[Updated] Why Won’t Southern Baptist Convention Leaders Allow the *For Such a Time As This* Rally Inside the Convention Doors?

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“While you were busy trying to prove God stands behind you, God was before me lighting the trail, so he could lead us both.” ― Shannon L. Alder

6/6/19 Update: See the actual *no* letter from the SBC at the end of the post.

For Such a Time As This Rally

Here is a link to their website.

The Rally will take place outside just outside the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center near the site of the SBC Annual Meeting.

The organizers are urging that folks within a days drive of Birmingham to join us. It will be a great time of fellowship as we focus on the pain of sex abuse within the SBC. Below find an updated schedule for the Rally which will be held on June 11.


A change in time for the Rally


Does the SBC believe that dealing with sex abuse should be the main thing?

The SBC is currently dealing with a serious sexual abuse problem within their ranks. One merely needs to read the response of the public to the Houston Chronicle’s ongoing documentation of sex abuse and cover-up in the SBC to be quickly schooled in the general public’s perception of the the revelations. Essentially, the SBC is being compared to the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal. This is definitely not a good place to be and the leadership has been scrambling to show the world that they are *woke.*

However, SBC leaders, time and again, prove they are gifted in finding new and improved ways to bite off their noses to spite their faces.

Al Mohler makes sure that everyone knows that the critical issue is complementarianism.

On May 31, 2019, less than two weeks before the convention, Mohler tweeted the following, seemingly aghast that there are those in the SBC who might challenge complementarianism.

I have been following his utterances for a long time. Mohler bemoaned the humiliation of the revelation of sex abuse in the SBC and declared that God’s wrath was going to be poured out on the convention, but he had little to say about close friends and colleagues who were doing this in his face for years.

Finally he was embarrassed into repudiating CJ Mahaney because his despicable joke surfaced. He did a mea culpa while claiming he just *didn’t know* that Sovereign Grace didn’t do an independent investigation.This from the man that CJ Mahaney called the smartest man on earth.

Sadly, I’m not so sure he gets it. He calls thoughtful discussion and push back on a made up word (complementarianism) as the defining critical moment in the SBC. He seems to ignore the critical moment spelled out for him in the Abuse of Faith posted in the Houston Chronicle.

  • 700 victims and counting.
  • 25 pastors and counting.

Two days ago, John Tedesco of the Houston Chronicle posted Harboring abusers: Southern Baptist churches welcomed sex offenders. He also published accusations against an SBC leader who covered up abuse in a Dallas church.

(Steve) Swofford is a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas and a former executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention. He didn’t reply to the Chronicle’s requests for an interview about his experience dealing with the Gomez family and the mother of Jonathan H., who made complaints about child abuse at his church.

At this very moment, children are being molested in the SBC and some church leaders are trying to figure out how to cover it up. However, Mohler’s critical concern is an ill-defined *leadership* mandate for men.

Could it be that this was the reason that “For Such a Time as This Rally was not allowed inside the Convention Hall and JD Greear couldn’t find time to meet with their representatives over the course of a year?

Ashely Easter and others have been reaching out to JD Greear about this rally since July 2018. Was his lack of response due to his belief that child sex abuse in the SBC is not a critical concern?

Sadly, Phillip Bethancourt, speaking for Greear, waited until 4/17/19 to send an email which hinted that the Rally would not be able to get space within the convention venue.

I think SBC leaders, especially JD Greear, should explain why they were unable to find a small area for the Rally within the Convention venue?

I would love to hear from readers why they think the SBC couldn’t find space for the Rally, especially given such advance warning. The Rally was successful last year and received media attention along with input from attendees. Sadly, given Al Mohler’s statement, the lack of response from the SBC makes me wonder if they agree that this is an important issue but it is not a *critical* issue.

Interestingly, Ministry Safe will have a table at the meeting. Isn’t there some controversy involving this group but maybe I’m mistaken?…

Here is a statement from the organizers of the Rally.

Rally representatives, Cheryl Summers and Ashley Easter, have met repeatedly via conference call with a representative of SBC President JD Greear’s office and a representative of the SBC’s ERLC since July of 2018. We have diligently expressed our concerns and recommendations for safe practices. When we expressed to them earlier this spring that the For Such A Time As This Rally would again gather outside of the Annual Southern Baptist Convention, we gauged their reactions to be one of surprise as if a rally was no longer necessary.

While a few small positive steps have been taken by the SBC their response has largely been words without significant action.

Here is how the Rally outlined their specific concerns.

President JD Greear will not meet with representatives of the For Such A Time As This Rally

The For Such A Time As This Rally spokesperson, Ashley Easter, requested a meeting with SBC President JD Greear in July of 2018. She received a reply from one of his staff and was invited to Greear’s offices for a meeting. It was strongly implied that Greear would do his best to attend the meeting. When he did not attend the meeting it was strongly implied that there would be other times he would be willing and able to meet. Despite continued requests and even a recent by chance run-in with JD Greear at a coffee shop (where Ashley introduced herself and told him she had been trying to meet with him since July of 2018 which he acknowledged) no meeting has been allowed between the SBC President and the most vocal internationally reported upon group resisting abuse and cover-ups in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Refusal to provide a resource room or table for the For Such A Time As This Rally

Since October of 2018, the For Such A Time As This Rally has diligently requested that the SBC provide a room or table at the SBC annual convention so we could provide resources, flyers with safety information, and a safe space for survivors to share their stories. After months of stringing us along and failing to answer our request, just weeks before the convention the SBC has refused.

Not allowed to use outdoor space at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center for the rally

SBC representatives have consistently and repeatedly told us they want the same safety from abuse that we want; they have thanked us for our efforts and even asked for rally details implying they might know people who would want to join us. And in promoting the SBC’s planned “sexual abuse” panel for the convention, they claim that they want the SBC to focus on “protecting and caring for victims” rather than “defending ourselves and our institutions.” But their words don’t match their deeds. Cheryl Summers traveled to Birmingham this spring where she visited the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center where the SBC Convention will be held and identified a huge public space outdoors that would be ideal to hold the rally. We requested the rally be allowed to respectfully use this space. Despite their statements of purported “caring,” SBC representatives refused access to this large public area forcing us to make plans to meet on smaller sidewalks. They also rejected even our simple request for a resource table, as noted above.

I look forward to seeing folks at the Rally. The media will be present as well. Perhaps they can help us to understand what is really going one behind the scenes in the SBC.


6/6/19 Update

Here is the NO letter from the SBC. Besides the Rally organizers, the was sent to JD Greear’s people at The Summit who are also tied into the ERLC which says to me that this action was approved by those at the top, including the ERLC and JD Greear. The question is, Why?”

 Phillip Bethancourt ERLC <pbethancourt@erlc.org>, “tunzicker@summitrdu.com

Dear Ms. Summers,

Thank you for reaching out to our SBC Convention Planning team on this inquiry.

We certainly are appreciative of your working with our SBC President’s representative and our ERLC team as they coordinate the ongoing and important work of our SBC President’s Sexual Abuse Advisory Study Group.

Resource Room:

Unfortunately, I have exhausted all of our available space at the Sheraton Hotel, Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, Forum, and Arena with all of the events that are held every year.  However, in order to assist you, there are a number of small meeting rooms at the Westin that I am not using because they are a bit too small for any of the events I have booked, but may be the right size for a resource room that you have described.  The spaces I am aware of that may be available in the Westin are:  Camelia, Hospitality A, Hospitality B, Azalea, Magnolia, Orchid Boardroom.  To utilize one of these spaces, you would need to contact the Westin directly to check on their availability and see about contracting for one of them.   I would suggest you contact Sheretha Yarber (sheretha.yarber@marriott.comor 205-307-3115) for assistance on that matter.

As you would certainly understand, our Convention has guidelines that have been in place for many years regarding distribution of material in our common areas to ensure that ingress/egress is not impeded in any way for our attendees.  In other words, once you reserve the room directly with the Westin you can certainly make available resources in your contracted meeting room and provide those materials to any attendees who visit your room, but as I am sure you understand, regardless of the excellence of any specific materials made available, we do not allow any group to distribute materials in any common areas throughout the Convention Center Complex.

Rally Gathering:

Also, thank you for your thorough research on a location for your rally.  Unfortunately, the piazza is going to only be a thoroughfare from one venue to the other.  We do not approve any groups to hold events or gatherings in public spaces because we always attempt to have a clear and uncluttered passageway for our attendees so as not to impede the flow of traffic in highly congested areas.  Therefore, since the piazza is included under our contract as a part of the convention center grounds, we are not able to authorize any group, including yours, to hold a gathering or activity in that area.  As you noted in your conversations with Robert Goodner at the BJCC, they have been able to identify a permitted location at the entrance to the convention center grounds that will be accessible to your group subject to the guidelines you and he have discussed.

Blessings,

Lynn Richmond


Comments

[Updated] Why Won’t Southern Baptist Convention Leaders Allow the *For Such a Time As This* Rally Inside the Convention Doors? — 186 Comments

  1. “I would love to hear from readers why they think the SBC couldn’t find space for the Rally, especially given such advance warning.”

    And the fact that they had a 2018 rally means this wasn’t some surprise. If they wanted to hear from anyone, they’d make sure they were heard.

    Autocrats gonna autocrat. Controlling the message and optics is a spiffy priority in the business model version of the brave neo-SBC. Tweets from the lead priority setter combine with the recent JD Greear weather balloon on the role of women front and can serve as a wink and a nod to the enmeshed, the status climbers, and the “don’t wanna rock the boat crowd”.

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  2. “Perhaps they can help us to understand what is really going one behind the scenes in the SBC.”

    This is it. If the powers that be push any dissent and legit questioning on abuse issues outside of the body, who can be shocked when the secular world steps in?

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  3. Why won’t they allow . . .?

    Because they only care about their power and their control which they keep by making sure everyone else knows that the main issue is caring only about “correct” doctrine (as defined by them and them only).

    People? What people? It is all about us controlling you sheep and making sure you have the right doctrine – not whether we as leaders actually love or or care for people.

    What a bunch of wicked, do nothing, pharisees.

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  4. “Interestingly, Ministry Safe will have a table at the meeting. Isn’t there some controversy involving this group but maybe I’m mistaken?…”

    Ministry Safe conducted the investigation/audit of Highpoint Church regarding the Andy Savage mess. There were concerns at the time about whether they were truly conducting an independent evaluation, since Highpoint retained them and paid them.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/01/17/highpoint-church-hires-ministrysafe-to-conduct-audit/

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  5. “Mohler bemoaned the humiliation of the revelation of sex abuse in the SBC and declared that God’s wrath was going to be poured out on the convention, but he had little to say about close friends and colleagues who were doing this in his face for years.” (Dee)

    If God’s wrath should be poured out in Birmingham, Mohler better lay low! In 2013, SBC messengers to the annual convention approved a resolution “On Sexual Abuse of Children.” The drafters of that document had Mohler and SGM/Mahaney in mind (although unnamed) when they wrote:

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

    Mohler apparently ignored the resolution, since he did not stand in the way of C.J. Mahaney and his Louisville church from becoming members of the SBC!

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  6. Having read the latest (June) article, I wanted to throw up.

    Reading the parishioners responses, defending their pastor, even after conviction, was disturbing. If any of those churches, or other churches like them not yet identified, have victims come forward, they deserve to be sued until their manmade nonprofit status is bankrupted.

    They are no longer Christian. They are Temples of Moloch.

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  7. I have organized international scientific meetings, and am routinely involved on organizing committees for national and international meetings. If the leaders wanted to, it is quite straight forward to accomodate the group “for such a time as this” especially many months in advance.

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  8. elastigirl: Amy Moore@UT_Grad_Amy Feb 10
    “Ministry Safe are lawyers. Their “clients” are the churches they represent. Even if they wanted to (& not saying they do based on what I’ve seen) they legally can NOT rep victims or do or say anything against their clients. Ministry Safe is PRO-client meaning anti-victim”

    Bingo.

    They won’t allow anything within the convention doors where the narrative isn’t controlled by them. They don’t even allow convention resolutions through that go against New Calvinist theology.

    I don’t believe they will do anything about sexual abuse besides talk. I believe if they do form a committee and it moves against people, those people will only be non-Calvinists. They never openly go against their own.

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  9. Dee, I will be there at SBC convention, and the post says the meeting be just outside the convention hall.
    So will it be easily recognizable, to find your location?
    And most importantly, will your rally be open to all comers?
    Will I need a ticket to enter?

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  10. Weird.
    Deciding that Complementarianism (sp?) is the most important issue while denying space to For Such a Time as This is something like complaining that the life boats on the Titanic are too numerous and taking up too much deck space away from their shuffle board games while the ice burg tears a gaping hole in their hull.

    Okay. Poor analogy. But it was the best one I could come up with before coffee.
    Perhaps the more creative ones here could come up with better analogies?
    Ones that point to the fact that Compism most likely exacerbates the very ice burg (predators flocking to leadership positions in the SBC) that is slicing the heck out of their hull?

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  11. SBC leaders should have bent over backwards to accommodate the For Such a Time As This rally.

    They are making the identical mistake as the Catholic leaders did at the national bishops’ conference, following Spotlight.

    When will these church leaders ever learn???

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  12. Noevangelical: I thought they were not a denomination. Which is it?

    They are a pseudo-denomination, I suppose. Technically, the SBC is a “network” of 45,000+ autonomous churches. The Southern Baptist “Convention” only meets once per year at an annual “convention” of messengers from across the network to vote for officers and pass resolutions – more like a club, than a denomination. Convention attendees enjoy the sights of the host city, listen to a few feel-good sermonettes, vote for their buds, hold hands and sing kumbaya, and then go home unchanged to their local churches. A few elites (like Mohler) then work independently of the SBC masses for the rest of the year to darn well do what they want to. The SBC doesn’t scare the devil much.

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  13. Eli: SBC leaders should have bent over backwards to accommodate the For Such a Time As This rally.

    The only “For Such a Time as This” that Greear and other SBC leaders accept is the Calvinization of a once-great evangelistic people of God. The new reformers sincerely believe that they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the gospel that the rest of Christendom has lost (to them, Gospel = Calvinism).

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  14. Jeffrey Chalmers: If the leaders wanted to, it is quite straight forward to accomodate the group “for such a time as this” especially many months in advance.

    Exactly. At the very least, the group should have been provided a resource table in the exhibit hall (I prophesy that J.D. Greear will have a book signing table there). The movers and shakers at SBC obviously don’t feel that this is the time for such a time as this.

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  15. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): the big wigs want to give the SBC a new name …….. how about renaming it the CYA?

    You still got it, Nancy! I suppose the youngsters now in charge of the SBC want to distance themselves from “Southern” in their namesake … too much historical baggage with that name (like when SBC founders were slave-holders). And the Calvinization of SBC is more widespread than just the Southern states. There already is another name they should have gathered under years ago … the PCA. But in the meantime, CYA would fit.

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  16. It seems clear that the FSATAT rally is seen as outsiders. The SBC leaders will naturally be concerned that the narrative will get away from the prepared story they want to present. Otherwise, they would have engaged with the organizers already. Of course, their biggest challenge is that their comp. doctrine facilitates abuse (which they either MUST deny that it facilitates abuse or else repent from comp. doctrine). Repenting from comp. doctrine at this state is a non-starter.

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  17. Donald Johnson: The SBC leaders will naturally be concerned that the narrative will get away from the prepared story they want to present.

    Exactly. I have followed the proceedings of SBC conferences for decades. It’s clear that the annual shows are carefully orchestrated well before the meeting. There is no room to deviate from the established script. Things which are timely and relevant to the Body of Christ don’t always fit in the agendas of the SBC movers and shakers. The elites are too important to be bothered and don’t like being deterred from their agenda … they don’t want to share the spotlight during their short time of glory at the annual meetings. Any outside group expressing “sex abuse” concerns is viewed as a frontal attack on the New Calvinist comp doctrine (which is a spiritual abuse of the sex of female believers, IMO).

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  18. “Repenting from comp. doctrine at this state is a non-starter.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    the argument for comp doctrine was standing on Essential Subordination of The Son (& its other similar sounding acronyms). ESS was kicked away at the ETS conference of 2016 in San Antonio.

    that went unacknowledged by the comp powers-that-be.

    now is a great time to revisit and bring to light what was intentionally buried.

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  19. elastigirl: the argument for comp doctrine was standing on Essential Subordination of The Son (& its other similar sounding acronyms). ESS was kicked away at the ETS conference of 2016 in San Antonio.

    They’re still teaching it at the seminaries. I think they believe once they indoctrinate enough pastors into it, then they can ignore any cries of heresy because no other view will be allowed at Convention.

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  20. Interestingly, Ministry Safe will have a table at the meeting. Isn’t there some controversy involving this group but maybe I’m mistaken?…

    To summarize what I’ve picked up about this conflict, survivors and advocates have taken issue with MinistrySafe for a long time, on multiple levels.

    * Questions have come up about their overall perspective, which consistently emphasizes risk reduction for institutions–not helping individuals who are survivors of abuse find justice.

    * Concerns continue about their clients: MinistrySafe has been hired by institutions reportedly at fault in some of the most publicized cases involving child sexual abuse, failure in mandatory reporting of child abuse, sexual abuse/assault of minors, and alleged enablement/cover-up. (Quite a few have been SBC-related churches.)

    * Some internal differences have arisen within survivor communities, with some survivors/advocates endorsing MinistrySafe’s printed materials and trainings, and others holding that these should not be promoted because they are tainted by MinistrySafe’s overall perspective that is not justice for victims but reducing liability for institutions where reported/alleged abusers worked.

    So, there are stark differences in perspectives and practices between MinistrySafe and what looks to be the vast majority view among prominent survivors, advocates, activists, and research writers-bloggers in survivor communities.

    It’s not just a lack of confidence in MinistrySafe, but some outright conflicts that have been called out by survivors who were directly affected, but have not yet been addressed by MinistrySafe.

    I compiled material about this in my article on “Researching Key Concerns About Major Christian Investigation/Resolution Agencies.” This was part of the series, “A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities.” I posted this near the end of February, so many of the details and analysis there are relatively recent.

    https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/a-cultural-geography-of-survivor-communities-part-7b3/

    Bottom lines: (1) Multiple, credible Christian #MeToo survivors and advocates have posted documented critiques about aspects and actions of MinistrySafe. (2) The emphasis at the SBC Annual Meeting is dealing with sexual abuse. So, it does not come across as concern for abuse survivors when the SBC give the appearance of formal endorsement to MinistrySafe by renting exhibition hall space to them. (3) Issue #2 and resulting lack of confidence in the SBC is amplified by apparent lack of interest by key leaders in giving consideration or space to the For Such A Time As This Rally.

    Certainly, there are optics going on here — but there are substantive issues as well. And neither help in an environment where the SBC as a cooperative of churches and entities has not yet earned trust from many of the very abuse survivors they supposedly now want to help.

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  21. I wonder if the reason you are not being allowed to have space is that it might their impression that this organization is hostile towards the SBC and very likely to be disruptive and thus this is not the place for that.

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  22. brad/futuristguy: Multiple, credible Christian #MeToo survivors and advocates have posted documented critiques about aspects and actions of MinistrySafe.

    For example:

    Jules Woodson
    @juleswoodson11
    I would love to know/understand how asking for my medical history from my stepfather while you were hired by Austin Stone to investigate Larry Cotton’s role in my abuse allegations was advocating for me. #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmm #ChurchToo

    She was responding to this tweet about the first Houston Chronicle SBC child abuse expose:

    MinistrySafe
    ‏@MinistrySafe
    This story is devastating: our hearts break for these victims. This is exactly why we’ve spent 26 years advocating for child sex abuse victims and equipping churches to protect children.

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  23. Perhaps the problem is that the FSATAT rally is organized by women? And perhaps they might accidently teach the men something? Kind of like when Priscilla had a part in teaching Apollos something? (And how did THAT make it into the Bible?!)

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  24. Dan Saunders:
    I wonder if the reason you are not being allowed to have space is that it might their impression that this organization is hostile towards the SBC and very likely to be disruptive and thus this is not the place for that.

    As in the Chinese Government term “disrupting Social Harmony”?

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  25. Dan Saunders,

    They know what words are. So they should choose to use them. Be direct and say if that’s the case, so the Rally can respond appropriately. They are adult men.

    The indirect and run-around language is not becoming and it is a very common way they communicate in the SBC. I swear they are actually trained to do this in some secret meeting.

    I have about oh…hundreds of personal experience with this. And saw it repeatedly as a pattern. It’s really damaging and confusing to those on the receiving end. It’s a way of avoiding conflict while still maintaining control and leaving things unresolved and muddled for the person/group on the receiving end.

    Man. I wish I could be there next week.

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  26. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    The heart of the articles’ author is in the right place. He sounds like he’s one of the few proactive pastors. But he’s still missing something.

    My stepfather, my pedophile, transitioned from Catholicism to Protestantism, being baptized in a Disciples of Christ (DoC) church right after he married my Mom. I was five years old then.

    DoC, like Churches of Christ, require both the indwelling Holy Spirit (HS) and water baptism for salvation. There was no indwelling HS in my stepfather. I was abused from right after the marriage until just after the age of 14 when my Mom left him.

    Unless there was a camping/fishing trip, we attended church every Sunday. To those outside of our house we looked like the perfect family. We were a member of one DoC congregation for six years.

    Unless the pastors of the local congregations make it known that they are against abuse, in all it’s forms, and instruct the parishioners to contact the police first and right away, people like my stepfather will continue to hide in plain site.

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  27. So what is the SBC’s problem with a few folks rallying in support of victims of abuse?

    Al Mohler makes it clear: maintaining the power base of men in the SBC (c’ism) is more important than showing grace to the victims of abuse.

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  28. Dan Saunders: their impression that this organization is hostile towards the SBC and very likely to be disruptive and thus this is not the place for that.

    Some history is in order. In fact, last year it was a successful event with a number of SBC members who attended and spoke, including Wade Burleson, Mary DeMuth, etc. In fact, this time, Mary De Muth, who is also a messenger will speak again. Some of the men at SBCX Voices are planning on attending. It is supported by a number of SBC members.

    In discussion with a couple of the men charged with *handling this,* the complementation issue came up. It appears that they are concerned that complementarianism be emphasized to the women in the SBC. Yes, to the women…. This group cares about sex abuse and domestic violence. There are some who are complementation.Some who are not. I can assure you that there are many in the SBC who take differing views on this matter.

    Finally, takes a look at Jules Woodson and myself. Jules was molested in an SBC church and, as such, no longer attends an SBC church. I left an SBC church which I believed mishandled a pedophile situation and, due the problems of sex abuse in the SBC, have chosen to leave the denomination.

    I would think the SBC should welcome those who drifted out the back door due to sex abuse in the SBC. They should show love, concern, and open arms. They won’t because the *critical* issue is complementarianism. Sex abuse initiatives are OK. but it isn’t the real issue on the table.

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  29. emilyhoneycutt: It’s really damaging and confusing to those on the receiving end. It’s a way of avoiding conflict while still maintaining control and leaving things unresolved and muddled for the person/group on the receiving end.

    I agree., They should say it but. they know the words will not sell in the court of public opinion. They are attempting to side step what is really going on. They cat more like frightened little boys as opposed to adults who can say “Here I stand.” They want plausible deniability.

    BYT, I am the last person that JD Greear wants to see and he and I both know it. There is unfinished business from many years ago.

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  30. Robert M: So Mohler is upset about the “humiliation” of sex abuse “revelations”, not about the fact that sex abuse occurred?

    Papa Bear Mohler knew all about the sex abuse issues in the SBC along with coverups by his BFF, Mahaney. he kept his mouth shut until the Houston Chronicle tree a grenade. Yes, revelations have driven this rodeo.

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  31. ishy: They’re still teaching it at the seminaries. I think they believe once they indoctrinate enough pastors into it, then they can ignore any cries of heresy because no other view will be allowed at Convention.

    It beggars the mind, it really does, that they’d attempt to redefine trinitarian theology (in its classical sense of understanding) in order to shore up and bolster a particular interpretation of a few obscure verses in 1 Timothy.

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  32. Robert M: So Mohler is upset about the “humiliation” of sex abuse “revelations”, not about the fact that sex abuse occurred?

    Church leaders hate it when the following Scripture runs its course “Be sure your sin will find you out.”

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  33. Mohler tweeted the following, seemingly aghast that there are those in the SBC who might challenge complementarianism.

    My church is full of former Baptists and this is at least a big chunk of the reason.

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  34. dee: the *critical* issue is complementarianism. Sex abuse initiatives are OK. but it isn’t the real issue on the table

    The overriding critical issue is that Mohler and Mohlerites accomplish their mission to Calvinize the SBC. The “beauty of complementarity” is attached to this goal, along with subordination of the Son, and assorted other aberrations of faith. They just hate it when someone throws a monkey wrench into their machine.

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  35. Mary27: Perhaps the problem is that the FSATAT rally is organized by women? And perhaps they might accidently teach the men something? Kind of like when Priscilla had a part in teaching Apollos something?

    Priscilla took Apollos aside and “explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). SBC’s current leaders could use a dose of that! They have moved into inaccurate territory with their eisegesis of Scripture in regard to the role of female believers in the Body of Christ.

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  36. dee: In discussion with a couple of the men charged with *handling this,* the complementation issue came up. It appears that they are concerned that complementarianism be emphasized to the women in the SBC. Yes, to the women….

    I didn’t realize this came up in discussion of the sex abuse issue. I am…well, baffled isn’t the right word, but exasperated that they don’t see their might be a connection between putting men in charge of women, refusing to listen to women, and having an increase in the abuse of…women.

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  37. ___

    “A Speedy Resolution/Resolvement.”

    ****

    [IMHO]. I deeply deplore this ongoing stress-filled situation. I understand many people are currently involved. 🙁

    501c3 Abuse is a serious matter.

    The established “For Such A Time As This” organization has become from their (SBC’s) point of view, an eyesore, and viewed expeditiously as an possible media magnet, and a possible legal and possible conference local health & safety liability law enforcement trespass issue.

    Since the SBC has expressed, in their established legal documents, that they are not legally liable for member churches who, from my present understanding, experience the heinous hardships you so aptly describe in your blog, and as as such, recourse at this level may be extremely limited, if not elaborately restrictive.

    Legal prosecution against specific church organizations within this ‘umbrella’ of 501c3 churches, may be a more viable option.

    The SBC does however have the option of summarily ‘removing’ any 501c3 church from their organizational rosters those that fails to ‘abide’ by legally documented ‘established’ SBC policies & fair practices.

    Interested law practices should be contacted at this juncture.

    I respectfully suggest you or someone concerned with the credibility of these matters consider contacting the SBC for further information if you/they haven’t already.

    *Praying for ALL those involved.

    Praying for an wise, peaceful and speedy solution/resolution/liberating heartfelt intervention forthwith.

    The God we so graciously serve still marvelously moves mountains. Praise You, Lord!

    ATB Wartburg & Co., and Guests.

    (sadface)

    Sòpy

    Intermission:
    Jadyn Rylee : “The Sound Of Silence” (a Paul Simon cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8xysVNigCsU

    ;~)§

    – –

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  38. “Ministry Safe will have a table at the meeting”

    “we do not allow any group to distribute materials in any common areas throughout the Convention Center Complex.”–Phillip Bethancourt, ERLC
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    so,….. will Ministry Safe be distributing materials in a common area in the Convention Center Complex?

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  39. dee,

    “In discussion with a couple of the men charged with *handling this,* the complementation issue came up. It appears that they are concerned that complementarianism be emphasized to the women in the SBC. Yes, to the women…. ”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    can’t help but be curious as to who these men are and what was said.

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  40. What if a compromise could be struck?

    1. Abuse victims advocates drop their demands.

    In return-

    2. SBC leaders formally request the Rev. Franklin Graham retract his Inaugural prayer and mention of rain as a sign of God’s blessings on His people.

    Two years of God’s blessings will soon threaten GDP if there is no relief.

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  41. Nathan Priddis:

    In return-

    2. SBC leaders formally request the Rev. Franklin Graham retract his Inaugural prayer and mention of rain as a sign of God’s blessings on His people.

    Two years of God’s blessings will soon threaten GDP if there is no relief.

    About 15 years ago, a woman was invited to facilitate our Sunday morning ladies’s bible study while the regular teacher was absent. This substitute invited women to stay after class for a ”blessing.” Smelling a rat, I stayed.

    She played two portions of a cassette by the “singing prophet,” Kim Clement (since deceased). The first portion was singing about how God was pouring out wrath on America for this sin of abortion. Sing sing piano piano wrath wrath

    Fast forward the tape to new portion:The second prophetic offering was in regards to God pouring out blessing in retaliation for 9-11. Sing sing piano piano blessing blessing.

    Me, not having a sane, meek bone in my body, asked with great incredulity, “So is God going to pour out blessing or cursing? It can’t be both.”

    Cold, hard core cursing spoken over me for my lack of faith.

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  42. elastigirl: will Ministry Safe be distributing materials in a common area in the Convention Center Complex?

    I assume they will have a display set up in the conference exhibit hall. According to information on the exhibitors’ page on the meeting website: “Exhibitors in the SBC Exhibit Hall may distribute material from their assigned booth (not in aisle ways).”

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  43. Max,

    “we do not allow any group to distribute materials in any common areas throughout the Convention Center Complex.”–Phillip Bethancourt, ERLC

    “Exhibitors in the SBC Exhibit Hall may distribute material from their assigned booth (not in aisle ways).”
    +++++++++++++++++

    well, whadyaknow.

    Phillip Bethancourt, in the interest of being truthful rather than lying and being an agent of deception, please advise Ministrysafe and all exhibitors that you do not permit them to distribute materials in any common areas throughout the Convention Center Complex.

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  44. elastigirl,

    on the other hand, Phillip Bethancourt, you and JD Greear can personally respond to Ashley Easter (a year late) and welcome For Such A Time As This Rally inside the convention doors and give them the best spot in the Exhibition Hall.

    pretty sure you’ll avoid a PR disaster this way. pretty sure this is the path of least resistance.

    pretty sure this is the right, honorable, and wise thing to do.

    and I would guess it’s the Gospel thing to do. (can’t say for sure, though, because neither you nor I really know what that word means as an adjective)

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  45. This discussion reminds me of a comment that one of my professors at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary made back in 1977 – LONG before the “takeover” when it was still a REAL seminary. The definition of Fundamentalism:
    *I can see the fun
    *I can see the damn
    *But I will be damned if I can see the mental
    His point was not so much being pejorative about conservative thought but that rational thought and reality must be a part of faith. In these days, it appears that we are losing that rationality.
    In advance, if anyone is offended by what my professor shared, please forgive me. I am trying to make a point regarding issues of the present day and not being negative of those who may be more conservative than I. Grace to all!

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  46. elastigirl: Phillip Bethancourt, in the interest of being truthful rather than lying and being an agent of deception, please advise Ministrysafe and all exhibitors that you do not permit them to distribute materials in any common areas throughout the Convention Center Complex.

    Aren’t conventions about half ‘outside exhibitors’ distributing materials??? Nothing about that comment sounded accurate to me.

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  47. Luckyforward: His point was not so much being pejorative about conservative thought but that rational thought and reality must be a part of faith. In these days, it appears that we are losing that rationality.

    I was in a discussion forum with people of a fundamentalist bent when I suggested that those who want to dispute evolution should make an effort to understand the science, and present scientific arguments against it. Apparently that was a radical suggestion. For one thing, who was I to tell these godly people what to do? For another, it was obvious that science was all about overthrowing God and all that.

    There seems to be a large number of people that are simply not interested in engaging with the world and just want to hunker down in their ideological bunkers where they can believe what they wish. From my perspective it looks like the SBC is doing the same thing with regards to complementarianism.

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  48. PRAYER REQUEST

    Dear Wartburgers, I’m halfway through a series of medical tests to determine my health problem. I have another round on Monday. Please continue to pray for me – I have experienced answers to your prayers after first alerting you to this! In the meantime, I will continue to fight the world, the flesh, and the devil with you in the blogosphere.

    Your brother,
    Max

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  49. Max,

    ” I have experienced answers to your prayers after first alerting you to this!”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i’m so pleased, Max!

    (it’s possible to be cynical, jaded, deflated & crumpled about all things ‘christian’ and god, and still know there is power in prayer… still take stock in it..)

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  50. Q. Are the calvinestas, active In a modern social war, possibly in the process of closing ranks as a means to preclude the possible eventuality, inevitability of future incursiosns of women and rainbows into the network of independent SBC 501c3 church leadership roles?

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  51. Robert M: There seems to be a large number of people that are simply not interested in engaging with the world and just want to hunker down in their ideological bunkers where they can believe what they wish.

    I agree with you except for one little part. I think there are some people who really like to decide what everyone should believe. But I think most people want to be told what to believe. They want formulas and simple answers. They don’t want to grapple with tough questions. They just want something to believe and to think that someone else has done the tough work of answering those hard life questions.

    An even bigger problem is that from those people who want to tell everyone what to believe–they’re not doing the hard work either. They set up systems that benefit themselves and use others to gain those benefits.

    I don’t think there’s very many people at all who are really searching for truth and dealing with tough life questions in a way that might benefit everyone. I think Jesus pointed to that by the way he often spoke obliquely and praised those who really sought after Him.

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  52. The thing that bothers me about it all is how this isn’t “theirs” in the first place. I think all of my misgivings and contentions with the SBC always boil down to authoritarianism/ownership. And how that acts out in entitlement/presumption over non inner-circle and outside people or ideas.

    The sexual abuse crisis isn’t *theirs* to manage and direct. They are late to the scene. Resources and advocates and so much of the work and discernment has already been done before any of them decided (way too late) to show up. Not deferring to people who tried to warn them for years alarms loudly that they really don’t understand the depth of what has happened and the WHY. They are certainly not addressing the why and the harrowing depths of entanglement in their structures in any significant sense. There is little t
    collective SBC self-awareness and self-reflection and contemplation and silence and slowing things down to ask the right and needed first things first questions. Instead it has gone straight to ownership-control and behavior modification.

    Whenever I tried to dialogue with people – which ended up with my intelligence and whole epistemic abilities being insulted while I was robotically monologued at from derivative and vacant SBC produced scripts – is that they use the SBC and their titles and “doctrine of the day/week/year” and the overall act of religion to dissociate and disconnect and hide, rather than to love and seek revelation and freedom. Conversations and relationships are preemptive and controlled rather than freeing and exploratory; honoring and equalized to everyone involved.

    Instead, your personhood diminishes right in front of them as they seek to uphold the cause and flavor of the moment and the “SBC” brand. None of which I don’t think any of them even understand what any of that means. But it’s more important than the person sitting right in front of them. That’s for sure.

    The SBC is always in identity crisis, but they explain away each crisis with behavior modification and “doctrine issues”. They don’t bother to ask if something much deeper and more inhuman and anti-social is going on underneath the surface.

    If there was ever a time for them to wake up, it would surely be with the sexual abuse crisis? The darkest thing of all? But I feel like they’re still not getting it.

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  53. dee and Emily,
    I don’t disagree that the SBC should give some kind of reasonable reply but why would they want to invite an organization into their convention who seems to have been hostile and very aggressive towards them (rightly or wrongly)? I suspect they may view this organization as a protest group. Why invite “protestors” into the convention? Right or wrong, if that were their view, not allowing the group in would make perfect sense.

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  54. Sòpwith: Q. Is hyper-feminism attempting to take over the SBC?

    Thanks for asking! I applied to set up a Brassiere Bonfire on the piazza, but was told that it is only available as a thoroughfare between venues. /sarc

    In all seriousness, the public airing of concern about abuse is not the same as “hyper-feminism.” I can’t tell whether you are mocking the SBC or the rally organizers from For Such A Time As This.

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  55. Dan Saunders: Why invite “protestors” into the convention?

    They might knock over the money changers’ tables. Would that be good or bad? Apologies for the gotcha question.

    These organizers are trying to shed light on an actual, documented problem of criminality in churches. If they were showing up over some issue unrelated to the SBC, you might have a point. But this is not a rally against nuclear weapons or fur coats. It’s not even “Down With Baptists Day.” The SBC would be smart to give them a respectful forum.

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  56. Luckyforward,

    “rational thought and reality must be a part of faith. In these days, it appears that we are losing that rationality.

    In advance, if anyone is offended by what my professor shared, please forgive me. I am trying to make a point regarding issues of the present day and not being negative of those who may be more conservative than I. Grace to all!”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i dunno, i think it will take a lot more than that to offend.

    (something like, “The wealthy, crime-covering autocratic tyrant is God’s man, therefore God wants women to babysit his kids, clean his house, and cook for him for free.”
    –that oughtta do it.)

    indeed, rational thought and reality must be part of the faith cocktail, in large measure.

    the way i see it, where the bible and disputable matters are concerned, what is irrational about the conclusion, “I don’t know”?

    why must we make decisions on disputable matters in the bible? what’s wrong with being uncertain? why can’t we be comfortable with uncertainty?

    in our uncertainty, why not choose to leave human freedom alone? in this case, freedom for women to have a voice, exercise all their gifts and talents, and rise to their full potential as they see fit?

    why is it that the religious mind finds human freedom intolerable, and seems to look under every rock for ways to curtail it, to limit it, to restrict it? usually in regards to others, as opposed to oneself? what is so frightening about human freedom?
    —————————-

    in a conversation i had with the pastor at the last church i attended (AOG) regarding inerrancy/infallibility and gender roles, he referenced John Piper — something to the effect of ‘at some point you just have to believe what the bible says’.

    of course what that really means is what the person of influence tells you it means.

    my thinking is what is wrong with reserving judgement on the matter?

    what is wrong with saying (to oneself, to others), “i’m not sure exactly what it means”, especially when subjugation and cruelty are the consequences?

    my former pastor felt compelled to make a decision on gender roles (a highly disputable matter). all in direct contradiction to the denomination’s position papers.

    The church soon after went the way of John Piper, curbing human freedom of women only. making their husband their keeper. putting a leash on them. they ceased to be recognized as fully human.

    in my view, rationality and reality were removed from the equation. from the faith cocktail.

    it is ridiculously magical thinking to believe you can restrict women, silence them, and subjugate them without highly destructive consequences to them, their families, and ultimately everyone else.

    how can that be anything but unhinged from the rational and reality?

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  57. Dan Saunders,

    I don’t think they have the self-awareness to discern if something is truly hostile or aggressive. That’s what authoritarianism does. It stifles the ability to truly discern people and ideas.

    I experienced that a lot of them confuse their cognitive dissonance
    being triggered as “hostility”. Someone disagreeing is automatically aggressive or “slandering.” There is a tendency to pathologize anyone or anything that is outside their control.

    This is not discernment. That’s just not having to self-reflect like everyone else does, because you benefit through your place in the authoritarian structure. Your higher up place in the authoritarian structure and adjancency to those in authority usually means you don’t have to deal with the consequences of ideas and decisions like everyone else.

    And if you’re not having to look and deal with all the consequences of ideas and actions and seeing the whole picture you can’t possibly fully discern. And so on and so on, the circle of never fully engaging in discernment and ideological formation and change goes on. The cycle continues.

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  58. emilyhoneycutt,

    “Whenever I tried to dialogue with people – which ended up with my intelligence and whole epistemic abilities being insulted while I was robotically monologued at from derivative and vacant SBC produced scripts”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i’m going to have to remember that one.

    “Please refrain from robotically monologuing at from derivative and vacant SBC produced scripts.”

    i’ll keep that in my back pocket!

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  59. emilyhoneycutt,

    “I don’t think they have the self-awareness to discern if something is truly hostile or aggressive. That’s what authoritarianism does. It stifles the ability to truly discern people and ideas.

    …There is a tendency to pathologize anyone or anything that is outside their control.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    they didn’t agree with me. off with their heads!

    they didn’t smile at me. off with their heads!

    she has mean eyes. off with her head!

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  60. emilyhoneycutt: The SBC is always in identity crisis, but they explain away each crisis with behavior modification and “doctrine issues”.

    From my 70-year snapshot of SBC life, I can tell you that the average Southern Baptist in the pew is not a very spiritual person … religious, yes; spiritual, no. Likewise, the average Southern Baptist in the pulpit preaches from his intellect, not from his spirit … annoying, yes; anointing, no.

    When you don’t know who you really are, you will always have an identity crisis. The whole denomination/network needs a genuine revival and spiritual awakening … but I don’t see much movement in that direction because Southern Baptists appear to be satisfied without it. If some brave soul really wanted to make a difference at next week’s SBC annual conference, they would call for a solemn assembly of those gathered there to humble themselves, repent, and pray until they got God’s attention.

    Southern Baptists weren’t always off-track. During my 70-year tenure with them (I’m done now), there were many good years. God was using Southern Baptists around the world. Evangelism was their denominational gifting; but, that has been forfeited in recent years due to continued wrangling about this and that. The current rift over which theology will be on the throne may bring the end to a once-great evangelistic denomination.

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  61. The problem I have with some fundamentalists and neocalvinists is not that they argue for irrationality so much, but that they argue for rationality. What they believe may not synch up with our present understanding of science (for whatever our present understanding is worth, they’re all just hypotheses and theories that sort of make sense given the known data, and will probably all be overturned in a hundred years anyway), but within their own systems, they are very much about rationality and having tight little systems that they can control. There is little room for a God Who does things they can’t comprehend, or at least explain through their theologies, even though He clearly told us that His ways aren’t our ways.

    My experience, particularly with the neocalvinists, has been that they are very into worshiping a God whom they can understand and who lets them in on his gnosis, which they alone possess, and can understand within their byzantine doctrines and systems. This attitude is prevalent among this set, and explains why they can be such tyrants when their authority is challenged—they really believe they’re the Keepers of the True Knowledge. This is why Mohler talks about there being no place else that Christians of good will can go. They really are true believers in their own crucial status.

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  62. elastigirl,

    Haha, that was a weirdly specific description I gave, but it’s how I felt.

    These conversations were sometimes with people I really liked or respected otherwise in other contexts. But something about the default SBC mode kicks in when deeper identity issues and questions arise in conversation and the programming is to dissociate and prescript and control. Their personhood disappears and consequently so does your’s.

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  63. Law Prof: My experience, particularly with the neocalvinists, has been that they are very into worshiping a God whom they can understand and who lets them in on his gnosis, which they alone possess, and can understand within their byzantine doctrines and systems.

    “If you understood him, it would not be God.”
    ― St. Augustine of Hippo

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  64. Max,

    I agree. This is what I mean by authoritarianism taking away self-awareness. Mohler’s *surprised* and never thought he’d see the day that the SBC is debating complementarianism (or more accurately different views on the spectrum.) Except that it’s not surprising at all. Why? Because beliefs on gender and women’s roles were never clear during and after the conservative resurgence in the sense that it was kind of stealthily and ambiguously changed to a default idea based on authority rule and not open and accepted dialogue and processing.
    Especially when there was a lot of disagreement and different views going back and forth up until the 90’s.

    When ideas and beliefs are not allowed to naturally and freely openly grow and be adopted by the majority in a clear consensus, their is no stability. The ideas have value and power only insofar as they relate to the authority who implemented them, not in the ideas and arguments themselves.

    Mohler thinks that because him and a select group of people implemented their idea into the SBC structure that it is the same thing as consensus and organic adoption of the idea. Complementarianism and its nuances was always an authoritarian idea not really understood by the SBC at large. If it was rightly addressed and agreed upon cohesively in the first place, there wouldn’t be all this confusion and infighting now.

    He’s surprised because people are now starting to own the ideas themselves instead of just subjugating them to authority rule. When that’s what should have happened in the first place in a healthy social system.

    This applies to inerrancy and other ideas as well. Inerrancy means whatever this group or person says, and it can change any moment or with the wind depending on who’s in charge.

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  65. Law Prof: The problem I have with some fundamentalists and neocalvinists is not that they argue for irrationality so much, but that they argue for rationality.

    “He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by clarity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.”
    — G.K.Chesterton, “The Madman”

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  66. elastigirl: …There is a tendency to pathologize anyone or anything that is outside their control.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    they didn’t agree with me. off with their heads!
    they didn’t smile at me. off with their heads!
    she has mean eyes. off with her head!

    Straight out of The Queen of Hearts.

    Looks like Alice in Wonderland was a documentary.

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  67. elastigirl: “Whenever I tried to dialogue with people – which ended up with my intelligence and whole epistemic abilities being insulted while I was robotically monologued at from derivative and vacant SBC produced scripts”

    “…Winston turned a little sideways in his chair to drink his mug of coffee. At the table on his left the man with the strident voice was still talking remorselessly away….He held some important post in the FICTION DEPARTMENT….It was just a noise, a quack-quack-quacking….Every word of it was pure Orthodoxy, pure INGSOC….Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man’s brain that was speaking, it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.

    “Syme had fallen silent for a moment, and with the handle of his spoon was tracing patterns in the puddle of stew. The voice from the other table quacked rapidly on, easily audible in spite of the surrounding din.

    “There is a word in Newspeak” said Syme, “I don’t know whether you know it: duckspeak, to quack like a duck. It is one of those interesting words that have two contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it is abuse: applied to someone you agree with, it is praise.”
    — G.Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

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  68. ___

    SBC
    Parential
    Advisory ™

    hmmm…

    Q. Where is the SBC ‘Parential Advisory’ Church label? (proliferated uninhibited sexual abuse found within)

    These ‘chains’ are quite unbecoming…

    (sadface)

    Sòpy
    __
    Intermission:
    Alan Parsons Project – “What Goes Up”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XCXL1ytil-w
    Bonus: Alan Parsons : “Turn Of A Friendly Card” 1&2
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xsa6ojQcYXQ

    ;~)§

    – –

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  69. emilyhoneycutt:
    Dan Saunders,

    I don’t think they have the self-awareness to discern if something is truly hostile or aggressive. That’s what authoritarianism does. It stifles the ability to truly discern people and ideas.

    I experienced that a lot of them confuse their cognitive dissonance
    being triggered as “hostility”. Someone disagreeing is automatically aggressive or “slandering.” There is a tendency to pathologize anyone or anything that is outside their control.

    This is not discernment. That’s just not having to self-reflect like everyone else does, because you benefit through your place in the authoritarian structure. Your higher up place in the authoritarian structure and adjancency to those in authority usually means you don’t have to deal with the consequences of ideas and decisions like everyone else.

    And if you’re not having to look and deal with all the consequences of ideas and actions and seeing the whole picture you can’t possibly fully discern. And so on and so on, the circle of never fully engaging in discernment and ideological formation and change goes on. The cycle continues.

    Emily,
    I think a lot of people on BOTH sides of the topic don’t have much self-awareness, discernment nor logical thinking and many read into the Scriptures what they want it to say not what God actually said. This is not specific to the SBC, complementarians, etc. but many on the opposite side are as bad about this as well.

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  70. emilyhoneycutt: Mohler thinks that because him and a select group of people implemented their idea into the SBC structure that it is the same thing as consensus and organic adoption of the idea.

    Exactly. This has been my concern all along. Mohler and his band of young reformers launched a movement into SBC life to Calvinize the denomination – to take it back to its pre-Civil War theological roots. The problem is that they failed to ask the millions of non-Calvinists in SBC (the vast majority) if they wanted to go there! For the past 150 years (pre-Mohler), the SBC was distinctly non-Calvinist in belief and practice.

    The “beauty of complementarity” is a tag-along belief by the new Calvinists, along with assorted other aberrations of faith in which cherry-picked Scripture are used to support their theology, instead of taking the whole of Scripture into account. Mohler has essentially rammed his ideology down the throats of mainline Southern Baptists without a consensus and may eventually find them spitting it back up on his nice suit someday … if/when enough Southern Baptists get tired of his shenanigans. He’s just a bag of theological wind who speaks authoritatively … but has proven to be successful in backing Southern Baptists into a corner – they have already lost control of most SBC entities to the New Calvinists.

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  71. emilyhoneycutt: The sexual abuse crisis isn’t *theirs* to manage and direct. They are late to the scene. Resources and advocates and so much of the work and discernment has already been done before any of them decided (way too late) to show up. Not deferring to people who tried to warn them for years alarms loudly that they really don’t understand the depth of what has happened and the WHY. They are certainly not addressing the why and the harrowing depths of entanglement in their structures in any significant sense. There is little t
    collective SBC self-awareness and self-reflection and contemplation and silence and slowing things down to ask the right and needed first things first questions. Instead it has gone straight to ownership-control and behavior modification

    I think this paragraph has a lot of crucial insights. Earlier today I posted a thread on Twitter, about the SBC and accountability. I’ll repost it here (edited slightly). But the key tie-in I see at the moment is how the culture stands as an authority over the SBC in demanding accountability–i.e., consequences–for their beliefs and behaviors that perpetrated, enabled, and concealed sexual abuse and related abuse of power. And culture includes abuse survivors and advocates.

    An SBC pastor said on Twitter that sexual abuse should have been the focus on the annual meeting five years ago. I’d suggest that if there is not *substantial* movement this year and next–and there are a few positive indicators that important things are happening–the SBC will find itself in the dustbin of history and it will have put itself there.

    * * * * *

    https://twitter.com/futuristguy/status/1137061533056245760

    THREAD: SBC AND ACCOUNTABILITY. I’ve been super-saturated in details about SBC and its problems of systemic abuse, enablement, and concealment. I’ve found mega-compiling of observations is typically a first stage in analyzing and interpreting a situation. Now I’m at synthesis stage. That means I’m broadening my understanding of big-picture/macro situation by building on analysis of what’s happening in smaller snapshots/micro situations. So far, I’ve extracted three key points about accountability and how it relates to the SBC. (I may identify more later.)

    #1. Accountability is about consequences. Consequences can be tangible (example: losing clergy misconduct lawsuit) or intangible (example: reputation). They can appear “positive” (in favor of individual, institution, ideology) or “negative” to insiders, and same or opposite to outsiders. The impact of individual and corporate actions and underlying ideologies sometimes are purposely hidden. But they are increasingly coming into the light publicly, for good or ill. The calls for accountability (consequences) for destructive beliefs and behaviors is also increasing.

    #2. SBC local churches and institutional entities are *automatically* subject to at least 5 sources of accountability. This is so, regardless of whether they choose to submit voluntarily to their assessments and consequences or not.

    1) Criminal statutes (example: mandatory reporting).

    2) Corporate regulations (example: IRS non-profit mandates for transparency and governance, and against self-benefitting board, staff, family/friends.

    3) Civil law on non-criminal matters.

    4) Constituting documents of local church and SBC (example: doctrine, polity, required procedures).

    5) Culture. How does culture hold SBC responsible? One way is via earned reputation due to actual or perceived actions in public and private realms. Does SBC say one thing, but its people act opposite? Tangible hypocrisy can lead to intangible reputation of being untrustworthy.

    Culture may also mean public pressure for concrete institutional changes and justice. It now seems to be labeling SBC as “the Pedophile Protestant Denomination.” Sadly, leaders of SBC entities and local churches have provided decades of evidence to support having earned that title.

    #3. This is the SBC’s “Spotlight” moment, as the @HoustonChron #AbuseOfFaith series on the SBC documents. The SBC’s current crisis of recognition for its decades-long systemic sexual abuse shows it didn’t accept accountability well in the past. Will it now and into the future?

    Awareness challenge to SBC local church’s leaders + congregants, and each entity’s boards + employees:

    What do you see happening with issues of sexual abuse and related misuses of power in the Church?

    In the SBC?

    What survivors of abuse in SBC settings have you personally heard?

    What specific, documented situations of sexual abuse can you describe, where abuse perpetrators, enablers, and/or concealers abuse–or shamed/silenced victims–were from an SBC church or entity?

    If you can’t cite a situation, why is that? And what do you commit to do about it?

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  72. ishy: But I think most people want to be told what to believe. They want formulas and simple answers. They don’t want to grapple with tough questions. They just want something to believe and to think that someone else has done the tough work of answering those hard life questions.

    I really think this is an important factor. After much disagreement on theological issues with a friend, he finally came right out and said that he was glad to have a pastor to do the hard thinking and the research it required. He had a business to run, and isn’t that why churches have pastors?

    I tend to think that is chiefly what makes me different. I’m no genius, and I’m surely no saint, but I care deeply about the truth. Enough so that I am willing to grapple with difficult issues, to surrender a once preferred opinion when it no longer seems to hold up and to buck the status quo.

    This same sense of personal responsibility for life choices led many in my circle to homeschool, cook from scratch, buy organic food, drink raw milk, pursue natural health, etc. It’s not that they don’t listen to what intelligent and knowledgeable people have to say, but when it comes down to the wire, each adult is responsible for his or her choices, and physical and spiritual well-being.

    Maybe I’ve just been burned too many times to believe that parents, teachers, doctors or pastors always know best. Maybe it’s because I realized that no one cared quite as much about my well-being as I did, however wise and capable.

    Thus, I can’t pass off the responsibility for my well-being and choices to some so-called expert, and just do whatever I am told. I’ve got to do the Berean thing, do my homework, use my noggin and do the best I understand, so that I can someday stand before God and say ‘I did my feeble best; I’m counting on your mercy to overlook my inadequacies and forgive my failings.’

    Still prayin’ for you, Max.

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  73. emilyhoneycutt,

    “But something about the default SBC mode kicks in when deeper identity issues and questions arise in conversation and the programming is to dissociate and prescript and control. Their personhood disappears and consequently so does your’s.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    seems to me no one (in the group you’re referring to, if not hundreds of thousands of others) has truly run things through the ringer of critical thinking.

    maybe they’ve run things through to 5 or 6 on the critical thinking dial.

    but not to 10.

    certainly not to 11.

    so, yes, personhood shuts down and vacant-derivative-robot mode kicks in. only other robots are able to engage at that point.

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  74. Dan Saunders,

    “I think a lot of people on BOTH sides of the topic don’t have much self-awareness, discernment nor logical thinking and many read into the Scriptures what they want it to say not what God actually said. This is not specific to the SBC, complementarians, etc. but many on the opposite side are as bad about this as well.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    i take it you know what God actually said?

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  75. TS00: It’s not that they don’t listen to what intelligent and knowledgeable people have to say, but when it comes down to the wire, each adult is responsible for his or her choices, and physical and spiritual well-being.

    Luke considered the Bereans more noble than the rest because “They were hungry to learn and eagerly received the word. Every day they opened the scrolls of Scripture to search and examine them, to verify that what Paul taught them was true” (Acts 17:11). Paul!! If they put Paul under a microscope, they sure would put Dr. Mohler there!

    When it comes down to it, Christians need to dig their own spiritual well. Believers need to ‘know’ what they believe, to seek God’s face on their own, to discover Truth and put it in their knower … rather than always trying to satisfy spiritual thirst by drinking from someone else’s cup. Reading Scripture, praying, living by faith are personal choices … you can’t become spiritual by osmosis.

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  76. Law Prof: My experience, particularly with the neocalvinists, has been that they are very into worshiping a God whom they can understand and who lets them in on his gnosis, which they alone possess, and can understand within their byzantine doctrines and systems.

    I think I’m trying to say the same thing here as you’ve already said; but the reason I can’t join the ranks of any biblianistic movement is similar. In essence, most of them don’t believe in any god at all. Instead, they approach the bible as though it were not a signpost pointing towards who God is, but a technical specification for living life in God’s absence.

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  77. Law Prof: …a God whom they can understand and who lets them in on his gnosis, which they alone possess…

    Isn’t that the textbook definition of “Gnostic” (“He Who KNOWS Things”)?
    Or “Illuminati”?

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  78. Robert M: So Mohler is upset about the “humiliation” of sex abuse “revelations”, not about the fact that sex abuse occurred?

    This is exactly what is wrong with the SBC and Mohler. It tells us exactly where their hearts are.

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  79. Nick Bulbeck,

    When I’ve listened to friends from seminary who transmogrified into extreme fanboys of some of the celebrity New Calvinists, I keep hearing about how smart their celebs are, how many books they read per day/week/year, how great their publications and preachings and blog posts are, etc. Seems my friends now worship intellect, not Jesus — or so venerate their leader-feeders that those celebs have functionally hijacked Christ’s role as the only mediator between God and us.

    So, I am serious when I ask this: Is my IQ is too low for them to let me qualify as their kind of New Calvinist? Or is it too high for me to want to join them?

    But then, those are trick questions. “Smart” people can be incredibly unwise spiritually. That’s because IQ never was/is the basis for spiritual discernment. Scripture and the Holy Spirit and practicing wise decisions are what make learning and living truthfully possible and accessible for all people.

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  80. brad/futuristguy: Seems my friends now worship intellect, not Jesus — or so venerate their leader-feeders that those celebs have functionally hijacked Christ’s role as the only mediator between God and us.

    Are your friends reading genuine scholarship, or just a large number of bad books?

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  81. Apparently whatever their I-wanna-be-like-him celebs are reading/studying/believing. If they are reading it because their celeb-mentor says so, doesn’t that indicate a willingness to make that man their celeb-mediator?

    I guess one my points of contention is that they pursue *closed-system thinking* and have lost (hopefully temporarily) a presupposition on the need for *critical thinking*.

    I understand the magnetic attraction of thinking you’ve found (or even *can* find) a theological system that is comprehensive and internally consistent. I was there for a decade or more myself, reading Van Til, Dooyeweerd, Rushdoony, Schaeffer, North, etc. If we’re observant, sooner or later we’ll see the toxic actions that are the direct result of significantly flawed systems. If we choose to hold our theology tightly, not lightly, we’ll ignore the warnings. And I think that’s where some of my friends have gone off the rails. They cannot critique their own views, only venerate their celeb-mentor’s perspective. So, where is that kind of tunnel-vision process going to take them, regardless of what kind of books they’re reading?

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  82. brad/futuristguy,

    “When I’ve listened to friends from seminary who transmogrified into extreme fanboys of some of the celebrity New Calvinists, I keep hearing about how smart their celebs are, how many books they read per day/week/year,”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    seems to me these books simply tell you how to think.

    if it’s a quest to broaden one’s mind through reading, seems to me what you want to read are classic authors of fiction. the stories are about big concepts, from minds ahead of their time who saw things others didn’t. creating characters and plot to tell stories bigger than themselves. elegantly so.

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  83. elastigirl,

    Well put. So many books dictate *what* to think rather than engage in discipling for *how* to think. Storying is a far more effective way of communicating to a diverse audience, where the plotline and characters are like a Lego base where everyone can find some sort of connect to latch on to.

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  84. brad/futuristguy: Seems my friends now worship intellect, not Jesus … IQ never was/is the basis for spiritual discernment

    “We don’t speak about these things using teachings that are based on intellectual arguments. Instead, we use the Spirit’s teachings. We explain spiritual things to those who have the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 1:13).

    When you worship intellect and not Jesus, you don’t know Jesus. You don’t have the Holy Spirit to teach you. You are left alone with your intellect, filled with religious jots and tittles, but spiritually destitute.

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  85. Max,

    Been there, done that myself.

    Been there in a church that done that, too. It split into smithereens. I had to decide whether Christianity was a crock, or if there was something fundamentally wrong with their kind of fundamentalist, authoritarian, nearly-gnostic teaching …

    Thankfully, Jesus wasn’t a crock. Or a crook. But that system I’d been in was both.

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  86. Dan Saunders: Emily,
    I think a lot of people on BOTH sides of the topic don’t have much self-awareness, discernment nor logical thinking and many read into the Scriptures what they want it to say not what God actually said.This is not specific to the SBC, complementarians, etc. but many on the opposite side are as bad about this as well.

    Can you give an example of the opposite side reading into the scriptures what they want to see there? I’m trying to understand but I don’t think I know what you are getting at.

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  87. brad/futuristguy: They cannot critique their own views

    Ya know, I wish more Christians would stop striving to be close minded. Jesus’ followers had to be open to so many experiences and revelations. So do people today who have a simple childlike love of God. So do the most dedicated scholars.

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  88. Max,

    In 2008 the Canadian Association of Southern Baptists changed their name to the Canadian National Baptist Convention/Convention Nationale Baptiste Canadienne.
    Southern Baptists history and reputation didn’t sit well with your neighbours to the north.

    Now that the Southern Baptists are disguised here, they have grown a bit; (been here since 1957) starting an aggressive church ‘planting’ thing after the name change. They claim over 400 churches and around 23 thousand members.

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  89. elastigirl: ‘at some point you just have to believe what the bible says’

    Words that make me crazy. Cause anybody who interprets the bible differently from ‘Me’ obviously does not ‘believe the bible’.

    What if ‘I just don’t believe the bible means what you think it means’? But of course, only God-hating liberals who reject God’s authority disagree with we who know the ‘true’ meaning of scripture.

    Sorry, Charlie, it’s not God’s authority I reject – it’s yours! I’m perfectly willing to answer to God.

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  90. TS00,

    “Cause anybody who interprets the bible differently from ‘Me’ obviously does not ‘believe the bible’.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    kind of like driving

    everyone going faster than me is a maniac. everyone going slower than me is a moron.

    much more peaceful to give them the benefit of the doubt. (too fast? maybe their passenger is going into labor.) (too slow, maybe they are having car trouble, or just in a relaxed mood.)

    until it seems it’s deliberate and for their own careless pleasure or recreation or convenience, and putting others in danger. then i get mad.

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  91. BD: In 2008 the Canadian Association of Southern Baptists changed their name to the Canadian National Baptist Convention/Convention Nationale Baptiste Canadienne … Southern Baptists are disguised here

    The SBC church planting program has essentially done that in the U.S. Reformed church planters have set up shop across the American landscape, naming their churches in such a way to disguise SBC affiliation. The marquee out front displays cool names with no mention of “Southern Baptist.” You have to look hard to discover SBC affiliation – usually tucked away in a corner of the church website. Most members have no idea they are attending an SBC church! Yet, the young pastors enjoy support of the SBC non-Calvinist majority via church planting funds provided to them through the denomination’s North American Mission Board (whose leader is a New Calvinist). To these young planters, “Southern” doesn’t exist already … heck, they would just as soon do away with “Baptist”, too!

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  92. Complementarianism is primarily a invented Calvinist quasi- pyramid 501c3 scheme to keep chicks out of the pulpit. It’s extended 501c3 use pronounces dictated marital order within the home. It 501c3 modified use can be used to keep rainbows out of the pulpit. It is a nefarious faux invention. It has done a lot harm within the body of Christ. One would do well to beware.

    ;~)§

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  93. ___

    “Calvinism Within The Walks Of The SBC, Is No Haphazard JoyRide?”

    hmmm…

    imagine,

    Albert Mohler & Co. are perpetrating a 500 year old Calvinistic heretical lie: God creates auto-condemned humans for Hell, —ALL for their god’s glory, —no less. This is certainly not a theological religious system to follow if you want to get somewhere ‘Jesus’. And ta think : THEY AGGRESSIVELY SNEEK IT INTO SBC CHURCHES!?!

    A profoundly squandered inheritance to say the least, huh?

    (sadface)

    AlBuddy, Eat your ‘pottage’…

    (grin)

    Calvinism is unsafe at any speed.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    Intermission:
    Jean-Michel Jarre – “Equinox Infinity” – (Spiresound Remix)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FvsSYfKiwoE

    ;~)§

    – –

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  94. TS00,

    “I’ve got to do the Berean thing, do my homework, use my noggin and do the best I understand, so that I can someday stand before God and say ‘I did my feeble best; I’m counting on your mercy to overlook my inadequacies and forgive my failings.’”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    it’s awesome to wake up in the morning and know you’ve maintained your personal integrity.

    to me, that is it’s own reward, and it’s plenty.

    (i say that only because for me the hereafter is too removed, too abstract… too mysterious.)

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  95. elastigirl,
    Dan Saunders,

    “I think a lot of people on BOTH sides of the topic don’t have much self-awareness, discernment nor logical thinking and many read into the Scriptures what they want it to say not what God actually said. This is not specific to the SBC, complementarians, etc. but many on the opposite side are as bad about this as well.”

    “His Word is pretty clear. It is some cryptic text.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    you see it as clear. and cryptic?
    ———-

    dan, everyone on both sides of the comp/pat/egal debate with opposing interpretations says, “scripture is pretty clear”.

    when there are many opposing views on what the bible says on a topic, it is inherently not clear.

    what is your interpretation? can you explain how your reading of scripture is even more plain and clear than everyone elses’?

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  96. Dan Saunders: Sorry should read it is NOT some cryptic text

    I think you got it right the first time.

    The Bible is not the same as the Word. Assuming that you are referring to the Bible, I would disagree that it is clear. People here on TWW have sincerely held and conflicting beliefs about whether, how, and when people should be baptized, and about the purpose of baptism. There are verses to address every point of view. I love the variety of beliefs, and I love the cryptic aspects of Scripture. There is always a new insight, a new challenge. The Bible offers enough clarity for us to have a faith, and enough ambiguity for us to explore the mystery of our relationship with God.

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  97. Friend,

    i like how you put that.

    afterall, if it was a textbook of answers, where’s the need for faith?

    i think it’s wise to keep Jesus’ main thing the main thing. and hold everything else loosely.

    i mean, really, how can anyone go wrong?

    do we really see God as someone who says, “You are in violation of Code BW, section 27, line 1511, point 1a. it is incumbent on you to get everything right, or else I will bring the full weight of the law against you.”

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  98. Sòpwith: Q. Are the calvinestas, active In a modern social war, possibly in the process of closing ranks as a means to preclude the possible eventuality, inevitability of future incursiosns of women and rainbows into the network of independent SBC 501c3 church leadership roles?

    You seem to imply that neo-Calvinists are protecting the SBC against three things that do not always go hand in hand during wartime: incursions of women, incursions of rainbows, and incursions of women leaders in a denomination that denies it is a denomination.

    I think this is a solution in search of a problem. 😉

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  99. Dan Saunders [correction added]: His Word is pretty clear. It is not some cryptic text.

    No indeed. If the existing bible, as compiled over a number of years and several different church-wide councils around 1700 years ago, is anywhere near accurate, “God’s Word” is a Person, not a cryptic text.

    It all depends on what Person you believe “God’s Word” is.

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  100. Sòpwith,

    Exactly, why the SBC loses all senses when it comes to women pastors is beyond me?
    I remember as a youth hearing a sermon on the ” Evils of drink” at least once a quarter. Now they wouldn’t dare speak too loudly if at all on drinking beer. Even my 88 yr old mother who is hardcore SBC asks ” will you get a pint of two in your Fall trip to Scotland? ”

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  101. K.D.: I remember as a youth hearing a sermon on the ” Evils of drink” at least once a quarter.

    I’ve lived in both California and the deep South. In wine country, Christians tend to accept drinking with no problem but question whether a Christian can smoke and still go to heaven. In tobacco country, it is the other way around.

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  102. Ken F (aka Tweed): In wine country, Christians tend to accept drinking with no problem but question whether a Christian can smoke and still go to heaven.

    My elders absolutely detested gambling because “they cast lots for Jesus’ cloak” (Matt. 27:35). Nobody pointed out that the Apostles themselves cast lots after Jesus’ death, choosing Matthias as the replacement for Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:23-26). The anti-gambling sermons went away sometime after state lotteries came in.

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  103. Ken F (aka Tweed): Which us why there are thousands of denominations which split from each other because they won’t all agree on the clear meaning of scripture.

    Indeed; this, and this alone, is proof of total human depravity. If human beings weren’t innately sinful, wouldn’t they all agree with the true interpretation of scripture as taught by

    [fill in the blank]

    ?

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  104. Ken F (aka Tweed): I’ve lived in both California and the deep South. In wine country, Christians tend to accept drinking with no problem but question whether a Christian can smoke and still go to heaven. In tobacco country, it is the other way around.

    You know what, Ken… you should write that book. I’d buy it. (As one of numerous Wartburgers who has appreciated your contribution here, I’m only half-joking!)

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  105. dee:
    One comment not allowed.

    I was tempted to post an entirely inappropriate comment earlier on today. To save you and/or GBTC the trouble, I decided not to allow myself to post it.

    #YesToVictimsNoToHate

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  106. K.D.: Even my 88 yr old mother who is hardcore SBC asks ” will you get a pint of two in your Fall trip to Scotland? ”

    I particularly recommend the Orkney Brewery’s wonderful ruby ale “Red MacGregor” (IF you can find somewhere that sells it on draught), and Harviestoun Brewery’s Bitter and Twisted. The latter is brewed just upwind of me… Also, give me a shout if you fancy meeting an Anglo-Scottish Wartburger IRL!

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  107. Slight change of subject, but we’re out of home-made cake and I’m swithering over what to bake tomorrow (it’s bedtime here in Scotland, though thanks to the haunting Scottish summer twilight it’s light until July now).

    I’m planning to do something that involves crumble (fat, sugar and plain flour). Could be interesting.

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  108. A 501c3 church organization is a for-pay non-profit; as apposed to a total charity work like what Dee is doing. The true body of Christ is not a for-pay organization. Has for-pay corrupted the christian church? Is a 501c3 church really the body of Christ? Does a for-pay 501c3 church actually have any real God given biblical authority?

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  109. elastigirl,

    To swither means to be undecided. So, I’m swithering over whether to make an ordinary chocolate punge * or a pastry-based apple crumbly kind of thing. Probably the former.

    * “Punge” means “sponge” but is around 18% funnier.

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  110. Nick Bulbeck,

    good enough:

    Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

    Ingredients
    • Butter, for greasing the pans
    • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
    • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
    Directions
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Butter & flour two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
    3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
    4. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
    5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
    6. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
    7. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
    8. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
    9. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting.
    10. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

    Chocolate Frosting (for BEATTY’S CHOCOLATE CAKE):

    • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
    • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

    1. Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
    2. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
    3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    4. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.
    5. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
    6. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water.
    7. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip!
    8. Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

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  111. elastigirl: do we really see God as someone who says, “You are in violation of Code BW, section 27, line 1511, point 1a. it is incumbent on you to get everything right, or else I will bring the full weight of the law against you.”

    I think a lot of people do but it seems so unlikely to me. Sometimes I think about the vastness and complexity of this amazing universe and the idea that the Creator of it would be so petty as to care about some of the things people make into big things (women preaching, clothes we wear, what we eat, etc) is so absurd, it’s mind boggling. Am I the only one?

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  112. Dan Saunders: His Word is pretty clear.

    It’s clear on some things. Those tend to be the things most people ignore. “Love one another” is very clear and it’s repeated quite a bit, even with parables to illustrate that ‘one another’ includes everyone. And that the whole law is summed up in this: Love God and love one another. Love does no wrong to a neighbor (and everyone is our neighbor).

    On other things, there are mixed messages and wording that is not at all clear and can be taken in different ways.

    One thing that I think the Bible is pretty clear on when you look at the whole message from beginning to end is that following rules does not change human nature, make people good from the outside in, or solve the problems of human society. Yet it seems Christianity always gravitates to making lists of rules and trying to force people to follow them, expecting different results. Defining ‘roles’ and forcing people into them seems to be the form it’s taking currently. Yet we know that if a law had been given that could make human beings holy, Jesus Christ would not have had to die. So why do we keep trying it expecting different results? If only men could be leaders and women kept quiet and stayed at home, the world would be a better place? Except for all of the sin, corruption and abuse that’s swept under the rug that we don’t talk about…

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  113. SiteSeer,

    “the idea that the Creator of it would be so petty as to care about some of the things people make into big things (women preaching, clothes we wear, what we eat, etc) is so absurd, it’s mind boggling. Am I the only one?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    observations from a lifetime spent in this silly religion of (ours) inclines me to think that we are in the minority.

    1. my eyes started to be opened a few decades ago. i did a fair bit of world travelling. a few things stood out (relative to this topic):

    **the magnificence of human beings everywhere (their kindness, willingness to sacrifice for a stranger, love within families, love in friendship, i could go on…)

    **what is “good and proper” (for lack of a better term at the moment), whether in faith or secular communities, is relative to the culture. things like:

    -what is modest / comfort with the human body
    -what are considered “bad words”
    -smoking
    -alcoholic beverages
    -church attendance
    -marital status

    i met the most wonderful christian people where ‘the rules’ are all over the map on these kinds of things. what is considered ‘unchristian’ in one place is simply a total non-issue somewhere else. what counted was kindness and generosity, expressed in prayer for others, helping others, choosing patience, being humble…

    2. i’ve noticed a few things on the topic of marriage.

    “Christian culture” recognizes a man and woman as married simply because they say they are married. They could be muslim, hindu, buddhist, mormon, wiccan, atheist….

    it could be a common law marriage. a couple together for so long.

    the bible gives no specifics on marriage.

    this tells me what really matters is commitment. not the ceremony, not the event (with all the potential silliness that costs a fortune). not the man in the dark suit saying magical incantations.

    it’s 2 people in a committed relationship.

    christian culture’s very uptight sex rules fall apart at that point.

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  114. Nick Bulbeck: “God’s Word” is a Person, not a cryptic text.

    Ding, ding, ding . . . you hit the target!

    This – error, misunderstanding, corruption, deception – whatever you want to call i- that the written, translated words of men are the WORD of God intended to save us, is the greatest stumbling block to people receiving the good news of the gospel. Jesus was the WORD of God, manifested so that all could know who God is and how he loves us. Yes, men wrote words to testify and explain, but it is Jesus that is the sure, unchanging, glorious message that God so loves us.

    He is much more difficult to mistranslate and corrupt than the written word copied and translated by countless men with strongly held personal beliefs and agendas.

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  115. SiteSeer: Sometimes I think about the vastness and complexity of this amazing universe and the idea that the Creator of it would be so petty as to care about some of the things people make into big things (women preaching, clothes we wear, what we eat, etc) is so absurd, it’s mind boggling. Am I the only one?

    Count me in!

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  116. SiteSeer: It’s clear on some things. Those tend to be the things most people ignore.

    This is what I find to be true. The really important things are stated over and over, making them more ‘clear’ than the random, out of context phrase applied to people who did not even exist when it was written.

    Who can miss the message that God is love, loves us, would (did) die for us, doesn’t want any to remain a slave to sin or perish? Isn’t that kinda, sorta presented so many times, in so many ways that it almost seems ‘clear’?

    And yet, I once lived in a world in which headcoverings were the norm, dress codes were discussed, evangelicals or anyone who believed the tiniest bit differently from the ‘Only Perfect Church’ were condemned . . . all based on out of context fragments of letters written to someone else.

    How? How could they so miss the more obvious and harp on the trivial? Can that even happen accidentally? Or is this institutional thing, knowingly or not, a tool of someone other than God?

    I don’t know, but I’m laying my money – oh horrors, sounds like gambling – on the love language and leaving the rest in the ‘clear as mud’ category.

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  117. TS00,

    “How? How could they so miss the more obvious and harp on the trivial? Can that even happen accidentally? Or is this institutional thing, knowingly or not, a tool of someone other than God?”
    ++++++++++++++

    well, professional christians have to justify their jobs somehow.

    take away the trivial and you take away millions of dollars in revenue.

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  118. brad/futuristguy: Storying is a far more effective way of communicating to a diverse audience, where the plotline and characters are like a Lego base where everyone can find some sort of connect to latch on to.

    I have read before that reading fiction helps people develop empathy and sometimes I think about people who don’t read any. It seems like reading piper would have the opposite affect…

    [Also of note, women read more fiction than men in general, and men are on average resistant to reading fiction by or about women. Does that negatively affect the culture or is a result of the culture I wonder.]

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  119. Lea: [Also of note, women read more fiction than men in general, and men are on average resistant to reading fiction by or about women. Does that negatively affect the culture or is a result of the culture I wonder.]

    So, it’s like, “Which came first–the chickenmen or the dregs”? That everlasting conundrum question with the cyclical answer …

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  120. elastigirl,

    I’m not really a cake person either, and try to steer clear of sugar. But if I do indulge, it is probably going to be for a decadent homemade chocolate cake made with organic bittersweet chocolate, or flourless chocolate cake. Or my favorite birthday banana cake with coconut pecan filling.

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  122. Pingback: Still Alone: Where were SBC leaders when abuse survivors rallied outside? – JimmyHinton.org

  123. Brian:
    Ken F (aka Tweed),

    The heart of the articles’ author is in the right place. He sounds like he’s one of the few proactive pastors. But he’s still missing something.

    My stepfather, my pedophile, transitioned from Catholicism to Protestantism, being baptized in a Disciples of Christ (DoC) church right after he married my Mom. I was five years old then.

    DoC, like Churches of Christ, require both the indwelling Holy Spirit (HS) and water baptism for salvation. There was no indwelling HS in my stepfather. I was abused from right after the marriage until just after the age of 14 when my Mom left him.

    Unless there was a camping/fishing trip, we attended church every Sunday. To those outside of our house we looked like the perfect family. We were a member of one DoC congregation for six years.

    Unless the pastors of the local congregations make it known that they are against abuse, in all it’s forms, and instruct the parishioners to contact the police first and right away, people like my stepfather will continue to hide in plain site.

    I’m so very sorry that you went through so much, Brian.

    https://expreacherman.com/

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