Wade Burleson and Mark Galli Disagree About James MacDonald’s Abusive Op Ed Post and the Harvest Bible Chapel Lawsuit Website Goes Live

 


Lagoon Nebula-NASA

“This world is always working against a sense of honor, cleanliness, integrity. “Yoel Romero


 

As more and more claims about James MacDonald’s apparent use of the church coffers to benefit himself, many sensed more would be coming. That happened last week on this blog. I had heard that MacDonald seemed to be quite the generous spender, buying cars, motorcycles, Rolexes, etc for his BFFs and for those he wanted to influence for his benefit. He appeared to have been quite successful in his efforts until he started ticking people off.

I had heard rumors about the *vintage* VW Beetle he purchased for Ed Stetzer.  I was even given the license plate number. However, when I heard that it was alleged that James MacDonald was running around handing out gifts on the church’s dime, I knew it had to be investigated.

Mark Galli appears to think that it’s just fine for Ed to accept the donation of a VW Beetle and to also be a contributing editor of Christianity Today.

However, what startled me was, after Stetzer’s acknowledgment of having received this gift and recently reimbursing the church for the gift, was Mark Galli, of Christianity Today, saying that Edf Stetzer was no journalist at CT, merely an unpaid shlub contributing editor running a section and writing a blog (might I say with lots and lots of blog posts) and so it was okey dokey for him to get a car because all he did was make a call on behalf of MacDonald. (Now that was one heckuva run-on sentence.) Except, CT paid Wheaton $15,000 (Ed works there) to reimburse them for Ed’s salary portion. So, in fact, they were paying him something, weren’t they? Call me stupid…

Julie Roys explored this chain of events in Contributing Editor for Christianity Today Faces Conflict of Interest Questions After Accepting Car From James MacDonald

When I raised this issue with Galli, he said, “Stetzer is not on staff with CT; he blogs, and some of his blogs appear on CT. He’s not a journalist, he’s a writer—but he’s independent of CT and is not accountable to CT.” Galli added that Stetzer does not receive any money from CT and his title of “contributing editor” should be seen in that light.

“Galli told me about a month ago that Stetzer had arranged the October 31stconversation between MacDonald and CT deputy managing editor Jeremy Weber. That conversation resulted in CT publishing MacDonald’s article . . . entitled, ‘Why Suing is Sometimes the Biblical Choice.’”

However, Galli later admitted that CT pays the Billy Graham Center a fee for Stetzer’s regular contribution to the media outlet. Also, Stetzer doesn’t just write blogs for CT; he manages one of eight special sections on CT’s website called “The Exchange with Ed Stetzer.”

What’s more, Stetzer’s close relationship with MacDonald played a role in CT’s recent coverage of the Harvest debacle. Galli told me about a month ago that Stetzer had arranged the October 31st conversation between MacDonald and CT deputy managing editor Jeremy Weber. That conversation resulted in CT publishing MacDonald’s article defending his lawsuit against me and four other defendants, entitled, “Why Suing is Sometimes the Biblical Choice.”

Wade Burleson spoke out against gamesmanship inherent in the gift of the car.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who doesn’t get Mark Galli’s *explanation* aimed at those of us who are a bit concerned about ethics…Wade Burleson wrote Boys and Their Toys: Understanding the Southern Baptist Convention’s Celebrity Leadership Politics

In 2005, I realized that my friends, those Bible-believing conservatives who served beside me, were as guilty of fraternization, patronization, and celebritization as the moderates of the 1960s and 1970s.

I fell out of favor for exposing the system.

Indeed, the SBC is a “good old boys” network.

Wade attempted to warn the SBC about James MacDonald.

When James MacDonald petitioned to join the Southern Baptist Convention, his style of leadership did not find a friend in me.

I tried to warn the SBC.

But James quickly became a part of the “good old boy” system.

He began speaking at annual SBC conferences.

He began assuming high-profile leadership roles.

He became an SBC leader immediately.

And here’s why.

James MacDonald knew how to play the game.

The Christian Post reported today that James MacDonald gave Southern Baptist leader Ed Stetzer “just under $13,000” in the form of a 1971 VW Beetle.

No big deal, right?

Except for the fact, Southern Baptist Ed Stetzer went on to become a contributing editor for Christianity Today,and according to the Christian Post:
“…arranged a conversation (between MacDonald and CT Deputy Managing Editor Jeremy Weber) that led to the magazine publishing MacDonald’s article defending his lawsuit against her and four other defendants, titled “Why Suing is Sometimes the Biblical Choice.”

Mark Galli accused Wade Burleson of (read this carefully) *inadvertently bearing false witness.*

He has also accused me of the same thing but that is a subject for another time. Bear with me here. The following screenshots come from the comment section of Wade’s post.


Wade proceeded to call out Mark Galli for the abusive post which bullied Julie Roys on the pages of Christianity Today.

This comment by Wade is an example of why I’ve appreciated him through the years. He gets abuse and there is no question in my mind that Galli, influenced by others, allowed an abusive Op Ed to be posted in CT by MacDonald.


Mark Galli appeared unable to understand the crux of the argument. He claimed that MacDonald was merely arguing theologically. I say he was unfairly abusing a woman.

I am stunned that a man in his position doesn’t see that the OP Ed was a bully pulpit that he, Weber and Stetzer allowed or encouraged to happen. I wonder if that was allowed because Julie is a woman and not part of the celebrity circuit they run in. Why do I think they would not have allowed such a post to be written about one of their inner circle of male friends?

To make matters worse, Galli appeared to claim that Burleson didn’t do his own *independent* research. If Mark is reading this, I hope he hears this loud and clear. There is no one who is more independent and looks at things in his own way than Wade. His advice appeared a bit condescending to me.

Wade, once again, was far more gracious than I would be but reiterated the point that Ed connected MacDonald to CT which published the abusive post about Julie Roys.

Mark Galli made a stupid joke obviously not understanding that he wasn’t getting just how serious Wade was about this subject.


Wade attempted one more time to help Galli understand how this looks to people outside.

At this point, Galli encouraged Wade to call him sometime. I joined in the conversation because CT had not returned my call and I have since reached out to him via email.

However, there are two more comments Galli made which continued to demonstrate his inability to understand how this could look to people.

He appeared to reiterate that MacDonald’s Op Ed was merely a theological treatise. It wasn’t! It was abusive and called out incidents that MacDonald claimed happened without any proof.

Also, he hedged a bit. He said Julie’s treatise would have to *move the argument forward.* Seriously? MacDonald’s OP Ed moved the argument forward?

He signed off poorly.

Galli should apologize to Wade but that sort of thing doesn’t usually happen when someone digs in this hard. It looks like the fix is in. Julie Roys got kicked in the butt by an ill advised OP ED;  there seems to be no apologies for the OP ED from *the Chief*; and it look like there are many ways to do a work around when it comes to gifts.


Welcome to the new Harvest Bible Chapel Lawsuit website!

Given the current state of affairs at HBC, it does not surprise me that this has happened. It now appears evident that James MacDonald used money in the church coffers (WITW for example) to pretend he was a generous gift giver. This means that money given by individuals to go to certain ministries within the church may have not been used for those ministries unless people gave money for the purchase of motorcycles, Rolexes, etc to be given out ad lib.

Harvest Bible Chapel Lawsuit went live today. At this time, the folks behind the website will remain anonymous. That will change in the future. Here is how they describe the lawsuit.

Why This Lawsuit?

Many people have been abused by pastors and elders at Harvest Bible Chapel. More and more information is coming out about the abuses and financial fraud of Harvest and its leaders. If you have been abused in any way we want to hear from you. There has been financial fraud committed by Harvest and its leaders. If you believe you have been financially defrauded, we want to hear from you.

The 7 elders below were given an opportunity to step down and avoid this lawsuit. This comes after several calls from other people including members and deacons of Harvest Bible Chapel, for them to resign immediately, citing that they are disqualified as elders. Instead, they have chosen to remain on the elder board and continue with the deep-seeded corruption and fraud that has plagued Harvest Bible Chapel for many years. You can read about the continued corruption and fraud here: Dan George’s Resignation.

Dan was a part of this elder board with these 7 elders and he details only some of the fraud and corruption that these elders continue to engage in. These disgraced elders are the ones that led Harvest to this current devastation. They arrogantly refuse to step down and allow new leaders to come in and run harvest. These elders and all the past elders and staff responsible for this abuse and fraud will be held accountable.

People who wish to be a part of this lawsuit or to give testimony for the lawsuit can CONFIDENTIALLY contact those involved in the website.

Needless to say, I think this is a great idea… I think the church should refund the money of people who believe they were deceived into how that money would be used.  I also hope that such a lawsuit might force the leadership of the church, both past and present, to open up the financial books of the church since it appears there are some still there that know money was used to purchase cars, motorcycles, Rolexes, etc.

 

 


Comments

Wade Burleson and Mark Galli Disagree About James MacDonald’s Abusive Op Ed Post and the Harvest Bible Chapel Lawsuit Website Goes Live — 284 Comments

  1. Just wow. A few weeks ago when I suggested on twitter that due to Stetzer and MacDonald’s relationship, that it was a possibility that Stetzer was the reason MacDonald was able to get his opinion piece published in CT. Mark Galli called my husband and told him that I was bearing false witness against Stetzer. Now I see he is using this line with others.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Wade that Galli is failing to see MacDonald’s false accusations against Julie Roys.

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  2. Jesus was offered the sensual, the political, and the material, if only he would become part of “the system” – “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me,” Jesus was told by the Prince of this World. Matt. 4, Luke 4. Jesus refused to sacrifice his soul.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1mQT1u_45I Better to stay nearer to God and sacrifice the sensual, political, and material, rather than the other way around.

    Some seem to have this backwards. However, some seem to have it right, and have paid a price. Wade Burleson tells his courageous story of staying on top of what matters on his blog. Bravo.

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  3. Sigh…
    This situation just gets weirder and weirder…… As many of us that work in the worldly, secular humanists, professions are constantly reminded, conflict of interest rules exist because abuse can and does happen at all levels. I could go on an on…… ( i have great example of, for example, The Federal Drug Administration, let alone Universities)
    The blatant disregard of this concept, AND the amateurish way this Editor-in-Chief” of Christianity Today writes as demonstrated in the back and forth of passages above is down right breath taking…..
    maybe a “small town rag”, but CT???

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  4. Galli’s just protecting Stetzer, probably because he likes him (or likes the persona he projects). It’s probably also a lot of fun Galli to hobnob with “important” people, so he doesn’t want to jeopardize that. He wanted to keep the ad revenues rolling in, and they were more likely to come from MacDonald and HBC than from an independent journalist like Julie Roys. Surely, Galli doesn’t want to offend too many megas nowadays, because that’s where the big bucks come from.

    So at the end of the day, I guess this is just a way of saying that Galli has completely lost his way (assuming he ever knew it), does not have integrity, and is utterly and absolutely wrong about the ethics of Stetzer accepting money as a listed editor of CT from a subject of their coverage and then facilitating anything whatsoever with regard to subjects of CT’s coverage. It is completely unethical, it’s dirty pool, and Galli is a dirty player to try to justify it.

    Plain and simple, Galli’s a big part of the problem and both he and Stetzer should resign forthwith and frankly, unless CT can find its way to start actually doing some serious investigative journalism, they should turn off the lights and shut the business down, because it seems to me that it is not at this point worthless, it would have to improve to be worthless.

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  5. I noticed that Galli NEVER addresses the abusive comments written by James MacDonald that were allowed to go to print in his magazine. Wade addresses the issue three times and Galli doesn’t respond. That definitely leads me to believe that Mark Galli is abusive himself since he doesn’t not recognize the wrong in what he allowed printed in CT.

    CT is not a magazine I will ever read.

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  6. Eeyore:
    Galli is Exhibit A for Upton Sinclair’s argument that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    That’s it. Unfortunately, it seems to apply to all of the key players in the Christian Industrial Complex. Maybe this is why all of them are so silent about this.

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  7. Law Prof: Plain and simple, Galli’s a big part of the problem and both he and Stetzer should resign forthwith and frankly, unless CT can find its way to start actually doing some serious investigative journalism, they should turn off the lights and shut the business down, because it seems to me that it is not at this point worthless, it would have to improve to be worthless.

    You nailed it – CT is a business and nothing more. Irrespective of anything Galli writes or says, his actions prove he is nothing more than a businessman making money off of a profitable product that is apparently in demand. The bottom line is all that counts. The bigger problem could be the readers who continue to pay for what they get. If readers demanded truth the businessman would deliver it. But there is apparently no money to be made in the markets of truth and integrity.

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  8. Kris McKnight: Just wow. A few weeks ago when I suggested on twitter that due to Stetzer and MacDonald’s relationship, that it was a possibility that Stetzer was the reason MacDonald was able to get his opinion piece published in CT. Mark Galli called my husband and told him that I was bearing false witness against Stetzer. Now I see he is using this line with others.

    First of all, I am sorry to hear about this.
    Secondly, why did he call your husband? Why not you?
    However, you are in great company. I have a feeling that there are a few more of our kind out there.
    Good night! Things are getting wacky out there.

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  9. Bridget: I noticed that Galli NEVER addresses the abusive comments written by James MacDonald that were allowed to go to print in his magazine. Wade addresses the issue three times and Galli doesn’t respond.

    I guess these abusive statements were ‘taking the argument forward’. Surely Galli realized how transparent are his attempts to reshape the narrative and rescue both Stetzer and CT from further damage? They did not take the argument forward very well.

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  10. Law Prof: Galli’s just protecting Stetzer, probably because he likes him (or likes the persona he projects)

    … or likes the uptick in CT subscribers from the New Calvinist crowd who follow Stetzer.

    Law Prof: Galli doesn’t want to offend too many megas nowadays, because that’s where the big bucks come from

    Follow the money.

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  11. dee,

    dee,

    Or, he knows darn well that McDonald’s pieces was attacking/abusive of Julie R, and supported “putting her in her place”. BS it was a “theological” position…
    Finally, i am somewhat aware of the abuses at Calvary Chapel, Driscoll, and Sovereign Grace, and the James Mcdonald scandal does chart some new ground….. The argument that giving Julie R time would have to “advance the cause” further shows to me Mr Galli does not realize how corrupt evangelicalism has become….

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  12. Kris McKnight:
    Just wow. A few weeks ago when I suggested on twitter that due to Stetzer and MacDonald’s relationship, that it was a possibility that Stetzer was the reason MacDonald was able to get his opinion piece published in CT. Mark Galli called my husband and told him that I was bearing false witness against Stetzer. Now I see he is using this line with others.

    It’s possible that a group of people, including Galli, are sitting about in a room and putting together a strategy. They know they’ve been caught with their hands in the cookie jar, so they put together a strategy and “inadvertent false witness” is decided upon as the line they’re running with. It’s going after someone directly on grounds of Ten Commandments, so it’s a very serious charge–you’re a liar–but they decide to soften it with the “inadvertent” qualifier, because that then gives them an out if anyone gets their back up at them (“But I said it was inadvertent!”)

    So I’m going to give Galli a gift that he was unwilling to give to others by being mealy-mouthed and cowardly in his accusations that others were breaking the Eighth Commandment. I’m going to be direct and not qualify a thing.

    Mr. Galli, I think you’re intentionally bearing false witness. To wit, I think you’re a liar. I think you’re a gutless wonder who, in the name of favoritism and trying to curry favor with a big name, allowed an abusive monster to publicly hammer a decent woman in Christianity Today for nothing more than telling the truth. Julie told the truth, while you supported a liar. Irrefutable. Since you have not seen fit to apologize for this, acknowledge the fact that you were wrong or even consider that you might owe Julie Roys a public apology, I don’t think you’re a decent human being at all. I think you’re a jerk, a punk, and a coward. That direct enough for you?

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  13. Bridget:

    CT is not a magazine I will ever read.

    I used to frequently check CT’s website years ago for Camerin Courtney’s regular singles column. I especially enjoyed the column she wrote almost 15 years ago calling out Albert Mohler for his infamous speech condemning extended singleness and declaring delay of marriage to be sinful. I began visiting CT’s site much less frequently after they dumped Ms. Courtney 10 years ago. Much of CT’s web site is now behind a paywall, so what’s the use of visiting anyway? And now CT’s credibility has taken a self-inflicted hit.

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  14. GK Chesterton once wrote:

    “Men have not got tired of Christianity; they have never found enough Christianity to get tired of.”

    The problem with the Institutional Church is not that Christian ideals do not work – the problem is that the Institutional Church has rarely practiced christian ideals. The Church is floundering, not because God cannot be truly trusted, but because The Church has so rarely truly trusted him.

    I get so weary and discouraged. It often appears that the things that matter the most to me, matter not at all to the rest of the world. I long for perfection in all things, yet am among the most weak and imperfect.

    I mourn at beautiful weddings, fearing that all too soon they will lead to ugly divorce. I grieve to think how quickly sweet innocence will be destroyed by ugliness and injustice. I am sad that I will never be the child, the parent, the lover or the friend that I so yearn to be. I grieve over the tiny black fly that came into my car, then flew out the window 60 miles away from his home.

    I simply long for all things to be as they ought to be, for all the wrongs to be righted. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what longing for God looks like.

    Sorry, but the evils of this world have me feeling even more melancholy than usual.

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  15. “What’s false is just the assumption that Ed tried to nefariously influence CT editorial…” Mark Galli

    “Nefarious comes from the Latin nefas “crime, impiety.” If something is nefarious, it is criminal, evil, malicious and wicked.” Dictionary

    Nowhere in Wades post is there anything nefarious, nor the assumption of anything nefarious.

    Wade quoted The Christian Post. The gift of the car is not in dispute. The optics of that are not in dispute with most folk.

    Nor is the fact that Ed Stetzer connected James MacDonald with Christianity Today. The optics of the Stetzer/MacDonald relationship are not in dispute for most of us.

    What is MacDonald, a child? He can’t look up an email or phone number and contact CT himself? Ed could have said look it up if MacDonald asked, but he didn’t – just networked for him. Did MacDonald think Ed’s friendship with Galli, Weber et al, would get him a favourable response with the editorial crew?

    Touche, T500, well said.
    James MacDonald’s piece didn’t move the argument forward, it exposed the boys, their toys and the politics of celebrity leadership.

    I guess with the numbers Christianity Today Inc pulls in, perhaps management doesn’t have to understand what Wade was saying. Wade’s stand won’t do anything for the sustainability of CT. As Max says, follow the money.

    http://www.christianitytodayads.com/

    It’s great Wade Burleson drew Mark Galli into conversation – it was enlightening.

    Looking forward to seeing Christianity Today’s Ethical Standards, Dee.:^)

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  16. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and MONEY” ? Of all the things he might have used in that example of divided loyalties, MONEY is what he put his finger squarely on. The devil’s system is the money system; the system of gain. If you want to play, you will be compromised and you will learn to excuse dishonesty and you will take part in the abuse of others. You will be absorbed into the web and used until you are of no more use.

    It’s a great mistake to think that God will use ill gotten gain to advance his church or his kingdom. It’s a mistake to imagine God applauds and approves such efforts. You may end up with a powerful, wealthy organization but it will not be of God. He does not need your offerings, he does not need your worldly skills. He is building his kingdom in ways unknown to you.

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  17. Jeffrey Chalmers: The blatant disregard of this concept, AND the amateurish way this Editor-in-Chief” of Christianity Today writes as demonstrated in the back and forth of passages above is down right breath taking…..
    maybe a “small town rag”, but CT???

    In local Fandom in the Eighties, we had a saying:
    “It’s gotta be Christian — look how shoddy it is!”

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  18. dee: First of all, I am sorry to hear about this.
    Secondly, why did he call your husband? Why not you?

    Because she was FEMALE.

    Obviously Dee was not being Submissive and he called her husband who needs to put her back in her place.

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  19. Jeffrey Chalmers: The blatant disregard of this concept, AND the amateurish way this Editor-in-Chief” of Christianity Today writes as demonstrated in the back and forth of passages above is down right breath taking…..
    maybe a “small town rag”, but CT???

    I don’t know whether he’s blinded by his position, playing coy, or truly clueless, but it’s a good illustration that the church world has its own version of eithics/morality which is not up to par.

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  20. There is something disconcerting about a journalist – it’s established that Galli is that, right? – who accuses persons of “bearing false witness” in a blog (Pastor Burleson) and by phone (TWW blogger here – Kris McKnight) via her husband (!). The accusation is bold; the means cowardly.

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  21. Let God’s word convict Jmac and his enablers and pray that those at Harvest find healthy churches, that the “Harvest’s/Willow/Mars Hill/SBC” of Christendom will be no more and that the time of the cult of celebrity pastors is coming to an end. Jesus protect, heal and unite your bride, the CHURCH!

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
    ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23 NIV

    “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:14-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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  22. Let God’s word convict Jmac and his enablers and pray that those at Harvest find healthy churches, that the “Harvest’s/Willow/Mars Hill/SBC/et al” of Christendom will be no more and that the time of the cult of celebrity pastors is coming to an end. Jesus protect, heal and unite your bride, the CHURCH!

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
    ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23 NIV

    “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:14-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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  23. From the movie Backdraft;

    Firefighter Brian McCaffrey:
    You see that flash of light in the corner of your eye? That’s your career dissipation light. It just went into high gear.

    I think this may be what Mark Galli is possibly going through about now. When you get bought and used or just snookered this is usually the outcome, he should have known better.

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  24. TS00: I get so weary and discouraged. It often appears that the things that matter the most to me, matter not at all to the rest of the world. I long for perfection in all things, yet am among the most weak and imperfect.

    I mourn at beautiful weddings, fearing that all too soon they will lead to ugly divorce. I grieve to think how quickly sweet innocence will be destroyed by ugliness and injustice. I am sad that I will never be the child, the parent, the lover or the friend that I so yearn to be. I grieve over the tiny black fly that came into my car, then flew out the window 60 miles away from his home.

    I simply long for all things to be as they ought to be, for all the wrongs to be righted. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what longing for God looks like.

    Sorry, but the evils of this world have me feeling even more melancholy than usual.

    I feel very much the same. I wish the Lord would come today and put an end to all suffering.

    The answer I see for the here and now is love. Love is the beauty we yearn for. God is love, love is of God. Love in all of it’s aspects and manifestations.

    Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.

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  25. Law Prof,

    I am with you on this one. The Pharisees that Jesus showed absolutely zero mercy to were of the same nature and mindset as Ed and Mark. They thought it was no big deal to use their place of authority to enrich themselves. And so it is with men like these. I think these guys learned how to play the game from Billy Graham. I once thought he was great but now realize that he was the most shrewd of all the 50’s evangelists trying to get as rich and famous as possible. Billy ended up richer than all the rest at his death because he made his money by paying writers a pittance to write books that he slapped his name on and claimed were his own work. He gave zero credit to anyone else. No credit to researchers or secretaries nor anyone else in His (not God’s) ministry. And very few Christians will admit that telling people that you wrote a book when you did not is a lie and a sin. Jesus said that ALL LIARS would be cast into the Lake of Fire. Billy made millions by running the same lying scam over and over again.

    As far as Ed and Mark goes, it is obvious to me that they are just white-washed septic tanks, which I think is a better translation of Jesus’ words because we do not understand how exceptionally filthy dead mens bones were to the Pharisees. You cannot serve God and Money. The one you embrace with your lips and lifestyle is the true god that each of us are each forced to choose. By their lips these men despise the real Jesus Christ.

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  26. Kris McKnight,

    “Just wow. A few weeks ago when I suggested on twitter that due to Stetzer and MacDonald’s relationship, that it was a possibility that Stetzer was the reason MacDonald was able to get his opinion piece published in CT. Mark Galli called my husband and told him that I was bearing false witness against Stetzer. Now I see he is using this line with others.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Wade that Galli is failing to see MacDonald’s false accusations against Julie Roys.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    so, he calls your husband…

    i’m just chuckling at how ridiculous and immature that is. but then my eyes narrow in anger at how manipulative that is. and how insulting for you, kris. as if you’re a non-person.

    why not go directly to you?

    –mark galli either sees your husband as your keeper and your minder, because that is the province of men (can someone tell Mark we’ve moved beyond 18th century England?),

    –Or, he is exploiting your husband’s influence to silence you for his own convenience,

    –or he is simply afraid of you.

    i think it’s all three.

    ohp, just thought of a fourth:

    –he’s protecting himself.

    with pomp and self-righteousness (invoking the “thou shalt not bear false witness” thing).
    but this is what he’s really doing: making a “human shield” out of God and cowering behind Him.

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  27. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    ” The argument that giving Julie R time would have to “advance the cause” further shows to me Mr Galli does not realize how corrupt evangelicalism has become….”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    it’s irrelevant. evangelicalism pays his salary. that’s enough.

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  28. Per Roys: “When I raised this issue with Galli, he said, “Stetzer is not on staff with CT; he blogs, and some of his blogs appear on CT. He’s not a journalist, he’s a writer—but he’s independent of CT and is not accountable to CT.” Galli added that Stetzer does not receive any money from CT and his title of “contributing editor” should be seen in that light. … However, Galli later admitted that CT pays the Billy Graham Center a fee for Stetzer’s regular contribution to the media outlet. Also, Stetzer doesn’t just write blogs for CT; he manages one of eight special sections on CT’s website called “The Exchange with Ed Stetzer.””

    So the first statement implies non-issue because of no remuneration. The second implies remuneration, making it an issue. But we’re the bad guys for noticing. Pay no attention to the cronies behind the curtain making bank on Kingdom-dedicated funds and issuing decrees demanding more and more.

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  29. Is it just me or does the story add a layer of irony to a publication called “Christianity Today”, as true Christianity today faces wound after wound from the business-modeled version of today’s incorporated institutions designating themselves as speaking for (and collecting on behalf of) Christianity?

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  30. Years ago I heard someone refer to Christianity Today as Christianity Astray. Not real clever, perhaps, but apparently accurate. Every criticism I’ve read on this site regarding content, editors, and contributers is spot-on. So many “influential” people have lost their way.

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  31. JDV:
    Is it just me or does the story add a layer of irony to a publication called “Christianity Today”, as true Christianity today faces wound after wound from the business-modeled version of today’s incorporated institutions designating themselves as speaking for (and collecting on behalf of) Christianity?

    Bingo.

    Jesus came to bring us a business model, right? …the first last and the last first. Humility before honor. Love your enemies. Pray for those who despitefully use you. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…

    All practiced in the company code. Just check those numbers.

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  32. JDV,
    Your comment/observation is very important. Changing stories, as this is with respect to Ed Stetzer’s relationship with CT is a now “in writing” example of a “changing answer” or in the current political speak “spin”. Mr Galli can try to say I am “bearing false witness”, but it is his own words, when continued confrontation with questions, that are changing. As I said above, the amaturishness of this is breathtaking…. and shows, in writing, how the Christian industrial complex functions.
    Finally, I also can not get my head around how Mr. Galli dodges the FACT that McDonald’s post is abusive of Julie Roys, especially when all of this “stuff” about McDonald has come out “after” McDonald’s piece was published in CT.
    The prime directive of TWW is to give voice to, and protect, those that are abused by the “Christian Industrial Complex”….. this is a classic example…

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  33. At a seminar many years ago, Carl Henry rose to ask the great theologian Karl Barth a question, introducing himself as editor of Christianity Today. “You mean Christianity yesterday,” Barth replied amidst snickers from the audience. I’ve been reading CT since the ’60s, and Barth’s snark was not accurate back then. But it certainly applies today. The magazine used carry deeply insightful content, but now is loaded with bloatware and puff pieces that are so superficial. Another reason here for it no longer to be on my radar.

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  34. Jeffrey Chalmers: Finally, I also can not get my head around how Mr. Galli dodges the FACT that McDonald’s post is abusive of Julie Roys, especially when all of this “stuff” about McDonald has come out “after” McDonald’s piece was published in CT.
    The prime directive of TWW is to give voice to, and protect, those that are abused by the “Christian Industrial Complex”….. this is a classic example…

    That’s what he’s really afraid of, isn’t it? People recognizing that he agreed to publish what was nothing more than a hit piece. Which then might lead them to suspect the spin on everything he publishes. And every sermon they hear, and every book they read. Who are these guys, and what are they pushing, really? Mostly themselves.

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  35. TS00,

    Moreover; given that suing was apparently the Biblical™ thing to do, and CT published an article to that effect, did they rebuke MacDonald for shrinking back from doing the Biblical™ thing and abandoning his Biblical™ lawsuit? Does Biblical™ mean nothing more than, I can do this as long as it’s convenient and I want to?

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  36. JDV,

    Christianity Industrial Complex Today, CICT replacing CT. Charisma Magazine the same, representing the Charismatic Industrial Complex. World Magazine, too. They all seem to be pushing an agenda that promotes their group over truth. Jesus was not a groupie and eventually his groupies disappeared. No industrial complex for Jesus.

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  37. JDV:
    Is it just me or does the story add a layer of irony to a publication called “Christianity Today”, as true Christianity today faces wound after wound from the business-modeled version of today’s incorporated institutions designating themselves as speaking for (and collecting on behalf of) Christianity?

    I agree. Sadly.

    The persecution of christians historically, and today in specific parts of the world, was and is a brutal reality. (Other groups of people have been, and are, also persecuted.)

    But the persecution of christians in the US today is a different thing. It’s much more complex and subtle. Christians are ridiculed and marginalised, not only by those horrible secular liberals, but by the religiously dominant secular-Christian axis of economic power. It often reminds me of the snippet from Revelation in which “no-one could buy or sell anything unless he had the mark of the beast…”. The corporate Christian line is very much like that: We own the rights to Jesus, and if you want to buy any Jesus you must do it through us. That’ll be 10% of your income plus sacrificial giving.

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  38. Jeffrey Chalmers,
    the real issue. MacDonald, Driscoll, Patterson, elders at Calvary Chapel, Sovereign Grace, and other evangelical churches believe women should “be put in their place.” The problem is a skewed view of male spiritual authority, and it has infected evangelicals. The greatest transformation at the church I’ve pastored for the last 27 years is the elevation of women to their rightful place – equal to men. They teach, they lead (the Chairman of our Leadership is a woman and half the members of the LT are women), they serve (half of the deacon service committee is composed of women), and they are always welcome to challenge men for any decision that are made that might harm the Kingdom at large or our institutional church. We believe the only person with “authority” is the Head of the church, for He said, “All authority is given to me.” People should lead, serve, teach, and encourage others according to their gifts, not their gender. I guarantee you if Julie Roys had been chairman of the Leadership Team at Harvest Bible Church, these issues now in the forefront would have been dealt with long before it became a public scandal. The downfall of male evangelical leaders in the 21st century I believe is directly tied to what I call a belief in male “spiritual authority.” Interestingly, you might even believe in the “equality of women” (think Bill Hybels), but you still could be infected with the belief that you – as God’s vicar on earth – speak God’s words to others (as Hybels believed of himself), and other people better listen. I tell our church all the time that just because I say something doesn’t make it right, true, or beneficial. Be like the Bereans who questioned the Apostle Paul and didn’t even accept what he said until they searched it out for themselves. The days of male evangelical celebrity leaders who think they should never be questioned by anybody are officially over. When a mistake is made – and somebody calls you out (like Julie Roys called out Harvest Bible Church) – then admit the mistake, publicly acknowledge the wrong, thank the person who pointed it out, and you’ll be amazed at the people who follow such displays of public integrity.

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  39. This is interesting: https://www.christianitytoday.org/who-we-are/beautiful-orthodoxy/

    All of the negativity has left the world in desperate need of truth, goodness, and beauty. In need of hope.

    Christianity Today is taking the lead to reverse the trend by communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. We call it Beautiful Orthodoxy.

    According to Mark Galli, “Beautiful Orthodoxy” apparently means giving voice to and cover for abusive leaders in the Christian Industrial Complex.

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  40. Nick Bulbeck,

    Insightful observation about the US. Trifecta of business, politics, and religious affiliation. Make money, wield influence, and create a lifestyle, i.e., dynasty.

    Replacing serve for the Common Good, observe the Rule of Law, and model the life(style) of Jesus.

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  41. Nick Bulbeck: The corporate Christian line is very much like that: We own the rights to Jesus, and if you want to buy any Jesus you must do it through us. That’ll be 10% of your income plus sacrificial giving.

    That’s it! That’s what has remained, unvoiced, in my subconscious all these months. That righteous anger I feel is my spirit rebelling, saying, ‘No, you don’t own God, and I do not have to pay to play.’

    Thanks for putting it into words.

    “Ho, every one who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
    and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
    Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
    Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in fatness.
    Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live; Is 55:1-3

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  42. SiteSeer: I wish the Lord would come today and put an end to all suffering.

    The answer I see for the here and now is love.

    Your second sentence is the reason I don’t particularly want the Lord to come today. We have the power to love everyone in the world, and to alleviate the suffering of others. On my own melancholy days, I find great hope in the words of Teresa of Avila:

    “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

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  43. Wade Burleson,

    I believe you are right. It was this skewed view of male authority that was poisoning my former church, and led to much pain and destruction.

    What I saw, over and over, was essentially egalitarian couples come into the church, to have the men poisoned with this male authority complex. Women became little more than ‘housewives’ who were expected to keep their pretty little mouths shut and let the men take care of everything.

    Once healthy marriages soured. Some divorced. Some rejected the faith altogether. Most eventually got smart and got out. What is it that is worth so much destruction? Nothing was more tragic than seeing the pastor’s wife grow less and less sure of herself until she was convinced that she couldn’t salt her food properly without her husband’s input. Why would anyone want to suppress the individuality, creativity and soul of another person in pursuit of some skewed definition of biblicism?

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  44. Friend: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

    Thank you for that. I am going to put it on my wall and stamp it upon my mind.

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  45. ___

    Fragmented Fraudulent Fractals: “Prick Us…Do We Not Bleed?”

    bump.

    “501c3 Ethical Collaboration?”

    hmmm…

    “Is it just me or does the story add a layer of irony to a publication called “Christianity Today”, as true Christianity today faces wound after wound from the business-modeled version of today’s incorporated institutions designating themselves as ‘speaking for’ (and collecting on behalf of) Christianity?” -JDV

    Your profound perception serves you well…

    Wade implies this dust up is part of a 501c3 religious system with many ever expanding ‘outcasts’…

    KRunch.

    Cheers.

    ;~)

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KV43rJ0a5iA

    – –

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  46. Jeffrey Chalmers: Or, he knows darn well that McDonald’s pieces was attacking/abusive of Julie R, and supported “putting her in her place”. BS it was a “theological” position…

    I am frankly sick to death with excuses for poor practices. My husband can’t get a pen from a drug rep without violating professional ethics.Galli should insist on those same ethics for ANYONE associated with his Magazine.

    And yes, I think it was *putting julie in her place.*

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  47. Stuart: At a seminar many years ago, Carl Henry rose to ask the great theologian Karl Barth a question, introducing himself as editor of Christianity Today. “You mean Christianity yesterday,” Barth replied amidst snickers from the audience.

    Certainly a relevant comment to describe the American church. This ain’t your grandma’s Christianity, for sure! Such a shallow river to swim in. While there are individual exceptions, the institution of Christianity in America is largely a counterfeit expression of what used to be. The essence of Christianity has been reduced to doctrines of men rather than a personal relationship with Christ in far too many places. What happened to Jesus?!

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  48. Bene D: Nefarious comes from the Latin nefas “crime, impiety.” If something is nefarious, it is criminal, evil, malicious and wicked.” Dictionary

    I started to laugh when I read this. I got the vision of a cartoon chracarter with black trench coat, black hat slung low over his eyes with a huge black mustache sneaking around on tip toe saying ” Nyuh uh uh.” It’s such overkill and could be almost funny if it didn’t hurt others,

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  49. Headless Unicorn Guy: Because she was FEMALE.

    Obviously Dee was not being Submissive and he called her husband who needs to put her back in her place.

    In other words he think she is supposed to be under her husband’s “authority” as so many of these leaders teach. Just as they claim regular church members should be under the “authority” of their pastor.

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  50. Kris McKnight: ust wow. A few weeks ago when I suggested on twitter that due to Stetzer and MacDonald’s relationship, that it was a possibility that Stetzer was the reason MacDonald was able to get his opinion piece published in CT. Mark Galli called my husband and told him that I was bearing false witness against Stetzer. Now I see he is using this line with others.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Wade that Galli is failing to see MacDonald’s false accusations against Julie Roys.

    Called your *husband*? What, did Galli expect your husband to rein you in as your “headship”? *shakes head* Seriously, Mark (I know you’re reading here), if you have a problem with a person, you talk to them, not their alleged male headship.

    P.S. I don’t have a male headship. My father is deceased and my (younger) brother is absolutely disinterested in talking to people about what his older sister says/does.

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  51. Steve240: In other words he think she is supposed to be under her husband’s “authority” as so many of these leaders teach. Just as they claim regular church members should be under the “authority” of their pastor.

    That’s the hidden ‘gotcha’. The poor blokes think they are being crowned king, when they are simply signing on as serfs to the pastor. The wimminfolk are told how ‘honoring’ to God they are, when they sit down and shut up.

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  52. I wonder if these people

    – really believe it is OK for a journalist to accept a gift like this

    Or

    – know that this isn’t correct but since it occurred are just trying to justify/hide/cover this sin

    I am not sure which is worse but do really wonder.

    I have been in contracting positions in my career and was always told it being a conflict of interest accept gifts from those I am contracting with. If nothing else the journalist needed to give a full disclosure that he accepted a gift from MacDonald. From what I have seen ethical journalists when writing up front give a full disclosure like they work for the company they are writing about or have some type of interest.

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  53. Ken F (aka Tweed): This is interesting: https://www.christianitytoday.org/who-we-are/beautiful-orthodoxy/

    All of the negativity has left the world in desperate need of truth, goodness, and beauty. In need of hope.

    Christianity Today is taking the lead to reverse the trend by communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. We call it Beautiful Orthodoxy.

    According to Mark Galli, “Beautiful Orthodoxy” apparently means giving voice to and cover for abusive leaders in the Christian Industrial Complex.

    And this is why I am most firmly outside the ekklesia, the household of faith. I want no part of it. Of course, the church wants no part of me, either, because I’m too mouthy, opinionated and (occasionally) willing to act upon my opinions.

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  54. TS00,

    Friend: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
    Thank you for that. I am going to put it on my wall and stamp it upon my mind.

    me too.

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  55. Mr. Jesperson:
    Law Prof,

    I am with you on this one.The Pharisees that Jesus showed absolutely zero mercy to were of the same nature and mindset as Ed and Mark.They thought it was no big deal to use their place of authority to enrich themselves. And so it is with men like these.I think these guys learned how to play the game from Billy Graham.I once thought he was great but now realize that he was the most shrewd of all the 50’s evangelists trying to get as rich and famous as possible.Billy ended up richer than all the rest at his death because he made his money by paying writers a pittance to write books that he slapped his name on and claimed were his own work.He gave zero credit to anyone else.No credit to researchers or secretaries nor anyone else in His (not God’s) ministry.And very few Christians will admit that telling people that you wrote a book when you did not is a lie and a sin.Jesus said that ALL LIARS would be cast into the Lake of Fire.Billy made millions by running the same lying scam over and over again.

    As far as Ed and Mark goes, it is obvious to me that they are just white-washed septic tanks, which I think is a better translation of Jesus’ words because we do not understand how exceptionally filthy dead mens bones were to the Pharisees.You cannot serve God and Money.The one you embrace with your lips and lifestyle is the true god that each of us are each forced to choose.By their lips these men despise the real Jesus Christ.

    Absolutely.

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  56. Mr. Jesperson,

    You are correct about old Billy Graham. It was William Randolph Hearst, a good RCC publisher used his newspaper chain to push Graham to fame. “Billy Graham spoke to multitudes and became greatly loved,respected,and imitated. When he preached,he was honored and men praised him. …newspapers never really blasted Billy. Magazines said he was on of the world’s most loved men. Yet when Jesus Christ preached he was put to death.” Quote from Smoke Screens 1983

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  57. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    I need to know more about the “conflict of interest laws” A case involving Fellowship Pres Church daycare in GSO has just been made public. A daycare worker has been arrested for making pornographic videos of children at the day care. What shocked me is that one attorney who is also an Anglican priest is representing all the families. The worker has been at the facility for 5 years. Seems there could be a lot of children involved over that span of time.

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  58. TS00,

    “I get so weary and discouraged. It often appears that the things that matter the most to me, matter not at all to the rest of the world. I long for perfection in all things, yet am among the most weak and imperfect….

    …I simply long for all things to be as they ought to be, for all the wrongs to be righted. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what longing for God looks like.

    Sorry, but the evils of this world have me feeling even more melancholy than usual.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    hi, TS00.

    so Moody and Midge Melancholy are your 2nd cousins, too? pop around for visit unannounced, did they? lying all over the sofas like they own the place? can’t get ’em to leave?

    gaaahhhh

    use your authoritative voice and tell them to leave. if they don’t, then they will sit in the corner quietly. then ignore them.

    (ok, i’m going to go on a bit here….)

    in celebration of the fun of ignoring your obnoxious & entitled relatives, notice groups of people at the park. notice how they enjoy each other, how they care for each other, how they get comfort from each other. how they’re celebrating life by being at the park.

    or the grocery store — how respectful they are of others, how courteous, how they smile at strangers, how they help strangers

    …the man on a mission buying a bouquet of flowers with hope in his eyes, all the carts full of wonderful food fixin’s just before Thanksgiving to create something meaningful for others, at Target the carts full of things that make others happy before Christmas…

    or at a restaurant — at tables dotted around are people who care about each other, so much so that smiles and laughs come easily. or with whom there is trust for companionable silence.

    and then see this: “entire neighborhood hires a sign language teacher so they can learn how to communicate with their deaf 2-year old neighbor” (it’s just spectacular, so magnificent)

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/a-humble-opinion-on-celebrating-the-good-news-instead-of-wallowing-in-the-bad
    .
    .
    each individual is a beautiful tapestry. when they merge together in productive relationship, in friendship, in family, the tapestry becomes even more beautiful.

    of course, the back side of each tapestry is tangled riot of threads, where many a crisis happened in the weaving, threads criss crossing where they shouldn’t be, severed and tied together more than once,…

    but the front of the tapestry is the good part. the very good part. the important part that counts. that makes the world a beautiful place.

    and then we can talk about all the animals! what a picture they are.

    (thank you for bearing with all the pollyanna-talk)

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  59. TS00,

    “Nothing was more tragic than seeing the pastor’s wife grow less and less sure of herself until she was convinced that she couldn’t salt her food properly without her husband’s input.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    that’s so crystal-clear, TS00.

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  60. elastigirl,

    I love it. Are you sure you’re not my beloved sister, who has been telling me the same for years? 😉 And it’s true, when I am discouraged I go for a walk, to the park, to the local co-op and there find smiling people and hope. And try to offer some back.

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  61. Nick Bulbeck,

    “The corporate Christian line is very much like that: We own the rights to Jesus, and if you want to buy any Jesus you must do it through us. That’ll be 10% of your income plus sacrificial giving.”

    Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “Christianity Today is taking the lead to reverse the trend by communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. We call it Beautiful Orthodoxy.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    gaaahhhhhh

    first, it’s the rights to Jesus. now, it’s the rights to beauty.

    can they really be that full of themselves? or are they just opportunists in the EXTREME?

    both probably. i daresay, this is what happens when the concept of God is added to money and power.

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  62. Wade Burleson: People should lead, serve, teach, and encourage others according to their gifts, not their gender.

    Yes.

    Note: male or female does not qualify as a Gift of the Spirit (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4).

    Even with the gifts, there is no spiritual hierarchy, although reasonable recommendations are made, such as elder women mentoring younger, etc. This Titus 2 advice has served me well, personally, although I’ve filtered interactions with older women, including some highly published and name-brands. Jesus is the brand and the ground at the foot of the Cross is level.

    The functional chain of command in an organized church is voluntary. When it’s not working, time to move on. Vote with feet, wallet in tow.

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  63. TS00,

    ha…. there’s all kinds of unexpected things to find if you go down the ancestry wormhole!

    i found out Queen Elizabeth is my 12th cousin! (but she has thousands upon thousands of cousins all over the world)

    now that’s a shirt-tail relative i’d welcome any day to lay all over the sofa as long as she wanted. (as if…)

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  64. elastigirl,

    One of the last straws was one Sunday afternoon when she gave permission for an older girl to take her kids for a walk, and they came back with ice cream for everyone. Terrible no-no, buying something on Sunday. The wife was beating herself up (foreseeing what was to come later?) and said, ‘See, that’s why I can’t make any decisions on my own; they always end up in trouble. I wouldn’t survive if something happened to my husband.’

    And I had the nerve to say, ‘Yes you would survive. In fact, you might even be better off. Your family would look entirely different, but who is to say that it would be worse? His way is not the ONLY way, you know.’

    She just looked at me in stunned disbelief. And the pastor had told me himself that he had to ‘deprogram’ her every Sunday afternoon, so I know it all went straight back to him. Guess that was when my goose was truly cooked. 😉

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  65. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: And this is why I am most firmly outside the ekklesia, the household of faith. I want no part of it. Of course, the church wants no part of me, either, because I’m too mouthy, opinionated and (occasionally) willing to act upon my opinions.

    Whose Ekklesia?
    Their’s as ‘they’ (the great generic they) define it?
    Or the Kingdom of Heaven you carry within?
    Give yourself some credit, after all, the Almighty does, and crowned you with glory and honor.

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  66. Wade Burleson,

    Yes. It is creepy to see how this male dominance has been allowed to infect the churches when 2,000 years ago women were acknowledged as important workers in the church. Rom. 16/ And let’s not forget how Jesus used the example of being as a little child if we are to enter his kingdom. i believe that child was still by his side when he laid out the procedure for dealing with sin and conflict in the congregation. Matt 18

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  67. jyjames,

    “entire neighborhood hires a sign language teacher so they can learn how to communicate with their deaf 2-year old neighbor”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    i had described it as ‘just spectacular, so magnificent’.

    not to them. i suspect they’re thinking, “it’s just what you do.”

    they weren’t trying to impress anyone, be it God or their imagined audience. they didn’t know anyone was looking.

    (and that to me is evidence of how magnificent human beings are)

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  68. elastigirl:..[C]an they really be that full of themselves?

    Och aye.

    There’s no limit to how full of themselves they can be. I’m full of myself too; though the difference between them and me is that when I say I’m a stinking sheep of height who is worthy of destruction, I mean it.

    Even I’m full of myself (though regular Wartburgers will be well aware of this). And I’m fundamentally redundant.

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  69. RE: Al Mohler defining true Christians based an creedal acceptance.

    Today’s Christian Post has an exclusive Mohler interview promoting his new book. It’s an interesting read.

    The point that neither CP nor
    Mr. Mohler discuss, is the authority of Christian #one, to determine the validity of salvation for Christian #two. Mr. Mohler’s position requires this authority to exist.

    You cannot have a Creedal salvation without a Creedal determining mechanism, and ruling body. How will you know if an individual is, or is not, within allowable Creedal variance.

    This is an example of the obvious division I have been pointing out of late.

    My question goes like this:

    1. Mr. Mohler and a non-creed ascribing Christian both live out there lives and find themselves happy residents of Heaven. (I hear it’s lovely in June)
    2. Mr. Mohler observes Mr. Non-Creed, nonchalantly going about his business.
    3. Mr.Mohler says/does what? Retract his life’s work, and find something else for his new life in Christ to be about? Or, does he take issue with such diverse soterology?

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  70. Nick Bulbeck: Christians are ridiculed and marginalised, not only by those horrible secular liberals, but by the religiously dominant secular-Christian axis of economic power. It often reminds me of the snippet from Revelation in which “no-one could buy or sell anything unless he had the mark of the beast…”. The corporate Christian line is very much like that: We own the rights to Jesus, and if you want to buy any Jesus you must do it through us. That’ll be 10% of your income plus sacrificial giving.

    Very good point. It’s as though they think they own the rights to Jesus.

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  71. Sòpwith,

    Thanks, I follow it along with some others.
    There was a time when Henry even questioned the Vietnam War. I think it was one of the reasons he was pushed out.
    I can’t remember the author, but recall a book tracking CT’s content over the years. The conclusion was that it consistently dumbed down to accommodate lower information evangelicals.

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  72. elastigirl: “Och aye.”

    That’s a real Thing. “Och” is the generic Scottish sentence-filler when expressing low-key emotion. So, where the late Bob Ross might say: Shoot, you can paint a happy little tree wherever you want him!, his Scottish cousin Rab McRoss would say: Och, ye can paint a happy wee tree wherever ye want him!. And “aye” just means “yes”.

    Nobody has ever said “Och aye, the noo!” IRL.

    IHTIH

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  73. TS00:
    elastigirl,

    One of the last straws was one Sunday afternoon when she gave permission for an older girl to take her kids for a walk, and they came back with ice cream for everyone. Terrible no-no, buying something on Sunday. The wife was beating herself up (foreseeing what was to come later?) and said, ‘See, that’s why I can’t make any decisions on my own; they always end up in trouble. I wouldn’t survive if something happened to my husband.’

    And I had the nerve to say, ‘Yes you would survive. In fact, you might even be better off. Your family would look entirely different, but who is to say that it would be worse? His way is not the ONLY way, you know.’

    She just looked at me in stunned disbelief. And the pastor had told me himself that he had to ‘deprogram’ her every Sunday afternoon, so I know it all went straight back to him. Guess that was when my goose was truly cooked.

    In what church is buying something on Sunday a no-no? My gosh, have some people really gone back to that ungodly interpretation of the Fourth Commandment that Jesus explicitly and repeatedly refuted 1,990 years ago? Can people possibly read the New Testament and come to the conclusion that to buy something is a sin? My gosh, these people would kill Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, perhaps. There’s no nice way of saying it, that sounds like a Son of Hell, as Jesus put it.

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  74. Nick Bulbeck,

    “Och aye.”
    +++++++++++++

    so, i could say this instead of “you bet your boots, mister!”?

    now, how to pronounce (it can’t be ‘Ock’. the phonetic should be interesting)

    ““Och aye, the noo!””

    now, you’ve totally lost me.

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  75. TS00: Nick Bulbeck:

    Does Biblical™ mean nothing more than, I can do this as long as it’s convenient and I want to?

    For a heckuva lot of people, yes.

    For me, certainly.

    I think, and live, exactly what the **** I want to, and I pick whatever fragments of the bible – ahem, I mean The Inerrant Word Of God – agree with me. Any bits of the bible I don’t agree with, I can simply dismiss by quoting the bits that contradict them. Thing is, God’s so stupid he doesn’t even notice. As long as I spout some occasional rubbish about The Authority Of Gods Word and about how I’m A Sinner Like Everyone Else, that’s about all he can get his head around.

    In other words, my theology is solidly evangelical.

    (Apart from my support for gay marriage.)

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  76. elastigirl,

    “Aye” is pronounced exactly like the word “eye”. (Or the word “I”, for that matter.)

    “Och” is easy to pronounce but hard to describe in English. Instead of trying, I’ll direct you to the LearnGaelic website I use for pronouncing the names of Highland mountains. If you click here and listen to the word “loch”, that’ll show you how to pronounce “och”.

    “Och aye the noo” – if you’ve not come across that, just ignore it. It’s a stereotypical Scottish saying that no Scottish people ever actually say.

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  77. Nathan Priddis: Al Mohler defining true Christians based an creedal acceptance.

    Today’s Christian Post has an exclusive Mohler interview promoting his new book.

    “Mohler acknowledged that some churches disregard the Apostles’ Creed, instead adopting the slogan “No creed but the Bible.” He told CP that while he understands the impulse behind that statement, it was often used by liberal church leaders to deny the essential truths of the Gospel.”

    Hmmm … I’ve known very conservative church leaders who used that slogan to affirm the essentials truths of the Gospel, as expressed in the Bible alone. No creeds necessary. In fact, Southern Baptists have had a long history of aversions to creeds … something Mohler would like to change as the SBC trends toward Calvinism and the future adoption of creeds which members must affirm (e.g., the reformed Abstract of Principles).

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  78. Nick Bulbeck: For a heckuva lot of people, yes.

    In other words, my theology is solidly evangelical.

    (Apart from my support for gay marriage.)

    Interesting you note that, because for me, a conservative (whatever that means anymore) theologically who believes that to act on homosexual impulses is a clear-cut sin (as opposed to having those impulses, which is not a sin), I don’t have much of a position on homosexual marriage. That is a matter for legislatures and courts. That’s their business, and I’m not certain that Christians have much of a dog in that fight. In other words, legislatures can pass whatever rules they want and define marriage as they please, and I think it’s something of an error for Christians on behalf of their faith to stick their noses into it.

    Christ did not implore us to go changing the laws and lobbying Congress or the SCOTUS, He implored us to be holy, as our Father in Heaven is holy—that is, set apart, different, peculiar. That certainly includes not engaging in sexual activities that are wrong and clearly identified as such in both the Old and New Testaments, regardless of whether or not we have a natural impulse to do them (that’s the point, isn’t it, that we all have natural impulses to do all manner of things that are wrong and harmful to our relationship to Jesus and others, but that through Christ, we become a new creation that does not behave as the animals and do whatever we fell, regardless of whether it is a natural impulse or a learned one–there is no distinction whatsoever on this matter). So we are to change our behavior and implore fellow believers to engage in the struggle against sin also, whether it involves homosexual or heterosexual passions that are wrongful. But the state shall do as it pleases.

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  79. Mohler – another kettle of fish. Same pond.

    Can’t understand why part of his Wednesday briefing paid attention to recent college admission scandal. He labeled it a “soap opera.” https://albertmohler.com/2019/04/10/briefing-4-10-19

    Hm…hasn’t SBC had its own seminary scandals?

    Then Mohler goes on to analyze whether or not Felicity Huffman’s statement was sincere.

    Maybe could we stick to “Jesus Christ and him crucified,” and what the good news of the gospel means for the world?

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  80. TS00: Why would anyone want to suppress the individuality, creativity and soul of another person in pursuit of some skewed definition of biblicism?

    There isn’t anything the devil hates worse than women and Jews.

    Woman, because it was woman’s genome God used to bring himself into this world, and the Jews because they were the vehicle he used in a long string of bloodlines.

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  81. TS00: She just looked at me in stunned disbelief. And the pastor had told me himself that he had to ‘deprogram’ her every Sunday afternoon, so I know it all went straight back to him. Guess that was when my goose was truly cooked.

    You both make me think of Emma Lazarus’s “Huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

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  82. Bridget:
    I noticed that Galli NEVER addresses the abusive comments written by James MacDonald that were allowed to go to print in his magazine. Wade addresses the issue three times and Galli doesn’t respond. That definitely leads me to believe that Mark Galli is abusive himself since he doesn’t not recognize the wrong in what he allowed printed in CT.

    CT is not a magazine I will ever read.

    I get a lot of defensive responses from abusers when commenting about abuse online. His comment struck me as such. If he truly believes Wade is mistaken, he could have said that and just tried to clear things up rather than accusing Wade of “inadvertently” committing a sin. His comment serves to make himself appear righteous, adds in God’s judgment, and suggests that Wade is being sinful and needs to repent (read as shut up). It also serves to deflect and somewhat project as Mark is essentially being accused of participating in bearing false witness against a victim. As someone else mentioned, I think “inadvertently” was just strategically thrown in to make it seem like he was being kind and giving Wade the benefit of the doubt.

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  83. Muff Potter: There isn’t anything the devil hates worse than women and Jews.

    Woman, because it was woman’s genome God used to bring himself into this world, and the Jews because they were the vehicle he used in a long string of bloodlines.

    …the vehicle God used in a long string of bloodlines, right?

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  84. Law Prof: I don’t have much of a position on homosexual marriage. That is a matter for legislatures and courts. That’s their business, and I’m not certain that Christians have much of a dog in that fight. In other words, legislatures can pass whatever rules they want and define marriage as they please, and I think it’s something of an error for Christians on behalf of their faith to stick their noses into it.

    Have you read my wife’s book?

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  85. R McPherson,

    Great question..
    In my field/profession, conflict of interest rules are developed from a combination of federal/State/ local legal consideration AND us ( the professionals) developing them….. For example, the rules for our volunteer professional societies, we develop the rules… and I have seen “big shots”hammered” for actions much less serious than what we are discussing on this blog….. that is part of my point that what we are seeing here is “ amateurish” compared to my world…

    Lawyers definitely have significant conflict level of interest rules…

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  86. TS00: I simply long for all things to be as they ought to be, for all the wrongs to be righted. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what longing for God looks like.

    I suspect that this is or is quite close to what Jesus had in mind in the famous saying about the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

    It is beyond our power to repair the evils of the world, but we may be able to make things a little better in that corner of creation where we have a little influence, in our own homes and among family and friends. If enough people do that, it could a different world. And there can be joy in the effort, even when it seems hopeless.

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  87. Elizabeth: I think “inadvertently” was just strategically thrown in to make it seem like he was being kind and giving Wade the benefit of the doubt.

    Galli could reduce some significant blow-back and do some serious damage control right now.

    All he has to do is disavow MacDonald and issue a sincere apology to Burleson.

    If I were a publisher, and my circulation and readership were on the line , that’s what I’d do.

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  88. Law Prof: In what church is buying something on Sunday a no-no?

    The Baptist church I grew up would certainly fit that description. I suspect there are many that still have these proclivities.

    Not justifying the reasoning, but it goes something like this:

    It is a sin to work on the sabbath.

    If you buy something on the sabbath you are supporting someone in their sin.

    When you buy something on the sabbath you are therefore also guilty of sin.

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  89. Law Prof: In what church is buying something on Sunday a no-no? My gosh, have some people really gone back to that ungodly interpretation of the Fourth Commandment that Jesus explicitly and repeatedly refuted 1,990 years ago? Can people possibly read the New Testament and come to the conclusion that to buy something is a sin? My gosh, these people would kill Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, perhaps. There’s no nice way of saying it, that sounds like a Son of Hell, as Jesus put it.

    Things went from bad to worse, as the legalism slowly took hold. Sabbath-keeping, headcoverings, and talk of dress codes were among the zingers. If this pastor was ever in charge, we would have another Geneva, stakes and all. He started out seeming fairly normal; did he change, or did he only gradually expose his real agenda? Who can say? But Son of Hell is pretty much how I ended up viewing this pastor I once fully trusted.

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  90. Wade Burleson: and they are always welcome to challenge men for any decision that are made that might harm the Kingdom at large or our institutional church. We believe the only person with “authority” is the Head of the church,

    Your respect for the women who are qualified to serve as described serves a great example for other pastors and church leaders. It is also interesting when you point out the scenario at HBC would be different today if a courageous and honest woman chairman had been the leader in charge.

    It seems that the church allows women to do a lot on the mission field, but they would not give them nearly as much space to exercise their spiritual gifts. The point is not about women, rather it’s about building up God’s family in healthy ways.

    Thank you for your prophetic voice.

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  91. Clarke Morledge,

    “CT needs to retract the decision to post MacDonald’s op-ed, and give Julie Roys a chance to address the situation in the pages of CT.”
    +++++++++++++

    so, why wouldn’t Mark Galli want to do this?

    i assume there are influential powerful people to whom Galli is beholden — what reasons would they have for not doing this? besides giving a woman a powerful voice? or is that it?

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  92. TS00,

    “Things went from bad to worse, as the legalism slowly took hold. Sabbath-keeping, headcoverings, and talk of dress codes were among the zingers.”
    ++++++++++++++

    headcoverings…. for real? did you wear one? we’re not talking stylish hats, are we?

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  93. blogger thought I be, any op ed opportunity is offering an opportunity to participate in an act of journalism. Back when I was a journalism student my professor said that one of the popular misconceptions about editorial work was that it was an occasion to say whatever your opinion is. Her counsel was “Nobody cares what YOU think. Even in an editorial people want to find out what the facts are. When you write an opinion piece you don’t stop having a responsibility to be a journalist.” That’s a paraphrase past the first sentence, rather than a quote.

    So … maybe standards for op ed writing in journalism have shifted a bit in the last twenty years since I was a journalism student … .

    As far as recounting the history of Mars Hill went it sure seemed as though bloggers were doing a whole lot more journalism than officially professional journalists were. But it has started to seem that the way the professional publishing and media industries work across the board is that if it hasn’t been monetized in some way it didn’t “happen”.

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  94. “Drawing In The Sand?”

    hmmm…

    Olson says Galli is cool [1] . I thing we should give him the benefit of a second look. No one is perfect. Certainly his conversation with Wade was a boob-boo. However, as you are presently aware, James Macdonald has blindside many individuals, to date.

    Mark may simply be one of them.

    I think we could give him the benefit of the doubt as well.

    (But that is just me…)

    I’ll leave the ‘light’ on…

    ATB

    Sòpy
    ___
    [1] Roger E. Olson describes Galli as, “a serious evangelical scholar with an irenic approach to controversial material.”
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Galli

    Intermission:
    Nickelback – “Sharp Dressed Man” (a ZZTop cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh9Q6BGGU50

    ;~)

    – –

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  95. Afterburne: Not justifying the reasoning, but it goes something like this:

    It is a sin to work on the sabbath.

    If you buy something on the sabbath you are supporting someone in their sin.

    When you buy something on the sabbath you are therefore also guilty of sin.

    I compelling point made by NT Wright in one of his books was that most of the Gentile converts in the churches Paul founded were … slaves. They did not have the liberty to take Sunday off — they had to do what their masters told them, or face severe consequences. Wright reckons that the Sunday gatherings of these predominantly slave churches took place very early each Sunday while the slave masters were still asleep. After sunrise, the believer slaves when back to their masters and worked the full day.

    I think present-day believers do not need to have any pangs of conscience if they either need or want to do useful things on Sunday.

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  96. Samuel Conner: It was Paul who wrote that some people observe Sabbaths and full moons, but that for others, every day is the same. Paul was not a strict Sabbatarian.

    What puzzles me about early church history is how quickly the documented practice became liturgical, sacramental, and hierarchical (the surviving records show that it looked much more Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox than Baptist). If there was a form of Christianity that was not like this it was not written about in a way that survived.

    I left my SBC church about a year ago because of the direction they were headed. And I also made the mistake of diving into church history to try to find the best form of Christianity so that I could know where to plug in. That might have been a mistake because I found that the “church” has always been messed up in one way or another (ignorance is bliss). On the other hand, that messed up church had some high points and did manage to give us the New Testament and some creeds that are useful.

    In the mean time, I no longer have enthusiasm about any kind of church gathering. Every denomination has arguments for why theirs is the right path. They cannot all be right. And maybe being right does not matter as much as we would like to think.

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  97. Ken F (aka Tweed): On the other hand, that messed up church had some high points and did manage to give us the New Testament and some creeds that are useful.

    Never thought of this before, but perhaps the Synoptic authors were writing with subversive intent, unhappy with the direction they saw the emerging institutions taking.

    That’s a wild thought and probably best consigned to the “highly speculative” file.

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  98. elastigirl,

    Headcoverings. A few went with hats. This was a rural area, lots of Amish and Mennonites around. Used to be just the pastor’s wife ‘covered’ (not by choice), until it was taught from the pulpit. I almost jumped ship the next Sunday, when a dozen women showed up with headcoverings. Our family politely ‘declined’, and most others eventually rejoined us. 😉

    We also maintained the heathen right of women to wear pants and shorts. A high point for me was the last young folks gathering we had out at our place. We had land, and usually hosted the youth parties, with volleyball, hayrides, bonfires, etc. For the first time in 12 years, all of the girls were wearing shorts or jeans. Small victory. None of these kids remained at the church, or even community, upon coming of age.

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  99. Ken F (aka Tweed): Every denomination has arguments for why theirs is the right path. They cannot all be right. And maybe being right does not matter as much as we would like to think.

    (emphasis supplied)

    Your concluding remark is the direction in which my own thinking is tending. There seems (to me) to be a distressingly weak connection between what we read in the canonical NT and what we see practiced in later history and at present.

    This suggests to me that “humility” is the order of the day. “This is how we justify what we do in the name of ‘church’, but we recognized that we and our traditions are not infallible.”

    A long-time friend who started in one of the more ancient traditions and then migrated into conservative protestantism and then all the way to neo-Calvinism and then returned to the place he had started thought that the different strands in the tapestry of the Church’s history and traditions should be thought of as different individuals in a local congregation, who have different strengths and weaknesses, different blind spots, different competencies and gifts, and all of whom, while “on the road toward the likeness of Jesus”, remain deeply flawed. On that analogy, the different ways of “being church” could be viewed as needing each other. It’s another argument for a fundamental posture of humility, and also open-ness to and curiosity about divergent points of view. Unfortunately, I think that these three (IMO praiseworthy) qualities tend to be regarded as “squishiness” or compromise by the people in charge, who are (for understandable reasons) committed to their respective institutional systems.

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  100. Samuel Conner,

    Max often reports that Baptists once respected the individual conscience. This is being snuffed out in our day. All must conform and submit to the almighty pastor. I figure if almighty God allows men to make the choice to sin, then measly pastors don’t have any business claiming dictatorial rights. Look around; God obviously delights in variety.

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  101. TS00: Max often reports that Baptists once respected the individual conscience. This is being snuffed out in our day. All must conform and submit to the almighty pastor.

    It may be a trustworthy saying that if one thinks that one’s traditions and institutions are a good thing, then one should reject developments in one’s tradition and institutions which, had they been in place from the beginning, would have prevented one’s traditions and from coming into being in the first place.

    Luther famously affirmed that it is never wise to go against conscience.

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  102. TS00: the heathen right of women to wear pants

    As a woman with a complicated medical history, I am extremely grateful to pick out my own clothes. People are “adorned” with everything from new scars to artificial limbs. Paradoxically, dress codes actually prevent people from blending in.

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  103. TS00: Max often reports that Baptists once respected the individual conscience.

    Indeed! The single most important distinctive belief of Baptists is “soul competency” … historically, this was at the root of Baptist belief and practice. Throughout the Bible it is clear that God reveals Himself to individuals and that individual souls are competent to receive, understand, and respond to His revelation. Soul competency implies that every man is free to decide for himself in matters of religion – that faith is built on a personal relationship with Christ who walks with and talks to believers. Man is free to choose, but is responsible for his choices.

    Of course, the current movement within SBC life (New Calvinism) wants to erase soul competency and priesthood of ‘the’ believer from denominational history … to put believers in bondage to the pulpit for all things related to faith, to ensure that the pew submits to church leaders in every jot and tittle (as they interpret jots and tittles). They prefer that you put your focus on doctrines ‘about’ grace, rather than a direct experience ‘of’ Grace, an encounter with the living Christ.

    Soul competency and priesthood of the believer were proclaimed as essentials truths during my long tenure as a Southern Baptist – these were core doctrines advanced by the pulpit and denomination. All of that began to change with the revision of the Baptist Faith & Message in 2000 – leading to a separation of clergy and laity that is not Biblical, IMO. Certainly, we need leaders … but we also need followers who daily realize they are to submit their souls to the Holy Spirit, looking to Him and Him alone for guidance. Leaders who also realize this are the best leaders and followers find it easier to follow them.

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  104. Max: Certainly, we need leaders … but we also need followers who daily realize they are to submit their souls to the Holy Spirit, looking to Him and Him alone for guidance. Leaders who also realize this are the best leaders and followers find it easier to follow them.

    The definition of a leader is one who goes before. A leader is one who is walking the path, seeking to make it safer and easier for those coming behind him. He will clear the brush, stomp down the grass, spy out the pitfalls, watch out for predators, find appropriate resting places and do his best to lead others safely to their destination.

    How that can be turned into what goes for ‘leadership’ today is beyond me, whether in politics, religion of elsewhere. Leadership has been twisted and distorted into meaning ‘the guys who call the shots’. Rather than being the ones to take the brunt of the rough trail, they assert the right to craft their own custom journey, in luxury SUV’s paid for by those who are left to clamber through the wilderness as best they can.

    I have had the ‘godly’ leadership talk thrown at me for decades, and while many recite it in earnestness, I simply reject it as the distorted conception of men. Almost always for personal benefit. When I see the men who strip themselves to wash the poorest man’s feet, I will be more likely to listen to what they have to say. But the tradition of some specially trained class of men being declared ‘Teacher’ and telling everyone else what to believe is unbiblical and unhealthy.

    The early Baptists had it right. Even Paul praised those who double checked his words to see if they seemed an accurate treatment of scripture. Because he knew the individual was competent to read and grapple with the meaning of scripture. They did not need a seminary trained expert to ‘teach’ them truth. They had, and we have, been given a far superior expert – the Spirit of the Living God.

    Give me an ekklesia with no ‘authority’ class, and I will be happy to not forsake the assembly of believers. I cannot tell you how much I long for such. But I refuse to bow to the false authority of mere men, many of who are arrogant, self-absorbed narcissists; others, while well-meaning, are ignorant of what Jesus proscribed and are doing more harm by spoon-feeding their thoughts into the minds of people who should be doing their own soul searching.

    I love to learn from others. I love interacting with people who have different understandings and experiences from which I can learn. But not in a setting in which all the tools of mind control take place. Let us reason together, ask questions, discuss alternative interpretations. But don’t sermonize me.

    When I do read a sermon, I interact with it. I underline, write comments, stop and look up scripture, call a friend to discuss it – and find that something valuable can almost always be gained. Not so from sitting and having another person’s thoughts drilled, unexamined, into my head. I guess it goes way back; I didn’t listen raptly in school either, or when I did, insisted on popping up my hand with questions. I preferred to read and examine the textbooks on my own at home, where I could think on them. Something inside me has always recoiled at being helplessly brainwashed.

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  105. TS00: I refuse to bow to the false authority of mere men, many of who are arrogant, self-absorbed narcissists

    Christian leaders who lead best know:

    “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

    “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

    We have a new generation of leaders in American pulpits who do not lead in this way because they have not had a genuine encounter with the one who desires to lead His people through them.

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  106. Max,

    Yes!

    Permit me to add one more: 2 Cor 8

    For you know the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who for your sake became poor in order that you, through His poverty, might be made rich.

    In context, this is not simply a statement about Jesus; it functions in Paul’s argument as an exhortation to imitate Him. And that kind of imitation, in a local church setting, has to start with the leaders.

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  107. Lots of stuff going on. I hope to have an update on the Leanne situation in the very near future. She is there woman who called her abuser on the phone and confronted him. This is a story that will cause your eyes to bug out while at the same time admiring leanne’s incredible tenacity.

    There is more going on with the Ed Stetzer/Mark Galli story. Other advocates are jumping Ito the arena. A long needed debate on ethics in the Christian community is beginning.

    I am way behind when it comes to following up with some victims and will do my best over the next couple of weeks.

    Folks, keep the pressure on to there. Let you voices be heard by these institutions. We are getting through and they ain’t happy! Many more articles are being written about the *bad bloggers.* Good! The more they write this nonsense, the more visits abuse blogs are receiving.

    Keep speaking out. Go to blogs, websites, etc and express your concerns. You are making a difference.

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  108. Wade Burleson,

    You have always stood up for women in leadership. I so appreciate you.

    You raise an important point that I have made. In my Lutheran church, only the two pastors are elders. The leadership council is made up of those who are the heads of various ministries within the church. That means lots of women as well as men. Our pastors also constantly tout area Director of Christian Education who has men working under her.

    The pastors remind me a bit of you. They make sure that Scripture is interpreted correctly. So, when the word *man* is used and the intent is men and women, they reflect that in their messages.

    I do not understand why even strongly complementation churches cannot have women in leadership.Even if the elders use be male, why can’t they have s leadership team of men and women who advise them? It makes no sense to me.

    Thank you for standing up for Julie Roys. I know it is appreciated.

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  109. dee: A long needed debate on ethics in the Christian community is beginning.

    I hope it addresses mega-mania, with mega-arrogant “pastors” making mega-salaries, residing in mega-mansions, living mega-lifestyles, acting mega-puffed up, and treating their flocks mega-badly.

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  110. Wade Burleson: admit the mistake, publicly acknowledge the wrong, thank the person who pointed it out, and you’ll be amazed at the people who follow such displays of public integrity

    Whew! Do we need to have an outbreak of that in the American church … in both pulpit and pew! I believe Jesus called it “repentance.”

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  111. Samuel Conner: Luther famously affirmed that it is never wise to go against conscience.

    Unless of course, the dictates of your (generic your) conscience were different than his.

    When he (Luther) realized that he couldn’t enlist Erasmus in his cause, he turned on him like a rabid pit bull.

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  112. TS00,

    “The definition of a leader is one who goes before. A leader is one who is walking the path, seeking to make it safer and easier for those coming behind him. He will clear the brush, stomp down the grass, spy out the pitfalls, watch out for predators, find appropriate resting places and do his best to lead others safely to their destination.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    a leader… if i try to pare it down in my mind, it’s just someone in a group with other(s) who shares their desire to get from here to there successfully and efficiently. and who can see at least the first step for how to do it (if not many steps all laid in their mind).

    successfully means they all get there in as good condition as possible. efficiently means with the least amount of hardship and delay.

    the leader eats last.

    the leader sees this not necessarily as a noble thing (really, such pondering is a luxury — it has nothing to do with the objective of getting to the destination in good time and in good form, and frankly there’s no time for it.)

    …but the leader eats last to make sure everyone gets their fuel — if someone isn’t getting the fuel they need, they will drag everyone else down.

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  113. elastigirl: headcoverings…. for real? did you wear one? we’re not talking stylish hats, are we?

    You’d be surprised, but then again you wouldn’t, what can be concocted from Greek letters all run together on old, brittle, and crumbling papyri.

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  114. elastigirl: the leader eats last

    When Jesus and His disciples did that at the big picnic where 5,000 showed up, they found there was plenty fish and bread left for them after the crowd ate first. We have turned our attempt to do church upside down in this regard; those who have ears to hear will understand.

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  115. Ken F (aka Tweed): I left my SBC church about a year ago because of the direction they were headed. And I also made the mistake of diving into church history to try to find the best form of Christianity so that I could know where to plug in. That might have been a mistake because I found that the “church” has always been messed up in one way or another (ignorance is bliss). On the other hand, that messed up church had some high points and did manage to give us the New Testament and some creeds that are useful.

    I think the answer is really right in front of us:

    “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    Everything else is extraneous.

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  116. Muff Potter,

    something sort of like, “put on the witch’s hat, spin around, clap 3 times,…”

    amazing, the procedures and protocols that people come up with from staring at the text for too long, in search of answers and instructions for everything. because they believe they are helpless, clueless, and worthless otherwise.

    or else they simply want to start a business religion.

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  117. Ken F (aka Tweed): What puzzles me about early church history is how quickly the documented practice became liturgical, sacramental, and hierarchical (the surviving records show that it looked much more Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox than Baptist). If there was a form of Christianity that was not like this it was not written about in a way that survived.

    This has always puzzled me, too. I’d like to know more about how/when this happened. But when I read the NT, and particularly the words of Christ, I don’t see priests and vestments and liturgy and all. I wonder how that came down…

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  118. roebuck: But when I read the NT, and particularly the words of Christ, I don’t see priests and vestments and liturgy and all. I wonder how that came down…

    The same thing that we see in many pastors today, and what Jesus warned about when his disciples asked him who among them would be the greatest? The disciples didn’t get it, neither did the following generations.

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  119. ION: Sport

    Important win for the Reds at home to Chelsea today; the title remains Man City’s to lose, as they have a game in hand, but I hope it can at least go to the final day of the season.

    Also, AWWBA, the world’s top golfists are out and about the iconic Augusta course as this year’s Masters nears its conclusion. As I write, no fewer than five players share the lead with at most 4 holes to play. Whilst golfism will never be as exciting as cricket, that doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting!

    IHTIH

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  120. TS00: The definition of a leader is one who goes before.

    A few years ago, in early winter when the first snow was appearing in the Highlands, I set off up Ben Lomond (Scotland’s southernmost 3000-foot summit). The first snow was at about 700 metres, and there were very many footprints in it. But as I got higher, and the snow got deeper, there were fewer footprints. Eventually, beyond the intermediate summit of Tarmachan at around 800 metres, there was just one brave soul who had waded through the knee-deep (and sometimes deeper) powder that had completely hidden the path. I never met them; both they and I descended from the top by the other, much more popular, route, and all I know is that their boots were about the same size as mine! But just that one set of footprints made the last thousand feet or so markedly easier. Even if only because I could see where they’d discovered a deep drift and disappeared into it.

    It struck me, that day, that there’s more than one kind of leadership. There’s a kind of leader who just gets on with a job, and leaves a trail. And the fact that they’ve done so makes it that bit easier for the second person to do it. Eventually, it becomes a well-worn path.

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  121. dee,

    It is actually kind if funny, all of “bad bloggers”…. yup, we are a real scary bunch…… for how many years have I listened to my “spiritual leaders” attack the pagan, secular human world.. and as a practicing scientist, I (we) draw special attacks from some specific “spiritual leaders”… and many Of them are quick to embrace technology to get “their” word out… BUT, when we pew peons start expecting our leaders “walk the talk”, we become the evil bloggers… they are just demonstrating how mess d up they are!!

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  122. And then there’s this reminder for both pulpit and pew …

    My 5-year old grandson’s prayer in children’s church this morning:

    “Lord, help us to do what is right. To do what is wrong is not our thing.”

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  123. Ken F (aka Tweed): In the mean time, I no longer have enthusiasm about any kind of church gathering. Every denomination has arguments for why theirs is the right path. They cannot all be right. And maybe being right does not matter as much as we would like to think.

    I found this blog having fallen into a “fun” church, but wanting to better understand its “bones” after being away from organized church for about 15 years. In my research, I have discovered a lot of warning signs of impending dysfunction, which saddens me because I love the people in this congregation. I also realized that this church was going to chafe over time: it is very complementarian in its design. The elders are men. We were told in the Next Steps that there would be times that the pastor would make decisions that we might not like, but that is the way “it is” because the pastor will know what is right. (red flag).

    Oddly, I just came home from church. I migrated back to my church of origin: the UMC. The church that I found is small and aging (lots of grey heads) but the intent is earnest. I do not expect perfection, but I appreciate the liturgy, the prayers, the hymns. I missed the liturgy in the “fun” church. One thing that I found very disturbing (and almost started crying in church today) is the new churches are so “branded.” The symbols of our God are missing: there is no cross, no representation of the trinity, just the brand. Yes, twice a year you get to the see the cross in a movie: one at Easter depicting the Easter story and once at Christmas depicting the birth of Jesus. To have a large wooden cross always there is the front of the sanctuary is important for me.

    Yes, there is no mention of vestments or priests or liturgy in the New Testament, but for some of us, there is a power and comfort in worshiping through that structure. Once again, what works for me, may not work for you — but my desire to have a little pomp and circumstance to honor God makes me no better Christian than the person who doesn’t go to church but lives a graced life. (As an aside, one of the moments that I will never forget was a Christmas candlelight service at First Methodist in Houston in approximately 1981….there was a recessional with choir exiting through a packed congregation. The organist had all the stops out….for me, it felt like the roof was lifting. Pomp, circumstance? To the max! God in that place? For me, a thousand times yes!)

    There is a power in community. There have always been imperfections in the rendition of the human church, but the reality the most important thing is Jesus and his gift/sacrifice for us. We need to be discerning….to realize when the human construct of the church is imperfect (and sometimes, maybe not appropriate). As a young girl coming of age thinking about religion, I decided that God in his power and wisdom knew that there were a lot of different types of people, so he allowed the creation of lots of different types of religion. My understanding of that has nuanced over the past 5 decades decades, but I still believe that. It is not my place to judge people — there are some couples that are very complementarian and it works for them and everyone is graced and grows. I think what the people reading this board are concerned about is when spiritual authority is abused and people are imprisoned rather than being let free by the Grace of God. THAT is a human construct that needs to be called out and exposed. When people bully using the word of God — that needs to be called out and exposed. God’s word is one of love and freedom. As a child and young adult, I was lost in the liturgy; the simplicity of the message was not so clear to me. Now, the liturgy is comforting and I still see the simple message shining through it.

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  124. SiteSeer: “… those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    Everything else is extraneous

    The challenge I personally find in this is knowing what is truth amidst all the noise from all the various denominations, non-denominations, and even the “dones,” who all claim to know the truth (even if through the back door of saying we can truthfully know that we cannot know the truth). If I accept that statement from the Bible I have to fist accept that it correctly expresses what Jesus actually said. But how can I know that? It turns out that event though the NT was most likely all written in the first century, it was not really canonized until the fourth century by what had by them become the institutional church. If I reject that institutional church, by what rationale should I accept the NT that they gave us? Conversely, if I trust that the institutional church got it right with the NT, by what rationale can I conclude they got almost everything else wrong? I’m not expecting an answer, this is more the state of my thoughts right now. I trust that in time I will eventually get workable answers that I can live with.

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  125. roebuck: But when I read the NT, and particularly the words of Christ, I don’t see priests and vestments and liturgy and all. I wonder how that came down…

    There is actually more of it in the NT than comes through in English translations. The “leadership” titles in Greek are Episkopos (from which we get Bishop), Presbyteros (from which we get Priest), and Diakonos (from which we get Deacon). The vestments come from both the concept of the Jewish priests wearing vestments and from the cultural practices of the Roman Empire. Also, the Eastern Orthodox compare vestments with passages like those in Revelation that describe religious clothing. As for liturgy, it comes from the Greek word leitourgos, which is used 15 times in its various forms in the NT. It is translated into words like minister and service. An example is Luke 1:23: “When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.” The NT also contains short hymns and creedal statements such as: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

    I am not trying to defend hierarchy, liturgy, and sacraments. Rather, I am struggling with how much historical support there is for them compared to the complete lack of historical support for their absence. It makes me wonder if there is something to them that I should not quickly dismiss. On the other hand, I have seen how badly they can be abused. What a mess…

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  126. Mati: es, there is no mention of vestments or priests or liturgy in the New Testament, but for some of us, there is a power and comfort in worshiping through that structure. Once again, what works for me, may not work for you — but my desire to have a little pomp and circumstance to honor God makes me no better Christian than the person who doesn’t go to church but lives a graced life.

    I don’t have a problem with clergy and vestments and liturgy, not at all. I am just very curious as to how and when it came about, since it’s not in the NT.

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  127. Mati: Oddly, I just came home from church. I migrated back to my church of origin: the UMC.

    I did the same thing – I grew up in the UMC church and went back to it about a year ago. The one I now attend is a very large and dynamic one with all ages. I’m still not excited about it, probably because of all the baggage I carry. But I feel safe and it’s hard to find anyone who has heard of names like John Piper. My next step should be to get involved in one of its many care ministries.

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  128. Way back in 1999 the following people contributed to ‘Leadership: A Practical Journal for Church Leaders (Summer 1999, Volume XX Number 3) Paperback – 1999
    by Bill Hybels (Contributor), James MacDonald (Contributor), Richard Doebler (Contributor), Mark Galli (Contributor), Eric Reed (Contributor), Tim Bowman (Contributor), Norma Bourland (Contributor), Kimball Hodge (Contributor), Jim Smoke (Contributor), John Vawter (Contributor), Marshall Shelley (Editor)

    Interesting?

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  129. TS00: The definition of a leader is one who goes before. A leader is one who is walking the path, seeking to make it safer and easier for those coming behind him. He will clear the brush, stomp down the grass, spy out the pitfalls, watch out for predators, find appropriate resting places and do his best to lead others safely to their destination.

    Jesus asked the Father to give
    Parakletos to his disciples as an aid to walk besides the disciples. This is not the same spirit of modern day “leadership” to rule over you such as “pastoral leaders” or “elder lead” church org.

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  130. elastigirl,

    sorry… that was overly critical.

    honestly — the process of coming to terms with my frustrations and philosophical turmoil, towards honing my convictions of what is true, real, reasonable (*and processing it through writing, here*) — i lose touch with the fact that it’s not merely the concepts but sincere human beings, as well.

    normally there’s a face to reflect back to me that i really crossed into insult territory. little bit slower of a realization, here. sorry again to all for the insulting quality of that comment (and many others, too, i’m sure),

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  131. Wade Burleson,

    Thank you, Pastor! You are indeed insightful and correct–and this from a Southern Baptist! 🙂 I have witnessed much abuse and male entitlement over years in evangelicalism due to rigid or toxic views of Scriptures regarding gender. (I’m almost 70 years old). Many of us, single or married, looked elsewhere as a result. We found affirmation and freedom with egalitarians and persevere to remove barriers so we (female and male) become all God gifted us to be–inside and outside institutional churches. Patriarchy has no place in society, in our professions and work place, in “Christianity Today,” or in any age!

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  132. Lowlandseer,

    Disgusting…… yup, real “leaders”…. two completely discreted for not “simple moral failings” but systemic BAD leadership…. and now we are questioning Mr Galli’s ethics’s….
    but remember, we pew peons are not to question “G$d’s annointed” even thought their behavior would get me fired in my evil, secular humanist, pagan profession..

    Growing up in the fundy/evangelical world, I was constantly told the best thing I could do is be in full time Christain service and save souls, the rest would burn…. and was made to feel bad that I followed my heart and gifts and went into a engineering/scientific profession… the evil, pagan, secular humanist world…..
    as a over 50 something, I can now say how thankful I did not listen to all the false teachers…. plus, I fell called to stand up, and blow the whistle and call out these false teachers…

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  133. roebuck: If there was a form of Christianity that was not like this it was not written about in a way that survived.

    This is the key: ‘in a way that survived’.

    Whose kingdom is ruling on earth right now? Do we really believe that all that has ever happened has been properly and accurately recorded for us, or have we been provided the ‘history’ that we are intended to believe? Do we honestly think James MacDonald is the first guy who ever ran a shady and successful sham that fooled the masses?

    My love affair for antiquarian and rare books really opened my eyes to how few of the old books we actually have at our disposal. How many books have ever been written? God only knows. Yet what percentage of them do we know the titles of, or have readily available to peruse?

    Do we naively suppose, as I once did, that it is simply the ‘best’ ones that made the cut, or are there other factors that control what is printed or reprinted by modern publishing houses?

    Sometimes we forget that there is a battle going on here, and most of what we have handed down to us is going to be the propaganda of the ministers of false Truth.

    The leaders of our institutions would have us to believe that those they target are all ‘bad guys’ and ‘enemies’. The trustworthy leader of our faith tells us that it is the ‘good guys’ who can expect undue persecution and worse. Think Jesus.

    If we are wise we might at least question who controls the flow of Official Information, and seek out for ourselves, as best we can, ‘the rest of the story’. It takes time and effort, but we can often flush out clues and put pieces together. Or we can just read the officially approved history, science and current events, and trust that everything we are told is absolute fact. Despite the fact that it so often has proven not to be.

    We will never have all of the facts, but we will be much better served if we don’t lap up the official propaganda like Kool-aid. No, friends, George Washington probably never cut down that cherry tree. And who knows what else he – and others – did or didn’t do, contrary to what our public school mythologies, er, history books tell us?

    If y’all think manipulation, abuse and corruption is unique to organized religion, I’ve got news for you.

    I have a pretty loose eschatology, but if one puts any credence in scripture, one must wonder what is meant by ‘ For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.’

    Think about what these words suggest: ‘no human being would be saved’. That sounds pretty serious to me. (And ‘but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened’ doesn’t seem to suggest any promising Rapture, a la Jerry Jenkins, to put our hopes in.)

    I honestly don’t claim to know what the future of this earth is going to look like, but scripture doesn’t sound a bit like my former Calvie pastor’s Post-Mil, ‘everything’s just going to get better and better until we build God’s kingdom on earth’. It didn’t work for Calvin, and I suspect it is not going to go any better for his descendants.

    Maybe the war, disease, genocide and murder we see throughout history is due more to mankind being the target of the rulers of this world, than because some deterministic God has a cruel, malicious streak. And the sparks of goodness, beauty and love that can never be stomped out are the true reflections of the good and loving God who will someday prevail. But maybe that’s just me.

    Sorry for the rambling.

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  134. TS00: Let me know when you find them, because I struggle with the same questions.

    The trail of crumbs I currently seem to be following includes all kinds of heretics, such as Baxter Kruger (former Calvinist), Paul Young, Brad Jersak (Eastern Orthodox), Richard Rohr (Roman Catholic, NT Wright (Anglican), and people along those lines.

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  135. Beakerj: I’ve always assumed these were some Christianised Jewish practices, as one built on the traditional culture of the other.

    That appears to be a very good assumption. I am wondering if there was a form of Jewish Christianity that retained Jewish traditions, and another form of gentile Christianity that did not have those traditions. If there was such a form, it does not have historical evidence. I wonder if the Judaizers that Paul warned about won. But I cannot seem to find out. Nor can I decide whether or not it matters.

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  136. Ken F (aka Tweed): Beakerj: I’ve always assumed these were some Christianised Jewish practices, as one built on the traditional culture of the other.

    That appears to be a very good assumption. I am wondering if there was a form of Jewish Christianity that retained Jewish traditions, and another form of gentile Christianity that did not have those traditions. If there was such a form, it does not have historical evidence. I wonder if the Judaizers that Paul warned about won. But I cannot seem to find out. Nor can I decide whether or not it matters.

    These are my thoughts, too, in a nutshell. Whether or not it matters, I don’t know. But I sure am curious!

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  137. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I, too. We read “A more Christlike God” recently, and indeed Lesley is re-reading it.

    Jesus of Nazareth remains the reason I’m still interested in religion. If there is the slightest chance that God is like him – IOW, if the Bible, at least where it ends up, is true – then however agnostic I am, I remain a seeker. The reason I don’t fit in christian circles is that I cannot settle for worshipping anything less than that.

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  138. Nick Bulbeck: Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I, too. We read “A more Christlike God” recently, and indeed Lesley is re-reading it.

    Jesus of Nazareth remains the reason I’m still interested in religion. If there is the slightest chance that God is like him – IOW, if the Bible, at least where it ends up, is true – then however agnostic I am, I remain a seeker. The reason I don’t fit in christian circles is that I cannot settle for worshipping anything less than that.

    I’m still working through Jersak’s book. It is so rich, that I keep starting over. I do believe that the true ‘gospel’ message is that God is like Jesus. All the rest, tinkered with by corruption, distortion, traditions of men, whatever, I’m not so terribly concerned about. I guess that makes me as agnostic as you. 😉

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  139. Ken F (aka Tweed): I am not trying to defend hierarchy, liturgy, and sacraments. Rather, I am struggling with how much historical support there is for them compared to the complete lack of historical support for their absence.

    A view that I find appealing (perhaps because it’s a bit “squishy” and ecumenical) is that these things are permissible but not essential. What is essential is the quality of the relationships within the visible church — “love one another even as I have loved you.” If that is present, it scarcely matters what the details of the specific forms of meeting and worship are.

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  140. Samuel Conner,

    So many good points in here, Samuel, so I didn’t bother trying to pick one out!

    Maybe it’s not so much that the many splinters of christianity are flawed, as that they are hopelessly incomplete. Like dismembered body parts. It’s often struck me that the multiple “local churches” in most towns are basically collective lone-ranger christians.

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  141. Ken F (aka Tweed): The trail of crumbs I currently seem to be following includes all kinds of heretics, such as Baxter Kruger (former Calvinist), Paul Young, Brad Jersak (Eastern Orthodox), Richard Rohr (Roman Catholic, NT Wright (Anglican), and people along those lines.

    NT Wright is my new favorite theologian. Both ‘Surprised by Hope’ and ‘Paul’ were game-changers for me.

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  142. Nick Bulbeck,

    What a world it would be if Jesus’ command to “love one another as I have loved you” were embraced not only by individuals, but by groups. If that is going to happen, it will start among the churches. I have hope, though not much optimism.

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  143. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “I am not trying to defend hierarchy, liturgy, and sacraments. Rather, I am struggling with how much historical support there is for them compared to the complete lack of historical support for their absence. It makes me wonder if there is something to them that I should not quickly dismiss. On the other hand, I have seen how badly they can be abused. What a mess…”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    a thought…

    as soon as people get together, a leader naturally emerges. someone to say, “ok, shall we start?” someone to say “well, is that a wrap?” and to help guide the group through this & that so it meets the expectations for why everyone came together in the first place.

    the bigger the group or group of groups, the more organized with leader, leaders, subleaders, etc. and the more likely they are to make an impression on the community. to make it into history books.

    those who do what they do on their own, or in very small venues don’t make it into history books.

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  144. Jeffrey Chalmers: Growing up in the fundy/evangelical world, I was constantly told the best thing I could do is be in full time Christain service and save souls, the rest would burn….

    Ever heard of the Heresy of Clericalism?

    That only Clergy/Clerics (Priests, Monks, and Nuns) matter before God and all the rest of us Laity can go to Hell (but keep Tithing!)?

    Just now it’s “full time Christian service” instead of Priests, Monks, and Nuns.

    And about “It’s All Gonna Burn”….

    When The World Ends Tomorrow and It’s All Gonna Burn, don’t expect any long-term goals or planning for the future. Because you have No Future.

    Unfortunately, the Future has this way of happening by itself. WITHOUT any input or influence from you. And you WILL find yourself Left Behind, just not in the way you thought.

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  145. Samuel Conner: I compelling point made by NT Wright in one of his books was that most of the Gentile converts in the churches Paul founded were … slaves. They did not have the liberty to take Sunday off — they had to do what their masters told them, or face severe consequences.

    And as a Roman of means, you didn’t need to inflict those “severe consequences” yourself.

    There were these independent contractors specializing in disciplining animate property called “Tortures” (source of our word Torturer). Contracts have survived which include “equipment” (including crosses, “furcae”/strangling poles, and “flagrae”/barbed scourge-whips), removal of bodies and various body parts, and cleanup of blood and other fluids.

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  146. elastigirl: those who do what they do on their own, or in very small venues don’t make it into history books.

    It’s a plausible thought. But I don’t know what to do with the implications. For example, did they have a different set of letters that did not make it into the NT? If they were the true church but did not document it, how can anyone know what they believed? It’s a little like the inerrency argument saying the original autographs were inerrent but the copies are not. What good does it do us if we don’t have the originals? The difference with that issue is we have enough copies that it’s possible to get pretty close to the original NT letters. But if there was a better, but undocumented, early version of Christianity, what good is it to us today since we have nothing we can use to reconstruct it? We can guess, but what makes our guesses any better than wishful thinking since nothing is documented? And what do we do with this statement from Jesus: “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”? If there was a truer form of Christianity that couldn’t even find its way into the history books, wouldn’t that make Jesus a liar? The problem is the more I look at it the more questions I find. I feel like the more I learn the less I know.

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  147. Nick Bulbeck: The reason I don’t fit in christian circles is that I cannot settle for worshipping anything less than that.

    This is a great viewpoint. I had not thought of it like this before, but it rings true. Maybe that is what I am working through – knowing in my gut that reality is different from what I have been taught. Your comment reminds me of this CS Lewis quote:

    It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

    The problem is we have so many voices trying to convince us of the goodness of mud pies.

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  148. Ken F (aka Tweed): And what do we do with this statement from Jesus: “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”?

    FWIW, some suggest that Peter’s statement of truth concerning who Jesus is was ‘the rock’ Jesus referred to, upon which the body of believers would be anchored, rather than Peter himself.

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  149. elastigirl: normally there’s a face to reflect back to me that i really crossed into insult territory. little bit slower of a realization, here. sorry again to all for the insulting quality of that comment (and many others, too, i’m sure),

    I don’t think for a moment that you crossed over into insult territory, and here’s why:

    People can hold to various and cherished belief systems derived from Scripture, and that’s fine and dandy, I can dig it; whatever floats your boat so to speak.

    But when said beliefs contribute to oppression and other forms of human misery and suffering, they should be called out, and there really is no nice way to do that.

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  150. roebuck: This has always puzzled me, too. I’d like to know more about how/when this happened. But when I read the NT, and particularly the words of Christ, I don’t see priests and vestments and liturgy and all. I wonder how that came down…

    Some of us do see priests and (Eucharistic) liturgy in the NT! (Vestments are not mentioned AFAIK, but then they are not proscribed either, right?)

    We also see “Tu es Petrus” and all that flows from this. But I won’t go there. 😉

    Scott Hahn brilliantly shows how the Book of Revelation describes the Heavenly Liturgy, which is simultaneously present on earth: “the Mass as Heaven on earth.”

    Maybe we have become too used to refracting the NT through a Protestant hermeneutical lens. The Early Church Fathers saw it very differently.

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  151. Ken F (aka Tweed): The challenge I personally find in this is knowing what is truth amidst all the noise from all the various denominations, non-denominations, and even the “dones,” who all claim to know the truth (even if through the back door of saying we can truthfully know that we cannot know the truth). If I accept that statement from the Bible I have to fist accept that it correctly expresses what Jesus actually said. But how can I know that? It turns out that event though the NT was most likely all written in the first century, it was not really canonized until the fourth century by what had by them become the institutional church. If I reject that institutional church, by what rationale should I accept the NT that they gave us? Conversely, if I trust that the institutional church got it right with the NT, by what rationale can I conclude they got almost everything else wrong? I’m not expecting an answer, this is more the state of my thoughts right now. I trust that in time I will eventually get workable answers that I can live with.

    Very good questions.

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  152. Ken F (aka Tweed): And what do we do with this statement from Jesus: “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”? If there was a truer form of Christianity that couldn’t even find its way into the history books, wouldn’t that make Jesus a liar? The problem is the more I look at it the more questions I find. I feel like the more I learn the less I know.

    “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God”

    “Upon this rock I will build my church”

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  153. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “For example, did they have a different set of letters that did not make it into the NT? If they were the true church but did not document it, how can anyone know what they believed?

    …But if there was a better, but undocumented, early version of Christianity,

    …”If there was a truer form of Christianity that couldn’t even find its way into the history books..”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i guess my thought is there is already too much information in too many belief systems under the God-Jesus-HolySpirit umbrella. if there was another one that had been lost in the sands of time, how plausible is it that that was the only right one? the one and true variation on the theme that counted? only those who were alive in that short span of time had it right?

    is God really that fussy? we can love our neighbors and treat them they way we want to be treated, but if we don’t have the right system for doing everything else we’re out of luck and it’s eternal curtains?

    it’s kind of like cookbooks. a visit to any half price books makes it very clear there are too many cookbooks in the world. more than anyone knows what to do with.

    some present recipes in great detail; some with many steps; some with very few steps; some with a just general description; some with all the food groups; some with only 1 or 2; some very exciting; some very basic and plain;

    they all produce food that some people find tasty, some people find unpleasant, some people find bland, some people find outrageously good, some people find hard, some people find easy.

    there’s no real right one. it’s all food, and it’s all edible, and it’s all nourishing.

    i’m certain God is not fussy. i think God is easy to please.

    kindness, honesty, selflessness, patience, humility… like the basic food groups. doesn’t matter how they’re cooked up, as long as they’re in your diet.

    …or maybe this doesn’t exactly apply to the questions you’re asking.

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  154. Mark Galli, Hello, Sir, IMHO you have inadvertently caught yourself, and your magazine in James MacDonald’s apparent loss of Christian integrity. Sadly, this apparent loss of Christian Integrity has done harm and injury to many. Respectfully, please by His Grace, reconsider your words and actions of late. I wish you well. In my prayers, Sòpy ;~)

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  155. Ken F (aka Tweed): The problem is the more I look at it the more questions I find. I feel like the more I learn the less I know.

    I believe that the author of the Proverbs (perhaps it was Ecclesiastes) put it this way: “the more understanding, the more sorrow”.

    Don’t give up; it is better to dwell in the house of mourning than in the house of feasting.

    The ‘theologies of glory’ (as Luther would have but it) in the end lead one to a place of ashes, as the principal actors in the recent TWW posts are IMO likely to discover.

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  156. Samuel Conner:

    It is beyond our power to repair the evils of the world, but we may be able to make things a little better in that corner of creation where we have a little influence, in our own homes and among family and friends. If enough people do that, it could a different world. And there can be joy in the effort, even when it seems hopeless.

    “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – Thorin I of Erebor, on his deathbed

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  157. elastigirl: there’s no real right one. it’s all food, and it’s all edible, and it’s all nourishing.

    i’m certain God is not fussy. i think God is easy to please.

    kindness, honesty, selflessness, patience, humility… like the basic food groups. doesn’t matter how they’re cooked up, as long as they’re in your diet.

    This has been the ‘heretical’ claim of nearly all dissidents from the Orthodox Institutional Church throughout history. Earnest, god-fearing, pious individuals who simply asserted their right to believe a little differently, worship in less structured, ceremonial ways or allow those within their number the right of conscience have always been forbidden.

    Because they threaten the oligarchy. They point to the truth of the hubris of declaring ‘We are the One True Church’ and ‘This is the One True Way to Worship God’. Dissidents must be declared the Enemy, for they threaten the chokehold of power and wealth that a ‘One True Church’ theology allows.

    So, yes, there is a recorded history of another way of doing Church. But they will always be portrayed as rebels, dissidents and heretics and many suffered great persecution.

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  158. Sòpwith,

    “Hello, imho Our Heavenly Father, faithfully provides and presents us with a super great ‘recipe’ for success; “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i’m sure i agree. but for the sake of understanding, what does “Christ in you, the hope of glory” actually mean, as you see it?

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  159. Eeyore,

    “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – Thorin I of Erebor, on his deathbed
    +++++++++++++++++

    neat. i think “eat, drink, and be merry” has a flippant, Marie Antoinette-ish ring to it. but i subscribe to it.

    my impression is that christian culture looks down its sanctimonious nose. too much freedom, too much liberation, too much celebration not focussed on God. and FAR too much happiness! don’t you know the higher road is to look for opportunities for hardship and self denial and call it joy?

    i think happiness for its own sake is celebrating God-given life itself.

    “Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry”, Ecclesiastes somewhere.

    the maxim i find my self saying to my kids most often is “moderation in all things”.

    surely there is room in every day to eat, drink and be merry — sounds like a very moderated lifestyle to me.

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  160. Ken F (aka Tweed): It’s a plausible thought. But I don’t know what to do with the implications. For example, did they have a different set of letters that did not make it into the NT? If they were the true church but did not document it, how can anyone know what they believed? It’s a little like the inerrency argument saying the original autographs were inerrent but the copies are not. What good does it do us if we don’t have the originals? The difference with that issue is we have enough copies that it’s possible to get pretty close to the original NT letters. But if there was a better, but undocumented, early version of Christianity, what good is it to us today since we have nothing we can use to reconstruct it? We can guess, but what makes our guesses any better than wishful thinking since nothing is documented? And what do we do with this statement from Jesus: “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”? If there was a truer form of Christianity that couldn’t even find its way into the history books, wouldn’t that make Jesus a liar? The problem is the more I look at it the more questions I find. I feel like the more I learn the less I know.

    I’ve always wondered why God quit simply writing letters over the past two thousand years to encourage and steer his Body and allow the Spirit to use them like he did in the early days. From my perspective, since I’ve written more than my share of letters to abusive family members and churches, I quit writing letters when I see no good has resulted from the effort it takes to pen them. Hopefully, that’s not God’s motivation too.

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  161. Nick Bulbeck: The corporate Christian line is very much like that: We own the rights to Jesus, and if you want to buy any Jesus you must do it through us.

    Was that Nick or God this time? 😉 Should have signed in as God on this one.

    The majority of the church is the ‘Christian’ Corporation.

    In the ‘Christian’ Corporation, people aren’t members, they are merely resources to be utilized by the Corporate officers.

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  162. Galli’s admitted confusion regarding this simple matter of journalistic ethics highlights the isolated microcosm of Christian elitism. (That there even exists a “Christian elite” is pathetic.)

    That Galli is clueless to the reason for the outrage expressed here over his response speaks to just how far removed he is from the way ethics are reasonably and normally executed. I think his justification has harmed his reputation among us non-elites.

    Personally, I’m outraged over his blindness regarding Julie Roys. First JM’s editorial article was supposed to be limited to “theological justification” regarding suing, but then Galli permitted the article to go to print with personal and inaccurate statements about Julie. Why did Galli not edit the article in keeping with his own stated limitations? Additionally, where was Galli’s responsibility to fact check the printed accusations JM claimed against Julie?

    These are some of the issues that must be addressed by Galli if he wishes to reestablish, if possible, his reputation to the general public.

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  163. Remnant: Galli’s admitted confusion regarding this simple matter of journalistic ethics highlights the isolated microcosm of Christian elitism. (That there even exists a “Christian elite” is pathetic.)

    .
    .
    .

    These are some of the issues that must be addressed by Galli if he wishes to reestablish, if possible, his reputation to the general public.

    I believe it was Paul who wrote that some people’s sins (highly visibly) precede them to the place of judgment, while for others, their sins are not as visible and follow them.

    If one is a public person, one should not be surprised or hurt if one finds oneself in the first group.

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  164. elastigirl: …or maybe this doesn’t exactly apply to the questions you’re asking.

    It does apply. If there is a problem it is with the squishiness of my questions. I have not yet stumbled upon a religious model where its proponents did not appeal to some kind of authority for why they believe and practice what they do. In the case if Christianity, it’s always an appeal to either tradition, scripture (just another form of tradition), or a new revelation that eventually becomes tradition. In all cases, the appeal is to tradition is to establish why “we” are right and “you/they” are wrong. Even those who claim to reject tradition base it on a tradition of what they imagine the early church (or some segment of it) must have been like. If it really does not matter which model to follow, then an institutional church model is no better or worse than a non-institutional model. But if it does matter, how does one determine selection criteria?

    I suppose I struggle with this because I am more extroverted than introverted and this is the first time in my life where I have been living as a spiritual introvert. In the deep South I have not found a church where it is ok to have these kinds of beliefs and questions.

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  165. Remnant,

    Yup…. let alone the conflict of interest, which they keep trying to deny; yet many of would be fired for….. ever year I have list my financial interactions related to my job…. given Ed S. Has part of his salary paid by CT, which was initially hidden, and it is admitted that Ed S. Made the “contact” between Mr. Galli and James McDonald, such “interactions” would qualify for COI…..

    It just amazes me that the “Christian Industrial Complex” has significantly lower standards than the pagan, secular humanist world…
    How many times have we all been “preached at” to be “without reproach” to be a “witness” to evil world, yet it is fine for the Christian elite to get classic cars, for questionable reasons, paid for by the pew peons?

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  166. Ken F (aka Tweed): That appears to be a very good assumption. I am wondering if there was a form of Jewish Christianity that retained Jewish traditions, and another form of gentile Christianity that did not have those traditions. If there was such a form, it does not have historical evidence. I wonder if the Judaizers that Paul warned about won. But I cannot seem to find out. Nor can I decide whether or not it matters.

    You might want to look up the Ebionites

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  167. P.S. well, well, right after I sent the latest post, my institution sent me an e-mail to fill out my “annual conflict of interest” form…
    If I listed a classic car, I would have some “ splaining to do”…. and if I hid it, I would be doing more than explaining…

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  168. Ken F (aka Tweed): If it really does not matter which model to follow, then an institutional church model is no better or worse than a non-institutional model. But if it does matter, how does one determine selection criteria?

    Andrew Perriman has been advocating a hermeneutic (he calls it “narrative historical” method) in which (assuming I am understanding it; perhaps I’m not) one would read the NT more nearly the way one reads OT prophetic books like Isaiah. He thinks the eschatological horizon of the NT is much closer to the writers than is widely believed today (basically he thinks that the eschatological expectations of the NT writers were substantially fulfilled in the AD66-73 war and in the 4th century triumph of (institutional) christianity over paganism in the Roman Empire.

    I find this approach appealing (it’s IMO a bit like blending a mostly consistent preterism with NT Wright) but also a bit shocking; the thoroughly futurist eschatology of present day consensus readings of the NT is quite hard to un-see.

    But the thing that is most intriguing (to me) is that it suggests that there could be a great deal of liberty in how one “does church” in the “age to come”. It might be that we are not a whole lot more obligated to follow apostolic era NT institutional rules as rules than we are to observe regulations concerning OT forms of worship and religious practice (would you care to have cream sauce with your veal?). That is not to deprecate the NT regulations as wise counsel — even if one were to suppose that Paul’s “qualifications for church office” are not obligatory in our day, they still look to me like deeply wise considerations in terms of what to look for in people who are to hold positions of public trust.

    Perhaps there is more freedom than we have previously thought. I’m not sure that implies that “all conceivable forms of church polity” are equally desirable. Some forms of governance are more susceptible than others to abuse. The “elder-controlled independent congregation” model looks flawed to me, since it is hard to restrain a self-interested controlling faction when there is no recourse to higher denominational authority.

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  169. Jeffrey Chalmers: If I listed a classic car, I would have some “ splaining to do”

    There’s something weirdly memorable about the gift of a classic VW Beetle. Maybe the involved parties thought it was just a minor thing, in a world where “pastors” directly appeal to the congregation for money to buy private jets and helicopters.

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  170. Eeyore: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – Thorin I of Erebor, on his deathbed

    The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes alludes to this very thing.

    It’s sound and practical wisdom (my opinion).

    What’s more, it’s also at odds with the teachings of Western Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant) from the Medieval period onward.

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  171. Friend,

    In my view the thing about the gift is not what the actual gift was, but the buying of influence and the the use of church funds to do it. The giver, in this case, clearly expected something in return. Therefore it was not really a gift, but payment for services rendered.

    Contrast that with the true model giver, who willingly gave the gift of forgiveness of sins & eternal life freely for those who believe.

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  172. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    P.S. well, well, right after I sent the latest post, my institution sent me an e-mail to fill out my “annual conflict of interest” form…

    If I listed a classic car, I would have some “ splaining to do”…. and if I hid it, I would be doing more than explaining…

    That’s because you’re in a Secular Humanist HEATHEN Institution.
    Jesus Rackets are exempt from such matters by Divine Right.

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  173. Is there is an organizational structure for churches that is sanctioned by God in the new testament? I don’t see specifics on that. I see instructions on how we ought to relate to God & one another, and the kind of character we should develop.

    The old testament, on the other hand, had every detail of the system of worship spelled out. That very system rejected and crucified its object. There is a lesson in that, no?

    Organization offers Christians the benefit of pooling our resources, working together on bigger projects, and a way to be involved with each other. It also offers a foothold for the fallen nature (or “the deeds of the flesh,” if you prefer). An organizational structure can compliment and enrich the life of faith, or it can be outright hostile to it.

    If we can trust what is written in the new testament that we have, we know that we are called to a life of freedom. It would seem to me that God has given us the freedom to decide how we will organize to serve and worship. What works for one person may not work for another.

    Jesus spoke of the wheat and the tares being bound up together. Maybe there never was a point in time where the church organization was purely right. Maybe there wasn’t a time that everyone was on the same page, that all motives were pure, that all involved were sincere, or that there was an ideal system in place.

    In ancient Israel, at the very time Moses was receiving the tablets from God, the people were worshiping a golden calf. Even while Jesus was with them, the apostles were arguing about who was the most important and who was going to sit at his right hand in heaven. Even while Paul was preaching liberty, Peter was giving in to the Judaizers. Even in the time of the epistles, the church was rife with false prophets and imposters.

    I expect there is no way to form a system that’s impervious to the tendency of going astray. Maybe there can’t be one, because human nature and the mixture of wheat and tares make it impossible.

    Maybe believers are more like a human river that flows through all of them, moved by the Spirit, living in them as long as they can serve God in good conscience, but breaking away when it is no longer possible.

    We make the best of the organization we find ourselves in, but when the circumstances in the system become impossible to work within, we move on and shake the dust off our shoes.

    “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    “but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” – my feeling is, in every church organization or outside of them all, as well. But some organizations are much more amenable to the life of faith than others.

    I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud.

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  174. Muff Potter: The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes alludes to this very thing.

    It’s sound and practical wisdom (my opinion).

    What’s more, it’s also at odds with the teachings of Western Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant) from the Medieval period onward.

    There are other currencies to hoard than gold:

    How many Souls(TM) you have Saved,
    How much You have Mortified Your Flesh/Done Without,
    How much SCRIPTURE you can quote,
    How Perfectly Parsed your Theology is,
    Titles and Positions in the Heirarchy,
    Following Gothard’s Little Red Workbook,
    Keeping your kitchen Godly-Clean,
    All the myriad ways to show You are Holier Than Thou.

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  175. Lowlandseer: Way back in 1999 the following people contributed to ‘Leadership: A Practical Journal for Church Leaders (Summer 1999, Volume XX Number 3) Paperback – 1999
    by Bill Hybels (Contributor), James MacDonald (Contributor), Richard Doebler (Contributor), Mark Galli (Contributor), Eric Reed (Contributor), Tim Bowman (Contributor), Norma Bourland (Contributor), Kimball Hodge (Contributor), Jim Smoke (Contributor), John Vawter (Contributor), Marshall Shelley (Editor)

    Interesting?

    Indeed.

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  176. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Book of Revelation describes the Heavenly Liturgy, which is simultaneously present on earth: “the Mass as Heaven on earth.”

    Maybe we have become too used to refracting the NT through a Protestant hermeneutical lens. The Early Church Fathers saw it very differently.

    On this very sad day, as Notre Dame de Paris burns, it might be worth recalling the awesome beauty of that place and all of the art inside.

    I was brought up in a fairly plain Protestant tradition, and reacted against anything beautiful in church as idolatry or stealing from the poor. This came from anti-Catholic bias in part of my family, but of course one could point out historical grains of truth (papal indulgences, etc.).

    Now I believe that church liturgy, art, and architecture offer glimpses of heaven. The Hebrew Scriptures do describe vestments and items to be used in worship, stipulating that they should be made of fine materials. If people give freely, why should we not have beautiful stained glass windows in a house of prayer?

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  177. Noevangelical: In my view the thing about the gift is not what the actual gift was, but the buying of influence and the the use of church funds to do it. The giver, in this case, clearly expected something in return. Therefore it was not really a gift, but payment for services rendered.

    Oh, I agree completely. I am not comfortable with opulence being directed at clergy, whether it’s a VeeWee delivered via financial baffles, or a Gulfstream bought with money plucked straight out of the offering. If they want to get rich, they can find a day job.

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  178. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “In the case if Christianity, it’s always an appeal to either tradition, scripture (just another form of tradition), or a new revelation that eventually becomes tradition. In all cases, the appeal is to tradition is to establish why “we” are right and “you/they” are wrong. Even those who claim to reject tradition base it on a tradition of what they imagine the early church (or some segment of it) must have been like.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    not necessarily. some base it on what is practical and meaningful towards the process of God being the vine, and we being the branches, or living with/in God and God living with/in us. perhaps it’s a bike ride, whether alone or in a group, then at the destination you pray.

    maybe next time it’s a hike and at the top you sit on a blanket and share thoughts on a topic, appealing to some information source connected with the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and Deborah and Junia, and Jesus and Holy Spirit.
    —————————-

    “If it really does not matter which model to follow, then an institutional church model is no better or worse than a non-institutional model. But if it does matter, how does one determine selection criteria?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    seems to me the only way the model could possibly matter is if God is a pedant with a clipboard checking things off. i don’t think information out there that carries weight portrays God like that.

    but if the model does matter, what would the consequences be for not following it, whether deliberately, out of ignorance, or out of innocence? does it mean your name is scratched out the Lamb’s book of life? does it mean God is disappointed in you? does it mean life will be unhappy or unsuccessful? does it mean your hypothetical heavenly crown gets no jewels? does it mean you get no crown?
    ———————–

    “I suppose I struggle with this because I am more extroverted than introverted and this is the first time in my life where I have been living as a spiritual introvert. In the deep South I have not found a church where it is ok to have these kinds of beliefs and questions.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    i think there are many, many people in the deep south who feel just like you. in your neighborhood. in your town. i bet you could find them. who gives a rat’s @$$ what anyone things, really. after 40, there’s nothing to prove. here’s what inspires me!:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=the+far+side+we+don%27t+have+to+be+just+sheep&rlz=1C1GYPO_enUS803US803&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=mY-56NUB-4YP4M%253A%252CmwM4DQY80Jt0qM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSxOijAScbHlRxl08cjFAdSjDYLMA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiozfGN8dLhAhWAJTQIHSoVDzgQ9QEwAHoECAkQBA#imgrc=mY-56NUB-4YP4M:

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  179. __

    elastigirl wrote:

    “i’m sure I agree. But for the sake of understanding, what does —“Christ in you, the hope of glory” actually mean, as you see it?”

    Hello!

    First of all, Thank-You for you tremendous faithfulness over the years!

    hmmm…

    Q. What does ‘Apostle Paul’ mean when he says: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” ™ ?

    (***attention: Dear Dee, (Our delightful blog Host) there is no short answer to this cornucopia insightfully and profound question…)

    Ans: Colossians 1:27 is a powerful verse: “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

    Let’s start by clarifying that the apostle Paul is writing to believers in Jesus Christ—the “you” whom he addresses. He calls them “the Lord’s people” in the previous verse (Colossians 1:26). The “Gentiles” are non-Jewish people. A “mystery” in the New Testament is simply something that was hidden in times past but has now been revealed by God. The former mystery, now understood, is that Christ in us is the hope of our future glory.

    In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people to empower them for service, but then He would leave again.

    However, in the New Testament believers have a different experience, as the Spirit indwells us permanently. The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit given to New Testament believers was a “mystery” to the Old Testament saints. After Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, never to leave (John 14:16–17; 16:7). Jesus told His disciples, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father . . . and I am in you” (John 14:20).

    Therefore, The Holy Spirit seals us for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). In other words, the Spirit’s presence in our hearts guarantees our ultimate salvation.

    The result is that —though we are in this world, we are not of it (John 17:16). The Bible says that God will continue to work in us until He is finished perfecting us (see Philippians 1:6).

    This forward-looking guarantee of perfection is what is meant by “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

    The J. B. Phillips translation of Colossians 1:27 puts it this way: “The secret is simply this: Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you bringing with him the hope of all glorious things to come…”

    Whoa!

    The hope of glory is the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore us and all creation (see Romans 8:19–21 and 1 Peter 5:10).

    —> This hope is not a ‘wishful thought’, but the confident, expectant, joyful knowledge that we are being ‘changed’ by God and will one day see Christ face to face, having been conformed to His image (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

    The hope of glory includes our resurrection: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).

    It includes a heavenly inheritance: “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3–4).

    The Spirit of Christ within us is the “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14).

    Christ’s presence in us is “the hope of glory”, and this truth is full of “glorious riches.” Our once dead, darkened spirits are made alive. Christ is in our hearts, and we know that there is life beyond this earthly existence—a life that will be glorious beyond all imagination. [*]

    Q.What it means for yours truly?

    SKreeeeeeeeetch!

    elastigirl,

    For my adulthood years, Jesus (within) has (to name only a few) brought me, love, comfort, perception, provision, insight, great answered prayer, astonishment, healing(s) forgiveness of sin, assistance for others, laughter, wisdom, hope, and most of all, a friend who never quits, gives up, or discontinues having my best interest at heart. For this, that, and the other thing… I am eternally gr8tefull.

    To close, I am blessed with some several thousand scholarly books in a growing Logos.com library that can certainly give you & Dee’s other wonderful readers possibly a better answer, but Dee says to keep it short… [**]

    (grin)

    Hope this helps!

    ATB

    Sòpy

    Notes:
    [*] The short skinny’s:
    https://www.gotquestions.org/Christ-the-hope-of-glory.html
    [**] The enduring relief: What is Logos Bible Software? (fast forward video to 25 minutes in, for session start.)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7MYDwGFajaI
    Logos.com

    ;~)

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  180. Ken F (aka Tweed): I have not yet stumbled upon a religious model where its proponents did not appeal to some kind of authority for why they believe and practice what they do. In the case if Christianity, it’s always an appeal to either tradition, scripture (just another form of tradition), or a new revelation that eventually becomes tradition. In all cases, the appeal is to tradition is to establish why “we” are right and “you/they” are wrong.

    What Merton called “The Devil’s Theology”.

    And the fanservice secret for Left Behind, Atlas Shrugged, and most any ideological/propaganda fiction.

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  181. SiteSeer:
    Is there is an organizational structure for churches that is sanctioned by God in the New Testament?

    There is such a scripture in the Old Testament that describes the New Covenant.

    Jeremiah 31:31ff

    “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will make a new covenant
    with the people of Israel
    and with the people of Judah.
    32 It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their ancestors
    when I took them by the hand
    to lead them out of Egypt,
    because they broke my covenant,
    though I was a husband to[d] them,[e]”
    declares the Lord.
    33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
    “I will put my law in their minds
    and write it on their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
    34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
    because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,”
    declares the Lord.
    “For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”

    Look at verse 32. The New Covenant will be UNLIKE the Law of Moses (given when Israel left Egypt). The Law of Moses established the heirarchal priesthood.

    The New Covenant does not include hierarchy, for we EACH know God through Messiah.

    Modern day celeb pastors (with their million dollar salaries and retirement packages obtained via the sweat of the working brethren) are anathema, IMHO.

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  182. ___

    Beyond Recognition: “The Some Thirty-Two Million Dollar Debt Question, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Elders and deacons as selected by New Testament scriptural guidelines, use to serve the people (not themselves) , in the fear of the Lord, as per the interests of God —again as as outlined in the New Testament. When they stop serving the people according to the word of God, ideally, they were removed, and replaced.

    Today’s 501c3 brick and mortar leadership; the proverbial industrial complex’s horse’s @zz, is in many instances, entrenched as a tick on a dog’s back.

    Got Corruption?

    We are now seeing this (for example) with James Macdonald, yes? We are now possibly witnessing the spiraling dissolution of HBC as a result, yes?

    Lessons learned?

    ;~)

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  183. SiteSeer: “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God”

    “Upon this rock I will build my church”

    With all due respect, that’s not an answer. It just begs more questions. But I said I’m not gonna go there, so I won’t. I’m just a guest here.

    Meanwhile…I think it was Siteseer (above) who mentioned Notre Dame. Oh thank you, thank you!!!! I am heartsick. I was there as an undergraduate. I saw those magnificent rose windows, with their intricate detailing and luminous jewel tones. Utterly irreplaceable!! Jesus Lord, have mercy!!

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  184. Tweets like this contribute to the pastoral entitlement mentality problem: https://mobile.twitter.com/JohnPiper/status/1117563212772315138?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

    “The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:14. There should be very strong reasons where this command is not followed

    I guess Piper did not read the context of that verse.

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  185. Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Tweets like this contribute to the pastoral entitlement mentality problem: https://mobile.twitter.com/JohnPiper/status/1117563212772315138?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

    I guess Piper did not read the context of that verse.

    Because each Verse is a completely independent Proof Text, with no relationship to any other.

    “I Know I’m Right —
    I HAVE A VERSE!”

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  186. Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Tweets like this contribute to the pastoral entitlement mentality problem: https://mobile.twitter.com/JohnPiper/status/1117563212772315138?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

    I guess Piper did not read the context of that verse.

    I guess he couldn’t even be bothered to read the next verse. It reminds me of those who quote the verse about how we are gods and puff their chests out—but then ignore the verses right after which say that we will die like mere men. I can’t say I ever gave up on John Piper, because the first time I saw him in person in 1997, he seemed so arrogant, so fake humble, so full of self, that I never thought anything of him other than he was just another preening peacock.

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  187. Hey Law Professor,
    Maybe we should write a post demonstrating examples of “ good practice” of COI and transparency…. given both of our professions/ experiences, it seems the evangelical world is pretty “compromised”…. i could through in examples of The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation!

    I can even put in links since, out principle, these “good practices” are public!

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  188. Sòpwith,

    thank you sopwith. i appreciate the time you took. it sort of helps. a lifetime in church and i know all the boilerplate. know all the standard explanations and definitions.

    they just don’t mean anything anymore.

    can’t imagine a published commentary that exists that would be fresh and insightful to me. i’ve heard it ALL.

    if you’re up for it, what in the world is glory and what is the significance? why does it matter? but you’re not allowed to use any christian vocabulary, no christian buzzwords, no words found only in the bible or other religious literature.

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  189. SiteSeer,

    Your comments are insightful. Coming at it from another angle, we live in an age of science where we can look at the structure of sweet corn at the micro cellular level and describe it’s DNA compared to say ancient proto-corn which indigenous peoples of the Americas ate 4000 years ago. That’s interesting and probably has application for the food industry. But if I go pick an ear off the stalk thats irrelevant. I just want to know is it bicolor sweet or feed corn for cattle?

    IMO modern preachers have been too busy looking at the DNA of the Bible like scientists look at corn DNA. Preachers call it ” biblical scholarship” but really it’s just intellectual pride at who can explain the most Hebrew or Greek words and their root meanings. That sort of intellectual posturing brings us no closer to God and even makes the average person despair that they could ever really understand the bibles plain meaning without some preacher explaining it to them.

    Meanwhile the Lord of the Sabbath calls out, “Taste and see that the Lord is Good”. Or to fit with my analogy, “Try the sweet corn kids, it’s delicious!” Knowledge puffs up but love builds up.

    If one takes the whole sweep of human history it’s kind of clear to me God just wants us to relate to him like a healthy close family. Healthy families have loving boundaries not a bunch of rules. Yet in every age people have to turn relationship with the Almighty into a system of religious control.

    I love Jesus. He affirmed God’s good boundaries for people, yet rejected all the religious nonsense of men

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  190. Fisher: Preachers call it ” biblical scholarship” but really it’s just intellectual pride at who can explain the most Hebrew or Greek words and their root meanings. That sort of intellectual posturing brings us no closer to God and even makes the average person despair that they could ever really understand the bibles plain meaning without some preacher explaining it to them.

    To me it depends on the scholar. Is he or she sharing wisdom and learning, or just waving a cudgel? Here on TWW some kind folks have gone into depth about the senses of Greek and Hebrew words. KIND folks, good scholars with a love of God, of learning, and of other people.

    A faith worth following should withstand infinite study. It should also be simple.

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  191. elastigirl: i think there are many, many people in the deep south who feel just like you. in your neighborhood. in your town. i bet you could find them. who gives a rat’s @$$ what anyone things, really. after 40, there’s nothing to prove. here’s what inspires me!:

    Thanks for your thoughts. I’ll eventually find people like that – after I lose the fear of looking for and connecting with them. For me it’s not about having to prove anything, but rather to have friends in the faith who are not looking for reasons to find offense. I have a few friends like that I can phone, no one nearby yet.

    Here is another Far Side cartoon I like: https://www.google.com/search?q=farside+dinasaur+walnut+brain&oq=farside+dinasaur+walnut+brain&aqs=chrome..69i57.14119j0j7&client=ms-android-hms-tmobile-us&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=52lkHMz1DEpCyM:

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  192. __

    “A Short Subjective Humanistic Understanding Of The Word ‘Glory’, Perhaps?”

    —> “If you’re up for it, what in the world is glory and what is the significance? Why does it matter? “ –elastigirl

    (“But you’re not allowed to use any christian vocabulary, no christian buzzwords, no words found only in the bible or other religious literature.”)

    hmmm…

    Okie Doke!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uLjDbEk8PKc

    🙂

    1st. Ans: We all fall down. The glory of it is how we get up. This defines success. Many who quit, never realize how close they were to victory.
    2nd Ans. Superman will never die.
    3rd Ans. Seeing Tori Kelly singing “Crazy” @ SiriusXM Studios.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=70VN2-c9fCM
    4th Ans. An abuse victim who obtains justice.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)

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  193. Marie,

    I’m sorry for your struggles, Marie. I prayed for you all just now, that your love for God and one another, and others will only abound more and more. I know how painful it is to worry over children; but they are so young; they will begin to see things differently as they turn into young adults. Peace to you, and them.

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  194. SiteSeer: Organization offers Christians the benefit of pooling our resources, working together on bigger projects, and a way to be involved with each other. It also offers a foothold for the fallen nature (or “the deeds of the flesh,”

    Thank you for this post.

    Your discussion on the topic of church structure, wheat and tares, etc. gives a realistic perspective on what the life in the Body of Christ is like. We strive to make it healthy by following the flow of God’s Holy Spirit. When something else dominates the flow and the body gets sick, then we need to find the correct diagnosis, and medication or surgery may be called for. It can be a struggle to deal with sickness; it may also take time to restore health, but it is necessary.

    Healthy churches are like streams in the desert. Unhealthy churches are like polluted water that need to be purified. We all contribute to these rivers one way or another. It helps to have the water tested now and then.

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  195. elastigirl,

    You did not ask me about the word “glory”. So please excuse me for budding in.
    I struggled with the meaning of this word for a long time, too. Intuitively I took it to mean something wonderful and shiny, since it glows with honor and catches our attention.
    They say the original builders of the Notre Dame Cathedral built it to glorify God only, so they did not even make their own names known to the public. They did not want people to glorify them.

    Over the years, I feel that “Glory” relates to “Holiness”. The glory of God comes from his holy character, so pure and like the Light, without a shadow of turning. His power and love, and wisdom all add to the richness and beauty of that “shining light”.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

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  196. birdoftheair,

    I think of glory as the result of created things reflecting the character and awesomeness of God. Thus, a magnificent sunset reflects the magnificent creativity and beautifying power of God. People loving and serving others sacrificially reflects the selfless love of God. He receives ‘glory’ whenever his creation performs as he intended it to.

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  197. TS00,

    Pretty much sums it up for me too, but with one proviso:

    Those who think that God ordains misery and suffering on the innocent so that he can ‘bring glory to himself’ have signed onto a steaming pile of horse-poo-poo.

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  198. Muff Potter,

    “Those who think that God ordains misery and suffering on the innocent so that he can ‘bring glory to himself’”
    ++++++++++++++

    in the absence of anyone available to ask who actually subscribes to such at thing, what is the definition of glory in this context?

    one can bring glory to oneself by exercising wrath of justice on someone born guilty?

    what in the world is glory?

    (well, it’s just a lofty word trump card, isn’t it. make any assertion you want, and throw down the glory card. there, done. i win.)

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  199. Lowlandseer,

    Muff Potter,

    We will not know why babies get sick and die, why they are tortured and killed by cruel (human) beings, why so many women were raped, why a whole family die in a car accident….until we go to heaven when we can ask Jesus. To say that God ordained such suffering for his glory is crazy theology!!! God has His perfect will, but things happen due to the horrible effect of SIN. That’s why the Son of God had to come to offer humans His redemption. That’s why we need to deal with SIN honestly and seriously in our own life as well as in the body of Christ.

    This hyper-Calvinistic mindset is no different than the idea of the CASTE system in some societies. It runs by the belief of Karma. However, Jesus has taken all the CURSES away from those who come to him.

    “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’) that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”. (Galatians 3:13)

    (2 Corinthians 5:21) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    How do the Calvinists explain this?

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  200. Muff Potter: There was a time when I accepted this concept without question.
    That time is past, I now categorically reject it.

    I don’t think its proponents have really thought through the implications. It requires an unchangeable god to change in multiple ways. He has to fist go from being happy with humanity to being angry with humanity, then from having his wrath unsatisfied to having it satisfied, from being unable to forgive to being able to forgive, from hating sinners to loving sinners, etc. All of these 180 degree changes fit the definition of repentence in the metanoia sense. Can God really repent in this way? If so, what keeps him repenting again in a way that is unfavorable toward us?

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  201. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Or, indeed, from announcing at the Day of Judgement that the whole thing was a bluff, and he has sovereignly decided to torment every creature he has created, for ever, to demonstrate his glory. In fact, for all eternity, he has been driven by bitterness, hatred and rejection of everything that is not himself.

    The god of piper is, ultimately, all about power and domination. It is simply the most powerful being they as men can imagine, and as Orwell put it, the way a man asserts his power over another is by making him suffer. God’s greatest glory is to control and, ultimately, to inflict suffering as though nothing matters to god but its own glory.

    The God whom John encountered in first-century Judea, on the other hand, is utterly different. You might say that God’s very humility is shocking. In fact, by all accounts, it was too shocking for the ever-pernicious first-century gnostics who insisted that Jesus Christ could not possibly have been a physical being. His glory is ultimately about his self-sacrificing love.

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  202. Nick Bulbeck,

    very late to this, but the thought has just occurred that ‘humility, curiosity about and open-ness to divergent points of view’ could be thought of as the epistemological counterparts to, and perhaps also correlates of, “faith, hope and love”.

    I feel pretty confident that this is true, and it is not a happy perspective from which to contemplate the present state of the churches.

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  203. “…‘humility, curiosity about and open-ness to divergent points of view’ could be thought of as the epistemological counterparts to, and perhaps also correlates of, “faith, hope and love”.

    I feel pretty confident that this is true, and it is not a happy perspective from which to contemplate the present state of the churches.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    not happy a-T’all.

    because, as thesaurus.com and it’s assortment of antonyms make it easy to see, self-importance, apathy, and control, these three, are what remain.

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  204. Samuel Conner: of those three, the greatest is “control.”

    While JMac played theological games, he fell on the New Calvinism side of things predominantly. It’s clear in that tribe that the greatest is not “love.” That is not a word that comes to mind as an identifier of leaders in the new reformation … “arrogance” usually pops up first.

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  205. Max,

    Agreed in terms of the attitude and posture of the people. My ranking of “control” as first and coordinate, in an oppositional sense, with “love” was more in terms of my sense of “what is most essential to the proper functioning of the churches” as Paul envisaged it and as it seems to be practiced in our day.

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  206. Nick Bulbeck: could be worse!

    Much worse. Every year at this time protestant ministries trip over each other to reinforce the penal substitution view. For example, Core Christianity posted this today: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/psalm-22-is-all-about-the-cross.

    The reason Jesus went to the cross was to die the death that we should have endured because our sins deserve the penalty of death (Romans 6:23). Carrying our sins upon his shoulders, his Father had to turn away from him, as a holy God cannot be in the presence of sin. Jesus faced God’s justice that we all deserve—wrath and punishment for sin.

    Psalm 22 is always trotted out as the proof text for God foresaking Jesus. But vs 24 says the opposite: “Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.”

    They also claim that “holy God cannot be in the presence of sin.” Not only is this not in the Bible, but it implies Jesus is not holy because Jesus spent quite a lot of time in the presence of sinful people.

    There’s also the point about us desrving eternal punishment. If Jesus really was our substitute, did he change his mind after three days? Shouldn’t he be in hell for all eternity?

    This theory is full of holes, but I cat called a heretic for rejecting it.

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  207. Ken F (aka Tweed): They also claim that “holy God cannot be in the presence of sin.” Not only is this not in the Bible, but it implies Jesus is not holy because Jesus spent quite a lot of time in the presence of sinful people.

    Numerous good points as ever, Ken; but I especially like this one. A now-retired minister [in the best sense of the word] of ours put it thus: The only truly holy man who ever lived was also the most compellingly attractive to sinners.

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  208. Nick Bulbeck: The only truly holy man who ever lived was also the most compellingly attractive to sinners.

    Great quote. Combine it with this quote by another preacher (not retired), “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner,” and it creates a picture of a loving God who does not turn away from sinners.

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  209. Ken F (aka Tweed): This theory is full of holes, but I cat called a heretic for rejecting it.

    I too have been branded ‘heretic’ for rejecting PSA (penal substitutionary atonement).
    I could no longer patch the holes, with the usual proof-texted fixes and clobber verses (Isaiah 55:8-9).
    My conscience would no longer allow it.

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  210. Muff Potter: My conscience would no longer allow it.

    This is why we don’t fit in the SBC (among other denominations): http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/2278/on-the-necessity-of-penal-substitutionary-atonement

    RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, reaffirm the truthfulness, efficacy, and beauty of the biblical doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement as the burning core of the Gospel message and the only hope of a fallen race.

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