Harvest Bible Chapel Apologizes to Julie Roys, The Elephant Debt, and the EC Credit Union, Leaving Me With Unanswered Questions

“The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.” ― Plato, Apology


 

Over the next 5 days, I will be traveling to Asheville to attend a conference with my husband. There are a number of posts which need writing and instead of putting them all into the same post, I will write a series of shorter posts. These will include Willow Creek developments, the SBC executive committee, the ERLC conference on abuse and maybe one or two others. Each of these are so different that it makes more sense to post them separately. So you will see a few popping up in the next couple of days.

Harvest Bible Chapel apologizes for suing Roys, The Elephant Debt (TED)

Today, Julie Roys posted Harvest Issues Public ApologyRoys, always a class act, accepted their apology. Christian Post published Harvest Bible Chapel apologizes for suing journalist, former members, Evangelical Christian Credit Union

The apology was then posted on the HBC website here.

Julie Roys also posted an email sent to HBC members last evening.

Here are some excerpts.

The elders claim to have pursued what is biblical and honors God since announcing that they will resign.

I don’t trust them. They have disqualified themselves. I hope the new elder board will review everything that the old board did.


The church is now in reconciliation talks with James MacDonald.

MacDonald wants his money. I bet he wants a boatload of money. He doesn’t deserve a penny.

The old elders ask the members to support the new elders since there has never been a full changeover of elders since the church began.

Odd. They appear to be saying the church may find it difficult to have an elder board with all newbies. Sadly, there was no elder board which functioned like a real elder board in the past. They were simply MacDonald’s boys. I say that no one should support anyone until they have proof that the newbie board is actually worth trusting. Folks, ask questions…lots and lots of questions. Don’t accept anything outright.

The old elders went through a trying time….

I disagree. The members of the church who weren’t elders went through a trying time. Until the lawsuit broke,  few people understood how corrupt the system was at HBC. Frankly, this elder board participated in this despicable example of church leadership.

My unanswered questions:

These elders have reached the conclusion that this action was sinful baed on 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 NIV

 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!

7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.

Yet many of their statements during this time period appealed to Scripture to justify these actions.

  • Did the elders function as *yes* men, rubber stamping everything that MacDonald wanted to do?
  • Has introspection been part of the process? Why would they allow this action to proceed, fully knowing what Scripture says?
  • Did they perform their role as elders or act merely as MacDonald’s adoring entourage?
  • Did they play “Let’s make the Bible say what we want it to say?”
  • Are they an example of the level of teaching found at HBC?

Why did the elders allow the lawsuit to go forward knowing (or maybe they didn’t) that the defendants would ask for the financial records?

When I heard about the lawsuit, I immediately sent my prayers to The Elephant Debt folks, along with my prediction. I told them that the lawsuit would not go forward if they were planning to ask for the financial records. I suspected that MacDonald might not want his salary and other *benefits* known by the tithers in his church.

Also, TED puts lots of time and effort into their website and they were be a in position to be able to pull back the curtain via requests for financial disclosures but I knew MacDonald wouldn’t allow that. MacDonald went to court to prevent that information from getting out there. The judge told him to pound sand.  I was correct. I am not *elder material* for HBC and yet, even little ole me knew this would happen.

Was there no one in that whole group of MacDonald besties who warned him about the stupidity of the lawsuit? Good night! This was dumb!

Why I still don’t trust the church

Julie Roys had this to say.

One note: if you follow the link for specifics on the lawsuit, you’ll read, “Regarding the lawsuit against Julie Roys and The Elephant’s Debt, at the time, Harvest leadership had grown weary of continued negative, and what was then believed to be untrue, commentary towards the church.” For the record, when the lawsuit was filed, I hadn’t written anything about the church–nothing. And as far as I know, practically everything printed by The Elephant’s Debt has proven to be true. Harvest needs to make note of that.

It appears that the elders of the church are still not handling the truth in a scrupulous and insightful manner. I wouldn’t give one thin dime to the church until full disclosure is made and the effort to recoup any misuse of money has begun to produce results.


Comments

Harvest Bible Chapel Apologizes to Julie Roys, The Elephant Debt, and the EC Credit Union, Leaving Me With Unanswered Questions — 99 Comments

  1. Can you even imagine giving money to this church, knowing they are likely to hand some of it off to Jmac? This is truly the strangest group if people ever to call themselves a church. Even if there’s some serious competition around. 😉

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  2. TS00: Can you even imagine giving money to this church, knowing they are likely to hand some of it off to Jmac? This is truly the strangest group if people ever to call themselves a church. Even if there’s some serious competition around.

    Maybe if people stopped all giving there wouldn’t be any money to give to MacDonald!

    It wouldn’t surprise me if MacDonald had little savings. He probably spent all he received and more.

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  3. “I don’t trust them. They have disqualified themselves. I hope the new elder board will review everything that the old board did.” (Dee)

    After a while, an institution takes on the personality of its leader. It’s clear from their actions that the HBC elder board were themselves reflections of bad-boy MacDonald. They failed their responsibility to hold MacDonald accountable; they disqualified themselves from the office entrusted to them; they failed in ministry. They betrayed the trust of HBC members. There is much doubt whether they can be trusted now. It would be best for the old to pass away, so the new can begin as soon as possible. It’s going to be a tough row to hoe for the new elders – the old guys don’t need to get in their way. There is no passing of a sacred mantle here; that was forfeited long ago.

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  4. I see ulterior motives in apologizing to ECCU, because ECCU holds the notes on a number of the Harvest locations, and at least one of those notes (a balloon note) is coming due very shortly. If this was a property that could be turned quickly in a hot real estate environment, I could see ECCU refusing to renegotiate the balloon note. But it’s a church. There is no market for church land/buildings, unless it’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. So I could see ECCU imposing somewhat more onerous repayment standards on HBC and require far more scrutiny of HBC’s finances.

    I am not saying that ECCU is going to act unethically. What I am saying is that ECCU is going to protect its interests, which includes repayment of loans made to HBC in the eight figures. And while the loans are outstanding, ECCU will do what it can to preserve the value of the property the loans were made on.

    If I were a member of HBC, I’d be very curious to find out what the new loan terms were going to be. I suspect there will be a higher interest rate. And ECCU may require cross-collateralization. It’s my understanding that one property is currently unencumbered by a mortgage. ECCU may want that property as part of the new loan terms, although this is complete speculation on my part. But HBC members ought to be aware of this.

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  5. Slight diversion.

    Now that was different. I just dumped a comment written entirely in Hebrew offering services to enhance traffic to our site. Using the Hebrew alphabet.
    [Google Translate – no I don’t speak/read Hebrew.]

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  6. What exactly is “Biblical reconciliation”? Isn’t it kind of soon in this situation to be pursuing reconciliation? What is “Crossroads Resolution Group”? Why is “Crossroads Resolution Group”? Who is “Crossroads Resolution Group”?

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  7. SiteSeer,

    “What exactly is “Biblical reconciliation”?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    they finagled “Biblical Lawsuit”. as if anyone should trust them with ‘biblical’ anything ever again.

    (‘biblical’ was already bankrupt. thanks to harvest bible chapel elders, it’s now less than zero.)

    ‘biblical reconciliation’ is as meaningful as ‘biblical teeth brushing’.

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  8. Loren Haas:
    So I see nothing about the real costs incurred by those sinfully sued by HBC. Is HBC going to step up and cover that? If not, their apology is not worth much.

    No, they probably think JMac is more entitled to money than the people they sued.

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  9. ishy: Loren Haas:
    So I see nothing about the real costs incurred by those sinfully sued by HBC. Is HBC going to step up and cover that? If not, their apology is not worth much.

    No, they probably think JMac is more entitled to money than the people they sued.

    Although I think it is commendable that the church is offering to make restitution to the victims of their utterly wicked lawsuits, that restitution should come straight out of JMac’s bottomless pockets, and not out of the church’s general fund! Why should the congregation have to give one more red cent to pay for the previous administration’s mistakes? The congregation didn’t file the lawsuits, but JMac DID, along with his band of spineless merry men (the board)! They are the ones who should pay for restitution–not the church!

    I look at it this way: if HBC gives their members no voting rights and no say, then those members should be immune from having to cover any expenses stemming from the consequences of filing those ungodly lawsuits.

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  10. jyjames: The Bible mentions familiar spirits, which are shared via familiarity? Bonding?

    All indications are that there was something spiritual going on in the leadership ranks at HBC … and it obviously wasn’t Holy. Some of those recordings of JMac and his elders have a downright evil tone to them. I hope the HBC members and the new elder board have the faith to deal with this … “This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21).

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  11. SiteSeer: What exactly is “Biblical reconciliation”?

    Within New Calvinist ranks, it’s sort of like gospel-centered this and gospel-centered that … grace-this and grace-that. “Biblical” anything pretty much means what you want it to … leading to a “reconciliation” which restores friendly relationships between pulpit and pew, but not necessarily with Holy God. Such counseling at best is focused on the mind and emotions, but not the Spirit. What HBC needs – along with countless other churches across the American landscape – is a solemn assembly of pulpit and pew until genuine humility, prayer, repentance and seeking God’s face prevails. Anything less than that is a quick fix in order to get back to doing church as usual.

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  12. jyjames: From the post: “I wouldn’t give one thin dime to the church until full disclosure is made and the effort to recoup any misuse of money has begun to produce results.”

    Wisdom.

    “Any” settlement with MacDonald at this point – using the tithes of the good people at HBC – would be a further misuse of money. To do so would be to turn well-intended offerings by God’s people into filthy lucre.

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  13. i find it difficult to believe that these “yes men” of Macdonald suddenly developed a spiritual spine. Also, the very fact they use the word RECONCILIATION with regard to Macdonald says it all!!!!!

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  14. It is encouraging to hear that the elders have agreed to pay for the legal fees of Julie and ECCU. Did the sacrificial tithes and giving pay for the legal fees of Julie and ECCU? Maybe the elders that “supposedly” paid out of their own pocket to sue Julie, Mahoney’s, Bryant’s and ECCU, should be the ones that pay for legal fees now. In my opinion, that would be a true fruit and act of repentance.

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  15. Abigail: the very fact they use the word RECONCILIATION with regard to Macdonald says it all!!!!!

    I think the whole New Calvinist tribe is struggling with the fact that MacDonald failed. He was such an icon of the new reformation; his disqualification from ministry has them in chaos. I keep waiting for the SBC elite to comment about JMac and HBC membership in the denomination (disfellowship them?), but they’ve been silent … even on the Stetzer VW matter.

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  16. Dee, Safe and journey mercies to you and your husband. If my math is correct, HBC short $1.85M as of 4/30/19. Wise and godly people either leaving the church or withholding funds; continue blessings on them. HBC leadership needs to stop the financial mismanagement. Rather than ask for more offering (Closer 2020 campaign), learn to budget by cutting staff (have paid staff volunteer their services, implore JMac to reimburse HBC for illicit compensation (or take this unbeliever to court and get the IRS involved), sell the Harvest Camp, close some Harvest campuses and streamline to Elgin and Rolling Meadows. The new Elder board can distinguish themselves from the old guard with true transparency and real authenticity. Open up and reveal the hidden 20% black book for all to see.

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  17. Look for more info of a sexual nature to come out. Where was his mind? According to the tapes, in the gutter…
    mentions affair…erection…child porn…fantasies about newly married female teacher’s honeymoon…it shows what he was thinking about.

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  18. Max,

    “I keep waiting for the SBC elite to comment about JMac and HBC membership in the denomination (disfellowship them?), but they’ve been silent … even on the Stetzer VW matter.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    when shameful and corrupt are in-house, professional christians stand for nothing.

    except when the likes of Julie Roys or Robert Downen at The Houston Chronicle expose them and they have no choice.

    what they might lose by standing up to their friends is apparently worth more than what is right.

    they could learn from Harry Potter, dreamed up by JKK Rowling (whom they self-righteously campaigned against).

    “Dumbledore: 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

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  19. GJ: The new Elder board can distinguish themselves from the old guard with true transparency and real authenticity. Open up and reveal the hidden 20% black book for all to see.

    “Harvest Bible Chapel in greater Chicago says it will seek reimbursement from the megachurch’s founder James MacDonald for any personal expenses he charged to a controversial discretionary fund which were not repaid during his tenure at the church.”

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/harvest-bible-chapel-will-seek-reimbursement-from-james-macdonald-for-personal-expenses.html

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  20. Abigail,

    That word “Reconciliation” caught my attention as well. Shouldn’t they be seeking “Restitution” from MacDonald? He obviously used his $35K per month slush fund to build up a war chest for the inevitable court battle. Bigger $ = better lawyers.

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  21. R McPherson:
    A fresh coat of paint will not repair a rotten foundation and crumbling walls….

    Reminds me of what some Jewish Carpenter said a while back:
    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”

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  22. Max,

    Followed the article and I see they are trying to claw back funds. I hope they succeed.

    Also noticed another link to an article reporting that David Platt spoke at the National Day of Prayer in DC. He says there is a lot wrong with the church, and said:

    “When was the last time we got together with the church just for worship on Sunday and crowds of people fell on our faces weeping for hidden sin in our midst, crying out for God’s mercy upon us?”

    I’ll tell you when David. It happens every Sunday and usually once during the week at your local liturgical (in my case, LCMS) church during confession and absolution, and shortly thereafter. But I forgot, Liturgical Christians are not “real” Christians according to David Platt.

    Kyrie eleison

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  23. Pake Steve:
    “…while lawful…”What kind of an apology is that?

    That’s called a “cover your hiney” apology! Their attorneys probably made them throw that in there.
    Newsflash: Just because something is ‘legal’ does NOT make it moral or right. They knew better and did absolutely nothing to stop MacDonald.

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  24. SiteSeer: What exactly is “Biblical reconciliation”?

    Code for ‘Shut up and move on.’

    Implicit in its use is ‘Justice is for peons. We have all the power and money, so we control the dialog and the outcome. How small do we need to make you look?’

    The power games and manipulation by these people never stop.

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  25. MacDonald is really sick and he needs to get help. Maybe when he serves his time in jail he’ll finally realize the evil he’s done and repent. The other sick ‘preacher’ Bill Hybels, never was sorry for his abuse, either, and now he enjoys life on his boat without a care in the world.

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  26. Of course, it goes without saying that if you’re really apologizing, really repenting, you need to go to the people you hurt, the people who had thousands in legal fees dumped on them, you’ll make restitution. That’s not a complicated issue, it’s straightforward. If you’re really trying to follow some sort of biblical standard, it’s implied that you’ll pay four times back what you wrongfully took.

    So if they really want to follow a highest calling standard that’s at least implied in the New Testament, they’ll reimburse Julie and the people at TED quadruple damages for their legal fees. If they want to follow a sort of minimal standard, they’ll reimburse her legal fees only and consider that plus the public apology should make things generally, though not ideally, right (and I’d probably agree).

    But if they just want to jot off a public apology that hedges somewhat by claiming it was “lawful” (due to legal counsel almost certainly–but frankly, no one is claiming it was against the law to file a lawsuit), but doesn’t even address the issues with legal fees and the anguish being sued causes a person, but rather just focuses on how they’ve changed and how they’ve now humbly repented before their congregation, then I’d say it’s just another sign of clueless, destructive narcissism, just dressed up a little for public consumption.

    If they are offering to reimburse the legal fees, then I stand corrected. I hope I do end up being corrected on that.

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  27. Noevangelical: Liturgical Christians are not “real” Christians according to David Platt

    I suppose Platt doesn’t think traditional Southern Baptists are real Christians either, if they exercised their free will to repent, say a sinner’s prayer, and accept Christ as Savior. That is all foreign to New Calvinists like Platt.

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  28. GuyBehindtheCurtain: comment written entirely in Hebrew offering services to enhance traffic to our site.

    That sounds biblically ordained, as in Joshua 11:4, “And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.”

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  29. Law Prof: reimburse Julie and the people at TED quadruple damages for their legal fees.

    That sounds ample, but it reminded me that 40% of Americans are not able to cover a $400 emergency. Through its legal antics, this church appears to have inflicted a financial emergency on individuals. Nobody can go back in time and pay unpaid bills, prevent credit scores from falling, etc.

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  30. There’s not much to say about MacDonald that hasn’t already been said. It’s evident what he is. Of particular interest to me, though, is the question: what is HBC?

    The reason it’s of interest is that we were thrown out of a religious business in Glasgow around 20 years ago under similar circumstances to those under which MacDonald (and, indeed, Driskle) orchestrated the removal of his own critics. In the end, we gave up trying to contact people within the business because those we had tried to reach out to would not have anything to do with us. It was clear that the CEO, who is a manipulative and divisive man, had done everything he could to ensure that anyone who tried to remain friends with us would be in a very difficult position.

    We hope, this year, to get back in touch with some of the good friends we lost when that happened. And we know, and/or have discovered in the intervening years, that not everyone was the same even there. Some still refuse to acknowledge us, declare our attempts to speak in our own defence to be divisive and a cause of confusion, and one even boasted about being a puppet of the CEO. But others were nothing like that at all. A number have themselves left the [unpaid] employment within the business.

    There is some extraordinarily fusty fruit around HBC. As an organisation, it looks irredeemable from this distance But I would be extremely surprised if no-one within it was there because they were searching for the risen Jesus.

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  31. Nick Bulbeck:
    There’s not much to say about MacDonald that hasn’t already been said. It’s evident what he is. Of particular interest to me, though, is the question: what is HBC?

    The reason it’s of interest is that we were thrown out of a religious business in Glasgow around 20 years ago under similar circumstances to those under which MacDonald (and, indeed, Driskle) orchestrated the removal of his own critics. In the end, we gave up trying to contact people within the business because those we had tried to reach out to would not have anything to do with us. It was clear that the CEO, who is a manipulative and divisive man, had done everything he could to ensure that anyone who tried to remain friends with us would be in a very difficult position.

    We hope, this year, to get back in touch with some of the good friends we lost when that happened. And we know, and/or have discovered in the intervening years, that not everyone was the same even there. Some still refuse to acknowledge us, declare our attempts to speak in our own defence to be divisive and a cause of confusion, and one even boasted about being a puppet of the CEO. But others were nothing like that at all. A number have themselves left the [unpaid] employment within the business.

    There is some extraordinarily fusty fruit around HBC. As an organisation, it looks irredeemable from this distanceBut I would be extremely surprised if no-one within it was there because they were searching for the risen Jesus.

    What you’ve probably done here is allowed those who don’t love Jesus and idolize men and systems to reveal themselves, and allowed those who do love Jesus but were just caught up in a corrupt system with corrupt men to identify themselves. Thank God that He uses these circumstances to reveal the truth.

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  32. Loren Haas: So I see nothing about the real costs incurred by those sinfully sued by HBC. Is HBC going to step up and cover that? If not, their apology is not worth much.

    This.

    If HBC are not going to reimburese Julie Roys and the men (and their wives !!!) who run TED, their apology is not worth the hot air that is used to transport it. They should actually sue MacDonald to recoup the money – he made them do it.

    As to the elders being elders, i.e. zhose responsible for the well-being of the church and its members, I do not think that HBC has had any real elders for years.

    Seeing the video (a few years ago) where they excommunicated three former elders gave me all the information about HBC I needed:
    1. J. MacDonald is a bully and a charlatan.
    2. The so-called elders cower in fear of the big man.
    3. This is not a church worth bearing Jesus’ name.

    There may be sincere christians in this “church”, but this is not the essence of the organisation, it’s mere coincidence. If you want to protect yourself and those you love, run!

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  33. Gus: There may be sincere christians in this “church”, but this is not the essence of the organisation</blockquote
    "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, 'Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins'"

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  34. Gus: There may be sincere christians in this “church”, but this is not the essence of the organisation, it’s mere coincidence

    “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins'”

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  35. Noevangelical: “When was the last time we got together with the church just for worship on Sunday and crowds of people fell on our faces weeping for hidden sin in our midst, crying out for God’s mercy upon us?”

    I wonder what hidden “sins” Platt is referring to?
    But then again just being a human being is a “sin” in their religion.

    Noevangelical: But I forgot, Liturgical Christians are not “real” Christians according to David Platt.

    Kyrie eleison

    It’s not just neo-cal fundagelicals.

    Back in the day, the old guard of Calvary Chapel really had it in for liturgical traditions, especially Roman Catholicism.

    Papa Chuck never missed a shot to do a diss-job at the ‘vain repetitions’ of the heathen.

    Things have settled down and mellowed out muchly since Brian Brodersen took the helm, although the old guard did their damnedest to remove him by coup d’etat.

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  36. Tony,

    “biblical”

    “It seems to have become the spiritual equivalent of “organic”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    at least “certified organic” means something.

    biblical… it seems to me it is always a weapon to get one’s way. to either restrict and limit someone else, or else to pave the way to get something one feels entitled to. it’s purpose is to win by silencing opposition.

    for every ‘biblical’ that’s another ‘biblical’ negating or establishing loopholes for the first ‘biblical’.

    how many parts ridiculous and how many parts revolting is this state of affairs?

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  37. elastigirl: biblical… it seems to me it is always a weapon to get one’s way. to either restrict and limit someone else, or else to pave the way to get something one feels entitled to. it’s purpose is to win by silencing opposition.

    Indeed, beyond errant interpretations of certain Bible passages by individuals, some Bible versions have been written to torture the text into supporting a pet theology or a way of living. One of the worst cases of that was the production of the “Slave Bible” in the early 1800s to justify slavery. Whole books of the Bible were deleted – for example Galatians was omitted with its passage “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). The New Calvinists would love to nuke that verse as well, since it doesn’t support their subordination of female believers.

    Slave Bible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvKUOuYn1-c

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  38. Re the ESV: LCMS has chosen it also.

    We have been checking out our options in the Baptist camp here. What with churches putting their stuff on line you can eliminate weeks of visiting in a few hours at the computer. And the mainline I referenced earlier in the week may speak what I want to hear but online their profile is definitely tarred and feathered with what I am about to describe.

    Please take this in a spirit of love and not attacking any particular church, but we are back to exploring our liturgical options. Not a lot of choices there in this town, could wind up driving 35 miles one way each Sunday:(

    What has turned us off of evangelicalism is the deliberate practice of (spelling?) pharmacopeia by the clergy. Bear with me. All beautiful structures, beautiful words, and beautiful music will engender emotional response, as will ugliness in those ways. That is just part of how we are created and is not a bad thing.

    But when leadership is deliberately manipulating and massaging brain chemicals to produce specific emotional reactions, we see no difference from just administering some cocaine or meth or pot or whatever at the door as you enter. We see it as true paganism, as witchcraft worship forbidden in the Bible. As idolatry and worship of something other the One True God. And we see it denying Christ and the Blood that bought us.

    There is no place for repentance. There is no place for simply trusting Jesus. There is no place for serious non manipulative Bible study. There is only administer the drug and sell the product (books-cd’s-magazines-seminars-church membership.) It seems as if Jesus did not die and all that is left for the pew peon is do more try harder give more sacrifice more sing faster attend more meetings check your brain at the door and believe even more far fetched drivel.

    We are burnt out. We hope to find a decent enough liturgical church, sing the old hymns, go through the brief order of confession and forgiveness, exalt the Lord and when the time comes to be accepted at the altar once again receive the Body and Blood of our Lord, broken and shed for us.

    I’m sure we will be moved to tears by the sacrifice He made from time to time. And lifted high when a great old anthem rings out. And sense the peace and goodness He offers just from sitting quietly in a place made beautiful to remind us of Him.

    But we won’t feel each Sunday afternoon like we went to church where someone attempted to put us through some emotional wringer. We won’t come home worn out from resisting spiritual manipulating.

    I can listen to my Southern Gospel on the radio and bop around my kitchen. If I want to. Not on cue.

    We are done with the money changers. We cannot pray where the house of prayer has been made into a noisy den of thieves.

    Enough. Scripture is clear when you find yourself in pagan worship to come out from among them. Time for us to obey.

    Once you clearly see the manipulation you cannot unsee it.

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  39. Noevangelical,

    Well, I don’t meant there’s direct collusion between the two camps – in fact I seriously doubt it! – but the Watchtower realised quite early on that the bible didn’t quite support their anti-christian views. So they produced a new translation that did; references to Jesus’ deity are specifically removed, for instance, and replaced with different words implying that he was a created being.

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  40. I’m learning German. I thought I should listen to German speakers in aid of this, and in the course of finding some I’ve come across a whole new world of trainspotting videos on TubeFace.

    Did you know that, when a Siemens Taurus locomotive set the world record for loco-hauled traction not long ago, it took 7.2 km to stop?

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  41. I love it when folks say they’ve repented in the sight of the Lord. Somehow, I get the idea that if I asked God, I might get a different answer.

    And maybe I’m jaded, but when I hear church officials say the words, “I’m sorry,” what runs through my mind is, “You’re a pain in the backside, but this will shut you up so I can get back to the same ‘ole, same ‘ole.

    Just sayin’

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  42. Just want to make a comment about myself. Want everyone to know that sometimes I wonder if it’s not a matter of me putting more passion into what I don’t like/love than what I do like/love. In other words, how Christlike is it to be defined more by what you hate than what you love? Wonder sometimes if I don’t list more towards the former than the latter. Obviously, not good. So understand sometimes this forum is more about me working out personal issues with PTSD or internal weaknesses or whatever. Sometimes the posts I make, I look back at them and wonder “Why am I so darned angry?” Anyway, just a bit of confession.

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  43. Law Prof,

    “Sometimes the posts I make, I look back at them and wonder “Why am I so darned angry?””
    +++++++++++++

    perhaps it’s simply conviction, and a high value on justice.

    my son typically sees the glass as half empty. the stereotypical christian response to him is “you should have a thankful heart!” “This is the day that the Lord has made, son, you should be rejoicing and be glad in it!”

    in actual fact, he’s just realistic. he sees the drawbacks, the lack, the loss, the conflict, and is very frank about it.

    and he feels appropriate gratitude as much as anyone.

    i think christian culture simply cannot tolerate realism, frank appraisals, and straightforward discussion of such things.

    i think christian culture puts totally unnecessary expectations on people, and makes them paranoid that there is something wrong about how they’re wired.

    really unfortunate.

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  44. Law Prof,

    Appreciate your sharing that. Feel some of the same. I sometimes think I have more in common with Jeremiah than any other biblical character. When I look around and see all of the corruption, abuse, oppression, suffering, etc., I just can’t get myself to have a ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ outlook on life. Not that I do not enjoy and appreciate the smalls, but there is just so much wrong with this world, I can’t help but long for the renewed one.

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  45. Law Prof: Why am I so darned angry?” Anyway, just a bit of confession.

    Simple. You care. A lot.

    I’ve been through a phase where I was pretty brassed with Christianity in general.

    I’ve toned it down a lot.

    I realized I was brassed at an aspect of a human organization.

    I no longer paint with such a broad brush.

    Not to say I’ve returned to the faith but I would say that the issues discussed here do not represent all of Christian religion in it’s many forms.

    Others here are much more eloquent so i’ve been keeping pretty quiet in the comments these days.

    I do believe that only dialog between the different christianities will bring about a much needed grassroots change.

    Not everyone thinks the same & that’s a good thing.

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  46. elastigirl: i think christian culture puts totally unnecessary expectations on people, and makes them paranoid that there is something wrong about how they’re wired

    One of the biggest reprogramming tasks in my post faith life was dropping the fear.

    However I think that you can have your and eat it.

    A good Christian friend of mine died of cancer recently. To make a long story short, he died without any discernable fear.

    Concern and trepidation? Yes. But not fear.

    If your church makes you afraid and paranoid and leaping through hoops then I would say it’s not a good fit for you.

    Likewise if the church is your only social network then try diversifying your life. Try different churches, let your kids join the local community centre sports team.

    Anyway life’s better once you pitch the fear.

    Peace out.

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  47. Law Prof: Sometimes the posts I make, I look back at them and wonder “Why am I so darned angry?” Anyway, just a bit of confession.

    The Bible doesn’t say not to be angry, but to be slow to anger. Most TWW topics make believers mad or sad, rather than glad … and occasionally angry. Believers should be concerned about what is going on in the Body of Christ … children are being abused by church leaders, female believers are subordinated into silence by false teachers, get-rich shepherds feed themselves but don’t feed the sheep, charlatans trample the precious Name of Christ in the street, a Christian Industrial Complex cluttered with money-making schemes, aberrant theologies stealing our youth, Evangelical Racketeering, etc. etc.

    The way I figure it, LP, if your anger about these things results in restoring some semblance of spiritual sanity to corners of the institutional church, makes bad-boy preachers feel bad about themselves, and helps TWW readers to stop focusing on religion but on a relationship with Christ … then your anger is righteous anger. I’ve never thought of you as being mean-spirited … just a good soul who has experienced the underbelly of religion and who tries your best to steer others clear of the mess. You went through a valley in church, church leaders treated you bad, you came out with a touch of Post Traumatic Church Syndrome … for a reason, to be angry but sin not. You are a warrior. Would the Church of the Living God had millions more just like you … angry enough to shout “Enough is enough!” If the religious machine won’t listen, Heaven will and the hand of God will be moved to tear down, then build up.

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  48. Law Prof – I think I hear what you are saying. I feel angry too, and wonder why I cannot just “get over it”. But how you and others here express anger has caused me to understand a bit more about righteous anger. I know I don’t want to live there, but I am not going to refuse to visit my anger when it is there to teach me. Maybe that does not make sense, but I always walk away from those times realizing that I’m not numb to the pain anymore.

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  49. Brian: Out of curiosity, ESV, which verses or passages altered?

    With Wayne Grudem’s help they were able to turn Genesis 3:16 around to saying the opposite of what it originally said. They just didn’t have a good enough proof text for oppressing women already, I guess.

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  50. Law Prof: So understand sometimes this forum is more about me working out personal issues with PTSD or internal weaknesses or whatever. Sometimes the posts I make, I look back at them and wonder “Why am I so darned angry?” Anyway, just a bit of confession.

    I understand.

    There’s so much happening that is so dreadfully wrong. To the point it is beginning to actually strengthen my faith, in some kind of strange way.

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  51. Brian:
    Nick Bulbeck,

    Out of curiosity, ESV, which verses or passages altered?

    Go read Deuteronomy 32:8-9 side by side in KJV and ESV.

    It throws Inerrency out the window. One of these translations is in error, and it’s a whopper of an error.

    To make matters worse, I believe the difference is resulted from the text used to translate the KJV.

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  52. elastigirl: i think christian culture puts totally unnecessary expectations on people, and makes them paranoid that there is something wrong about how they’re wired.

    yes, and I think it makes them paranoid in a whole lot of ways.

    Jack: If your church makes you afraid and paranoid and leaping through hoops then I would say it’s not a good fit for you.

    Likewise if the church is your only social network then try diversifying your life. Try different churches, let your kids join the local community centre sports team.

    Anyway life’s better once you pitch the fear.

    Peace out.

    It’s so strange when you’ve come out of that and you look back and realize how fearful you had been- about nothing! Fear is used to keep you compliant, coming to church, doing the work, and giving. Fear that you’ll lose your faith, fear that you’ll displease God and he’ll punish you. Fear you’ll mess up your life and be unable to turn back time. When you can’t take the abuse anymore and you have no choice but to quit, you go around fearful that God is going to send disaster. It takes awhile to realize nothing is going to happen, that everything is not only fine but much better than fine! The fog lifts. You feel free. You can think, you can make decisions, you can make choices. You can state your opinions!! Out loud!! You can say when you disagree, you can say no, you can say so when you think something is stupid- and no thunderbolt comes out of heaven. And you realize you can think about God in a much more free and personal way, not through all the sermons you’ve heard but through your own mind and heart. And then you get the feeling God has been waiting all this time for you to come to your senses.

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  53. Nathan Priddis: Go read Deuteronomy 32:8-9 side by side in KJV and ESV.

    It throws Inerrency out the window. One of these translations is in error, and it’s a whopper of an error.

    IOW, inerrancy, that foundational, unquestionable, orthodox truth has served its purpose and now it can be kicked to the curb. What other orthodox truth is serving someone’s purpose, and will later be rejected – once its task is accomplished?

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  54. SiteSeer: It’s so strange when you’ve come out of that and you look back and realize how fearful you had been- about nothing! … The fog lifts. You feel free.

    Jesus spent much of His time trying to free folks from religious bondage. He died for a “free church” in which your soul is competent in matters of Christian experience, you have a free will.

    “If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

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  55. SiteSeer,

    “There’s so much happening that is so dreadfully wrong. To the point it is beginning to actually strengthen my faith, in some kind of strange way.”
    +++++++++++++++

    yes….. me, too. trying to figure out why that is…

    searching for a metaphor but everything is very hazy. some lame attempts:

    -finally being able to wear the mud-caked combat boots after a lifetime of being forced to wear shiny black patent leather shoes and lacy white socks

    -God actually isn’t sponsoring a Tupperware party (redolent with the smell of plastic products and plastic friendliness) which you’re obligated to attend and buy into, even though you think it’s all stupid.

    -since it turns out that following God *doesn’t* turn everyone into emotional 12 year-olds with no mind or conviction of their own, perhaps God *isn’t* the 12-year old bully dictating what they do and think, after all.
    .
    .
    …i dunno…

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  56. elastigirl,

    “There’s so much happening that is so dreadfully wrong. To the point it is beginning to actually strengthen my faith, in some kind of strange way.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    –turns out God is relaxing and enjoying Godself over where the burn-outs are at lunch on campus — the kids who don’t give a rip about their appearance, or social finesse, and enjoy cigarettes (drugs, too, but drugs are in all social groups). God is there simply because he prefers their company. He prefers their company because they see things as they really are, and have the personal integrity to wholly reject the pretense.

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  57. Muff Potter,

    i have yet to make it — i have all 6 eggs ready to go. really curious to see how “sponge cake” compares to what i consider “regular cake”.

    but i’m even more intrigued by “chiffon cake”…. what in the world…

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  58. elastigirl,

    so, it’s an allusion to the fact that things are not as settled as we might think. 100% can actually be 105% because of magical & marvelous things we would never dream of.

    (also an allusion to Gene Wilder because that’s always good.)

    (chocolate,… chocolate rivers…. those big flowers full of buttercream… mmmm, that’s very good)

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  59. elastigirl: -God actually isn’t sponsoring a Tupperware party (redolent with the smell of plastic products and plastic friendliness) which you’re obligated to attend and buy into, even though you think it’s all stupid.

    My mother was a Tupperware freak. Think I still got some 50-year-old Tupperware from those Tupperware parties she threw in my kitchen cabinets. Which is why this hit me at a deep emotional level:

    https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6f5iyg
    (sound’s a bit distorted, but that’s the only copy I could find that wasn’t behind a paywall)

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  60. elastigirl: (chocolate,… chocolate rivers…. those big flowers full of buttercream… mmmm, that’s very good)

    OK. You just gave me a flashback to 1970s Dr Demento Show, which I have to inflict on you:

    “Chocolate toenails don’t grow on trees,
    Nor do they grow on dungarees,
    No they do not grow in your nose,
    Chocolate toenails grow on your toes!

    “Give your feet the protein they need,
    Chocolate toenails, oh yes indeed,
    Your feet will resemble King Kong’s
    When you pour the chocolate on!”
    — “Sue Loo”, one of the Dr Dee show staff (song never made it online)

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  61. Law Prof,

    I appreciate the fact that you have spent enough time looking in the mirror at yourself that you are able to see this about yourself. Extroverts process externally and so no surprise that you are trying to work out your salvation and personal issues with others the way that you do. You once wondered why I was impressed with you. I do not believe that there are many regular commenters who are Christians who can see this about themselves,and that is one reason. Most appear to come online to either vent or to prop up their own personal biases and are stuck in a ditch not learning from others or experiencing personal growth through interactions with others.
    The other reason is because you understand right and wrong and you get it that what is going on with celebrities and their god of Mammon and their pitch of themselves at the center of a personality cult is purely evil. You also get that God does not just put up with this indefinitely. Consequences are coming and those will be much more severe than any of us here complaining would want if we were the judges passing out the sentences on these white-washed religious septic tanks. This is the way that God works from the times of Noah to the very first judge in the Book of Judges right up to the destruction of God’s beloved town of Jerusalem in 70 AD. His ways did not stop there but have continued just in ways that are not recognized as Canon scripture by the religious elite calling the shots.
    I understand what you are going through as I have had to deal with this dichotomy as well. When I focus too much on the evil it starts dragging me down. I begin crying out to God to let me see Jesus again and my focus changes from the evil today that I cannot stop to the glory of God and the promises of where we are all going to end up when this test life of ours is over. This has become part of my orthopraxis and something I have to keep doing in order to keep me from becoming overly obsessed with the evil of my day. My suggestion to you is to keep walking and working with the Holy Spirit in practical ways and He will help you to come up with a balance eventually that works for you. It probably will not look exactly like what I have to do. I do appreciate your candor and you willingness to quickly repent when your comments get overly prickly as you mentioned. Just make sure that you spend more time focusing on Jesus than looking at that mirror. The mirror is there to help you see your/our need for Him. Apart from this relationship we can do nothing of any significance for eternity.

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  62. I went there and then saw the ads at the bottom where ChristianPost promotes Gospel for Asia like it is some kind of legitimate ministry instead of the obvious scam that it is with what has happened with the lawsuit. All this in spite of the posts they have done about all of the scamming. Forget what people and organizations say. It is what they actually do and the role that money plays in that that is where the truth really lies.

    Max: https://www.christianpost.com/news/harvest-bible-chapel-will-seek-reimbursement-from-james-macdonald-for-personal-expenses.html

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