Why the Words *Baptist* and *Lutheran* Are Virtually Meaningless Unless Placed in Context. Tullian Tchividjian Makes a Good Example.

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tullian Tchividjian: Restored by a Lutheran dude?

As many of you know, Tullian Tchividjian is starting a new church. Yep, he’s been restored and he and *the babe* are poised to make money, once again, off the gullible faithful.

Thanks to Julie Anne Smith for her post.WARNING: Tullian Tchividjian Attempts a Ministry Comeback by Faking True Restoration and Repentance with His Victims; AND He’s Starting a New Church???

As you know, I contend that biblical restoration means being restored to the congregation, not to the pulpit.  Because of TT’s numerous affairs and the fact that he told his female fan club to go after the b**** when discussing Julie Anne Smith, I don’t believe this guy belongs within a mile fo a pulpit.

A number of people were shocked that the defrocked Tullian Tchividjian was getting a crazy amount of support from a Lutheran pastor, Patrick Thurmer, who wrote A Word from Tullian’s Pastor.

I am a solo pastor of a small Lutheran church. Ever since arriving here just over 20 years ago we have been welcoming sinners, serving the Gospel to those that God brings our way, and functioning as a recovery place for those who have bottomed out. That’s what we at Living Faith Church are committed to being for the Tchividjians and anyone else who walks through our doors.

I can’t speak with authority about the man Tullian used to be. But I can speak with confidence about the man Tullian is now. And this I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: the work of God in his life is real. And I am furthermore confident that God has a useful place in His Kingdom for all of us, including Tullian.

Being a Lutheran myself, I almost had a heart attack. However, I quickly discovered that a Lutheran from my synod wrote the best darned assessment of Tullian’s stupid theology. It was discussed at TWW: Tullian Tchividjian and a Lutheran Response. This is a must read. Here  is an excerpt.

1.  “Consider for a moment what the families, the parishioners, the fellow pastors in the ministerium go through every time Tchividjian and Bird write a book, post an article, or are highlighted in the news or on social media for discussing the depths of their sin and how much they are forgiven. That is shameful and anti-Christian for a forgiven sinner to thrust forgiveness in the face of those abused so that they can profit from it.”

2.  “While we have no authority over them, as Christians we call on them to stop and will continue to tell other fellow Christians that they should not follow men who have disqualified themselves in this way.”

3. “The fruits of the spirit and repentance spring forth therefrom. May it be also with these men for the good of those whom they have wronged, for the good of the church at large and its reputation in the world, and for their own good also. This is how they are to use their many and great gifts. They are to employ their gifts in the places where God has actually called and put them: in their homes to repair the ruins and limit the further harm they can do to those they’ve already abused”

So, what sort of Lutheran Church is Patrick Thurmer? Was it ELCA? Nope. It was a little known denomination called Church of the Lutheran Brethren. It got its start after a spiritual awakening occurred in the Midwest in the late 1800s. Here is their website if you wish to read more about them.

As you will see, it is very small denomination consisting of @123 churches. In discussions with a Lutheran professor, I learned that they are not well accepted within traditional Lutheran churches.  Thurmer’s beliefs on *grace* and his shocking willingness to accept Tchividjian’s supposed “repentance.” Tchividjian did not ask for forgiveness from numerous people who were seriously hurt by his blatant malpractice of the faith. I don’t know what Bible he reads but my Bible would seem to indicate that Tchividjian has not done what he knows he should do.

iWe’ll keep you posted of Tullian’s latest scheme to get money from people attending his *church.* My guess s that *cheap grace* will become a meme.

As an aside, apparently Tullian Tchividjian is blocking lots of people associated with Julie Anne Smith’s blog and TWW. He is apparently blocking people who’ve never before commented on his Twitter feed. There are a number of people whose goal it is to get him to block them now so they, too, can be part of he in crowd.

What in the world is a Baptist?

When I first became a Christian in Massachusetts, I attended an American Baptist Church which was pastored by a part time professor at Gordon Cowell Theological Seminary. Frankly, it was a typical evangelical church with typical conservative beliefs. It held to believer’s baptism and seemed to be very similar to other churches I’ve attended as I travelled around the country. Imagine my shock when a Baptist (SBC) friend in the south alerted me that the American Baptists were *liberal.* Huh? Here is a synopsis of their beliefs.

Then I was told that Cooperative Baptists weren’t *real* Baptists and were most likely heretics.

  • Soul freedom is the ability of all people to relate directly with God. The belief in the priesthood of all believers is an important basis for this principle.
  • Bible freedom is the principle of recognizing the authority of Scripture and the right of every Christian to interpret it as the Holy Spirit directs.
  • Church freedom is the idea that every local church is autonomous and empowered to choose its own leaders and direct its own affairs.
  • Religious freedom is the principle of separation of church and state. CBF supports this principle through affiliation with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

Southern Baptists appear to be known for their ardent opposition to women in the pulpit and in the ill-defined concept of a the man being the head of the family. However, they still cannot tell me what a man can do in a marriage that a woman cannot do. I’ve met a number of Cooperative Baptist who seem like good old average Christians to me but I’m Lutheran so don’t listen to me.

Recently, the Southern Baptist have been rocked by numerous and well documented allegations of sex abuse. Some claim that the SBC is the new RCC. They seem to believe that they should be commended for *doing something* like saying the opposed *child sex abuse.* However, since most of the world believes that, it isn’t such a big whoop. W=hat will matter is when they actually do something. Frankly, they are running behind most denominations.

Now let me make it even harder to figure this stuff out. Even if you stick within the SBC, each church is autonomous. Wade Burleson is  SBC just like Tom Ascol of the Founders is SBC. So, what does it mean to be an SBC type of Baptist? Some churches are Calvinists, others are not.

Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches (IFB) also have numerous documented instances of sex abuse and coverup.

The Star Telegram published: Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S. Who are these Baptists?

Independent Baptists, often also known as Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB), are a group that started within the greater Baptist denominations in the late 19th to early 20th century. At the time, many national Baptist denominations were moving away from biblical inerrancy and other conservative beliefs, leading many local churches to withdraw from denominational affiliation and take the “Independent” label. With their strong stance on the fundamentals of the faith, they also adopted the name “Fundamentalist.” For identification purposes, most IFB churches will advertise themselves as “Independent, Fundamental, Bible-Believing,” and, in some cases, “KJV-only.”

Many within the IFB movement will claim to trace their origin to Jesus’ ministry.

Contemporary Independent Baptists believe in strict separation from the world and any church not associated with the Independent Baptist name. They refer to Ephesians 5:11, “Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them,” as a proof text for not associating with churches outside the IFB movement.

They are conservative in their dress: most women still dress in below-knee-length skirts, and the men wear collared shirts.

I was first introduced to the problem of sex abuse in these churches when I read Jeri Massi’s (Yes, of Dr Who fandom fame) Schizophrenic Christianity: How Christian Fundamentalism Attracts and Protects Sociopaths, Abusive Pastors, and Child Molesters 

These churches are known for their wretched treatment of young teen girls who have been molested by their pastors. They are often made to stand before the congregation to confess their sin while the pastor is absolved.

The most famous example of abuse in these churches involved Jack Schaap of First Baptist Church, Hammond.

The First Baptist Church of Hammond is a fundamental Independent Baptist church in Hammond, Indiana. It is the largest church in the state of Indiana, and in 2007 was the 20th largest in the United States.[1] Though founded in 1887 by Allen Hill, it was under Jack Hyles‘ leadership from 1959–2001 when it became one of the megachurches in the United States and during the 1970s had the highest Sunday school attendance of any church in the world.[2] In 1990, the church had a weekly attendance of 20,000.[3] It also operates Hyles-Anderson College, a non-accredited institution

In 2013, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for molesting an underage girl. Read The Five Most Revolting Details from the Evidence in the Jack Schaap Case

Schaap’s claim that Christ wanted the two to be together. The two spoke on the phone or texted each other more than 600 times, according to prosecutors. In one transcript, a text from Schaap reads: “Yesterday was ‘off-the-charts!’ :)))”. Another read, in part, “[this] is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants us to marry + become eternal lovers!”

Frankly, they are no different than the SBC in their actions even though the SBC likes to project that they are *woke.* According to the Star Telegram which documented a number of molestations in the IFB:

Twenty-one abuse allegations were uncovered exclusively by the Star-Telegram, and others were documented in criminal cases, lawsuits and news reports. But victims said the number of abused is far greater because few victims ever come forward.

One hundred and sixty-eight church leaders were accused or convicted of committing sexual crimes against children, the investigation found. At least 45 of the alleged abusers continued in ministry after accusations came to the attention of church authorities or law enforcement.

Compounding the problem is the legal statute of limitations. For many alleged offenders, the statutes on the crimes have expired.

Many of the allegations involve men whose misconduct has long been suspected in the independent fundamental Baptist community. But most of their victims have not publicly come forward, on the record, until now. Even pastors have for the first time — in interviews with the Star-Telegram — acknowledged they moved alleged abusers out of their churches rather than call law enforcement.

To go against the advice of the pastor of an independent fundamental Baptist church is almost unthinkable. The “man of God” is chosen by God and is the church’s direct link to him. To question the pastor is to question God.

Many pastors build authority through fear and interpretation of Bible verses. Children learn the story of Elisha and the she-bears: As the prophet Elisha walks up the path toward Bethel, a group of children surrounds him and makes fun of his baldness. Two she-bears emerge from the woods and maul 42 of the children. The lesson: Don’t challenge the man of God.

Even if they leave, some ex-members wonder for years whether bad events in their lives were caused by an angry God. Jennifer McCune, who came forward this year to allege that Dave Hyles raped her when she was a 14-year-old in Texas, still wonders 36 years later if God punished her by giving her late husband cancer.

Westboro Baptist…Isn’t or is it?

According to Wikipedia:

The WBC is not affiliated with any Baptist denomination, although it describes itself as Primitive Baptist and following the five points of Calvinism.[1] Many other Baptist churches, Baptist-affiliated seminaries, and Baptist conventions, including the Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention (the two largest Baptist denominations), have denounced the WBC over the years.[20]

But, even with crazies like these, things can change but not much…Religions News Services wrote  They’re still here: The curious evolution of Westboro Baptist Church.

In the last few years, membership has even broadened beyond the Phelps clan. The newcomers include a family from the Southwestern United States, a man from England who married a Phelps granddaughter, and a college student from Ohio, who was later followed by his mother. Perhaps the most unexpected “new” member is Katherine Phelps, a daughter of Fred Phelps Sr. who had been estranged for decades.

The face of the church has changed as well. For the past four years Westboro has been led by a council of elders, a handful of married men who preach in rotation, and media relations have shifted to Steve Drain, who joined the church in 2001.

This new blood has had an impact. There is a gentler tone, at least internally, members say. The church has even started proselytizing, producing a video titled “The Gentile Church Age Is Coming to an End: Get to the Church!”

Why this post?

In today’s changing religious environment, words can have many meanings even from year to year. So, don’t assume a Baptist is a Baptist is a Baptist. Even SBC Baptists don’t know they’re SBC Baptists. When JD Greear ran for SBC president, he had to get up in front of his congregation and tell them that, in fact, they’re SBC Baptists. I knew a number of members who denied that it was the case until he admitted it. I got a good chuckle out of that. These members were not told they were SBC Baptists when they joined the church and the members didn’t even think to ask.

Even now, there are SBC Baptists who claim that Greear is not a Calvinist SBC Baptist. On one prominent SBC Baptist blog, I read some comments by people *in the know* who claimed that Greear is not a Calvinist. These folks obviously do not know how to read a website. Always thoroughly read a church website before you visit for the first time. Check under the *Resources* tab. If you see lots of books by John Piper, Mark Dever and CJ  Mahaney, all of whom have been featured on The Summit’s website, you can be sure you are dealing with Calvinism.Greear took down Mahaney’s books just recently after a certain person mentioned it on Twitter…

Get smart! Make sure words mean what you think they mean. Check to see if your church is what it says it is. And, when things don’t make sense, like the *Lutheran* Church which supported serial philanderer, Tullian Tchividjian, check it out.  Don’t be like the people in Greear’s church who argued with me that they were not SBC Baptists or in a Calvinist church. I can read a website and figure it out within 5 minutes. You can, too.


Comments

Why the Words *Baptist* and *Lutheran* Are Virtually Meaningless Unless Placed in Context. Tullian Tchividjian Makes a Good Example. — 246 Comments

  1. Poor ELCA to be suspected of possibly supporting Tullian Tchividjian to becoming a pastor again.

    More seriously I agree the general terms: Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, Anglican, etc. each cover a wide range. There are even different varieties of Catholic and not just within the denomination with Pope Francis as head (the Old Catholics split after Vatican 1 and some more that split in the other direction after Vatican 2).

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  2. Linn:
    When TT spends a decade or two ministering to the poor, keeping his pants zipped and his hands to himself, he might be “restored.” I won’t hold my breath.
    I’ll believe it if they’re doing all that while working at a low income job like McD’s or retail or, even better, something physically hard like construction.

    But the very first step should be to make things right with the victims and going much farther than just saying “Sorry”. If you haven’t done that, you aren’t interested in repentance, just the appearance of it.

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  3. That logo…

    It took me way too long to realize it was showing an open church door, not a bullet or something more anatomical. The typeface reminds me of a TV detective show. The background screen looks like a tile floor or chain link fence. I showed this to a friend, who said, “Looks like a scary movie in a prison.”

    Meanwhile Tullian’s Twitter pic shows that he is still selling himself as buff, ripped, swole, or whatever word we are using this week for guys who show off their muscles.

    A June 24 tweet from Tullian: “Jesus spent most of his time with the weak, the guilty, the disgraced, and the immoral. And he loved them. His rebukes were reserved for those who thought they were better than others. Those same groups exist today: those who know they’re bad and those who think they’re better.” (Quick, name a group that knows it’s bad.)

    June 17: “I used to pray that God would protect my kids from making all the same mistakes I’ve made. While I still pray God’s protection over my kids, I pray that he would do whatever it takes to win their hearts, even if that means allowing them to crash and burn.” (Wow, what did he get for Father’s Day?)

    June 15: “Cheer up, you’re a lot worse than you think you are. BUT, God’s grace is infinitely greater than anything you could ever ask for or imagine. You can never outsin the coverage of God’s forgiveness.” Beneath it is a picture of none other than Martin Luther with this quote: “When I look at myself, I don’t see how I can be saved. But when I look at Christ, I don’t see how I can be lost.” (Context, please.)

    Overall it’s a mixture of sound and unsound words in service of a forceful image.

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  4. Linn: When TT spends a decade or two ministering to the poor

    He’s off to a great start, giving his new church a soft launch in the ballroom of the Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

    It’s a little-known fact that the Feeding of the Five Thousand took place at a Hilton brunch buffet. /sarc

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  5. I was a Baptist before I became a Christian. Being a member of a church/denomination doesn’t necessarily mean you are member of the Body of Christ. Religious labels don’t mean squat in the Kingdom of God. On that day, a great multitude of church folks – some, lifetime tithing units – will be directed to the “I never knew you” line.

    We have become a list of “ists” … Baptists, Methodists, Calvinists, etc. Which one has a corner on the Truth? Are they all different expressions of the same truth … or simply teachings and traditions of men holding onto cheap grace rather than a direct experience of Grace, an encounter with the living Christ? Labels supersede genuine faith in much of the institutional church. We need to get this right before the grave: it’s about relationship not religion.

    “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33 AMP) … and when you do, you can do it as a Baptist or a Lutheran!

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  6. Regarding Tullian. There are no examples in the New Testament of fallen pastors – those who have disqualified themselves from this sacred office by moral sin – being restored to the pulpit. Can he be restored to the Body of Christ “if” he demonstrates genuine repentance? Certainly! Can he be restored to the pulpit? NO! There other ways to minister in Jesus’ name without striving to be a celebrity pastor. Would the man Tullian ever achieved celebrity status in the first place if he wasn’t Billy Graham’s grandson?

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  7. There is perhaps no better pulpit example of antinomianism in America than Tullian Tchividjian. For several years, I have been concerned about the popular grace-grace-grace message drifting into antinomian territory, an aberrant view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law. TT had multiple affairs … as a pastor!! If he is restored to the pulpit – after forfeiting that office due to repeated moral failure – it will be a sure sign of a growing antinomian culture in some corners of the American church.

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  8. I’ve been flirting with converting to the Episcopal Church for a while and they too are all over the place, as are the beliefs sitting in the pews, standing in the pulpit are as various as low church to broad church to high church congregations…

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  9. Beakerj: I think that ‘denominational’ titles have not really linked to theological beliefs for quite a while now, things are definitely not as simple as they once were.

    Agreed. I think that the worship form or liturgy is somewhat consistent, and that can be very important to people. Also the aesthetic is somewhat consistent, even if it’s just the style of cross, or a ban on displaying a cross. But we have to listen to the messages.

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  10. Where is the sympathy for the children growing up in broken households because TT only cared about getting what he wanted even when he had to break up families to do it? Why does TT get all the sympathy from the church? Where is the sympathy for the children suffering from TT’s selfishness?

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  11. My office at work is one mile, as the crow flies, from Steven Anderson’s Faithful Word Baptist Church. Anderson has started his own group (cult, IMHO) and they call themselves the New Independent Fundamental Baptists or New IFB (NIFB). These guys were on the news recently when one pastor in Orlando had a “Keep America Straight Again” conference the weekend before last. At the same time, it came out that a Knox County, TN, sheriff’s detective was the pastor of another NIFB church and he’d preached some firebreathing sermons calling for the execution of LGBTQ persons.

    Also, an independent Reformed Baptist church is meeting in my neighborhood (have been since the beginning of the year). These guys are hardcore Calvinists, follow the Westminster Confession and the 1689 London Baptist Confession. One of this church’s members, Marcus Pittman, was filming when Tom Ascol did his ambush interviews at the SBC meeting in Birmingham. I still haven’t figured out why he was there, or who was paying for it.

    One of the pastors at the church is a guy named James R. White, who calls himself an apologist and debates other people. He likes to call himself “Dr. James White” but his “doctorate” is from an unaccredited seminary.

    I would also note that I protest at this church every Sunday afternoon because the leadership believes and teaches to children that women who have abortions should be executed. *drily* You have not lived until you’ve had an 11 year old boy tell you this on multiple occasions. This church has a number of podcasts but is most notorious in our area for shouting at women going to the Tempe Planned Parenthood and for going to citizen comment at the Phoenix City Council to talk about, you guessed it, abortion.

    They also don’t believe Jesus died for everyone.

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  12. MAX – HEALTH UPDATE

    Wartburgers, if Dee will allow me to cut into this post, I wanted to give you an update on my health situation. To make a long story short – after much prodding and probing, tests and procedures for the last month – the symptoms that caused the concern “went away” and all test results were “negative” for some rather bad things suspected. I will still be monitored, and am kind of droopy from the ordeal, but looks like I will be around a while longer to fight devils with you. THANKS FOR PRAYING!!

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  13. Martha Stout wrote about how the goal of sociopaths is getting you to feel pity for them because the pity causes you to let them get away with doing wrong. Be aware of how others try to control your sympathy.

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  14. Max:
    MAX – HEALTH UPDATE

    Wartburgers, if Dee will allow me to cut into this post, I wanted to give you an update on my health situation.To make a long story short – after much prodding and probing, tests and procedures for the last month – the symptoms that caused the concern “went away” and all test results were “negative” for some rather bad things suspected.I will still be monitored, and am kind of droopy from the ordeal, but looks like I will be around a while longer to fight devils with you.THANKS FOR PRAYING!!

    Glad,to hear!

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  15. Max:
    MAX – HEALTH UPDATE

    Wartburgers, if Dee will allow me to cut into this post, I wanted to give you an update on my health situation.To make a long story short – after much prodding and probing, tests and procedures for the last month – the symptoms that caused the concern “went away” and all test results were “negative” for some rather bad things suspected.I will still be monitored, and am kind of droopy from the ordeal, but looks like I will be around a while longer to fight devils with you.THANKS FOR PRAYING!!

    Awesome news!!!!!

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  16. Max:
    There is perhaps no better pulpit example of antinomianism in America than Tullian Tchividjian.For several years, I have been concerned about the popular grace-grace-grace message drifting into antinomian territory, an aberrant view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law.TT had multiple affairs … as a pastor!!If he is restored to the pulpit – after forfeiting that office due to repeated moral failure – it will be a sure sign of a growing antinomian culture in some corners of the American church.

    Max, I agree, but sadly I also believe that if everyone else who agreed the same way on that decided to collectively meet to discuss this, we could all meet comfortably at the local Starbucks…

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  17. As I said on the Tee Tee thread at Spiritual Sounding Board:
    DOES THIS REALLY SURPRISE ANYONE?

    Back when the scandal peaked, I predicted Tee Tee (and his pecs and abs) would lay low until the heat blew over then hit the CHRISTIAN Comeback Trail. (And still cruise for his next set of honeys on the side; once a Serial Playa, always a Serial Playa.) Happens with every other ManaGAWD in that situation; why not with one who is additionally Highborn of House Graham?

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  18. Max: I wanted to give you an update on my health situation. To make a long story short – after much prodding and probing, tests and procedures for the last month – the symptoms that caused the concern “went away” and all test results were “negative” for some rather bad things suspected.

    I read “some rather bad things suspected” as a Cancer Scare.
    I’ve had three with my prostate and one with my colon. All negative, though the “prodding and probing” to determine that was No Fun.

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  19. Friend: Meanwhile Tullian’s Twitter pic shows that he is still selling himself as buff, ripped, swole, or whatever word we are using this week for guys who show off their muscles.

    Steroid Wonder?

    In the words of the prophet Right Said Fred:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5mtclwloEQ
    (I had that running through my head the first time I saw Tee Tee’s official portrait, and nothing has changed since.)

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  20. Headless Unicorn Guy: Back when the scandal peaked, I predicted Tee Tee (and his pecs and abs) would lay low until the heat blew over then hit the CHRISTIAN Comeback Trail.

    Yes, that’s been the Playbook these smarmy pastors have been using for a good, long time.

    They get caught doing something wrong, go away from public view for several months or a year or more, then come back – usually with a new book – where they go on and on in the new book and from their new sermons – about how they’re restored now, isn’t God’s grace wonderful?, and they start up a new church and go back to preaching.

    There’s no true repentance with these guys, and they never suffer a penalty for their poor behavior.

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  21. Friend: That logo…
    It took me way too long to realize it was showing an open church door, not a bullet or something more anatomical. The typeface reminds me of a TV detective show. The background screen looks like a tile floor or chain link fence. I showed this to a friend, who said, “Looks like a scary movie in a prison.”

    Wouldn’t make a bad movie poster for “a scary/horror movie in a prison”.
    Even with the “With Tee Tee” as the leading star.

    And as for “something more anatomical”, consider just which ManaGAWD this is…

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  22. K.D.:
    I’ve been flirting with converting to the Episcopal Church for a while and they too are all over the place, as are the beliefs sitting in the pews, standing in the pulpit are as various as low church to broad church to high church congregations…

    I’ve been visiting them recently. More than anything I really want a community that has some people my own age that are somewhat welcoming, but the churches around here are either tiny with a very elderly congregation who only do activities during the day (I work) or they are giant with very shallow everything. The largest church pipes in Andy Stanley on a satellite feed. I just can’t get behind going to church to watch a pastor on a video who I can watch in my pajamas at home.

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  23. Guest: Has serial homewrecker Tullian Tchividjian paid the money back to the families he took from?
    Not only did he ask these married women for attention he also wanted their families money.

    And so many Christians frequently worry about unmarried women – so they drag out their “Billy Graham Rule” (also referred to as the Mike Pence Rule these days).

    How did the Billy Graham Rule work out for the lady victims of Tullian? Not so well. Didn’t do squat to protect them.

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  24. Headless Unicorn Guy: Back when the scandal peaked, I predicted Tee Tee (and his pecs and abs) would lay low until the heat blew over then hit the CHRISTIAN Comeback Trail.

    I don’t think it surprises anyone. He is clearly so desperate for attention in everything he does. And being an Insta influencer wouldn’t pay him enough in his mind…

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  25. Daisy: They get caught doing something wrong, go away from public view for several months or a year or more, then come back – usually with a new book – where they go on and on in the new book and from their new sermons – about how they’re restored now, isn’t God’s grace wonderful?, and they start up a new church and go back to preaching.

    And the money (and honeys) just start rolling back in.

    “Because of you the name of Christ is blasphemed among the heathen.”
    — Some Rabbi from Tarsus

    There’s no true repentance with these guys, and they never suffer a penalty for their poor behavior.

    Partially because the Christianese response is to just sit quietly with hands folded, piously intoning something about “God Will Judge Him on The Last Day.” Just like all those Pastor Pedos.

    These guys must be seen to visibly lose.
    To NOT get away with it.
    Otherwise all this Jesus talk is just B.S.
    (As that Rabbi from Tarsus put it above.)

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  26. Max: Would the man Tullian ever have achieved celebrity status in the first place if he wasn’t Billy Graham’s grandson?

    NO.
    Like I said above in Westerosi, “Highborn of House Graham”.

    Then there’s also the joint Chinese/English folk proverb:
    “Rags to Riches to Rags in three generations.”

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  27. Max, I’m thankful for you and thank God that you are alive and well. Just reading your words for a year or more has done a lot to offset the teaching I’ve heard for about 20 years from men who follow after Piper, MacArthur, etc. I don’t comment much, but wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and other Wartburgers, like TS00.

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  28. Pingback: Linkathon! - Phoenix Preacher

  29. Max:
    MAX – HEALTH UPDATE

    Wartburgers, if Dee will allow me to cut into this post, I wanted to give you an update on my health situation.To make a long story short – after much prodding and probing, tests and procedures for the last month – the symptoms that caused the concern “went away” and all test results were “negative” for some rather bad things suspected.I will still be monitored, and am kind of droopy from the ordeal, but looks like I will be around a while longer to fight devils with you.THANKS FOR PRAYING!!

    Thank God!

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  30. Daisy:“Billy Graham Rule”

    Anytime you make up a rule that wasn’t spoken by Jesus or is not in the Bible you are a Pharisee, at least on that point, and it leads the maker of the rule to eventually throw out the actual rules that Jesus spoke about and the things He did. Sooner-or-later the rules will cause you to strut around, at least in your heart, in smug superiority over those who did not follow your enlightened rules. You will, in the end, make them an idol and possibly become far worse than the lowest sort or dirtbags you made the rules up in the first place to avoid becoming.

    So Billy Graham and a generation of “righteous” men follow that rule, which then leads them to avoid being in the company of women without others around (to treat women like a disease to be avoided). Suppose Jesus should never have appeared to those women first after He rose from the dead. And what was He doing consorting with the woman at the well…especially one who may have been a multi-time divorcee who was living with a guy? He didn’t follow the Billy Graham rule.

    Before he married our daughter, our son-in-law was going to a church where they tapped on his shoulder and asked him to be an elder (he was a child of 26 at the time, he was not qualified to be anything of the sort, red flag right there) and they then told him about the additional rules necessary to be an elder at that church. Had nothing to do with being held to a higher standard if they taught in the church, or having a good reputation, not drifting from wife to wife, kids not being hooligans. Nope, the big thing was the Billy Graham Rule. I told him “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” Fortunately, he turned them down. And then left the church. In time, they proved up their Pharisee status quite nicely.

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  31. Benn,

    Years ago the house church movement sprang up, flourished, and then fizzled. I have been wondering privately for a while if all of the turmoil in the church of the USA will result in a return to the house church model, and if new life will be breathed into an old idea again.

    The issues that are discussed here could provide the push toward something like that beginning, especially as the numbers of disaffected Christians grow. I firmly believe that TT and men like him, along with the authoritarian types, are just pushing people who long for a simpler Christian experience out the door and toward each other.

    Maybe I’ll see that in my lifetime. I sure hope so.

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  32. Noevangelical,

    Would love to do something along those lines, but know many who were burned by the house church experience, usually due to legalism. One family was ‘frowned’ out because the mom got her hair cut short. Sleeved shirts and denim skirts were apparently not enough. Would love to know of any who have found them to work long term, and how they pull it off.

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  33. Someone on Julie Anne Smith’s site linked to an update on another defrocked guy with many similarities to TT: RC Sproul Jr. Here are details on the story so far ministry-wise:

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2019/02/25/lets-take-a-breather-with-a-bizarre-story-about-r-c-sproul-jr-and-the-pittsburgh-pirates-this-is-not-a-parody-2/

    Like TT, might this guy be aiming for $$$$ by asking people to pay to hear him talk/write about grace?

    http://www.journalgazette.net/features/20190613/his-fathers-forgiveness

    “Sproul, 53, who moved to Fort Wayne in February 2017 after marrying his wife, Lisa, in October 2016, used his new perspective to write his 12th book, “Growing Up (with) R.C.: Truths I Learned About Grace, Redemption and the Holiness of God.””

    Ah, new perspective! What might that be?

    “I wanted to be able to go to all those people out there whose sin they know and no one else knows and to be able to say to them: As our sin gets exposed and we repent of it, it is covered and gone,” he says.”

    And if they happen to buy books and throw speaking fees his way, there’s a bonus! Perhaps he might join TT in such engagements. And wouldn’t you know it, someone commented that TT wrote the forward for this book! (One neat part of this scenario is Jr. and TT can spin that they’re not really overseers any more, conveniently forgetting how not many are to be teachers. Also, the compromised imaging of disqualified pastors not only deeming themselves worthy to teach but to still seek to profit from ministry is massively problematic. Perhaps the sheep (sic) need to educate themselves on the items about filthy lucre (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, 1 Peter 5) before they up for a grace-riffic shearing from the likes of them.

    “The legacy his father left him, Sproul says, is the message of the Gospel, which is forgiveness. God is the one who rebuilds even from the worst of sins. He’s writing his next book, tentatively titled, “The Grace of Scandal, and the Scandal of Grace.””

    Another book; $o much wisdom to impart! Perhaps Romans 6:1-2 will be spun winsomely: “What then will we say? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Never may it be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

    The message of the Gospel comes with the call “to repent and to turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance” (Acts 26:20, cf. Matthew 3:8). Does Sproul evince understanding of that? 

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  34. Sproul Jr.: “One of the hardships is that everybody who knew me before and knows that this all happened, they all felt like they have stock in me and that they were owed a personal apology, and they want that personal apology to be as intense as it might have been the day after. I repented a long time ago, and God forgave me, and I am not carrying that burden around anymore.”

    Outrageous. No burden of any consequences, ‘cuz grace? But… is that “Biblical”? Perhaps Jr. might recall King David and the reality that God’s grace did not exempt him or others whose actions were affected by his misdeeds from consequences. Perhaps such relevant Scripture is not a burden that the “new perspective” in his book chooses to carry.

    Note that this guy was “defrocked as a minister in the Westminster Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly”:

    http://www.pearceyreport.com/archives/2006/02/post_53.php

    “Among the reasons for the disciplinary action are charges of spiritual abuse of members and attendees of St. Peter Presbyterian Church, as well as financial irregularities that include the “identity theft” of another church’s Federal Tax I.D. number.”

    Also note that the church in question belongs to the same the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) as Doug Wilson’s, and has as part of their mission to “administer the sacraments and moral discipline within the church”:

    http://www.saintpeterpresbyterian.org/about-st-peter-presbyterian-church.shtml

    So at the start, this guy signed up for doling out discipline and consequences and getting paid for same. (Guess mumbling sorry in an impersonal way whether or not whoever is affected is present to hear the general comment — which is not unknown in the world of spiritual abuse but seems to be standard operating procedure — doesn’t merit a get out of discipline free card for the sheep.)

    Then, he’s party to “charges of spiritual abuse of members and attendees” and “financial irregularities that include the “identity theft” of another church’s Federal Tax I.D. number.”” (Will his grace/scandal-focused book contend that relieving one’s self of burdens on this front is Biblical rather than what David suggested be done to the rich man who took the only lamb from the poor man right before Nathan pointed out “thou art the man”? Or might a NT example be forwarded like Luke 19:8 — “And Zacchaeus having stood, said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anything of anyone, I restore it fourfold.”

    But now, this guy who apparently was involved in affecting many people on the spiritual abuse side and financial abuse side has the unmitigated gall to chafe at people affected wanting the bare minimum of consider of — gasp — a personal apology! He even appears to issue caveats on the intensity of said apologies corresponding to time away from the incident (or from when he got caught, take your pick). He honestly acts like those who paid towards his salary and ministry have no stock in him, those who official reports indicate were subject to spiritual and financial abuse in which he was involved. Sickening.

    We have the first scenario — paid pastor schooled in discipline-dealing and top-down authority wielding. We have the second one — reportedly doing what he wanted regardless of impact on the church body and others. We have the third — going back to money-making off of his take on gospel things while evidently casting as “hardship” getting called on his actions and waiting on genuine acts of repentance commensurate with his misdeeds, while appearing to set the terms for how much repentance is needed and to whom before getting back to the “gospel” lecture/book/teaching/public news circuit.

    Some Scripture comes to mind in this scenario: “By their fruits you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). Also, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6b). In scenarios one, two, and three, how might that apply to RC and TT, and what is there to know from the fruit thereof?

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  35. Linn:
    When TT spends a decade or two ministering to the poor, keeping his pants zipped and his hands to himself, he might be “restored.” I won’t hold my breath.

    The speed at which people want to go ‘it’s all forgiven/done with/a long time ago/ GRACE’ when people can’t even acknowledge the harm and apologize let alone make attempts at restitution is mindboggling.

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  36. K.D.: I’ve been flirting with converting to the Episcopal Church for a while and they too are all over the place, as are the beliefs sitting in the pews, standing in the pulpit are as various as low church to broad church to high church congregations…

    We can’t all agree, even within our own denom’s. Trying to make people agree leads to control freaks and authoritarians and shunning.

    I’m cool with diversity of thought in the pew, as long other things are working. I know my denomination has a very well defined theology and polity, but the people who make it up are quite diverse. I see people moving denominations and retaining viewpoints they picked up at various times in their lives.

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  37. TS00,

    I hear you. My brief brush with the movement was marked by the same things. I think one of the biggest mistakes made was trying to replicate a caricature of the early church based on a faulty understanding of what life was really like at their time. Another error was trying to be a mini-church. Authoritarianism was not far behind at that point.

    Maybe if people just got together, without trying to be the church or do church, things might have turned out different. Knowing what we know now, I think people have to actively fight against authoritarian ideas and legalism at every turn in that kind of setting. Those two seem to be in us, without needing much cultivating.

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  38. Noevangelical: Years ago the house church movement sprang up, flourished, and then fizzled. I have been wondering privately for a while if all of the turmoil in the church of the USA will result in a return to the house church model, and if new life will be breathed into an old idea again.

    I was reading in a discussion group the other day and they were talking about the house church movement. Several people said that they had participated and it was heavily patriarchal and authoritarian, even though they marketed otherwise. I remember taking a seminary class at the SBC convention one year with all six seminaries, and apparently Golden Gate was big into the house church movement at the time. Wondering if they already had some New Cal influence now…

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  39. TS00,

    My Aunt and cousins belong to a house church outfit called the Jesus Church, formerly known as the Jesus Way Church.

    All that I know is growth comes through marriage. I haven’t heard anything bad about them

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  40. ishy: Several people said that they had participated and it was heavily patriarchal and authoritarian, even though they marketed otherwise.

    That tracks with what I’ve heard…I think it’s a few things.

    One, people who start these things might want to be in charge, or alternately in a smaller group it’s easier for a person who wants to take over to do that, because the structure isn’t there to stop them.

    Two, sometimes people leave an a church because they can’t get along or don’t want to follow rules or what have you. Misfits. Now, this might be a good thing when leaving a cultish or abusive place, but sometimes it just means you are the one who is abusive or disordered. So maybe is something of that at play – like when somebody told me one local (athletic) group formed because they couldn’t follow a different groups rules.

    Too much of those two makes it hard for the chill people who don’t want to take control, and they leave. vicious cycle.

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  41. “Southern Baptists appear to be known for their ardent opposition to women in the pulpit and in the ill-defined concept of a the man being the head of the family. However, they still cannot tell me what a man can do in a marriage that a woman cannot do.”

    Oh, Piper has a ready answer for that one. “It’s not about competency!” he frequently says. He readily acknowledges that the wife may be equally good, or better, at some things than the husband is. For him (and all complementarians, which today’s SBC leaders want all their churches to be), this is irrelevant. They believe God gave men and women specific roles in marriage and ministry, and they have to fill those roles whether they’re good at them or not, and whether their spouse is better at them or not.

    [In case it’s not clear, I disagree with this 100%.]

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  42. __

    “Nonsensical 501c3 Ground Zero?”

    hmmm…

    On point: ‘Pastoral delayed gratification?’

    huh?

    This circus advanced greatly with copyrighted bibles and designer multiplicity Greek texts. Then we had 501c3’s mascaraing as churches. Now we have designer pulpits with exegetical acumen entertaining the equation. With the hijacking of the English language —words can mean, well…anything you want. Battle of the sexes? Add the internet to the churning mix…

    Whew!

    hahahahaha

    Will the Lord’s Angel gonna be stirring the proverbial waters any time soon?

    Could b.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    Intermission:
    Simple Minds: New Gold Dream – “New Gold Dream”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1J2M5xwt-7U
    Bonus:
    Simple Minds: New Gold Dream –
    “Somebody Up There Likes You?”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_asVnwf7TRM

    :~)§

    – –

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  43. bendeni: However, they still cannot tell me what a man can do in a marriage that a woman cannot do.”

    So, what is the expected answer to this question, other than “nothing”? Isn’t that the only acceptable answer?

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  44. ishy: I was reading in a discussion group the other day and they were talking about the house church movement. Several people said that they had participated and it was heavily patriarchal and authoritarian, even though they marketed otherwise. I remember taking a seminary class at the SBC convention one year with all six seminaries, and apparently Golden Gate was big into the house church movement at the time. Wondering if they already had some New Cal influence now…

    We were part of that once. The house church we joined had previously been larger before an acrimonious split. Of course, we just heard things from the perspective of the poor couple who were left, they’d been so mistreated. So we joined them, along with another homeschooling family (which we all did) and there were six adults and 21 kids in our fellowship. We had to get used to listening to how poorly they’d been treated, what a lonely road it was doing the right thing and serving the Lord. Then they introduced us to this “wonderful preacher” named Voddie Baucham. Then they told us about how in the previous iteration for a time they’d decided to “take the Bible seriously” and women in the home fellowship were not allowed to speak…at all. As in shut up as if you are mute and don’t offer any wisdom, any advice, any words about what you’d been reading in the Bible. Obviously, this would not have gone over well with my wife, who teaches at a college.

    And things got weirder and weirder Their kids were mean and selfish…then the parents accused our kids of being mean and selfish…their teenage daughter accused our 9 year old son of sexually assaulting her…the parents refused to let their kids attend college because that would be giving into the ways of the world. So, for example, their 25 year old son did absolutely nothing, just sat at home all day, no job, no school, and spent all his time on the computer. Of course, my wife and I, both academics, wondered why in the world they’d tell us these things knowing our day jobs. One couple who later joined us (husband had had a doctorate and was a former college administrator), told their teenage daughter she might want to consider going to college, because she seemed bright. He hadn’t gotten the anti-college memo, they had joined after the college rants, and so the founding couple forced him out of the fellowship (to my regret, I stupidly went along).

    It got stranger and stranger until finally the original couple, totally out of the blue, and with no warning, started yelling at our fellowship and accused our kids of bullying their kids and the wife accused us of “destroying” her. She was shrieking at us. This still ranks as one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen. There was no truth to any of it, it was a psychotic episode, she acted very much like a paranoid schizophrenic (though not saying that as a diagnosis, which I’m unqualified to give, just that she acted very much like a former friend who was so diagnosed).

    You run into some crazy people in that movement. We now home church, but we refuse to affiliate with any organization.

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  45. Law Prof: You run into some crazy people in that movement. We now home church, but we refuse to affiliate with any organization.

    I met someone fairly recently who went on and on about how home churches were the only right church to have. Then he mentioned that they only allow couples without young children that would “interrupt our church”. No kids. No single people. I asked why they didn’t allow single people, and he said, “Divorce is against the Bible.”

    I’m single. Never married. By choice.

    Not sure they know what is in the Bible and what isn’t. Or anything about humanity…

    Super weird.

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  46. ishy: Then he mentioned that they only allow couples without young children that would “interrupt our church”. No kids. No single people. I asked why they didn’t allow single people, and he said, “Divorce is against the Bible.”

    Weird. So, so weird.

    What do they do when the kids grow up, kick them out? Have they thought this stuff through at all?

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  47. Lea:
    What do they do when the kids grow up, kick them out? Have they thought this stuff through at all?

    He said his kids were grown and gone. I guess, if they are adults and married, they are allowed in. But it was really weird limitations…

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  48. ishy,

    That’s weird, but typical. On an unrelated point, one home church home schooling couple who live not far from us refuse to allow their children to watch Disney movies because the parents noticed some of them feature cartoon characters kissing, and they believe that is a grave sin for kids to watch kissing. My children told me the parents don’t even show physical affection in front of the kids for fear of sullying them.

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  49. TS00: Would love to do something along those lines, but know many who were burned by the house church experience, usually due to legalism. One family was ‘frowned’ out because the mom got her hair cut short.

    I’ve read several accounts about ‘house church’.
    Some of them can be just as kooky and stultifying as the meanest-fundagelical-mega-biggie-poop-pit.

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  50. Law Prof: My children told me the parents don’t even show physical affection in front of the kids for fear of sullying them.

    I don’t know about “sullying”, but that can mess up the kids’ heads. BAD.

    They won’t know the first thing about relating to a date/boyfriend/girlfriend or how to show appropriate affection. (And what’s “inappropriate affection” can go either way – remember sexual predators home in on those who grew up starving for affection and who have no idea of boundaries or appropriate behavior. Easy prey.)

    And what happens if they are ever able to marry? “Our Duty to The Party”?

    Reason I keyed on this is I grew up “socially retarded”; it’s one of the main reasons I never married and have had only one girlfriend in my entire life. Totally clueless. And when that “social retardation” overlaps with affection on a deep level, things can get even worse.

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  51. ishy: I met someone fairly recently who went on and on about how home churches were the only right church to have. Then he mentioned that they only allow couples without young children that would “interrupt our church”. No kids. No single people. I asked why they didn’t allow single people, and he said, “Divorce is against the Bible.”

    I’m single. Never married. By choice.

    Not sure they know what is in the Bible and what isn’t. Or anything about humanity…

    Super weird.

    Ishy, THAT is an example as to why House Churches are NOT the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything their boosters make them out to be.

    House Churches are completely independent, “Us Four, No More, AAAAAA-Men”. Once Entropy sets in and they start drifting into CULT territory, there is NO oversight, NO outside Reality Check to hold them back.

    And if the House Church grows beyond around a dozen, you’ll start seeing Schisms and Heretic Hunts. Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies (good read) calls it “Ten guys in socks chanting in someone’s living room” syndrome regarding schism after schism in various occult groups. (On that particular application, years ag at an SF con one Wiccan told me that the reason a coven is limited to 13 is any more than that and you get conflicts and schism as two leaders/factions emerge and tear the oversized coven apart. There Can Be Only One….)

    Even secular clubs can be prone to this if the members are emotionally invested enough. I was once in a gaming group that went from seven members to three through a series of “Either he goes or we go!” player mutinies, and an oral history of SF fandom I heard once related how in the Thirties there was this Sci-Fi club in some Midwest city that never had more than five members at a time but always divided into two factions always at the others’ in a vicious Power Struggle.

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  52. Law Prof: We had to get used to listening to how poorly they’d been treated, what a lonely road it was doing the right thing and serving the Lord. Then they introduced us to this “wonderful preacher” named Voddie Baucham.

    Two Bright Red Warning Flags right off the starting line:
    1) “Ours is a High and Lonely Destiny, Digory.”
    2) “Beat the shy out of Fluttershy” Baucham.

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  53. bendeni,

    Also, strongly against it !

    It’s really quite an insult to God?, in suggesting he approves of set roles, which by their very set up, produce mediocrity. Yes, the Creator of the universe and everything within it,demands it be filled with incompetence, second rate outcomes because MEN must have preminance. NOT !

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  54. Law Prof,

    Wow.

    A while back (in the 80’s), I was introduced to a home church by a young lady I was semi-dating. I was actually invited to the Easter celebration at the cult leader’s home? Oh! Did I say ‘cult leader’? I meant ‘pastor’.

    No, I actually meant ‘cult leader’. This thing was so clearly and out and out cult of personality based around the ‘pastor’. The ‘flock’ was probably 90% young women, who seemed always to be chirpily happy, albeit somewhat glassy-eyed.

    I ran and never looked back. A couple of years later I heard some disquieting things about this gang. We live in a fallen world…

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  55. My father told me over half a century ago to never trust a pastor who unbuttoned his shirt down to his navel and wore a gold choker chain. I would add tanned body, steroid muscles, skinny jeans, and spiky hair to the list.

    I noticed on Tullian’s Facebook page that he is still playing the Billy Graham card, with several pics and references to his granddaddy’s ministry. He’s still trying to ride that wave … but with a different spirit.

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  56. Daisy: How did the Billy Graham Rule work out for the lady victims of Tullian?

    Evidently, Tullian didn’t follow anything even remotely similar to it. He played by his own rules and used grace-grace-grace to cover his misbehavings. He will now launch a new ministry, as an antinomian, to draw a crowd who wants to live the same way. There’s no shortage of folks looking for a church like that.

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  57. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Somewhat related but have you done any reading up on attachment styles? I’ve been reading a book called ‘attached’ and they talk about relationship attachments being anxious, avoidant or secure.

    The way you raise your kids can affect their attachment style but they can also work to change it, getting more secure sometimes. Interesting stuff!

    I do feel bad for those kids though.

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  58. Brian:
    They were trying to tell this to you, a seminary grad? A person who had a deeper understanding of the Bible?

    I’m female. That happens a lot to female Christians no matter how educated they are.

    All I could hear in my head that day was a cuckoo crowing, though…

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  59. ishy,

    Come to think of it, it happens a lot to women no matter how educated they are.

    I went to a panel once with author Diana Gabaldon (Outlander). It’s clear she’s absolutely brilliant. There was a lesser known male author on that panel that kept answering questions for her and generally talking over the other woman editor on the panel, too. His answers were idiotic and he just didn’t shut up. Finally, someone in the audience told him to let her talk. The person running the panel (also a female editor) kept trying to redirect the questions back to her, and he would interrupt even louder.

    That experience was very much like SBC churches and seminary to me.

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  60. Guess I’ll be the odd-man-out, but I think Billy Graham’s ‘rule’ is OK. Do I think every man should follow it? No. But for a well-known Christian to realize how sneaky and intrusive paparazzi can be, it could be a very wise guideline to have in place. I’ve *never* felt it was a slam against women.

    Also, here in the midwest, I have had nothing but good experiences with The Church of the Lutheran Brethren.

    TT? He makes me ill and I just can’t believe how many people fall for these shenanigans!

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  61. Fedora,

    “Guess I’ll be the odd-man-out, but I think Billy Graham’s ‘rule’ is OK. .. I’ve *never* felt it was a slam against women.”
    +++++++++++++++

    i take it you’re not a woman.

    my experience in many churches: more often than not, i don’t even get the courtesy of eye contact from human beings who happen to be men. i am ignored, unacknowledged, i’m invisible. it’s as if i’m not even there.

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  62. Tullian’s Facebook page is titled “Sinner & Saint” … brother!

    And all you saints who think you aren’t sinners, he posted some advice for you:

    “Two things I have learned very acutely over the last five years:

    1) You are capable of failing in a way that is unthinkable to you right now.

    2) God’s love and forgiveness are big enough to cover the fact that your greatest failure may be in front of you.”

    Get ready folks, a great moral failure is looming around the corner! And this guy is a preacher?!!

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  63. ishy,

    On Jim Daily’s Focus on the Family program, he had a single woman on there talking about a bias, throughout parts of the body of Christ, against single people. Many churches having no singles program. They have ministries for newlyweds, young families, growing families, etc. Nothing for singles.

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  64. ishy: The person running the panel (also a female editor) kept trying to redirect the questions back to her, and he would interrupt even louder.

    Sounds like the guy never matured beyond the poopy diaper stage.

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  65. Brian: On Jim Daily’s Focus on the Family program, he had a single woman on there talking about a bias, throughout parts of the body of Christ, against single people. Many churches having no singles program. They have ministries for newlyweds, young families, growing families, etc. Nothing for singles.

    I agree that singles are often left out of church life. Churches seem to prize married couples with small children. But I also think it’s hard to organize successful groups by life stage. Marital status is not always a common interest. Failure to include singles might be a bigger issue in churches that only want married men to do certain things, and insist on separate women’s groups, etc.

    In my view, it’s better to have activities that might interest a lot of people, like a gardening and grounds maintenance group that might attract men and women of different ages/stages (and they can bring kids). Bible studies, book groups, choir, preparing a huge meal for the homeless shelter, gathering Christmas gifts for the needy. A lot of churches in my area have evenings for people to meet in a cafe or pub and talk about some aspect of belief. A men’s (or women’s) Bible study can include single and married folks.

    Did you have particular activities in mind? Does your church embrace singles?

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  66. Fedora:
    Guess I’ll be the odd-man-out, but I think Billy Graham’s ‘rule’ is OK. Do I think every man should follow it? No. But for a well-known Christian to realize how sneaky and intrusive paparazzi can be, it could be a very wise guideline to have in place. I’ve *never* felt it was a slam against women.

    Also, here in the midwest, I have had nothing but good experiences with The Church of the Lutheran Brethren.

    TT? He makes me ill and I just can’t believe how many people fall for these shenanigans!

    But Jesus violated the Billy Graham Rule, and He had people constantly trying to discredit Him over consorting with sinful women.

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  67. Daisy: Yes, that’s been the Playbook these smarmy pastors have been using for a good, long time.

    They get caught doing something wrong, go away from public view for several months or a year or more, then come back – usually with a new book – where they go on and on in the new book and from their new sermons – about how they’re restored now, isn’t God’s grace wonderful?, and they start up a new church and go back to preaching.

    Have you ever heard of one actually going to their victims and doing whatever it took to make things right?

    Yeah, me neither.

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  68. Fedora:
    Guess I’ll be the odd-man-out, but I think Billy Graham’s ‘rule’ is OK. Do I think every man should follow it? No. But for a well-known Christian to realize how sneaky and intrusive paparazzi can be, it could be a very wise guideline to have in place. I’ve *never* felt it was a slam against women.

    I once “worked” (was a volunteer administrative assistant in a small church) for a pastor who followed this rule. For the record, he was very definitely not my type. Logistics aside, it cast a really weird shadow, in my mind, at least. Did he think he was just so incredibly sexy that I wouldn’t be able to resist the obvious temptation and try to fling myself at him? Also cast a weird shadow over my friendship with his wife. Did she not trust me to be around her husband, or him to be around me? It was just a weird dynamic all around.

    I also worked for seven years at a (secular) community college where professors of opposite genders routinely shared offices. Never heard a whiff of impropriety.

    Seems like everyone remembers the one person in scripture who was falsely accused of rape (Joseph by Potiphar’s wife). But how many can recite all the women who were actually raped? Hagar, Bathsheba, Tamar, Dinah, the concubine in Judges (and Lot. I realize he’s not a woman, but don’t want to leave him out)… Maybe it’s the women who need a Billy Graham rule, not the other way around. Just saying.

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  69. I can’t speak with authority about the man Tullian used to be. But I can speak with confidence about the man Tullian is now. And this I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: the work of God in his life is real.

    No, Patrick Thurmer, you do not know a thing beyond a shadow of a doubt. You are either just like Tullian Tchividian and therefore want to absolve him, or else you are sadly deluded. Did you never ask if he had gone to his victims to make things right? Did you ever ask why he was speaking to you rather than to them? No, you are just putting on a show together. You’ll have your day in the sun, then it will be over, and what will you have then?

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  70. Lea: The speed at which people want to go ‘it’s all forgiven/done with/a long time ago/ GRACE’ when people can’t even acknowledge the harm and apologize let alone make attempts at restitution is mindboggling.

    It’s just completely phony.

    If they haven’t gone to those they’ve hurt and made real amends, then they’re just pretending.

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  71. Friend: A June 24 tweet from Tullian: “Jesus spent most of his time with the weak, the guilty, the disgraced, and the immoral. And he loved them. His rebukes were reserved for those who thought they were better than others.

    Well, TT does think he’s better than others, doesn’t he? He obviously thinks he deserves to receive forgiveness and restoration without having to humble himself to go to his victims and make amends, like common folks do. He obviously thinks he has some sort of native right to be looked up to as a leader even though he has proven to be unworthy of that position. He obviously thinks he is above doing normal work. He obviously thinks that stepping down permanently is only for other people. And not even going into his obvious belief that he should have any woman who appeals to him.

    So, yes, I’d say he fits the profile of someone who thinks he’s better than others. Even his sin is special, it somehow qualifies him for more admiration.

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  72. Law Prof: On an unrelated point, one home church home schooling couple who live not far from us refuse to allow their children to watch Disney movies because the parents noticed some of them feature cartoon characters kissing, and they believe that is a grave sin for kids to watch kissing. My children told me the parents don’t even show physical affection in front of the kids for fear of sullying them.

    You know what I think….

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  73. Brian: Did TT have another male, the second male in the room, complicit in his crimes? I’m just trying to understand.

    The Billy Graham rule is for the public face. It doesn’t do anything to prevent surreptitious sextings and meetings behind the scenes.

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  74. elastigirl: my experience in many churches: more often than not, i don’t even get the courtesy of eye contact from human beings who happen to be men. i am ignored, unacknowledged, i’m invisible. it’s as if i’m not even there.

    There’s my years of church experience, in a nutshell!

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  75. Max: Tullian’s Facebook page is titled “Sinner & Saint” … brother!

    And all you saints who think you aren’t sinners, he posted some advice for you:

    “Two things I have learned very acutely over the last five years:

    1) You are capable of failing in a way that is unthinkable to you right now.

    He’s being disingenuous with that “unthinkable” part. He went to a lot of work beforehand to set up the situations with women. I’m guessing it was very “thinkable.”

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  76. Mae,

    “Yes, the Creator of the universe and everything within it,demands it be filled with incompetence, second rate outcomes because MEN must have preminance.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i really like how you put that. you said it all.

    and extra points for the sarcasm!

    if “biblical” requires incompetence and second-rate, it’s time to rethink “biblical”.

    it’s certainly time to rethink complementarianism, John Piper, CBMW and all their friends. (well, this is old news, isn’t it.)

    Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire isn’t the only one who can say “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

    Every girl, every woman ever born can say “God made me X. And when I do it, I feel His pleasure.”

    God is let out, like a light blazing bright in a box. and as the lid is cracked, the light begins to stream out and the dark room begins to light up. the more the lid comes off, the brighter the room becomes, until the sides of the box are completely blown off and the light shines like the sun.

    And the world is changed.

    How monumentally, colossally stupid to squelch it, to snuff it out, to allow only a pen flashlight’s worth in a closet.

    good grief, set women free, christian culture! women, set yourselves free! then pound the glass ceiling. the world needs you. Men advocates, please lend your influence. You need them, too.

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  77. SiteSeer,

    He’s doing the same thing here:

    1. He hasn’t apologized to his victims.

    2. He’s doing a public repentance tour. Is he grooming his supporters?

    3. He’s telling everyone that this could happen to you too. Is he trying to groom his pool of victims? Or is he trying to cultivate sympathy? He seems to make himself the victim here.

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  78. Max — so glad to hear of your good medical report. May YHWH grant you many more years “under the sun”.

    Brian: trying to cultivate sympathy?

    I found Martha Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door” (sociopathy being the combination of “deficient conscience” and “deficient empathy” — a dangerous mix) very helpful in interpreting a troubling person. Of course, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to be really confident about what is going on in another person’s heart (or even one’s own, for that matter) but Stout regards “exploitation of others’ sympathy” to be a pretty reliable indicator of a sociopathic personality type. She recommends running away from people like this.

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  79. Samuel Conner,

    a thought I’d like to add is that “sociopathy” may be regarded to be a trait that has a significant “nature” influence, “conscience” and “empathy” being instantiated in brain function (don’t want to get into the weeds of the “mind-body problem”, this is just a “for instance” thought). I’ve wondered whether people with this personality type should be regarded to be “unredeemable” (or, if one is of a more Reformed mindset, “reprobate”). My understanding is that in the mental health profession, sociopathy is considered to be untreatable and IIRC Stout thought that therapy or counseling was actually counterproductive (don’t recall why, but one could imagine that therapy might actually help the person become more effective at getting what he wanted).

    I’d like to think that they are not unredeemable. Deficient or inactive internal conscience could, in principle, be informed by external constraints or standards (such as Scripture, but general cultural standards can be helpful too, as Martha Stout notes — sociopathy is not as severe a problem in nations, such as Japan, that have stronger cultural standards for personal behavior). It’s harder to see how to make up for deficient or non-functional empathy, but I think it’s possible. Suppose that a person learned (or “was changed” by “direct action” by God) to value others’ well-being. He might not “feel” internal pain when faced with others’ suffering, but valuing their well-being, he might still be motivated to act in helpful other-oriented rather than hurtful self-serving ways.

    It might be possible to be a “righteous” sociopath, or even a “good” one. I think, though, that the churches are way behind the curve in even recognizing that this is a problem. I would like to think that the ministry of the Gospel would be able to change even this kind of person, but I’m not sure that there is any evidence of that at the moment.

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  80. Friend: I also think it’s hard to organize successful groups by life stage. Marital status is not always a common interest.

    We’ve talked about this a bit at my church…I prefer sort of open groups. Most of the people my age are married with kids, though, and I enjoy talking to them. I don’t feel like those groups should be exclusionary either. I get why they do, but it’s kind of tricky to figure out. Also, if you have a singles group and they get married and leave, you’re separating people who’ve actually formed a community. IDK.

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  81. SiteSeer: “You are capable of failing in a way that is unthinkable to you right now” (Tullian Tchividjian)

    He’s being disingenuous with that “unthinkable” part. He went to a lot of work beforehand to set up the situations with women. I’m guessing it was very “thinkable.”

    Yes, he surely thought about that a lot … multiple times.

    He should have been thinking about his wife, his children, his victims, his ministry … and made the right choices. Contrary to his theological beliefs, he really does have a free will – he should have exercised it (or maybe he did). As my dear father used to say “I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.”

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  82. Law Prof: But Jesus violated the Billy Graham Rule, and He had people constantly trying to discredit Him over consorting with sinful women.

    That’s sort of a hint that making it a ‘rule’ is a bad idea.

    And some of these men are too stupid or heartless to realize and adjust when it needs to be broken. (witness the dumb comments about leaving women in a dangerous situation like a broken down car, because they don’t want to break the ‘rule’)

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  83. elastigirl:
    Fedora,

    “Guess I’ll be the odd-man-out, but I think Billy Graham’s ‘rule’ is OK. .. I’ve *never* felt it was a slam against women.”
    +++++++++++++++

    i take it you’re not a woman.

    my experience in many churches:more often than not, i don’t even get the courtesy of eye contact from human beings who happen to be men.i am ignored, unacknowledged, i’m invisible.it’s as if i’m not even there.

    Ummm…no. Actually I’m a middle-aged woman. And I’ve been reading WW for about six years now, but only comment a few times a year.

    I am horrified that you and other women have had the experiences you mentioned. That is so wrong on so many levels! In the four churches I’ve attended in my adult life (Ev Free, Conservative Baptist, Lutheran, Non-dem, depending on where we were living), I’ve had the opposite experience. I think part of the reason that I’m spending hours a week on sites like this is because it is very foreign to my own life. I am seeking to understand.

    And as far Billy Graham ~ he didn’t want a woman to approach him after a crusade or whatever and stand too close and the National Inquirer to snap a picture and possibly doctor the photo, then spread it worldwide as proof of an illicit relationship. If that is what he chose to do as a preventative measure, that’s his choice.

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  84. Samuel Conner: “sociopathy” may be regarded to be a trait that has a significant “nature” influence, “conscience” and “empathy” being instantiated in brain function

    My amateur understanding is that sociopaths are unlikely to develop a fully working conscience or empathy. However, they look out for themselves first, last, and always. Therefore they can learn to respond to consequences.

    The link between selfish actions and unpleasant consequences has to be forged early and reinforced consistently. It is very convenient when folks like this get to define selfishness and mete out their own consequences.

    Many of us have a little of this tendency, but we learn to avoid giving pain to others.

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  85. “I can’t speak with authority about the man Tullian used to be. But I can speak with confidence about the man Tullian is now. And this I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: the work of God in his life is real.” (Patrick Thurmer)

    In the echo chamber of 21st century church, I can still hear supporters of Driscoll, Hybels, Noble and a host of other fallen pastors saying the same thing. The problem with deception is that you don’t know you are deceived because you are deceived.

    Genuine repentance in Tullian’s life would look something like this: a public apology to his victims, a display of remorse before the church he failed, an acknowledgement that he has forfeited the right to hold the sacred office of pastor, and a willingness to be satisfied to live a faithful life of obedience to Christ as a “regular” Christian, even in obscurity.

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  86. Mae: demands it be filled with incompetence, second rate outcomes because MEN must have preminance

    Ha! I love the way you put this.

    Imagine arguing in favor of bad outcomes and incompetence like Piper does, and then being called ‘smart’.

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  87. Fedora: And as far Billy Graham ~ he didn’t want a woman to approach him after a crusade or whatever and stand too close and the National Inquirer to snap a picture and possibly doctor the photo, then spread it worldwide as proof of an illicit relationship.

    Gentle pushback from me as an admirer of Billy Graham. In Billy Graham’s day, doctored photos were made in darkrooms, so cameras were not an excuse for this rule. Jesus lived in a world before cameras. Nevertheless, “photos” of Jesus have been published.

    Exactly who is going to turn against Jesus or Billy Graham on the basis of a tabloid photo?

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  88. Samuel Conner: My understanding is that in the mental health profession, sociopathy is considered to be untreatable and IIRC Stout thought that therapy or counseling was actually counterproductive

    I think a lot of personality disorders are difficult to treat. I think she thought they learned from therapy how to manipulate better? But I didn’t read the book, just an article. I have heard the same about abusers, though, from Why Does He Do That.

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  89. Samuel Conner: It might be possible to be a “righteous” sociopath, or even a “good” one.

    What you think and what you actually DO are different things. I think your behavior can be helpful, or at the very least not harmful, if you are motivated to learn. So the question becomes how to motivate.

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  90. Fedora,

    As a man who has been in a variety of churches, I have had the same experience of no eye contact, being ignored, and being invisible. In fact, to many of the people at our current church I am invisible, primarily I think because we commute to the church and don’t live in town. And it’s a relatively small church.

    I have seen this happen to many people of either gender. It’s always a little off putting when it happens, but I would chalk that up to human nature. My wife even got glared at because she parked the car in someone else’s spot! being ignored and invisible says more about those other people than it does about me.

    My ex Bible Church pastor employed the BG rule, and believe me, he needed to. Once I got to know him I didn’t trust him any farther than I could have thrown him.

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  91. Lea: if you have a singles group and they get married and leave, you’re separating people who’ve actually formed a community.

    Some groups morph as lives change. One group created for singles started out as “20s and 30s.” As people married but continued to participate, the group embraced both single and married members and turned into “20s and Up.” They did service projects and met for evenings out.

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  92. Noevangelical: My wife even got glared at because she parked the car in someone else’s spot!

    We visited an SBC church once and were advised promptly by an elderly saint that we were sitting in her family’s pew! As we moved, she asked us who we were … she seemed a little embarrassed when I responded “Your new pastor’s father-in-law.”

    P.S., My son-in-law doesn’t need a Billy Graham rule. He has my daughter (who takes after me) to help him walk the straight and narrow way – she is not a complementarian 🙂

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  93. Friend: Some groups morph as lives change.

    True. there was a mens or womens sunday school or something that was still using that label, but clearly mixed. I think they finally changed the title but it was funny.

    I’m just saying I get why it’s complicated, especially when you get into a group where there are a few people who don’t fit the larger groups, which is why I’d rather the labels be more fluid and open.

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  94. Fedora,

    “And as far Billy Graham ~ he didn’t want a woman to approach him after a crusade or whatever and stand too close and the National Inquirer to snap a picture and possibly doctor the photo, then spread it worldwide as proof of an illicit relationship. If that is what he chose to do as a preventative measure, that’s his choice.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    hi, Fedora.

    apologies for the assumption.

    i feel like i’ve encountered a few men lately who tell me the experience of being subjugated didn’t really happen, what right have i to complain, and instead the only emotion i am allowed to have is gratitude because of the horrific things Jesus went through.

    so i’m on the defensive a little.

    I totally appreciate the fact that you are reading for the purpose of understanding.

    RE: BG’s preventive measure — certainly that was choice. i sort of understand it — although it paints women as duplicitous and diseased, and men as heroes just for being men who must be protected from these creatures.

    the experience of this billy graham rule is like someone making a show of putting on latex gloves just because you’ve entered the room. “you” need to understand just how dirty, contaminated, and gross you are.

    and “you” need to know that it’s pushing the limits of my graciousness just to be in the same room with someone a gross as you. but i (the BG rule follower) am a gracious person so i am willing to go through this unpleasant experience. you should be grateful.

    This Billy Graham Rule has morphed into a mindset and belief system about women. duplicitous, diseased, and dangerous creatures, women.

    there’s not a lot of hyperbole here.

    there’s a reason i go by a man’s name on other on-line forums. otherwise, christian men ignore me or respond as if i’m a stupid little girl, a bratty little girl, an evil little girl intent on causing destruction for my own fun.

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  95. elatigirl:
    there’s a reason i go by a man’s name on other on-line forums. otherwise, christian men ignore me or respond as if i’m a stupid little girl, a bratty little girl, an evil little girl intent on causing destruction for my own fun.

    I have considered doing this out of curiosity. I do think I get an extra dose of ‘you’re being so mean’ when I am merely direct, and a little extra being ignored. But I thought my handle was neutral – people apparently read it otherwise.

    elatigirl: i feel like i’ve encountered a few men lately who tell me the experience of being subjugated didn’t really happen

    Yes it does get irritating.

    I think women have different experiences too, in different settings. Your marital status, family, education, or personal demeanor may mean you are treated differently. I too appreciate anyone who is trying to learn what others are experiences and have been trying to do the same. Some of the stuff dee talks about is familiar, but some I’ve really seen more online then in my personal life. Of course, I had a secular education from high school up and current attend a ‘liberal’ church, etc. Makes a difference.

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  96. Lea: I have considered doing this out of curiosity.

    I have also.

    However, I’ve also noticed sometimes, that continuing to identify a female on blogs, some young punks think I’m an easy target, unleash their attack, and find out that they aren’t as big and bad and brilliant as they thought they were.
    This was more back in the day when I took on little Dricollites and shot their faulty doctrine so full of holes you could strain boiled spaghetti with it.

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  97. Mara: Wow. Just, wow.
    Patterson is a horrible, terrible, no good, rotten person.

    I just said to a friend who sent me an article about Ravi Zacharias–whenever one bad thing comes out about these leaders, then there’s bound to be a lot more to come…

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  98. Lea: That’s sort of a hint that making it a ‘rule’ is a bad idea.

    And some of these men are too stupid or heartless to realize and adjust when it needs to be broken. (witness the dumb comments about leaving women in a dangerous situation like a broken down car, because they don’t want to break the ‘rule’)

    Funny you mention that, because that break down scenario was exactly the one I brought up to my son-in-law, when he was offered an eldership at a church plant (at the age of 26!) and one of the conditions was that he never be alone with a woman. I told him as soon as you agree to abide by man-made qualifications for elders rather than God’s, I’m willing to bet God will put you in a situation, such as a lady friend having a car break down or needing a ride because of some emergency, and you’ll have to choose following the Lord or following these men.

    At the same church, one Sunday my son-in-law and daughter, back when they were engaged, had a nasty fight that lasted the whole drive to church and continued in the parking lot. Future son-in-law, in a rage, stomped out of the car and went into the service and my daughter was left sitting there bawling. A young man who was a very close friend of theirs’ walked by the car headed into the sanctuary, heard her crying, and stopped to find out what was wrong. He sat down and listened, prayed for her, gave her words of wisdom—in our daughter’s words, may have saved their future marriage. The friend then set out into the sanctuary, where he sidled up to our future son-in-law and told him to head out to the car and take care of his fiancee. He went with him back to the car, and gave them something of a couples counseling session, got them reconciled, prayed with them, and really saved the day and turned around what would’ve been a ruined Sunday and possibly worse. A good deed done, the church service was just ending and the friend headed into the sanctuary, where he was angrily accosted by the church leaders for not being there during the service. Our daughter heard the whole thing and her jaw dropped, she said they were nasty and condescending. Nothing was more important that hearing the message from the leaders. I think the only true church that may have gone on at that place that day was in a car in the parking lot.

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  99. Max: Get ready folks, a great moral failure is looming around the corner! And this guy is a preacher?!!

    By all accounts it’s pretty much a done deal that Tchividjian’s on the come back trail.

    This just in from folklore.com:

    “The apocryphal tales of cockroaches being flushed down commodes are true.
    Somehow they’re able to make their way back up to the bowl rim, dry off their wings, take flight, and set up shop elsewhere.”

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  100. Mara: Wow. Just, wow.

    This part…
    “A former student using the pseudonym Jane Roe claims a seminary student also employed as a plumber on campus began stalking her soon after she enrolled in Southwestern Seminary as an undergraduate student in the fall of 2014. She told one of her professors, the lawsuit claims, who replied the young man could come and talk to the professor any time he wanted.”

    WT…The rest is horrible, of course, but this is where it starts. Take it seriously before it escalates. All of society needs to learn this.

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  101. Law Prof: A good deed done, the church service was just ending and the friend headed into the sanctuary, where he was angrily accosted by the church leaders for not being there during the service.

    Wow. I think when people reveal themselves like this we need to do a good job of listening. Maya Angeluo said when someone shows you who they are believe them. The first time. To those of us who are prone to giving people multiple chances (and a lot of Christianity encourages that) I think this is helpful advice.

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  102. Lea: She told one of her professors, the lawsuit claims, who replied the young man could come and talk to the professor any time he wanted.”

    One of my coworkers at SEBTS was stalked by a guy, and Patterson and crew did nothing about him as far as I could tell. Her and a group of witnesses went to speak with administration. Administration probably had a talk with him, where he lied about what he was doing, and thought that was all settled.

    Dude also used to walk up to women on campus and inform them of his “rating” for them. He never messed with me, probably because I was friends with some guys he was always trying to impress for some reason. He wouldn’t even speak to me or look me in the eye.

    As far as I know, he graduated and became a pastor. I’ve been expecting to see his name in the news for some sort of abuse.

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  103. ishy: Her and a group of witnesses went to speak with administration. Administration probably had a talk with him, where he lied about what he was doing, and thought that was all settled.

    I know there are more egregious things in that article (and I could rant quote it all!) but this is where it *starts*. Not believing women when they report these things and treating it like a nuisance.

    That’s why people want to start with the stance of believing women, but this idea has been twisted into some sort of ‘women never lie’ position so it can be discounted. But the problem is people start with the stance of disbelief, and don’t treat these things as serious. And this is the result, a man with keys to all the doors is dismissed with a ‘eh, he can talk to me if he wants’ instead of serious action being taken. With predictable results.

    Also, that rating thing is terrible. I cannot imagine my response to that.

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  104. ishy: Dude also used to walk up to women on campus and inform them of his “rating” for them

    Also, I went to a completely secular school and nobody pulled this stuff. What up, ‘christianity’??? I’m glad it never even occurred to me to consider going to a seminary because this stuff is nuts.

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  105. Strange podcast interview of 9Mark Dever in which when asked a very simple question, to name his five favorite Baptists, he first offers up the names Richard Sibbes, Charles Simeon, and John Stott. He adds Ligon Duncan to his list, and finally after some prompting comes up with the name of Charles Spurgeon:

    https://www.5minutesinchurchhistory.com/my-5-favorite-baptists-mark-dever/

    “Stephen Nichols: Welcome back to 5 Minutes in Church History…Dr. Mark Dever…He’s back and he’s tanned and he’s ready to go. Welcome back, Dr. Dever.

    Mark Dever: Good to be back.

    Stephen Nichols: I have a question for you. Who are your five favorite Baptists?…”

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  106. Lea: Also, I went to a completely secular school and nobody pulled this stuff. What up, ‘christianity’??? I’m glad it never even occurred to me to consider going to a seminary because this stuff is nuts.

    He thought he was hot stuff doing that, but he found himself quickly ignored by every woman on campus. There weren’t that many of us, so word got around quick. I’m sure that was the case at whatever church he was going to as well. One of his roommates told me that he was constantly complaining about how no women he stalked would date him. Like that was a big surprise?

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  107. Jerome: Who are your five favorite Baptists?

    Am I missing something here? Spurgeon is the only Baptist, from what I can tell. Duncan is a Presbyterian. The other three were Anglicans.

    Maybe the question was garbled and he really asked, “Who are five men who studied theology in the United Kingdom?”

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  108. ishy: One of his roommates told me that he was constantly complaining about how no women he stalked would date him.

    *facepalm*

    I feel like this kind of thinking is how incels happened maybe. Or why they go so mad when women refer to someone as ‘creepy’. It feels like ‘if you scare someone they won’t want to date you’ might be pretty obvious.

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  109. ishy: Several people said that they had participated and it was heavily patriarchal and authoritarian, even though they marketed otherwise

    When People move from the Pew to the living room couch without making any corresponding changes in the way they view what church is, or how it’s run, then you definitely are ripe for authoritarian leaders. House church or Simple Church is a community not a program or an organization. If people fail to grasp this first they will not be able to understand anthing else such as replacing sermons with discovery studies, rotating who facilitates meetings each week, and seeing elders as wise believers who are there for consulting not lording it over or making people follow them.

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  110. Fisher: When People move from the Pew to the living room couch without making any corresponding changes in the way they view what church is, or how it’s run, then you definitely are ripe for authoritarian leaders.

    I think you’re right. Though I do think it’s interesting that many house churches marketed themselves as egalitarian, but didn’t act egalitarian. I don’t think that was intentionally deceptive for the most part, just another example of falling into patterns of how things are “always done”. I do know New Calvinism was making it’s rise just then, and it was really before the New Cals organized enough to drill the point that taking over big churches is more desirable from a financial standpoint. So there could have been some of that theology, but I agree that it was probably just how the church always had been run and a default pattern. Men in many churches are so used to being in charge and they didn’t really want to give that up, but house churches had the perception of being ‘cool’ at the time.

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  111. ishy: Though I do think it’s interesting that many house churches marketed themselves as egalitarian, but didn’t act egalitarian.

    I wasn’t aware that they were marketed that way, so that is interesting. It could be that people just don’t realize how much patriarchy and misogyny are baked into society and church and it bleeds over? I would think the emphasis on family units might make this worse…At least regular churches have a mix of people some of whom have no ‘head of the family’ as such.

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  112. MAX–So happy that you are going to be around for awhile to be a spokesperson for Christ and the wisdom of elders–male and female. I do miss Okrapod as I know everyone else does too.

    On another topic–I am in agreement with mixed age groups and genders in church, but do want to address something that I have observed in women’s Sunday School classes. Women are more likely to speak out and participate if it is a women only group. This is a rather sad consequence of women feeling intimidated in mixed classes. I am for women participating more, however it happens. And I am hopeful that everyone will become more accustomed to the free participation of women.

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  113. Lea: Wow. I think when people reveal themselves like this we need to do a good job of listening. Maya Angeluo said when someone shows you who they are believe them. The first time. To those of us who are prone to giving people multiple chances (and a lot of Christianity encourages that) I think this is helpful advice.

    Sure is. Wish I could go back and give abusive leaders in churches a few less chances. I can think of one time in the last 37 years of knowing the Lord that I had a bad first impression of a church leader that later ended up being unfounded. In every other case, I have given them chance after chance and flat refused to believe they were just what they were acting like all along. Have drawn my family into a lot of abuse by believing this thing that’s not in the Bible about how we should automatically think the best of each other, particularly our leaders. The thing is, that “thinking the best” never seems to be reciprocated. Experience of being 2x an elder has taught me they tend to think those in the collapsible chairs are immature in the Lord, stupid, do not hear from the Lord, are always doing wrong and should never be dealt with patiently, but need them, the “called leadership,” to hear from the Lord and decide what’s best for them—which is often harsh discipline, not the never-ended revolving door of “forgiveness” that they demand of the pew peons when they do far worse, such as tyrannizing them, embezzling their money, sleeping with their spouses, and covering up and keeping them in the dark about the sexual abuse of their children.

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  114. Luckyforward,

    All the “emergency lights”, my old survival instincts, my gut went off reading this article.

    Has anyone tried looking into Mr. Paige’s personal life? The article said he enjoyed the victim giving the minute details of her rape. He intended to “break her down.” He lashed out at the victims Mom when she challenged him.

    He’s had to have abused, molested, or raped someone in the past. I’ve faced this monster before.

    And I still believe that article in the Alabama Baptist paper was his attempt to manipulate things.

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  115. nancyjane: Women are more likely to speak out and participate if it is a women only group. This is a rather sad consequence of women feeling intimidated in mixed classes.

    I know a group that bridges this gap nicely. It’s a women’s prayer and service organization, which holds regular meetings for women only. As part of its service mission, the group also offers Bible studies and quiet days for men and women. It also oversees a girls’ program, with service projects that help the congregation and community.

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  116. Jerome: Strange podcast interview of 9Mark Dever in which when asked a very simple question, to name his five favorite Baptists, he first offers up the names Richard Sibbes, Charles Simeon, and John Stott. He adds Ligon Duncan to his list, and finally after some prompting comes up with the name of Charles Spurgeon.

    Huh?!! None of those would be considered “Baptist” but Spurgeon.

    I wonder why he didn’t list his bud Al Mohler as a favorite … after all, Dever is a member of “Al’s little playgroup” according to Mrs. Mohler, along with Duncan and Mahaney (the T4G boys).

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  117. Brian:
    All the “emergency lights”, my old survival instincts, my gut went off reading this article.

    Has anyone tried looking into Mr. Paige’s personal life? The article said he enjoyed the victim giving the minute details of her rape. He intended to “break her down.” He lashed out at the victims Mom when she challenged him.

    He’s had to have abused, molested, or raped someone in the past. I’ve faced this monster before.

    And I still believe that article in the Alabama Baptist paper was his attempt to manipulate things

    I agree with you, Brian.

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  118. Friend,

    My current church isn’t prejudice against singles as far as my experiences have been. I’m single.

    As far as singles not being allowed to be Sunday School teachers, deacons, etc I don’t know either way on that. 🙂

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  119. Mae,

    I prefer Calvin’s assessment as expressed to John Knox.
    “About the government of women I expressed myself thus: Since it is utterly at variance with the legitimate order of nature, it ought to be counted among the judgments with which God visits us; and even in this matter his extraordinary grace is sometimes very conspicuous, because to reproach men for their sluggishness, he raises up women endowed not only with a manly but a heroic spirit, as in the case of Deborah we have an illustrious example. But though a government of this kind seems to me nothing else than a mere abuse, yet I gave it as my solemn opinion, that private persons have no right to do any thing but to deplore it. For a gynæcocracy or female rule badly organized is like a tyranny, and is to be tolerated till God sees fit to overthrow it.”
    [Lat. orig. autogr.—Arch. of Zurich, Colloq. Gest. vi, 105, p. 597.]

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  120. Brian: My current church isn’t prejudice against singles as far as my experiences have been.

    It’s not always prejudice per se. Sometimes they just don’t know what to do with them. (At least once they age out of post college, until you swing back around into the widows/widower age groups.)

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  121. Brian: as far as my experiences have been

    (Also women often get treated differently than men in this department – depending on your church) I went to pretty ridiculous ‘singles’ sunday school class once, led by a no lie 20 year old married couple? I never went back and someone actually apologized to me when they found I’d been sent there.

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  122. Lowlandseer: Denver did his doctoral dissertation on Richard Sibbes, subsequently published as a book and recommended by the Gospel Coalition

    I guess Dever answered the question he wanted to hear, instead of the question asked. Ad/or he wanted to hoodwink listeners into buying his book.

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  123. ishy,

    You weren’t weak. By nature predators are weak themselves. Control to them means use of force, mentally or physically.

    My Mom grew up in a very caring family. But her personality was such that she could be beaten down mentally, then physically.

    I wouldn’t be surprised Paige Patterson talked to many predators before they moved in pastoral positions, into a target rich environment.

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  124. Lea: I wasn’t aware that they were marketed that way, so that is interesting.

    Yeah, they gave the “We’re all equal and take turns leading” sort of thing. That one guy I talked to recently said almost that exact sentence. But I think what they really meant was “the men take turns leading because women aren’t supposed to have different opinions from their husbands”. But it’s the sort of thing that didn’t even occur to these men because it never occurred to them that “we all take turns” could include women.

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  125. Samuel Conner,

    Like a prodigious fixer of other people’s problems?

    I do hope that they can be redeemed too.

    When my nephew went to a children’s treatment center at age nine, they never diagnosed him as a sociopath. But they said his feelings would be shallow.

    It took a year in prison before he went back to his more loving self, before he was harmed by older boys, before my sister started really abusing him.

    So there is always a chance.

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  126. Brian:
    Law Prof,

    Serious question: Were your experiences only in NeoCal SBC churches, or in both NeoCal and NonNeoCal SBC churches?

    Was the abuse and molestation of children going on before the NeoCal takeover?

    Sure, glad to answer. I was an elder at two abusive churches: a neocalvinist, and then later, an Arminian. We also attended what ended up being a abusive home fellowship, or at least one with a deeply disturbed, not-quite-in-touch-with-reality member who was extremely destructive and blew the fellowship apart, and many years ago, attended, but I had no formal role at, a charismatic fellowship which ended up being an extraordinarily abusive place. So the abuse crossed beliefs and styles of meeting, it’s not just a neocal thing in my experience.

    As for your other question, I personally think, though have no statistical evidence to support it, that the more you make a group an old boys club and demean women, the more you make it authoritarian and train parishioners, women and children to be meekly submissive to the whims of leadership, the more likely you will attract abusive, personality-disordered men to that organization, and all types of abuse will flourish. I think that describes the takeover of the SBC and the rise of neocalvinism. It may attract some decent people who are wanting to take their faith seriously, but it also attracts two other groups: young, energetic, prideful men who know know so little that they have no clue what little they know, and middle-aged men who know how to push the buttons of the young men so they will do their bidding, run interference, attack all opposition with zeal, and provide them a steady stream of victims to devour.

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  127. Mercury: Frankly, my biggest surprise was that this was not an ELCA Church.
    If you, or someone you love, is attending an ELCA Church, please help them! Make sure to visit Ebenezer Lutheran of San Francisco at http://www.herchurch.org!

    I’m confused. Are you saying that you thought that the ELCA would support TT? Also, why would a visit to Ebenezer/herchurch help anyone. I went to the website and, quite frankly, found the church to be bizarre. “Devine Feminine” and “Goddess Rosary”? Seems like they only emphasize the “feminine” character of God/ess. I thought God was a spirit, not male or female as we know it.

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  128. Ken P.: I’m confused.

    Mercury may or may not be a human. ELCA has nothing to do with the topic of this post. I do think that is an endorsement, perhaps against TWW rules.

    As for that church, I’ve never seen anything remotely like it. They do only emphasize the feminine, apparently thinking there’s enough masculine leadership and imagery elsewhere…

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  129. ___

    Adulterated 501c3 pulpits: “It apparently no longer lonely at the top.”

    hmmm…

    Career employment professionals vs. legitament biblical ministry ‘ministers’?

    What we have been seeing is an area of professional careers with little or no ability to remove and sue, or prosecute individuals due to some form of malpractice such as you can with say doctors, lawyers, etc.

    We should have some means to be able to sue 501c3 ministerial professions for malpractice as we can say doctors, and remove their practice credentials.

    An national ministerial malpractice notification database would also be helpful.

    – –

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  130. Friend,

    I didn’t know what was going on because I didn’t go to the link…shenanigans I guess.

    Although I don’t think emphasizing the feminine side of god would be bad as a counterpoint to the masculine emphasis. Balance is good. Eh.

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  131. Lea: I didn’t go to the link

    Not shenanigans. A church led by women, with a very different aesthetic, languages, rituals, etc. More syncretism than most mainline churches. It would be easy to criticize. The congregation does work against human trafficking, and feeds the homeless. I have no reason to think it’s authoritarian or oppressive.

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  132. Friend,

    Yeah, the link didn’t come across as too troublesome to me, but the way Mercury’s post was worded was a bit too contradictory to make sense. I dunno, maybe it was a warning against that church from an evangelical/fundamentalist point of view, but then Mercury doesn’t really understand this community, if that’s the case.

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  133. Mercury’s comment has been deleted. This was my fault. I thought I hit the not approve button. Sorry about that. I was working on another post. Hopefully you will find this interesting. It’s some stuff that Amy Smith and I decided to put out there.

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  134. Samuel Conner: a thought I’d like to add is that “sociopathy” may be regarded to be a trait that has a significant “nature” influence, “conscience” and “empathy” being instantiated in brain function (don’t want to get into the weeds of the “mind-body problem”, this is just a “for instance” thought). I’ve wondered whether people with this personality type should be regarded to be “unredeemable” (or, if one is of a more Reformed mindset, “reprobate”). My understanding is that in the mental health profession, sociopathy is considered to be untreatable and IIRC Stout thought that therapy or counseling was actually counterproductive (don’t recall why, but one could imagine that therapy might actually help the person become more effective at getting what he wanted).

    As I understand it (and have seen to be true in my own experience) personality is developed in the first few years of life. In response to the nurturing of the trustworthy caregiver, an infant develops trust, empathy, conscience, the ability to love, etc. An infant who is blocked from developing those things does not develop them later in life. It’s like language, the brain is open to learning at a certain stage and then the development stage closes. So when abuse/neglect begin early in infancy and damage the developing self, the chance of later change is very unlikely. Infants who were nurtured but later abused do have a developed self to go back to.

    There is also the question of whether some infants are born with an inability to bond. No one knows for sure.

    Early nurturing is so important.

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  135. Lowlandseer: I gave it as my solemn opinion, that private persons have no right to do any thing but to deplore it. For a gynæcocracy or female rule badly organized is like a tyranny, and is to be tolerated till God sees fit to overthrow it.”

    I suppose if he had been there at the time of Deborah, he’d have given God a good piece of his mind, huh.

    What makes men so paranoid? How often in history have women ruled over them? How often have women even cared or tried to? The chances are so slight.

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  136. Brian:
    Just a thought. If Charles Stanley had played ignore the facts on a pedophile on his staff, how many other old guard non-NeoCal SBC pastors did the same, for how many years?

    Oh, I believe it happened a lot, maybe just as much. The one problem I see with the New Cals is that they don’t appreciate peons talking for any reason, not just about problems. Much of their philosophy is built around protecting the pastors and elders and keeping peons from having opinions.

    I think the old guard had a much less systematic and more fluid way of allowing pastor/deacon power. Often, that power came from more secular sources. For example, one person I know was abused by the sheriff. The parents knew about the abuse, but there was no one to report to, and he may have been able to create false charges against them for reporting. And he always carried weapons. So the abuse continued until his death.

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  137. ishy: Often, that power came from more secular sources.

    I think many abusers seek out powerful positions to protect themselves from accusation. And they groom everyone around them, not just their victims. Pastors will try to control the thought and reporting processes by “young girls are temptresses” and “Matthew 18” and “forgiveness”. So if/when a victim comes forward, everyone around them has been conditioned for years not to believe them.

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  138. SiteSeer: an infant develops trust, empathy, conscience, the ability to love, etc. An infant who is blocked from developing those things does not develop them later in life. It’s like language, the brain is open to learning at a certain stage and then the development stage closes. So when abuse/neglect begin early in infancy and damage the developing self, the chance of later change is very unlikely. Infants who were nurtured but later abused do have a developed self to go back to.

    Just to add, not dispute, if you don’t mind. Several folks I know grew up in abusive environments, but learned empathy despite emotional damage. Some are even more sensitive to harm because of the harm they experienced. I agree with your overall comment that early nurturing is important, and would point out (clarify?) that childhood is longer than infancy. People can and do respond to love, care, and any necessary treatment.

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  139. ishy: I think many abusers seek out powerful positions to protect themselves from accusation. And they groom everyone around them, not just their victims.

    True. Also, this bolded sentence has been very helpful to my understanding of this topic and I think we should really talk about it more. You may think Predator X is a great guy, but that’s probably *by his design*.

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  140. Friend: Several folks I know grew up in abusive environments, but learned empathy despite emotional damage.

    This is such a complicated topic. Complicating it further, some people like abusers try to deflect their bad behavior onto how they grew up, even if it wasn’t true. People who have been abused are not doomed to be terrible people. Yes, childhood nurturing is VERY important (read up on attachment theory!) but that doesn’t mean we are all doomed to never get past our childhoods either and what makes a person turn very empathetic as opposed to harmful? I don’t think we fully understand but I think there must be choices here.

    That said, many SKers have had a major head injury in childhood. The physical aspects may be an avenue to explore.

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  141. Muff Potter,

    Mae: Ugh and barf….I thank the Lord I was not alive then.

    Me too Mae.
    Both of us would have been earmarked for horrific torture and a grisly execution.
    ++++++++++++++++

    yeah — as intriguing as it is, rethink time travel.

    (note to self: if ever given the opportunity to try out time travel, only do it if it comes with a cloaking device)

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  142. Friend,

    My therapist said if you can get to the person early enough, surround them with loving and caring people, you can reverse some of the effects the abuse has on the brain and the nervous system.

    One key point is the survivor never had control in the first place, now not wanting to lose control.

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  143. Brian: My therapist said if you can get to the person early enough, surround them with loving and caring people, you can reverse some of the effects the abuse has on the brain and the nervous system.

    I believe this dynamic is tried and proven, and not just on humans.

    Sixteen years ago Mrs. Muff and me adopted a little dog that had been horribly abused.
    She hated men and it took almost three years before she would even begin to trust Muff.

    She passed in March of this year.

    Through it all, Mrs. Muff and me learned more about life and love than we ever could have through religion.

    And for the life and love of a little dog, I’m a better man.

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  144. ishy,

    The Modus Operandi is also the same for families. I knew the answer, but just wanted the confirmation. In my case my stepfather started enlisting the trust of my Mom, me being the target. My therapist said the pedophile/predator will use model behavior to distract others.

    From what I’ve been reading here on TWW, it seems like a basic outline, the predator only having to fill in the details.

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  145. Brian:
    Friend,

    My therapist said if you can get to the person early enough, surround them with loving and caring people, you can reverse some of the effects the abuse has on the brain and the nervous system.

    It’s not easy. The type of abuse I went through growing up was not family. And it was nothing compared to the type of abuse many here describe. My parents were not Christians, but they were kind and loving. It was from adolescence through mid-teenage years and it was at school. I was exceptionally small growing up, with an very large mouth, which, future lawyer and academic I was, I did not have the self-control to shut. I was beaten regularly by the school bullies, many of whom I didn’t even know and had done nothing to. You’d take a drink from water fountain and get shoved from behind and bash your mouth painfully, use the school urinal and get kicked unexpectedly, get beaten down suddenly and for no apparent reason in front of classmates. It felt like a battle field to my immature mind. It was constant humiliation and terror going to school and dealing with lunch hour, after school, etc. When I finally hit a growth spurt and became about average in size and learned to shut the mouth once in a while and then we moved to another state, I became, to my amazement, popular in the new school. People were nice. But for years after, I could scarcely stand for anyone to be kind to me. Made me want to run away, felt like thousands of bugs were crawling just under my skin if anyone said a kind word. Over time, it got better, but never altogether right. I got into tough guy sports, such as boxing, to prove manhood, did a lot of things to compensate for the past, not all of them healthy. I still have this seething rage always ready to pop out when I hear about anyone bullied, not sure it’s always a righteous thing.

    What I went through is exponentially less than someone who was betrayed by their family or church family, who was sexually abused. I probably had not 1/10th of their trauma. These things are not easy and they take years to correct, and they’re likely never fully corrected aside from a miracle.

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  146. Brian: One key point is the survivor never had control in the first place, now not wanting to lose control.

    Reading a certain 1943 OSS psych profile, that dynamic fits one of the most infamous examples of child abuse survivor turned control freak — Adolf Hitler.

    “You can’t stop me now,
    I’m Strong now,
    Stronger than your law.”
    — Al Stewart, “The Last Day of June 1934” (Past, Present, and Future, 1973)

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  147. Brian: My therapist said the pedophile/predator will use model behavior to distract others.

    The Angel of Light Mask.

    “For Satan himself can transform himself to appear as an Angel of Light.”
    — a Rabbi from Tarsus, commenting on that phenomenon

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  148. Brian,

    “Some of my friends used to say I could be Bigfoot. I’m hairy, 6’1″ tall with size 14 feet. You can cross one off your list.”
    +++++++++++++++

    hmmmm…. i’m going to need something more concrete.

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  149. Brian: My therapist said if you can get to the person early enough, surround them with loving and caring people, you can reverse some of the effects the abuse has on the brain and the nervous system.

    One key point is the survivor never had control in the first place, now not wanting to lose control.

    Not wanting to lose control can be like a lifetime of feeling like the rug could be pulled out from under you any second.

    I do think people have a voice inside that says “Huh?” when they realize other people live differently, or don’t seem to struggle. That inner question can help us look for an exit and a freer way to be.

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  150. Friend,

    Thanks for the kind words. What I went through wasn’t really painful because I just disassociated from it all, was just flat emotionally for a while. Didn’t help that my best friend committed suicide when we were 13. Went kind of numb and few emotions for a while. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as being sexually abused, or being beaten regularly by parents, and it only lasted a few years. Cannot even imagine how these people who’ve been abused by church leaders and parents for a decade or more cope, especially the ones where the parents protect the pastor and shun the kids because they blew the whistle. Some of these survivors of the real horrible abuse are almost unbelievably strong.

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  151. Dee- Mercury here. Surprised to see all the confusion and wanted clarify.

    First, I have followed your website for quite some time now. I found you when my former church revealed its true “Calvinista” colors and yoked itself to the Acts 29 network, currently led by Matt Chandler. In fact, at that time I reached out via email- desperate to save my church- asking for advice. Did not receive a reply… but the well curated material, especially on Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler helped me send the elders scrambling. An off topic suggestion… how about a tool kit for church members whose congregations are proposing joining that network?

    Thank you for doing the difficult good here. I truly believe you are doing God’s work.

    My post was a little flip and maybe cryptic. I indicated that I expected to see ELCA in the post. I wrote that because they are an extremely liberal denomination… but more than that…one that many have said veers out of orthodoxy. The link I had attached references a congregation in full communion with ELCA that encourages goddess worship and has actually made Asherah poles in a workshop in the Church. A dangerous position for any true follower of our Lord, one that many ELCA members (including my family) are unaware of. My point was that only a crazy person, maybe even an antinomian heretic, would consider Tullian T fit for a pastor role again.

    I do hope you would consider us on the same side and hope you would consider allowing this clarification to hit comments.

    Thanks again!

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