Wade Burleson: A Fixation on Authority Is a Sign the Spirit Has Left.

“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”—C.S. Lewis


 

I know I promised you my perspectives on the SBC Convention. However, Wade Burleson just wrote this very important blog post that I feel compelled to share with you.

Wade Burleson not only came to the For Such a Time as This Rally, he also attended the after party in which Christa Brown was honored for her incredible work at exposing Baptist predators undertaken at great personal cost. Wade spoke at the event, in which he recounted the suffering Christa Brown experienced as the hands of members of the SBC.

I gave a short talk that evening. While sitting there, it dawned on me how much Wade reminded me of other pastors whom I have admired. For example, my current pastors who prayed for me and supported me during the *stupid letter* incident. As one of them said to me “I am not your boss.” Instead, they are there to support me. Two other pastors, Pete Briscoe and Jim Abrahamson round out the bunch.

When I saw this post by Wade, it demonstrated for me why he has been so supportive of me, along with many other women. He mentions Jeff VanVonderen who is one of the authors my most oft recommended book, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. If you haven’t read it, you are missing out on the most thoughtful and succinct books written on the subject. I quote from it regularly.

Wade’s thesis will cause heartburn in those who follow the authority driven ministries such as 9 Marks or The Gospel Coalition.

He has given me blanket permission to post his blogs here at TWW.


A Fixation on Authority Is a Sign the Spirit Has Left

It’s been my privilege this week to be a small part of the reform that is beginning to take place within the Southern Baptist Convention to help stop an epidemic of sexual abuse.
Some of the stories I’ve heard shared this week, many for the first time, are fuel for my soul. It gives me the incentive to keep doing everything I can to bring down power bases built on fraudulent authority.
Predators prey with power. Abusers are armed with authority. If one wishes to end abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention, one has to strike at the root of the problem.
Many SBC men and leaders think that they are the “head” over women, that men “rule over” women and children, and that pastors “rule over people.”

It’s the ugly disease of male patriarchalism.

Traveling home from the airport this week, my friend Jeff VanVonderen called me. Jeff is the author of The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, Families Where Grace Is In Place, Good News for the Chemically Dependent, and a host of other superb books. Not to mention, Jeff is the star of the award-winning show Intervention.

He wanted to know how the Convention went. I explained to him the crisis of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention. Then Jeff asked me this question:

“Do they understand that child sexual abuse and sexual assault crimes against adults all have at their root the sin of power, control, and “authority over.”

I told Jeff I’m doing all I can to tear down the unbiblical doctrine of spiritual authoritarianism and bring back the biblical doctrine of humble servanthood in Christ’s Kingdom to the leadership of the SBC.

What follows is the biblical antidote for any man infected with the venom of authoritarianism by the bite of the power viper.

Men and women are equal in Christ’s Kingdom. Spirit-gifted men and women of humble character can both be servant Kingdom leaders.

If you are able to prove the concepts of power, authority, and control OVER OTHERS is not biblical, then you stop abuse cold in its tracks in the Convention that says it believes the Bible.

The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 3:27-28:

“All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is emphatic that there is no room in the body of Jesus Christ for racial distinctions, no room for class distinctions, no room for gender distinctions. To forbid a woman to serve, read, lead, or teach (when men are present) is twisting the gospel of freedom in Christ into a gospel of bondage by gender. To restrict a Holy Spirit gifted and empowered woman from edifying other believers through the free exercise of her Spirit given gifts is to resist the Holy Spirit Himself–and qualifies as a very foolish act indeed.

An ancient Jewish prayer from the Hebrew Siddur (prayer book) went like this: “Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Gentile. Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a slave. Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman.” “Hashem” was a Jewish name for the one true God, a name used by Jews in the days of Christ.

The same spirit ancient Jews possessed that caused them to believe that only men were created to lead, rule and serve and that women were born to receive, follow, and help men who lead, is the same spirit now at work in more than a few evangelical leaders. Interestingly, the rise of the Siddur coincides with the glory of God departing the Temple of Jerusalem in the days of Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 10).

Jewish Temple worship continued, but it was during this Spirit-less intertestamental time period that you have the rise of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other male-only Jewish orders that were constantly focusing on male “authority,” male “leadership,” and male “power.”

A preoccupation and fixation on authority (whether it be conservative patriarchalism or liberal feminism), is a sign that the Spirit of God has departed. Jesus Christ explicitly forbids any one individual assuming authority over other adults in the Christian community (Matthew 20:20-28). In fact, after describing the imperialism of political rulers and the authority fixation of religious rulers, Jesus said to his disciples … It shall not be so among you (Matthew 20:26).

I would propose that any portion of the body of Christ that is placing emphasis on male leadership to the exclusion of female leadership (or vice-versa) is void of the Spirit of God.

The New Testament covenant of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ totally turns the world’s concept of authority on its ear. The world is concerned about position, power, authority, prestige, control, and ruling over others. Jesus Christ teaches His followers to serve, to love, to express their spiritual gifts to their fullest for the good of others, and to never fear what any person in so-called “authority” can do to them because “All authority … has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:18). There is to be a mutual equality, respect, and submission within the home between husband and wife (Ephesians 5:21-33).

There is to be a mutual equality, respect and submission of men and women toward one another in the body of Christ based upon the gifts that the Spirit gives to each male and female believer who has been baptized into Christ (Acts 2:15-21Galatians 3:28). References to the churches’ teaching ministry and other gifts are found in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 and not one of those passages excludes females from being recipients of any one of those gifts. Let me say that again in a different way. The gifts of the Spirit are never differentiated on the basis of gender in the New Testament — ever.

______________________

Wade Burleson is a writer, avocational historian, and teaching pastor at Emmanuel Enid, Oklahoma. Burleson was twice elected President of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and served as a trustee for the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.


Comments

Wade Burleson: A Fixation on Authority Is a Sign the Spirit Has Left. — 259 Comments

  1. “Hashem” means “the name” and is still used by Jews today most notably the Haredi.
    It’s a way to refer to God without using his sacred name.
    I think they use “Adonai” (Lord) in prayer but I’m less certain of that.

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  2. Humble servanthood is not something I associate with very many Christian settings at all. I feel we rarely see it in the area of theology/theologians either, if you consider the attitude & actions of some of those highlighted here whose insistance is always on ‘believe this or else’.

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  3. Beakerj: Humble servanthood is not something I associate with very many Christian settings at all. I feel we rarely see it in the area of theology/theologians either

    It’s really puzzling to me, because it’s such a huge theme in the Bible, especially in the words of Jesus. But then, I guess it’s not so puzzling, because I don’t think a lot of the modern church is really about Jesus or God at all. Pastors can get away with these anti-servanthood messages, whether New Calvinism or propesrity gospel or fundamentalism, because what people want from church is not to follow God, but feel like they are part of a group and special.

    But it does seem like it should be a message heard a bit more often than it is…

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  4. Beakerj: Humble servanthood is not something I associate with very many Christian settings at all. I feel we rarely see it in the area of theology/theologians either, if you consider the attitude & actions of some of those highlighted here whose insistence is always on ‘believe this or else’.

    An overlord structure – where the pulpit exerts a heavy-handed authority over the pew – was never in the divine plan. Church leaders who practice it do so illegitimately. Ultimate authority rests only in Christ, but He has almost no authority among many groups who are called by His precious name. His influence is becoming less and less in our churches.

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  5. I greatly appreciated Wade’s piece but was puzzled by this: “I would propose that any portion of the body of Christ that is placing emphasis on male leadership to the exclusion of female leadership (or vice-versa) is void of the Spirit of God.”

    This is something of a strawperson argument (ha). For the life of me, I can’t think of a place in the church where the women have taken over and won’t let the men do anything anymore. I also don’t think women in the church want a lock on power.

    Yes, female authoritarianism would be just as un-Christlike as the male kind already is in many churches. However, we don’t need to fear a wild swing to the opposite extreme. The faces of danger to church patriarchy are Beth Moore and Rachael Denhollander. Do they show any signs—any signs at all—of trying to rule over the church?

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  6. Beth Moore obviously didn’t think much about the patriarchal authority she encountered at the SBC conference this week.

    Her tweet on the day she canceled her speaking engagement:
    “Herein is liberty: y’all can have it. Just give me Jesus.”

    This morning’s tweet:
    “Southern Baptists should have danced.”

    Read between the lines folks. Perhaps Ms. Moore is about to get honest with her convictions about the role of women in the Body of Christ and stop playing the comp game with LifeWay and the overlord structure at SBC.

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  7. Max: Beth Moore obviously didn’t think much about the patriarchal authority she encountered at the SBC conference this week.

    They’re so over the top about the authority issue, though. I don’t understand why so many people have just accepted that.

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  8. Max: Read between the lines folks. Perhaps Ms. Moore is about to get honest with her convictions about the role of women in the Body of Christ and stop playing the comp game with LifeWay and the overlord structure at SBC.

    Not if it’s gonna’ compromise her cash-flow.
    She lives a fabulous lifestyle that requires beaucoup bucks.
    She ain’t about to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

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  9. Beth Moore is a danger to the church but not because of her gender.

    Her teaching, as is the teaching of most of the SBC rock star ladies right now, is a deadly mix of mysticism and word of faith. I suppose if you want a female Hinn/Osteen/Guyon you might listen to her.

    Me, I would walk out if she stood to speak because of the CONTENT of her message.

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  10. ishy: I don’t understand why so many people have just accepted that.

    This is like so many other SBC issues that have come and gone. Mainline Southern Baptists (millions of them) don’t really give a big whoop about what goes on in the convention as long as you don’t mess with their monthly fellowship dinners. The New Calvinists have taken over their non-Calvinist denomination and the average Southern Baptist ain’t got a clue. They don’t get upset until they sense something is happening at their local church when a young reformer gets control of the pulpit and begins to implement changes in church structure (from congregational to elder governance) and alters the default theology from whomsoever-will-may-come to predestination/elect mumbo-jumbo … by then, it’s too late.

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  11. ishy: They’re so over the top about the authority issue, though. I don’t understand why so many people have just accepted that.

    It’s the fear of the thin end of the wedge. Let women do one little thing, like choose their own hemlines, and all of a sudden “the women are taking over.”

    What would happen if the SBC simply stopped expelling congregations that ordained women, as a few did in living memory? Would the SBC grow or shrink? How many churches would actually go ahead and ordain women?

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  12. K.D.: Amen! Trouble is, how many other Baptists feel this way?

    Heck, the average Southern Baptist has become so accustomed to doing church without God, living without depending on Jesus, and grieving/quenching the Holy Spirit over the years that they don’t feel anything. I provide this perspective after a 70-year tenure in SBC ranks. Southern Baptists in general are a religious people but spiritually destitute … they are in desperate need of a revival and spiritual awakening, but I don’t see much movement in that direction. There are exceptions to this, of course … there has always been the Church within the church, a remnant which carries a burden over the condition of the church and intercedes for God to move on it. May they prevail in the days ahead. God can’t deploy the SBC in its current condition – men are abusing it, but God is not using it.

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  13. Friend: It’s the fear of the thin end of the wedge. Let women do one little thing, like choose their own hemlines, and all of a sudden “the women are taking over.”

    It’s way more than women, though. The church covenants, the TGC articles on why pastors/elders should be the only authority, the “trust the elders” comments, even to John Macarthur’s, “It’s none of your business” response to whether or not students might not graduate from an accredited school. They don’t hide their obsession with being in charge at all or that they think that everybody else should just accept that without question.

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  14. Friend,

    “Thin end of a wedge.”

    Are you saying the following: Hyperextreme standards being used as part of an abusers’ control mechanism, they fear losing total control, the reaction being extreme in the opposite reaction? They see the reaction in the way they process things?

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  15. Brian: They see the reaction in the way they process things?

    Current patriarchs preach and enforce absolute “Biblical” commitment to making women submit. If they let up a little, they will confuse and anger people: “But I was always taught…”

    Some Catholics were upset when the Roman Catholic Church started to let them eat meat on Fridays. Imagine the feelings of betrayal and outrage when your neighborhood mega lets a woman preach a sermon.

    Does that make sense? Do you see it differently?

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  16. “A preoccupation and fixation on authority (whether it be conservative patriarchalism or liberal feminism)”

    Do not agree with equating feminism with patriarchalism. Patriarchy is thousands of years old, Feminism less than 150 years old. When has a feminist had the power or authority to exclude men from anything?

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  17. linda: Her teaching, as is the teaching of most of the SBC rock star ladies right now, is a deadly mix of mysticism and word of faith. I suppose if you want a female Hinn/Osteen/Guyon you might listen to her.

    It’s one thing to level charges, and quite another to make them stick.
    Can you offer any specifics on how Moore’s books and teachings are deadly?
    Or it is simply because she may not believe in lockstep as you believe?

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  18. ishy…the “trust the elders” comments…They don’t hide their obsession with being in charge at all or that they think that everybody else should just accept that without question.

    It can very quickly become bad parody. At the neocalvinist church I attended, there was a young guy, maybe 24, 25 (a few years the other side of dropping out of college), who was made an elder by the head pastor. Young guy was in charge of music. It was definitely not because he was gifted. Anyway, he led up the worship team and whenever anyone came to him with a suggestion for a song, he told them to “trust me.” A guy on the elder team kept telling me he’d take no suggestions, just order the team to play whatever he wanted—evidently believed he’d been anointed by God to make all decisions for all songs sung in that church, and anyone who made a suggestion was coming against God Himself.

    One young fellow, the guitarist, evidently didn’t get the memo or was too far out of the loop, and made too many such suggestions. So, one Sunday when we showed up there he was up on the stage all by himself. The drummer, synth player, singer, everyone on the usual team were sitting in the seats towards the front watching him. Evidently he was being punished, though we didn’t know it at the time. The kid wasn’t up to the task of trying to carry the whole thing by himself, and it was painful to watch. After the church service he broke down in tears, where the pastor (whom I suspect was behind the scheme) hugged and “comforted” him.

    Aren’t neocalvinist power grabbers a delight?

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  19. linda:
    Beth Moore is a danger to the church but not because of her gender.

    Her teaching, as is the teaching of most of the SBC rock star ladies right now, is a deadly mix of mysticism and word of faith.I suppose if you want a female Hinn/Osteen/Guyon you might listen to her.

    Me, I would walk out if she stood to speak because of the CONTENT of her message.

    I don’t know jack about her message, and I sure don’t think highly of word of faith, having once regularly attended such a cult in my younger days (but, ahem, the types of cults I haven’t attended seems to be a shorter list than the types I have), but what sort of things has she said?

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  20. K.D.,

    Certainly, feel free to use my wit and wisdom … something like “As one dear old saint put it, Southern Baptists are a religious people but spiritually destitute.” Of course, that wasn’t always the case. God used Southern Baptists in a powerful way – they carried a denominational gifting of evangelism for 150 years before New Calvinism reared its head.

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  21. Law Prof: The kid wasn’t up to the task of trying to carry the whole thing by himself, and it was painful to watch. After the church service he broke down in tears, where the pastor (whom I suspect was behind the scheme) hugged and “comforted” him.

    That story makes my blood boil. I hope the young man was able to recover from such cold, cruel public humiliation.

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  22. Law Prof: Anyway, he led up the worship team and whenever anyone came to him with a suggestion for a song, he told them to “trust me.”

    And I assume these were all men? This is another myth that New Cals promise and don’t deliver. They make it seem like men are going to get every wish granted if they join the New Calvinists. But no, they are just peons who will likely get stuck under a very young kid who will make all decisions for them. Because the New Cal leaders are either very young men themselves or they know that very young men will say “Yes” to everything they want.

    Even in the home, many of the New Calvinist churches remove important decisions from the husband. You can’t change jobs, change churches, get married, have babies, etc etc without approval from the elders. At my old church, they require so many posts to their Facebook page each month, read-receipts to emails, and you are not allowed to miss church or small group without elder approval. It’s micromanaged to the limit.

    I’m in a group which is discussion a Desiring God article about how men are supposed to have all the glory and authority on earth, but for any man reading this who thought that was true, let me tell you–you are just a dumb sheep to these leaders, and they don’t think of you much higher than they think of women. You’re a pair of hands and a bank account to supply their needs.

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  23. law prof–I gave up her stuff several years ago but a slight dab would have you thinking that God “speaks” to her in a way He does not apparently to the rest of us, and that what she gets in those sessions is to be accepted in the same way the Bible is accepted. And her constant “I’ve suffered more than anybody else” or “worked harder” or whatever rings of cultishness. But the basic idea of her stuff is that we never have to settle for the tough times in life but if we have enough faith we can make the tough go away. Add in healthy doses of mystical prayer and at times she seems unbalanced. Did God tell her to pay for a stranger’s gas (behind her in line at the station?) Perhaps. Or perhaps her OCD or something kicked in. All I know is I stopped–make that vocally refused–to go through anymore of her studies. Smacked too much of setting us all up as losers who never do enough for God never can do enough for God and then voila! poof! just give more do more have more emotional experiences and you can be happy too—until the next course comes out and tells us we don’t do enough. And it might be sin on my part but I absolutely refuse teachers that tend to phrase things with a sort of (not direct quote!) “Why do we always….” or “Why doesn’t the church ever….” or “People would accept Jesus if the church would just….” It is a variation of the old no win “When did you stop beating your wife” question. If folks want a teacher that in the guise of making them feel good about themselves will reallllllllyyyyyyy make you feel bad about yourself first she’s aces. If you want rock solid Bible based teaching she’s not your gal. Even if you are not Calvie Henrietta Mears could teach circles around her.

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  24. Becky, before I can converse with you pray tell me why you assume I believe in “lockstep” as you put it?

    Women can be excellent teachers, but just because they are female does not somehow anoint them as worth listening to.

    You can see my answer to law prof, or you can read her books for yourself. Get Out of That Pit was not all that bad. The stuff that followed got ever more wrapped up in her and her prayer sessions and what God has personally told her. You get the same teachings from Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, etc. New Thought is not most definitely not orthodox Christianity in any flavor.

    We can converse only if you stop lobbing hate bombs.

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  25. linda,

    “Her teaching, as is the teaching of most of the SBC rock star ladies right now, is a deadly mix of mysticism and word of faith.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    mysticism… quite a scary word in christian culture.

    can you qualify how you define mysticism, and what about her teaching has to do with it?

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  26. Friend: That story makes my blood boil. I hope the young man was able to recover from such cold, cruel public humiliation.

    I don’t know, he moved away not long after. He’d come from far off to be part of this “exciting work the Lord was doing,” and did this poor kid get a lesson in just how much of a fraud those claims often are. Within months he was gone. We left before he did. Others left after us. Within another year or two the church was whittled down to basically a Bible study-sized little group and had to move out of their building. And then it completely disbanded and the former leaders were scattered to other churches, where some of them turned on each other. Many did the same as us, leaving church altogether. Some left the faith entirely (assuming they ever had any to begin with).

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  27. ishy: And I assume these were all men? This is another myth that New Cals promise and don’t deliver. They make it seem like men are going to get every wish granted if they join the New Calvinists. But no, they are just peons who will likely get stuck under a very young kid who will make all decisions for them. Because the New Cal leaders are either very young men themselves or they know that very young men will say “Yes” to everything they want.

    Even in the home, many of the New Calvinist churches remove important decisions from the husband. You can’t change jobs, change churches, get married, have babies, etc etc without approval from the elders. At my old church, they require so many posts to their Facebook page each month, read-receipts to emails, and you are not allowed to miss church or small group without elder approval. It’s micromanaged to the limit.

    I’m in a group which is discussion a Desiring God article about how men are supposed to have all the glory and authority on earth, but for any man reading this who thought that was true, let me tell you–you are just a dumb sheep to these leaders, and they don’t think of you much higher than they think of women. You’re a pair of hands and a bank account to supply their needs.

    Of course all men. Women like my wife and other women who loved Jesus and had known him before these young male leaders were born were completely marginalized. The 20-something wives of the 20-something “elders” were very into their little cliques and brushed my wife and the middle-aged women aside like they were ridiculous old fools. So far as I could tell, they never listened to a word an older woman had to say except to smirk at it.

    Our future son-in-law decided to move to a different city. He was invited to a going away blessing/prayer meeting by the 20-something elders and the 40 year old pastor. There were a half dozen of them, and after arriving and greeting his brothers they immediately started shouting at him, taking their turns attacking him for his ungodliness at not clearing his decision to move with his elders yet (even though the elders were his age, and in some cases younger). They brought up deep secrets he’d told in strict confidence to try and humiliate him into submitting to them. He told us he couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

    This was when our final break with the church occurred, and when I got so angry at what they’d done I blew the top off of the whole church, named names, went public with it all. And then there was the meeting where the pastor and right hand man came to our house to teach me a lesson, thought they were going to shout me into submission in front of my family. But I was ready for them this time, had done research, knew things about them that they had no idea anyone knew—turned the tables on them Big Time. They started off trying to double team me and I just went off on them. They left with their tails between their legs about 45 minutes later, sprinting out the door. One of the most satisfying moments of my life.

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  28. Law Prof,

    “Our future son-in-law decided to move to a different city….they immediately started shouting at him, taking their turns attacking him for his ungodliness at not clearing his decision to move with his elders yet

    …deep secrets he’d told in strict confidence to try and humiliate him into submitting to them

    …I got so angry at what they’d done I blew the top off of the whole church, named names, went public with it all.
    …And then there was the meeting …our house to teach me a lesson, t
    …But I was ready for them this time,
    …turned the tables on them Big Time.
    …They left with their tails between their legs about 45 minutes later, sprinting out the door. One of the most satisfying moments of my life.”
    +++++++++++++

    wow! what a story! this could be a movie!

    what a sick bunch of human beings (them, of course)

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  29. Law Prof: going away blessing/prayer meeting by the 20-something elders and the 40 year old pastor. There were a half dozen of them, and after arriving and greeting his brothers they immediately started shouting at hi

    I’ve heard about this sort of thing over and over now, and I never can fathom it any better than the last time…

    The only thing I can say is that I’m glad all of you got out.

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  30. ishy: You can’t change jobs, change churches, get married, have babies, etc etc without approval from the elders. At my old church, they require so many posts to their Facebook page each month, read-receipts to emails, and you are not allowed to miss church or small group without elder approval.

    Appalling. And who has the time to enforce all of that?

    For awhile I attended a church with reusable name tags. They were optional, and after worship we could leave them in a basket. The next Sunday, it took a moment to find our own name tags in the basket. Why not put them in A-Z order on a bulletin board? The church did not want people to think they were monitoring attendance.

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  31. Brian: What I was looking at were Chandler and JMac, how they react to things.

    Guys like that are already 1000% right. Changing their minds or learning something new would threaten the hold they have on others. Everybody appeases them to avoid getting screamed at.

    People are attracted to leaders who have all the answers. It’s sad that so many loving Christians get sucked in, and accidentally add to the illusion of health in toxic churches.

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  32. Church directory of The Gospel Coalition:

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/church/grace-family-baptist-church/

    Grace Family Baptist Church Houston

    “GFBC has a plurality of elders that lead and provide spiritual oversight to its members. GFBC is committed to functioning with a plurality of elders…Our current elders are Stephen Bratton and Aaron Wright….Theologically, GFBC is a reformed church holding to the 5 Solas…Our primary confession of faith is the London Baptist Confession of 1689. This church also operates with a Family Integrated model. This means that our families worship together and we do not have any systematic age segregation.”

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  33. ishy,

    My therapist calls this “stealing your security.” It’s I can find you, I can get at you any time you want. They’re using the same tactics that abusive husbands and boyfriends use when trying to keep wives and girlfriends inline, letting them know they’ll never get away.

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  34. and an associate of Voddie Baucham!

    https://web.archive.org/web/20151101182132/http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/topics-and-issues/heading-zambia/

    “During the Semi-Annual business meeting on November 5, 2014, the GfBC Elders announced that Dr. Voddie Baucham will be moving his family to Zambia in the fall of 2015…’In 2007, I traveled to Zambia to preach at the Zambia Reformed Family Conference…This past summer, I returned to Zambia with my wife and our seven youngest children. It was then that Bridget sensed God’s call as well. Subsequently, we began to discuss the matter with my fellow elder, Stephen Bratton and two key Zambian leaders, Conrad Mbewe and Ronald Kalifungwa…”

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  35. Jerome: Pastor affiliated with Tom Ascol’s ‘Founders’ faction of Southern Baptists arrested yesterday for molesting a relative.

    Tom Chantry was also a favorite of SBC’s Founders Ministries (a group of classical Calvinists who have been on a “Quiet Revolution” for decades to take the predominantly non-Calvinist SBC back to its pre-Civil War theological roots). Seems that some of them can’t keep their pants on, not that this is a a problem with a particular theological persuasion. The problem is that there are “pastors” in SBC pulpits who should not be there! Something needs to be done (besides a speech or a resolution at an annual SBC meeting) to scare the Hell out of them!

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  36. Jerome,

    Has Voddie played “protect the pedophile” in the past?

    My church is doing a Bible study course using the book, “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” by Dennis Rainey. Matt Chandler and Voddie Baucham are contributors.

    It seems a little out of step for my church.

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  37. Law Prof: They brought up deep secrets he’d told in strict confidence to try and humiliate him into submitting to them.

    I’ve seen that done to control people, too. It’s a big part of the “manhood” programs- they make it sound spiritual to “be accountable” and confess your weaknesses and sins to the group. Do not do it!! Anything you say will be noted and it can and will be used against you. Let someone earn your trust through shared experiences over ample time before trusting your heart to them.

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  38. Brian: My church is doing a Bible study course using the book, “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” by Dennis Rainey. Matt Chandler and Voddie Baucham are contributors.

    It seems a little out of step for my church.

    Ugh. Sorry to hear that. It may have been out of step for them but your church now has a little leaven circulating among the men and you know what that leads to. Good luck.

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  39. Brian: My church is doing a Bible study course using the book, “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” by Dennis Rainey. Matt Chandler and Voddie Baucham are contributors. It seems a little out of step for my church.

    Could be that someone in the teaching ministry at your church has been influenced by New Calvinism, and/or enamored with New Calvinist icons. Is your pastor “reformed”?

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  40. Brian: Has Voddie played “protect the pedophile” in the past?

    Here’s a taste of Voddie’s beliefs about children: https://homeschoolersanonymous.org/2015/01/12/transcript-of-voddie-bauchams-child-training-sermon-at-hardin-baptist-church/

    “… when it was small, we laughed about it. It was cute. ‘Oh aren’t they cute at that age?’ No, that’s a viper in a diaper and you better get it under control. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. But if we ignore it at that age, it grows up. And then we’re mad at them for being what we’ve taught them to be. Amen, right? And we can’t stand them. We just can’t stand them.” …

    “…if I tell my child to do something and my child doesn’t do it, not only has my child just disobeyed me, my child has directly violated Scripture. … They’ve sinned. They’ve violated the clear teaching of Scripture if they don’t do what I’ve told them to do.

    “By the way, if I tell them to do something and they don’t do it when I tell them to do it? That’s delayed disobedience and the technical Greek word for delayed disobedience is disobedience. … If I tolerate that, I’m tolerating sin. If I tolerate sin, I’m teaching my child that sin is ok.” …

    “God says your children desperately, desperately need to be spanked.

    “Amen, hallelujah, praise the Lord! — and spank your kids, okay?

    “They desperately need to be spanked. And they need to be spanked often. They do. I meet people all the time, you know, and they say, ‘Oh yeah, I can think of maybe 4 or 5 times I’ve ever had to spank Junior.’ Really? That’s unfortunate, because unless you raised Jesus the Second, there were days when Junior needed to be spanked 5 times before breakfast. If you only spanked your child 5 times, then that means almost every time they disobeyed you, you let it go. And almost every time they dishonored you, you let it go.

    “When they were 2 and you said, ‘Come here,’ and they said ‘No,’ — you should have worn them out.”

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  41. SiteSeer: I’ve seen that done to control people, too. It’s a big part of the “manhood” programs- they make it sound spiritual to “be accountable” and confess your weaknesses and sins to the group. Do not do it!! Anything you say will be noted and it can and will be used against you. Let someone earn your trust through shared experiences over ample time before trusting your heart to them.

    I’ve learned that also. Learned never to tell secrets to anyone but a true friend who’s withstood the test of time, who I know very, very well. Those manufactured friends from churches that are thrown together with small groups that “do life together” do not count. Those are not time-tested friends. They might be true friends, they might be fair weather friends, and they might be absolute monsters, you just don’t know.

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  42. Friend:People are attracted to leaders who have all the answers. It’s sad that so many loving Christians get sucked in, and accidentally add to the illusion of health in toxic churches.

    Some people will not believe you unless you lie to them. They want to believe in the impossible, they think that they’re really special, that they deserve to be in the trendiest church in town, that there are great men out there who truly have all the answers, and by gosh they deserve to have those great men leading their church—they want an experience, they want 52 life-changing messages a year. They don’t want anything so prosaic as the model laid out in the New Testament with people submitting one to another, no great men or women, just people checking and balancing each other, with the great leaders being the lowly ones who just served others and had no great flashy tear-jerking words to say with the faux humble “preacher voice.” They’re just too special for the simple Christian life, the real one. Naturally, there are always snakes out there willing to give them what they crave. There always have been.

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  43. Brian,

    Friend,

    Baucham huh?

    You seem like a smart and level headed guy Brian, and if you’ve read Friend’s comment with sources, you have your answer.

    You might wanna’ make your church resource people aware of the sick and twisted stuff Baucham espouses.

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  44. Law Prof: Anyway, he led up the worship team and whenever anyone came to him with a suggestion for a song, he told them to “trust me.”

    Sounds like Ross Perot in ’92:
    “Just Trust Me” when anyone tried to pin him down on anything.

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  45. Brian: My church is doing a Bible study course using the book, “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” by Dennis Rainey. Matt Chandler and Voddie Baucham are contributors.

    You should have your church watch this short clip of Baucham: https://youtu.be/deQWcXYsu1M. I don’t know which is worse, what he said or the applause he got for saying it. Calling babies “vipers in diapers” is deplorable.

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  46. Jerome,

    “Bratton is a signatory of the Nashville Statement as well as last year’s Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    so, adhering to cruel principle over people factors in to what’s behind his choices and conduct.

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  47. Brian,

    “My church is doing a Bible study course using the book, “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” by Dennis Rainey. Matt Chandler and Voddie Baucham are contributors.

    It seems a little out of step for my church.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    there’s zero chance i’ll ever have opportunity to peruse this book (mostly because i’ll be keeping at least 20 yards between me and said book).

    what kinds of things are in the book, and what about it is a little out of step for your church?

    (as an alternative, your church could hire my 15 year old daughter to come and talk about courage and toughness)

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  48. Friend,

    Thank you Friend for that reply-I too was puzzled by the quote you mentioned. There is a structure that Paul described and he took as his example the picture of Christ (Bridegroom) and the Church (Bride) and then worked his way to the family. Frankly, I sometimes wonder if the blog strays too often from church abuse to an apologetic for an “egalitarian” approach to church governance. Just as some believe the gifts died out vs. those who believe in present-day miracles, tongues, etc. These issues are debatable. As I have stated before, abuse happens in complementarian and egalitarian church structures. I fear some Christian brothers and sisters may be alienated by “complementarianism” taking a large portion of the blame for “bad” actors. Let each person be firmly convicted by Scripture and Conscience-not by shaming another comrades position. Besides, I dislike labels; these positions are much too nuanced and fluid.

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  49. Lance,

    “Frankly, I sometimes wonder if the blog strays too often from church abuse to an apologetic for an “egalitarian” approach to church governance. Just as some believe the gifts died out vs. those who believe in present-day miracles, tongues, etc. These issues are debatable.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    yes, they are debatable.

    this is how i see it:

    if an issue is debatable, and if the choice is between restricting the freedom of others and remaining undecided….

    if the choice if between limiting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of others and remaining undecided…

    why feel compelled to decide?
    —————————

    “I fear some Christian brothers and sisters may be alienated by “complementarianism” taking a large portion of the blame for “bad” actors.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    any ideology that subjugates one people group to another people group can’t help but be the source of bad actors.

    “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Toward Justice”–Martin Luther King

    i do believe that comp brothers and sisters will be increasingly alienated from the comp ideology solely because of the ideology. it simply won’t endure. it began to fall apart long ago. it’s flaking away faster now.

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  50. The SBC just elected its first woman officer in a generation (Kathy Litton defeated incumbent Registration Secretary Don Currence). Those with a memory before the Conservative Resurgence recall a number of women being nominated and elected SBC officers. The last elected (nearly four decades ago!) was Vice President Christine Gregory.

    The first was nominated almost a century ago: Billie Evelyn Turner Dawson was nearly elected Convention Vice President in 1923. The Dawson Award presented by the SBC Ministers Wives is named for her. See my thread over at the Baptist Board which details Dawson’s [apparently forgotten] pulpit ministry (on Sundays, before men):

    https://www.baptistboard.com/threads/sbc-elects-first-woman-to-a-convention-office-in-a-generation.112374/

    That’s right, the model SBC pastor’s wife was a better preacher than her husband!

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  51. The SBC Registration Secretary has a seat on the new “standing committee to make inquiries and recommendations for action regarding instances of sexual abuse, racism or other issues that call a church’s relationship with the SBC into question”:

    http://www.bpnews.net/53084/southern-baptists-affirm-stances-on-sex-abuse-racism

    “The Credentials Committee will consist of nine members: the chairman of the Executive Committee; the SBC registration secretary; three members nominated by the Executive Committee; and four members nominated by the SBC Committee on Nominations.”

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  52. Jerome: The SBC just elected its first woman officer in a generation (Kathy Litton defeated incumbent Registration Secretary Don Currence).

    All for show folks. With all the bad press about subordination (spiritual abuse) of female believers, the powers that be decided it was time to elect a token woman to an SBC office, to make the SBC appear more friendly to wimmenfolk. Some of the Wartburgers may recall that I “prophesied” this would happen in a blog thread several weeks ago. Don’t fall for it. Besides, the registration “secretary” position is a rather innocuous office – she won’t threaten the ole boy’s death grip on the denomination.

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  53. Jerome: the model SBC pastor’s wife was a better preacher than her husband

    That’s actually the case in many SBC churches. It’s common knowledge in SBC life that most pastor wives are more spiritual than their husbands. Problem is they won’t turn them loose to preach/teach from the pulpit. If it weren’t for godly women ministering behind the scenes, many SBC churches would have closed their doors a long time ago.

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  54. Jacque Truitt: Most do nothing to understand what has happened in the last 30 + years.

    Along the way, many Southern Baptists left their first love. When you do that, a spirit of discernment goes with it. Thus, the average Southern Baptist does not realize what is happening to the denomination, as the new reformers progressively Calvinize the SBC. New Calvinist leaders (Mohler et al.) knew folks in the pew would be an easy target because they have no eyes to see nor ears to hear what the Mohlerites are doing to the church.

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  55. Jacque Truitt: Most do nothing to understand what has happened in the last 30 + years.

    Some say the pew is simply uninformed or misinformed about the new reformation, but I say most Southern Baptists are willingly ignorant. However, I lay most of the blame at the feet of the 45,000+ traditional (non-Calvinist) SBC pastors who know exactly what is going on! They should have been having “family talks” about the theological shift in belief and practice, but decided to remain silent to preserve denominational unity (and their retirement annuities).

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  56. Lance: abuse happens in complementarian and egalitarian church structures. I fear some Christian brothers and sisters may be alienated by “complementarianism” taking a large portion of the blame for “bad” actors.

    Thanks for your courteous reply. You seem to think bad people give complementarianism a bad name. Do you see merit in the comp movement? Are you just saying it’s fine for men to work while women stay home with the children? Something else?

    Abuse does happen in some egalitarian churches. However, the comp model is designed to be unjust in American legal terms, and arguably under simple Scriptural interpretation (Eve missed the training class). It sets out to waste half of the talent pool.

    Labels do take away nuance. Complementarians slap that label on themselves, though, producing reams of rules, pounded into place with clobber verses. In their framework, egalitarianism is Sin. I don’t think egalitarianism is an equivalent movement; am I wrong? To me it’s more a way of living drawn from the New Testament and the U.S. Constitution.

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  57. Brian,

    Brian, it’s Sunday morning, church day, and I have been praying for you since yesterday evening. Several of us reacted strongly to the idea of Voddie B. as a co-author of a book your church is using.

    I just want to send you my love as a sister in Christ. You give so much to this lively group of voices on TWW. I trust you to decide what, if anything, you will do about your church’s use of the Rainey book.

    You are precious. You matter far more than any one action or decision.

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  58. Friend: I don’t think egalitarianism is an equivalent movement; am I wrong?

    Unlike the complementarian movement, there are no bad-boy/bad-girl egalitarian leaders demanding their way or the highway, no movement of young whippersnappers twisting Scripture to sell congregations on the “beauty of egalitarity”, no flood of books and conferences on Biblical manhood/womanhood from the egalitarian perspective, no subordination of believers by gender, no feeling of oppression when anyone enters a house of worship, no diminishing of spiritual gifts given to any believer, no demand to submit to illegitimate authority because you have the wrong plumbing. Yep, the comp movement deserves all the grief and criticism it is getting. It just ain’t right for U.S. citizens or Kingdom citizens.

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  59. Brian: “stealing your security”

    If you let someone’s weakness control your strength, they own you. Pray that God will give you wisdom to sort out truth from error in what you are exposed to in church and the strength to overcome wayward ministers and ministries. I prayed for you just now, Brian. No one can ever steal your security in Christ.

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  60. Max: Unlike the complementarian movement, there are no bad-boy/bad-girl egalitarian leaders demanding their way or the highway, no movement of young whippersnappers twisting Scripture to sell congregations on the “beauty of egalitarity”, no flood of books and conferences on Biblical manhood/womanhood from the egalitarian perspective, no subordination of believers by gender, no feeling of oppression when anyone enters a house of worship, no diminishing of spiritual gifts given to any believer, no demand to submit to illegitimate authority because you have the wrong plumbing

    Properly, the movements are patriarchal, not just complementarian. They use complementarian to sound like they aren’t patriarchal, and not only to define marriage relationships, but the relationships of pastors to the church and themselves to “peons”.

    There’s a wide range of beliefs here, and people who are turned away from these blogs probably do so because their pastors told them any outside belief is bad, not just the ones here. Someone really seeking and thoughtful isn’t going to turn away, even though they may have some conflict of interest.

    And a little personal experience here–the way many men have treated me as a female throughout Christian college, SBC seminary, and in SBC and evangelical churches has often been distasteful to downright atrocious. This idea that complementarianism treats women equally but different is patently false. I’ve been sexually assaulted, stalked multiple times, harassed, physically backed into corners, continually interrupted, lectured and treated with contempt by many of the men who say they believe in complementarianism. That does happen in secular settings, but at a much, much less level.

    These guys aren’t championing equal but different treatment of women, but that women don’t deserve to be treated with basic human dignity. They also have made these “separate roles” to include all the stuff men just don’t want to do like grownup adults. Clean up after all my messes. Handle my emotional loads but don’t show any emotions of your own.

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  61. Friend,

    I think Wade was saying that this authoritarian structure is wrong, no matter who does it. As for women, I would not be surprised to find church within the ranks of, let’s say, the Episcopal church or the holiness movement churches in which a woman has created a nasty authoritarian subculture.

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  62. dee: I think Wade was saying that this authoritarian structure is wrong, no matter who does it.

    I certainly agree with that, and would add that people can either create or inherit authoritarian subcultures.

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  63. dee: As for women, I would not be surprised to find church within the ranks of, let’s say, the Episcopal church or the holiness movement churches in which a woman has created a nasty authoritarian subculture.

    Bingo big time.
    There are ‘progressive’ woman led enclaves out there that are just as Orwellian as any macho ruled neo-cal outfit.

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  64. Friend,

    Anyone that brutal towards tiny children should immediately be dismissed as worthy of being listened to. Where is the Spirit of Christ in that? Is that how Jesus treats us? It makes me so angry to read that stuff.

    SO much of childhood ‘disobedience’ is just developmental behaviours & there are much better & more intelligent ways of dealing with your child’s ‘defiance’.I’ve read quite a lot recently from those who were brought up that way & it leaves them with PTSD, serious anxiety & boundary issues amounting to being pre-groomed for abusers. I don’t want anyone, but especially Brian around those who are that harsh. Love is gentle.

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  65. Brian: My church is doing a Bible study course using the book, “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood”

    Brian, my church used the video series of Stepping Up several years ago. It was in the early stages of the process toward calvinism/complementarianism/male-only elder rule/change the by-laws. After about three years, that effort more or less failed, but it’s coming around again because after all it’s a very conservative church. A lot of other like-minded churches have gone this route, and it’s hard to do otherwise when your peer group is doing it.

    There will be other books, and videos. Take notes, ask questions, and pray.

    I agree with Max that the average person in the pew has no idea what’s going on within evangelicalism, has no idea how much Al Mohler and his conservative resurgence of the SBC has affected churches, even non-SBC churches.

    I view this movement as comparable to the dispensationalist movement of the 20th century. It has a lot of momentum.

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  66. Friend,

    Friend: “They desperately need to be spanked. And they need to be spanked often. They do. I meet people all the time, you know, and they say, ‘Oh yeah, I can think of maybe 4 or 5 times I’ve ever had to spank Junior.’ Really? That’s unfortunate, because unless you raised Jesus the Second, there were days when Junior needed to be spanked 5 times before breakfast.

    This turns my stomach, and is the kind of thinking that gave us Tom Chantry. We were in the homeschool movement, just before the spanking movement took such a drastic turn. We believed in spanking, but seriously, I doubt that we spanked any of our 5 more than 5 times. Much as I love ’em, none would be mistaken for Jesus the Second, but seriously . . . he must be raising Satan the Second.

    This ugly and destructive spanking movement has parents spanking for nearly every imperfection, as if unaware that they are in the process of taking very immature and imperfect people from infancy to adulthood. If I had it to do again, I am not sure I would spank at all; it just didn’t seem that big of an issue, as it was so rarely needed. However we were influenced by the whole bigger authority issue, which is as flawed as the authoritarianism in the church. I am thankful for a book I came across when my oldest was an infant, written by Elizabeth Eliott’s grandfather, Henry Clay Trumball, ‘Hints on Child Training’. He points out the most important aspect of our humanity, which is our individual will, which a parent should never overstep. Most of these spanking advocates seem to teach ‘breaking the will’, which is the most destructive thing a parent could ever do, and is at the heart of most abuse.

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  67. TS00: he must be raising Satan the Second.

    No. He is modelled on his father; the father of lies. It has nothing to do with the good of the hypothetical child, and everything to do with his own twisted hate, and his desire to steal, kill and destroy.

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  68. Beakerj: Anyone that brutal towards tiny children should immediately be dismissed as worthy of being listened to.

    I think we’re probably barking up the same tree here, but I’d replace your phrase “dismissed as worthy of being listened to” with the word “arrested”.

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  69. Lance:
    Friend,

    Thank you Friend for that reply-I too was puzzled by the quote you mentioned. There is a structure that Paul described and he took as his example the picture of Christ (Bridegroom) and the Church (Bride) and then worked his way to the family. Frankly, I sometimes wonder if the blog strays too often from church abuse to an apologetic for an “egalitarian” approach to church governance. Just as some believe the gifts died out vs. those who believe in present-day miracles, tongues, etc. These issues are debatable. As I have stated before, abuse happens in complementarian and egalitarian church structures. I fear some Christian brothers and sisters may be alienated by “complementarianism” taking a large portion of the blame for“bad” actors. Let each person be firmly convicted by Scripture and Conscience-not by shaming another comrades position. Besides, I dislike labels; these positions are much too nuanced and fluid.

    I’ve been in complementarian and egalitarian church structures, having served on staff and/or being part of the elder team in both. I guess I know what I’m talking about, having experienced it personally. I’m puzzled by you, because if you want to try to compare the abuse between the two structures, you are barking up the wrong tree, the abuse in complementarian systems absolutely dwarfs the abuse in egalitarian. Not even close. Not by a million miles. I dare say you have no earthly clue what you’re talking about.

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  70. TS00:
    FriendMost of these spanking advocates seem to teach ‘breaking the will’, which is the most destructive thing a parent could ever do, and is at the heart of most abuse.

    I have whopped my kids’ butts, and will continue to, and I have nine kids, and I will bow to no one’s expertise on child-rearing ever. I will never apologize for that and will cite biblical mandates which I do not believe anyone can rationalize away. But, you’re right here, anyone who speaks of breaking a kid’s will is talking about taking away what makes them a unique creation of God. They have a will that God gave them, and to break it is to try and break God’s creation. Thank the Lord that no one broke Martin Luther’s strong will! Thank the Lord than no one broke the Apostle Paul’s! Voddie and the Pearls are in my opinion absolute fools who’ll answer to Jesus for hurting His little ones.

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  71. Law Prof: But, you’re right here, anyone who speaks of breaking a kid’s will is talking about taking away what makes them a unique creation of God. They have a will that God gave them, and to break it is to try and break God’s creation.

    If one’s theology denies robust free will, it should be no surprise when it is abused like this. Why should one protect something they don’t really believe exists?

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  72. linda: We can converse only if you stop lobbing hate bombs.

    Hate bombs?

    Far be it from me.

    In fact those who know me, know that I am a live and let live person, who believes that folks are entitled to believe whatever floats their boat, so long as it doesn’t infringe on the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness practiced by others.

    Our belief systems do not have to be in complete agreement to have common ground, and I agree with you that, Hinn, Copeland, Meyer, Morris, and others are nothing more than grifters who hit the big time.

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  73. Ted: the average person in the pew has no idea what’s going on within evangelicalism, has no idea how much Al Mohler and his conservative resurgence of the SBC has affected churches, even non-SBC churches

    To the astute observer, SBC’s “Conservative Resurgence” was really a “Calvinist Resurgence” in disguise. It faked enough Southern Baptists out long enough for Mohler and his band of New Calvinists to gain a firm foothold in SBC life and beyond. If the average Southern Baptist doesn’t see that now, they never will.

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  74. TS00: If I had it to do again, I am not sure I would spank at all; it just didn’t seem that big of an issue, as it was so rarely needed.

    Half of the children in two generations of my extended family are adopted under varied circumstances, and we all live in states where it is illegal for parents to use corporal punishment on adopted children. Parents with a combination of adopted and biological children often don’t spank any of them: a double standard would be unwise.

    Some biological parents reject spanking on principle or what you suggest is a lack of need. Adoptive parents typically follow state law and find other ways to discipline.

    I don’t question anyone’s decisions about this, and only mention it as a little-known fact about adoption.

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  75. Max: With all the bad press about subordination (spiritual abuse) of female believers, the powers that be decided it was time to elect a token woman to an SBC office, to make the SBC appear more friendly to wimmenfolk.

    Knowing nothing about Kathy Litton, I was hoping she would represent incremental change. Not likely, eh?

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  76. Friend,

    well, let’s hope Kathy Litton will interrupt if necessary and say “I disagree”, “That is unwise”, “That is patently false”, and “No, that is morally wrong”.

    i hope she understands she is the voice of millions of women and girls.

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  77. ___

    “Thy Loving Kindness Is Better Than Life?”

    hmmm…

    How can I abandon faith in His abundant provisioning? —I have been covered with the blood of Jesus, the very cloak of God’s righteousness, the very satisfaction of the law of God, —the very soothing and relieving fragrant balm of the grace of God comforts me, the administration of His Holy Spirit guides me continually, my God has taken me up in the hollow of His hand, rendering my promised end, a good one.

    Selah!

    ATB

    Sòpy

    intermission:
    Thy Lovingkindness is Better Than Life O LORD! – Psalm 63
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wKx4guPISYU
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l2wAj44N6HI

    :~)§

    – –

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  78. ishy: Like that Word of Faith pastor who enslaved everyone? Whaley?

    Jane Whaley (shudder). I do think her history shows that women can be just as abusive as men. That’s not a kind of equality to strive for.

    In my view, women and men are equal in virtue, and in potential for corruption. People who are shut out of power might have a (temporary) moral advantage in perceiving injustice, so outsiders might excel at proposing reforms. However, gender does not make anybody a superior leader or a better person.

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  79. ishy: And a little personal experience here–the way many men have treated me as a female throughout Christian college, SBC seminary, and in SBC and evangelical churches has often been distasteful to downright atrocious. This idea that complementarianism treats women equally but different is patently false. I’ve been sexually assaulted, stalked multiple times, harassed, physically backed into corners, continually interrupted, lectured and treated with contempt by many of the men who say they believe in complementarianism.

    There are no words…I vacillated between anger and tears upon reading this. I’m so sorry that you were treated that way. How in the world can one who calls himself a Christian justify such hostility towards another?

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  80. Victorious: How in the world can one who calls himself a Christian justify such hostility towards another?

    But not calling it what it is, but calling it things like “a compliment”, “your duty as a woman to me”, and “God’s correction”. And most of the churches considered themselves “soft comp.”

    Sometimes the women in comp churches are just as bad. Pastors wives get supreme treatment, and manipulate others into kissing up to them. That can include expecting gifts. Pastor’s wife has a baby–you’re expected to show up to the shower with something nice. But don’t expect her to come to your baby shower, and it’s unlikely church people will be the ones putting it on for you. That’s what your family is for.

    I left behind the SBC and now that I’m in a mainline churches, I don’t have many of those experiences anymore. People that say that women aren’t treated badly in complementarian churches are lying to themselves.

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  81. Max: To the astute observer, SBC’s “Conservative Resurgence” was really a “Calvinist Resurgence” in disguise

    You’re right, Max, but this isn’t old-fashioned calvinism. The “new” calvinism’s battle cry is as much complementarianism, male-only elder rule as it is TULIP. And when they do talk a about God’s sovereignty it’s more in the line of our election, or lack of it. “Are you sure you’re saved? Once saved always saved, but are you sure you’re one of the elect? If your behavior doesn’t reflect Christ, you should consider that you’re not really saved.”

    I don’t see how the new-calvinists can sing “Blessed Assurance” or “It Is Well With My Soul.” They’re more intent on tearing down one’s assurance.

    I think it’s a baptist thing. I’ve been in a baptist church since 1992, but lately this movement has emerged almost out of nowhere. Baptists, who historically have been free-will “decision for Christ” types, don’t know what to do with the doctrine of election. So they hijack it, and use it as a weapon. And then they’ll proudly say that oh, yes, baptists have been historically reformed, look at Charles H. Spurgeon.

    Yeah, look at Spurgeon. But until the 21st century, who else ya got? And Spurgeon was over there in England. And a genius. He could get away with stuff.

    I’ve been attending a different church for the past year or so, a congregational church with a pastor who is ordained presbyterian. He calls himself a 5-point calvinist, but never once has he lorded this crap over anyone. He preaches good news and grace, and I don’t have to second-guess what he means by grace or good news. I think it’s because the presbyterians have had 500 years to sort the tulip thing out, and baptists treat it like a new toy.

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  82. Max: To the astute observer, SBC’s “Conservative Resurgence” was really a “Calvinist Resurgence” in disguise

    You’re right, Max, but this isn’t old-fashioned calvinism. The “new” calvinism’s battle cry is as much complementarianism, male-only elder rule as it is TULIP. And when they do talk a about God’s sovereignty it’s more in the line of our election, or lack of it. “Are you sure you’re saved? Once saved always saved, but are you sure you’re one of the elect? If your behavior doesn’t reflect Christ, you should consider that you’re not really saved.”

    I don’t see how the new-calvinists can sing “Blessed Assurance” or “It Is Well With My Soul.” They’re more intent on tearing down one’s assurance.

    I think it’s a baptist thing. I’ve been in a baptist church since 1992, but lately this movement has emerged almost out of nowhere. Baptists, who historically have been free-will “decision for Christ” types, don’t know what to do with the doctrine of election. So they hijack it, and use it as a weapon. And then they’ll proudly say that oh, yes, baptists have been historically reformed, look at Charles H. Spurgeon.

    Yeah, look at Spurgeon. But until the 21st century, who else ya got? And Spurgeon was over there in England. And a genius. He could get away with stuff.

    I’ve been attending a different church for the past year or so, a congregational church with a pastor who is ordained presbyterian. He calls himself a 5-point calvinist, but never once has he lorded this crap over anyone. He preaches good news and grace, and I don’t have to second-guess what he means by grace or good news. I think it’s because the presbyterians have had 500 years to sort the tulip thing out, and baptists treat it like a new toy.
    .

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  83. Ted: I don’t see how the new-calvinists can sing “Blessed Assurance” or “It Is Well With My Soul.” They’re more intent on tearing down one’s assurance.

    They don’t sing hymns anymore, they have all been replaced by “worship songs,” some of which are good, but many are shallow and vapid.

    I wish someone like Wade Burlson or Beth Moore would organize a Baptist resurgence, to take back the convention from those who now control it.

    Do these people who believe that woman cannot teach men, know the story of Billy Graham? If it wasn’t for Henrietta Mears, Evangelist, educator and author, Graham would have probably never became the greatest Christian Evangelist, since the Apostolic age.

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  84. Jarrett Edwards: They don’t sing hymns anymore, they have all been replaced by “worship songs,” some of which are good, but many are shallow and vapid.

    Yes, but I wouldn’t pin that on the new-calvinists; it’s all evangelicals.

    Some of the songs remind me of me talking to my cat: “Such a pretty puddy-tat you are, you are, such a pretty puddy-tat.”

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  85. Jarrett Edwards: Do these people who believe that woman cannot teach men, know the story of Billy Graham? If it wasn’t for Henrietta Mears, Evangelist, educator and author, Graham would have probably never became the greatest Christian Evangelist, since the Apostolic age.

    Tidbits like this could be the reason Franklin Graham is packing up the Graham archives from Wheaton and moving everything into his orbit. So nobody will ever know.

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  86. Bridget,

    While I would agree about Franklin. I don’t really remember BG being overly hostile to women teachers. His own daughter is one. Many people think he was because of the Billy Graham rule, but people fail to understand that the reasoning behind the rule, wasn’t about him or the women. It was designed because so many of the “Evangelists” at that time, had a very bad reputation for sexual morality. And, he knew that there were people in the press who would want to discredit him and would take a photograph, no matter how innocent, and twist it into something it wasn’t.

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  87. Jarrett Edwards: If it wasn’t for Henrietta Mears, Evangelist, educator and author, Graham would have probably never became the greatest Christian Evangelist, since the Apostolic age.

    Several Southern Baptist men were mentored into a deeper faith by Bertha Smith, missionary to China, when she was home on furlough.

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  88. Ted: this isn’t old-fashioned calvinism

    Oh no, New Calvinism is a totally different beast … arrogant, aggressive, militant. “Old” Calvinists are civil in their discourse and respectful of other expressions of faith. New Calvinists are radical know-it-alls, feeling they alone have a corner on the truth. A bunch of kids playing with the doctrines of men, worshiping dead guys and living icons. No Holy Spirit resting on the movement, they are running on their own energy.

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  89. Max: Several Southern Baptist men were mentored into a deeper faith by Bertha Smith, missionary to China, when she was home on furlough.

    Not to mention, the convention still raises millions every year in the name of Lottie Moon, who, gasp, actually preached to both sexes in China.

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  90. elastigirl,

    Law Prof,

    Law Prof,
    What comes first-bad actors utilizing authoritarian structures or authoritarian structures causing extreme behavior. Paul is clear about certain structures and harkens back to the beginning. There are certain scriptures that are not easily dismissed. Are we influenced by culture or do we try and read the Scriptures and obey to the best of our ability despite what culture tells us what is right and wrong? Just as the debate between Arminianism vs. Calvinism rages on. There are clearly Scriptures that point to both positions- a matter of interpretation? I have frankly tired of that debate anyways. I am no fan of strict Calvinism either and I am sure that there is more abuse in authoritarian structures. People twist Scriptures to fit their ideology. One other person stated that complementarianism will slowly die. That is ridiculous as you have committed believers who believe the Scriptures teach something differently. The issue is those who abuse power and prey on the weak. This blog tends to demonize a certain strain of Calvinism, which I agree upon, but I do not demonize “egalitarians” just because I do not agree with them. It is a matter of interpretation. I unite on the issue of clergy abuse. What would you say of denominations who have decided, in the spirit of egalitarianism, to have unmarried, but in-a-committed-relationship homosexual to lead their denomination or church. It is all OK and we should have no problem with this situation.

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  91. VANCE,

    “What comes first-bad actors utilizing authoritarian structures or authoritarian structures causing extreme behavior. Paul is clear about certain structures and harkens back to the beginning. There are certain scriptures that are not easily dismissed. Are we influenced by culture or do we try and read the Scriptures and obey to the best of our ability despite what culture tells us what is right and wrong?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If Paul was as clear as you describe, then we wouldn’t have the level of disagreement that exists.

    it seems like you’re saying any perspective on the bible that differs from yours is necessarily one that is compromised.

    when you say “culture”, what do you mean? is that everyone and everything outside of christianity?
    ——————

    “There are clearly Scriptures that point to both positions- a matter of interpretation? I have frankly tired of that debate anyways. ”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    doesn’t mean i am required to decide one way or another.

    what could possibly be wrong with focussing on “loving God and loving my neighbor as myself”, and leaving all talmud-like minutiae of rules alone?

    do we really see God as a pedant with a clipboard, checking off that all the t’s are crossed, the i’s dotted, and a bed is made tightly enough with hospital corners so that a quarter bounces off it?
    ——————————-

    “People twist Scriptures to fit their ideology. One other person stated that complementarianism will slowly die. That is ridiculous as you have committed believers who believe the Scriptures teach something differently. The issue is those who abuse power and prey on the weak. This blog tends to demonize a certain strain of Calvinism, which I agree upon, but I do not demonize “egalitarians” just because I do not agree with them. It is a matter of interpretation.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    as people go through life and encounter a wide variety of life experiences, their understanding on things shifts. it usually deepens where the most important things are concerned, and loosens on the less substantive things.

    people change their mind on what scripture teaches.

    yes, committed believers believe scripture teaches complementarianism / patriarchy. it matters not how much they ardently believe it. it will not survive. in fact, it has been observably losing critical mass for a long time. this is why:

    looking at human history, the trajectory is towards what is fair and equitable. towards what is life-giving to all human beings. towards what simply works.

    belief systems that take away freedoms from one people group (in this case, half the world) and give them to another people to control are unfair, inequitable, life-taking, and cruel. they suppress potential and productivity.

    just as the collective understanding continually expands on best practices of what gives life through nutrition, avoiding disease, medicine, farming, protecting flora and fauna, etc., it also expands on best practices of what is fair and equitable.

    things that are unfair and inequitable are life-taking, not life-giving.

    it is not demonizing comp/pat by pointing out that it is life-taking & cruel, any more than it is demonizing the notion of “eat clean steaks and avoid cancer” by pointing out that all the evidence simply points to the contrary.

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  92. TS00: Most of these spanking advocates seem to teach ‘breaking the will’, which is the most destructive thing a parent could ever do, and is at the heart of most abuse.

    You cannot surgically excise a child’s will from his being. Indeed, if you were able to remove a person’s will they would become a vegetable. But a misguided and foolish parent who tries to break their child’s will is going to, in actuality, be destroying their trust, their sense of security/justice/fairness, their conscience, their empathy, and if it is done young enough, as some begin this abuse on infants, they may very likely create a sociopath. Otherwise they will create a very damaged person who is at war with his own being.

    Doctrines of demons.

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  93. Ted: Yes, but I wouldn’t pin that on the new-calvinists; it’s all evangelicals.

    Some of the songs remind me of me talking to my cat: “Such a pretty puddy-tat you are, you are, such a pretty puddy-tat.”

    Excellent analogy.

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  94. A tweet from Danny Akins, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, following last week’s SBC annual convention:

    “Very thankful for the focus & spirit of this year’s SBC! United on the gospel United on world missions United on Church Planting United on inerrancy United on gender roles United on sin of racism United on evil of abuse United on prolife. May we move ahead together!”

    United on gender roles?!! These guys live in a bubble!! Yep, I would say that Dr. Akins is fixated on authority.

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  95. Ted: You’re right, Max, but this isn’t old-fashioned calvinism.The “new” calvinism’s battle cry is as much complementarianism, male-only elder rule as it is TULIP.And when they do talk a about God’s sovereignty it’s more in the line of our election, or lack of it.“Are you sure you’re saved?Once saved always saved, but are you sure you’re one of the elect?If your behavior doesn’t reflect Christ, you should consider that you’re not really saved.”

    I don’t see how the new-calvinists can sing “Blessed Assurance” or “It Is Well With My Soul.”They’re more intent on tearing down one’s assurance.

    I think it’s a baptist thing.I’ve been in a baptist church since 1992, but lately this movement has emerged almost out of nowhere.Baptists, who historically have been free-will “decision for Christ” types, don’t know what to do with the doctrine of election.So they hijack it, and use it as a weapon.And then they’ll proudly say that oh, yes, baptists have been historically reformed, look at Charles H. Spurgeon.

    Yeah, look at Spurgeon.But until the 21st century, who else ya got?And Spurgeon was over there in England.And a genius.He could get away with stuff.

    I’ve been attending a different church for the past year or so, a congregational church with a pastor who is ordained presbyterian.He calls himself a 5-point calvinist, but never once has he lorded this crap over anyone.He preaches good news and grace, and I don’t have to second-guess what he means by grace or good news.I think it’s because the presbyterians have had 500 years to sort the tulip thing out, and baptists treat it like a new toy.
    .

    I attend the SBC convention in Birmingham last week, J D Greear made two ( among others) interesting comments about soteriology that kind of caught me off guard.

    The first one was that he has found that when he went door to door to share the gospel, it was amazing how many of the elect could be identified. ( I am now kind of the opinion that J D may in fact be an Amyraldian 4 point Calvinist and not a 5 point) all though strict Cals hold to 5 point only, or the system breaks down, kind of like the pregnant analogy, you can’t be kinda pregnant.

    The two main themes of the convention was call out sexual abuse, and for southern baptist to get back to the gospel, ( Gospel above all, was the catch phrase used title this years meeting.)

    Second interesting comment came from a panel discussion regardless of rather you feel you were drafted ( read elected) or volunteered ( free will ) we are told to share our faith…

    The SBC would be in much better position if we keep the gospel above all.
    And fought non stop to remove so called pastors in the abuse war
    We will have to give up our autonomy of the local church, to kick out churches, but it is long overdue, and has to be done

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  96. ishy: It’s really puzzling to me, because it’s such a huge theme in the Bible, especially in the words of Jesus. But then, I guess it’s not so puzzling, because I don’t think a lot of the modern church is really about Jesus or God at all. Pastors can get away with these anti-servanthood messages, whether New Calvinism or propesrity gospel or fundamentalism, because what people want from church is not to follow God, but feel like they are part of a group and special.

    But it does seem like it should be a message heard a bit more often than it is…

    I get the tendency to enjoy the weeds of studying words and history and focusing on that over practical matters. Some people are more cerebral. But in actual sermonizing, they don’t feel cerebral? The articles I see from this crowd don’t follow basic logic, they don’t see the connections. I don’t know. I didn’t go to church for years because I found the sermons dumbed down and boring when I did go (along with boring music).

    And I’ve switched to a church that does have some intellectual heft, but they also have the service side of things and are working on it more. They at least preach love and servanthood, although people being people they don’t always live up to it. But they would be rejected by this crowd as ‘liberal’.

    The real question is what is really important. It doesn’t seem that intellect is important to this crowd, but instead, power. You can’t teach humility servanthood, etc, while also teaching power, at least not without a lot of orwellian speak.

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  97. Friend: What would happen if the SBC simply stopped expelling congregations that ordained women, as a few did in living memory? Would the SBC grow or shrink? How many churches would actually go ahead and ordain women?

    Good question! I got an update on a church I attended years ago (not sure if they’re actually SB though, maybe nondenominationaL?). They hired a new pastor who wanted to have a woman as a preacher, and it wasn’t in the bylaws and now they’ve run that guy off. But there is a bigger parent church and I don’t know how involved they were in it. I think alot of SBC that wanted to change went cooperative…

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  98. Lea: Good question! I got an update on a church I attended years ago (not sure if they’re actually SB though, maybe nondenominationaL?). They hired a new pastor who wanted to have a woman as a preacher, and it wasn’t in the bylaws and now they’ve run that guy off. But there is a bigger parent church and I don’t know how involved they were in it. I think alot of SBC that wanted to change went cooperative…

    If we look at this critically, ( which sometimes is hard to do)
    You are asking why doesn’t the SBC go mainline, so look at the main line denominations Methodist and Presbyterian who ordain women, they are shrinking and splitting at a greater rate the the SBC.
    Now the SBC share of the pie is shrinking also, but not at the rate of the mainline denominations

    All denominations are trying to figure out what to do as our society becomes more secular
    The nones now are larger than RCC or SBC

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  99. nmgirl:
    “A preoccupation and fixation on authority (whether it be conservative patriarchalism or liberal feminism)”

    Do not agree with equating feminism with patriarchalism.Patriarchy is thousands of years old, Feminism less than 150 years old.When has a feminist had the power or authority to exclude men from anything

    I think we see this need to make things the ‘same’ here. Men did a bad thing, lets equate what women have done with it. Feminism is a push back to patriarchy, they should not be treated the same I agree.

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  100. Max: “Very thankful for the focus & spirit of this year’s SBC! United on the gospel United on world missions United on Church Planting United on inerrancy United on gender roles United on sin of racism United on evil of abuse United on prolife. May we move ahead together!”

    United on gender roles?!! These guys live in a bubble!! Yep, I would say that Dr. Akins is fixated on authority.

    Can you hear my loud scoffing across the interwebz?

    And they don’t care about world missions! If the New Cals cared about missions, they wouldn’t have removed thousands of missionaries from the IMB and put all the money into NAMB!

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  101. Benn: You are asking why doesn’t the SBC go mainline, so look at the main line denominations Methodist and Presbyterian who ordain women, they are shrinking and splitting at a greater rate the the SBC.

    I didn’t actually ask that.

    What you’re saying sounds like churches should look at what gets them numbers and stick with that, which i do not believe. Why are these churches shrinking? That’s a larger question. I know my mainline is full of former baptists though, many of whom came specifically because they disagreed with the way they treated people or the hypocrisy or what have you.

    I was merely commenting that SBC churches have left the sBC and gone to cooperative baptist.

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  102. Benn: You are asking why doesn’t the SBC go mainline, so look at the main line denominations Methodist and Presbyterian who ordain women, they are shrinking and splitting at a greater rate the the SBC.

    This is the line SBC leaders are feeding the Convention, not necessarily the truth. Especially since a lot of Baptist churches are very dishonest on their member lists. The SBC has consistently declined.

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  103. Lea: I didn’t actually ask that.

    What you’re saying sounds like churches should look at what gets them numbers and stick with that, which i do not believe. Why are these churches shrinking? That’s a larger question. I know my mainline is full of former baptists though, many of whom came specifically because they disagreed with the way they treated people or the hypocrisy or what have you.

    I was merely commenting that SBC churches have left the sBC and gone to cooperative baptist.

    I agree, there are always outliers, but regardless of personal held reasons for each denominations decline.
    The SBC is not declining at the rate of the mainlines.
    I do subscribe to the saying, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics..
    So are the mainlines shrinking faster than the SBC, because they ordain women, I’m not sure.
    The UMC was devastated by the growth in Africa, coupled with the decline in the US, and that is what shot down the one church plan

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  104. ishy: This is the line SBC leaders are feeding the Convention, not necessarily the truth. Especially since a lot of Baptist churches are very dishonest on their member lists. The SBC has consistently declined.

    I agree, but still not at the rate of the mainlines

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  105. linda: Add in healthy doses of mystical prayer and at times she seems unbalanced.

    It seems like your chief complaint is that she’s a little bit on the bapticostal side of things, honestly. Since I grew up with people like that it doesn’t seem so strange.

    She thinks she talks to god in prayer. Thats…normal for a lot of christians?

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  106. Friend: For awhile I attended a church with reusable name tags. They were optional, and after worship we could leave them in a basket. The next Sunday, it took a moment to find our own name tags in the basket. Why not put them in A-Z order on a bulletin board? The church did not want people to think they were monitoring attendance.
    They give us name tags when you join to wear if you want to but we take them home, not leave them at church. When I started attending I thought everyone was a greeter or something because they had these professional looking name tags lol. (I mostly just wear mine when I usher)

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  107. Lance: As I have stated before, abuse happens in complementarian and egalitarian church structures.

    It certainly can, but I think what people are talking about that you seem to take offense to is how setting up a system in which one sex is in perpetual POWER over another is a condition that can lead to abuse, and/or if abuse exists it is one in which it can be pushed aside. IF you believe men should have power over women, you are setting up conditions that more readily lead to abuse, and in which abuse can be more readily excused as ‘gods will’, and in which the woman has trouble getting away because she is told it is her place.

    These conditions are not promoted by an egalitarian perspective, and if you are going to try to make a case for this complementation stuff, you better be prepared to deal with this issue head on, instead of handwaving it away.

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  108. Benn,

    “All denominations are trying to figure out what to do as our society becomes more secular”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    when you say secular what do you mean?

    dictionary definition:

    1. of or relating to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal:
    secular interests.

    2. not pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to sacred):
    secular music.

    i ask because the connotation (to me, at least) implies the corrupt “them”, as opposed to the correct “us”.

    i want to make it clear that spirituality centered around God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is alive and well outside institutions that are christian by name.

    and i want to make it clear that there is much much integrity, honor, and noble principle outside the institutions that are christian by name.

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  109. Beakerj: SO much of childhood ‘disobedience’ is just developmental behaviours & there are much better & more intelligent ways of dealing with your child’s ‘defiance’.I’ve read quite a lot recently from those who were brought up that way & it leaves them with PTSD, serious anxiety & boundary issues amounting to being pre-groomed for abusers.

    I’ve been reading up on attachment styles too, and people should really be thinking more about what lessons their children are learning from them in this regard, because they can reverberate…

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  110. ishy: I left behind the SBC and now that I’m in a mainline churches, I don’t have many of those experiences anymore.

    I feel more respected at my mainline than any other church I’ve attended, although I didn’t have the level of bad experiences you did at previous churches. It’s just in the air.

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  111. Benn: I am now kind of the opinion that J D may in fact be an Amyraldian 4 point Calvinist and not a 5 point

    Calvinist icon R.C. Sproul essentially said there is no such animal as a 4-point Calvinist:

    “There is confusion about what the doctrine of limited atonement actually teaches. However, I think that if a person really understands the other four points and is thinking at all clearly, he must believe in limited atonement because of what Martin Luther called a resistless logic”
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/sproul-on-four-point-calvinism/

    And then we have John Piper who says he is a 7-point Calvinist. Of course, King of New Calvinism ‘has’ to have more points than anyone else. What a character!

    Whew! Just give me Jesus!!

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  112. elastigirl:
    Benn,

    “All denominations are trying to figure out what to do as our society becomes more secular”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    when you say secular what do you mean?

    dictionary definition:

    1. of or relating to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal:
    secular interests.


    2. not pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to sacred):
    secular music.

    i ask because the connotation (to me, at least) implies the corrupt “them”, as opposed to the correct “us”.

    i want to make it clear that spirituality centered around God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is alive and well outside institutions that are christian by name.

    and i want to make it clear that there is much much integrity, honor, and noble principle outside the institutions that are christian by name.

    As a percent of the whole, less people believe in God, a higher power, a supreme being

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  113. Benn: The first one was that he has found that when he went door to door to share the gospel, it was amazing how many of the elect could be identified. ( I am now kind of the opinion that J D may in fact be an Amyraldian 4 point Calvinist and not a 5 point) all though strict Cals hold to 5 point only, or the system breaks down, kind of like the pregnant analogy, you can’t be kinda pregnant.

    I am having trouble understanding why anyone in the SBC with half a brain would imagine that Greear is anything but a hardcore Calvinist:4 or 5 point whatever. I’ve known this for 10 years. One would only have to look at the books he’s recommended over the years and who he has had speak in his pulpit.Oh, he loooooved CJ Mahaney,. He was still recommending his books on his website until I called it out about 2 months before the convention.

    Greear has played the *Guess what I am* game for years and lots of people played along with him. It was game.

    Now, as for he can tell who the elect are…I say codswallop. Here is one scenario. He goes up to a house where the man who answers the door is rude, swears, and is drunk. *Not elect.* 20 years later, this man turns to the Lord….

    I do not like it when Christians think they have a bead on who is *elect* or who isn’t *elect.* You have a well known Calvinist who left and became Catholic. I had a good time laughing at all of the Calvinists claiming that he had never been a Christian-he was a theologian and even participated in heresy *trials.* I didn’t know that God elected the Calvinists to fill out the lines in the book of life,.

    Thank you for letting me know this. I am startled to hear that Greear does door to door evangelism…I’m amazed he has time. He didn’t have time in about a year to have a 15 minute meeting with folks from the rally, Guess that door to door evangelical is eating up his margin.

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  114. Jerome: Bratton is a signatory of the Nashville Statement as well as last year’s Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel.

    Does anyone know if Kathy Litton, new SBC Registration Secretary, signed the Nashville and/or Danvers Statement? Does she have any involvement with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood?

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  115. Lea: I feel more respected at my mainline than any other church I’ve attended, although I didn’t have the level of bad experiences you did at previous churches. It’s just in the air.

    A lot of them were in school. And of course, those were both hard comp/patriarchal. I tended to go to more soft comp churches, most of whom had women on staff in major positions (just not lead pastor). Though when I started out at SEBTS, it wasn’t half as bad as the last year after Akin took over. There was a huge influx of YRR that year, and boy, were they irritating people.

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  116. dee: Greear has played the *Guess what I am* game for years and lots of people played along with him. It was game.

    Exactly. Ed Stetzer played that game as well, as he leisurely cruised through the New Calvinist ranks while at SBC. Speaking of Stetzer and cruising, he’s been awfully quiet about his VW. Speaking of Greear, he walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.

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  117. Benn: The first one was that he has found that when he went door to door to share the gospel, it was amazing how many of the elect could be identified.

    I feel like this kind of hubris leads to people thinking that they ‘know’ someone could never do whatever bad thing they’ve actually done.

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  118. dee: Greear has played the *Guess what I am* game for years and lots of people played along with him. It was game.

    I think the key person to watch is Russell Moore. He’s playing like he’s the champion of social justice and sexual abuse, but I don’t buy it. There’s an angle and a long-term plan. What do you think it is?

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  119. Benn: “he has found that when he went door to door to share the gospel, it was amazing how many of the elect could be identified” (regarding J.D. Greear statement at SBC-Birmingham)

    Oh, did they have a yellow stripe down their backs?!

    “If God would have painted a yellow stripe on the backs of the elect I would go around lifting shirts. But since He didn’t I must preach “whosoever will” and when “whosoever” believes I know that he is one of the elect.”
    (questionable Charles Spurgeon quote)

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  120. Benn,

    “As a percent of the whole, less people believe in God, a higher power, a supreme being”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    are you using the word “secular” to mean no belief in God, a higher power, a supreme being?
    —-

    “All denominations are trying to figure out what to do as our society becomes more secular”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    do you mean society is trending towards believing less and less in God, a higher power, a supreme being?

    if so, do you have statistics to back that up?

    church leaders have an “us” versus “them” message. if not explicitly, then implicitly. the inherent message is everyone not in church is suspect, not to be trusted. if they are not in church, they obviously don’t give a flying fick about God.

    this is the inherent message, minus any statistical data to back it up.

    so, just wondering what you mean by secular, and what kind of data you’re working with.

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  121. dee: I am having trouble understanding why anyone in the SBC with half a brain would imagine that Greear is anything but a hardcore Calvinist:4 or 5 point whatever. I’ve known this for 10 years. One would only have to look at the books he’s recommended over the years and who he has had speak in his pulpit.Oh, he loooooved CJ Mahaney,. He was still recommending his books on his website until I called it out about 2 months before the convention.

    Greear has played the *Guess what I am* game for years and lots of people played along with him. It was game.

    Now, as for he can tell who the elect are…I say codswallop. Here is one scenario. He goes up to a house where the man who answers the door is rude, swears, and is drunk. *Not elect.*20 years later, this man turns to the Lord….

    I do not like it when Christians think they have a bead on who is *elect* or who isn’t *elect.*You have a well known Calvinist who left and became Catholic.I had a good time laughing at all of the Calvinists claiming that he had never been a Christian-he was a theologian and even participated inheresy *trials.* I didn’t know that God elected the Calvinists to fill out the lines in the book of life,.

    Thank you for letting me know this. I am startled to hear that Greear does door to door evangelism…I’m amazed he has time. He didn’t have time in about a year to have a 15 minute meeting with folks from the rally, Guess that door to door evangelical is eating up his margin.

    I was saddened to hear that he wouldn’t meet with the FSATAT rally organizers.
    I was really disappointed to not get to meet you also!
    I got to hear a little back and forth, on Monday evening, ( it may have been scheduled to force people to choose between your rally and what I got to witness )
    The traditional’s ( non Cal) are going to give it one last try to get back in the lead of the SBC ship in Orlando
    I hate all the infighting in the convention, I really do put the gospel above all the secondary issues

    I’ve got to ask you, was this your first interaction with Dwight McKissic, or did you two know each other before the rally?

    I don’t give

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  122. Benn: why doesn’t the SBC go mainline, so look at the main line denominations Methodist and Presbyterian who ordain women, they are shrinking and splitting at a greater rate the the SBC. …

    All denominations are trying to figure out what to do as our society becomes more secular
    The nones now are larger than RCC or SBC

    Maybe the nones are turned off by the constant fighting and don’t care anymore what the fights are about.

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  123. elastigirl:
    Benn,

    “As a percent of the whole, less people believe in God, a higher power, a supreme being”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    are you using the word “secular” to mean no belief in God, a higher power, a supreme being?
    —-

    “All denominations are trying to figure out what to do as our society becomes more secular”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    do you mean society is trending towards believing less and less in God, a higher power, a supreme being?

    if so, do you have statistics to back that up?

    church leaders have an “us” versus “them” message.if not explicitly, then implicitly.the inherent message is everyone not in church is suspect, not to be trusted.if they are not in church, they obviously don’t give a flying fick about God.

    this is the inherent message, minus any statistical data to back it up.

    so, just wondering what you mean by secular, and what kind of data you’re working with.

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Empirical data

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  124. Friend: This is something of a strawperson argument (ha). For the life of me, I can’t think of a place in the church where the women have taken over and won’t let the men do anything anymore. I also don’t think women in the church want a lock on power

    First, I apologize if someone has already addressed your comment like I am going to do. I just read the post and do not have time at this moment to read the rest of the comments. But I am assuming that Wade Burleson is simply covering all bases here. One base in point that I see is that in churches which have an authoritarian clergy structure, their female pastors do have the same authority that that their male counterparts have had. And there are some women who do enjoy their elevated status over those congregations, just as the males in their denominations have sought it. And no doubt, if they are humble servants at heart, must fight against the pride that tempts them, just as it has their men. So, that is one way where I see that some women have simply kept a type of oppression alive in the church. If, like I agree with, that no one has authority over another in the church, then pastoral gender arguments disappear.

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  125. ishy: This is the line SBC leaders are feeding the Convention, not necessarily the truth. Especially since a lot of Baptist churches are very dishonest on their member lists. The SBC has consistently declined.

    Here’s a weirdly common message: Once you let women preach, you’ll end up like the mainlines. So keep them out, and enjoy the slower decline of the RCC and SBC!

    Mainline membership peaked in the 1950s-1960s. They were smaller before the GI Bill, VA mortgages, and the Baby Boom (i.e., suburban expansion). Were they worse churches in the 1920s or 1940s?

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  126. ishy: And I assume these were all men? This is another myth that New Cals promise and don’t deliver. They make it seem like men are going to get every wish granted if they join the New Calvinists.

    Unicorns Farting Rainbows, Free Ice Cream, and being One of The Inner Ring….

    You find similar promises to males growing up in Christian Purity Culture, that if they just Stay Pure/save themselves for marriage they’re going to get EVERY built-up sexual wish granted (with interest) come sunset of the day they say “I Do”.

    This does not lead to realistic expectations.

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  127. Friend: Maybe the nones are turned off by the constant fighting and don’t care anymore what the fights are about.

    “You see me now a veteran
    Of a thousand psychic wars;
    My energy’s spent at last
    And my armor is destroyed;
    I have used up all my weapons
    And I’m helpless and bereaved;
    Wounds are all I’m made of —
    Did I hear you say that this is Victory?”

    — Blue Oyster Cult, “Veteran of the Psychic Wars

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  128. Max: “If God would have painted a yellow stripe on the backs of the elect I would go around lifting shirts. But since He didn’t I must preach “whosoever will” and when “whosoever” believes I know that he is one of the elect.”
    (questionable Charles Spurgeon quote)

    Apparently the symbolism of “a yellow stripe down their backs” was different in Spurgeon’s day than today (or even the 1940s…)

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  129. Lea: Oh dear.

    These men have issues.

    You ain’t just a whistlin’ Dixie!

    For all their obsession with all them ancient war chiefs from the Bible, they still don’t get it, and still cover up the sex abuse of kids in their midst.

    Better to have an uncle Raggy in the congregation than a woman in the pulpit.

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  130. Benn: Friend: Maybe the nones are turned off by the constant fighting and don’t care anymore what the fights are about.

    [Benn:] Friend , I agree that may be the case
    But I also can’t see in any way that that is a good thing either.

    Maybe we should stop fighting and see if anybody notices. Better yet, feed the hungry and don’t tell them who we are.

    Churches are hooked on absolutes: We Accept Only This. We Can’t Accept That. And yet our Jesus consorted with winebibbers. We need to identify our personal winebibbers, and invite them to share a pew and a story.

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  131. Lea: Lea,
    (and some of the same applies when you focus on ‘authority’ of pastors/elders over parishioners)

    Which brings to mind the Pharisees — who had many things right on doctrine — being called out directly for their errors and leading others astray. If you’re going to apply rules and doctrines, you better be clear on them and consider the damage you’d do if you don’t. (Of course, it’s hirelings and grievous wolves that drive things along with those in error, which speaks to priorities.)

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  132. Friend: Here’s a weirdly common message: Once you let women preach, you’ll end up like the mainlines. So keep them out, and enjoy the slower decline of the RCC and SBC!

    You’ll notice he’s the one who brought up the mainlines, precisely to make this point, which i guess is supposed to be disparaging? I was not talking about mainlines at all.

    Perhaps the constant drumming fear against ‘mainlines’ that has been instilled in people is causing them to dump church altogether when they get sick of the bad behavior, rather than try a different style. Because ‘where else are they going to go’.

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  133. Patti: there are some women who do enjoy their elevated status over those congregations, just as the males in their denominations have sought it. And no doubt, if they are humble servants at heart, must fight against the pride that tempts them, just as it has their men.

    Agreed, thanks. In my view, women are just as flawed and gifted as men. I should have written that I don’t see liberal feminism as an immediate threat to the SBC.

    Some folks have said that there are authoritarian feminist strongholds in the more progressive churches. I would not question the experience of people who get around more than I do.

    The enemy is abuse of authority. By anyone. For any reason.

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  134. Fixation on authority is not the only sign that the Spirit has left the SBC. Ichabod was written over the door years ago. Too much fussing and fighting about this and that, not to mention the current vying for theological control. Whatever happened to Jesus?!!

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  135. ishy: I think the key person to watch is Russell Moore. He’s playing like he’s the champion of social justice and sexual abuse, but I don’t buy it. There’s an angle and a long-term plan. What do you think it is?

    I suspect it could be multi-pronged motivations, coincidentally ones all helpful to maintaining cash flow while realities dry them up. One target are those settling down and starting families. If you act relevant on such issues for talking points, you’ve got a better chance of selling that to the young deciders as well as preschool and other programs.

    Additionally, you can make a play at the denominational/parachurch level for congregations outside of the SBC demographic makeup for affiliates who have long traditions of staying loyal to one church. Combine that with language-specific churches from people coming from backgrounds with many top-down elements, and a new fresh marketing base outside of the current gringo construct opens up in the long play.

    Of course, it all might be completely Kingdom-driven and rich with stewardship and servant leadership; it could be some hirelings and grievous wolves are getting ready to do their thing.

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  136. JDV: Of course, it all might be completely Kingdom-driven and rich with stewardship and servant leadership;

    I really want to believe that, that Moore is going against those who put him in his position, but I don’t think he could get away with it this long without support from that group. I’ve seen first-hand, on multiple occasions, how the New Calvinists work, and it’s not from the generosity of their hears and the willingness to help others.

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  137. Lea: You’ll notice he’s the one who brought up the mainlines, precisely to make this point, which i guess is supposed to be disparaging?I was not talking about mainlines at all.

    Perhaps the constant drumming fear against ‘mainlines’ that has been instilled in people is causing them to dump church altogether when they get sick of the bad behavior, rather than try a different style. Because ‘where else are they going to go’.

    My point was CBF is going the way of mainline denominations, I meant nothing by it, but to clarify
    It matters not to me where anyone goes
    The SBC is at present a comp. denomination.
    And I don’t think ( I guess I could be wrong) we try to push our views on anyone else
    But we do have internal discussions about church polity
    I wish all other denominations well, and I don’t really concern myself with their church polity

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  138. : Frankly, I sometimes wonder if the blog strays too often from church abuse to an apologetic for an “egalitarian” approach to church governance.

    Frankly, I have begun to ponder the possibility of a strong connection between silencing women and opening the church doors to more predators.
    Think about it: who are the “Momma Bears”??
    Women!
    Keep the women quiet, oppress them, teach them not to speak unless asked — and you have silenced the front line protectors of a truly vulnerable population.

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  139. elastigirl,

    The best way to answer is the following:

    The lead pastor of my church encourages people to get their nose in the Bible. He says if anyone thinks he’s wrong scripturally, not to come with what someone says but find the verses in the Bible and bring those to him.

    Bringing in teaching material from pontificators just seems off.

    I’ve seen Voddie Baucham on TV in the past. The “VB I’d always right” attitude flowed out. Saying things such as my daughter isn’t going to college, she’s staying home till she’s married and that there is no reason for your kids to go to college, says the guy with two PhDs. Women with no work skills are in the worst spot to be abused for a lengthy time.

    Everyone, thank you for responding. 🙂

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  140. Benn: I don’t think ( I guess I could be wrong) we try to push our views on anyone else
    But we do have internal discussions about church polity
    I wish all other denominations well, and I don’t really concern myself with their church polity

    I could say the same about my bunch, but some of what we teach and tolerate would feel wrong to somebody else.

    Let’s say my church tells members to stop eating blackberries. After a big upsetting fight, some of our blackberry lovers flee to your church. My church sneers at your church, and tries to get the city to pass an ordinance against the cultivation, sale, possession, and consumption of blackberries. The blackberry agitators in your church can’t be neutral, now can they? So they lobby, they march, they schedule a Jam and Pie Festival. And the whole town thinks we have lost our minds.

    We should have learned this the first time we read the book of Acts.

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  141. Friend: I could say the same about my bunch, but some of what we teach and tolerate would feel wrong to somebody else.

    Let’s say my church tells members to stop eating blackberries. After a big upsetting fight, some of our blackberry lovers flee to your church. My church sneers at your church, and tries to get the city to pass an ordinance against the cultivation, sale, possession, and consumption of blackberries. The blackberry agitators in your church can’t be neutral, now can they? So they lobby, they march, they schedule a Jam and Pie Festival. And the whole town thinks we have lost our minds.

    We should have learned this the first time we read the book of Acts.

    Romans 14, Paul goes on at great length to encourage believers at Rome to be settled in what they believe
    Don’t let anyone condemn you for the Christian liberty we have in Christ

    Romans 14:23 is one of the more interesting verses in all the New Testament.
    If we believe something to be a sin, even if there is now decree from God that whatever that something is, if we hold to the something as a belief, then to you it would qualify as a sin, even if it was not forbidden by God
    Romans 14:23 b NLT version

    For you are not following your convictions, if you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning….

    So I can easily see how the comp. vs. egalitarian debate is raging
    I don’t really have an issue with people disagreeing with me at all, these really are the most serious debates we can have.

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  142. SoCalExile:
    That’s not all, here’s a Desiring God article calling empathy a sin:

    https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-enticing-sin-of-empathy

    I am familiar with it. I am of the opinion that beyond theology, JPipes has just lost his mind. Literally. And even if he doesn’t write the articles, he chooses them. His family needs to have him checked for mental illness, but he’s so big on being offended by directions that I doubt he’d get checked without a power of attorney.

    Some of the stuff he posts on Twitter is utterly disturbing….

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  143. Benn: And I don’t think ( I guess I could be wrong) we try to push our views on anyone else

    The church takeovers don’t count as pushing their views on someone else? Because I don’t remember any open discussion about it.

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  144. Brian: a little leaven in the bread

    Beware! Piperites, Mohlerites, and Driscollites are everywhere! Their modus operandi is by stealth and deception to subtly introduce the doctrines of mere men, aberrations of faith that will take you down the wrong road.

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  145. ishy: The church takeovers don’t count as pushing their views on someone else? Because I don’t remember any open discussion about it.

    We are in the process of addressing our ( my local congregation) church bylaws to avoid to possibility of a take over
    A lot of baptist don’t practice discernment, regrettably it has happened a lot.

    I am more anti Calvinist than Dee, Max, TSOO combined ( hyperbole, but I think it resonates)
    Bible does say we will have heretics working their way through congregations, to prove those who are not of us.

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  146. Lea: (and some of the same applies when you focus on ‘authority’ of pastors/elders over parishioners)

    It is all of the same. The whole reason for pushing the authority of God (sovereignty of God) and the authority of men is to justify the authority of religious leaders.

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  147. ishy: His family needs to have him checked for mental illness, but he’s so big on being offended by directions that I doubt he’d get checked without a power of attorney.

    Remember the First Law of CELEBRITY:
    NOBODY TELLS THE CELEBRITY ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT THE CELEBRITY WANTS TO HEAR.

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  148. ishy: I think the key person to watch is Russell Moore. He’s playing like he’s the champion of social justice and sexual abuse, but I don’t buy it. There’s an angle and a long-term plan. What do you think it is?

    I see him going into politics. He just has that smarmy look.

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  149. Friend: Maybe the nones are turned off by the constant fighting and don’t care anymore what the fights are about.

    I think they are tired of the hypocrisy – and know how bad the potlucks are for their health. Better off to meet a group of genuine people for coffee and a hike.

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  150. Headless Unicorn Guy: You find similar promises to males growing up in Christian Purity Culture, that if they just Stay Pure/save themselves for marriage they’re going to get EVERY built-up sexual wish granted (with interest) come sunset of the day they say “I Do”.

    This does not lead to realistic expectations.

    And God help their wives . . . when they find out they married a Mark Driscoll.

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  151. Headless Unicorn Guy: Max: Whatever happened to Jesus?!!

    He got punched in the nose and thrown under the bus long ago.

    “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” – Jesus

    “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.”

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  152. Muff Potter: SoCalExile: That’s not all, here’s a Desiring God article calling empathy a sin:

    It really does beggar the mind how people can buy into such a warped and twisted religion.

    Maybe it all starts with getting the conscience and empathy beaten out of you as a child.

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  153. Beth74: Think about it: who are the “Momma Bears”??
    Women!
    Keep the women quiet, oppress them, teach them not to speak unless asked — and you have silenced the front line protectors of a truly vulnerable population.

    I agree.

    All of the gaslighting causes them to lose confidence their own perceptions to the point they’ll stand by helplessly and watch their children destroyed. Every bit of discernment is handed over to the men.

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  154. Benn: I am more anti Calvinist than Dee, Max, TSOO combined

    You might be surprised to know that I have Calvinist friends! For 70 years as a Southern Baptist, I worshiped alongside classical Calvinists (a small minority of SBC members). I found them to be civil in their discourse and respectful of other expressions of faith. While I do not agree with the tenets of reformed theology, I am not anti-Calvinist … I am anti-Calvinization of the largest non-Calvinist Protestant denomination in America. My beef is not with Calvinism, but the method and message of the New Calvinists who are running roughshod over God’s people.

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  155. Lea: Gender Roles that claim women are equal but with different ‘roles’ is just a giant gaslighting game, imo.

    That’s why the New Calvinists have a sly smile when they say this. Perhaps Paul should have clarified this in Galatians 3:28.

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  156. Max: You might be surprised to know that I have Calvinist friends!For 70 years as a Southern Baptist, I worshiped alongside classical Calvinists (a small minority of SBC members).I found them to be civil in their discourse and respectful of other expressions of faith.While I do not agree with the tenets of reformed theology, I am not anti-Calvinist … I am anti-Calvinization of the largest non-Calvinist Protestant denomination in America.My beef is not with Calvinism, but the method and message of the New Calvinists who are running roughshod over God’s people.

    I agree about with you about “good “ Calvinist, but to me I oppose it theologically, which you and me have discussed. But I also think philosophically it falls under it’s own weight ( which ,ost people never consider, because it is so hard to get past their theology)
    It is a secondary doctrinal issue, which means I have to bite my tongue and live with fellow believers who hold to it

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  157. SiteSeer: Maybe it all starts with getting the conscience and empathy beaten out of you as a child.

    I agree.

    That and whatever’s coded into one’s own double helix.

    The apple rarely falls far from the tree that grew it, so to speak.

    And yeah, if the propensity is already there, brutal treatment will surely seal the kid’s direction into adulthood.

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  158. Muff Potter,

    In addition, I’m glad that there is pushback against Voddie Baucham, the Pearls, and whomever else advocates the brutalization of children.

    I’m even more glad that their cruel methods are not covered under ‘religious liberty’.

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  159. Benn: It is a secondary doctrinal issue, which means I have to bite my tongue and live with fellow believers who hold to it

    Just remember when you are prioritizing doctrines, God’s plan of salvation (soteriology) is an essential doctrine, not a secondary one, which believers should agree on. Mohler, in his theological triage, places soteriology as a secondary matter that Christians should not fuss over – I don’t agree. 90+% of Christendom reject reformed theology around the world for that reason. Even though I had Calvinist friends during my long SBC tenure, they always knew where I stood on God’s plan of salvation if/when it came up, just as Wartburgers will always know who I am. Calvinism’s misrepresentation of God regarding the atonement of Christ just doesn’t stack up with the whole of Scripture (cherry-picked verses, yes – but not the overall plan of God from Genesis-Revelation).

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  160. TS00: Headless Unicorn Guy: You find similar promises to males growing up in Christian Purity Culture, that if they just Stay Pure/save themselves for marriage they’re going to get EVERY built-up sexual wish granted (with interest) come sunset of the day they say “I Do”.

    This does not lead to realistic expectations.

    And God help their wives . . . when they find out they married a Mark Driscoll.

    Or a Michael Pearl.

    I was actually thinking of Michael Pearl’s description of his wedding night when I was writing that. If I remember right, he forced his bride to follow what appeared to be a predefined “script” of What My Wedding Night Should Be Like. (Like serial killers and serial rapists who force abducted victims to “follow the script” of their fantasies before actually doing the deed.)

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  161. Headless Unicorn Guy: I was actually thinking of Michael Pearl’s description of his wedding night when I was writing that.

    He dragged her around fishing for crabs in the middle of the night, and then made her cook them, and then when she broke down exhausted he was…a very rude person about it (censored for Dee!). Those are the details I remember, there was also something about an injury and a shower.

    He seems like a terrible person basically and he thought this story was funny? Like, you just got married. Go to a restaurant. Sheesh.

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  162. Max: Just remember when you are prioritizing doctrines, God’s plan of salvation (soteriology) is an essential doctrine, not a secondary one, which believers should agree on.Mohler, in his theological triage, places soteriology as a secondary matter that Christians should not fuss over – I don’t agree.90+% of Christendom reject reformed theology around the world for that reason.Even though I had Calvinist friends during my long SBC tenure, they always knew where I stood on God’s plan of salvation if/when it came up, just as Wartburgers will always know who I am.Calvinism’s misrepresentation of God regarding the atonement of Christ just doesn’t stack up with the whole of Scripture (cherry-picked verses, yes – but not the overall plan of God from Genesis-Revelation).

    But if we call Calvinist our brothers and sisters, then wouldn’t it have to be a secondary doctrine? Because if it is a primary doctrine and one view is incorrect, where would that leave us?
    I actually be in libertine free will, but on some things I don’t think we are as free as we think..
    Respect your wisdom on this max.
    I can’t understand baptizing infants, but I fully except all who hold to that.. ( Presbyterian, Methodist, ( I think Methodist baptize infants?, Lutherans, and any I missed. And I know baptism is not a primary doctrine.

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  163. Benn: Because if it is a primary doctrine and one view is incorrect, where would that leave us?

    We could all operate with the humility to know that we don’t know everything. That’s my preferred way of looking at it.

    I think the important thing is how we treat others, though. The details are not so important.

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  164. Lea: We could all operate with the humility to know that we don’t know everything. That’s my preferred way of looking at it.

    I think the important thing is how we treat others, though. The details are not so important.

    But, just what if the details really are important, I know it is a huge question, is it not worthwhile to contemplate?

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  165. Benn: know it is a huge question, is it not worthwhile to contemplate?

    I didn’t say don’t ‘contemplate it’ but to go in with enough absolute certainty to start proclaiming everybody else heretic is not smart.

    I don’t think the details are important. I think the way we treat others is important. you can think what you like.

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  166. Benn: But if we call Calvinist our brothers and sisters, then wouldn’t it have to be a secondary doctrine? Because if it is a primary doctrine and one view is incorrect, where would that leave us?

    Aha! You have come to the key point that caused my departure from the SBC (after 70 years). How can two distinctly different plans of God’s salvation coexist in a single denomination? We are talking about Great Commission stuff here … Southern Baptists ‘must’ agree on this, as it affects the way they do evangelism and missions going forward. On this single issue, it is not right to agree to disagree, get along to go along, and make room under the big SBC tent for diverse theologies. Lost souls are at stake!

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  167. Benn: where would that leave us?

    Well, where it should leave the SBC is at a line in the sand. Aggressive Calvinization of a non-Calvinist denomination will eventually lead to a split. It is already splitting individual churches. The problem at this point is that the New Calvinists have stealthily gained control of most of the SBC stuff while the giant slept (seminaries, mission agencies, publishing house) … stuff that millions of non-Calvinist members paid for!

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  168. Benn: I can’t understand baptizing infants, but I fully except all who hold to that.

    Infant baptism marks a vow by the family and church to raise that child in the faith. (Declaration of faith happens at confirmation.)

    How precious my own infant baptism is, and that of my son. My dear grandmother told me over and over about my baptism. We have told our son the same. For years he sat with us, completely still and enraptured, and witnessed other baptisms. Then at home at bedtime he would “baptize” me, brushing my forehead with his tiny hand. God is willing to work within our flawed and limited rituals—or so I hope.

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  169. Benn: I can’t understand baptizing infants, but I fully except all who hold to that.. ( Presbyterian, Methodist, ( I think Methodist baptize infants?, Lutherans, and any I missed. And I know baptism is not a primary doctrine.

    Interstingly, infant baptism is a very early and widespread Christian practice. Historically, I don’t believe there was any movement against infant baptism until the radical reformation. Even Luther and Calvin supported infant baptism. Only a very small minority of Christians have ever opposed it.

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  170. Friend: Infant baptism marks a vow by the family and church to raise that child in the faith. (Declaration of faith happens at confirmation.)

    My pastor has a little spiel to the kids in church during infant baptisms asking them if they will walk the baby to class and be friends etc. it’s really cute.

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  171. Lea: He dragged her around fishing for crabs in the middle of the night, and then made her cook them, and then when she broke down exhausted he was…a very rude person about it (censored for Dee!).

    She broke the script.
    The My Wedding Night script he’d been working on and polishing for how long?
    And the required piece of equipment broke the script.

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  172. Lea: He seems like a terrible person basically and he thought this story was funny?

    Remember “Chuckles” Mahaney (Head Apostle of the People of Destiny) HUMBLY telling a funny story from the pulpit about how he forced himself sexually on his wife while she was puking from morning sickness? (Chuckle chuckle…)

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  173. Max:
    Fixation on authority is not the only sign that the Spirit has left the SBC.Ichabod was written over the door years ago.Too much fussing and fighting about this and that, not to mention the current vying for theological control.Whatever happened to Jesus?!!

    Excellent observation Max! Whatever DID happen to Jesus within the church? Perhaps modern Christianity’s fixation on denominationalism has with it’s we have the only true doctrine philosophy, has led the way to apostasy.

    To date, I can’t find any Scriptures relating to the fact that our LORD Jesus Christ, was a baptist, lutheran, catholic, methodist, mennonite, mormon, presbyterian, assembly of god, e-free, nazarene, or even a follower of calvin.

    “What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apolos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided?” I Corinthians 1:12-13

    I cannot believe that if Jesus were ministering to us today, that He would even consider being a card paying “member” of any denominational sect that people build up more than Jesus Himself.

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  174. Headless Unicorn Guy: Remember “Chuckles” Mahaney (Head Apostle of the People of Destiny) HUMBLY telling a funny story from the pulpit about how he forced himself sexually on his wife while she was puking from morning sickness? (Chuckle chuckle…)

    No and these men are awful, absolutely terrible people.

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  175. Karen: To date, I can’t find any Scriptures relating to the fact that our LORD Jesus Christ, was a baptist, lutheran, catholic, methodist, mennonite, mormon, presbyterian, assembly of god, e-free, nazarene, or even a follower of calvin.

    Was he even a Christian?

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  176. Ken F (aka Tweed): Interstingly, infant baptism is a very early and widespread Christian practice. Historically, I don’t believe there was any movement against infant baptism until the radical reformation. Even Luther and Calvin supported infant baptism. Only a very small minority of Christians have ever opposed it.

    Count me then in the small minority. But I do believe it is a secondary issue , I don’t see any biblical examples of infant baptism

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  177. Max: Aha!You have come to the key point that caused my departure from the SBC (after 70 years).How can two distinctly different plans of God’s salvation coexist in a single denomination?We are talking about Great Commission stuff here … Southern Baptists ‘must’ agree on this, as it affects the way they do evangelism and missions going forward.On this single issue, it is not right to agree to disagree, get along to go along, and make room under the big SBC tent for diverse theologies.Lost souls are at stake!

    So, Maybe you and me are close to seeing possible different views on Calvinism
    You have said numerous times your issue is with the neocals’s, the YRR, not, the good old Calvinist
    I think it is more an issue of theology, not just the questionable way they are operating in the SBC, stealth church takeovers ( which I totally agree with you on). My issue is more with their soteriology, than the way they have taken the control of the convention.
    So I may not be totally following your line of thought, are you saying the old school cal’s still have enough of the gospel to be converted?
    But because of soteriology issues the two different soteriology views can’t coexist in the SBC?

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  178. Karen: I cannot believe that if Jesus were ministering to us today, that He would even consider being a card paying “member” of any denominational sect that people build up more than Jesus Himself.

    “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers” (John 4:21-24).

    In the great multitude of folks scattered across some 30,000 Christian denominations and organizations on planet earth, only a remnant worship that way. There has always been the Church within the church embedded in various religious structures created by men, a minority who have a relationship with Christ rather than a religion. Southern Baptists would be shocked to hear that Jesus is not a Baptist!

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  179. Friend: Infant baptism marks a vow by the family and church to raise that child in the faith. (Declaration of faith happens at confirmation.)

    How precious my own infant baptism is, and that of my son. My dear grandmother told me over and over about my baptism. We have told our son the same. For years he sat with us, completely still and enraptured, and witnessed other baptisms. Then at home at bedtime he would “baptize” me, brushing my forehead with his tiny hand. God is willing to work within our flawed and limited rituals—or so I hope.

    Like I said baptist disagree with infant baptism, but I would never question anyone or any faith that does
    We all walk in all the light we have..
    But I do believe it is a secondary issue, not that critical, but a large enough difference that we worship and serve apart.

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  180. Benn: My issue is more with their soteriology, than the way they have taken the control of the convention.

    Whoever controls the convention controls the soteriology. New Calvinism will eventually shift SBC’s default “whosoever-will-may-come” to a “predestined-elect” proclamation of the gospel.

    When I say I don’t have a problem with “Old” Calvinists in SBC, I’m saying that they are not at the lead in the takeover of the SBC – the “New” Calvinists are. I have said repeatedly that I don’t agree with the tenets of reformed theology, whether it be old or new expressions of it. Whether or not any of us (Calvinist or non-Calvinist) are truly converted in Christ, is something He will judge.

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  181. Benn: Count me then in the small minority. But I do believe it is a secondary issue , I don’t see any biblical examples of infant baptism

    Is the link between baptism and repentance the sticking point? I did get around to repenting, I promise. 🙂

    LCMS has a great exploration of the history here: https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/doctrine#history

    QUESTION: You say that infant baptism is ONE way of salvation. Since this practice was unknown in the New Testament or even the early Catholic Church, it is speculative. The Bible says that repentance is a pre-requisite for faith. I repented at 5, so it can be early, but not in someone’s arms.

    ANSWER: Infants are included in “all nations” who are to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). Certainly they were included in Peter’s Pentecost exhortation in Acts 2:38, 39: “Repent and be baptized everyone one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. … The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

    Whole households, everyone in the family, were baptized in the beginning of New Testament times, which in all probability included infants (Acts 16:15 and 33). [The “household” formula used here by Luke has Old Testament precedent, with special reference also to small children, as for example in 1 Sam. 22:16, 19; see Joachim Jeremias, Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries, 22-23.]

    In Romans 6, the Holy Spirit tells us in the Word that in Baptism we have been united with Jesus’ death and resurrection–regenerated, dying to sin and rising to new life. That happens to infants when baptized (Gal. 3:27).

    “For as many of you who have been baptized have put on Christ.” Baptism through the Word creates the faith necessary to receive salvation for infants. Infants can have faith.

    In Mark 10:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

    The Greek word in this text is “paidia” which means babes in arms. Infants can belong to the kingdom of God. …

    There’s much more, and it’s a great read, if skewed to one viewpoint. Other traditions that baptize infants have somewhat different teachings.

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  182. Benn: are you saying the old school cal’s still have enough of the gospel to be converted?

    I may be misunderstanding you hear, but what ARE you saying? Calvinists don’t have enough of the gospel? Calvinists need converting? What?

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  183. Karen: “What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apolos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided?” I Corinthians 1:12-13

    Maybe Christ is in all of those places, among all of those bickering sinners.

    I don’t know whether the Holy Spirit ever visits churches that fleece members and abuse children. But I do believe in the indwelling Holy Spirit. I don’t believe that God would abandon faithful individuals over their choice of a church (which is not even a free choice for many).

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  184. Benn: Like I said baptist disagree with infant baptism, but I would never question anyone or any faith that does

    Understood, thank you, and I do agree that it is a secondary issue. In the infant baptism camp, people are baffled about waiting so many years—even though we have all see adults get baptized. Teach one way, and attitudes and unanswered questions creep in about the other way. I’m just grateful that baptism exists!

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  185. Benn: Muff Potter: In the Church of Christ denomination, you cannot be ‘saved’ unless you’re baptized by immersion.

    Benn: Yea, I know they go there
    Tell that to thief on the cross….
    I guess Jesus said it’s ok boys he is with me

    You have pointed out a wonderful thing.

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  186. Friend: Is the link between baptism and repentance the sticking point? I did get around to repenting, I promise.

    LCMS has a great exploration of the history here: https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/doctrine#history

    QUESTION: You say that infant baptism is ONE way of salvation. Since this practice was unknown in the New Testament or even the early Catholic Church, it is speculative. The Bible says that repentance is a pre-requisite for faith. I repented at 5, so it can be early, but not in someone’s arms.


    ANSWER: Infants are included in “all nations” who are to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). Certainly they were included in Peter’s Pentecost exhortation in Acts 2:38, 39: “Repent and be baptized everyone one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. … The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

    Whole households, everyone in the family, were baptized in the beginning of New Testament times, which in all probability included infants (Acts 16:15 and 33). [The “household” formula used here by Luke has Old Testament precedent, with special reference also to small children, as for example in 1 Sam. 22:16, 19; see Joachim Jeremias, Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries, 22-23.]

    In Romans 6, the Holy Spirit tells us in the Word that in Baptism we have been united with Jesus’ death and resurrection–regenerated, dying to sin and rising to new life. That happens to infants when baptized (Gal. 3:27).

    “For as many of you who have been baptized have put on Christ.” Baptism through the Word creates the faith necessary to receive salvation for infants. Infants can have faith.

    In Mark 10:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

    The Greek word in this text is “paidia” which means babes in arms. Infants can belong to the kingdom of God. …

    There’s much more, and it’s a great read, if skewed to one viewpoint. Other traditions that baptize infants have somewhat different teachings.

    We get there in a different framework.

    We just fixate on actual examples of submersion. And the apparent age of those being baptized
    It is an interesting doctrine, and I have heard from both sides, with interesting points from both

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  187. Lea: I may be misunderstanding you hear, but what ARE you saying? Calvinists don’t have enough of the gospel? Calvinists need converting? What?

    Lea, I was just trying to zero in on what Max has said to me, ( and I am sure it’s me, that’s missing something)
    I think that Calvinist system for salvation is biblical, I just was confused by what I thought max was saying, words to the effect that inside the SBC both versions of soteriology can’t coexist. ( I think both versions can coexist )

    The Calvinist have taken over the SBC, my side has funded their own takeover
    We ( non cal’s) have been asleep at the wheel, we ( my side) are so lazy it is embarrassing
    We just want to ( by and large) want enjoy the apparent blessings of God ( entertainment, cheap shoes, clothes, gimme gimme gimme, and talk about how blessed we are.)

    I know I am out of the main stream of opinion on this blog, but I so enjoy interacting with people that take all of this seriously, what Dee has done, and is doing gives me hope..

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  188. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    We were done doing homeschool conferences by the time the Pearls became all the rage. I heard their names, and assumed they were simply defenders of the right to apply appropriate discipline. I have yet to read any of their books, but have since seen enough quotes to believe they go way over the line.

    I am not sure how any parent could even swallow the sort of ‘discipline’ they, and others of their ilk, appear to advocate. I believe parents can start ‘training’ from very early on, but that does not imply the use of spanking or physical force against an infant. A mother could, for instance, stop a nursing session immediately if the infant started biting, and try again a bit later. If a young child bangs their spoon on the highchair tray, you simply tell them ‘We don’t want to do that’ and take it away. You can reinforce appropriate behavior and discourage the unacceptable, but you certainly should not spank an innocent infant who simply does not know right from wrong. When they do begin to understand your ‘no’, the slightest tap of the finger on their hand is all that is necessary for a small child to feel reproved. Frankly, with gentle, age-appropriate instruction and lots of loving care, our experience was that most of the training was accomplished before the need for a spanking ever arose.

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  189. Benn: The Calvinist have taken over the SBC, my side has funded their own takeover
    We ( non cal’s) have been asleep at the wheel, we ( my side) are so lazy it is embarrassing
    We just want to ( by and large) want enjoy the apparent blessings of God ( entertainment, cheap shoes, clothes, gimme gimme gimme, and talk about how blessed we are.)

    Well, praise God that at least ‘you’ have been stirred from slumber! The SBC mainline masses don’t have a clue about what is happening to the denomination. Actually, the average Southern Baptist doesn’t give a big whoop about things like theological drift and ecclesiological shift within the denomination … but if you try to cancel their monthly potluck dinners, you will have a war on your hands!

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  190. Benn: We get there in a different framework.

    Ya know? It’s great that we have different frameworks in Christianity, so long as they are worked out with love. More Sermon on the Mount, more I Corinthians 13, and let’s take a long break from Matthew 18:15-17 and Proverbs 31:10-31.

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  191. Lea: Are you saying they don’t???

    How many types of Christians are you willing to rule out as Christian?

    What personally comes to mind for me is only these:

    Titus 1:16; “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

    As far as different practices like mode of baptism, “let every man be fully convinced in his own mind” and “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

    That’s my philosophy anyway.

    So many things are matters of deduction and not explicitly clear, one has to respect that others will see them differently.

    On the other hand, a few things are quite clear, I. E., if someone were to say that one can commit or hire one to commit premeditated murder and still be a Christian in good standing, I feel confident in calling them out as clearly in error! (Who would have thought it would ever come to that!)

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  192. Max: And then we have John Piper who says he is a 7-point Calvinist. Of course, King of New Calvinism ‘has’ to have more points than anyone else. What a character!

    What’s he gonna do when an EIGHT-point Calvinist comes along?
    (Four words: Can You Top This?)

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  193. TS00: Frankly, with gentle, age-appropriate instruction and lots of loving care, our experience was that most of the training was accomplished before the need for a spanking ever arose.

    This.

    Also: What do people hope to accomplish by spanking their kids? In the end, the kids will learn to be outwardly compliant while inwardly seething, always hiding their true feelings, never telling you what they really think. A perfect way to raise perfect hypocrites.

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  194. Gus: In the end, the kids will learn to be outwardly compliant while inwardly seething, always hiding their true feelings, never telling you what they really think.

    This is a great way to raise kids that will lie to your face too, and do everything behind your back.

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  195. Gus: In the end, the kids will learn to be outwardly compliant while inwardly seething, always hiding their true feelings, never telling you what they really think.

    “Swear allegiance to the Flag,
    Whatever flag they offer;
    NEVER LET ON WHAT YOUR REALLY FEEL…”
    — Mike and the Mechanics, “Silent Running”, 1986

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-KFhT9O6-A
    (One of the better basement videos of the song)

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