Sovereign Grace (Ministries) Churches Tells the Evangelical Community to Take a Hike, Refusing to Get an Independent Investigation

 

The bluebird babies are here and look healthy.

“Good Friday and Easter free us to think about other things far beyond our own personal fate, about the ultimate meaning of all life, suffering, and events; and we lay hold of a great hope.”   Dietrich Bonhoeffer


I will not be posting tomorrow. Beginning tonight, I shall attend Maundy Thursday service in which the altar is stripped bare until Easter. Tomorrow morning, I will participate in a live enactment of the Stations of the Cross at Duke Chapel. Tomorrow night there is a Good Friday service and then a Saturday Night Vigil at my Lutheran Church followed by Easter.

Years ago, my former SBC church did not observe any of these traditions except for Easter.  I volunteered to put together a Good Friday service for the church but it was nixed because my pastor said he was too tired to do that, A couple of years ago, I asked my Lutheran pastor if he was weary due to all of the various services the church provides during Holy Week. He said that it was his most favorite week of the year and he looked forward to it every year.

Blessings to all of you in the coming days.


I’ve been covering CJ Mahaney and his band of look alike churches and pastors for 10 years. TWW documented all of the allegations of the cover up of child sex abuse within those churches. Additionally, we’ve written a number of articles dealing with their rather odd theology and bizarre practices.

Mahaney and his boys were all the rage at one time, virtual mini-gods to groups such as The Gospel Coalition and followed by Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, JD Greear and many others too numerous to mention. Your adorable blog queen was treated rather poorly  by these dudebros, who claimed she was pathologically dishonest (Joe Carter) and others who called for divine retribution in the form of earthly lawsuits. I soldiered on and more and more folk began to realize the problems inherent in this system.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Papa Bear Al Mohler apologized for his shenanigans and ignorance when it came to this groups, claiming he could have sworn that Mahaney said there had been an independent, third party investigation. He was shocked™ when he found out that wasn’t true. Remember, Mohler is the smartest man on the planet according to CJ Mahaney. Or was Mahaney the smart one, successfully pulling the wool over the eyes of those who enjoyed his antics and donations?

Papa Bear apparently dumped Mahaney like a hot potato Ain the wake of the Houston Chronicle SBC expose.He said that SGC should do a third party investigation. Moher’s baby bears have stayed uncharacteristically quiet, caught between a rock and hard place. It is my opinion that all of these *real men* should give up their Pampers and apologize like big boys but I’m doubtful it will happen. Being a member of the Calvinista set means allowing Papa Bear to apologize for you.

Papa Bear threw Mahaney and his churches under the bus, finally. And it appears that the SGM/SGC crowd is not taking his advice.

The boys of the SGC posted Thoughts on the Call for an “Independent Investigation” of Sovereign Grace Churches

Their response can be summed up succinctly by that rather crude term …they flipped the bird at the evangelical world, essentially sticking out their proverbial tongues and saying, “Make us!” Here is a quick summary of their points of view. Please read the entire article so they won’t say that Dee doesn’t want you to know what they really said.

They are terribly concerned about sex abuse…yeah, right.

It does not mean that SGC does not take allegations against it seriously, or that we are unconcerned about the details of these allegations.

They are sincere Christian who are really learning lots and lots about sex abuse..

Like all sincere Christians and churches, we have learned much about the tragedy of sexual abuse

But, they will not do an independent, third party investigation.

Their reasons are soooo reasonable, being sincere Christians and all.

Scandalous and unproven accusations are just so inappropriate

Rather, we do not think one is appropriate given the present circumstances, in which scandalous allegations have been made publicly against a limited number of parties, without providing credible evidence or based upon any substantive findings by criminal or civil authorities.

The civil authorities investigated this.

(ROFL or throwing up-I’m not sure which) They do not mention that the fact the lawsuits were not heard i because of the statute of limitations. Of course, they overlooked the Nathan Morales trial in which Mahaney brother in law admitted he never reported abuse to the police. How these guys play these games and sleep at night is beyond me.

In addition, and contrary to the impressions of some, the allegations against SGC have not gone uninvestigated; they have been investigated by civil authorities, our own years-long efforts, and the churches involved. Moreover, the ongoing allegations of covering up abuse have never been—before or since the civil lawsuit filed against us—supported by any judicial or investigative findings by law enforcement or any other party.

They are being honest and are not doing this to avoid scrutiny.

I am barely able to contain myself.

We are not denying that there is an appropriate interaction with, and submission to, external authorities for churches. For example, SGC has submitted to external audits that have demonstrated our financial integrity for 30+ years.

Reasons why they shouldn’t do an independent investigation.

It would be unjust.

Banging my head on the kitchen table and upsetting the pugs.

the demand that we subject our entire denomination to an investigation is neither just nor practically possible, nor would it meet biblical, or even civil, standards of justice.

They are still playing games- insisting that the civil authorities have been involved.They do not mention that it was dismissed due to the statute of limitations. In my opinion, they are not telling the truth.

I will not use foul language but it getting increasingly difficult.

The primary events in question relate to the allegations made in the civil lawsuit filed in 2012.

…These circumstances have been investigated by law enforcement authorities, by our own years-long efforts, and by the churches themselves.

These investigations have yielded no credible evidence of any instance of abuse or conspiracy to cover up abuse or to protect a criminal by any SGC pastor or staff member.

Moreover, there is not a single instance of a Sovereign Grace pastor or staff member ever being charged with—much less convicted of—sexual abuse or covering up abuse in our 35+ year history.

In fact, they have learned m much from the Southern Baptist Convention when it comes to dealing with things like this.

I wonder if this was a dig at Papa Bear and the SBC leadership, given their history of avoiding dealing with sex abuse. They sure taught these SGC boys how to handle things, didn’t they?

Like many denominations, our churches are independently constituted. SGC has no more authority to order a denomination-wide investigation of all of its churches than, e.g., the Southern Baptist Convention does.

Guess what? Much of this mess is due to those nasty, renegade online bloggers.

SGC has faced online accusations that are broad, generalized, and unsubstantiated. An investigation of our denomination based on such accusations would remove these issues from biblical—and even secular, civil—standards of justice.

Are such unsubstantiated allegations an appropriate basis for imposing an investigation upon an entire denomination?

Does an entire denomination have to prove its innocence, based upon a presumption of guilt, for every accusation made online, whether it has been substantiated or not?

Who would decide what “independent” means, and how would such independence be established?

And then, they pull the “It”s not biblical”™ card.

How would such an investigation, under these circumstances, correspond to biblical standards of discovering truth in churches—or even reasonable, civil standards of discovering truth?

How can one biblically justify appointing an investigator to act as both judge and jury over an entire denomination (combining into one person functions that our legal system separates: investigation, presentation of evidence, and judgment)?

Beside, such an investigation needs to be able to measure, get ready folks, their faithfulness!!!!

Pat the head of those really nice pastors.  Good boys…

A just investigation should also measure faithfulness: how should the faithfulness of hundreds of pastors in scores of churches over decades be weighed and factored into a comprehensive view of SGC?

Sovereign Grace Ecclesiology

If you’ve never treated yourself to SGC word games with Scripture, you haven’t lived (or maybe you have.) Remember this is the group that brought you:

  • CJ Mahaney as a designated Head Apostle.
  • A new sin-sinfully craving answers
  • Sin sniffing observations (Button up that top button, dearie.”)
  • Prophecy microphones

Despite SGC Leadership’s inability to order an investigation of all of its churches, SGC has a detailed, well-defined polity with clear avenues to pursue biblical justice. This includes objective and impartial means of examining and adjudicating allegations of wrongdoing, within the protections of due process. We believe this honors God and protects our members and churches with both righteousness and compassion.

Please treat yourself to this section to see how churches can interpret things to meet their current needs.

Rachel Denhollander responds on Facebook:

Here is a link to: A RESPONSE TO SOVEREIGN GRACE CHURCHES STATEMENT ON AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION. Be sure to read the entire, well documented post. Here are a few excerpts.

I suggest a point-by-point comparison and cross-check of each statement made by SGC against the facts provided in the above statements. An answer to each of them has already been made. I am discouraged to see the same incorrect information being re-posted.

Regarding the other objections SGC raises to an independent review, these simply are not valid objections. Every institution that desires to pursue truth and accountability must sift through these questions, and numerous Christian experts are available to help properly exegete Biblical standards of justice and accountability. An independent review by a qualified firm requires higher, not lower, standards than the less-defined and basic standards set out in Scripture.

Further, I have provided multiple suggestions to SGC leaders directly that laid out a framework for pursuing an independent review. These suggestions were in light of all these supposed roadblocks and did not violate SGC’s ecclesiology

…For an in-depth theological and academic-level analysis of SGC’s communications and the image-management strategies employed, I highly recommend the doctoral work of Wade Mullen, who has studied and analyzed these dynamics thoroughly. His dissertation can be found here. Search for Sovereign Grace Ministries and Sovereign Grace Churches. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rXrd8MYay5Vg5s7JXFx7S91hDTlm1CVX/view


I suggest the Southern Baptist Convention consider a resolution that would forbid any ongoing association of Sovereign Grace Churches with the Southern Baptist Convention. Frankly, the SBC has enough problems to deal with at this time.
This response was not at all unexpected. CJ Mahaney has fashioned a denomination (or is it a family of churches) created in his image. Nothing will change until Mahaney and his BFFs are excised from their fellowship.
And if you don’t think this was a kick in the face to Al Mohler and the SBC, you need to read this blog a bit more regularly.

Comments

Sovereign Grace (Ministries) Churches Tells the Evangelical Community to Take a Hike, Refusing to Get an Independent Investigation — 155 Comments

  1. “I suggest the Southern Baptist Convention consider a resolution that would forbid any ongoing association of Sovereign Grace Churches with the Southern Baptist Convention.”
    In 2013, at their annual meeting, the SBC adopted a resolution “On Sexual Abuse Of Children.” It stated:

    “We encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse.”

    While not naming Mahaney & SGC, those who wrote that resolution had them in mind, as well as Al Mohler’s unwavering association with Mahaney at the time. In 2015, Mahaney and his Louisville church became SBC members! (poke it in your eye, SBC!) While Mohler may have distanced himself from Mahaney in recent months, Mahaney and his church still remain affiliated with SBC even after Denhollander’s documented concerns and the Houston Chronicle articles. The SBC is broken.

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  2. Whatever happened to seeking to be “above reproach?” Shouldn’t that alone mean an independent investigation is necessary? Personally, I think so. It is sickening how they obfuscate. That whole civil authorities line is both sickening and saddening. Wonder why people walk away from churches? This. Is. Why. Such behavior is lacking in integrity, IMO.

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  3. Sometimes this blog gets people on here who insist pedophiles should still be permitted in churches, and they ask, ‘aren’t they just sinners like the rest of us’, and ‘don’t you all believe Jesus can forgive a pedo,’ etc.

    Here is an interesting page that addresses some of that:

    Abusers look for opportunities more than vulnerabilities, by J Hinton
    https://jimmyhinton.org/abusers-look-for-opportunities-more-than-vulnerabilities/

    A few quotes from the page:

    …[Some Christians may think it’s extreme to kick an abusive person out of church] After all, we all sin and fall short of the glory, right?

    But we are not talking about sinners like you and me. We are talking about people who intentionally and serially deceive and masquerade as one of us when they are not.

    The Bible uses all kinds of terms to describe this class of sinner: wolves, false prophets, dogs, thorn bushes, thistles, animals, impostors, born for destruction, blots, blemishes, to name a few.

    The Bible not only identifies them as such, but it never recommends rehabilitation, reconciliation, or any kind of association once they’ve been identified.

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  4. Daisy: But we are not talking about sinners like you and me. We are talking about people who intentionally and serially deceive and masquerade as one of us when they are not.

    In their theology, God sees no difference between a jay-walker and a serial pedophile.

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  5. The post: “How would such an investigation, under these circumstances, correspond to biblical standards of discovering truth in churches—or even reasonable, civil standards of discovering truth? How can one biblically justify appointing an investigator to act as both judge and jury over an entire denomination — combining into one person functions that our legal system separates: investigation, presentation of evidence, and judgment?”

    Bear with me if you’ve read a permutation of this before (say, like two threads ago), but as the Matthew 18/1 Cor. 6 customizations and misconduct coveralls seem to be as rampant in certain circles as dodging civil oversight as one sees fit, a revisit seems appropriate.

    The initial scenario in the Matthew 18 case describes both a relative equality of participants (brother to brother), and something in which an internal matter between two Christian siblings as it were had occurred. For contrast, the Greek addition ‘eis se’ is widely translated “against you”. What is written in 1 Cor. 6 also corrrsponds to internal confrontation of a personal dispute or matter (Gr. pragma). In this case, the result of not going to an earthly authority appears to at worst represent someone being wronged (Gr. adikeisthe) or defrauded/cheated (Gr. apostereisthe).

    Context seems to strongly indicate personal tort matters between siblings as it were. Also adding perspective is the goal in Matthew 18 of being heard and gaining a brother, implying this is in large measure a matter of fellowship rather than uniform dispute settling of criminal matters. Again, looking at the end result, the penalty as it were in this case is a loss of fellowship (being treated as a heathen or tax collector). Does that sound like the way a criminal situation, let’s say involving sexual assault, would be settled?

    Scores of stories on this blog and others do not appear reducible to the Matthew 18 and 1 Cor. 6 process. Many do fit rendering unto Caesar and turning things over to civil leaders who per Romans 13:4 do not bear the sword in vain, from physical and spiritual abuse to frauds financial and otherwise. And too often, the insulation provided to grievous wolves in sheep’s clothing from within 501c3 autocratic echo chambers cannot be penetrated through counting on the good graces of said grievous wolves.

    And even if the one doing the wronging is not a wolf but someone in authority with lapses in judgment, Scripture makes clear (1 Tim 3, Titus 1 for starters) there are standards of blamelessness and being above reproach to be met and maintained. It is common sense, as they are to represent Christianity to all including the world, for as Paul notes in Romans 2:24 when quoting the Old Testament: As it has been written: “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you.”

    To the matter at hand, it’s obvious that reaching a statute of limitations in no way should equate to an “all good” signal from a church or religious entity. Also, the matter(s) at hand clearly appear to go well beyond disputes amongst bros and into the purview of civil authority (Romans 13 and rendering unto Caesar).

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  6. I love this line

    He was shocked™

    It’s really popular today for organizations to say “we take this seriously” and “this is important to us,” like when you are stuck on hold on the telephone for a half hour listening to a recording say, “your call is important to us.” Who are they fooling?

    I guess SGM probably figures the obedient, non-questioning folk who are still with them are not likely to make waves, and an investigation isn’t going to win anyone back, so why open themselves up for the full truth to come out. Whatever the investigation would reveal must not be worth the goal of making things right in order to attract more people.

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  7. It should be obvious at this point that these guys are practical theonomists, no matter what their statements of faith say. This letter clearly demonstrates it. They will only grudgingly submit to any sort of authority outside their own, and only if its “biblical”. And they certainly WON’T submit if its inconvenient, or if the consequences aren’t bad enough to force their hand.

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  8. Samuel Conner: There is no statute of limitations on personal testimony. As in the RCC, when the victims are ready, the stories will become highly public.

    “Be sure your sin will find you out” … “For nothing is hidden, that will not be revealed; nor anything secret, that will not be known and come to light.”

    There should be no statute of limitations on child abuse in America … there isn’t with God.

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  9. Being a member of the Calvinista set means allowing Papa Bear to apologize for you.

    No,
    Being a member of the Calvinista set means never having to apologize for anything.
    Because You Can Do No Wrong.
    You’re one of the Predestined Elect, God’s Speshul Speshul Pets.

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  10. Daisy: Sometimes this blog gets people on here who insist pedophiles should still be permitted in churches, and they ask, ‘aren’t they just sinners like the rest of us’, and ‘don’t you all believe Jesus can forgive a pedo,’ etc.

    In Christianese, doesn’t the phrase “so open minded all your brains fell out” apply only to those Secular Humanist Heathens? NEVER to God’s Chosen?

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  11. If it were not so serious ( ie child sex abuse), this whole saga would be humorous….. The three “bros”, Dever, Mohler, and Mulhany running around together at conferences, praising how smart each other is, and making fun of us bloggers that “expose them”…
    Until the sh$t hits the fan and the abuse really goes public in a mainline newspaper….. then Mohler distances himself from Mulhany, and SGC claims yet again, nothing to see?
    Then why isn’t good old CJ still head of SGC?..
    These “leaders” either think we are stupid and have short memories, or, they know the can still fool enough of the masses to get away with it..

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  12. Jeffrey Chalmers: These “leaders” either think we are stupid and have short memories or, they know they can still fool enough of the masses to get away with it.

    They depend on that – for the scandals to blow over and fools with deep pockets to welcome them back. Mahaney got a fresh start in Louisville, Driscoll launched his new thing in Arizona, MacDonald is in seclusion in Florida waiting for the right time to make his comeback. Yep, church gullibles have short memories and/or easy to fool.

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  13. __

    “Religious 501c3 Vulture Culture, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    There are no bluebirds peacefully perched in this church’s proverbial belfry, only vultures.

    This is a long standing proverbial name changing religious ‘cult’ cloaked in Calvinism (for the moment); given its unresolved heavily documented history of ‘alleged’ child abuse cover-up, one would do well to beware and avoid.

    ;~)

    – –

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  14. “…Although we believe the care of these pastors was well-intended (and again, Maryland state laws on reporting did not require them to report these incidents), and we understand how different our culture’s understanding of child predators and sexual abuse is now versus what it was 30 years ago, it is clear in hindsight that not immediately reporting the claims to law enforcement was a grave error in judgment. As we write today, we believe the abuse should have been reported regardless of the circumstances, the applicable law and reporting requirements, or the adult victim’s (understandable) wishes.” -Sovereign Grace’s leadership Team [1]

    [1] https://www.sovereigngrace.com/sovereign-grace-blog/post/faq

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  15. “Mahaney fled the accountability of CLC in August 2010.  Ricucci followed his example and left in October 2010.  Ricucci went to Solid Rock Church with John Loftness where Mahaney later joined them in January 2012.  These three men, along with Grant Layman, are the four alleged co-conspirators who allegedly worked together in order to protect pedophiles and sex offenders operating at Covenant Life Church.  Loftness is also alleged to be a sex offender and Ricucci is alleged to have assisted Loftness and Stephen Griney in carrying out their alleged crimes. “ -Bret Detweiler

    http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/gary-ricucci-the-conspiracy-surrounding-convicted-felon-davi.html

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  16. “I suggest the Southern Baptist Convention consider a resolution that would forbid any ongoing association of Sovereign Grace Churches with the Southern Baptist Convention.”

    Good idea, but as long as Mohler is around, it ain’t gonna happen, apology or not.

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  17. Max,

    This further underscores the lack of “professionalism” in the “Christian Industrial Complex”…. in my world, my “Professional Reputation” is fundamental to my job… when I publish a paper, it is assumed it is correct… in fact there are many examples of committing scientific fraud, and getting hammered… depending on the level of offense, one might get one chance to do over, but serious, consistent “issues” tend to end careers, just like a drunk airline pilot might have one more chance, might not….,

    My memory of TWW indicates that most of the “issues” discussed here tend to be systematic, not “one off”, moral failures…

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  18. Jeffrey Chalmers,
    In the Christian Industrial Complex, unrepentant repenters can easily launch comebacks and take the church for another ride. They take advantage of the trust of good folks who believe wayward preachers are serious when they display false humility and cry without tears … so they restore them to the pulpit and eventually get burned again. Don’t get me wrong, some of these leaders genuinely repent … but the question remains “Should they be restored to ministry after disqualifying themselves from that sacred office?” Forgive them if they seriously repent? Certainly! Restore them to ministry? No! There are other places in the Body of Christ for them to serve.

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  19. Leslie Puryear: as long as Mohler is around, it ain’t gonna happen, apology or not

    As long as Mohler is around, he will control every jot and tittle of SBC life – his minions are everywhere and now lead most SBC entities. He has positioned an army of young reformers to lead the next generation of Southern Baptists. I may not agree with his theology, but the man is a brilliant strategist.

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  20. Max: Yep, church gullibles have short memories and/or easy to fool.

    Ignorance is fixable, “Stupid is as Stupid does.”(as Forrest Gump’s mom would say) is not fixable — they deserve each other.

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  21. ___

    In a civil lawsuit, victims alleged [1] that church leaders, including Sovereign Grace founder C. J. Mahaney, “conspired and continue to conspire” to “permit sexual deviants to have unfettered access to children for purposes of predation and to obstruct justice by covering up ongoing past predation.” [2]

    [1]https://www.christianpost.com/news/sovereign-grace-sex-abuse-case-appeal-dismissed-by-marylands-court-of-special-appeals-122587/
    [2] https://www.christianpost.com/news/rachael-denhollander-stands-by-statements-against-sovereign-grace-cj-mahaney-after-church-rejects-them-as-false-216590/

    – –

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  22. __

    “Advancing SGC’s School Of Etiquette, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Mark Prater: “You’re religious hostages, we’re your captors, start acting like it, We’re heavily biblically armed, There’s rules, start understanding there’s a whole expansive pastoral college dedicated to this…”

    ;~)

    – –

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  23. Max: They depend on that – for the scandals to blow over and fools with deep pockets to welcome them back.Mahaney got a fresh start in Louisville, Driscoll launched his new thing in Arizona, MacDonald is in seclusion in Florida waiting for the right time to make his comeback.Yep, church gullibles have short memories and/or easy to fool.

    “THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE.”
    — P.T.Barnum

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  24. ___

    “ C.J. Mahaney deceived Al Mohler into thinking an investigation of sexual abuse done by Covenant Life Church included the investigation of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.  When Mohler found out otherwise, he severed the relationship but didn’t reveal it until Robert Downen of the Houston Chronicle starting asking him questions.  Mahaney and SGC were never investigated.  Mohler was duped by his closest of friends.  I call that betrayal.  Understandably, all ties with Mahaney & SGC were completely severed. “ Bret Detweiler

    http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/the-inside-story-al-mohler-severed-all-personal-ties-with-cj.html

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  25. Headless Unicorn Guy: Max: They depend on that – for the scandals to blow over and fools with deep pockets to welcome them back.Mahaney got a fresh start in Louisville, Driscoll launched his new thing in Arizona, MacDonald is in seclusion in Florida waiting for the right time to make his comeback.Yep, church gullibles have short memories and/or easy to fool.

    “THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE.”
    — P.T.Barnum

    And “A fool and his money are soon parted,” which seems to be the point of the whole operation.

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  26. I wonder if this investigation that Sovereign Grace did is as bad as another “investigation” that a top leader claimed to have done about C.J. Mahaney’s son. This leader claimed:

    “After getting information from those involved in that incident (including the school administrator, principal, the Mahaneys, and some of the boys who were expelled), there is not a shred of evidence that CJ’s son ever smoked drugs or that his going to another school for a year was a result of being expelled. To be clear, the allegations Kris mentioned on the survivors blog are patently false. I sincerely hope that you’ll get back to Kris to let her know she is spreading false and injurious reports.”

    I have heard from multiple witnesses where CJ’s son bragged about pot smoking at this same time. This shows you just how good their investigations have been. Thus I wouldn’t give any credibility to Sovereign Grace Leaders claiming they did an “investigation.” They only find what they want to see and don’t find what they don’t want to find IMO.

    I have asked this top leader who made this claim to explain if he was lying or just ignorant since what he claimed was false but I never heard anything back when I sent him emails.

    I have a blog post up about CJs son here. It came up here a while back that CJs son went on to have a DUI. I am specifically not mentioning the son’s name now. The son is no longer part of the family business called Sovereign Grace.

    http://sguncensored.blogspot.com/2011/02/cj-mahaney-covering-his-sons-sin-and.html

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  27. Christian Post has a story that strikes me as the opposite of Holy Week. This was the idea behind a youth group activity at Impact City Church in Pataskala, Ohio:

    “Each Monday we invite students to come across the street, a place where they can hangout with their friends. We provide activities for them, we feed them. As part of that program we also take five minutes to do a deposit of faith* in the students. A chance where we can share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ,” [lead pastor Justin] Ross said.

    So “part-time pastor … Jaddeus Dempsey” tried to teach about Jesus by goading youth group kids to spit in his face and cut him with a steak knife. The kids protested, but “pastor” insisted. Fortunately, word reached parents, who went to the youth group meeting and disrupted the activity.

    Jaddeus Dempsey managed to manipulate teens to do his bizarre bidding, against their own will, in a group setting. Just think how much more power a “pastor” has alone with one youngster.

    Here’s the link: https://www.christianpost.com/news/in-shocking-message-on-easter-pastor-allows-kids-to-hit-spit-on-and-even-cut-him-with-steak-knife.html

    *What a weird turn of phrase.

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  28. Jeffrey Chalmers: most of the “issues” discussed here [TWW] tend to be systematic, not “one off”, moral failures…

    Yes. Game over. Walk in the light.

    God Is Light
    “… in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” – from 1 John 1.

    Writer/Professor Susan Shapiro, in “Unhooked”, writing about addictions, emphasizes “Walking in the light” to walk free from addiction, even the most insidious.

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  29. Sòpwith:
    ___

    “ C.J. Mahaney deceived Al Mohler into thinking an investigation of sexual abuse done by Covenant Life Church included the investigation of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. When Mohler found out otherwise, he severed the relationship but didn’t reveal it until Robert Downen of the Houston Chronicle starting asking him questions. Mahaney and SGC were never investigated. Mohler was duped by his closest of friends. I call that betrayal. Understandably, all ties with Mahaney & SGC were completely severed. “ Bret Detweiler

    http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/the-inside-story-al-mohler-severed-all-personal-ties-with-cj.html

    Mohler was ‘deceived’ and ‘duped’? Mohler of the apparent subtle and direct systematic — let’s say — influencing and shaping of SBC and seminary bureaucracy and thought as observed here and elsewhere? Why don’t I buy this as the likely explanation?

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  30. I spent 25 years on Sov Grace..

    1) Mahaney is a liar and THE walking personification of the term narccist.

    2) Mahaney DID protect child molesters MULTIPLE times. NEVER reported them to the police. One of the molesters was a multimillionaire who molested his daughters. Big giver of $$$ to the church. Used to go to his shore home alot.

    3) Mark Prater is a tool. Ex Pharma VP of sales. Sold abortion drugs while a “christian”. Another narccist and a follower of man.

    They are a biblical mess. I said this year’s ago… they will NEVER agree to an independent investigation. They KNOW it will be shown that they are as guilty as hell in protecting molesters.

    Good is and will continue to address their sin.

    Happy Easter!

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  31. JDV, Bret Detweiler TELLS us this. —That C.J. lied to Albert. —Albert says he saw no need to check up about the CLC abuse investigation. The truth and a hand shake should have been all that was necessary. Reality obviously proved other-wise. Albert apologized. Better late than never. Why should Albert have played detective from 221B Baker Street? Sure Doctor Albert Mohler‘s [actions] hurt many of us deeply. Yet forgiveness is what we do by Christ’s nature. Only God knows the heart. ATB, Sòpy
    ;~)

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  32. JDV: Mohler was ‘deceived’ and ‘duped’? Mohler of the apparent subtle and direct systematic — let’s say — influencing and shaping of SBC and seminary bureaucracy and thought as observed here and elsewhere? Why don’t I buy this as the likely explanation?

    Because that is the Official Story/Party Line.

    Along with War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.

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  33. Headless Unicorn Guy: JDV: Mohler was ‘deceived’ and ‘duped’? Mohler of the apparent subtle and direct systematic — let’s say — influencing and shaping of SBC and seminary bureaucracy and thought as observed here and elsewhere? Why don’t I buy this as the likely explanation?

    Sure, I believe. Just like James MacDonald was badmouthed by jealous, vengeful staff who didn’t get their way all the time. Poor fella.

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  34. Leslie Puryear,

    Denhollander has gone out of her way, since day one she spoke up, to leave Mohler out of it. Her husband was getting a PhD at Southern at the time. One has to purposely leave Mohler’s name out considering he was the lead guy defending Mahaney, opened SBTS up to his entourage and brought him to Louisville.

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  35. ION: Fitba’

    So, another big game for Liverpool in (at the time of writing) a couple of hours. If we drop points at Cardiff, the title race is as good as over. If we win, we go top, albeit still dependent on Man City dropping points in their game in hand. Interestingly, a Liverpool win would also guarantee Premiership survival for Newcastle, now managed by former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez. Benitez, AWWBA, famously led us to the Champions’ League triumph in Istanbul, and is held in warm regard on the red half * of Merseyside.

    * Information if required: Liverpool, of course, play in red; the other major team in the city are Everton, who play in blue. Please let it be clear that these are sporting, and NOT political, colours.

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  36. Lydia: Denhollander has gone out of her way, since day one she spoke up, to leave Mohler out of it. Her husband was getting a PhD at Southern at the time.

    I wondered if anybody else noticed that. Yep, leaving Mohler out of the Mahaney mess is like removing one of the two peas from the pod. When he continued his support of Mahaney, Mohler essentially ignored the 2013 SBC resolution “On Sexual Abuse of Children” which was written largely because of the Mohler/Mahaney connection (even though they were not named). Mohler is untouchable in SBC ranks because many fear to bring up his name – he has the power to make or break you within SBC. Are there no prophets within SBC who will point a finger in the good doctor’s face and shout “You are the man!” No, of course not, SBC is a non-prophet organization.

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  37. Leslie Puryear:
    “I suggest the Southern Baptist Convention consider a resolution that would forbid any ongoing association of Sovereign Grace Churches with the Southern Baptist Convention.”

    Good idea, but as long as Mohler is around, it ain’t gonna happen, apology or not.

    Resolutions do not have to followed by SBC churches.

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  38. mot: Resolutions do not have to followed by SBC churches.

    With local church autonomy, that can be a blessing or a curse. The only reason Southern Baptists unite is to cooperate financially on missions and evangelism, although the “Cooperative Program” is being redefined by the New Calvinists … evangelism is just not the same, no matter how the new reformers spin it.

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  39. Max: With local church autonomy, that can be a blessing or a curse.The only reason Southern Baptists unite is to cooperate financially on missions and evangelism, although the “Cooperative Program” is being redefined by the New Calvinists … evangelism is just not the same, no matter how the new reformers spin it.

    But let a local SBC church call a woman Pastor and the leaders of the SBC will go into action. I believe it was Mary Madeleine that went to Jesus tomb and not a man. Women must be very special to Jesus.

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  40. mot: Women must be very special to Jesus.

    In the BibleScriptures, the church is personified as a woman. This should give pause to everyone who supports the doctrine of the infantilisation of women. But it doesn’t.

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  41. ION: Fitba’, Part II

    So, we did indeed win in Cardiff. As a result, the race for the title goes on one more week (though it remains Man City’s to lose); but, interestingly, both Newcastle and Bournemouth are now safe, as both are on 41 points and Cardiff – third from bottom – cannot now get more than 40.

    Man City’s game in hand is, in effect, played this Wednesday when they visit Old Trafford. In a worrying development for Liverpool fans, a woeful ManUtd were gubbed 4-0 by Everton today. Cardiff remain in pole position to join already-relegated Fulham and Huddersfield as they’re 3 points from safety having played a game more than their immediate rivals.

    IHTIH

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  42. mot: But let a local SBC church call a woman Pastor and the leaders of the SBC will go into action. I believe it was Mary Magdalene that went to Jesus tomb and not a man. Women must be very special to Jesus.

    And she was a Baptist, I believer! (maybe not a Southern Baptist)

    Oh yeah, try installing a female believer who is anointed to preach the Gospel as an SBC pastor, and you will have a war on your hands! Talk about weeping and gnashing of teeth!!

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  43. ___

    “SGC Megachurch Pastor Confesses to Protecting Child Molester for Years”

    hmmm…

    “Covenant Life Church former pastor Grant Layman admitted on Tuesday while testifying about allegations against Nathaniel Morales that he withheld incriminating information from the police about the abuse. Public defender Alan Drew asked Layman if he had an ‘obligation to report the alleged abuse?’ ‘I believe so,” he replied. “And you didn’t?’ Alan Drew asked.

    “A megachurch pastor confessed to covering up sexual abuse claims during this week’s trial of a youth leader accused of molesting several boys. Nathaniel Morales, 56, was convicted Thursday of sexually abusing three young boys between 1983 and 1991.”
    – Morgan Lee, Christian Post Reporter

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/megachurch-pastor-confesses-to-protecting-child-molester-for-years.html

    ***

    Catch Your Dreams: “Grant Layman Leaves the Ministry to Sell Paint…”

    “Grant Layman, brother in-law of C.J. Mahaney and a fixture for the past 31 years at Covenant Life Church of Gaithersburg, MD, has announced that effective March 31, 2014 he will step down from his full-time staff position.” Bret Detweiler

    http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/grant-layman-leaves-the-ministry-to-sell-paint.html

    -=-

    Intermission:
    HIDDEN CITIZENS – “Paint It, Black” (cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg4Cp5dsSVo
    The Rolling Stones – “Paint It, Black”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=O4irXQhgMqg&list=RDO4irXQhgMqg&start_radio=1

    ;~)

    -=-

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  44. mot: I believe it was Mary Madeleine that went to Jesus tomb and not a man.

    All the disciples scattered and holed-up in various places in Jerusalem, scared you-know-what-less of the Roman patrols in collusion with the Sanhedrin and their previous association with Jesus of Nazareth.

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  45. Nick Bulbeck: Fitba

    Here’s something I have never understood. What happens when a team is shoved out of the top division of the sport? It’s really an infrastructure question.

    An NFL stadium is a Very Costly Thing. If the New York Jets got thrown out of the NFL for poor performance, and lost so many fans that they had to play at a high school field, worldwide economic catastrophe would likely follow.

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  46. __

    Scott free : “John Loftness: Sovereign Grace, Hotdog Extraordinaire,Perhaps? ”

    hmmm…

    Scott free : def. ‘completely free from obligation, harm, or penalty…’

    Ya think?

    Whatz up with dat?


    Notes:
    http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/john-loftness-in-focus-former-chairman-of-the-sgm-board-alle.html

    Intermission:
    Red Rider – “Lunatic Fringe”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uqUa_G1h3pw

    ;~)

    – –

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  47. Nick Bulbeck: the doctrine of the infantilisation of women

    Is there a difference between the Cosby MO of arresting a woman’s agency via drugs, and religion arresting a woman’s agency via misogynist doctrine?

    She trusts, and then, in that trust, separate a woman from her God-given agency, various methods, and . . .

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  48. Max: With local church autonomy, that can be a blessing or a curse.The only reason Southern Baptists unite is to cooperate financially on missions and evangelism, although the “Cooperative Program” is being redefined by the New Calvinists … evangelism is just not the same, no matter how the new reformers spin it.

    Yep, Max, watching the CP issues to which you’re alluding

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  49. JDV: watching the CP issues to which you’re alluding

    SBC’s home mission thrust now is to plant churches … I mean plant theology (reformed theology). Whosoever-will-may-come is no longer the predominant message by new missionaries on foreign fields. SBC’s footprint in world evangelism is changing.

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  50. Friend: Here’s something I have never understood. What happens when a team is shoved out of the top division of the sport? It’s really an infrastructure question.

    Good question. I’ll try and keep my response as brief as I can, but here’s the infrastructure answer.

    So, there are 92 professional fitba’ clubs in England. These are organised into four distinct league divisions; legally and commercially it’s complicated as the branding and sponsorship has altered over the years, but the basic structure is that these four divisions sit (so to speak) one above the other. For the aforesaid commercial / legal / sponsorship reasons, the divisions are called the Premiership, the Championship, League One, and League Two. (Eyeroll…) The Premiership contains 20 teams and the others have 24.

    The league season lasts from August to May, and in each division, every team plays every other team twice: home and away. That’s 38 games in the Premiership and 46 in the other leagues. Three points for a win, one each for a draw, none for a defeat.

    Now, relegation. The three teams that finish bottom of the Premiership will be relegated to the Championship, and they’ll be replaced by three teams promoted from the top of the Championship. (This process, in turn, is complicated by a set of play-offs involving teams 3, 4, 5 and 6, but never mind.) There’s a similar exchange between the Championship and League One, and between Leagues One and Two. In principle, a team in the fourth tier this year could achieve promotion three years running and be in the top tier in three years’ time. This is rare, but it has happened. (The opposite – three successive relegations – has happened too!)

    Teams relegated from the fourth tier drop into the semi-professional leagues. This means what you’d expect: the fitba’ clubs don’t generate much revenue and the players and coaching staff need to have part-time day-jobs. Below that, there are many amateur leagues.

    Finally: As you suggested in your question, relegation is indeed an expensive business. The amount of money from merchandising and sponsorship alone rises exponentially as you go up through the divisions. At the same time, so do the operating costs. You have to have a stadium of a certain size and quality in each division, and of course, your wage budget has to be big enough to attract the quality of player that’ll keep you in that division.

    IHTIH…

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  51. Max: I wondered if anybody else noticed that.Yep, leaving Mohler out of the Mahaney mess is like removing one of the two peas from the pod..

    Okay, but since then, Mohler has cut public ties w/Mahaney (in spite of the payoff, er, generous donation). Perhaps it the Denhollanders facilitated Mohler’s change of mind?

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  52. Remnant: Perhaps it the Denhollanders facilitated Mohler’s change of mind?

    IMO, the Houston Chronicle series of articles on widespread sexual abuse in the SBC was the turning point for the Mohler/Mahaney affiliation. It was the first time that Mohler publicly “apologized” for his past defense of Mahaney. With that media exposure, the potato became too hot to handle for Dr. Al so he slithered away to protect his own skin. The Denhollanders put more pressure on Mahaney than Mohler, leaving Mohler out of the scandal … even though the good doctor had helped pave Mahaney’s way to a fresh ministry start in Louisville.

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  53. Fisher: Max, can you elaborate?

    SBC’s Cooperative Program supports two mission efforts via the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board. The former covers “home” missions and evangelism; the latter, “foreign” missions and evangelism.

    The majority of NAMB’s budget now is directed to church planting ($60 million annual expenditure!) to plant 1,000 new churches per year. Most of their pastors are young reformers fresh out of seminary. NAMB is directed by Kevin Ezell, Al Mohler’s former pastor … think about it.

    Under David Platt’s leadership of SBC’s International Mission Board, 1,000+ career missionaries were recalled. Platt is a leading New Calvinist, approaching near-worship status in the reformed movement. He cited a funding shortage for gutting IMB, but Ezell (above) seemed to have found plenty of funds to plant reformed theology disguised as church plants.

    In the past, NAMB and IMB focused on SBC’s default belief and practice which was distinctly non-Calvinist for 150+ years (pre-Mohler). Those missionaries carried a whosoever-will-may-come message of the Cross of Christ to home and foreign fields in their evangelistic outreach. My contention is that the Gospel message will change in the future as doctrines ‘about’ grace replace the past focus on a direct experience ‘of’ Grace, an encounter with the Living Christ. That is certainly occurring at SBC church plants near me which have “lead” pastors who are New Calvinists.

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  54. Nick Bulbeck: IHTIH…

    Thank you, Nick! I really appreciate the explanation. I guess the closest financial equivalent in the US is moving a pro team from one town to another, although those decisions are made differently. Otherwise the mechanism is a little like what goes on in our NCAA divisions and athletic conferences.

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  55. Max: The majority of NAMB’s budget now is directed to church planting ($60 million annual expenditure!) to plant 1,000 new churches per year.

    May I just say that is insane?

    Everywhere I go in this great land of ours, there are churches. Few of them look full on a Sunday. Many house a main congregation and a couple of small congregations. In cities, they get sold and transformed into night clubs. We are not in the midst of a church shortage.

    I know, I know, these planters think they have a monopoly on the truth. But am I alone in finding beauty in the varied worship expression throughout Christendom? That all began during Jesus’ life, and continued after Pentecost.

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  56. Friend: these planters think they have a monopoly on the truth

    There is no doubt that New Calvinists believe they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the true “gospel” to the institutional church which lost it somewhere along the line (to them, Calvinism = Gospel). It is an easier row to hoe if reformed church planters fresh out of seminary can plant a new church. Taking over a traditional (non-Calvinist) church by stealth and deception is often met by weeping and gnashing of teeth. The new reformers are definitely passionate about their cause, but it is a misplaced passion.

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  57. __

    “All The Pastoral Kings And All Of Their Pastoral Men…”

    hmmm…

    “What does grace NOT look like?”

    The proverbial harboring pedophiles, supporting them in court trials at the expense of their victims, and covering up their actions, is certainly not wise.

    In today’s climate, 501c3 churches should not require large proverbial pastoral protection parishoner disclaimers.
    https://www.sovereigngrace.com/sovereign-grace-blog/post/faq

    When you finally figure out what SGC looks like, you see what Jesus, our Savior, is not promoting…

    Avoid this group as if your spiritual life depends on it?

    It does. (Ask it’s many victims)

    (sadface)

    Illustrious Southern Seminary Doctor Albert Mohler found out the hard way, that the proverbial erroneous actions of Humty-Mahaney, and his faithful cohorts, can not be ‘repaired’.

    ;~)

    – –

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  58. Max: There is no doubt that New Calvinists believe they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the true “gospel” to the institutional church which lost it somewhere along the line (to them, Calvinism = Gospel).

    So did The Hitlerjugend, the Red Guard, and those Iranian Students who dumped the Shah and established the Islamic Republic (and got out-Islamed in turn by the Taliban and al-Daesh).

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  59. One of the things Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount was, “Blessed are you when people say all kinds of evil against you falsely.” I wonder if the translation these people are using omits this last word.

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  60. Yesterday’s Easter service was, well, something else.

    The music was not traditional Easter music although we did a blend of light praise, adult contemporary, southern gospel, and hymns. In any of those genre’s there was plenty of music to choose that focused on the resurrection, but we did not. Instead we had imho a lesson in what not to do. Today even most 5th graders have studied the use of music in affecting group dynamics. I believe (and hope I am wrong!) that our music team was out to intentionally give an endorphin fix so folks that do not normally attend would be strangely drawn to return. The tempo was the fastest I have ever witnessed, even in rock concerts. The drum was so driving even young parents were removing children with hands over ears. One family, clearly with a member on the music team, had brought sound deadening ear protection for the children. They knew what was going to go down. The music minister kept trying to get everyone on their feet clapping and boogeying. Um, did not go over well. A few old hippie ladies got jiggy but most of the hundreds in attendance just….stood like statues or watched. Especially the young adults and teens and kids. They know, folks. You cannot use those mind science techniques to engender a response or crowd control anymore. And the death, burial, and resurrection are serious, touching, awe inspiring. Most of us found it distasteful to say the least to try to carry on like a sports team pep rally.

    The text for the sermon was a very touching, good Easter text. But the service was banal, focusing on the emotions of the participants like John, Peter, and Mary Magdalene instead of on Christ. Jesus was presented as someone to cure your loneliness and sooth your emotional owies, not as Savior. At the very end there was brief nod to the Romans Road but it was truncated. Not one word about repentance and faith, more an invitation to join the group and get happy and calm. I can only pray the counsellors who met with the couple who responded actually gave them the gospel (non trademarked.)

    This trivial pursuit took place in a large SBC church. Folks were leaving during the music and during the sermon. The real thing, real salvation and the very real possibility of missing it are serious. They are arguably the most important things we ever confront in life. They should be the focus of the church, especially a church service planned, we were told, to be a one shot crusade (Billy Graham term) to the lost in our community.

    Instead we tried to pump them up then bring them down, manufacturing emotions rather than standing back and letting the Holy Spirit work.

    Max, others like Max, we need you. We need folks who can refuse to be nasty but stand unflinching and face this evil in the eye and NOT BE MOVED.

    We need prayer warriors. The focus of TWW is great, the root is to be found in the perps never actually getting saved but rather being manipulated to participate in a game called church.

    It is soooo time for a revival of the truth and the banishing of technique.

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  61. jyjames: Is there a difference between the Cosby MO of arresting a woman’s agency via drugs, and religion arresting a woman’s agency via misogynist doctrine?

    She trusts, and then, in that trust, separate a woman from her God-given agency, various methods, and . . .

    There is a great deal of truth to this. By arresting a woman’s agency, in many ways, she is made insecure, needy and dependent upon a man’s provision and good will. If she is wise, she will keep in his good books.

    Even if she comes to understand and resent her enslavement, by then it is often too late. She must keep a good face, and only spit in his food when he isn’t looking.

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  62. Max: In the past, NAMB and IMB focused on SBC’s default belief and practice which was distinctly non-Calvinist for 150+ years (pre-Mohler). Those missionaries carried a whosoever-will-may-come message of the Cross of Christ to home and foreign fields in their evangelistic outreach. My contention is that the Gospel message will change in the future as doctrines ‘about’ grace replace the past focus on a direct experience ‘of’ Grace, an encounter with the Living Christ.

    Making them, in effect, little more than money making schemes, allowing churches to guilt a body of believers out of their money, supposedly for the sake of ‘God’s work’.

    Some are beginning to question the financial shenanigans of some of these Mega’s, as they create LLC’s involving the super-rich pastors and Christians-in-name-only, pouring church assets into real estate and investments from which they benefit while the pew is left with enormous debts to pay off. There are also growing questions about mostly unaccountable charities – like MacDonald’s and Driscoll’s CHC – that raise a large amount of money, pour it into investments, and have no clear record of where the returns go.

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  63. TS00,

    “Even if she comes to understand and resent her enslavement, by then it is often too late. She must keep a good face, and only spit in his food when he isn’t looking.”

    Really? What kind of wicked person would do such a thing?

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  64. Noevangelical,

    is the wicked person the enslaver or the spitter?

    the plan in taking away a person’s agency, a person’s voice is to make them passive. if they can’t say “No”, they have no other choice but passive resistance.

    if they have been conditioned that resistance is not compatible with female submission and is therefore ‘ungodly’, when their inner voice is screaming “This is wrong! This is stupid! This is so unwise!”, the only other option is passive aggression.

    (i’m sure i gave you more of my thoughts than you needed)

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  65. TS00: money making schemes, allowing churches to guilt a body of believers out of their money

    As a Southern Baptist for nearly 70 years, I willingly gave to support the ministries of NAMB and IMB … that whosoever-will-may-come would be preached around the world to every tribe, tongue and nation. With the New Calvinist movement came a new generation of reformers who were more concerned about planting reformed theology than planting Gospel churches which would reach ALL people, rather than a predestined elect (there’s a difference in the preaching).

    Before I left SBC, I looked sadly at those pew envelopes for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering which supported foreign and home missions … I now saw them through a different lens, knowing that those funds would be used to help finance the proliferation of a belief and practice contrary to those I had known for three-quarters of a century. I reluctantly joined the Done ranks, while others gave a record-breaking $61 million Easter offering in 2018 … most not knowing that those funds would plant 1,000 new churches in North America to advance reformed theology in a denomination which had been distinctly non-Calvinist for 150+ years.

    I know this is happening primarily because mainstream Southern Baptists are uninformed or misinformed about the new reformation. But, I have to think that many older (and deep-pocket) members are just willingly ignorant as long as you don’t mess with their potluck dinners.

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  66. elastigirl: if they have been conditioned that resistance is not compatible with female submission and is therefore ‘ungodly’, when their inner voice is screaming “This is wrong! This is stupid! This is so unwise!”, the only other option is passive aggression.

    The only weapon usable from a one-down submissive position.
    Which brings in its own set of problems.
    Primarily sowing a deep distrust of women among third-party males, giving them all the more reason to stomp harder on them.

    “A man will walk up to your face and shoot you; a woman will smile sweetly as she puts poison in your drink.”

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  67. linda:
    Yesterday’s Easter service was, well, something else.

    The music was not traditional Easter music although we did a blend of light praise, adult contemporary, southern gospel, and hymns.In any of those genre’s there was plenty of music to choose that focused on the resurrection, but we did not.Instead we had imho a lesson in what not to do.Today even most 5th graders have studied the use of music in affecting group dynamics.I believe (and hope I am wrong!) that our music team was out to intentionally give an endorphin fix so folks that do not normally attend would be strangely drawn to return.The tempo was the fastest I have ever witnessed, even in rock concerts.The drum was so driving even young parents were removing children with hands over ears.One family, clearly with a member on the music team, had brought sound deadening ear protection for the children.They knew what was going to go down.The music minister kept trying to get everyone on their feet clapping and boogeying.Um, did not go over well.A few old hippie ladies got jiggy but most of the hundreds in attendance just….stood like statues or watched.Especially the young adults and teens and kids.They know, folks.You cannot use those mind science techniques to engender a response or crowd control anymore.And the death, burial, and resurrection are serious, touching, awe inspiring.Most of us found it distasteful to say the least to try to carry on like a sports team pep rally.

    The text for the sermon was a very touching, good Easter text.But the service was banal, focusing on the emotions of the participants like John, Peter, and Mary Magdalene instead of on Christ.Jesus was presented as someone to cure your loneliness and sooth your emotional owies, not as Savior.At the very end there was brief nod to the Romans Road but it was truncated.Not one word about repentance and faith, more an invitation to join the group and get happy and calm.I can only pray the counsellors who met with the couple who responded actually gave them the gospel (non trademarked.)

    This trivial pursuit took place in a large SBC church.Folks were leaving during the music and during the sermon.The real thing, real salvation and the very real possibility of missing it are serious.They are arguably the most important things we ever confront in life.They should be the focus of the church, especially a church service planned, we were told, to be a one shot crusade (Billy Graham term) to the lost in our community.

    Instead we tried to pump them up then bring them down, manufacturing emotions rather than standing back and letting the Holy Spirit work.

    Max, others like Max, we need you.We need folks who can refuse to be nasty but stand unflinching and face this evil in the eye and NOT BE MOVED.

    We need prayer warriors.The focus of TWW is great, the root is to be found in the perps never actually getting saved but rather being manipulated to participate in a game called church.

    It is soooo time for a revival of the truth and the banishing of technique.

    oh man, thank you for describing FBC JAX passion play and assorted hoopla. My heart is broken to see people just go along with the show. The way of salvation is described this way to passion play goers…”we hope that God will call you and you will follow Him for the rest of your life. God will call you. No choice. No Jesus. I just want out of this situation i’m in, no car, so i don’t have to go thru this anymore.

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  68. Friend: Max: The majority of NAMB’s budget now is directed to church planting ($60 million annual expenditure!) to plant 1,000 new churches per year.

    May I just say that is insane?

    Everywhere I go in this great land of ours, there are churches. Few of them look full on a Sunday. Many house a main congregation and a couple of small congregations. In cities, they get sold and transformed into night clubs. We are not in the midst of a church shortage.

    Another trend is “revitalizing” existing churches. When you’re church planting, you can pretty easily get a core team with the energy and time to pour into ministry, and a recent seminary grad to head it up, and then start bringing younger folks through the doors… but what you usually don’t have is a building & land, or money/income to get one.

    So find a shrinking church filled with older folks like me, and propose a “merger”! We’ll bring our eager beavers and your church will start growing again! …but it isn’t a merger of equals; you probably won’t like our music, and maybe not our reformed theology either, and you may not realize that we’re actually planting a new church using your building (and graciously letting you continue to attend).

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  69. linda: A few old hippie ladies got jiggy but most of the hundreds in attendance just….stood like statues or watched. Especially the young adults and teens and kids. They know, folks. You cannot use those mind science techniques to engender a response or crowd control anymore.

    Interesting, Linda. Why do you think the mind science stuff isn’t working on people?

    My mother is in her 80s, but not really elderly. She realized that almost all of her older friends have Christian beliefs, but don’t go to church. So she asked them why, and all had the same answer.

    “The music is too darn loud.”

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  70. Brian: Could the withdrawal of the 1,000+ missionaries be a power move? To maintain control of the SBC?

    To maintain theological control. As a New Calvinist, David Platt didn’t believe in altar calls, sinners prayers, and “accepting” Christ. Those were evangelistic practices used by SBC’s non-Calvinist foreign missionaries for 150 years. I suspect most new missionaries lean toward the reformed side of the scale – they won’t invite sinners of every tribe, tongue and nation to the Cross of Christ like the old missionaries did.

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  71. bendeni: Another trend is “revitalizing” existing churches.

    Just a fancy name for church takeover by stealth and deception. When the new reformers split a traditional church (run the old folks off), they gain control of the church building and assets. They then call it a “replant” and recruit younger like-minded New Calvinist members. Of course, the SBC majority (still non-Calvinist) didn’t ask for any of this. SBC’s New Calvinist elite (Mohler and his minions) have forced Calvinization upon the denomination. It all sounds like God doesn’t it?

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  72. bendeni: you may not realize that we’re actually planting a new church using your building (and graciously letting you continue to attend)

    But, of course, we are taking away congregational governance and replacing it with elder-rule so we can control every jot and tittle of your membership and squeeze the spiritual life out of you. So, sign the contract and bring your share of the bucks to finance our rebellion. Thank you.

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  73. Max: To maintain theological control.As a New Calvinist, David Platt didn’t believe in altar calls, sinners prayers, and “accepting” Christ.Those were evangelistic practices used by SBC’s non-Calvinist foreign missionaries for 150 years.I suspect most new missionaries lean toward the reformed side of the scale – they won’t invite sinners of every tribe, tongue and nation to the Cross of Christ like the old missionaries did.

    Platt and others stole the SBC from those of us that believe in whosoever will. The SBC gets zero of my time and money now.

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  74. bendeni: you probably won’t like our music, and maybe not our reformed theology either, and you may not realize that we’re actually planting a new church using your building (and graciously letting you continue to attend).

    I have known a few faithful folk to change their wills when their beloved churches transformed beyond recognition.

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  75. Max: As a New Calvinist, David Platt didn’t believe in altar calls, sinners prayers, and “accepting” Christ.

    Maybe it’s because Platt teaches God hates sinners more than he loves them: https://radical.net/does-god-hate-sin-but-love-the-sinner/
    So, does God hate sinners? The Bible says so. Does God hate the sin but love the sinner? In a sense, certainly that is true, but that does not mean that there is not a sense in which God hates sinners.

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  76. linda: I believe (and hope I am wrong!) that our music team was out to intentionally give an endorphin fix so folks that do not normally attend would be strangely drawn to return.

    Not “endorphin” — DOPAMINE! The brain’s pleasure/addiction chemical.
    Like crack and meth do on their own and smartphone apps do by design.

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  77. linda: This trivial pursuit took place in a large SBC church.

    Not “trivial pursuit” — RAVE with feel-good motivational speech.

    Nothing of the sort happened at St Boniface Saturday Night. There we had a normal Easter Vigil Liturgy, with our diocese’s newest Bishop (who’d been pastor of the same church for 12+ years) as celebrant.

    Candlelight processional in, additional readings in the Liturgy of the Word, baptisms and confirmations and renewing of baptismal vows (with full Litany of Saints) between Word and Eucharist, and a packed house as all the twice-a-year Catholics showed up.

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  78. Ken F (aka Tweed): Platt teaches God hates sinners more than he loves them

    When folks like Platt have run their course of theological error through the SBC, a multitude of confused and disillusioned New Calvinists will comprise one of the largest mission fields on the planet for the true Gospel. The Calvinist God just does not love folks like Jehovah-Rohi.

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  79. Cindy Treadway: I believe (and hope I am wrong!) that our music team was out to intentionally give an endorphin fix so folks that do not normally attend would be strangely drawn to return.

    Has anyone here read Fritz Leiber’s 1943 SF novel Gather, Darkness!?

    The novel is set in a dystopia ruled by a corrupt religious dictatorship with medieval trappings called “The Heirarchy”, opposed by a rebel movement which uses “medieval witchcraft” trappings; both sides use high-tech disguised as spiritual/magic. Well, the Heirarchy has these special organs called “Symps” and “Parasymps” whose tones compel instant total obedience through subliminal emotional manipulation. (Kinda like Scientology Tone 40 and/or “The Voice” from Frank Herbert’s Dune.)

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  80. Max: When folks like Platt have run their course of theological error through the SBC, a multitude of confused and disillusioned New Calvinists will comprise one of the largest mission fields on the planet for the true Gospel.

    Assuming New Calvinism hasn’t vaccinated them against it.

    Remember how vaccination works? Expose an organism’s immune system to a false or weak or dead form of a pathogen; then when the organism is exposed to the real thing, the immune system will instantly and totally REJECT it.

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  81. linda: I believe (and hope I am wrong!) that our music team was out to intentionally give an endorphin fix so folks that do not normally attend would be strangely drawn to return … The music minister kept trying to get everyone on their feet clapping and boogeying … Not one word about repentance and faith, more an invitation to join the group and get happy and calm.

    Is your church led by New Calvinists? Sure sounds like the typical Easter service at SBC New Calvinist church plants near me. The sacredness of the day, with the message of the Cross of Christ and His glorious resurrection, are lost in all the noise. In New Calvinist churches, the most important staff position is the “worship” leader – perhaps more important than the “lead” pastor. Bands and “praise” teams in tight pants are the ticket to church success, whether or not the precious Gospel is ever preached. They are targeting Generations X, Y and Z and just enough older fools with deep pockets to help them pay for their rebellion. Yep, this ain’t your Grandma’s SBC … they would just as soon she leave if she hasn’t already!

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  82. linda: Jesus was presented as someone to cure your loneliness and sooth your emotional owies, not as Savior.

    Another indication that the New Calvinists have influenced your church staff. In that camp, Jesus is eternally subordinated and diminished in importance to the Calvinist God. If you listen closely to New Calvinist “sermons”, you will hear a lot about “God”, only occasional mention of Jesus, and hardly a word about the Holy Spirit. Indeed, reformed icons like John Piper get more coverage than Jesus! If Jesus was not magnified on Easter Sunday in your church, you can rest assured His Name won’t be raised above all names for the rest of the year.

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  83. Noevangelical:

    “Even if she comes to understand and resent her enslavement, by then it is often too late. She must keep a good face, and only spit in his food when he isn’t looking.”

    Really? What kind of wicked person would do such a thing?

    It was intended symbolically, but suggests the limited passive resistance she is capable of.

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  84. Max,

    Question and observation: Are the Neo Cal’s amillennial or dispensationalist? I’ve heard both R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur preach on the radio. John MacArthur, a dispensationalist, mentioned Jesus and Holy Spirit way much more than R.C. Sproul, an almillennialist.

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  85. Noevangelical,

    “Q: “is the wicked person the enslaver or the spitter?”
    A: Yes”
    +++++++++++++

    i hope you can see the mitigating circumstances regarding the relative ‘wickedness’ of the person who spits in her oppressor’s food.

    to put it another way, if a person is ground down enough under the subjugation to another human being(s), having had their voice silenced and no say even in the living of their own lives, if they can muster the will, the gumption to spit in their oppressor’s food, it shows they still have fight in them. perhaps enough to rise up and say “NO MORE!”

    more power to her.

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  86. Brian: Could the withdrawal of the 1,000+ missionaries be a power move? To maintain control of the SBC?

    Don’t know what those who stayed in the IMB are preaching/teaching these days. But I do know ALL the top men (and their hard working partners, their wives) who were leading disciple and church multilpication left in the last ten years. All of them.

    Church multiplication is based on the premise that ordinary non-seminary trained lay leaders can lead simple house churches without preaching (group discovery bible study takes its place).

    Not being IMB myself I couldn’t understand why the IMB would marginalize and push out its most talented trainers. Who by the way were also seeing incredible fruit. Thousands from least reached people groups became disciples where previously only ones and twos had joined tiny existing churches. I mean, wouldn’t you want to hang on to those people???

    Apparently not if they advocated the priesthood of all believers. Not if they bypassed seminaries in favor of training via discipleship chains. Not if women were given equal place.

    From the outside looking in it appears church multiplication was so offensive to new calvinist SBC/IMB leaders they would rather get rid of the people practicing them than see millions (yes, millions) become Jesus active disciples.

    Interestingly,churches that former IMB workers (+those they trained + national colleagues) launched are among the most biblically faithful around. Again, wouldn’t you think people would rejoice over that?

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  87. Fisher,

    That is the most stunning and disheartening thing I have ever read. If this is true, and I don’t doubt you, can we honestly believe that reaching the lost is the goal of those now in charge of missions in the SBC?

    I was not in an SBC church, but the ‘missions’ of the Calvinist denomination we were a part of seemed clearly, IMO, to be all about winning people over to Calvinism rather than truly reaching the yet unreached. Even my spouse, who is yet Calvinist, noticed this in our early days in the fold.

    The old joke used to go ‘Let the Baptists save ’em and we’ll straighten ’em out.’ Now, one wonders if anyone is left to spread the true gospel to genuinely needy persons.

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  88. TS00,

    The joke is rather telling, by the way, as very few ever come to Christ in a Calvinist church. Their ‘gospel’ is not very compelling, and many appear uncomfortable offering a ‘gift’ they are not sure is truly intended.

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  89. Fisher: it appears church multiplication was so offensive to new calvinist

    Within SBC, “church multiplication” was redefined in the context of the new & improved church planting program to equip leaders to plant, replant, and revitalize churches … with reformed theology, of course. It’s now called the “Multiplication Pipeline” and is part of the strategy to subtly Calvinize the denomination with a new generation of church leaders by subtly indoctrinating the new leaders first. The training for such folks includes required reading like “Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know” by Wayne Grudem … a book endorsed by Mohler, Packer, and Piper. The New Calvinists have penetrated and redefined every SBC “program” which once played important roles in reaching lost souls with the Gospel of Christ; the primary mission now is to reform the church with the Calvinist gospel by multiplying SBC churches at the rate of 1200 per year (staffed by new reformers). And the SBC pew which finances the Calvinization of their denomination still ain’t got a clue. Mohler and his minions are brilliant.

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  90. TS00: If this is true … can we honestly believe that reaching the lost is the goal of those now in charge of missions in the SBC?

    The goal is to plant 1200 new churches via a “Multiplication Pipeline” … reaching souls for Christ is lost in all the noise to plant reformed churches as quickly as possible. SBC has 45,000+ churches in America, most still staffed with non-Calvinist leaders … but that is changing as time goes on by an aggressive planting, replanting, and revitalization effort to reform as many as possible.

    Let Kevin Ezell convince you: https://www.namb.net/pipeline/

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  91. Max: The goal is to plant 1200 new churches via a “Multiplication Pipeline” …

    Is “Multipication Pipeline” anything like Campus “Cru” Crusade’s “Multiplying Ministry”, AKA Bill Bright’s MLM Pyramid?

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  92. Hard to pin down the theology of this church. Claim to be mildly reformed but sure preach like free will exists. I would basically describe it more as purposedriven/rainertaught/whatever is selling books fastest/coolseminars and running to and fro to meetings/elderconfused. (It is not elder led but some try to function as if it is.) It has a strong core, about half the people, who really know the Word and teach and live it. But it has also about half (leadership half)who are as deep into word of faith and manipulation as you can get.

    Our music is normally that same mix, done with excellence, and definitely not as manipulative. That is what made the whole service such a circus. However well or ailing this church is, that did not represent what we do on a weekly basis. It stuck out like a sore thumb.

    And I will say this: it was the grandmas and grandpas boogeying on down and lapping it up.

    The younger Christians were not having it. They were the walking out crowd. Or the standing or sitting arms across chests glaring at the farce up on the “stage.”

    We have been lied to that the younger generations desire this drivel. From what I see, they do not. Boomers might, the 40-50s set might, but the 35 and under are far more dare I use the word “holiness” than that. They show real restlessness, these truly young whether reformed or not.

    They learn early this mind science stuff and how it works and they smell it a mile away and seem to be soundly rejecting it. What they need is some true elders to stay and fight the fight and lead them.

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  93. Brian:
    Max,

    Question and observation: Are the Neo Cal’s amillennial or dispensationalist? I’ve heard both R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur preach on the radio. John MacArthur, a dispensationalist, mentioned Jesus and Holy Spirit way much more than R.C. Sproul, an almillennialist.

    Does it matter?
    For the record, HyperCalvinism plus Dispy sounds like one of the worst possible combinations.

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  94. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Just my own impression, modern worship music is some form of “soma” for the modern church.

    But I do understand that others enjoy it and consider it an integral part of the church service.

    As long as the type of platform truly spreads His word, it shouldn’t be hindered.

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  95. Sòpwith,

    My story is like many others. Started out great. Quickly saw leadership fall in to legalism. They then stopped following the holy spirit.

    They lost their first love. Followed mahaney. Refused to leave SGM, so i left. Lots of pain . Lost friendships.

    I quickly realized that 80% of the people really wanted a social club and not a God- fearing church.

    The warning for all is that a) if it’s not in the bible, it’s not necessary.
    B) man’s opinion never out trump’s God’s.
    C) never, ever,ever ever put your trust in men. Never!
    D) beware of the pastor who is more concerned about his retirement, than listening to God.

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  96. somewhereintime: I quickly realized that 80% of the people really wanted a social club and not a God- fearing church.

    After 70+ years in church, I truly believe that the 80:20 rule plays out across Christendom … 80% of church folks don’t really know the Lord and He doesn’t know them. They have put their trust in the teachings and traditions of men, rather than in a personal relationship with the Living Christ. They are religious, but spiritually destitute. The Church within the church is a remnant, indeed.

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  97. Brian–ah, but if music is being used to control people’s thoughts and responses by using the natural chemicals in the brain it ISN’T truly spreading His Word and SHOULD be hindered. And please note, our aberrant service was just as wrongheaded when we sang the hymns as when we did the other forms. It was the “how it was used” not the “when it was written.”

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  98. Sound Check: “SGM/SGC Always Bore Record Of Themselves…”

    hmmm…

    somewhereintime,

    The ‘changeling’ leadership of TAG/GOB/POD/PDI/SGM/SGC ‘became’ the proverbial Holy Spirit.
    Then they ‘assigned’ you a mentor ta try and get you to ‘spill your guts’ for leadership threat analyst, ‘proper’ record keeping, and membership determination. The pecking order was to NOT talk to you unless ok’d by local leadership. ( smell a religious cult, yet?) However, none of their sinister tools worked oar had an effect on yours truly, and they knew it.

    Don’t let um take you 4 a ‘ride’…

    “If you continue in my word, then you are truly my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” -Jesus

    “Eyes wide open”

    ATB

    Sòpy

    intermission:
    Candy Dulfer – “Pick Up The ‘dang’ Pieces” (cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pgQQ7k30Ti4

    -=-

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  99. Muff Potter,

    True … even Paul himself “suggests” what may be a better way, but he doesn’t exact it from Christ’s followers. Legalism is the death of all true spiritual matters. Just imagine begin married to someone and you HAVE to love them … or HAVE to perform a specific way to get their approval! Who would want that? Unfortunately it does exist in marriages and it surely exists in churches all over.

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  100. To my original point though, after I left SGM, I went back to the Bible and threw out EVERYTHING in my life that didn’t resemble what was written.

    1) Tithing 10%. Doesn’t exist in the New Testament at all! Do I give? Yes! Do I give more than 10%? Yes, but that’s my business and not someone’s business to tell me to do so from the pulpit.

    2) Church Membership. Doesn’t exist in the Net Testament at all! Do I attend church? Yes! But I will never ever join a church again as a member. Let my “yes” be “yes” and my “no” be “no”. It’s a man-made doctrine.

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  101. Max: After 70+ years in church, I truly believe that the 80:20 rule plays out across Christendom … 80% of church folks don’t really know the Lord and He doesn’t know them. They have put their trust in the teachings and traditions of men, rather than in a personal relationship with the Living Christ. They are religious, but spiritually destitute. The Church within the church is a remnant, indeed.

    Amen.

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  102. Somewhereintime: I went back to the Bible and threw out EVERYTHING in my life that didn’t resemble what was written

    My journey back to spiritual sanity (I’m not completely there yet) began by comparing what Church is what church isn’t. Much of what we see and hear in the organized church isn’t Church.

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  103. __

    “Faux Sheepskin Equivocating Shyster 501c3 Shenanigans, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Is the proverbial illustrious unscrupulous religious practitioner C. J. Mahaney ‘prestigiously’ clothed in proverbial pastoral 501c3 lies and a heinous 45 year multi-named track record of religious self-deception? Are the slow malingering calvinesta pastoral presage public finally learning that the apparent conniving SGM/SGC infectious smile’d ‘apostle’ simply has no true ‘vestment’ cloths?

    The prevaricate ‘parting’ of the New Calvinist pulpit was just ‘jello’?

    Could b.

    Time to let ‘His’ people go, huh?…

    lol

    ;~)§

    – –
    Intermission:
    Talking Heads – “Take Me To The River?”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=anjT71N4PGM

    -=-

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