Derek W.H. Thomas & Plagiarism – “The Brand is Fundamentally Corrupt”: Guest Post by Todd Wilhelm


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“Taking something from one man and making it worse is plagiarism.” George A. Moore


A number of us (bloggers and concerned citizens) were involved in the revelations surrounding the plagiarism by Mark Driscoll. (There was much, much more bizarre stuff about Driscoll but we will concentrate on plagiarism for this post.) Janet Mefferd confronted him on her radio show. Shortly after that Mefferd’s job was on the line because Al Mohler’s office registered his extreme displeasure at her willingness to speak the truth. It is important to understand that Papa Bear Mohler is one of the “4” in T4G. The other 3 are Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, and Ligon Duncan. Papa Bear, Duncan and Dever were huge supporters of CJ Mahaney and also expressed their early on support of Mark Driscoll.

Dee is dying to see what is going to happen with T4G now that Mahaney has been thrown under the bus by Papa Bear. Ligon Duncan and Mark Dever have remained quiet, perhaps sticking their fingers in the air to see which way the wind bloweth.. I also wonder if there is some sort of contract between the 4 that involves money.

Papa Bear, Dever and Duncan issues a statement supporting their BFF and business associate, Mahaney here. Denny Burk couldn’t wait to jump onboard to be with the Fab 4,

I never understood these men who claimed that they are the elucidators of the true gospel. How did all of them get taken in by Mahaney and Driscoll?

As time has progressed, I’ve watched with confusion as these men and their many followers support each other in their various debacles. I’ve actually started keeping notes on those who jump to the defense of various men as I write posts, such as the one on Ed Stetzer and the car. Women, who stay quiet on the sex abuse in the SBC, jump into the Twitter fray to give support to the rather embarrassing antics of their tribal leaders. One day, I shall write a post with the notes I’ve kept….

Now, it should not come as any surprise that Ligon Duncan, fan boy of Mahaney and Driscoll, should jump to the defense of another one of the inner circle who appears to enjoy the words of other men so much that he incorporates them into his speech.

Here’s the bottom line. It appears that the tribal loyalties trump truth and transparency. Ligon Duncan has proven this time and again.

My good friend, Todd Wilhelm, has researched this critique carefully. It’s worth reading. Just know this-if your kid had done that at their seminary, they would have been expelled.

Side Note: Todd will be attending the next phase of Tom Chantry’s trials. We will keep you posted.


(Note: For helpful background on my article I suggest you first read the article “A matter of attribution” World Magazine, March 14, 2019 If, in the future the link above does not work the article may be accessed on the Wayback Machine at this link.)

The following story is one more example of shameful behavior by an Evangelical leader. This article is about Derek W.H. Thomas, a “distinguished” author, seminary professor and senior pastor. Thomas is also, in my opinion, a plagiarizer.

Adding to the troubling story of the plagiarism by Derek Thomas is the fact that Ligon Duncan, a friend of Derek Thomas, is once again found defending a man of questionable character. While Duncan is not the only man to defend Thomas’ actions, it is disturbing to see a de-facto “gatekeeper” of “the good-ole-boys club” once again provide cover for a colleague who, in my opinion, should be disqualified from the ministry and terminated from his job as a professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary. (You will recall that Ligon Duncan, along with Albert Mohler, and Mark Dever, signed a statement of support for their good friend and “Together for the Gospel” buddy C.J. Mahaney. Recently Albert Mohler has distanced himself from C.J. Mahaney, but to my knowledge Duncan and Dever have not retracted their signed statement of support nor ceased their support of him. Mahaney is credibly accused of blackmail and the covering up the sexual abuse of children while he was the leader of the Sovereign Grace network of churches.)

Carl Trueman from the Mortification of Spin Podcast of 6/18/2014 titled “Pastoral Plagiarism,” referring to Evangelicalism, states “the brand is fundamentally corrupt” and “tragically, as is so often the case, Evangelicalism, big church Evangelicalism, has much lower standards than the pagan world out there.” I agree with Trueman.

Todd Pruitt, a member of the Mortification of Spin team, praised Derek Thomas several years ago in a blog post he wrote. I will be watching to see if the MOS team will now be willing to call out Derek Thomas on his plagiarism.

Below is the official comment on Derek Thomas’ plagiarism by P&R Publishing, found on their website.

P&R Publishing convened a committee of editors to look into the charges of plagiarism by Derek Thomas. While I do not know the names of all the committee members, I do know that Iain Duguid was one member.

I’d like to believe Duguid is an honorable man, a man fit to teach aspiring pastors. As you can see from his comment below,  he knew plagiarism when he saw it and he has had the courage to publicly call Derek Thomas’ work what it is – serious and substanial plagiarism – not “unclear note-taking.” Unfortunately, it is obvious his viewpoint didn’t prevail with his colleagues. I don’t have inside information on how it all went down, but had I been on the committee I would have resigned rather than agree to calling Thomas’ plagiarism “unclear note-taking.”

I wish I could say the same for all the editors. Unfortunately, Evangelical Christianity is plagued with an abundance of men who fancy themselves leaders, but they lack the backbone to stand up under pressure and do the right thing. They are wimps in suits and their actions show them to be unfit leaders.

Evangelical leaders, do you wonder why we peasants in the pews are deserting your churches? Because we are watching you seminary professors, you senior pastors, you authors; we are watching and waiting for you to do the right thing, the godly thing, and time after time we are disappointed with your compromising ways. We are disgusted when you choose your paycheck, your career, and your path of ease over doing the right thing. We are done. You men who fancy yourselves leaders are rotting away on the inside, just like the old man in this video.

Let me now cut to the chase. Below is a side by side comparison of Sinclair Ferguson’s transcribed sermons and passages from Derek Thomas’ commentary on Acts.

Derek Thomas Plagiarism of … by on Scribd

 

 

Derek Thomas Plagiarizes Si… by on Scribd

Below is a screen shot from “The Daily Genevan” blog. To my knowledge they were the ones who first broke the story of the plagiarism of Derek Thomas.  I believe the blog post has now been removed. I totally agree with the words I highlighted in yellow.

Below is a video taken from a sermon Derek Thomas preached on April 8, 2019 titled “The Holy Spirit and the Doctrine of the Trinity.”

What I find interesting is Thomas states that he could recite large chunks of Sinclair Ferguson’s book from memory, yet he would have us believe that this same keen mind was simply unclear when reviewing his notes from sermons by Sinclair Ferguson, notes which he often transcribed verbatim for his commentary on Acts.

Below is a video taken from a sermon Derek Thomas preached on May 12, 2015 titled “Be Ye Holy.”

Thomas gets a good laugh from his audience when he states he is terrified someone might steal his text! We are left to wonder how does he think other men feel when he steals their text?

Below is a video  of the distinguished Derek W.H. Thomas speaking at Kevin DeYoung’s church.

Thomas states that ten days prior to his speaking engagement at DeYoung’s church he realizes he had no notes on 2 Chronicles 21.  Lacking his own notes it appears our distinguished friend went on-line and listened to a sermon DeYoung preached at his church two years prior. You can access that sermon here.

Below the video clip you will find a side by side comparison I made of quotes from the two sermons. After you examine them I am confident that you will find, just as Ligon Duncan and I have, that the distinguished Derek W.H. Thomas is innocent of any knowing and intentional plagiarism. The similarities between the two sermons is obviously the result of unclear note-taking by Thomas.  From my standpoint I now consider the case closed. (Sarcasm off!)

I wonder if Kevin DeYoung knows his sermon was plagiarized by Derek Thomas. Thomas had the nerve to rip-off DeYoung’s material and then use it in a sermon he preached at DeYoung’s church!

It’s also interesting to note that Thomas suggests they “swap pulpits.” This is a common practice among our distinguished Evangelical leaders, used to make a quick buck or two. A guest speaker is typically given an honorarium fee, generally one or two thousand dollars.  Perhaps a man of Thomas’ stature demands even more.

I have heard that Kevin DeYoung has told others he believes Thomas is innocent of the accusations of plagiarism. Of course DeYoung also believes Mahaney is innocent of all accusations – he authored the official statement of support for Mahaney published by TGC. To my knowledge DeYoung has never retracted that statement. RevKev is one of the men I refer to above who is rotting on the inside. He is a shrewd businessman who would never bite the hand that feeds him. (One of those hands belongs to Derek Thomas’ friend Ligon Duncan – another empty suit.)

 

 

Derek Thomas is a professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). He is also an adjunct professor at the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS). Both have strict policies on plagiarism, which can be viewed below.

My question to the members of the Boards of these institutions is how, in the light of what Iain Duguid  classified as serious and substantial plagiarism by Derek Thomas, he can be allowed to continue to be employed as a professor at these seminaries? Students are expelled for plagiarizing, yet their professor remains employed! Is this not hypocritical?

Plagiarism Policy of Reformed Theological Seminary

Plagiarism policy of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

For additional reading:

Does Plagiarism Matter to Christians? by Warren Throckmorton


Comments

Derek W.H. Thomas & Plagiarism – “The Brand is Fundamentally Corrupt”: Guest Post by Todd Wilhelm — 217 Comments

  1. Todd, I think you’ve made the case very well.

    I do have to admit that I was shocked, just shocked to find gambling in this place, oops, find a pastor using the same sermon illustration that his host pastor had used in a sermon on the same topic! That’s thoroughly shameless.

    P.S. Thank you for making the trek to Prescott this week for the retrial. I appreciate it.

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  2. An old concept comes to mind reading this, “in the belly of the beast.” Their inside the belly of the beast. It’s warm, comfortable, and safe in there. Why would any one of them do anything to be thrown out. Why call out another if biblical or professional ethics are violated. For those of us outside the belly of the beast, different rules apply.

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  3. I never understood these men who claimed that they are the elucidators of the true gospel. How did all of them get taken in by Mahaney and Driscoll?

    Possibly it isn’t a case of being taken in, but of judging by different criteria. What are the criteria they judge by? What does it take to be considered great in their circle? And how does it differ from the qualities Christ and the epistles praise?

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  4. What a pity! I have the commentary in question as well as others in the series!

    Tim Charlie’s interviewed the principal editors of the series, Richard Phillips and Phillip Ryken, in 2007 before Derek Thomas came on board. (Iain Duguid and Dan Doriani were the other two editors). This is part of what they said and you can read the full interview by following the link at the end.

    “TC: In the series introduction you state that all of the contributors are pastor-scholars and that, as pastors, they will first present the expositions in his pulpit ministry. Why did you decide to make this a requirement?

    RP: We are aiming both to serve and to model pulpit ministries. Therefore, these have to be “real” sermons. Naturally, we edit them between the pulpit and the printer, but not all that much. If you listened to the CD of the sermon with the book open in front of you, you would say, “Yep, that was what he preached.” We don’t want to model a scholarly approach that we think inappropriate for our own churches. We also want to combat the belief today that serious, authoritative preaching is bad for the church and will kill its growth. We find the opposite to be true, and we are contributing the fruits of our own pulpit labors to others.

    This significantly affects the commentaries. For instance, the question will come up regarding technical matters dealing with exegesis, text criticism, theology, or historical studies. When we decide whether to put it into the commentary, we do so by asking “Would we put this into a sermon?” And when we decide that a sermon must deal with technical matters, we try to model how to do this, because this is how we actually preached it.

    Lastly, we want to encourage other fine pastor-scholars by publishing a series in which they can contribute.”

    https://www.challies.com/articles/the-reformed-expository-commentary-series/

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  5. Good Ol’ boys Club? Do these evangelical leaders like sixties muscle cars (e.g. Dodge Chargers?) Over this side of the Pond many of us will associate that expression with The Dukes of Hazzard.

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  6. Rebellion — it’s not just for evangelicals anymore. I for one am very tired of church leaders who talk a good game, but whose actions are completely at odds with their conduct. Yeah, talking about you, Episcopal church/diocese of Virginia, et al.

    And people wonder why church attendance is dropping like a rock. Sheesh.

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  7. One other possibility occurred to me concerning the DeYoung sermon, the germ of which came from a true story concerning another well known pastor. I can’t recall the name. A seminary student was accused of plagiarizing from his professor/pastor, and when confronted admitted to taking the sermon from a famous old book of sermons. Apparently the same one the professor lifted it from. All charges were dropped.

    I have heard various ‘stories’ about where pastors get their material, but it is possible that both of these men lifted their material from the same Reformed source. It would seem beyond bold to steal your own host’s message and hope that neither he, nor any of his congregation, would notice.

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  8. Great post. I’m a pastor and easily admit I’ve used chunks of commentaries for sermons. I always state that who I am using and what commentary the words come from – I’ve even stated up front I’m reading their commentary. Some are just so gifted with words that I see no need to restate their ideas in my own words (which is also plagiarism) so I just give them complete credit then let the congregation know when I’ve inserted my own thoughts. I’ve rarely done this in the 20+ years of ministry as I prefer to write my own sermons. I post this so I can get feedback from you all re communicating sources properly in a sermon. I do NOT free with plagiarism at all especially from the pulpit

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  9. “Papa Bear Mohler is one of the “4” in T4G. The other 3 are Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, and Ligon Duncan” (Dee)

    Also referred to as “Al’s Little Playgroup” by Mrs. Mohler … how creepy is that?!

    “I also wonder if there is some sort of contract between the 4 that involves money” (Dee)

    I always figured they had a blood pact to Calvinize the American church … to stick together to the bitter end (or throw each other under the bus when necessary).

    “How did all of them get taken in by Mahaney and Driscoll?” (Dee)

    Mohler needed a church planting strategy to Calvinize the SBC. Mahaney and Driscoll were already successful church planters via the SGM and Acts 29 networks … they were already attracting multitudes of New Calvinists and other assorted weirdos … Mohler and minions patterned SBC church plants after SGM/Acts 29 platforms. Since neither Mahaney or Driscoll wore suits, Mohler reluctantly endorsed them so he could use them to draw attention to his own endeavors to reform the SBC via educating the young, restless and reformed at Southern Seminary. It was a Win-Win situation, until Mahaney and Driscoll lost.

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  10. “tribal loyalties trump truth and transparency”

    In a nutshell, that is New Calvinism. When you truly believe that your theology is the only truth, you are loyal to all those in the tribe who advance your version of truth … even if you have to exercise some stealth and deception to get others to buy your truth (which, of course, is a lie).

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  11. BigJR: I always state that who I am using and what commentary the words come from – I’ve even stated up front I’m reading their commentary.

    I think that is great you do this. Many of my pastors did the same and I would write done their sources to order for my own benefit, Look at this post.Todd did a great job writing it and I wanted him to get the credit for all the work he put into it.

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  12. Lowlandseer,

    Challies is another one who supported CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll. When it involves one of their own, they are quick to support and slow to question. I mean really slow. Years and years of slow.

    Maybe you can answer this question. Why would these devoted Calvinists, who understand utter depravity, find it so difficult to spot sin in their own camp? Why did I see it years before they did?

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  13. Adrian Romano,

    I don’t know if they like muscle cars but I do know they seem to surround anyone who can draw them in. Mind you, I’m not saying those drawn in the faithful since many are in to merely in it for the show. I see that all the time around here. People church hop from mega too mega. Yet the leaders claim they take discipleship seriously, They can’t disciple 10,000 people effectively and they know it.

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  14. Sigh. New books are supposed to present original ideas. Doctoral dissertations, and even master’s theses, are supposed to advance understanding of the topic.

    What these guys miss is that they can actually impress the reader or audience by stating their sources. Even as a kid, I enjoyed hearing my favorite preacher quote from books. So many voices figured in his sermons, along with his own ideas.

    The side-by-side comparisons above reveal much. A book editor should know enough about a topic to warn the author that a draft manuscript echoes someone else’s ideas or research. The author can then revise, pointing the reader toward that earlier work. Problem solved.

    Plagiarism software will never replace a knowledgeable and forthright editor. I suspect that many Christian authors will not submit their divinely inspired writings to editors who might know what they are talking about. Likewise, canny editors are wary of confronting a big-name author. (In one rather lousy book, a very famous author thanked a publisher for not editing the manuscript, and also wrote that everybody knows all non-Christians are servants of Satan.)

    In the end it’s up to the reader to refrain from buying bad books. Of course, this strategy will not work if a big-box church orders a million copies.

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  15. dee: They can’t disciple 10,000 people effectively and they know it.

    Heck, they don’t even pastor them! Too big and busy to visit the sick … too big and busy to pray for folks in nursing homes … too big and busy to call … too big and busy to do funerals. But not too big and busy to tweet their lives away, go on safaris, relax at their mansions and retreats, etc.

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  16. dee,

    My people do the same thing! They appreciate when I let them know what I am reading, who I agree with, and who are good sources for further personal study. Some have even asked to borrow some of the physical commentaries I own for when they are doing their own scripture reading. As a pastor, I LOVE THAT! I will joyfully lend out my library to those desiring to grow in Christ through the study of scripture 🙂

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  17. For awhile, I lived in a culture that didn’t have copyright laws. I taught in a school there a few times where students openly copied off each other. Technically, that was against the official school rules, but several teachers told me that it was so engrained into little children in that culture that they couldn’t get the students to stop when they were older.

    The New Calvinists I have known can’t answer questions in their own words. For any question, they answer quoting from Piper or Mohler or someone else. And a lot of those answers leave out verses out or even translate them wrong to make their theology work.

    It’s absolutely unacceptable in academic circles to plagiarize. This is one of the reasons I believe New Cals are fake academics. They don’t know how to reason for themselves. Mohler don’t get his position because of his academic work. He got it because he was good at fundraising. These professors even made a Bible translation that was deliberately wrong. I don’t think they want followers who can think for themselves. They want mouthpieces.

    There’s something wrong with the whole culture, and plagiarism is just a symptom.

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  18. Ishy: The New Calvinists I have known can’t answer questions in their own words. For any question, they answer quoting from Piper or Mohler or someone else … I don’t think they want followers who can think for themselves.

    Classical cult behavior.

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  19. Ishy: The New Calvinists I have known can’t answer questions in their own words. For any question, they answer quoting from Piper or Mohler or someone else.

    Reciting the Party Line without engaging any neuron above the brainstem.
    doubleplusduckspeak INGSOC.

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  20. 1. From the P%R Publishing web site, referring to Derek W. H. Thomas: “He is editorial director of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals…” Yes, some “confessing” would be good.

    2. Is Ferguson a ghostwriter for Thomas? Hence, Ferguson’s support for Thomas?

    3. And what will Thomas do if a Reformed Theological Seminary student uses Thomas’ nearly exact words and phrases from “Acts” in a paper, but doesn’t attribute them to Thomas? Maybe refer the student to the Academic Standards Committee and claim that the student didn’t give proper credit to Sinclair Ferguson?

    Bravo! to Todd Wilhelm and Professor Duguid. Brava! to Dee.

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  21. A number of us (bloggers and concerned citizens) were involved in the revelations surrounding the plagiarism by Mark Driscoll. (There was much, much more bizarre stuff about Driscoll but I will concentrate on plagiarism for this comment.) Janet Mefferd confronted him on her radio show. Shortly after that Mefferd’s job was on the line because Al Mohler’s office registered his extreme displeasure at her willingness to speak the truth. It is important to understand that Papa Bear Mohler is one of the “4” in T4G. The other 3 are Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, and Ligon Duncan. Papa Bear, Duncan and Dever were huge supporters of CJ Mahaney and also expressed their early on support of Mark Driscoll.

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  22. The more I read, the more I am confused.

    Thomas is accused of plagiarising Ferguson’s sermons on Acts. Is there a clear timeline that shows who came first? For Thomas to have done so, Ferguson must have preached/written his sermons before 2006 because Thomas’ church website has a transcript of his (Thomas) sermons on Acts in which he uses substantially the same expressions. Something isn’t right, methinks.

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  23. Max:
    “tribal loyalties trump truth and transparency”

    In a nutshell, that is New Calvinism.When you truly believe that your theology is the only truth, you are loyal to all those in the tribe who advance your version of truth … even if you have to exercise some stealth and deception to get others to buy your truth (which, of course, is a lie).

    That description also applies to 20th Century Communism, its ancestor the Jacobin faction of the French Revolution, and the current radical fringe of 21st Century Islam.

    A corollary of this is the tribe circling its wagons to defend against any outside threat, real or perceived.

    And in most tribal languages, the word for the tribe is “The People” and the word for those outside the tribe is “The Other” or “The Enemy”. And that just says it all.

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  24. And the water is further muddied by this quote, taken from page xv of the preface to the actual commentary.

    “The original manuscript was greatly improved by suggestions from Philip Ryken and Dan Doriani who laboured especially hard to ensure that my exegesis was informed by the best and latest scholarship”

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  25. dee: Yet the leaders claim they take discipleship seriously, They can’t disciple 10,000 people effectively and they know it.

    The modern church is nothing more than an MLM scheme, repeated ad nauseam. Their conventions little more than the same gatherings that MLM organizations have to further reward the “most successful sellers” within the organization.

    And the average believer keeps lining up in that religious structure, until the pyramid they lined up in, finally collapses.

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  26. jyjames: Satan is the great imitator, the counterfeit, the fake, the disguised. Those who sink to his MO must have serious spiritual issues.

    Exactly. That’s why God doesn’t care much about plagiarism either: “I am against the prophets, declares the Lord, who steal my words from one another” (Jeremiah 23:30).

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  27. Upon his death, William Shakespeare was said not to have a single book in his personal possession. Provision for royalties from his plays were conspicuously absent from his will. Not a single manuscript was ever found penned by his hand.

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  28. If these sermons were preached by DWHT before being incorporated into the commentary as it was being drafted, that would imply that the congregation was also misled as to whose workmanship these sermons were.

    I have read that copying of sermons is encouraged (this was point out in, I think, a comment here at TWW, in an earlier post within the last few months) among younger pastors until they have seasoned enough to develop a “sermonic mind” that can quickly formulate sermon plans from any text of Scripture.

    Here’s the item that was linked in that comment (I think it was a comment; perhaps it was one of Dee’s OPs?)

    Anyway, I am not claiming to have come up this myself

    https://seniorpastorcentral.com/316/6-reasons-you-should-preach-other-pastors-sermons/

    The first line sort of encapsulates C Trueman’s “corrupt brand” remark.

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  29. __

    Deliberate Religious Myopia : “Boosted —Plagiarism For Fun And Agranulocytosis Religious Profit?”

    hmmm…

    Everything pastoral plagiarism does in the church contributes to the spread of the knowledge of Gaud and the salvation of men. That may not sum up every pulpit pounder’s attitude towards the 501c3 proverbial religious grind, but in today’s climate it invariably strikes a fairly frequent note.

    ;~)§

    – –

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  30. Lowlandseer: Is there a clear timeline that shows who came first? For Thomas to have done so, Ferguson must have preached/written his sermons before 2006 because Thomas’ church website has a transcript of his (Thomas) sermons on Acts in which he uses substantially the same expressions.

    Ferguson preached his sermons on Acts 5-7 years before Thomas preached a version of them (which would eventually be used as the commentary). The Ferguson sermons were originally on cassette but were put online in 2012… a year after the publication of Thomas’ commentary.

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  31. ION: Fitba’

    Tomorrow night will be one of the rare occasions when I cheer for Manchester United, when they host local rivals Manchester City.

    The arithmetic is simple: if City win, they will be crowned champions and we’ll be runners-up. If United can take a point of them, though, then the title race at least remains open…

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  32. Max: Heck, they don’t even pastor them!Too big and busy to visit the sick … too big and busy to pray for folks in nursing homes … too big and busy to call … too big and busy to do funerals.

    They will tell you that they are *teaching* pastors, not *congregational care* pastors. In many churches I attended, these were two different men with two entirely different job descriptions and schedules. “Teaching pastors” (always the head pastor, mind you) rarely if ever held any kind of counseling sessions or visitations. And the congregational care pastor might preach once a year when the head/teaching pastor was on vacay.

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  33. Eeyore: “Teaching pastors” (always the head pastor, mind you) rarely if ever held any kind of counseling sessions or visitations. And the congregational care pastor might preach once a year when the head/teaching pastor was on vacay.

    This can be a good thing. I used to attend a church where the brilliant preacher freely admitted he was not very good at counseling. The pastoral care guy had a great deal of skill.

    Of course, that was long ago. The problem now is that too many of them just pretend to work.

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  34. Eeyore: “Teaching pastors” (always the head pastor, mind you) rarely if ever held any kind of counseling sessions or visitations.

    Then they need to be called “Teachers”, not “Pastors”, and should never be in a “head” position at a church.

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  35. Eeyore: They will tell you that they are *teaching* pastors, not *congregational care* pastors.

    Call me an old-fogey, but I believe shepherds should shepherd the sheep. They should know the sheep and the sheep should know them. They should be concerned for the welfare of the sheep and tend to them when they are in need and hurting. They should lead the sheep by example. I suppose those responsibilities are beneath some church leaders who delegate that work out to underlings. Sad what has become of the church in many places.

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  36. Max: shepherds should shepherd the sheep.

    So true. Jesus gave the best sermons. He was the best teacher. He also healed the sick, cast out the demons from people, defended the woman who was about to be stoned by the religious leaders (also told her not to sin any more), fed the multitude, walked with his disciples in real life, restored Peter after his denial of knowing Him, listened to their prayers and people’s cries.

    He is the Shepherd of shepherds. He is more than a “teaching pastor” or a “care pastor”.

    In Jesus the sermons and the applications are integrated.

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  37. What are you guys upset about? In the ARC circles, preaching other people’s sermons [without mentioning it’s not your original content] seems to be quite acceptable. I don’t know how common it is, but I know it’s done. You used to be able to download sermon outlines and all of the graphics from the ARC website. They’ve added some security, so I don’t know if they still do this. But other “ministries” do.

    You know, I don’t mind if a novice like me uses someone else’s sermon outline, as long as they give proper credit, and don’t allow the false impression that they came up with this stuff themselves.

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  38. Samuel Conner: Anyway, I am not claiming to have come up this myself

    https://seniorpastorcentral.com/316/6-reasons-you-should-preach-other-pastors-sermons/

    The first line sort of encapsulates C Trueman’s “corrupt brand” remark.

    Wow. “steal, steal, steal,” huh. Apparently, they have more important things to do than write sermons but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out what they are doing with their time that’s so valuable. Building their brand, I suppose.

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  39. At my former church, in the early years, there were a few times we had no pastor (we had visiting pastors at the time). One of the elders, who knew he was not equipped to preach, would read an inspiring Spurgeon sermon to us. Perhaps this was one of the factors that got me wondering how much we need to pay average Joes to put their personal thoughts on paper and recite them to us every week. I honestly wonder how many really compose these sermons, rather than doctor up one they found somewhere. But sermonizing is the official template, and all must conform.

    If one must have a sermon, I suppose many good ones have been written. Personally, I prefer to read than listen, as it allows me to chew and digest thoughts at my own pace, as well as look up words or scripture. The real gain, IMO, comes from people digging in, questioning and discussing important ideas. In most churches, that simply does not happen. One man presents his thoughts as gospel truth, and that’s pretty much the end of it. People go home, turn on the game, and think no more of it.

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  40. TS00,

    There’s some doubt in my mind whether “the sermon” has any real use at all in our day, at least in a large or very large group setting. It appears to me that “public reading of Scripture” was important in the early church; physical copies of the Scriptures were costly and rare. Public reading was necessary if people were to know what the Scriptures said, if they were to become familiar with “the Story.” A certain amount of explanation and exposition would have accompanied that. But those are not necessary in our day, with near 100% literacy, physical copies inexpensive and digital versions free.

    What I think has happened (this is just an hypothesis; perhaps there is a lot of mileage in it, perhaps not) is that an historical adaptation to the then situation — difficulty of access to the biblical story for the laity (new Gentile converts) due to the high cost and rarity of physical copies of the sacred texts, solved at the time by the formal practice of public reading and exposition of Scripture — has been interpreted to be a timeless God-ordained principle of “what the Church should do in all ages and circumstances”.

    I also suspect that the “Israel in diaspora” and post-destruction-of-the-Temple adaptations, which replaced the Temple rites with “study of Torah” as the obligatory expression of worship, were substantially taken over in the Gentile churches, basically copying the practices of the local synagogues.

    My private sense is that the God-intended purposes of periodic gatherings of christian believers ought to be sought in the numerous “one another” agendas that recur so frequently in Paul’s letters to the congregations that he founded; perhaps pre-eminent among these is the “encourage one another to love and good deeds” of Heb 10. Those agendas are probably timeless; the methods employed to pursue them may not be.

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  41. Samuel Conner: There’s some doubt in my mind whether “the sermon” has any real use at all in our day, at least in a large or very large group setting.

    aside, that is from providing a “jobs program” for the higher ups among the clerical class, sort of a form of ecclesiastical Keynesianism. But in a world of finite resources, I am tempted to wonder if this is the most fruitful use of the cash contributions of the faithful.

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  42. __

    “The Official 501c3 Template?”

    hmmm…

    Some how it is hard to believe ‘church’ being reduced to a couple of loud songs, a short prayer, a muted maturated congregation, and a +/- 35 minute kyped pep talk, in a dimly lit room , was Jesus’ intent for His ‘Spirit gifted’ ™ body of followers.

    ;~)§


    Intermission:
    Lexi Raine – “Hello, Goodbye” (a Beatles cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fFH9XBpCu2s

    – –

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  43. “The Brand is Fundamentally Corrupt”

    I keep asking myself after all the revelations about New Calvinist elite, do their followers really care if they bend the rules a bit? Is a little bad behavin’ OK if it helps advance the new reformation?

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  44. Max, my experience has been so different than yours, and I guess I am also an old fogey. But I am Baptist enough not to want some meddling shepherd trying to walk me through my life. I want a preacher. A real one. The place of the sermon, as I understand the Bible, is for winning the lost to saving faith. That whole “foolishness of preaching” thing.

    I believe the church as a whole does the teaching, the walking with each other through life, and the whole “life application” thing.

    Today the preachers want to be social workers aka pastors, and want to preach to the sheep in the fold rather than seeking those outside it. As I understand the Bible and Baptist theology (old version) we should be as the sheep doing our own studying and worshipping and walking each other through life.

    And the preacher should be focused not on us and our “felt needs” but on evangelism.

    That and a dollar and a half might buy you loaf of bread, but it is my two cents.

    It is my as ya’ll know never humble opinion that when the church got self focused it started serving Satan. That evil being delights in allowing us “worship experiences” and “loving leadership” and “met needs” all day long in the church.

    What he opposes tooth and nail is preaching the need of repentance, of faith in Christ, and yes of the necessity of the Blood of Christ applied to us.

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  45. Samuel Conner: There’s some doubt in my mind whether “the sermon” has any real use at all in our day, at least in a large or very large group setting. It appears to me that “public reading of Scripture” was important in the early church; physical copies of the Scriptures were costly and rare.

    I’ve been questioning the same thing. When I took preaching, the Prof kept talking about biblical sermons, but couldn’t really justify them in the Bible when asked.

    I had the conversation with my dad just the other day that now everyone can read the Bible themselves and had a copy of it if they want one. Most sermons I hear, even ones considered “good”, are either very shallow or not very dependent on Scripture. And let’s be honest, how many people remember any of it the next day?

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  46. ___

    Religious plagiarism tales ad infinitum: Thomas’ proverbial cat outa-da-bag ‘academic obesity’ (tm ) broadcast is apparently already worldwide.

    hmmm…

    “In the fall of 2018 P&R Publishing released the following statement about Derek Thomas’ commentary on the book of Acts :

    ‘P&R recently became aware that portions of Derek Thomas’s Acts (Reformed Expository Commentary) include unattributed content from sermons by another pastor. Following a careful investigation, as well as discussions with the parties concerned, it appears that the lack of attribution resulted from unclear note-taking more than a decade before the commentary on Acts was written, and we believe it does not reflect intentional misuse on the part of the author. Nonetheless, in keeping with our editorial policy and our desire to hold to high ethical standards of transparency, we must regretfully withdraw this commentary from circulation’ “ -WikiP

    Reference:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Thomas_(theologian)
    Additional links:
    https://www.logos.com/products/search?q=Derek+Thomas&ssi=0&Author=3760%7cDerek+Thomas&redirecttoauthor=true
    https://www.logos.com/products/search?ssi=0&Author=14938%7cSinclair+Ferguson
    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Derek+Thomas&ref=nb_sb_noss
    https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&cm_sp=SearchF-_-home-_-Results&an=Derek+Thomas&tn=&kn=&isbn=
    https://www.logos.com/product/174956/reformed-expository-commentary?ssi=0

    ;~)§

    -=-

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  47. Ishy,

    This gets into the squishy realm of preachers thinking they have some “special” inspiration to give us pew peons divine direction through them… hence some ““groups” trying to claim they are “apostoles”, or an “ apostolic line” ….
    like much that we discuss here at TWW, it would be almost comical if it were not so serious, especially with the kiddy sexual abuse cover up..

    The core of the reformation was the “priest hood” of the believer…. we do not need the church/priest to comunicate/ be forgiven by G$d…. yet time and again, we read here about “Protestant” groups, most notably the NeoCals, doing all they can to be the new “priests/church” without calling themselves that….

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  48. Jeffrey Chalmers: most notably the NeoCals, doing all they can to be the new “priests/church” without calling themselves that

    Most definitely. I know some New Cals feel that by not hearing their preaching, you can’t “prove your election”. It’s really a very non-Calvinist idea, but I think it really stems from cultish thought reform. And it definitely the line between “priest” and “peon”.

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  49. Ishy: I had the conversation with my dad just the other day that now everyone can read the Bible themselves and had a copy of it if they want one. Most sermons I hear, even ones considered “good”, are either very shallow or not very dependent on Scripture. And let’s be honest, how many people remember any of it the next day?

    I think that these concerns may be percolating in the world of pastoral training. In an online introductory class on counseling method that I audited about 5 years ago, the instructor (who is reasonably well-known in Reformed circles) recounted overhearing preaching faculty at his institution wondering out loud whether what they were teaching was accomplishing anything in the churches. His point was that face-to-face ministry, pastoral care or counseling, can be much more productive than public preaching (to no-one in particular).

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  50. Samuel Conner: There’s some doubt in my mind whether “the sermon” has any real use at all in our day, at least in a large or very large group setting.

    There is very little evidence of one-way sermons in the New Testament. There was a lot of teaching going on certainly, but “the sermon” in preaching style in which a pulpiteer delivers a prepared message to the crowd at hand, while the pew sits silently to listen for an hour, does not appear to be the New Testament protocol. Instead, Paul describes an interactive church service with believers involved – where the pew was just as important as the pulpit: “When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation (disclosure of special knowledge), a tongue, or an interpretation. Let everything be constructive and edifying and done for the good of all the church” (1 Cor 14:26 AMP). Believers left those places equipped to do the work of the ministry, rather than leaving God’s work only in the hands of their pastors.

    Instead of a new reformation, perhaps we need a return to the ancient paths. It would be worth a try. What we are doing doesn’t appear to be working very well.

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  51. Good morning! Why did you see it before they did? Two reasons, Dee. First, remember driver’s training? When I took it back in the 70’s, I remember plain as day the instructor saying, “You see what you expect to see.” Second, they don’t want to see it. You already knew that, I’m sure. For me, even at my age, I still find it hard to believe that reasonable people, especially Christian leaders, will ignore the evidence, deny the wrong-doing, and defend the guilty. Sin affects the way we think.

    “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” John Heywood, 1546

    dee,

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  52. Ishy,

    What I also experienced as I moved on from my fundy 8-12 grade education is that I was taught selective history….. only history that was consistent with the fundy world view… it was quite enlightening to learn “more” history….. my bet is that the Neo Cals, if they could, would also teach “limited” history….

    No one wants to deal with those pesky “facts” that get in the way of my nice clear, consistent, world view..

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  53. __

    Quill & boo-boos: Lazy Academic Scholarly Plagiarism Breeds Unnecessary Contempt, Perhaps?

    hmmm…

    Academic survival in this century ?

    Wanna reduce your stress?

    huh?

    Plug this into your browser:
    academic plagiarism software tools
    (B4 they flame your proverbial @zz…)

    Religious folks aren’t listening?

    What?

    Isn’t ripping off other people’s academic stuff the first thing they teach you NOT TO DO in higher education?

    (sadface)

    ;~)§

    __
    Intermission:
    Amy Slattery- “I Wanna Be A Paperback Writer” ( A Beatles cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ9CWgkootw
    Bonus:
    Joe Walsh – “Life’s Been Good”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EPcQ4KwEm2c

    -=-

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  54. BL: The modern church is nothing more than an MLM scheme, repeated ad nauseam.

    Remember Bill Bright of Campus Crusade (now “Cru(TM)”) and his “Multiplying Ministry”?

    “Gonna jive my way
    To the Top of the Pyramid,
    The Top of the Pyramid;
    Gonna get my name on top of that List…”
    — Seventies song about pyramid rackets on Dr Demento, never made it online

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  55. Jeffrey Chalmers: most notably the NeoCals, doing all they can to be the new “priests/church” without calling themselves that….

    “Ees no slavery in Russia!
    Here we call it “Serfdom”.”
    — attr to one of the Tsars

    “Use proper code words: ‘Relocation’. ‘Resettlement’. ‘Delousing’.”
    Holocaust (Seventies TV miniseries), outside of Babi Yar

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  56. Samuel Conner: It appears to me that “public reading of Scripture” was important in the early church; physical copies of the Scriptures were costly and rare. Public reading was necessary if people were to know what the Scriptures said, if they were to become familiar with “the Story.”

    Such public reading is an essential part of the Liturgy of the Word in both Western and Eastern-Rite Liturgy. Normally one passage (NEVER a single verse) from the Tanakh, one from Acts or the Epistles, and one (the most important) from the Gospels.

    But then, that’s Romish Popery for you.

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  57. Ishy: Most definitely. I know some New Cals feel that by not hearing their preaching, you can’t “prove your election”. It’s really a very non-Calvinist idea, but I think it really stems from cultish thought reform. And it definitely the line between “priest” and “peon”.

    The very definition of the HERESY of Clericalism.

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  58. Max:
    “The Brand is Fundamentally Corrupt”

    I keep asking myself after all the revelations about New Calvinist elite, do their followers really care if they bend the rules a bit?Is a little bad behavin’ OK if it helps advance the new reformation?

    The End ALWAYS Justifies the Means.
    Just ask Citizen Robespierre or Comrade Lenin.

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  59. Eeyore: They will tell you that they are *teaching* pastors, not *congregational care* pastors

    “I’m a SORCERER, NOT an Alchemist!”
    — punch line of one encounter with a “Master of Mighty Magick” (Occult Fanboy)

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  60. Max: Paul describes an interactive church service with believers involved – where the pew was just as important as the pulpit: “When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation (disclosure of special knowledge), a tongue, or an interpretation. Let everything be constructive and edifying and done for the good of all the church” (1 Cor 14:26 AMP).Believers left those places equipped to do the work of the ministry, rather than leaving God’s work only in the hands of their pastors.

    YES! With mature guidance, not control, this interactive ministry style trains and grows believers to participate in making disciples. We can all read something at home first then come to share. rather than being lectured to, even if the content is good.

    Thank you for sharing this passage here. I almost feel like I am in a nice Bible study right now.

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  61. Max: Instead of a new reformation, perhaps we need a return to the ancient paths. It would be worth a try.

    The challenge is trying to figure out what that ancient path really was. The Bible doesn’t give much description on how to run a church service. The early post-biblical sources show the early church to be quite liturgical and sacramental, including belief that the bread and wine become the actual flesh and blood of Jesus. It there was a quaint home church movement back then it was not written about in a way that survived.

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  62. Headless Unicorn Guy: “I’m a SORCERER, NOT an Alchemist!”
    — punch line of one encounter with a “Master of Mighty Magick” (Occult Fanboy)

    The full story goes like this:

    Many years ago, a gamer contact of mine was living in Pasadena. Since he “was Rich”, i.e. had a job and two coins to rub together, he got targeted by every mooch in Pasadena fandom. Including a couple Occult Fanboys (probably living in their moms’ basements) who were the next Aliester Crowley in their own minds; for these he coined the term “Masters of Mighty Magick” (or “MoMMM”).

    Well, at one point this specific MoMM was hitting him up for money, probably being high-pressure about it. My contact blew him off with “If you’re such a Master of Mighty Magick, WHY DON’T YOU GO CONJURE YOURSELF SOME CASH?”

    At which point, the MoMM drew himself up very indignantly and replied “I’m a Sorcerer, NOT an Alchemist.”

    You cannot make up stuff like this….

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  63. Ken F (aka Tweed): The challenge is trying to figure out what that ancient path really was.

    We could start by considering the words of Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. He points out what they were doing wrong in doing church … perhaps we could at least do those things right! Additionally, it wouldn’t hurt to begin a journey back by heeding 2 Chronicles 7:14 … humility, prayer, repentance, seeking God’s face.

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  64. birdoftheair: With mature guidance, not control, this interactive ministry style trains and grows believers to participate in making disciples.

    Well, that is the divine plan that was lost over the centuries in our futile attempts to do church our way. Ephesians 4 instructs us that church leaders were given to the church to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry, that the pulpit and the pew are to work hand-in-hand to fulfill the Great Commission. In so doing, believers will reach unity and maturity – there really is no other way to perfect the saints. A professional pulpit which controls, manipulates and dominates the pew was never in the plan.

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  65. Max: I keep asking myself after all the revelations about New Calvinist elite, do their followers really care if they bend the rules a bit? Is a little bad behavin’ OK if it helps advance the new reformation?

    My take is that their theology, which essentially suggests ‘anything goes’ because God no longer sees your sin, subtly affects people’s thinking. They would never condone Luther’s ‘Sin boldly’, but it is indeed the ultimate conclusion to their theology.

    I long ago came to believe that Calvinism was the tool by which Satan has persuaded much of mankind that ‘the end justifies the means’, falsely accusing God of such behavior.

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  66. TS00: My take is that their theology, which essentially suggests ‘anything goes’ because God no longer sees your sin, subtly affects people’s thinking.

    New Calvinism is all about grace-this and grace-that, with adherents rarely experiencing a direct experience of Grace – an encounter with the Living Christ. Left to its eventual end, such teaching leads to antinomianism – where “Christians” are released by grace from observing the moral law (some New Calvinist leaders have already acted that out … e.g., Driscoll & MacDonald).

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  67. Ken F (aka Tweed): The challenge is trying to figure out what that ancient path really was. The Bible doesn’t give much description on how to run a church service.

    That is because there were no ‘church services.” It was ecclesia. An assembly. A gathering. They literally gathered together and broke bread. Specifically defined in Scripture as being a body, with a multitude of diverse parts, no single part more important than another. All functioning under one head, Who is Christ.

    That Christianity went quickly into clericalism is evidence of the inherent hunger for power found within human nature, and indicates how quickly Christianity perverted into the ways of the world.

    God described us as a body – and a body does not have a clergy/laity divide.

    That that same clergy would then come up with a magical service only producible by their hands, to more fully justify their existence and glorify themselves, should be no surprise.

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  68. Ken F (aka Tweed): The challenge is trying to figure out what that ancient path really was. The Bible doesn’t give much description on how to run a church service. The early post-biblical sources show the early church to be quite liturgical and sacramental, including belief that the bread and wine become the actual flesh and blood of Jesus. It there was a quaint home church movement back then it was not written about in a way that survived.

    Thank you!! Viz. Didache, Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus….

    Justin and Ignatius knew the Apostles personally. Yep, it’s remotely possible they had some idea how the NT Church conducted church services. 😉

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  69. Max: There is very little evidence of one-way sermons in the New Testament. There was a lot of teaching going on certainly, but “the sermon” in preaching style in which a pulpiteer delivers a prepared message to the crowd at hand, while the pew sits silently to listen for an hour, does not appear to be the New Testament protocol.

    I wanted to quote it all, Max.

    Yes and amen to what you wrote.

    Today’s churchianity with the ever-lasting focus on ‘teaching’ to people, many of whom have been believers for decades – “always learning, but never coming to the knowledge of truth.”

    Believers, if described as a body today, would be one huge mouth, and little else.

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  70. BL: That Christianity went quickly into clericalism is evidence of the inherent hunger for power found within human nature, and indicates how quickly Christianity perverted into the ways of the world.

    God described us as a body – and a body does not have a clergy/laity divide.

    This is what it looks like to me as well.

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  71. BL: Today’s churchianity with the ever-lasting focus on ‘teaching’ to people, many of whom have been believers for decades

    That’s why pew-sitters in most churches look like they would rather be in jail; they are merely bumps on logs, pew potatoes! Christians need an outlet to pour out what they have been filled with. If believers aren’t actually engaged in ministry, there’s no need for the Holy Spirit to energize them. Once they get up moving in Jesus’ Name, the Holy Spirit joins them, empowers them, and leads them to minister to others.

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  72. BL: there were no ‘church services.” It was ecclesia. An assembly. A gathering … a body, with a multitude of diverse parts, no single part more important than another. All functioning under one head, Who is Christ.

    Ahhh, but that sort of Church can’t be controlled by men … you can’t organize it, manipulate it, intimidate it, nor dominate it … it is led by the Spirit, not by teachings and traditions of men … it might get out of hand, so better not try that!

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  73. ION: Fitba’

    In the end, City won easily at Old Trafford, and have retained the Premiership league title. It’s disappointing to a Liverpool fan, but a) Liverpool have themselves amassed a points total that would have won the title in most normal seasons, and b) City won the aggregate fixture between the two sides (we drew at home, they won) and have to be acknowledged as worthy champions.





















    IHTIH

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  74. BL,

    We also saw Jesus warn even his close disciples of this as they were fighting among themselves about who was the greatest among them. If the disciples did not understand, what makes people think that the next generation did?

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  75. Bridget: If the disciples did not understand, what makes people think that the next generation did?

    The Holy Spirit was given to successive generations to teach believers Truth. When we don’t allow the Spirit to lead us, we can drift into error. The separation of clergy and laity, those who control vs. those who are controlled, is but one example of how the church lost its way.

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  76. BL: That Christianity went quickly into clericalism is evidence of the inherent hunger for power found within human nature, and indicates how quickly Christianity perverted into the ways of the world.

    God described us as a body – and a body does not have a clergy/laity divide.

    That that same clergy would then come up with a magical service only producible by their hands, to more fully justify their existence and glorify themselves, should be no surprise.

    This is an interesting theory, but it’s an argument from silence. There appears to be no evidence for it. We have writings from people who were discples of John the apostle that indicate the early church was liturgical, sacramental, and organized into clergy from the first generation after the disciples (see CGC’s comment above). I’m not arguing that this is the way it should be or the way I want it to be. But there is no documented history for the type of church structure you describe and what I had hoped to find. If we want to follow the ancient paths we either have to choose to adopt the early church model documented in history or make up something else based on wishful thinking. I wish the historical records were different – it would make it a lot more clear which path to take.

    We can choose to reject the errent early church model and go only with what we find in the New Testament, but that create a big problem: the NT was canonized by the errent church we are rejecting. If we cannot trust them with the other traditions, by what standard can we trust them with the NT? History tells us that there were many spurious letters in circulation in the first few centuries, and it took a few centuries before the church officially agreed upon the books we have in the NT (the first full list of NT books was by Athanasius in 367). I don’t know how one can say the early church got the NT right but nearly everyhing else wrong.

    I’m beginning to think that maybe church structure does not matter to God as much as it matters to us. Because if it truly mattered to him he would have done a better job in preserving the correct model. Perhaps this means we are free to participate in a wide variety of different church structures, and that we should not be too critical of people who do it very differently from us.

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  77. Max: New Calvinism is all about grace-this and grace-that, with adherents rarely experiencing a direct experience of Grace – an encounter with the Living Christ. Left to its eventual end, such teaching leads to…

    …that spawn of Fred Phelps who spat out in an interview “We believe in the Doctrines of Grace.”

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  78. TS00: I long ago came to believe that Calvinism was the tool by which Satan has persuaded much of mankind that ‘the end justifies the means’, falsely accusing God of such behavior.

    in the Nineties, there was a small-press pencil/paper/funny dice multi-genre role-playing game called TORG, whose premise was other realities or “Cosms” invading our reality. One of these cosms was called “Orrosh”, and was a para-Victorian reality based on Gothic Horror.

    In Orrosh, the war between Heaven and Hell was no cold war, but a full-honk hot war between supernatural Good and Evil. The main human instrumentality was “The Sacrellum”, a liturgical church with state resources (think the movie Van Helsing with Church of England trappings instead of RCC).

    Well, “The Gaunt Man” ( Orrosh’s Devil figure) managed to introduce one meme into the Sacrellum’s theology:
    That it was OK to use the tools and ways of The Gaunt Man to fight The Gaunt Man and his devils and monsters and minions. THE END JUSTIFIED THE MEANS.

    At that point, The Gaunt Man won. The Sacrellum was now his minions; he had corrupted it to where it now served him (and fought for him) without realizing it. (Leaving only various lone adventurers and secret societies — i.e. player-characters — to fight the good fight, hunted by both The Gaunt Man’s Hosts of Hell and the Sacrellum itself.)

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  79. Max: We could start by considering the words of Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. He points out what they were doing wrong in doing church … perhaps we could at least do those things right! Additionally, it wouldn’t hurt to begin a journey back by heeding 2 Chronicles 7:14 … humility, prayer, repentance, seeking God’s face.

    If clergy and laity both did this the type of church structure would not matter much.

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  80. Bridget:
    BL,

    We also saw Jesus warn even his close disciples of this as they were fighting among themselves about who was the greatest among them. If the disciples did not understand, what makes people think that the next generation did?

    Jesus promised that the Gates of Hell would NOT prevail against the Church He founded upon Kepha the Rock.

    Are you claiming that it went completely off the rails before the Apostles we’re still cold in their graves?

    How does this even remotely square with Our Lord’s solemn promise? Do His words mean nothing?

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  81. Max: Ahhh, but that sort of Church can’t be controlled by men … you can’t organize it, manipulate it, intimidate it, nor dominate it … it is led by the Spirit, not by teachings and traditions of men … it might get out of hand, so better not try that!

    Right you are Max. Which is my running hypothesis as to why the SBC shut down & ran out their top leaders in IMB who were training everyone to start simple reproducing house churches. Nocash, no flash.

    In the world of reproducing house churches – the world I’ve lived in for decades- there is no clergy. Just Gods people meeting together, each person using their gifts to equip others. Elders may or may not have any pastoring or teaching gifts-just wisdom and godly lives. Everyone reads the word together and the Holy Spirit is our teacher as we discuss the word.

    As you say, it’s so “out of hand” millions are becoming disciples and not a one of them has ever heard of new Calvinism!

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  82. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    It is difficult to think past what we have long been taught, and I was raised with the same thinking, but I now believe that Jesus was saying that he would always have ‘a people of faith’, not a hierarchical, institutional religion.

    If there was a corrupt hierarchical, institutional religion, of course the first thing they would do would be to persuade men that they were this ‘body of Christ’ spoken of in scripture, thus anyone who challenged or resisted them would be fighting against God. This would be their obvious strategy. You don’t have to buy it, to see the logic of the possibility.

    More and more are beginning to suspect this is exactly the case, and that this is why the institutional church is in, and always has been in, the mess that it is. Not saying that much good has not been accomplished in spite of this. God is good, wise and powerful, and will look after his sheep even if the wolves are in charge of the flock.

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  83. Max: it might get out of hand,

    It did get out of hand, historically — Paul and his associates were accused by their pagan contemporaries of “turning the world upside down”.

    But we’ve come a long way from Jerusalem and Corinth. In the last congregation I regularly attended, the lament was that the world was turning the church upside down.

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  84. Max,

    “Deliver us from evil, for Yours – Father in Heaven – is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory. Amen.”

    Driving by church buildings on the way home tonight, wondering if/where the wheels (Holy Spirit) have left the buildings.

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  85. jyjames: wondering if/where the wheels (Holy Spirit) have left the buildings

    I agonize over the churches in my area, which were once Gospel lighthouses, which now have “Ichabod” hanging over the door. We passed one such church tonight and almost wept … perhaps we should have.

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  86. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Are you claiming that it went completely off the rails before the Apostles we’re still cold in their graves?

    I’m not claiming anything. I’m stating what scripture and Jesus clearly state about the disciples.

    Jesus’ church will prevail. It isn’t perfect and it is not buildings, ceremony, or institutions. As far as I can tell the church are those who love the Lord and do as he does.

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  87. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Are you claiming that it went completely off the rails before the Apostles we’re still cold in their graves?

    That IS the Official Story of Church History according to the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Landmark Baptists. That the church almost immediately “went completely off the rails” into Romish Apostasy until WE got it right and Restored the Original New Testament Church yadda yadda yadda.

    Bridget: I’m not claiming anything. I’m stating what scripture and Jesus clearly state about the disciples.

    That should be SCRIPTURE! with all caps and exclamation points.

    “What SCRIPTURE! Clearly States” is THE standard Christianese smackdown.
    Even if WSCS says the Demon Locust Plague of Revelation = helicopter gunships with chemical-weapon “stingers” piloted by long-haired bearded hippies. Or that WSCS that Catholics worship Satan because Greek has two words (presbyteros and ecclesiastica) that translate into English as “priest” (plus something about the “Nicolaitans”).

    Yes, I’ve heard WSCS played that fast and loose. Kinda torpedoes the credibility.

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  88. Catholic Gate-Crasher: How does this even remotely square with Our Lord’s solemn promise? Do His words mean nothing?

    They mean something, but, being as this isn’t a Catholic blog, why would you be surprised if the passage isn’t being interpreted in the traditional Catholic sense? I personally believe that Christ referred to the truth Peter had spoken as the rock upon which he would build his church; the body of all believers is, indeed built upon the belief that He is the Christ, the son of the living God. I understand that you disagree and that is your free right to choose and I respect your choice, but I come here to discuss the evangelical church, not to debate Catholic vs Protestant theology. I did that and made a decision on it 40 years ago.

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  89. SiteSeer,

    Don’t know how prevalent it is in the Reformed world, but my former pastor – raised Catholic – also interpreted it as the visible, institutional church, of which one must be a part to be a part of the kingdom of God. I always found Reformed Theology (historical Protestantism) one hair from Catholicism; retained much of the form of the institution, lost the substance of the gospel.

    Is it any wonder that Satan would set his sights on Baptists, and those who, at one time, still upheld the ‘whosoever will may come’ of the gospel?

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  90. Max: Ahhh, but that sort of Church can’t be controlled by men … you can’t organize it, manipulate it, intimidate it, nor dominate it … it is led by the Spirit, not by teachings and traditions of men … it might get out of hand, so better not try that!

    Bingo!

    That is exactly what you see in play from the earliest days of the institutional church. Constantine set up a false ‘One True Church’ and gave men the tools to control, manipulate and eventually destroy any who dared step out of line with officially declared ‘Truth’ (Orthodoxy).

    From that time on, those who sought to follow the Spirit have struggled to escape the tyranny of The Church, which is what led to so endless divisions and new denominations. There may never be a True Church, but there will always be true followers of Christ, within and without the various religious institutions.

    The Spirit of God has fallen upon many through the centuries, leading the thirsty to true water, in spite of all attempts to control the dialogue via creeds and councils. This, thanks be to God, will always be true.

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  91. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Recorded history has mostly been controlled by those in power. I suspect we have not always seen the entire story. The twos and threes gathered in his name would never have been considered important to the writers of history, which is mostly concerned with power, kingdoms and revolutions.

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  92. TS00: The Spirit of God has fallen upon many through the centuries, leading the thirsty to true water, in spite of all attempts to control the dialogue via creeds and councils.

    Perhaps not all attempts. The council at Jerusalem described by Luke in Acts 15 is interesting, ISTM, for many reasons. One is the phrase “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”, almost as though the two were not the same and that they both mattered. Another is the effect of the council. It happened in response to some people within the church trying to create more laws, but the letter they sent out actually reduced the burden of regulation, almost as though it weren’t necessary to specify in detail the laws and rules by which christians are supposed to live.

    Of course, we now understand that this primitive early council got it wrong, and should have been far more formal and prescriptive. It didn’t even result in a doctrinal statement.

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  93. I “went to church” today. Go almost every morning. We don’t have a fancy building so we meet at a local fast food outlet. Some are believers who work there, some are believers who come in for food or coffee or a coke. Nobody leads it, and we don’t set a time to meet or haul out our Bibles and read them or discuss them. Nope, just a motley crew of folks living life on this earth together. Some are dopers, some are ex drinkers and womanizers, some are ex child abusers (nonsexual). All have been touched by the hand of God. Some of us might be accepted into membership in a nice church, some will definitely not be accepted. Not because they continue a sinful lifestyle, but because repentance and redemption are foreign concepts to some church goers. Occasionally we get a homeless person but since we don’t have a lot around that is not often. But if one comes in usually the poorest and least acceptable among us buys them food and may take them home with them. A few are church leaders officially but most would be labelled losers by society. And yet among the losers I find more Christlike giving and serving and sacrificing than I do in the fancier church I visit on Sundays. Among the castaways of society often the only “possession” is knowing they are forgiven and loved by Jesus, that they can always count on Jesus, and a burning desire to share Jesus with everyone they know.

    I’ve made a change in my personal Bible study also. I have been finding my books written by experts with perfect lives cold and godless. So I dug out one written by a fallen leader–as in major very public fail. There in the writings born out of the ashes of a ruined life I am finding someone who really gets humility and mercy.

    Go figure.

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  94. Max: That’s why pew-sitters in most churches look like they would rather be in jail; they are merely bumps on logs, pew potatoes!Christians need an outlet to pour out what they have been filled with. If believers aren’t actually engaged in ministry, there’s no need for the Holy Spirit to energize them.Once they get up moving in Jesus’ Name, the Holy Spirit joins them, empowers them, and leads them to minister to others.

    Just saw this piece today. It is so true!!!

    We really need to form small or medium discipleship groups and start a peer support network to practice what we already know even as we keep on learning and growing. Salvation is for the whole world, not just the church attenders.

    Let’s pray for this to happen soon in the communities of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and many cities and towns across the land. That would be a good outcome after people realize the weakness of the megachurches. Then people’s suffering will not be in vain.

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  95. TS00: Is it any wonder that Satan would set his sights on Baptists, and those who, at one time, still upheld the ‘whosoever will may come’ of the gospel?

    The other major “whosoever will” group that is being targeted by the new reformers is the Assembly of God denomination. I would have thought that impossible, but it’s happening. Indeed, Mark Driscoll was “restored” to ministry through speaking engagements at certain AOG churches. He preaches frequently at a mega-AOG near me.

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  96. Speaking of Ed Stetzer, he learned a lesson from MacDonald on what not to do when you become the subject of the blogosphere. He’s using a new tactic: “Keep your mouth shut. It’ll blow over and the bloggers will move on to other topics.” You would have thought that Stetzer would have at least weighed in on the Evangelical Racketeering that is going on in some corners of Christendom, but I suppose he was concerned his VW would come back up.

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  97. TS00:
    Ken F (aka Tweed),
    Recorded history has mostly been controlled by those in power. I suspect we have not always seen the entire story. The twos and threes gathered in his name would never have been considered important to the writers of history, which is mostly concerned with power, kingdoms and revolutions.

    It is truly complicated. For example, none of the NT writers were powerful when they lived, yet their writings survived into a collection that was eventually agreed upon by nearly all Christians. That canonization process was through the institutional church. Which leaves us with the problem of whether or not we should reject the NT as an errant product of an errant institution. But what then? Do any Christians anywhere get to have a say in what Christianity should or should not look like? And if so, based on what? I have far more questions than answers at this point.

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  98. Headless Unicorn Guy: That should be SCRIPTURE! with all caps and exclamation points.

    “What SCRIPTURE! Clearly States” is THE standard Christianese smackdown.

    I’m well aware of that, HUG. I think you know me well enough to know I don’t mean it in that sense. It still appears to me that the disciples were getting some things wrong ‘even when Jesus was in their midst.’ He was correcting them on the points of leadership, and being the greatest, as they argued about it. We see the same thing now among different institutional church entities.

    I personally believe that Jesus’s Church can be found scattered among all of the different institutions, but Jesus’s Church is not the institutions themselves.

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  99. Bridget: Jesus’s Church can be found scattered among all of the different institutions, but Jesus’s Church is not the institutions themselves

    Exactly. The Church can be found within the church, but not everything about church is The Church. Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. The institution we call “church” is OK if it is reaching lost souls for Christ, teaching and discipling believers, equipping them to do the work of the ministry, and then engaging them to fulfill the Great Commission. Most everything else is doing church without God.

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  100. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Jesus promised that the Gates of Hell would NOT prevail against the Church He founded upon Kepha the Rock.

    Are you claiming that it went completely off the rails before the Apostles we’re still cold in their graves?

    How does this even remotely square with Our Lord’s solemn promise? Do His words mean nothing?

    It is clear that before the apostles died, that the ‘off the rails’ had begun amongst believers. And reading through the admonitions to various ecclesias in Revelation exhibits this even more so.

    However, here we are 2,000+ years later and the ecclesia built on the Rock which is Christ, is evidenced even on an internet blog – daily.

    So, the promise of God is true and continues, as does His kingdom – in the hearts of his people. Not in buildings or hierarchies or religious institutions. Every believer, brought out of darkness, filled with His spirit, with faith in His promise, and life eternal, proves Christ’s words true, that the Gates of Hell have not prevailed.

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  101. Ken F (aka Tweed): Do any Christians anywhere get to have a say in what Christianity should or should not look like? And if so, based on what?

    Important questions, these; more important than we tend to think, IMHO. We have, collectively, invested an awful lot of power in a couple of select generations of early believers. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that we’ve shed an awful lot of responsibility onto dead shoulders. My own understanding is that every generation of believers should take responsibility for coming to the point where they can say: it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. The examples of previous generations should be a source of help and encouragement, but to my mind that only adds to the growing responsibility to go further.

    That is, if there is a Holy Spirit. If there isn’t, then people may as well carry on arguing about who is the greatest, be it via who gets to sit at Jesus’ right and left, or via who has the most correct Mishnah of new testament law.

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  102. Max,

    I appreciate your understanding that the AOG churches are being targeted, just as the Baptists were. It is no random event that Driscoll has now set up shop there. We will never be able to protect ourselves from wicked predators until we realize that we are being preyed upon. Real shepherds pray, not prey, upon the flock.

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  103. Fisher: In the world of reproducing house churches – the world I’ve lived in for decades- there is no clergy. Just Gods people meeting together, each person using their gifts to equip others. Elders may or may not have any pastoring or teaching gifts-just wisdom and godly lives. Everyone reads the word together and the Holy Spirit is our teacher as we discuss the word.

    I would love any insight or materials you might know of that might help others find or set up such groups. I have have known many who were involved in house churches, but all that I know of eventually imploded. Lots of legalism issues.

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  104. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I share your problem with many questions. I suppose we can at least grant that all of the ‘possible’ writings that might have been included in the canon grant the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the multiple reports of the gospels lend credence to the content of his teachings.

    I almost laugh when I read my own words, as not too many years ago I would have considered them liberal heresy. 😉 It was so much easier being ‘certain’ about everything.

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  105. BL: So, the promise of God is true and continues, as does His kingdom – in the hearts of his people. Not in buildings or hierarchies or religious institutions. Every believer, brought out of darkness, filled with His spirit, with faith in His promise, and life eternal, proves Christ’s words true, that the Gates of Hell have not prevailed.

    Amen. Beautiful words of hope.

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  106. John,

    Ha! I actually had to go and check, we have the original John commentary by Carson…How troubling. I can’t think of a single good excuse for a college professor to “accidentally” plagiarize like this. This is pretty egregious.

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  107. Nick Bulbeck: My own understanding is that every generation of believers should take responsibility for coming to the point where they can say: it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. The examples of previous generations should be a source of help and encouragement, but to my mind that only adds to the growing responsibility to go further.

    I think this is true. It seems the error on both extremes is to trust the authority of the ancients to the exclusion of the moderns, or the other way around. But there must be some kind of middle ground (perhaps a wide middle ground). For example, I do think there was value in all the effort expended in hammering out the early ecumenical creeds and canonizing the NT. But we also have to learn how to apply the old lessons learned to today’s challenges. Unfortunately, asking questions about where that balance should be can get one in hot water.

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  108. TS00: I appreciate your understanding that the AOG churches are being targeted, just as the Baptists were. It is no random event that Driscoll has now set up shop there.

    An example of Driscoll circulating in “pentecostal” ranks … the “Stronger Men’s Conference” is promoted at AOG churches: https://strongermen.org/speakers/

    The “macho” appeal of Driscoll still lives on.

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  109. Max,

    the “Stronger Men’s Conference” is promoted at AOG churches: https://strongermen.org/speakers/

    The “macho” appeal of Driscoll still lives on.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    stronger, …macho… as in tighter facial skin? (compare photos, if you ever have time to kill). more words redefined, i guess.

    courage, integrity, and toughness don’t factor in, that’s for sure.

    ha, my 15 year-old daughter scores very high in all those things. she should speak at the so-called “Strongermen” conference.

    i just can’t help but chuckle, first at the need for such a conference, then who their role models are.

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  110. Bridget: I personally believe that Jesus’s Church can be found scattered among all of the different institutions, but Jesus’s Church is not the institutions themselves.

    This is what I see happening. The wheat and the tares are in each one, and you don’t necessarily know which are which until something happens to illuminate it.

    Nick Bulbeck: My own understanding is that every generation of believers should take responsibility for coming to the point where they can say: it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.

    Yes! Seems like the marketers and brand makers have taken the place of the Holy Spirit.

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  111. I found significant instances of plagiarism by another RTS teacher, an adjunct professor, a few years ago. I brought it to the attention of that campus’s President, and the church where the pastor was the senior pastor took action. Bravo. I read somewhere that plagiarism is hard to stop. Once a person starts it, it’s addictive.

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  112. Here’s a serious question, and not intended to excuse any misbehavior. I do a lot of essay writing, and I also copy things that I find very meaningful from others. Often, one leads to the other, and I usually use quotations, note the author and copy the url. But once in a while I come across an old essay, and, for the life of me, I can’t be sure it is my own words. I haven’t published anything at this point, but is there a plagiarism tool that the rank and file can use to make sure that something they have in their files is actually their own writing and not something they forgot they copied?

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  113. elastigirl: i just can’t help but chuckle, first at the need for such a conference, then who their role models are

    Well, what else is the institutional church going to do since it’s not taking the Gospel to the highways and byways much these days?!

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  114. Max: Well, what else is the institutional church going to do since it’s not taking the Gospel to the highways and byways much these days?!

    Seriously, the church is supposed to be ministering to people, believers and unbelievers alike, as they seek to grow in wisdom and spiritual maturity. Where the heck do sermons about how much and what kind of sex – like Driscoll and MacDonald indulge in – come into the picture? Sort of tells you what they think is important.

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  115. Godith: I read somewhere that plagiarism is hard to stop. Once a person starts it, it’s addictive.

    Well, it’s obvious to me that the trouble with all of you is that you’re looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

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  116. TS00: And note these sermons never say, ‘Guys, lay off and respect the feelings and needs of your wife’.

    addendum:

    ‘… Which, by the way, are not so very different from your own.’

    Also never said.

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  117. TS00:
    TS00,

    And note these sermons never say, ‘Guys, lay off and respect the feelings and needs of your wife’. Oh no, it’s always, ‘Gals, never say no to your lord and master’.

    Boolean Hold the Whip or Feel the Whip.
    All that matters is “I Get to Hold the Whip!”

    AKA what inevitably happens when you define Life, the Universe, and Everything as Power Struggle.

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  118. I’ve been an avid follower of Wartburgwatch for a long time, as a person recovering from abuse and spiritual abuse.

    This article is sadly out of par with the Wartburgwatch’s reporting. Since it is a guest post, perhaps Dee didn’t realize how poorly researched it was before she published it.

    First off, lumping Dr. Thomas in with others who have misused their office is stereotyping without basis. I’ve heard him preach and he has a very tender spirit about him. He’s humble. I’m quite sensitized to preaching that supports abusers and perpetrators but never found any of that in the sermons I heard.

    Secondly, this matter was investigated thoroughly by a board comprised of:
    *Dr. SINCLAIR FERGUSON (the alleged victim)
    *Reformed Theological Seminary
    *The consistory of Dr. Thomas’ church
    *Dr. Thomas’ Presbytery
    *Ligonier
    *The Publisher

    These parties (notice, including Dr. Ferguson) conducted an investigation and all support Dr. Thomas. Dr. Thomas and Dr. Ferguson are co-pastors at a church, are reconciled and are fast friends today.

    Thirdly, in response to an inquiry, the publisher provided this information:

    “We looked at a lot of information that was helpfully provided to us by those who discovered the issues. It was a clear-cut case of plagiarism. I called Derek to tell him what was going to happen and it was obvious from his reaction that he had no idea of the issues with the book. We sent him evidence and he immediately apologized and placed himself at our mercy to do whatever we saw fit.

    “In our communications with Derek and the wronged party (Sinclair Ferguson) both parties explained how the problem could have occurred unintentionally. To the best of our ability we judged that this is what happened. We could have used the term “plagiarism” but most people would immediately jump to the conclusion that it was deliberate and intentional plagiarism so we used the alternative “unattributed content” – because that’s what this material is.

    “The unclear note-taking does not refer to the content of the material in question but to the labeling of the material. Derek was unaware that the notes from decades earlier were not his own work.”

    This ^^ information is readily available to any who perform the most cursory of investigations. This makes me wonder what ethics went into this hit piece on Dr. Thomas?

    What is the purpose of this piece when the matter was soundly determined to be inadvertent and has been resolved among the affected parties?

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  119. Also: fitba’.

    We’re 5-0 up on already-relegated Huddersfield with 2 minutes to go, so safe so say that’s 3 points. If we can pull off two more wins, we’ll finish on 97 points… and still be runners-up. No denying you have to give credit to City; but it’s been a great Premier League season.

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  120. Sad Day,

    Within theChristian publishing world, especially when it involves members of a particular tribe, it is common for those affected to say “No problemo.” However, that doesn’t mean that there was no plagiarism. Plagiarism is two fold. One is a possible victim. The second is the writing itself.

    For example, kids get kicked out of college routinely for plagiarizing the works of both the living and the dead. It is still plagiarism, even if the person is dead and doesn’t care any longer.

    Now, as for this being a hit piece, you are wrong. I didn’t know Derek Thomas before this was posted. And Todd is Reformed in his perspective so he is not biased against Reformed writers and pastors.

    Also, I don’t really care if Thomas is humble or not humble. That was not the intent of the post. I bet he’s a really nice guy who does all sorts of nice things for many people. The intent was really quite simple. Was it plagiarism? The answer appears to be, from those involved, “Well, yes, but he really didn’t intend to do it so we are giving him a pass.”

    Those who did the investigating were part of the same tribe which is why so many of these incidents get blown off. I can assure you that a kid in a college English course would not have received the same response. I really do wish that these incidents could be investigated by an independent third party group.

    Finally, Todd spent hours on this piece-far more hours than I would have devoted. In fact, he spoke with me on a number of occasions before he even wrote the piece. I posted it because I know the effort that he put into it.

    And the *ethics* involved were rather simple. Does this involve plagiarism? The answer appears to be yes, even though everyone involved gave each other pats on the back.

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  121. Sad Day,

    Succinctly put. I made the point upthread that Derek Thomas was preaching on Acts in 2006 using terms that were similar, if not identical, to those now being labelled as “plagiarised”. If Sinclair Ferguson’s material preceded Thomas using it by six or seven years, as is alleged, then Sf’s material must have originated around 2000. And strangely enough this is corroborated by recordings of Sinclair preaching on Acts on Wednesday afternoons in the Tron church in Glasgow, a few years before he moved to the USA. So to accuse Derek Thomas of plagiarism is a bit of a stretch.
    And before everyone jumps up waving their arms about complaining that the explanation given by the investigating board is not believable, can I say that it is perfectly believable and the same happened to the great C H Spurgeon, as recounted by Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his book ‘Preaching and Preachers’. Forgive the following lengthy quote.
    “Lloyd-Jones describes the case of a young man, a student in Spurgeon’s college, whose preaching was drawing praises from some, but a criticism from others that he “was repeatedly preaching a sermon of Mr. Spurgeon’s.” When this was brought to the attention of the school principal, it was decided to take the young man to Spurgeon himself. After considerable questioning, Spurgeon became somewhat impatient. Lloyd-Jones describes the conversation between CHS and the student. Spurgeon asks:

    ‘Well, are you saying, then, that it is your sermon?’ ‘Oh, no, sir,’ said the young man. ‘Well, then whose sermon is it?’ ‘It is a sermon of William Jay of Bath, sir,’ said the student . . . ‘Wait a minute,’ said Spurgeon, and turning to his library, he pulled out one of . . . two volumes [Jay’s sermons had been printed in two volumes] and there was the sermon, the exact sermon—the same text, the same headings, the same everything! What had happened? The fact was that Mr. Spurgeon had also preached William Jay’s sermon and had actually put it into print with other sermons of his [own]. Mr. Spurgeon’s only explanation was that it was many years since he had read the two volumes of Jay’s sermons and that he had forgotten all about it. He could say quite honestly that he was not aware of the fact that when he had preached that sermon he was preaching one of the sermons of William Jay.”

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  122. Dee,

    “Shameful behaviour”, “questionable character”, “be disqualified from the ministry and terminated from his job as a professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary”. “Iain Duguid is an honourable but……I would have resigned.” “I will be watching to see if the MOS team will now be willing to call out Derek Thomas on his plagiarism.” “You men who fancy yourselves leaders are rotting away on the inside, just like the old man in this video“ “RevKev is one of the men I refer to above who is rotting on the inside”

    Then the Neo Calvinist “Hall of Shame” members are dragged into the piece.

    It’s hard not to conclude that it was a “hit piece”.

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  123. Dee,

    Dee, you didn’t respond to any of SadDay’s points, you talked past them.

    He has been investigated by 6 different bodies, he repented immediately according to the Publisher. The Publisher brought in a third party to their investigative committee. The book was delisted, so there was no “pass” and who knows they may have blacklisted his writings for a period of time. That’s not information that you know nor that you would be entitled to.

    In sum, the legitimate authorities over him have investigated the matter, he has confessed that the material was plagiarized, and repented of it. He says it was unintentional, the victim (Ferguson) agrees, his Session agrees, his Presbytery agrees, the publisher agrees, and Reformed Theological Seminary agrees. They would be the ones with access to the evidence (the notes used), and the parties involved (Ferguson ((who again, is backing up Thomas’s claims)) and Thomas).

    What makes this hit piece anything better than slime gossip is not discernible to me, adds nothing. The author interestingly only highlights the worst possible punishment among a whole spectrum of punishments for plagiarism at the two seminaries, so he has no warrant and authority to call for the ouster of a man who is repentant of unintentional plagiarism.

    In the name of the unity of Christ’s Church, remove this trash.

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  124. Lowlandseer: ‘Well, are you saying, then, that it is your sermon?’ ‘Oh, no, sir,’ said the young man. ‘Well, then whose sermon is it?’ ‘It is a sermon of William Jay of Bath, sir,’ said the student . . . ‘Wait a minute,’ said Spurgeon, and turning to his library, he pulled out one of . . . two volumes [Jay’s sermons had been printed in two volumes] and there was the sermon, the exact sermon—the same text, the same headings, the same everything! What had happened? The fact was that Mr. Spurgeon had also preached William Jay’s sermon and had actually put it into print with other sermons of his [own]. Mr. Spurgeon’s only explanation was that it was many years since he had read the two volumes of Jay’s sermons and that he had forgotten all about it. He could say quite honestly that he was not aware of the fact that when he had preached that sermon he was preaching one of the sermons of William Jay.”

    This is the story I referred to earlier; wasn’t sure it was Spurgeon. But the fact is, we have no way of knowing for sure if Spurgeon plagiarized as well. Obviously, a person in his position is going to deny it; but in cases like the student, with the exact same headings, etc., or even slightly different wording, it is very unlikely that the material was ‘inadvertently’ borrowed via faulty memory.

    I posted the question earlier, because I do believe an honest mistake can happen; one could not label something and forget years later from whence it came. I have a couple of essays – they seem almost too good to claim as my own 😉 – so I find myself questioning if I actually wrote them or merely failed to label them. However, usually when I copy something I like, I add my own thoughts and comments in bold italic.

    It might behoove those in the position to look into such things to examine his other work to see if similar issues arise elsewhere. I am glad that people feel free to express their disagreement and dismay with a post, for that is a healthy freedom this fine blog allows and hopefully always will.

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  125. TS00,

    His session has looked into his other work now and have not found anything untoward. Members of his church have received a letter stating such. Whether you think it’s hard to believe that it’s unintentional is not really up to you to decide. His legitimate authorities have looked into it, found his account to be true. The victim himself says that it’s true. He has repented of it. The matter is closed. Any additional speculation is just gossip now.

    I hope the author of this reads this and takes it down straight away. I’ve provided my email so he can reach out to me for pushback.

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  126. Jordan Morales: . His legitimate authorities have looked into it, found his account to be true.

    I am absolutely exhausted and will respond to your gracious comments tomorrow after my first cup of Death Wish Coffee.

    I’ve also spoken with Todd who has been faithfully attending the Tom Chantry (ARBCA) trial in Arizona. He will respond tomorrow., maybe. But let me leave you with a thought.

    The moment anyone jumps into the public eye by publishing a book or posting sermons online or whatever, they no longer get to appeal to whatever you all deem to be* legitimate authorities.* You play in public, you pay in public. The public *legitimately* gets to have an opinion on the matter and the public doesn’t give a hoot what you might deem as legitimate authorities.It ain’t internal any longer.

    If Thomas, a guy I had had never heard of until Todd told me about him, had chosen to stay in his little church community and seminary, he would never have drawn our attention.

    Anyhoo, good night.

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  127. dee,

    So make him “pay” in public just for the sake of it? Even though he’s repented of it and the victim (Ferguson) supports his claim of unintentional plagiarism as well as all of these other investigative committees? This does not seem to be a Christian response whatsoever. I could see if he was unrepentant or whatever, but this article is not an example of Christian grace and mercy.

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  128. dee,

    So make him “pay” in public just for the sake of it? Even though he’s repented of it and the victim (Ferguson) supports his claim of unintentional plagiarism as well as all of these other investigative committees? This does not seem to be a Christian response whatsoever. I could see if he was unrepentant or whatever, but this article is not an example of Christian grace and mercy.

    It seems like you are saying that half-cocked internet mob justice is just fine compared to legitimate and orderly due process of the proper authorities, which the author of this piece appeals to himself for a specific outcome, namely the harshest penalty contained in the table of penalties at these various seminaries.

    I look forward to your response.

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  129. Max,

    RE: The Strongermen Conference

    elastigirl: i just can’t help but chuckle, first at the need for such a conference, then who their role models are

    Max: Well, what else is the institutional church going to do since it’s not taking the Gospel to the highways and byways much these days?!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    self-absorption that’s the ticket! 🙂

    😐

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  130. dee,

    Your reply confirms what Jordan Morales has been saying. You know nothing about Derek Thomas, you listen to only one side of the story, you ignore the other side, and pass judgment. Inconvenient facts like investigation by the legitimate authorities and their conclusions are dismissed out of hand because “if you play in public, you pay in public”. At the end of the day and all the faux outrage, neither you nor Brett are legitimate authorities and they are the only ones that count and they have found him not guilty.

    Your claim that It isn’t a hit piece because Brett sees things from a Reformed perspective is easily refuted simply by the language the man uses to describe them. Even if he did spend many hours researching the piece, the end result was still a biased diatribe.Your defence of him suffers from the same problem. Brett is “faithfully” attending the Tom Chantry trial while Reformed folk like Thomas belong to “a tribe” who “blow off” criticism, and he should have “stayed in his little church”.
    “Half cocked internet mob justice” (Jordan Morales, 26th April 2019, 1023pm) just about sums it all up.

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  131. I did a quick search on “christian plagiarism” and “christian plagiarism does it matter” and found quite a few links. Two things jump out at me: 1) it appears to be widespread, and 2) few seem to care.

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  132. Jordan Morales: So make him “pay” in public just for the sake of it?

    This comment is one of thee reasons I tell people to be very careful in signing a membership contract in churches. I’ve been using that term for a long time. It is meant as a response to your contention that only * legitimate authorities* have a right to have perspectives on a situation. It is the vehemence with which you responded that makes me realize that, had I been a member of your church, I would be thrown into the discipline pit because of my opinion.

    Let me spell it out for you in way you can understand since you are being so woodenly literal. When anyone publishes something online or has sermons on line, the public gets a chance to respond., whether or not you like it. You don’t get the benefits of publicly available social media without the public opinion which comes with it.It comes with the deal. Your supposed *authority* has now shifted t those who read and have opinions.

    You do not see me complaining that you are commenting on my *trash* as you put it. I am the one who opens the door for even insults, something that the boys in your own camp do not allow.

    If I think there is some merit to this post, then, maybe you should listen. I represent others who believe the same thing. You say that I don’t know what happened behind the scenes and maybe he got punished in other ways but *You don’t get to know* (sounds like a 3rd grader sticking out his tongue and saying *I know something you don’t*). I also know some things that you don’t, to use your approach.

    Your approach was not convincing. Maybe you could try again. Frankly, it makes me so glad that I got away from your crowd so I can have freedom of conscience, something Martin Luther enjoyed as well.

    Now back to my Death Wish coffee.

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  133. Lowlandseer: you nor Brett are legitimate authorities and they are the only ones that count and they have found him not guilty.

    I do like the name Brett but his name is Todd.

    You have read this blog for a long time so you surely know what I’m going to say next. I don’t know OJ Simpson or Casey Anthony. In Casey Anthony’s case, I had never heard her name before she was arrested. Both have been tried by *legitimate authorities* and found not guilty. I think both of them are guilty and I bet the majority of American agrees with me on this.

    I did not *know* Thomas. As I said before, perhaps he is the kindest, nicest man on the planet-donating all of his time to service of the poor. Maybe he is super humble although people ought to be carful with that term. It usually comes back to bite you when you least expect it.

    I know some things from behind the scenes as well. Maybe it’s not quite as *cut and tied* as you would have it. I felt it was a discussion worth having and your comments are recorded, standing up- for the *other side.* Unlike the Gospel Coalition, I allow comments, and harsh comments at that.

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  134. Lowlandseer: Brett is “faithfully” attending the Tom Chantry trial while Reformed folk like Thomas belong to “a tribe” who “blow off” criticism, and he should have “stayed in his little church”.

    Oh, now I think I see. You are upset that I said *little church.* Let me expand on that. Just so you know, I go to a little church as well.It’s little when compared to the mega 10,000 member churches that I have in my area.

    However, size is not what I really mean by *little.* Let me use an example from a recent post. Someone made a comment on the world wide fame of John MacArthur which got me to thinking. So, I did a little survey in my corner to the world. I started asking random people if they knew of : John MacArthur, John Piper and Billy Graham. Not one person knew MacArthur or Piper. All but one knew Billy Graham.

    I’ve been doing some reflecting on that. If I were to leave this area (and I’m going to 30A in Florida for my family’s annual vacation soon so I will ask there, about the famous 10,000 mega and their pastors in Florida, I bet very few would know who/what they are.

    Lowland…we are all little and are churches are little. Few people know who I am and the same goes for Thomas and everyone else. This is a little blog. I have no grand illusions about my place in the world. I just do what I do because I want to.

    Nope- little was merely putting Thomas and the rest of us in our place. We are important to God but not to most of the world.

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  135. Lowlandseer: “Half cocked internet mob justice” (Jordan Morales, 26th April 2019, 1023pm) just about sums it all up.

    Jordan Morales: It seems like you are saying that half-cocked internet mob justice

    I need a second cup of coffee for this one.
    The number who has read this post and commented on it are minuscule in the bigger picture of things. There is no mob. It’s just a few people who are saying “This looks bad.”

    As for justice, how in the world am I seeking *justice*. in this situation. It’s just a few of us saying *ugh.*

    Your *legitimate* authorities are still in charge and they have made their judgments. There is nothing that Todd and I can do to change that. It is almost amusing to imagine that there is an internet mob involved in this discussion.

    I know that you both don’t like this but we get to have a voice, a tiny one at that, in saying we think that plagiarism occurred and that Thomas was given a pass and that some ordinary kid at a state school would not. No mob, no path for justice, just some thoughts on the matter.

    Why are you so afraid of a differing opinion? Or do you enjoy an echo chamber more?

    I suggest you ask yourselves some question. Why do they think they way that they do? What can we learn for this? is everyone onboard with the outcome as we’d like to believe? Maybe we should dial it back and contemplate why this attracted the attention of a couple of blogger?

    And finally, do not be afraid of being little We all are. Our God is huuuuge! All eyes on Him as opposed to us…

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  136. Lowlandseer: Brett is “faithfully” attending the Tom Chantry trial

    Todd is faithfully attending this trial. Do you know what a drag that is? He drives 2 hours each way and spends some nights in a hotel nearby. If it had not been for his efforts, many people would have overlooked what happened. I believe it was Todd’s faithful reporting of the trial as well as his documentation of the alleged coverup within ARBCA that has led to some of their churches resigning in protest.

    He is watching the *legitimate authorities* do their thing. I said e was faithfully attending for a good reason. He plans to add to these comments but he has been tied up with the trial and documenting what has occurred. Frankly, he is doing something that I rarely see within our circles. Listening and watching. Discussing evidence. We should be grateful to him for his work in this area.

    Sadly, I was attacked for merely following the media reports of Chantry’s trial. You know about the letter that was sent trying to discredit me to my church, community boards, my husband’s employer-Duke, etc. I think that there are some members of certain communities who want us all to shut up and not say a word. It is useless.

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  137. dee,

    You have failed to demonstrate why it is good and right that you tear down Dr. Thomas in light of his repentance and the 6 different investigations (including the victim, Dr. Ferguson). You have only demonstrated that you could do so and that therefore you did, which no one disputes.

    Rather than addressing my reasoning, you have lashed out at me and “my camp.” If you were a member of Dr. Thomas’s church, I highly doubt that you would be under discipline because I highly doubt you would post such a gossip column as you would know Dr. Thomas, know the elders who investigated him, and know Dr. Ferguson who was the victim of the plagiarism. In fact, you would probably be posting on the author’s home site comments very similar to mine.

    No one disputes that you have the right to engage in this sort of gossip, that is not the question. What is in question is whether or not it is good, is based on the truth, is beneficial to the unity of Christ’s church. I have demonstrated, as well as SadDay, that it is certainly not good. And while it may serve to get interaction with your site and the comments section, it does not serve any good purpose beyond that. I would ask that you reread my last comments and actually respond to them point by point and consider the possibility that this post may not be coming from a position of Christian charity, grace, and mercy, but rather a spirit of division and slander.

    I would like to have seen the author reach out to the publisher, which he didn’t. To the elders at Thomas’s church, which he didn’t. To Thomas or Ferguson, which he didn’t. In sum, it’s a completely uninformed rant, and while it’s fine to have opinions in our mind, when we spew them out completely uninformed about other people, it is called gossip, which is sin.

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  138. dee,

    No one is denying that plagiarism occurred and Thomas himself has repented of and reconciled with the victim. You say he got a “pass” because his life isn’t completely ruined, but his book was pulled from circulation and P&R may have stopped accepting any of his writings for a time. I can’t imagine why a Christian would be calling for such a destructive punishment on a man who has served the Lord for so long, and has now committed unintentional plagiarism for which he repented of immediately. That’s why I say it’s an internet mob, not because of the number of people, but because it’s blood thirsty, unmerciful, relentless, and unChristian.

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  139. Sad Day,

    “What is the purpose of this piece when the matter was soundly determined to be inadvertent and has been resolved among the affected parties?”–Sad Day

    Jordan Morales,

    “Whether you think it’s hard to believe that it’s unintentional is not really up to you to decide. His legitimate authorities have looked into it, found his account to be true. The victim himself says that it’s true. He has repented of it. The matter is closed.”–Jordan Morales
    +++++++++++++++++++

    perhaps the purpose of this piece is to draw attention to the fact that christian culture has embarrassingly low standards on the wrong of plagiarism (ethically and for the integrity of the presentation).

    “my favorite christian celebrity plagiarized? my pastor plagiarized? my co-pastor plagiarized? eh, no big deal. they didn’t realize it was wrong. how dare you bring this up and interfere with the harmony of my christian experience!”

    the matter is not closed. christian culture values its heroes and what is sentimental to them far more than it feels conviction for what is right and wrong.

    case in point: The song “I Exalt Thee” was written by Pete Sanchez in 1976.

    however, i ran across sheet music for it that had been widely circulated. in the field where the songwriter is listed were the words “Unknown”. it was in a songbook. it was sold for money.

    imagine what it would be like to be Pete Sanchez.

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  140. Jordan Morales,

    “I can’t imagine why a Christian would be calling for such a destructive punishment on a man who has served the Lord for so long, and has now committed unintentional plagiarism for which he repented of immediately.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    a just punishment fits the crime. i, joanne-blo, here, am no authority on these things but i can look at other cases of plagiarism and observe what happens. that gives me an indication on where ‘just’ falls.

    and i observe that unintentional is not a mitigating factor whatsoever. it is sloppy, unprofessional, and undercuts the integrity of what is being presented.

    but to imply that ‘serving the Lord for so long’ somehow makes a crime less of one is the picture of dishonest scales, unjust weights and measures, a different set of standards applied to a person because they wear the christian hero hat.

    anonymous person A who has lived their life in integrity in the shadows will not get the favoritism you think should be given to someone with a bigger name.

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  141. Jordan Morales: No one is denying that plagiarism occurred and Thomas himself has repented of and reconciled with the victim.

    Then don’t you think that anyone who has read or might read his public works should know this? It’s simply being honest . . .

    The bigger problem to me is why Christians do not want to talk about this. Why the “go to” in much of Christian culture is “no one needs to know except our private and special authorities.” I’ve heard this so much in Christian circles. It makes me sad and angry.

    The reverence given to some Christian leaders “because they have done so much for the Lord” is hero worship to to me. No one had done anything for the Lord compared to what He has done.

    There are so many nobodies who have done so much, and no one knows about them save God. And some probably aren’t Christians according to your rules.

    I feel for all the students who are expelled for unintentional plagiarism. I’m sure there are a few that no one knows about and no one took up their cause because they weren’t important enough and/or they weren’t important Christians.

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  142. Jordan Morales: the Lord for so long, and has now committed unintentional plagiarism for which he repented of immediately. That’s why I say it’s an internet mob, not because of the number of people, but because it’s blood thirsty, unmerciful, relentless, and unChristian.

    Thank you for there best laugh of the week.

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  143. Bridget,

    So, you feel for all of the students who have been expelled for unintentional plagiarism, and your way of getting them justice is to take down someone else who did unintentional plagiarism.

    That makes no sense.

    “The bigger problem is why Christians do not want to talk about this… this makes me sad and angry.”

    Well, I don’t deny that gossip and sticking our fingers in everybody’s business is fun, titillating, and seeing others fall can often make us feel better about ourselves. My point is that it isn’t right.

    I do think people who read his public works have the right to know. There’s a difference between a statement on the facts of the case, which the Publisher has provided, and a salacious gossip column that guesses at motives and assumes the worst about someone.

    Your responses contain way too many strawmen and assumptions to really even take on. So I’ll leave it there.

    Hopefully the editor of this blog just does the right thing and deletes this slander. It’s up to him now.

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  144. Dee:
    Sad Day,

    Those who did the investigating were part of the same tribe which is why so many of these incidents get blown off. I can assure you that a kid in a college English course would not have received the same response. I really do wish that these incidents could be investigated by an independent third party group.

    But the investigator was the victim himself, and the victim found no evidence that Dr. Thomas’ lack of attribution was intentional.

    You may have your own opinions about whether the victim has adequately availed himself of as much injury as he is due, but wouldn’t this be a MATERIAL piece of information to include in the article?

    As well as the other facts I mentioned in my prior comment?

    That’s why I called it a hit piece. There is a lot of mitigating information about this situation that was purposefully omitted.

    I have a heart for the abused and injured. Having experienced that myself I can attest that recovering from that is a long haul. I understand that you are in full social justice mode against perpetrators. I appreciate very much that perpetrators are being called out on your blog and others.

    However, in this case, I feel your blog has switched places and now you are perpetrating abuse on Dr. Thomas because this piece has left out all material elements which didn’t fit the narrative your guest writer was trying to create. It was a skewed hit piece.

    Dr. Thomas is far from a Driscoll or a MacDonald. Far, far from it.

    Let’s not cry “wolf” on the good guys so our voice is not compromised when we call out the bad.

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  145. Sad Day,

    “But the investigator was the victim himself, and the victim found no evidence that Dr. Thomas’ lack of attribution was intentional.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    this is what comes to mind:

    they are friends

    it appears Ferguson resigned from senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia SC, and Derek Thomas took the baton as new senior pastor.

    a certain amount of conflict of interest

    there mutually benefit and have things to gain by downplaying the crime of plagiarism.

    the Forthright Bell just isn’t ringing, here.

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  146. Jordan Morales: and your way of getting them justice is to take down someone else who did unintentional plagiarism.

    I didn’t say that at all. Those are ‘your words’ added to what I said.

    Jordan Morales: Well, I don’t deny that gossip and sticking our fingers in everybody’s business is fun, titillating, and seeing others fall can often make us feel better about ourselves.

    I don’t think any of this is fun or any of the things you stated. Why you think I would I don’t know. Is your statement a stawman? You didn’t even respond to what I said.

    Jordan Morales: that guesses at motives and assumes the worst about someone.

    And what are you doing?

    Weather you like it or not the issue of plagiarism not being taken seriously enough is an issue in Evangelicalism.

    It’s your opinion that this is some kind of takedown for some ugly motive. It’s the writer’s opinion that this needs to be written about because it’s a problem.

    Even a man on the board called it plagiarism. So why can’t anyone else write about it?

    Another article about this issue was taken down. I wonder why? Pressure from you others? Again, why the need for secrecy when it is an admitted offense?

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  147. Sad Day,

    Frankly, I am wearying of this discussion. I am not heaping abuse on Thomas by saying he plagiarized. He did. It was acknowledged. I never judge motives so it really doesn’t matter whether it was intentional or not. That excuse does not exonerate students who are thrown out of school for plagiarism.

    This was not a *hit piece* but you can soothe yourself by saying that it was. You are judging motives, something I leave up to the one who has a higher pay grade.

    Whether you like it or not, plagiarism is rampant within Christian circles. sermons are copied regularly and not given attribution.

    It is interesting, this tribal thing. There were a number of Reformed personages who went for my jugular when I discussed Tom Chatnry prior to his first conviction as well as discussing Ian Campbell prior to the meeting of the presbytery. In both instances, the tribe descended and used the same old silly language, accusing me of gossip, not allowing the proper authorities to make judgment. They yelped about an internet mob.

    In both instances, I was correct. In one instance, I believe that had I not said something, it would have been brushed under the carpet.Now, all of these lovely leaders claimed that they would speak out if convictions occurred. Not only didn’t they do so but seemed perturbed when I called attention to their lack of concern. This is a game of “Who’s on my team?” If it’s your team, then I am a gossip and guilty of hit pieces.

    I don’t suppose you read enough here to actually hear yourselves.

    Just so you know we hold ourselves to the same standards, we were called on the carpet during our first year of writing for not attributing a piece to the correct source. The person was correct. We apologized and corrected it. We let the whole thing play out in the comments and didn’t delete anything. I am so glad that someone had the guts to do that.We didn’t waste time by discussing whether or not it was intentional or unintentional. It was plagiarism, pure and simple. We were wrong. We apologized.

    You are inadvertently making the situation worse by your comments. Most people didn’t show much interest in this post until someone decided to gather the troops and go for bear. Not only doesn’t it work, but it causes this incident to gain more discussion and will now be seen by more people than if you guys had just made a simple point and moved along..

    So be it. More are now reading.

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  148. Sad Day: But the investigator was the victim himself, and the victim found no evidence that Dr. Thomas’ lack of attribution was intentional.

    PS-the victim does not have to be in agreement or not. People plagiarize dead people all the time and get kicked out of school .I’m sure the dead didn’t care one way or the other. It is still plagiarism.

    Stop making this out to be a *victim* crime. I’m glad Ferguson was fine with it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t plagiarism. Let me show you since I don’t seem to be getting through. If I wrote a book and said

    “If our Lord’s bearing our sin for us is not the gospel, I have no gospel to preach. Brethren, I have befooled you these thirty-five years if this is not the gospel. I am a lost man, if this is not the gospel, for I have no hope beneath the canopy of heaven, neither in time nor in eternity, save only in this belief—that Jesus Christ, in my place, bore both my punishment and sin.”

    I would be plagiarizing Charles Spurgeon. I’m sure he doesn’t care, having gone to his reward. But, I assure you, those who are Spurgeon fans would go after me in a NY minute. It is victimless but it is still plagiarism.

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  149. Looks like the ARP and new-calvinist mafia has shown up here to make sure the public doesn’t discuss public matters. His sins were public. So should be the exposure of them and the repentance from them.

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  150. “One of the secrets of great leadership in any walk of life is to place those close to you who are not simply yes-men but who are prepared to be honest with you when they see you making a mistake.

    This is absolutely critical in the church: having true friends who speak the truth in love is vital.I think of church leaders who simply became such objects of adulation by their people and by the wider evangelical world that, when they fell, it was clear that they had simply come to be regarded as too big to be held accountable. Nobody dared call them to account; nobody  ever even suspected they needed to be held to account.

    I can think of others who simply started to believe their own propaganda and saw any and every criticism as a personal attack. Such people were disasters waiting to happen; and their problem was that they lost sight of of the basics of the Christian life and made themselves accountable to no one.

    And I am always amazed at the cronies such people manage to gather around themselves: there is always someone willing to stroke the ego of such types, to tell them how wonderful they are whatever shenanigans they get up to; yet a true friend knows the necessity of speaking the truth out of love in all circumstances.“

    -Carl Trueman
    Risking The Truth: Handling Error in the Church” by Martin Downes.  Chapter 2 – Sin in High Places: An Interview with Carl R. Trueman, pages 30-31

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  151. Todd Wilhelm,

    “yet a true friend knows the necessity of speaking the truth out of love in all circumstances.“’
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”–Dumbledore to Harry Potter

    staying on topic, i even found out how to do a proper citation for a movie quote:

    Barnathan, M. (Producer), Columbus, C. (Producer), Radcliffe, M. (Producer), & Columbus, C. (Director). (2001). Harry Potter And The Sorceror’s Stone [Motion Picture]. United Kingdom, United States: Warner Brothers Films

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  152. Let’s say this has nothing to do with the current topic. Let’s ask why might men in high places cover for one another?

    Might being part of the same institution, which grants them their position, credibility and income have some sort of influence on the treatment of the sins of the mighty? The great sins of important leaders would cast a shadow upon all within her walls. As we have so clearly seen in the recent past. So wouldn’t the wisest thing be to privately scold the evildoer, urge him to not sin again, then deny or cover up the whole thing as much as possible?

    But that’s just vain imagining. I’m sure it never happens.

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  153. Sad Day: Dr. Thomas and Dr. Ferguson are co-pastors at a church, are reconciled and are fast friends today.

    Sinclair Ferguson lives in his native Scotland and is Associate Preacher & Elder of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee, Scotland, as he has been since 2013 when he retired from the role of senior minister of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia South Carolina (where he was succeeded by Derek Thomas).

    It is slightly concerning that ‘Sad Day’, who claims to know so much about the situation that he can defend Derek Thomas, does not seem to know this.

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  154. “I have personally examined the plagiarism, along with the other editors on the REC, and it is serious and substantial.”
    -Iain Duguid

    “Now the overseer is to be above reproach,”
    I Timothy 3:2 NIV

    “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
    James 3:1 NIV

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  155. Sad Day: You may have your own opinions about whether the victim has adequately availed himself of as much injury as he is due, but wouldn’t this be a MATERIAL piece of information to include in the article?

    No. The issue is not whether or not the victim liked it. The issue is plagiarism is wrong. Here is an interesting article from a Christian author who was plagiarized: https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2013/december-online-only/when-do-we-cross-line-into-plagiarism.html

    In the end, however, he wanted to perpetuate the illusion that he was an expert whom his church and book readers should trust. And that’s why I took offense (not because I wrote anything particularly memorable or insightful, which I hadn’t, as friends pointed out at the time). We don’t need our pastors to be self-appointed gurus. We need them to be honest.

    The article also highlights how common it is among Christian leaders – “move along, nothing to see here.” The fact that he claims he forgot it was not his material just highlights how he did not care enough about it to even keep good notes. There really is no excuse.

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  156. Brief sporting interlude

    A commanding performance from Eliud Kipchoge in London this morning, winning in the second-fastest time ever over the marathon distance. Only he has ever run faster, and London is not known as a fast course.

    In fitba’, Leicester have just beaten 10-man Arsenal who are now unlikely to qualify for the Champions’ League and may not even make the Europa League spot. Manchester City resume top spot in a couple of hours, but more interestingly, Manchester United (6th place) host Chelsea (4th place) later this afternoon. If Chelsea win, then they and Spurs one place above them will be all but assured of Champions’ League fitba’ next season. If United win, they’ll draw level with Chelsea on points but with much inferior goal difference; Chelsea will then need simply to match United’s result on the last day of the season.

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  157. Frankly., the approach of the *victim* defenders has resulted in me becoming irritable. When I become irritable, I think about pushing the topic forward. I now have in my possession, another example of interesting wording by Thomas. I spoke with Todd and I’ve decided to go ahead an post it. I will do so shortly. I will be curious as to how the attack dogs respond. Perhaps they should have just let it go.

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  158. I’ve decided that this example I have is so interesting, especially when combined with the accusations of Jorda Morales and Sad Day that I will do a full post on this tomorrow.I think it will be informative on two fronts:

    1. Documentation of a weird *coincidence*
    2. Documentation of ridiculous comments that have led me to believe that there is more behind this situation.

    The accusations are way over the top. When listed, it is even more apparent.

    So, until tomorrow…

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  159. Ken F (aka Tweed): Here is an interesting article from a Christian author who was plagiarized: [article at https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2013/december-online-only/when-do-we-cross-line-into-plagiarism.html%5D

    So, I read this article. While doing so, I found myself more and more drawn to the conclusion that there is an even bigger problem behind that of plagiarism.

    Consider the following quote, in which D.A. Carson cites one Phillips Brooks:

    If preaching is God’s truth through human personality…

    Actually, if there’s any truth in the new testament story, christian living would be god’s truth through human personality.

    It’s extraordinary to think what a vast weight of ecclesiastical tradition and business practice has been hung on the shoogly peg of the text fragments on preaching, taken out of context and made to paint the traditional sermon on a Sunday morning (because it’s called “preaching”, right?) as the central manifestation of God’s presence on earth.

    Plagiarising is serious, yes. Even more serious is the overblown elevation of the simple activity of giving a talk.

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  160. Jesus didn’t cover up people’s sin and wrongdoing. He exposed it. We have an entire book filled with the evil of men. David’s sin was exposed even though he repented . . . . AND he had to deal with the consequences.

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  161. Nick Bulbeck,

    ” and made to paint the traditional sermon on a Sunday morning (because it’s called “preaching”, right?) as the central manifestation of God’s presence on earth.

    …the overblown elevation of the simple activity of giving a talk.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    yes, really shocking, the way you put it.

    to think that what amounts to stale saltines dressed up with cheez whiz is the manifestation of God’s presence on earth….

    what a silly, silly trumped up conjecture.

    God’s presence on earth is manifested every time we choose patience, kindness, self-control, every time we confront wrong, every time we stand up for what is right,…

    little glows all over the earth. just like cozy villages at night from an airplane window.

    big bursts of light, too. when courage is happening.

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  162. Lowlandseer: Neo Calvinist “Hall of Shame”

    Many in that tribe are practicing antinomians, believing they are released by “grace” from the obligation to observe the moral law. A little sinning here and there, stealth and deception to take over non-Calvinist churches, borrowing other men’s sermons are no big deal to them.

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  163. dee,

    While I’m a stickler about plagiarism I also think that we need to extend grace now that Derek Thomas has repented, his book has been pulled, and he’s been held accountable. With what measure you meet it shall be measured unto you. Time to move on.

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  164. __

    Todd,

    Yo,

    Derek W.H. Thomas’ Acts commentary ‘plagiarism’ was already previously listed on his WikiP bio. Apparently it was a lack on both the author and the publisher’s ‘doing diligence’. A stupid mistake, nothing more, nothing less. If you really examined Dr. Thomas’s works you would find an intellect that doesn’t really need to ‘rip-off’ other theological works. Were you going after the man’s integrity, his previously WikiP identified published academic literary mistake, or his religion (Reformed Theology, i.e. Calvinism)?

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)§

    – –

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  165. ___

    Pandemic Pontification : “Weight, Lift, Thrust, and Drag, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Continuous courageous Christian trend discernment reporting, or distanced distracting proactive vindictive malicious ‘sticks & stones’(tm) babble?

    Intermission: Yoda’s insightful instruction?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EJz2FXkZb7g

    Just because:
    Out of the mouth of babes -“The Sound Of Silence?”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8xysVNigCsU

    ;~)§

    – –

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  166. Sòpwith,

    Sopy
    Todd is Reformed in his theology. There is more to this story than what is listed in Wikipedia which, of course, anyone can edit.

    Now read my new post. I guess Thomas inadvertently claims someone else’s experience as his own life experience. Its getting a lot harder to claim that all is well. Just because someone is smart doesn’t mean that they don’t plagiarize.

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  167. Some of these comments claiming that Dr. Thomas has been examined and found innocent – nay, even exonerated – are false. His elders have not even seen the evidence, his faculty at RTS have not even seen the evidence. The evidence, which has one of the P&R editors (Duguid) have stated is extensive, substantial and very problematic. Listen, publishers dont pull books without serious reasons. This is a serious reason. This is plagiarism, plain and simple. What’s most troubling is that the public is having the wool pulled over their eyes on the basis of those in power. Why not believe Ligon Duncan and Ligonier? Might it be, for those who have a solid doctrine of sin as these reformed folks claim to have, cant possibly imagine that there is something to cover up at an institutional level. If people cant take an honest and hard look at the evidence and see what it is, then there’s a clear bias at play.

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  168. Nick Bulbeck: Brief sporting interlude

    Nick, since you are a big football (aka soccer) fan, you might be interested to know that my grandson on Saturday, playing as goalie, prevented seven attempts by the offending team to score … he sacrificed his body by falling on hard-hit efforts to score at close range … he was cheered and applauded from the stands … he is 5 years old.

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  169. IMHO Calvinist Theologian Dr. Thomas’s struggle with literary laziness, and lack of doing diligence is certainly reprehensible and noteworthy, (which his publisher shares as well) but for ‘The Wartburg Watch Blog’ ™ to stigmatize and castigate this scholarly individual based upon these previously documented mistakes is tantamount to a tortured moral breach. I take issue, and exception, and stand by my opinion. Calvinism has nothing to do with it. Integrity does.

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