotions for LIberals: I sometimes think evangelicalism has reached its decadent phase. The amount of money tossed around conservative megachurches, ministries and think tanks is huge.

    I stopped giving to my local church (Alistair Begg’s… yes, the possessive form of the noun is most appropriate for this context) after learning that he was taking multiple six-figure salaries (head pastor, head of Truth for Life, etc.), topped with book sales, topped with speaking fees (topped with who knows what else), while the pastors on staff were barely paid enough to support their families. One of the rules (written or unwritten, I’m not sure) for pastors at Parkside is that their wives may not earn an income, so that the husband is solely filling the role of breadwinner. But while Alistair lived it up in his million dollar home (small beans compared to some of the mega pastors) nestled away in the Chagrin Valley, safely distanced from any nearby community, I saw the pastors (aside from a couple who had wealth before going on staff at Parkside) struggling to make ends meet, and either going into debt or having their wives (semi)secretly working on the side to keep them afloat. Many weeks of the year Alistair wasn’t even in town (you knew when you pulled in the parking lot, because attendance was at least 30% lower), but rather was off on speaking engagements and playing golf with some elite chums, while his pastoral team was squeaking by. This was, I was told by multiple pastors behind closed doors, by design. The salaries were kept low so they wouldn’t get comfortable there, but rather would seek to develop under Alistair and then spread their wings and go off to head a church somewhere else. Additionally, Begg rarely preaches on the subject of money or giving, and it’s not hard to guess why. Having been a fan of Alistair (it sounds weird, now to be a “fan” of a pastor) for so many years, I was disillusioned and disheartened by this experience and haven’t been through those doors in a long, long time. He always said (behind closed doors) that you need to “run a church like a business”, and now I know why. It’s just part and parcel for the megachurch model.

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  23. elastigirl: what kind of alternate universe do these guys live in?

    Your question made the words “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” come to mind, so I looked up the passage and was pierced clean through. I literally cried as I read this tonight.

    Does this not describe megalomaniac pastors to a tee!!!

    2 Timothy 3
    But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

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  24. Devotions for LIberals,

    “And it always seemed weird (at least to me) that Stetzer became one of the top voices at CT. He’s a church planter/pastor guy, and right now I believe he is employed by both Moody Church and Wheaton College. Where in all that is his journalism training? Did CT even WANT journalism chops? It seems not.”
    ++++++++++++++

    maybe Ed Stetzer has an agent shopping around his christian celebrity star power, and maybe CT was shopping around for a celebrity endorsement.

    maybe being called an “editor” is one of the jewels of the christian celebrity endorsement dollar.

    from Jerry Maguire:

    “I don’t know what you do for your four percent but my husband has a whole plan, an image and when you put him in a waterbed warehouse commercial you’re making him common when you know he deserves the big four: shoes, cars, clothing line, soft drink I know about the four jewels of the celebrity endorsement dollar I majored in marketing and so did my husband we came to play.”–Marcee Tidwell to Jerry Maguire

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  25. Y’know, I like listening to good sermons on the radio. But if the price I’m paying is to raise up unchristian celebrity rockstar pastors, well, I’d just as soon go without. And that is a shame.

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  26. Samuel Conner: And the authors of the synoptic gospels don’t seem too concerned to protect the reputations of the apostles; Jesus was continually reproving them; they are portrayed as ignorant and afraid to ask Jesus to clarify the things they don’t understand.

    I have a memorable experience of being corrected by a church elder for pointing out something unflattering that was written in one of the synoptics concerning the Twelve. I’m guessing that speaking truth about misdeeds of the powerful is not regarded by God to be “tearing down the body of Christ”.

    It has become one of those things that strengthens my faith. Just another piece of evidence. Who would write all that extremely unflattering stuff about themselves and the heroes of their faith if it wasn’t true? The Bible’s in large part a 2,000 year confessional of the sin and lack of faith of God’s people. This is why when people insist that we must pout a good face on things or we are not of the Lord, U tend to think they’ve been brainwashed by a cultic place that’s into heavy control and doesn’t want them to inquire into what the whole Bible actually says. Because there is just no way that anyone who has made an honest inquiry into the Bible could possibly get to the “speak no evil, even if it’s true” mantra from reading the actual Bible.

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  27. Law Prof: The Bible’s in large part a 2,000 year confessional of the sin and lack of faith of God’s people.

    If I may be permitted to tongue-in-cheek paraphrase one of Jesus’ memorable sayings,

    you are not far from the narrative-historical hermeneutic

    🙂

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  28. Clevin: He always said (behind closed doors) that you need to “run a church like a business”, and now I know why. It’s just part and parcel for the megachurch model.

    One of the things that has firmed up my suspicions that “what we see happening in the name of ‘church’ today” is only tenuously related to what we read in the New Testament is that the “visibly great” church men of our age bear so little resemblance to Jesus, whom they claim to represent and in whose authority they claim to rule and “minister”.

    Two texts that have deeply rooted in my memory (my paraphrases):

    “Have in you this mind which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God a thing to grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the shameful death of execution by pagan civil authority.”

    “For you know the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ who, though being rich, became for your sakes poor, that you through his poverty might be made rich.”

    —-

    This is, I think, Paul’s “take” on Jesus’ famous saying in Jn 20:21 that

    “as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”

    The comparison of Paul’s language with the leaders of the present day church movements suggests to me that these leaders are not in any discernible way “sent by Jesus.”

    These men are not emptying themselves in order to serve God and neighbor, they are using the neighbors (and misusing the name of God) to fill themselves up.

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  29. Devotions for LIberals: top voices at CT … employed by both Moody Church and Wheaton College

    And don’t forget that Stetzer is also his own brand. He offers several products of himself at https://edstetzer.com/

    For example, you too can be mentored by Ed by taking his online “Stetzer Coaching Class” … for $9.97 per month (first month free!) … you can’t make stuff up like this. The Bible says that older men are to teach younger men, but I missed the part where it’s OK to charge for that.

    Oh, and for struggling pastors who just can’t grow their churches, Ed will share his secrets in “Breaking the 200 Barrier” … 14 video sessions with Ed for only $397 (session 1 free!).

    The Christian Industrial Complex is out of control, folks.

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  30. Samuel Conner: One of the things that has firmed up my suspicions that “what we see happening in the name of ‘church’ today” is only tenuously related to what we read in the New Testament is that the “visibly great” church men of our age bear so little resemblance to Jesus, whom they claim to represent and in whose authority they claim to rule and “minister”.

    Abraham left his father’s house and lived in tents. Only land he ever owned in this life was the burial plot he bought from the sons of Hamor. Moses left Egypt and chose to be mistreated with the people of God. Jesus left the Father’s side and became human- the Almighty who dwells in unapproachable light lived in a human body among people who did not use deodorant. Jesus didn’t ride around in a luxury Tahoe, he WALKED.

    Clevin: elastigirl: what kind of alternate universe do these guys live in?

    I have friends who lived in the Sahel of Africa with two little kids where it was 120++ all day and 100F in their house at night WITH the aircon on – just so they could have the opportunity to tell nomadic herders passing through town that Jesus loved them. I gladly boast about people like that – who display new testament sacrifice, love and humility.

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  31. Max: And don’t forget that Stetzer is also his own brand.He offers several products of himself at https://edstetzer.com/

    For example, you too can be mentored by Ed by taking his online “Stetzer Coaching Class” … for $9.97 per month (first month free!) … you can’t make stuff up like this.The Bible says that older men are to teach younger men, but I missed the part where it’s OK to charge for that.

    Oh, and for struggling pastors who just can’t grow their churches, Ed will share his secrets in “Breaking the 200 Barrier” … 14 video sessions with Ed for only $397 (session 1 free!).

    The Christian Industrial Complex is out of control, folks.

    “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Of course, Jesus said that, that’s the disconnect with these thieves. He seems to be the last one many leaders in the Christian Industrial Complex want to hear from.

    These guys have no earthly clue (nor do any of us) just what it would be like to face the One who made the entire universe when He comes riding out of the sky on a white horse in infinite power to set things right once and for all. I mean, when He came as a humble servant, He overturned their money tables and ran them out of the temple with a whip. What in the world do they think He’s going to do when He comes back in great and awful power? Does Stetzer think Jesus will congratulate him on setting up a clever scheme to increase his revenues by $9.97 a subscriber each month?

    Wonder how many of those “Breaking the $200 barrier” videos for $397 are paid for out of church funds? You see, the way it works is you get a big church going, then you charge other churches for monthly subscriptions for your advice. Who do you think arranges this? Do you think that the people in the folding chairs rise up one day and out of popular demand come en mass to the pastor and say, “We really need to start paying Ed Stetzer ten bucks a month for a subscription to his godly advice service.” Of course not, that’s arranged by leadership, it’s probably a buddy-buddy deal, maybe set up at a T4G conference. The people in the chairs probably never have a clue. And it’s not just Stetzer, of course, it’s Thom Rainer and his sage advice and maybe dozens of others. Probably plenty of monthly subscriptions in the budget of lots of churches. Paid for by the parishioners through donations. And there are probably subscriptions to celebs who give church leaders advice on how to generate more donations (I guess so they can afford more subscription services). And that’s not all, of course. The leaders of the megas who buy the subscription services of other celebs and mega leaders probably also set up their own subscription services—which will be purchased by other mega leaders, and paid for by donations. This also happens with conferences. Church A pays a big fat honorarium and first class travel and accommodations to a celeb leader from Church B to come speak at their conference. And then the leaders of Church B invite the celeb leaders of Church A over to their conference, giving them a big fat honorarium. There are probably some love offerings thrown in there also.

    The net effect is millions transferred from people in the folding chairs who buy clothes at Goodwill out of their tithes to effete, smug leaders who wear $1,000 tennis shoes and have armed guards shuttle them about in late model SUVs.

    It’s sick and it’s evil.

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  32. Fisher: I have friends who lived in the Sahel of Africa … just so they could have the opportunity to tell nomadic herders passing through town that Jesus loved them.

    I met a man like this in the slums of Puebla, MX some years ago. One room cinder block house, open sewage ditches, food cooked over a barrel fire in the yard… Him, his wife, two young kids, showing the Jesus Film and evangelizing day in and day out, having given up a comfortable life to go out an meet the people where they are. *THAT* is a God-sent evangelist.

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  33. Law Prof: It’s sick and it’s evil.

    This text comes to mind:

    No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” 14The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all of this and were scoffing at Jesus. 15So He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is prized among men is detestable before God

    ——-

    I interpret what is happening to be an instance of the Romans 1 “wrath dynamic”; God has in fact been displaced by the love and worship of other things and God gives them over to their desires, and their understanding is darkened and it is downhill from there.

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  34. Fisher,

    Law Prof,

    Refreshing spiritual reality in contrast to the religious operations today here in America.

    It should be mandatory for church leaders and congregants to study the stories of true missionaries of history and today. It should be required that leaders live that kind of life periodically so keep in touch with
    Jesus. It would halve a purifying effect on our soul.

    Appreciate your sharing here.

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  35. Imagine if the editor for the New York Times or Washington Post accepted a gift of a car from a millionaire that they sometimes did stories on. Their competitors would be all over that calling them out and for good reason. The standards we have set against corruption in The Church are much lower than the same the world has to police itself. JMac was buying access to CT for favorable coverage and was granted that access as JMac was allowed to publish a defense for suing TED and Roys. Isn’t the conflict of interest obvious? The love of Money is a root for all kinds of evil-Jesus.

    I think we need to ask deeper and more probing question of this Mr. Stetzer. Question 1: Was this really a one timer that everyone assumes or have other celebrities given expensive gifts to him in order to buy a favorable story on CT? If he had no qualms about accepting this kind of gift from JMac then he should have no qualms about accepting gifts from a host of other rich Christian celebrities. It looks like this man has made a very good living off of his own celebrity status from his website where he promotes himself!

    Question 2: Was this really JMac’s idea or does Mr. Stetzer solicit bribes quietly from those celebrities that he knows through the grapevine would be open to such hints? I am not so quick to give Stetzer the benefit of the doubt. This man lacks the discernment or character to know when to turn down a gift. Does this extend to soliciting favors in exchange for access to soft-ball stories promoting “Christian” narcissist celebrities? Again the world is shrewd enough to ask these kinds of questions and demand answers of its people who run publications that do investigative journalism. We need investigative journalism and their standards do need to be high as they are a needed supplement to the police.

    I do not believe for a second that Dee would accept a car from JMac or any other rich celebrity out there. I also would not praise this man for being shrewd enough to realize that he is going to be caught and then giving a donation back to cover the cost of the car shortly before this went public. Even this assumes that he is telling the truth and Dee would not have a blog if the guys she writes regularly on never lied. What if this were a lie he made up just now after the news broke? Can I question that he actually did send Walk in the Word a check for what the vehicle was really worth? Is this man’s character so far above approach that we should believe everything he says without proof? What is more likely, that this man really did reimburse the expense a month ago or that he made this story up to cover his butt after getting caught with his hand in JMac’s cookie jar?

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  36. elastigirl: what kind of alternate universe do these guys live in?

    One that’s financed and bankrolled by people (pew serfs) who willingly fork over their hard earned dinero to those mountebanks.

    And so long as that dynamic continues, so will they, business as usual.

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  37. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Several FB Friends of a Certain Age and I were just reminiscing about the early ’60s “Dead Boyfriend/Girlfriend Song Fad,” including that iconic hit number, “Leader of the Pack.”

    My kid sister had a motorcycle. She bought it from the proceeds of the sale of her rambunctious horse. Our money m was not amused.

    Don’t forget the REAL tearjerker of “early Sixties Dead Boyfriend/Girlfriend Songs”:
    “Tell Laura I Love Her”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opYb8uGx5Ns

    And the Necrophilia parody of the genre I remember from the Dr Demento Show:
    “I Want My Baby Back”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo8DhbQw_O4

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  38. Devotions for LIberals: I sometimes think evangelicalism has reached its decadent phase. The amount of money tossed around conservative megachurches, ministries and think tanks is huge.

    I wonder how much of that gets poured into Politics.
    Nothing like bought-and-paid-for Friends in High Places to keep all that Satanic publicity and prevent the authorities from looking too closely.

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  39. Muff Potter: One that’s financed and bankrolled by people (pew serfs) who willingly fork over their hard earned dinero to those mountebanks.

    And so long as that dynamic continues, so will they, business as usual.

    “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
    — P.T.Barnum

    “Everybody has his price, or a guy like me couldn’t exist.”,/b>
    — Howard Hughes

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  40. Samuel Conner: I interpret what is happening to be an instance of the Romans 1 “wrath dynamic”; God has in fact been displaced by the love and worship of other things and God gives them over to their desires, and their understanding is darkened and it is downhill from there.

    But Real True Christians KNOW that SCRIPTURE only applies to HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY!
    NEVER to God’s Anointed(TM).

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  41. Max: For example, you too can be mentored by Ed by taking his online “Stetzer Coaching Class” … for $9.97 per month (first month free!) … you can’t make stuff up like this. The Bible says that older men are to teach younger men, but I missed the part where it’s OK to charge for that.

    Stetzer’s a nickel-and-dime operator compared to Jerry Jenkins’ Online Course To Become a Best-Selling Christian Fiction Author, $1200 a pop.

    Compared to that, $10 a month (first month free) is chicken feed.

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  42. Law Prof: Church A pays a big fat honorarium and first class travel and accommodations to a celeb leader from Church B to come speak at their conference. And then the leaders of Church B invite the celeb leaders of Church A over to their conference, giving them a big fat honorarium. There are probably some love offerings thrown in there also.

    Reverend Larry invites Reverend Moe to his conference and big fat honorarium.
    Reverend Moe invites Reverend Curly to his conference and big fat honorarium.
    Reverend Curly invites Reverend Larry to his conference and big fat honorarium.

    Except only the Reverends are laughing — “NYUK! NYUK! NYUK!”

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  43. Pingback: Linkathon! - Phoenix Preacher

  44. Muff Potter: And so long as that dynamic continues, so will they, business as usual.

    But that only raises a further question Muff.

    How do they sustain this model?

    How are otherwise intelligent and reasonably moral people drawn into this quagmire?

    Like insects into a pitcher plant so to speak.

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  45. Headless Unicorn Guy: NEVER to God’s Anointed(TM).

    Of course, we see “under the sun” wrath breaking out against Israel again and again in the OT — the entire book of Judges, the major prophets, etc. And God did not spare Israel in the 1st century; Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed.

    History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes. It seems to me that the church tends to recapitulate Old Israel. It shouldn’t surprise us that again and again it finds itself experiencing “under the sun” wrath.

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  46. Max,

    So, is the “theologian” specifically referring to TWW when he says the “madness of social media”…. i have been called many things, but I do think I have been called “mad”… in the “metal illiness” form of the word!

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  47. Headless Unicorn Guy: Reverend Larry invites Reverend Moe to his conference and big fat honorarium.
    Reverend Moe invites Reverend Curly to his conference and big fat honorarium.
    Reverend Curly invites Reverend Larry to his conference and big fat honorarium.

    Except only the Reverends are laughing — “NYUK! NYUK! NYUK!”

    Exactly, and the money all comes from the congregations, and they have no say in who gets invited over—that’s probably all arranged at other leader-only conferences that the leaders enjoy being wined and dined at and that the congregants pay for. So they all invite each other over to peddle their schtick at each other’s churches for huge fees and first-class airfare and three start hotels and limos. And the congregants have to pay enormous conference fees to “go” to these, like hundreds sometimes, basically just to go to their regular church on Friday night and/or Saturday and get some special “pow” of the Lord. But what pow? Is there typical preacher not giving them all the pow they need? Why, that’s what they’re telling us they’re there for, to be the intermediaries and give us an “impartation” of power or wisdom or whatever they want to call it.

    Bet you all the money I have (not much) that the leaders who are off playing musical pulpits aren’t foregoing their salary for the weekends when they’re making thousands doing the speaking fee thing—which also comes from donated congregant money. All the money comes from the people, and to think some of those leaders so-called like the coiffed Robert Morris have the shamelessness to tell the people in the chairs that they’ll get demons if they don’t give give give.

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  48. Headless Unicorn Guy: Stetzer’s a nickel-and-dime operator compared to Jerry Jenkins’ Online Course To Become a Best-Selling Christian Fiction Author, $1200 a pop.

    Compared to that, $10 a month (first month free) is chicken feed.

    I read some of his stuff back in the days when I was more credulous. He might be able to teach people how to become a best-selling Christian author, because he became one. But he CANNOT write. He’s terrible.

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  49. Mr. Jesperson:
    Imagine if the editor for the New York Times or Washington Post accepted a gift of a car from a millionaire that they sometimes did stories on.Their competitors would be all over that calling them out and for good reason.The standards we have set against corruption in The Church are much lower than the same the world has to police itself.JMac was buying access to CT for favorable coverage and was granted that access as JMac was allowed to publish a defense for suing TED and Roys.Isn’t the conflict of interest obvious?The love of Money is a root for all kinds of evil-Jesus.

    I think we need to ask deeper and more probing question of this Mr. Stetzer.Question 1: Was this really a one timer that everyone assumes or have other celebrities given expensive gifts to him in order to buy a favorable story on CT?If he had no qualms about accepting this kind of gift from JMac then he should have no qualms about accepting gifts from a host of other rich Christian celebrities.It looks like this man has made a very good living off of his own celebrity status from his website where he promotes himself!

    Question 2: Was this really JMac’s idea or does Mr. Stetzer solicit bribes quietly from those celebrities that he knows through the grapevine would be open to such hints?I am not so quick to give Stetzer the benefit of the doubt.This man lacks the discernment or character to know when to turn down a gift.Does this extend to soliciting favors in exchange for access to soft-ball stories promoting “Christian” narcissist celebrities?Again the world is shrewd enough to ask these kinds of questions and demand answers of its people who run publications that do investigative journalism.We need investigative journalism and their standards do need to be high as they are a needed supplement to the police.

    I do not believe for a second that Dee would accept a car from JMac or any other rich celebrity out there.I also would not praise this man for being shrewd enough to realize that he is going to be caught and then giving a donation back to cover the cost of the car shortly before this went public.Even this assumes that he is telling the truth and Dee would not have a blog if the guys she writes regularly on never lied.What if this were a lie he made up just now after the news broke?Can I question that he actually did send Walk in the Word a check for what the vehicle was really worth?Is this man’s character so far above approach that we should believe everything he says without proof?What is more likely, that this man really did reimburse the expense a month ago or that he made this story up to cover his butt after getting caught with his hand in JMac’s cookie jar?

    Cannot fault a word you wrote. The investigative journalism in Christianity is the watchblogs. Some of them get their stories right and are good journalists and some of them are sloppy and incompetent and get them wrong. But at least they approximate journalism.

    What the so-called Christian journalists at the major publications are doing is not journalism, it’s buddy—buddy cronyism, it’s shameless promotions of the organization you’re covering, it’s ignoring serious news and hating those who produce it, only after allowing the celebs and power brokers to vigorously defend themselves in “journalistic” pieces, then trying to shut down and discredit real stories and libel those who produce them, do the “legitimate” organizations like Christianity Today finally get around to reporting on these stories grudgingly—and then, it’s almost always after the celeb has been fatally damaged by the truth being printed about them and they are no longer useful to the “journalists” at the “legitimate Christian” news outlets.

    Can anyone recall a time where CT or CP broke some scandalous story about a Christian celeb and got out ahead of the bloggers? Tell me if you’ve heard of one, because I’ve never seen it.

    There is nothing good to say about them in this matter, they are unethical cowards, they are liars. They think they’re doing God’s work—I personally think they hate God’s work.

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  50. Headless Unicorn Guy: Don’t forget the REAL tearjerker of “early Sixties Dead Boyfriend/Girlfriend Songs”:
    “Tell Laura I Love Her”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opYb8uGx5Ns

    And the Necrophilia parody of the genre I remember from the Dr Demento Show:
    “I Want My Baby Back”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo8DhbQw_O4

    Oh, we definitely discussed “Tell Laura I Love Her.” Did you know there was a follow-up from the girl’s POV? “Tell Tommy I Love Him.” LOL, cringe!!

    And speaking of parodies… remember “Leader of the Laundromat”?

    And then there was the song where *both* parties die: “On the banks of the river stood Running Bear, young Indian brave….”

    Today’s young whippersnappers don’t know what they’re missing!

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  51. Law Prof: some of those leaders so-called like the coiffed Robert Morris have the shamelessness to tell the people in the chairs that they’ll get demons if they don’t give give give.

    Isn’t that a Witch-Man/Hexen extorting money from his victims by threatening to sic his familiar spirits on them? “Pay Up or I’ll Put a Hex on you!”

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  52. Samuel Conner: And God did not spare Israel in the 1st century; Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed.

    During my time in-country, the AM radio preacher application of that went like this:

    “GAWD’S PUNISHMENT FOR AMERICA’S SINS SITS READY AND WAITING IN THE NUCLEAR MISSILE SILOS OF THE SOVIET UNION!!!!!”

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  53. Law Prof: I read some of his stuff back in the days when I was more credulous. He might be able to teach people how to become a best-selling Christian author, because he became one. But he CANNOT write.He’s terrible.

    I have a neighbor who writes Christian fiction. I do think she has talent as a story teller — at least she can construct a cohesive plot and a reasonably correct English sentence — but the schmaltzy sappiness makes me gag. And the endings are always so pat and simplistic. And the message is so heavy-handed, it’s like being bludgeoned with a brick 2×4. She always asks me to comment and upvote, and I never know how to respond. I feel guilty, but I just can’t go there. (I will die a thousand deaths if she ever sees this. Guilt, guilt, guilt….)

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  54. Headless Unicorn Guy: Stetzer’s a nickel-and-dime operator compared to Jerry Jenkins’ Online Course To Become a Best-Selling Christian Fiction Author, $1200 a pop.

    Compared to that, $10 a month (first month free) is chicken feed.

    Since you brought it up . . . I recall wondering what my old acquaintance (he wouldn’t know me, but we used to be in church choir together) Jerry Jenkins was doing with all of his megabucks. I was sure that he would have some sort of foundation for missions or some other needy cause . . . only to look him up and discover his writers’ conference money making scheme. Because he really needs more money. And if your dreams are to write like Jenkins . . . well, never mind. Any way, I was truly disillusioned and disheartened. One might note the Dallas Jenkins tie in; who also figured out how to make money off of christians’ insatiable thirst for ‘christian’ entertainment.

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  55. Law Prof: I read some of his stuff back in the days when I was more credulous. He might be able to teach people how to become a best-selling Christian author, because he became one. But he CANNOT write. He’s terrible.

    Ah, someone more, er, forthright than I. 😉 I tried to read the first book many moons ago to see what all the hoopla was about, but couldn’t get past chapter 2. It was just too painful.

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  56. Here’s what the Society for Professional Journalists has to say about accepting gifts, etc.

    Act Independently

    The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.

    Journalists should:

    – Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

    – Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.

    – Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.

    – Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.

    – Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content.

    https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

    This is what I learned in J school at UT Austin nearly four decades ago. If Ed had ever cracked open a journalism textbook, he would have at least seen this.

    What’s going on right now suspiciously looks like money and gifts being spread around for favorable publicity. *rolls eyes* In my humble OPINION (so not libel), this looks like pay to play journalism. Blergh.

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  57. Fisher: According to Alex Hageli, who attended that service, only about a third of the people in the congregation raised their hands.

    OMG two worlds collide! Alex Hageli is a lawyer and was arrested in 2015 for protesting outside a Scientology building, on the public sidewalk. He knows his cults.

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  58. Law Prof: I read some of his stuff back in the days when I was more credulous. He might be able to teach people how to become a best-selling Christian author, because he became one. But he CANNOT write.He’s terrible.

    Don’t get me started on Jerry Jenkins, Greatest Christian Author of All Time (GCAAT). Otherwise it’ll hijack this thread. In summary:

    Slacktivist has been dissecting his 19-volume Masterpiece Left Behind for several years. Just from this, it reads like Bad Author Self-Insert Fanfic.
    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2015/11/05/left-behind-index-the-whole-thing/

    (Some years ago, I had an epiphany that Left Behind and Atlas Shrugged are the exact same story, just pitched to (and fanservicing) different target audiences. Left Behind is Atlas Shrugged for Born-Agains, Atlas Shrugged is Left Behind for Brights.)

    Heathen Critique has been doing the same with the GCAAT’s other best-sellers (specifically his Near-Future Persecution Dystopia trilogy Soon, Silenced, and Shadowed):
    https://heathencritique.wordpress.com/

    (Just like Atlas Shrugged, Soon started with a legitimate premise — retelling St Paul and the Book of Acts in a contemporary/near future setting — and screwed it up completely.)

    I have seen and read good writing, SF and Fantasy by the greats. I have also tried to write the stuff, I have been published in small press, but never in a paying market.

    Only example online (and source of my comment handle), one of two forays into Magic Realism under my real name (I also did the illustration at the top):
    https://alanloewen.blogspot.com/2016/04/conversation-with-dying-unicorn.html

    For the past several years, I’ve been editing and co-writing several novella-to-novel-length My Little Pony fanfics. In the process I’ve read a lot of Pony fanfics over at FIMFiction.net, from the truly great to the truly awful. And Christianese fiction reads like Truly Awful Fanfic.

    So why is he a best-selling GCAAT?
    Some years ago there was a posting on Internet Monk called “Selling Jesus by the Pound” about the Jesus Junk industry. Here is why Christians the GCAAT is a best-seller:

    Consolation/Booby Prize for those Forbidden under pain of Eternal Hell for enjoying the real thing instead of Godly and Edifying Christianese knockoffs:

    Guilt.you listen to BarlowGirl, not because you like their sound or their lyrics, but you would feel guilty listening to and enjoying Christina Aguilera now that you have been saved. You used to love reading science fiction by Orson Scott Card and Ursula K. Le Guin, but now you read Left Behind. You used to go study the works of Van Gogh, but now you look at a picture of a pasty-white Jesus knocking on someone’s door.

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  59. Becky Thatcher: How are otherwise intelligent and reasonably moral people drawn into this quagmire?

    How do “intelligent and reasonably moral people” fall completely for fringe cults and con men in general? To the point of becoming fanatical defenders of the cult leader/con man?

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  60. Law Prof: And there are probably subscriptions to celebs who give church leaders advice on how to generate more donations (I guess so they can afford more subscription services).

    *cough* celebrity pastor sermon subscription services, which is a far cry from studying the text and commentaries to write your sermon, or, in more liturgical churches, using a commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary. Nope, got to get that lastest sermon series on bow to have the Sexiest Best Marriage Ever, preached by Pastor Joe Megachurch, complete with slides and advertising copy all ready for the web and billboards!

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  61. And today Julie Roys publishes MORe about Stetzer, Galli, CT, and the whole mess! Good article:
    http://julieroys.com/contributing-editor-christianity-today-faces-conflict-interest-questions-accepting-car-james-macdonald/?fbclid=IwAR1leTY4L-4FEiBIlTWAzhFQtMnUBgHVc5_LQM8Gsy_Zi3wLLhIxg1flMh0

    Just one gem: “Mark Galli, editor in chief for Christianity Today, told me that Stetzer was willing to meet with Galli and me to discuss the issue. Galli added that he did not want to discourage me from reporting on the gift to Stetzer, but said he didn’t see a story there. I insisted that any meeting with Stetzer be on the record, and Galli emailed Monday, saying Stetzer was “not comfortable meeting on the record.””

    “Not comfortable meeting on the record” – no kidding…

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  62. Mr. Jesperson: Imagine if the editor for the New York Times or Washington Post accepted a gift of a car from a millionaire that they sometimes did stories on.

    Back about 20 years ago, the LA Times got into an advertorial deal with the then-brand new Staples Center (a basketball arena). It wasn’t labeled as advertorial and the LA Times took a lot of heat and ended up apologizing for its great lapse in judgment. Which makes me wonder how much unlabeled advertorial graces the pages of CT? (The last time I looked at Charisma magazine, it was chock full of unlabeled advertorial, IN MY OPINION. )

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  63. Headless Unicorn Guy: Jerry Jenkins’ Online Course To Become a Best-Selling Christian Fiction Author, $1200 a pop.

    One thing I’m sure of:
    Jenkins’ $1200 course doesn’t include one reason I could easily see for his success:

    A particularly sleazy form of fanservice called “Masturbating the Audience”, constantly flattering the reader that “You, Dear Reader, are right” (and Righteous) and everyone else is wrong (and Unrighteous and headed for destruction).

    (This is actually from my Atlas Shrugged epiphany, but that’s just Left Behind pitched to a different audience):
    Persecution of the Righteous “Just Like You, Dear Reader…”
    Raptured into a secret Paradise because of The Righteous “Just Like You, Dear Reader…”
    Watching the destruction of the Unrighteous from that Paradise “Just Like You, Dear Reader…”
    And Triumph and Reward from On High at the end “Just Like You, Dear Reader…”

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  64. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Nope, got to get that lastest sermon series on bow to have the Sexiest Best Marriage Ever, preached by Pastor Joe Megachurch, complete with slides and advertising copy all ready for the web and billboards!

    With a Seven-Day Christian Sex Challenge, delivered from a bed onstage on the same day Western-Rite Liturgical Churches celebrate the Feast of Christ the King!

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  65. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: What’s going on right now suspiciously looks like money and gifts being spread around for favorable publicity. *rolls eyes* In my humble OPINION (so not libel), this looks like pay to play journalism. Blergh.

    You can never grease too many palms, with our without long pious prayers in justification.

    “Everybody’s got his price, or a guy like me couldn’t exist!”
    — attr to Howard Hughes

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  66. I recently watched Wild Wild Country a Netflix documentary series about the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho).
    I was in high school when they moved to Oregon and remember thinking it was so odd people would give all of their money to buy Rolls Royce’s and expensive things for their leader. Some of the people that were in that group still believe good things happened, and they were world changers…it’s eerie how similar some of the current churches are. There are still people who were involved with Mars Hill that believe good things happened there. I’m guessing the Harley’s, and all the other luxuries are not a surprise to many at Harvest and decades from now they will still hold on to the belief “good things happened there.”

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  67. Headless Unicorn Guy: I wonder how much of that gets poured into Politics.
    Nothing like bought-and-paid-for Friends in High Places to keep all that Satanic publicity and prevent the authorities from looking too closely.

    It would have to be either very small amounts, below the reporting threshold or rolled through a dark money PAC. It’s more likely to be a gift in kind, like the chance to speak from the pulpit during campaign season. That’s all I’m going to say since this is edging towards a topic we don’t discuss on this blog.

    BUT with a really good accountant, you can run all sorts of personal expenses through your church. I wonder, for example, if the pastors of a church near me, who have had a daily live Facebook program, somehow charge rent for the patio or living room space they use for their live sessions. I’d be surprised if they didn’t. (This is a prosperity church.)

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  68. Jesus said that we would know them by their fruits. Until we see different fruit, there is no reason to assume that these are Christian churches. They might be spiritual businesses or spiritual social clubs, but not a church. When the whole program is contradicting what God has revealed, there is no reason to think well of them.

    I think people become tangled up in them because these groups meet some felt needs but don’t offend the god that they have built in their mind. They get some benefit and they get to keep their idolatry at the same time. A win win.

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  69. Question for those whose vocation is the ministry: Other than food, clothing, shelter for the pastor/teacher, spreading the Gospel to the world, and caring for widows, orphans, and widows, what else are tithes allowed to be used for?

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  70. Brian,

    There is no basis for tithes in the new testament at all. They’re not banned, but they’re not a fixture of christian living either. The early example, though, was that they distributed to everyone as (s)he had need, and especially the widows – who were the most likely to be in need. It seems that this had become a bit more organised by the time Paul had become Director of Church-Planting, because he talks about a “widows’ list” and sets stringent requirements about who was allowed to be on it. Probably the apostles had a few bad experiences with spongers. (The best way to succeed as a sponger is to sponge huge amounts of money; then you look like a leader. Also it is possible to lead without sponging.)

    The only answer I can give is that the church must take responsibility for deciding, together, what the tithes can be used for.

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  71. TS00: And if your dreams are to write like Jenkins . . .

    Use trite cliches, poor foreshadowing, stilted sentences and be as pedantic as possible. In other words, write like an earnest high school honor student.

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  72. Nick Bulbeck: …which, of course, does not always go well.

    In fact, it didn’t go well in Acts, did it—not even back then with the Apostles running around. There was almost immediately a controversy as Greek widows were being discriminated against. That led to the creation of deacons to manage day-to-day affairs and make sure corrupt people weren’t showing favoritism. But at least there weren’t allegations widespread of leaders sticking money ion their own pockets.

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  73. Law Prof: Use trite cliches, poor foreshadowing, stilted sentences and be as pedantic as possible.In other words, write like an earnest high school honor student.

    No.
    To really write like JERRY JENKINS, GREATEST CHRISTIAN AUTHOR OF ALL TIME (GCAAT) you have got to have the most Godawful tin ear for “See How Clever I Am?” ethnic character names.
    Like these examples from Left Behind:
    Stonagal (Stone-a-Gal = Rock-a-Feller, get it?)
    Viv Ivins (VI-VI-VI-ins = 666, get it?)
    Guy Blaze (lithping thwithing queer from Central Casting; Guy Blaze = GAY Blaze = FLAMING GAY, get it?)
    Ms Zee (bull dyke Feminist(TM) from Central Casting; MS Zee = “Missy”, get it?)
    Ming Toy (token Chinese female background character)

    And these from Soon:
    Paul Stepola (Mary Sue main character “Paul Stepola” = “Apostle Paul” spelled sideways, get it?)
    Bia Baalam (female bad girl, not sure how to figure this one but even for Allegorical Name it’s pretty awful)

    Like I said, it reads like BAD fanfic.

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  74. Headless Unicorn Guy: But Real True Christians KNOW that SCRIPTURE only applies to HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY!
    NEVER to God’s Anointed(TM).

    I was just gonna’ say, human sexuality (in fundagelical protestantism) is the primary focal point in the teaching of Romans 1.

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  75. Ruth: I recently watched Wild Wild Country a Netflix documentary series about the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho).

    Ah, yes.
    Antelope, Oregon, AKA the historic Oregon ghost town of Rajneeshpuram.
    According to my Northern California contact, the Rajneeshees were sending buses as far south as Eureka and Redding to pick up homeless off the streets, bus them to Rajneeshpuram, and register them all to vote in hopes of swinging the election and taking over the town completely. (And when that didn’t work, they poisoned the salad bars of restaurants all over town with salmonella cultures just before the election. Like some sort of half-baked Aum Shinriko.)

    For some reason, that Jerk with the Kirk in Moscow, Idaho reminds me so much of the Rajneesh.
    As in “Just like Rajneeshpuram, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

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  76. dee:
    Hold onto your hats. More coming tomorrow. My head is going to explode because I’m so upset.

    Lord have mercy…
    Not so fast! Greg Gordon might not be ready yet for another op-ed piece.

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  77. Stan: I went to Christianity Today in light of these revelations, and noticed there’s a free article by Stetzer about how great this one non-famous church in Arizona is where he was a guest preacher.

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/april/sunday-journeys-north-phoenix-vineyard-church.html

    That non-famous church is considered a megachurch with an estimated 4,100 attendees. I have got to stop rolling my eyes or they’re going to stick in the “up” position.

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  78. Oh, I just did a drive by of the Maricopa County Tax Assessor’s office. The North Phoenix Vineyard has three parcels comprising slightly less than 1,500,000 square feet, with a valuation of around $25,000,000.

    Seriously, Ed, this just looks bad.

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  79. Stan: I went to Christianity Today in light of these revelations, and noticed there’s a free article by Stetzer about how great this one non-famous church in Arizona is where he was a guest preacher.

    In that article he claims “I have been preoccupied preaching at Moody Church almost every Sunday.” Preoccupied with preaching? What a strange thing to say for someone who claims to be the interim pastor. If he does not do things like funerals and visitations, and considers preaching to be a distraction, he is no pastor. But peons like us are not supposed to notice.

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  80. Max,

    “Oh, and for struggling pastors who just can’t grow their churches, Ed will share his secrets in “Breaking the 200 Barrier” … 14 video sessions with Ed for only $397 (session 1 free!).”

    And Fir an extra $10 only you can get driven around the block by my daughter in a red VW and be photographed with your Church Growth Guru.

    Funny thing is , he probably made the video using church resources.

    Does this come with a money back guarantee?

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  81. “Preoccupied preaching” not “preoccupied with preaching”? Journalist? Didn’t someone mention lackluster writing?
    Regardless, can you imagine St. Paul or St. Peter claiming to be “preoccupied” with preaching?

    “Darn. No fishing today – preoccupied with preaching.”

    “And I can’t finish this kid’s pup tent – preoccupied with preaching.”

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  82. Perhaps I am mixing apples and oranges here, not being a lawyer, I do not see how JM is above the law when Lori Loughlin and many other parents are being held so accountable for their misdeeds. It seems to me the degree of harm JM has caused far exceeds the helicopter parents misdeeds. Yet some of the parents are facing serious consequences . I am not trying to excuse the behavior of the parents. Just trying to distinguish between the consequences.

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  83. Raswhiting: Not comfortable meeting on the record” – no kidding…

    His actions are cowardly. Paid back the $13,000 but wasn’t willing to say so himself. Instead let a friend -Joe Thorn- tell the world for him.

    I was willing to give Mr Stetzer benefit of the doubt at first but that benefit rapidly diminishes with each passing day. Someone who is concerned about pleasing God above all else would break the news themselves.

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  84. dee: Hold onto your hats. More coming tomorrow. My head is going to explode because I’m so upset.

    Hang in there Dee. As you, Julie and other bloggers do your part a whole host of unknown nobodies are out sharing Jesus at the ends of the earth, and Jesus is drawing millions to himself.As of last week the best researcher I know (and he’s not famous cause he flies low under the radar on purpose) said there are right now 702 people group movements going on in the world, Some of these movements number into the millions. All led by unpaid or minimally paid lay leaders who lead discovery bible studies in simple house church gatherings which multiply. And much of this is happening in places where people might not believe it if they were told.

    So take heart – despite the fall of the EIC the greatest movement to Jesus this world has ever seen is actually occurring right now. And the American Evangelical Industrial Complex is completely uninvolved because there’s no money in it. Praise God!!

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  85. Leslie,

    Leslie.
    If I might take the side of HBC Executives, there has been no allegation of criminal activity of any kind. That may change any moment, but not so far. Not even close.

    Bad management is not illegal. There must be specific acts prohibited by law, and an identifiable victim of a crime.

    The admissions scandal was a criminal conspiracy, that engaged in specific criminal acts.

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  86. Nathan Priddis,

    Leslie: “It seems to me the degree of harm JM has caused far exceeds the helicopter parents misdeeds.”

    Nathan: “Bad management is not illegal. There must be specific acts prohibited by law, and an identifiable victim of a crime.”
    +++++++++++++++

    a whole host of atrocities happen which destroy people by degrees, and which the law of the land doesn’t address.

    acts of hate, malicious abuses & betrayals, fraud and corruption.

    one can be a criminal of the law of the land. one can also be a criminal of what is what is right and moral and decent and fair.

    the harm done at the hands of JM and his 2-faced thugs, enabled by flaccid christian leaders with all the conviction of a bubblebath, is crisis-level.

    (chances are you agree. just wanted to get that off my mind. no, i don’t feel better.)

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  87. Becky Thatcher: How do they sustain this model?

    How are otherwise intelligent and reasonably moral people drawn into this quagmire?

    Like insects into a pitcher plant so to speak.

    2 Timothy 4:3 [Full Chapter]
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires

    Jeremiah 5:31
    The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?

    There is pride involved in attending these churches, people identify with their hip, cool, wealthy leaders. They are successful on the world’s terms. They are “important.” It’s the in place to be.

    It’s also a lot of work to think more deeply than surface level or research things for yourself, easier to plop your money in the plate and pass on the responsibility of its disposal to the professionals – they must know what they’re doing if they built this empire, right?

    I know not everyone thinks like that but enough do to make it work.

    I went to an awesome little church many many years ago for several years. We didn’t have a building or fancy programs, it was just a simple fellowship. The only pastor I ever had who truly cared about the spiritual well-being of each of his flock and would give you the shirt off his back. But little by little people moved on to big churches with professional music and programs and the kind of assets they could show off to their friends when they brought them. I’ve been involved in a lot of churches since then but never found another so real and after years of bad experiences I’m a done.

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  88. Catholic Gate-Crasher: I have a neighbor who writes Christian fiction. I do think she has talent as a story teller — at least she can construct a cohesive plot and a reasonably correct English sentence — but the schmaltzy sappiness makes me gag.

    My mom knew a guy who wrote schmaltzy Christian stories he sold to Christian publications. He was most definitely not a Christian and did not believe the moralizing in his stories, joked about it andtthought it was hilarious but he knew the formula and could earn reliable money at it.

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  89. Raswhiting: Just one gem: “Mark Galli, editor in chief for Christianity Today, told me that Stetzer was willing to meet with Galli and me to discuss the issue. Galli added that he did not want to discourage me from reporting on the gift to Stetzer, but said he didn’t see a story there. I insisted that any meeting with Stetzer be on the record, and Galli emailed Monday, saying Stetzer was “not comfortable meeting on the record.””

    “Not comfortable meeting on the record” – no kidding…

    Oh, he didn’t see a story there, didn’t he?

    Not comfortable meeting on the record…

    LMAO!

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  90. SiteSeer,

    i see you’re up, too. pacific time zone?

    “well, fiddle-dee-dee, i do declare” that creatives with any interest in keeping their art honest are required to stay away from the christian market.

    (i consider writing that is crafted to be art)

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  91. I truly don’t understand how anyone can feel that comfortable accepting a gift of that price from someone that’s not family. Especially someone who is NOT financially struggling. Actually, I’m pretty sure I would not be comfortable if even a family member gifted me a car or motorcycle. I have wealthy friends. I have generously wealthy friends (who became wealthy without taking money from others). 1. They give good gifts but never gifts like this. 2. If they did I would still think they were out of their minds and I would refuse regardless of how generous they were. I just don’t understand their thought process. “He was known to be generous so I accepted it without thinking.” How were you, Mo, comfortable accepting a gift of that price from your boss?! So bizarre! You are a pastor. Why did you think it was ok to accept a gift of that price rather than suggesting he should donate to the benevolence fund to help those in need at church. I went to Niles. I knew a few people who were financially struggling and yet faithfully served and gave to the church. Do you not understand how much it hurts to know that even as you are struggling you are still sacrificing your time and money for the sake of Christ yet your campus pastor is accepting an extremely generous gift and flaunting it everytime he drives up to church?

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  92. __

    Deaf Ears: “A Reasonable Assumption?”

    hmmm…

    HBC now avast leadership has been suspicious in its concealed questionable financial practices [1] for many years. It is evidently obvious that further public and social media exposure —bringing a thoughtful and through investigation —is tediously and expeditiously required…

    Ya think?

    A state of affairs contrary to ‘sound’ scriptural practices?

    Whoa!

    It’s no longer necessary to read between the ‘forged’ lines?

    Could b.

    ;~)


    [1] Behavior that leads to graft, theft, corruption, fraud, and the lack of integrity, is NOT to be expected in any transaction involving a 501c3 religious official or organization.

    ***
    Intermission:
    Jack Broadbent – “On The Road Again…”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pJxkdmBm010

    -=-

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  93. Brian: Is this the stuff Voice of Martyrs is partly reporting on?

    I’d have to see what VOM is reporting before I could say yes or no. But I do know most people confuse God moving in people’s lives with “a church planting movement”.

    The former is Christianese for “we saw God move and do something amazing.”

    The latter, a disciple making movement, is where a church trains it’s people to share their faith, then go out and lead people to Jesus and start a daughter group of brand new believers. No building, no paid pastor. Then the people in that daughter group go out and lead more people to Jesus and start another downstream group, which then does the same thing. For multiple generations.

    Ok, that said… full disclosure, I do not trust VOM due to ten years of seeing first hand how they abused their platform of “speaking for martyrs” to raise millions from Americans who had no way to discern what’s really best for the persecuted overseas. What I saw…

    We and others on the ground warned VOM that their post card campaigns were doing more harm than good. They didn’t listen. The government of the country got angrier and angrier as more post cards protesting persecution came to their national leaders. As a result believers in the villages experienced more heavy handed persecution than before the post card campaign.

    VOM money was given to a particular family even when VOM was told other orgs were also giving. It was too much money coming to a vilalge family which raised suspicions and jealousies at the local level.

    But the biggest violation of trust came when VOM used the voice and story of my close friend in an awareness raising video which was shown in churches across America. The government in that man’s country saw the video too and they were furious. They came after the brother and he went into hiding until this day- separated from his family.

    This was the single most tragic thing I’ve seen in 30 years of serving. Worse than watching six other friends lose their lives as martyrs for their Christian faith.

    That brother trusted VOM because they gave money to his family while he was unable to provide. VOM abused that trust by making a fund raising video. We contacted VOM regional leaders and sent letters to their home office but never got ANY response.

    So back to your question- is VOM haring about a real church planting movements? No idea, but I don’t trust them as an organization.

    However if you want to read about real life movements happening today the following two websites have stories (with names and locations changed to protect real people from persecution)-
    https://www.beyond.org/blog-posts/
    https://newgenerations.org/stories/

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  94. Headless Unicorn Guy: Stetzer’s a nickel-and-dime operator compared to Jerry Jenkins’ Online Course To Become a Best-Selling Christian Fiction Author, $1200 a pop.

    Compared to that, $10 a month (first month free) is chicken feed.

    There’s an enormous and diverse genre of “self-help” literature, most of it secular. That there is a significant sub-genre of “how to make money off of christians” literature and media may be another bit of evidence of an advanced state of decay in the churches.

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  95. dee:
    Hold onto your hats. More coming tomorrow. My head is going to explode because I’m so upset.

    Don’t burst a major vessel, Dee! The churches need you and the work you are doing.

    I hope you are able to get enough rest.

    I don’t want to arouse a controversy around aromatherapy and essential oils, but I’ll mention that I have found a stiff high strength mug of chamomile tea to be almost as good a sleep aid as a double beer, and to have less diuretic effect. It doesn’t help much with the nightmares, though. I appreciate the survival value of the priority our brains give to remembering unhappy experiences, but it does have it’s downside.

    The unhappy memories of “church” that the current institutions are creating in multitudes of people will have long-lasting implications.

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  96. SiteSeer: I went to an awesome little church many many years ago for several years. We didn’t have a building or fancy programs, it was just a simple fellowship. The only pastor I ever had who truly cared about the spiritual well-being of each of his flock and would give you the shirt off his back. But little by little people moved on to big churches with professional music and programs and the kind of assets they could show off to their friends when they brought them. I’ve been involved in a lot of churches since then but never found another so real and after years of bad experiences I’m a done.

    Ditto. Most of these ‘real’ pastors were driven to tiny, rural churches or out of the ministry all together if they did not get with the program. We who mourned and warned were mocked and ignored. So now we have Megachurch, which is no church at all.

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  97. Max: … disappear to an unknown location on a “sabbatical”?

    Before that, sue bloggers because he didn’t want the truth to come out.

    Stetzer has already effectively admitted he did this. And it’s clearly against Wheaton’s policy, if nothing else. He did wrong and he needs to own it.

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  98. Law Prof: The net effect is millions transferred from people in the folding chairs who buy clothes at Goodwill out of their tithes to effete, smug leaders who wear $1,000 tennis shoes and have armed guards shuttle them about in late model SUVs.

    It’s sick and it’s evil.

    “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?” (Ezekiel 34:2)

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  99. Ishy: Oh! And Stetzer’s tweet last night!

    “When our words and witness line up, we exhibit an alternative plausibility reality for which the world needs to see.” https://t.co/AAB6KX7Ts3

    But what the world sees and hears coming from the Christian Industrial Complex – which Stetzer is a part – is that many don’t walk the talk.

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  100. Ishy: Stetzer has already effectively admitted he did this. And it’s clearly against Wheaton’s policy, if nothing else. He did wrong and he needs to own it.

    Agreed, Wheaton needs to address this … but not like Moody Bible Institute did when Jerry Jenkins gambling addiction was exposed:

    “MBI Dropped Gambling Prohibition With Knowledge Its Chairman Was Gambling”

    http://julieroys.com/luxury-suite-questionable-loans-officers-gambling-shocking-truth-leadership-mbi/

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  101. Ishy: Oh! And Stetzer’s tweet last night!

    “When our words and witness line up, we exhibit an alternative plausibility reality for which the world needs to see.” https://t.co/AAB6KX7Ts3

    It’s amazing how many celebrity Christians, who have a prominent stage which could be used to build the Kingdom of God, do not personalize what they preach and teach. While a counterfeit kingdom expands its tentacles into the American church with its band of elites and their 6-figure+ salaries/benefits, the real warriors building the genuine Kingdom of God are laboring in obscurity at or below the poverty line.

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  102. Ishy,

    “When our words and witness line up, we exhibit an alternative plausibility reality for which the world needs to see.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    a ‘plausibility reality’….

    huh

    and and alternative one, at that.

    having a hard time finding the door into to what this really means.

    does he mean ‘plausible reality’? something that could be true — maybe it is, maybe it isn’t — but the only ones who know for sure will just keep everyone guessing?

    well, that’s pretty useless.

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  103. Samuel Conner: Does anyone really expect the people who ordered and facilitated those transactions to sincerely “own” their sin, and to experience a genuine change of heart about this? Is it not much more likely that these people already have hearts hardened from above, like Pharaoh’s?

    I wish I could say “yes” to this question but sadly you are correct. Rarely if ever do you see a Christian Leader and especially when that leader is prominent “owning” their sin and confessing and forsaking.

    I can’t think of one case of a celebrity leader who has fallen confessing and forsaking.

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  104. “…an alternative plausibility reality for which the world needs to see.” Yes, indeed. He can’t write.

    1. If to keep that ridiculous phrase, then the word “for” should be dropped.

    2. What happened to the Pauline example of I Corinthians 2:1-5, which reads, in part, …”and my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words…” (KJV)? Stetzer is a dean. Perhaps he thinks he can exhibit an alternative plausibility reality for [sic] which he can be known…and, unfortunately, the world sees.

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  105. George: I am a Calvinist (not really a NEW one)… and I have to wonder if what we are seeing is a lot of what Paul wrote about in II Corinthians 11: “false apostles and deceitful workers”. For all their “proper” doctrine they seem to pick and choose what scriptures that want to emphasize and disregard others.

    I am not anyone’s final judge… but Paul’s warnings in I Cor 6 and II Cor 11 really look like he is saying that people that fit these descriptions are not believers.


    The passage of scripture that comes to mind for me is:

    ” 7always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.”
    2 Tim 3:7-9

    MacDonald was always learning but apparently never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

    Thankfully MacDonald’s and other leaders like him (e.g. Driscoll, C.J.Mahaney, Sproul Jr’s) folly is being revealed to all.

    With Tullian Tchividjian this part also applies:

    “6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, ” vs. 6

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  106. Ishy:
    mot,

    Sorry, that was his link. Here’s the link to the tweet, and there’s some great responses.

    https://twitter.com/edstetzer/status/1115773915555618818

    Ishy:
    mot,

    Sorry, that was his link. Here’s the link to the tweet, and there’s some great responses.

    https://twitter.com/edstetzer/status/1115773915555618818

    Ishy:
    mot,

    Sorry, that was his link. Here’s the link to the tweet, and there’s some great responses.

    https://twitter.com/edstetzer/status/1115773915555618818

    Is Ed deleting comments?

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  107. Steve240: I can’t think of one case of a celebrity leader who has fallen confessing and forsaking.

    No, the best we’ve seen is a false humility and “I’m sorry” after they were exposed. Some have been able to launch unrepentant comebacks (e.g., Driscoll) by rounding up a new crew of gullible followers. Without a “confessing and forsaking”, it’s clear that they have no fear of God; and thus, are not genuine believers, even though they can put on a good show as angels of light.

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  108. elastigirl:
    Ishy,

    “When our words and witness line up, we exhibit an alternative plausibility reality for which the world needs to see.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    a ‘plausibility reality’….

    huh

    and and alternative one, at that.

    having a hard time finding the door into to what this really means.

    does he mean ‘plausible reality’?something that could be true — maybe it is, maybe it isn’t — but the only ones who know for sure will just keep everyone guessing?

    well, that’s pretty useless.

    These men have no shame at all.

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  109. ___

    Slippin’ : ‘ChurchJam’ ™

    hmmm…

    A tab or tutorial of these nefarious 501c3 actions would be helpful?

    huh?

    Q. What are you jawin’ about —James Macdonald didn’t even have his own 501c3 ministry airplane…

    SKreeeeeeeeeetch!

    The illustrious Right Reverend Kenneth Copland has six.

    hahahahahaha

    Go fish.

    ♪♩♪♩hum, hum, hum…”I want to fly like an eagle
    To the sea
    Fly like an eagle
    Let my God’s spirit carry me
    I want to fly like an eagle
    Till I’m free
    Oh, Lord, through the 501c3 revolution…

    ♪♩♪♩…Feed the babies
    Who don’t have enough to eat
    Shoe the children
    With no shoes on their feet
    House the people
    Livin’ in the street
    Oh, oh, there’s a solution…”

    (sadface)

    Sòpy

    ;~)


    Intermission:
    Seal – ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ ( From the ‘Space Jam’ Soundtrack) (A Steve Miller cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9gF2UySGZAU

    -=-

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  110. mot: Has Ed deleted some comments?

    He has no control over that on Twitter. There’s not a lot of comments, but none of them are supportive of him.

    From David Loving: “@edstetzer Just how many other skeletons do you have in your closet, Ed? What else did JamesMacDonald buy for ya?? ”

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  111. mot,

    Ed is part of the Neo Calvinist crowed. They were getting some real pushback so most of their sites at The Gospel Coalition and a bunch of the dudebros stopped allowing comments. It is better to live in an *all is well with me* world.

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  112. Fisher,

    I once worked at and Volunteered at VOM. As the circumstances described here about Tom White’s suicide and the Nigerian branch President molesting children in his orphanage, the current organization is a complete and total scam. The little money that is actually spent overseas does not help anyone because they are scammers and wicked people. My personal testimony is available on Todd Wilhelm’s site: https://thouarttheman.org/2017/05/21/personal-testimony-regarding-volunteering-working-vom/
    Also, Michael Wurmbrand has called them out and revealed that one of their VP’s is a convicted felon for embezzling money. Need I say more? I think they are a clandestine association of basically a child molestation ring masquerading as a Christian Charity.

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  113. dee: Ed is part of the Neo Calvinist crowd.

    True. However, while at SBC, Dr. Stetzer was elusive on his exact theological leaning. But there is no doubt that he encouraged the New Calvinist movement within SBC by hanging out with the new reformers via his LifeWay position. He could often be found as a guest “preacher” at SBC’s YRR church plants and his books were popular with that bunch. His appointment as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College always puzzled me … he would not be considered an evangelist. But these guys know how to play the crowd before them.

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  114. Fisher: Abraham left his father’s house and lived in tents. Only land he ever owned in this life was the burial plot he bought from the sons of Hamor.

    And from what I’ve heard, those sons of Hamor even overcharged him for it. Insult on top of injury.

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  115. Max,

    So, is it becoming clear yet that this problem has been festering far longer, and runs far deeper, than a few over the top dudebros? It not only includes, but is orchestrated by the biggest, evangelical entities, institutions and so-called leaders to whom we have bowed to in rapt submission for decades; dare I suggest centuries?

    Which is what leads me to sometimes suspect that James MacDonald is something of a limited hangout, as are all of their admissions to wrongdoing. They will slice off an arm of the octopus whenever necessary to preserve the life of the beast.

    The entire Christian Industrial Complex is a sham, albeit many have been deceived and seduced into it. The rot goes so deep because it is the lie upon which it was founded. This authoritarian, hierarchical institution we call Christianity looks nothing like the ekklesia of faithful Jesus followers, and never did. And maybe that’s what God wants his people to learn.

    Or maybe I’m all wrong, and there are just a few random bad apples floating in the marvelous Christianity barrel. If I was Jerry Jenkins or James MacDonald, I know where I would place my money . . .

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  116. Fisher: $13,000

    A $13,000 1971 VW Beetle would not be considered a fixer-upper in my neck of the woods … that one would be road-ready. (I bought one of those new in 1970 for $3,500 with leather seats and a few bells & whistles – had to get a bigger car when we started a family – I’m getting nostalgic in my old age – maybe the Wartburgers would gift me with one)

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  117. Ishy:
    Oh! And Stetzer’s tweet last night!

    “When our words and witness line up, we exhibit an alternative plausibility reality for which the world needs to see.” https://t.co/AAB6KX7Ts3

    “Witness” is a weird word to use. What does it even mean? One could argue one’s witness is one’s public face. But if one controls their public face then their word and witness will line up, by default. What is really happening is the world is seeing the difference between his words and his actions. This is certainly something that the world needs to see.

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  118. TS00: They will slice off an arm of the octopus whenever necessary to preserve the life of the beast.

    Oh yeah, these guys always distance themselves from the potato when it gets too hot. Driscoll who? … Hybels who? … MacDonald who? … next up: Stetzer who?

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  119. TS00,

    The theology sucks, but the bennies are good. The music is terrible, but with enough of their coffee in your veins, you won’t even notice. (Just gave up coffee after 40 years. Never say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.)

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  120. Here are a few comments derived from the messages by Oswald Chambers. Perhaps there is some relevance to our situation today?

    1. God created a nation Israel (a despised and despisable nation) to be His instrument of salvation to the whole world.
    2. Election refers to the unchangeable purpose of God, not to individuals’ salvation, as interpreted by the hyper-Calvinists. Each individual has to choose which line of predestination he will take – God’s line or the devil’s line.

    3. The essential pride of Israel and Judah, (and the Pharisees) interpreted it as God was obligated to “select” them because of their superiority to other nations.Yet there were no nations until after the flood.
    (The above was taken from Chambers’ messages titled “So Send I You”)

    Perhaps we don’t realize how proud we have been? Perhaps we have sought a “king” or many “judges” to lead us in the evangelical world which has now become a huge enterprise of famous “leaders”? Perhaps we have rejected a savior who was despised by the world while doing his heavenly mission on earth?

    Fisher mentioned some research data that show there are many many faithful servants of Christ today. Most of them are unknown to the larger church crowds. May the real work of redemption prevail.

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  121. Nathan Priddis: If I might take the side of HBC Executives, there has been no allegation of criminal activity of any kind.

    No allegations because the law is very unlikely to interfere with the religious institutions regarding their finances . . . something that needs changing AFAIC.

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  122. Max,

    “I bought one of those new in 1970 for $3,500 with leather seats and a few bells & whistles – had to get a bigger car when we started a family – I’m getting nostalgic in my old age'”
    +++++++++++++++++

    we had a VW all throughout my childhood. sold decades ago, though. it’s like a long-lost brother, though. i know detail about that car — what the rubber interior smelled like, the smooth metal steering wheel, the pin-stripe ribbed rubber coating over the handgrip, the distinct whirring buzzing sound of engine…

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  123. SiteSeer: My mom knew a guy who wrote schmaltzy Christian stories he sold to Christian publications. He was most definitely not a Christian and did not believe the moralizing in his stories, joked about it andtthought it was hilarious but he knew the formula and could earn reliable money at it.

    That is verrrry interesting!

    My neighbor is a sincere, devout believer. But she definitely knows the formula! She attends all those Christian writers’ conferences. And she has absolutely *nailed* the style, especially for the opening line(s) of a story or devotion or whatever — the hook, I guess they call it.

    I know I shouldn’t say this, but…OK, I will. I don’t mean it uncharitably, really I don’t. I just cannot take that glurgy stuff. It’s like overdosing on cotton candy. With a side order of treacle. And a saccharine chaser.

    Case in point: a recent story my neighbor wrote. It purports to be a True Story. It describes her encounter with a homeless man, whom she treated to a meal at a fast-food restaurant. (So much for not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing. [OK, CGC, don’t be snarky!])

    Anyway…the dialogue takes “cringe-worthy” to new levels of gag-inducing nauseation… mainly because she has the poor, hapless homeless guy say stuff like “I’s gonna” and “I wants.”

    I’m sorry, but this is 2019. *Nobody* talks like that. Nobody. Homeless or otherwise. Nobody. Talks. Like. That.

    I have lived in NC for 29 years — and, before that, in Louisiana for three — and I have *never* heard anyone talk like that. Anyone…of any race, color, or socioeconomic level. I mean, what *is* this? *Porgy and Bess*? (A masterpiece, BTW, but not a reliable guide to How Anyone Talks in 2019.)

    I give my neighbor the benefit of the doubt. I accept that the incident actually happened. But oh my gosh, *where* did that dialogue come from? I could barely bring myself to read it. It was painful.

    And no, I don’t think she has a racist bone in her body. And I do think she’s sincere, and her heart’s in the right place. But oy. Just oy.

    Of course, she gets some of her stuff published at CBN.com, so what do I know?

    Just to give equal time to us Catholics: There’s a Catholic author of unreadable glurge, Bud MacFarlane, who is popular in the apparition-chasing circles. I can’t read his bilge, either. His bestselling novel *Pierced by a Sword* made me want to gouge my eyes out.

    End of off-topic rant. Sorry.

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  124. Bridget: Lowlandseer:
    According to 2017 Form 990, Mr Begg received $258,050 for 20hrs work a week.

    This is ONLY regarding his work at Truth For Life radio ministry, correct?

    This DOES NOT include his salary for head pastor at Parkside Church , nor book sales, nor speaking engagements….

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  125. Bridget: Lowlandseer:
    According to 2017 Form 990, Mr Begg received $258,050 for 20hrs work a week.

    When I looked into this a couple of years ago his Truth For Life salary was about half that. 100% raise in a couple of years isn’t too shabby…

    As an aside, it’s a little frustrating here pulls in so much for his “preaching”, when most of it is recycled from other sources. Some of his catch phrases, that his followers always parrot and attribute to him (“The main things are the plain things”, etc) aren’t even his.

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  126. TS00: Ditto. Most of these ‘real’ pastors were driven to tiny, rural churches or out of the ministry all together if they did not get with the program. We who mourned and warned were mocked and ignored. So now we have Megachurch, which is no church at all.

    Let’s hear it for tiny, rural churches! There are still a lot of those out in my neck of the woods. Little white-clapboard or red-brick churches nestled in lovely, leafy, country settings, often with small graveyards nearby. I have no idea what it’s like to attend them — am happy with my own little rural mission parish, and I have zero interest in leaving Catholicism. But from the outside, at least, those little churches look very sweet. (Totally unlike those urban-hipster auditorium-type monstrosities, complete with stages instead of sanctuaries, latte bars, etc.)

    What’s more, those little rural churches also have genuine old-school names, like “Poplar Springs Baptist Church” — not “Relentless” or “Elevation” or any of that pretentious nonsense.

    I think any pastor should be proud to shepherd the flock at a tiny rural church. Country souls are just as precious to Jesus as urban ones!

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  127. elastigirl,

    elastigirl, your description of that old VW took me back in time … you painted a great picture that I found myself in, gliding down the road … you should be an author! Did you perhaps have a Rambler station wagon in your childhood, too?

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  128. gj: JimmyMac is very generous using church money and not touch his own personal funds.

    Did he really have any “personal” funds? Weren’t all his dollars directly or indirectly tied to ministry? Even if he bought the VW out of his bank account, weren’t the source of those funds tithes and offerings or book/conference revenue obtained by his visibility in ministry?

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  129. Max,

    the rambler was before my time.

    i grew up in the days of powder blue chevy malibu station wagons with navy blue shiny vinyl interior. right before the introduction of the ball-on-wheels tiny 2-door honda civic.

    we had a yellow one. drove across country in it, my sister and i in the black and gray checked backseat, with all our colored pens and activities in the little wells in the doors. we could only respect the 4″ black upholstery strip dividing the 2 seats for so long before “MOM SHE WENT OVER THE LINE!!!”

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  130. ION: Astronomy

    AWWBA, the EHT team have indeed managed to capture an image of a black hole; specifically, the one at the centre of nearby galaxy M87. The black hole is 6.5 billion times the mass of the sun and has, predictably, been likened to Sauron.

    Meanwhile, the Falcon Heavy is scheduled to launch at 8pm local time tonight; I’ll be in bed by then (it’ll be 2am here).

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  131. elastigirl: we could only respect the 4″ black upholstery strip dividing the 2 seats for so long before “MOM SHE WENT OVER THE LINE!!!”

    We did the same on long summer drives from VA to IA, except 1 kid had to sit in the middle seat. I also remember the “He’s looking out MY window” times with our kids, sigh…

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  132. @ Max and elastigirl:

    The air-cooled Beetle was probably the best mass produced people’s car of all time.

    Simple and easy to work on, it embodied Leonardo da Vinci’s saying to a tee:

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

    I loved mine back in the day, best car I ever had.

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  133. Devotions for LIberals: And Stetzer’s ability to quickly pay back an expensive gift should also raise some eyebrows

    Forty percent (40%) of Americans do not have $400 to cover an emergency expense, according to the Federal Reserve’s “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017,” issued in May 2018. I suspect that Jesus and his disciples would have been at the low end of that forty percent.

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  134. Mr. Jesperson,

    Thank you Mr. Jesperson. :)s

    Two strong impressions came to me. CEO White’s secretary quietly refusing to process the large doner checks, throwing them in a file to not being found till years later. Wouldn’t those doners have said something when they noticed their checks not being cashed?

    He groomed his defenders, the top political and civil leaders of the town, by putting them on the VOM board. I wonder how many people at VOM and even in that small town had suspicions that CEO White was a pedophile?

    A general question for those with the knowledge/background. If accounting and reporting practices for for-profit businesses were applied to the nonprofit/Christian ministries, would that reduce the financial misuse done by ministries like VOM?

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  135. Muff Potter,

    i sure miss that engine sound, with all the buzzing & the little high-pitched whirring.

    if i were to find myself an early 70’s bug (and pay for it MYSELF, too!), what are the chances the engine could be rebuilt using VW parts so i can hear that sound again? and still meet all the safety/enironmental standards for 2019?

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  136. Brian,

    No, for-profit (or any) accounting practices only work when the “tone at the top” allows them to. Any system can be broken if the people charged with guarding it want to break it. The guarding has to start with who you allow to be the guardian(s). That said, if there was a strong culture of accountability and best practices, yes, you can stop a lot of it. But to do that, you cannot be primarily focused on what you/organization look like on the outside.

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  137. Re the worth of rural souls:

    Many years ago in the 4 corners region of NM our church was seeking to hire a man to be the preacher at our mission way out in the hinterlands between 2 reservations. He came to preach to the call knowing up front how much dinero we could offer. He preached that morning in the larger church, visited and preached the mission that afternoon, and came back to preach the evening service for us. We liked his preaching and were prepared to vote to call him. But he headed us off at the pass, telling us that for a man of his considerable gifts and talents there simply were not enough souls in need of saving at that mission. Never mind near 100% of the folks out around the mission would be for sure nonbelievers. He wasn’t interested in a place where if he reached absolutely everyone for Christ and they got saved only maybe 80-100 people would be converts.

    He left and we never heard of him again. So much for rural souls counting for much even when a larger church is guaranteeing the money.

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  138. readingalong,

    the dreaded middle…

    i tried it recently. (as penance for dragging my family to a party an hour away on a hot afternoon where they didn’t know anyone. i got the date wrong. next week end, back in the car….)

    i found out the dreaded middle has no cush.

    i’m sure i have penance credit now.

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  139. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    Also, the pastor of the megachurch complex takes the name with him when he leaves. The megachurch that John Gray now pastors, the previous pastor took the church name with them and applied it to his new megachurch complex in California.

    To me this refocuses the emphasis from God to the pastor. Even though not biblical, the local church is attached to the area. The pastor leaves the area, not the church.

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  140. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Just to give equal time to us Catholics: There’s a Catholic author of unreadable glurge, Bud MacFarlane, who is popular in the apparition-chasing circles.

    “Apparition-chasing circles” as in Mary Channeling, the characteristically-Catholic way to flake out?

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  141. Headless Unicorn Guy: “Apparition-chasing circles” as in Mary Channeling, the characteristically-Catholic way to flake out?

    I’m not sure I would use a loaded New Agey term like “channeling.” But yes, during the Marian heyday of the ’90s, there were countless reports of locutions (interior and exterior) and outright apparitions. Some of them I did (and do) find credible. Others not so much. But in my old age I find it’s much safer to stick with solidly Church-approved apparitions like Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima.

    However, I still have friends who have been to Medjugorje so many times they practically have dual Bosnian-American citizenship.

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  142. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    No slam intended on the tiny, rural churches – that’s the kind I’ve attended most of my life, and some of the few ‘real’ churches left. I was just thinking of the pastors from more urban areas (like my spouse’s home church) who ended up far away from their grown, married kids and grandchildren. They serve their later years at a new church in a far away state, when they should be enjoying the fellowship of the many they served for so many years. Not to mention their families. All because the congregation wanted to be hip like Willow.

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  143. elastigirl: i sure miss that engine sound, with all the buzzing & the little high-pitched whirring.

    if i were to find myself an early 70’s bug (and pay for it MYSELF, too!), what are the chances the engine could be rebuilt using VW parts so i can hear that sound again? and still meet all the safety/enironmental standards for 2019?

    My father was given one that truly needed to be rebuilt. It had no seats and it could not go in reverse. It was a hoot hearing his stories of trying to park so as to not have to push it. He says it was the last car he had that he could actually fix on his own. He couldn’t afford to restore it properly, but he did finally get it going in reverse so my brother could drive it to school. 😉

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  144. TS00:
    Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    No slam intended on the tiny, rural churches – that’s the kind I’ve attended most of my life, and some of the few ‘real’ churches left. I was just thinking of the pastors from more urban areas (like my spouse’s home church) who ended up far away from their grown, married kids and grandchildren. They serve their later years at a new church in a far away state, when they should be enjoying the fellowship of the many they served for so many years. Not to mention their families. All because the congregation wanted to be hip like Willow.

    Oh, I knew you weren’t slamming the little rural churches! I was agreeing with you, not disagreeing. Sorry for any confusion!

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  145. elastigirl: if i were to find myself an early 70’s bug (and pay for it MYSELF, too!), what are the chances the engine could be rebuilt using VW parts so i can hear that sound again? and still meet all the safety/enironmental standards for 2019?

    Here in California, VW Bug enthusiasts form quite a subculture, and the online resources are considerable.

    And to answer your question, yes, you could easily do a complete rebuild.

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  146. Max:
    jyjames,

    I was young and now am old.I never thought the wilderness would be the church.

    This evoked a laugh for me (perhaps shame on me). My “take” is increasingly that

    * “the Church” tends to repeat the mistakes of “Old Israel”

    * we seem to be heading into another period of “exile” from the good land that God promised to the forefathers.

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  147. Samuel Conner: * “the Church” tends to repeat the mistakes of “Old Israel”

    The Church is, in essence, old Israel. And we would do well to recall that not all who are of Israel are true Israel.

    All of the genuine, pertinent, meaningful messages of scripture remain in the dustbin while false teachers twist and distort the very Word of God into their desired images. And they realized that if they started out with mood-shaping tunes and free-flowing stimulants, they could manipulate the crowd into buying their every nonsensical word.

    Why do ya think they had orgies at temples of old? If ya want their money, give people what they want.

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  148. Fisher,

    Mr. Jesperson,

    Thank you both for sharing these painful experiences from your serving journey. Even though it’s hard to believe that some people at VOM would go to that level of sin to cheat the church or the Christians who really have a heart to give to God’s work.

    Obviously you had a heart to serve and even volunteered in that organization for a period of time till these ugly facts came out. Now I will not trust them either. It’s really sad that we can’t trust so many places that claim to serve God’s kingdom!!

    Please do not be too discouraged. Jesus calls us His friends. I pray that He will do something about this in His timing.

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  149. Muff Potter: Here in California, VW Bug enthusiasts form quite a subculture, and the online resources are considerable.

    And to answer your question, yes, you could easily do a complete rebuild.

    Anyone remember this book from the Seventies?

    HOW TO KEEP YOUR VOLKSWAGEN ALIVE
    A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot

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  150. Muff Potter: Good rant though CGC.

    Give Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt a try, now she’s a writer, not a hack.

    They adapted it for the screen too in 2016 as The Young Messiah.

    I thought it was good and thought provoking.

    Thanks! For the compliment (blush) and the recommendation.

    Had heard of the novel but not the movie adaptation. Will look into it! Thanks!!

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  151. Headless Unicorn Guy: Anyone remember this book from the Seventies?

    HOW TO KEEP YOUR VOLKSWAGEN ALIVE
    A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot

    I remember a paperbound book with a very simple-looking round-faced idiot smiling as he gripped the steering wheel. “Compleat Idiot” was in the title; don’t recall the rest.

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  152. Pingback: So About that James MacDonald-Ed Stetzer Bribery Car...

  153. Samuel Conner: I remember a paperbound book with a very simple-looking round-faced idiot smiling as he gripped the steering wheel. “Compleat Idiot” was in the title; don’t recall the rest.

    It was everywhere in the Seventies. The illustrations (and there were a lot of them) were humorous and done in a semi-underground stile similar to Rick Geary. A lot of guys who didn’t own beetles had copies for the interesting info, delivery style, and illustrations.

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  154. And you know the real kicker?

    When I was at Cal Poly Pomona in the mid-Seventies, half the cars in the student lot were Beetles. It was the cheap car for students who didn’t have a lot of cash to spare for wheels. That was the reason behind the book; a lot of VW owners did their own maintenance and repairs, and Herr Dr Porsche’s concept and design kept them fairly easy to maintain.

    And now they’re like Rolexes and diamonds. Including ManaGAWD bribes for loyalty.

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  155. Headless Unicorn Guy: Anyone remember this book from the Seventies?

    Sure do, I used the very same book to do a complete tear-down and rebuild on my old Bug.

    Headless Unicorn Guy: and Herr Dr Porsche’s concept and design kept them fairly easy to maintain.

    Herr Doktor Porsche was a true engineering genius, the real deal, not some pretender.
    The staying power of his designs are the pudding of proof for over 70 years.

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  156. To the author of this post and to the people who have posted comments I ask one question: Are you exempt from the biblical cautions about gossip? Here’s a link some writing here might want to review: https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/. I find James 1:26 particularly challenging.

    Gossip and effects are one reason I left the church when I was 17. When Jesus and I had another reckoning in 1999, I felt I was led to an independent Baptist church I attended for 8 years. Gossip split that church.

    I, too, am guilty of gossip. Hard not to be. But anyone here expecting MacDonald or Stetzer to repent of whatever sin you’ve assigned, might consider hitting his or her knees and seek the same.

    This blog entry is appalling. In a moment, I’m going to seek repentance for even reading this trash.

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  157. Bill N, what venue or method would you suggest, then, to accomplish Jesus words in Luke 12:1a-3 “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”?

    Note that “hypocrisy” just means “playacting on the stage of religion”. Yes, most people DO find it appalling that Christian LEADERS and INFLUENCERS who should know better are instead acting worse than many completely non-Christian journalists and even businesses!

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  158. Bill N: To the author of this post and to the people who have posted comments I ask one question: Are you exempt from the biblical cautions about gossip? Here’s a link some writing here might want to review: https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/. I find James 1:26 particularly challenging.

    I suggest you do some research on the definition of the word gossip. The fact that this corruption is going on behind the scenes is much more troubling to me than the fact that people are openly discussing it; getting it out in the open is the only way to clean this rot out.

    One of the reasons this mess exists is because Christians will sweep evil under the rug so they can avoid the hard work of dealing with it, and then pat themselves on the back for ‘not gossiping’. Oh, the wolves love that mindset.

    I guess my question is, are you more interested in appearances or substance. Frankly, the idea that people have no right to discuss reality is something I find appalling.

    Is it possible it was not gossip that split your church, but failing to deal openly with whatever issues the gossip was about?

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  159. JDV wart

    Bill N:
    To the author of this post and to the people who have posted comments I ask one question: Are you exempt from the biblical cautions about gossip? Here’s a link some writing here might want to review: https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/. I find James 1:26 particularly challenging.

    Gossip and effects are one reason I left the church when I was 17. When Jesus and I had another reckoning in 1999, I felt I was led to an independent Baptist church I attended for 8 years. Gossip split that church.

    I, too, am guilty of gossip. Hard not to be. But anyone here expecting MacDonald or Stetzer to repent of whatever sin you’ve assigned, might consider hitting his or her knees and seek the same.

    This blog entry is appalling. In a moment, I’m going to seek repentance for even reading this trash.

    As far as Bible verses and gossip, let’s have a gander at these for some context:

    3 John 1:9-10 “I have written to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not accept our instruction. So if I come, I will call attention to his malicious slander against us. And unsatisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers and forbids those who want to do so, even putting them out of the church.”

    1 Timothy 1:8-10 “commit to you this charge, Timothy, my child, according to the prophecies going before as to you, that by them you might wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience, which some, having cast away, have caused a shipwreck concerning the faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, that they may be disciplined not to blaspheme.”

    Galatians 2:11-14 “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned. For before certain ones came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they came, he was drawing back and was separating himself, being afraid of those of the circumcision. And also the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically with him, so that, by their hypocrisy, even Barnabas was carried away. But when I saw that they are not walking in line according to the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before all, “If you being a Jew live like a Gentile, and not like a Jew, why do you compel the Gentiles to Judaize?””

    Here we have letters — in some cases to third parties — with judgment calls on behavior, with only in the Galatians 2 case having a measure of full context. Could such talk be seen by some as divisive or gossip, especially as it didn’t seem to be infused with peaceful, tranquil language but involved direct talk to other people about the conduct of other believers? Is it enough to stop there, or for the reason evident in the statements — cautions and needed corrections of error, is it necessary rather to hear out what is being discussed towards that end?

    In your case, you appear to tip the hand by calling the blog entry “appalling” and “trash” without backing it up. Who’s the one appearing to dance with gossip and slander in such a case?

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  160. Bill N,

    Bill, The Wartburg Watch is all about “Dissecting Christian Trends.” Sometimes it’s necessary to use a scalpel to cut error from truth in the American church if it is to be dissected properly. This watchblog informs and warns believers to be wary of certain ministers and ministries based on fact not hearsay, providing a much needed service to the Body of Christ. You won’t read this stuff in your church newsletter or even in the religious press, which steer clear of the underbelly of doing church in America. You will find here watchmen on the wall which are moved by the Spirit of Truth, rather than by gossip. Instead of cursing the good people here, you need to pray a blessing over them to continue their work – to rebuke that which needs it, to shout it from the housetops.

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  161. Bill N: To the author of this post and to the people who have posted comments I ask one question: Are you exempt from the biblical cautions about gossip?

    ” He began saying to His disciples first of all,”Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

    But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

    “Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

    What you want to label gossip – I call light – light that God uses to expose evil and error.

    Having been a member of a Christian cult that browbeat abject terror of gossip into its members, I know what the fruit of that hyper-focus is. Leadership that grows ever more abusive, and members who become evermore abused.

    Rather than a terror of gossip, perhaps there should be more focus on speaking the truth in love.

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  162. Bill N: To the author of this post and to the people who have posted comments I ask one question: Are you exempt from the biblical cautions about gossip?

    Funny, IMO what happens on TWW is exactly the opposite of gossip. Gossip is the exchanged whispers of private affairs from one busybody to another, which is then passed gleefully along.

    What I see here are people who attempt to do their homework, name names and publicly call out those which evidence suggests have been abusing, oppressing and using others for their own purposes. Many victims stumble from such events with shell shock, numb and confused as to what they experienced. Some doubt their own senses. Others take the blame. Many simply bury the whole thing, and try to forget it ever happened.

    But the #metoo movement has given rise to a brand new awareness of just how prevalent deception and abuse is. Victims, still traumatized, are motivated by the desire to protect others, and find themselves telling stories they would prefer to not even think about. People who have been hurt and used by so-called religious leaders come to these pages and discover that they are not crazy, and not alone. What they experienced was real, and they do not need to be ashamed of what was wrongly done to them.

    No, sir, I do not come here to read or share gossip. My desire is that hurting people will read these stories and find help and hope. Others, who could never quite put their finger on what happened to them, gain knowledge and understanding, and a newfound ability to protect themselves and others.

    I have never paid much attention to religious celebrities, or any celebrities for that matter, not being a fan of television, radio or popular books. When you are not immersed in such things, it is easier to see the politics and slant when you take a look at, say, Christianity Today, the Gospel Coalition or some celebrity preacher boy.

    So much phony baloney everywhere, yet people eat it up like People Magazine, which a neighbor used to try and update me with. She never could understand why I didn’t care about the doings of Michael Jackson or Princess Di. It’s as if the entire world has allowed a false reality to be crafted around them, and few even mourn the loss of genuine family and community life.

    I mourn it every day. And my goal is not to be the spreader of the latest tale concerning the christian glitterati, but to hopefully encourage and warn others that we are missing something. We are missing that which is real, good and beautiful, and which can be shared freely with others. We have exchanged if for a mess of pottage called Hollywood, Politics, Science and Religion. We are to embrace these idols and submit to whatever ‘truth’ their priests proclaim.

    I just want to tell those who have ears to hear that this false reality we live in, which leaves us with sadness and a sense of longing is only a sham; there is a greater reality awaiting our willingness to topple our idols. I simply cannot see how exposing long suppressed truths can be conceived of as gossip.

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  163. SiteSeer (Addressing Bill N): Is it possible it was not gossip that split your church, but failing to deal openly with whatever issues the gossip was about?

    I can’t help agree; indeed, to paraphrase Arthur Conan Doyle: it is more than possible; it is probable.

    I’ve no idea about the particulars of Mr N’s a_church, but I don’t find very credible the idea of a_church being split by gossip, unless it was never united to begin with. More credible, because I’ve seen it, is a group of people who tacitly agree never to talk about anything that makes people feel awkward; who don’t know, because they have never learned, how to grapple with and solve relational difficulties; where a desire to address issues openly is met with a variation on that’s not the way we do things here.

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  164. Amicable Cyber Tourist ™ : “Just A Little ‘501c3’ Crazy, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    “Pastor, Pastor…we saw someone preaching in Jesus’ name & defending the victims of religious abuse and we tried to stop them because they are not one of ‘US’…”

    SKreeeeeeeeetch!

    Darlene (Dee) Parsons, sole author of the ‘The Wartburg Watch’ blog, of late, is considered by some as a 501c3 religious cyberterrorist.

    huh?

    However, She is no social media tourist.

    Though she does get blind side from time to time.

    [snicker]

    (…comes with the territory!)

    So,

    Get Onboard, Buckle up! N’ ENJOY THE SCENERY…

    However,

    Keep your trays in the upright condition, and observed the no smokin’ vulgarity sign…

    (grin)

    Your in for one helluva ride…

    ATB

    Sòpy
    ___
    Intermission:
    Alanis Morissette – ‘Crazy’ (a Seal cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KV43rJ0a5iA
    Bonus:
    Seal – “Fly Like An Eagle” (a Steve Miller cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9gF2UySGZAU
    …just4grins:
    ‘vacation’ – car crash scene
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kGhC0zL1FwY

    ;~)

    – –

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  165. chrrypi,

    Bill N,

    Bill:

    I’m sorry about the split of your IFB church. I was baptized in a successful IFB church. I liked the congregation and the two pastors (They now have three.). I can sympathize with your situation. I would have hated to see that church come apart.

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  166. Nick Bulbeck: Well, I think you’re being a bit hard on yourself, Bill. At least you proof-read your comment.

    I don’t think Bill will be reading any of the comments reponding to his. While your humour may be lost on him, I very much enjoyed it.

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  167. Bill N:
    To the author of this post and to the people who have posted comments I ask one question: Are you exempt from the biblical cautions about gossip? Here’s a link some writing here might want to review: https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/. I find James 1:26 particularly challenging.

    Gossip and effects are one reason I left the church when I was 17. When Jesus and I had another reckoning in 1999, I felt I was led to an independent Baptist church I attended for 8 years. Gossip split that church.

    I, too, am guilty of gossip. Hard not to be. But anyone here expecting MacDonald or Stetzer to repent of whatever sin you’ve assigned, might consider hitting his or her knees and seek the same.

    This blog entry is appalling. In a moment, I’m going to seek repentance for even reading this trash.

    Well, Bill, funny, you didn’t tell us about a word that you thought was untrue on this blog. NBot a single word. Funny, that.

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  168. Perhaps Mr. Stetzer will have time over the weekend to catch up on concerns in the blogosphere about his VW gift from MacDonald and provide a watching world a better explanation, perhaps in CT. He’s been very busy this week.

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  169. This may step on some toes, but Bill looks like he has quite a bit of that IFB aura hanging like a thick gloom around him. He was probably brainwashed for years to believe that any talk of the leader was sinful gossip that would have you hell-bound, that the leader was God’s Chosen One, that it didn’t matter what he did, he was right because of his position. How do you think someone like Bill Gothard was allowed to hurt so many young women for his own sick pleasures for so long? No one dared question him, and if you did, you’d have “What about King David?” nonsense thrown in your face.

    Of course what he says makes no sense in light of Jesus, Who made a big display of exposing abusive leaders, but a lot of these churches, including many, many IFBs, make no sense in light of Jesus, because many of their leaders want nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus. They just want to hurt people and will tell any lie to get away with it. You’re looking at a man in Bill N who doesn’t know his right from his left, and doesn’t care what the truth is—he has that thoroughly washed brain that doesn’t dare let the truth in. That truth would hurt too much to face, perhaps.

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  170. Law Prof: This may step on some toes, but Bill looks like he has quite a bit of that IFB aura hanging like a thick gloom around him.

    Two words: TRUE BELIEVER.
    With the Mark of his IFB Pastor on forehead AND right hand.

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  171. Max: Folks who still pray “Thee” and “Thou” bother me a bit … it just seems so distant from the living Christ.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. Everyone knows that Jesus spoke in early 17th-Century English.

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  172. Max: Much of the issues we discuss on TWW have theo-politics at their root, with the agendas of men trumping the cause of Christ.

    Agreed. I appreciate the desire of the blogkeepers to not let this turn into a political catfight, but it is nearly impossible to say much of value without at least referring to the historical theo-political roots of many of our issues.

    Of course, I don’t know what they are striking; could be ‘Make America Great Again’ diatribes or their polar opposite. Some of us simply think the whole political thing is a sham, and there are no real ‘sides’. But we do recognize the same power plays, corruption and hidden octopus of control that underlies all man-made organizations.

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  173. Max,

    I saw what you did there, Max…

    Onyway, I’m aware I’m repeating myself here, but Dee did explain to me last summer why Wartburg doesn’t do politics, even though – as you quite rightly say – it’s sometimes difficult to disentangle secular profit-seeking Christianity therefrom. The reason is eminently practical: troll-dung. Wartburg attracts no shortage of comments from cranks and crackpots as it is, and that’s on top of all my comments. We don’t see most of this as it’s caught by the filtration system; but every deleterated comment still demands attention from Dee and/or GBTC. Were TWW to become a political forum as well, it would attract a whole new compost-heap of trolls and stirrers. Life is too short, and Dee/GBTC too valuable, to spend on that.

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  174. Nick Bulbeck: Were TWW to become a political forum as well, it would attract a whole new compost-heap of trolls and stirrers. Life is too short, and Dee/GBTC too valuable, to spend on that.

    Agreed. There’s enough religious trolls and stirrers without political ones piling on. I sincerely appreciate Dee/GBTC policing TWW in that regard.

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  175. BL: Having been a member of a Christian cult that browbeat abject terror of gossip into its members, I know what the fruit of that hyper-focus is. Leadership that grows ever more abusive, and members who become evermore abused.

    This is a disturbing thought and I may step on toes in expressing it, but when self-described church leaders threaten the flock with divine punishment for disobedience to the leaders’ commands or to the leaders’ interpretation of biblical commands, I think that one can can take some personal comfort in the fact that the leaders are, per Scripture, held to a stricter standard and at the same time in the present day they seem to be able to sin with near impunity. The takeaway: don’t be afraid of their threats; there is very little evidence that they are actually speaking on behalf of God.

    No-one at HBC who mis-used the gifts of the faithful or who bore false witness about how the tithes were being used has been struck down — has anyone? Has anyone “fallen asleep” recently for partaking unworthily in communion? How much more guilty are the officiators who officiate unworthily … and yet they seem to escape divine notice.

    My point is that the God of Scripture does not seem to be a whole lot more concerned about the goings on in these self-described churches than He is in what is going on in the mosques and the polytheist temples, etc, etc. (One could, of course, rephrase this that God does not seem to be significantly less displeased … )

    My interpretation of this is that what is happening in the self-described churches of our day appears to be only tenuously related to what we read in the New Testament. That’s just my opinion; if there is any validity to that thought, it ought to make us deeply uncomfortable.

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  176. elastigirl: so…. it seems he could very well be doing such a thing?

    I tried to answer but it did not post. The sale is advertised on his web site. I think it showed up on my FB feed because of searches I’ve done recently.

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