The Gospel Coalition Offers a Sample Covenant and Posts 9 Marks Answers to Objections to Church Discipline: Looking at the Reality, Not the Hype.

 


Hubble looks at the Southern Crab Nebula

“Of all the bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” – C. S. Lewis


 

Today I’m combining two posts which recently made appearances at The Gospel Coalition’s website Why Have a Church Covenant? (And a Sample You Can Use) and 7 Well-Meaning Objections to Church Discipline — And How Pastors Ought to Respond to Them

The church covenant is merely a legal contract to protect the church.

I have been making this point for years now and many of the friends of TGC have denied it. In Taylor’s introduction to the glory of church covenants, he doesn’t realize that he makes my point or me. According to Justin Taylor who posted the Church Covenant article:

“The Bible does not say explicitly, ‘Thou shalt have a written church covenant,’ any more than it says, ‘Thou shalt have marriage licenses,’ or, ‘Thou shalt have wedding rings,’” John Piper explains. “One way to look at it is that a church without a covenant is like a marriage without vows. Marriage vows are not spelled out in the Bible just like church covenants aren’t. Both follow necessarily from the nature of the relationships.”

Think about it. Marriage vows in the church, when followed by the signing of the marriage license, is a legal contract. The husband and wife are now recognized by the law as being married and the dissolution of said union  must be done under the auspices of the judicial system.

The Gospel Coalition’s BFF, Matt Chandler, has proven the very real legal implications of the church covenant.This was spelled out in the New York Times post: Her Evangelical Megachurch Was Her World. Then Her Daughter Said She Was Molested by a Minister.

But her daughter’s ordeal showed her a different side of her church. The Village, like many other evangelical churches, uses a written membership agreement containing legal clauses that protect the institution. The Village’s agreement prohibits members from suing the church and instead requires mediation and then binding arbitration, legal processes that often happen in secret.

The Village also uses an abuse prevention company called MinistrySafe, which many evangelical churches cite as an accountability safeguard. Ms. Bragg assumed that MinistrySafe would advocate for her daughter, but then she learned that the group’s leaders were the church’s legal advisers.

Make sure you get this loud and clear. The covenant is a legal contract and I shall call it that from this point forward.  For those of you who signed a covenant, here is a question. Did your church advise you that you were signing a legal document? If not, why not?

From this point forward, TGC and all of their BFFs can no longer deny the legal implications of the church contract.

So, as you are asked to sign such a document, ask yourself if you are prepared to accept the church forcing you into legal arbitration. Also, ask yourself why your church would want to be legally protected from you,. Could it be that they are planning on instituting unjust church discipline?

Think about it. Are you prepared to be legally tied to your church as closely as you are legally tied to your spouse?

The church contract is there to prevent the church from being sued, particulary when it comes to church discipline.

Taylor provides a model church contract. Let’s take a look at what is slipped in there.

Put away all anger, bitterness and injurious speech.

We will eagerly maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace by walking together in love and in the Spirit and by putting away all bitterness, anger, and injurious speech. (Eph. 4:3; Gal. 5:16, 25; Eph. 4:29, 31)

What do they mean by injurious speech? Could you get in trouble if you ask too many questions about the budget? It’s happened. How does one put away all anger? Could it be that they will unjustly discipline you for anger which is directed at the church leaders for covering up a child abuse situation?  That’s happened as well. Please note that they do not (and will not) define parameters regarding these *things they do not like.* The lack of specificity is necessary for their agenda. Basically, they can get you for whatever they don’t like.

The loving exercise of church discipline

We will not neglect to gather together, but will support and treasure the biblical preaching of the whole counsel of God, the faithful observance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the loving exercise of church discipline. (Heb. 10:25; 2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 11:26; Matt 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:13)

They will not define, a priori, what they will discipline. They don’t do this because they want the freedom to discipline whatever they feel like disciplining. Can you imagine renting a car in a country which wouldn’t tell you the speed limit and laws of the road but reserved the right to arrest you for whatever they think is fair?

It is this wish to discipline the people without being subject to getting sued which has led to the development of these contracts. These are not mean to protect you. They are only meant to protect the church. Do not give away your rights. If you have already signed a contract, you can get out of it. Go to this link at TWW for help in this matter.

You do not need to sign one of thee contracts in order to attend most churches. They will happily take your donations and even let you take part in many church activities. Who cares if you can’t vote. When have you ever gone to an all church meeting when the outcome wasn’t predetermined anyway.

Church discipline: Even when you leave, they can come after you.

I’ll look at this in a minute.

We will, when we move from this place, unite as soon as possible with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

9 Marks supposedly addresses well meaning objections to church discipline.

We now switch to the second post. I laughed and laughed when reading this post. I truly believe the boys at 9 Marx(sic) and their BFFs are reeling from the revelations of The Village Church pulling the *legal arbitration* card against the child victim of a rape at one of their sponsored camps. The gig is up.

I believe we will see all sorts of breathless posts, extolling the virtues of the church contract and church discipline. It is the well known tactic of “Nothing to see here, move along, please disperses.”

This post appears to have an objective which is to downplay the very real objections to stupid and downright abusive church discipline which is the main reason that 9 Marks is often referred to as 9 Marx

Todd Wilhelm got church discipline thrown in his face when he left a 9 Marx church over a matter of conscience.

This could happen to you if you do not join an approved church immediately after leaving 9 Marx. Oh, and be sure to tell them you are going because they NEED to know this in order to keep watch over your soul and all that jazz.

Let’s take a sentence from Taylor’s lovely church contract and see how it was translated by one of 9 Marx’s most famous of entities -UCC Dubai.

Here is what Taylor’s above sample contract states.

We will, when we move from this place, unite as soon as possible with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

Here is what happened to Todd Wilhelm of Thou Art the Man. At the time, Todd was living in Dubai and involved in air traffic control. He attended UCCD.

 Here is a quick synopsis of Todd Wilhelm’s story. He was a member of an SGM church in the United States. Due to his business, he was sent to Dubai, which is a city within the United Arab Emirates. There, he joined a 9 Marks church, UCCD. If you haven’t yet discovered Todd’s comments, you may not be aware of his deep knowledge of Scripture and church history. He is also very humorous and self-deprecating. He once told us that his choice of churches, first  SGM, and then 9 Marks, demonstrates a decided lack of discernment. 🙂

Todd was being considered for the position of deacon at UCCD. Part of his job would be to oversee the bookstore. Over the years, due to his former involvement and continued interest, Todd had become deeply concerned about SGM and its former leader, CJ Mahaney. Todd takes a strong stand on child sex abuse and was dismayed by the stories that he had read on SGM Survivors. You can read about his concerns on the post. He informed UCCD that he could not oversee the UCCD bookstore because it sold a number of books by CJ Mahaney. This statement led to great discomfort since Mark Dever, the head of 9 Marks, and pastor of Capital HIll Baptist Church, is a BFF and ardent supporter of Mahaney link. Tood said:

Unfortunately I don’t think most Christians in Dubai are aware of the Mahaney scandal, much less Piper and Dever’s support of Mahaney.  If they were I believe these good people would be questioning the wisdom of inviting Piper and Dever to speak at their church.  

I resigned my membership on March 6th from the United Christian Church of Dubai because my church leadership refused to quit promoting Mahaney’s books.  To date they have refused to act on my letter, so I am technically still a member.  John Folmar, the Senior Pastor of UCCD, is a gifted speaker and good friend of Mark Dever’s, having formerly served on staff with him at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. It appears he has no concerns over Piper and Dever’s public support of C.J. Mahaney as he has arranged for them to speak at his church in Dubai.  Piper and Dever will be returning the favor by having John Folmar speak at their conferences.

Todd made the difficult decision to leave UCCD. The church refused to remove him from their membership. You see, according to the legal contract (oops-membership covenant), members can’t leave until they become members of another church.

Addendum: Todd Wilhelm has offered to sign a legal release in order to debate with 9 Marx what happened to him at the church. They have chosen not to take him up on his offer,

It appears that 9 Marx doesn’t want to talk about their unjust application of church discipline. So, in order to downplay the very real aspects of abuse inherent in the church disincline situation, they wrote this post. 

Let’s look at some of their thoughts.

Many people who oppose discipline are just misguided, having been taught by poor shepherds.

as we reflect on the church contexts where we’ve served, many wonderful, godly Christians have opposed discipline (at least initially) for understandable, albeit uninformed, unbiblical, and misguided reasons. They’re opponents, but not wolves. They’re simply sheep who have sadly endured decades of bad shepherding.

Once again, no mention of the fact that 9 Marx appears to inconsistently and abusively apply discipline. They would have you believe that they only *do* church discipline for serious situations. That is codswallop. I know a number of people who dreamed up schemes to leave the church in ways so they wouldn’t be disciplined. Can you. imagine? “No, 9 Marx, some people are sharp enough to realize that you are playing games with their lives. They aren’t the ones who are misguided, you are the ones who refuse to get it.”

“Pastor, we can’t judge someone’s heart, so how could we possibly say someone is not a Christian?”

Now ask yourself a question. What does this question mean? In many instances, 9 Marx and other groups call into question your very faith in Christ when they *discipline* you. Take Todd’s situation. He left UCCD because he disagreed with them selling CJ Mahaney’s books since he was aware of the raging controversy in the States. This was a courageous act since it is hard to leave a group of friends when one is living in a foreign country. Todd refused to immediately join another church since hsedidn’t want to make the mistake of joining another church like UCCD with leaders like those present at UCCD.

So, he didn’t join a church and that meant he needed to be put on the *care* list which is a 9 Marx euphemism meaning “most likely outside of the faith.” 9 Marx holds to a bizarre belief that they hold the keys to the kingdom. Basically this mean that if they say you are *OUT* of kingdom of faith,  then your are outside of God’s will and you most likely are not a Christian.

Frankly, they are naive at best. Todd called it on CJ Mahaney years ago, long before Papa Bear Mohler threw Mahaney under the bus. Mark Dever is still silent on the matter. I wonder if Dever now considers Mohler outside of the faith as well?

The church only disciplines those who are obstinately sinful? Codswallop!

The church only disciplines the obstinately sinful—those who are unwilling to repent of their sins while professing the name of Christ. Discipline is not turning people away who want Jesus, but identifying those who want sin more than they want Jesus.

This is what they claim. They absolutely will not provide a list of sins which will get the member booted from the fellowship. My 10 years of observing this nonsense tells me why. They want to discipline anything that is uncomfortable for them So, Todd Wilhelm called them on Mahaney years ago. That upset the boys who believe that they are God’s infallible authority on who they consider divine leaders. Well, this time, Todd had it right and Dever, Folmar and their bevy of wannabe followers had it very, very wrong. Yet who got disciplined?

People only get disciplined for unrepentant sin. Tommyrot!

Nobody gets excommunicated for sin, per se. Rather, the church enacts discipline for unrepentant sin.

Explain to me how wanting to be very careful before joining a new church is unrepentant sin. Make sure you understand what they mean by words before you take any action.  A sin is a transgression against divine law as found in Scripture. However, in some churches, a sin is defined as anything that goes against or challenges church authority. I believe that this underlying reason was in play in this situation.

Todd challenged the justness of encouraging the ministry of CJ Mahaney’s by the church’s bookstore selling his stupid books.(Have you ever read any of them? I have. Don’t get me going on The Cross Centered Life.) So, he left that church.

Now think carefully. Why did they discipline Todd? He did not immediately join another 9 Marx approved church. Not only that but he didn’t join that church in a certain amount of time. Did the stupid contract give the amount of time that he had to join the next church? Of course it didn’t. That is the problem with these ridiculous pacts. They get to define what it means after the fact. Do you really want to sign one of these ? Do you really want to join a church that plays these games?

Sadly, some church discipline is harsh and judgmental because the pastors cook the books about real sin.

Some folks in our congregations may fear that practicing discipline will communicate to outsiders that our church is harsh or judgmental. But we must remind people that discipline is actually God’s way of maintaining the church’s credibility in a lost community. Jesus’ reputation is bound up with his church. If we tolerate sins even unbelievers find scandalous, we compromise our witness to the gospel’s power to transform lives.

Some of the most unjust, judgmental people I’ve ever met are found in churches. Pastors get to decide which *sins* they are going to discipline and you can be darn sure that the sins that get disciplined are not the one that the pastor and his yes men struggle with.

“So, let’s get Todd who hasn’t joined a new church within our undefined time parameters.” Of course Pastor Joe can be chronically angry, mean and greedy but we can overlook that. “You know how hard it is to run a church, disciplining all of these members.”

Take a look at Matt Chandler. People reached out to him for help in dealing with his good buddy, James MacDonald. Matt Chandler & Other Evangelical Leaders Rejected TED Bloggers’ Pleas to Expose Harvest in 2012 Guess who he said were harmful? Pastors protect pastors when they should be protecting the little guy like Jesus did.

“I might not agree with decisions made by James or the elders at HBC,” Chandler wrote, “but I have no intention of drawing any attention to your blog and if I can in any way deflect others from giving it ‘coverage’ I will use my influence to that end.” Chandler said he believed the blog was “unhelpful and maybe even harmful,” and added, “This will not lead to repentance, this will only serve to push people to the fringes where helpful discourse is impossible and ignorance and aggression will take over the conversation.”

Here are the takeaway points

  • Church covenants are legal contracts that serve to protect the church leadership.
  • The church contract is likened to a marriage contract. Is that how you view your relationship with the church? Are you willing to go through divorce proceedings from your church?
  • You can leave the church whenever you like, no matter what you contract says. You can sue them if they pursue you so long as your carefully write your letter of resignation and send it via certified mail.
  • These contracts have been put in place to protect the institutional church when it behaves in an unjust manner.
  • Contracts do not spell out what sins will be disciplined. This alone should raise red flags.
  • Contracts are there so the church can discipline the members, not the leaders, no matter what they claim.
  • People get disciplined for all sorts of sin-not just unreptentant, really awful sin.
  • People get disciplined for things that are not sins. These things are merely annoying to the church leaders.
  • 9 Marks appears to have disciplined some things that are not considered sin by reasonable people.
  • If you disagree with the church’s approach to discipline, it is because they believe that you were *poorly shepherded* as opposed to being really smart and exercising your freedom of conscience.
  • In many instances, someone who is being disciplined may even be considered a non-Christian.
  • Many of these pastors believe in protecting other pastors and leaders, not members.
  • Do not sign a church contract.
  • Do not sign a church contract.
  • Do not sign a church contract.

Comments

The Gospel Coalition Offers a Sample Covenant and Posts 9 Marks Answers to Objections to Church Discipline: Looking at the Reality, Not the Hype. — 155 Comments

  1. Church Covenants are contracts, but they are one-way contracts, from the member to the church. I would love to see at least 1 church covenant that says what the church will do for members.

    From the sample covenant:
    We will carry each other’s burdens,…
    How about adding this:
    The Pastors, Elders, and other organizations of the church will respond in love to each members personal, spiritual and material crisis and will apply the church’s time and treasure to help the member through difficult times.

    …and the loving exercise of church discipline.
    Let’s add this:
    Church discipline shall apply to the Pastors, Elders and staff members as well as to members.

    Just a couple of examples. We could go on for while with this.

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  2. This nails it: “However, in some churches, a sin is defined as anything that goes against or challenges church authority.”

    Our ex-church admitted that our daughter had “biblical” grounds for leaving her husband… but because THEY hadn’t given her permission to do so… she was in rebellion and needed to be ex-communicated.

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  3. The moment anyone asks you to sign something that involves arbitration–it’s a contract. There doesn’t need to be anything else on it.

    Ken P.: Church Covenants are contracts, but they are one-way contracts, from the member to the church. I would love to see at least 1 church covenant that says what the church will do for members.

    Really, they want to play the part of sinful humanity who gets all the perks without any of the responsibilities. Except that they also want to be God and control all the details, too. There’s really nothing to gain for an average member signing a church covenant.

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  4. ishy: Really, they want to play the part of sinful humanity who gets all the perks without any of the responsibilities.

    And then they complain about how hard it is to be a pastor. TGC often features articles on how hard it is to be a pastor, or ways to pray for your pastor, or ways to support your pastor, or how much sabbatical time you should give your pastor, or some other message telling pewpeons to shut up and color.

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  5. In many instances, someone who is being disciplined may even be considered a non-Christian.

    If your church has you under discipline and thinks you’re a non-Christian, it’s DEFINITELY time to bail.

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  6. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    I believe you have a legal background from previous comments you’ve made here at TWW:

    So what’s the skivvy?

    1)How can these ‘covenants’ be legally binding on the poor saps who sign them?

    2)Are they getting a pass on the responsibilities that secular contracts may have?
    Much in the same way that religious non-profits get to skate on financial disclosure requirements?

    Law Prof might wanna’ weigh in too.

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  7. Our 9 Marks SBC church blew up last year after we discovered that one of our elders/pastors was a convicted child molester. After my husband made a mandated report to authorities about suspected child abuse, the heat really turned up and we were given the typical whistleblower treatment–slandered from pulpit, gossiped about privately, and ignored by everyone else. We did not have a written covenant in place…the elders were working on an update to the church constitution (which I’m SURE would have included discipline, because they were beginning to casually mention it in sermons and discussions), but nothing had been implemented yet.

    The interim pastor, who rightly declared the former leadership to be abusive, believes that the SOLUTION to the abusive leadership problem would have been a written covenant. He’s been circulating 9Marks articles, convincing the people who remained that this is the biblical thing to do. Somehow they think that the church discipline would have actually been applied to the lying leaders and not to the whistleblowers. It just never actually works that way, does it?

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  8. Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    An even dozen.
    So now it is biblical.

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  9. Max:
    “The church contract is likened to a marriage contract. Is that how you view your relationship with the church?”

    Believers are the Bride of Christ; they are not wed to the organized church.

    Excellent distinction, Max.

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  10. Muff Pottter:
    Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    I believe you have a legal background from previous comments you’ve made here at TWW:

    So what’s the skivvy?

    1)How can these ‘covenants’ be legally binding on the poor saps who sign them?

    2)Are they getting a pass on the responsibilities that secular contracts may have? Much in the same way that religious non-profits get to skate on financial disclosure requirements?

    Law Prof might wanna’ weigh in too.

    My question is how legally enforceable the tithe might be. Could the church potentially have a case to garnish the wages of someone who stops tithing or tries to leave (which typically invokes the “discipline clause,” to my understanding)?

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  11. Max: “The church contract is likened to a marriage contract. Is that how you view your relationship with the church?”

    Believers are the Bride of Christ; they are not wed to the organized church.

    Very true, Max. It seems to me that the church is usurping the place of Christ; just another form of, “I shall be as the Most High.”

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  12. Dee wrote:

    However, in some churches, a sin is defined as anything that goes against or challenges church authority.

    I’d re-word this by changing church authority to the opinions of the fallible men running this organization.

    And yes I mean to say “men” as in 99.99% of these situations it is all men running things. Maybe more often.

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  13. These posts always make me remember why this happened.

    “Back in the day” the churches of the SBC (which is the ancestry of most of the evangelicals of today) had truly local autonomy. Which meant that each church was very much an island and local decisions made by a majority vote of the baptized members. If you followed a short list of published requirements you were in. (There were some unpublished ones but that’s true of any large organization.) Typically decisions about discipline and budget and the new paint color of the nursery or whatever were made at a “business meeting” held once a month on Wednesday nights. And if a pastor upset 50%+1 of the members he could be booted on with no notice. Which was bad on many levels. But there was also a lot of good in this model. No elders meeting in secret to run the flock and such.

    As a part (one of many parts where things got changed from the old ways) of the conservative resurgence of the 70s/80s this model was gradually taught in seminaries to be “against the Gospel” and thus the elder led model took over. It took 20+ years but here we are.

    Personally I feel the change was for the worse. But who am I to go against God’s anointed?

    And now for a satirical look at an old time Baptist business meeting.
    https://internetmonk.com/archive/the-pope-needs-a-business-meeting

    I get a chuckle every time I read this. But I’m also sad that there was enough truth in it to create the situation we have now.

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  14. Given the importance and power that these “leaders” place on these “covenants/contracts”, I find that their arguments, cited by Dee above, to very weak…. Is this the best they can do to justify it??

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  15. Some time after my wife and I left the local Sovereign Grace church we found out that the pastor considered me unsaved due to my unwillingness to participate in the “church discipline” process we had been subjected to. Because we were unwilling to toe the line like good little sheep and do what the pastor said simply because he proclaimed it “biblical.”

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  16. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Yikes. It really *does* sound like Hotel California.

    Christians have one covenant. It’s called baptism.

    You are absolutely right, friend. I would go even further, and allow that the physical baptism in water is merely symbolic of the spiritual baptism, which is the one essential event required to make one a child of God. As such, no one can withhold it from another, demanding that they submit to the proper ‘authorities’ or make the required vows.

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  17. Ken F (aka Tweed): I was unaware that TGC and LCMS have a relationship.

    The New Calvinists have extended their tentacles into most denominations. The new reformers are everywhere – out and about to restore the “gospel” into all corners of Christendom (Gospel = Calvinism to them). They alone hold truth.

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  18. SiteSeer: It seems to me that the church is usurping the place of Christ;

    This has been its MO from the start, proving that it is, and never has been, what it claims to be. We are simply seeing a glimpse of what it was like in the early days when there was one, all-powerful Church which had the blessing of the state (theocracy). It was the desire to keep a stranglehold on that power that initiated such things as inquisitions and burning heretics at the stake. God forbid any institution ever regain the monopoly of religious and political power.

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  19. SiteSeer: It seems to me that the church is usurping the place of Christ;

    This has been its MO from the start, proving that it is, and never has been, what it claims to be. We are simply seeing a glimpse of what it was like in the early days when there was one, all-powerful Church which had the blessing of the state (theocracy). It was the desire to keep a stranglehold on that power that initiated such things as inquisitions and burning heretics at the stake. God forbid any institution ever regain the monopoly of religious and political power.

    Max: The New Calvinists have extended their tentacles into most denominations. The new reformers are everywhere – out and about to restore the “gospel” into all corners of Christendom (Gospel = Calvinism to them). They alone hold truth.

    Am I the only one who, upon pondering this, can only question what is the real power behind this movement? It is either of God – which many of us once believed but have since become disillusioned – or it is of other. Thoughtful people might want to ask themselves, ‘What is it when it is not of God?’

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  20. Ken F (aka Tweed): TGC posted an article today that appeared to be another “pity the pastor” article:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-young-pastors-ageism/.

    From the article:

    “Young pastors sometimes encounter a strange form of ageism. People gaze at them with a curious mix of suspicion and hesitancy, intrigue and hopeful excitement.”

    For good reason! The word is out about these young whippersnappers taking over churches! May there be more “suspicion and hesitancy” in the ranks than “intrigue and hopeful excitement.” Giving in to intrigue and excitement about the New Calvinists has been the downfall of many SBC churches.

    The church has always benefited by multi-generations within the membership. It needs the energy of youth coupled with the wisdom of age … young folks to speed things up and old folks to slow things down. However, churches should not so easily surrender to the leadership of these new reformers. Good Lord! … the youth group is running the church!

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  21. Ken F (aka Tweed): TGC posted an article today that appeared to be another “pity the pastor” article:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-young-pastors-ageism/.

    Reckon what the author is implying when he writes:

    “Timothy, a young pastor serving the early church in Ephesus, was charged with a clear task and purpose for ministry: “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge,’ for by professing it some have swerved from the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20–21).”

    Does he consider the teachings and traditions of an established church full of senior saints to be “irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’” … that an infusion of young reformers and New Calvinist belief and practice are necessary to save it?

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  22. TS00: Am I the only one who, upon pondering this, can only question what is the real power behind this movement?

    Are stealth and deception gifts of the Holy Spirit? Is a church movement characterized by manipulation, intimidation, and domination of believers of God? Is a teaching which diminishes Jesus – which focuses on doctrines ‘about’ grace rather than a direct experience ‘of’ Grace – rooted in Heaven?

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  23. SiteSeer: the church is usurping the place of Christ

    The authority of Christ is waning in the American church. He has almost no authority in many groups called by His name. His influence is becoming less and less. An illegitimate authority rules in many churches … the counterfeit has replaced the genuine.

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  24. SiteSeer: It seems to me that the church is usurping the place of Christ

    I would argue that specific people want to usurp the place of Christ. They just use the church as a cover for their own sinful desire for power and an excuse to hold that power over people.

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  25. When I burned out as a church volunteer, my church let me figure things out. How unpleasant it would have been for all, if the preachers and lay leaders had insisted I keep showing up.

    Covenant-based church discipline not only tramples on legal rights. It also forces vulnerable people into the presence of people who will provoke them, systematically and hurtfully. How convenient it would be for people under discipline to disgrace themselves by breaking down or shouting in the presence of righteous witnesses.

    The marriage analogy gives everybody a husband. Pardon me for pointing out that these churches heartily disapprove of marriages between two men, or among three people. (The Biblical analogy, the church as the bride of Christ, is an entirely different idea.)

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  26. There is NOTHING NOTHING in the Bible that says you have to join a church, much less sign a Covenant/Contract to be a Christian. The Reformed and some non-Reformed pronounce that to “prove” your salvation, you need to join a Church. It does says we are to fellowship with believers on a regular basis which can easily be obeyed by attending a church or being active in a Sunday School or Bible study. For many of us, we didn’t leave the church,but the church left us. I Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ.” These churches that require covenant signing are asking for submission to a pastor/elder and creating a middle man between God and the regular pew sitter. They want control. The Shepherding movement of the 1960-70’s, which proved disastrous, was similar to this covenant signing.

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  27. Max: The new reformers are everywhere – out and about to restore the “gospel” into all corners of Christendom (Gospel = Calvinism to them). They alone hold truth.

    So true! I was taking ministry leadership classes from an Assembly of God University recently. I was dumfounded to find that I had Calvinist professors and other professors that required us to read and use works by Grudem, Piper, and other Calvinists as though they were truth. I also personally know a very Calvinist very complementation pastor of a large AOG church that very much promotes TGC. I know the AOG considers themselves an association of churches mores than a denomination, but this is so far from their Arminian style roots, I just don’t know how they can allow all this. Is everyone going so Calvinist that the non-Calvinists are compromising out of fear of losing their numbers?

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  28. What we know of church discipline in the early church, both instructionally and anecdotally, comes from only a handful of scriptural passages. Devising an entire system of church governance, including membership contracts, on such a limited perspective results in the creating of rules and regulations that are extra-Biblical. One of my pet-peeve examples is where a particular church requires anyone to seek reconciliation through the church’s processes before pursuing a divorce. This is an onerous burden to someone who is a victim of spousal abuse, infidelity, abandonment, etc. but I digress. 1 Tim 5:20, taken in context, calls for rebuking of the ruling elders if THEY continue in sin. Where is that in their contract?

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  29. I can think of three approaches to Church Discipline:

    1.Passive until necessary. There are no documents and no established protocols but there is a general understanding that certain behaviors will not be tolerated. Particularly egregious situations are obvious and the local church body addresses it. This is what Paul addressed with the Corinthians. I’ve seen this implemented a few times in my life.

    2.Formal Process. People sign a contract granting authority to the Elders/Pastoral Staff/etc. to monitor their behavior and make corrections as they seem fit. This creates an unhealthy environment of sin sniffing on the part of leadership and puts an awkward expectation on congregants of complying with authority, even when motives and methods are suspect.

    3.God will handle it as he did with Annanias and Saphira. Granted Peter called them out, but God did the heavy lifting of the discipline process.

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  30. Patti: Is everyone going so Calvinist that the non-Calvinists are compromising out of fear of losing their numbers?

    I don’t even think that it’s the finer point of Calvinism that attract many men. I think it’s the idea of being “specially elect” along with the kingship domain promised by patriarchy. Plus, it’s trendy, so a small-time pastor might make big connections and become one of those big-time pastors. It’s all about men who end up just becoming pawns while believing they will be kings.

    There’s so many problem with New Calvinism biblically, so they all they can really do is just keep repeating “We’re more biblical” to make people believe that’s true, because the logic isn’t there and you have to ignore large sections of Scripture to buy into it.

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  31. refugee: My question is how legally enforceable the tithe might be. Could the church potentially have a case to garnish the wages of someone who stops tithing or tries to leave (which typically invokes the “discipline clause,” to my understanding)?

    I too have wondered the same.

    Cable TV providers and phone zombie slave ships all have ‘contracts’ (legally enforceable) that are hard to exit, but at least you can, and they’re required to provide ‘services’ in return.

    Hence my previous point about religious outfits being exempt from holding up anything on their end.

    For example, can they insert a credit card billing clause (in effect for as long as they see fit)?

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  32. “If we tolerate sins even unbelievers find scandalous, we compromise our witness to the gospel’s power to transform lives.”

    Sins such as, oh I don’t know, sexual abuse? These people are such hypocrites!

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  33. Patti: I was taking ministry leadership classes from an Assembly of God University recently. I was dumfounded to find that I had Calvinist professors and other professors that required us to read and use works by Grudem, Piper, and other Calvinists as though they were truth.

    No doubt about it … the New Calvinists have their sights set on the AOG. A mega AOG church near me actively promotes the teachings of New Calvinist icons … the senior pastor is so reformed that he has even had Mark Driscoll preach there several times!

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  34. Patti: Is everyone going so Calvinist that the non-Calvinists are compromising out of fear of losing their numbers?

    I blame it on Complacent Christianity. Long before the New Calvinist movement came on the scene, American Christians were growing complacent in their faith; an apathy about the things of God was settling into pulpit and pew. The organized church – across all denominations – was an easy target for the new reformation. A good example of that is the Southern Baptist Convention. It is populated with millions of non-Calvinists. Some say they have been uninformed or misinformed about the New Calvinist movement in their midst … I say they are willingly ignorant.

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  35. Dee wrote: “9 Marx”
    Awhile back, 9 Marks published an article saying Don’t be a 9 Marxist. Since I invented 9 Marxism (really true— my following comments are fictional) my liars (lawyers) suggested I sue them for trademark infringement. But I followed St Paul’s advice instead. Now that Rev MacDonald’s lawsuit against the pesky journalist and Cheeto-munching pajama-clad bloggers has proven so successful, maybe I’ll go ahead and follow suit.

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  36. FW Rez: 3.God will handle it as he did with Annanias and Saphira. Granted Peter called them out, but God did the heavy lifting of the discipline process.

    I hope the New Calvinists (or God, for that matter) don’t go back to this type of discipline. There would be more bodies lying around than during the Black Plague.

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  37. Patti: Is everyone going so Calvinist that the non-Calvinists are compromising out of fear of losing their numbers?

    Ignorance is probably a big factor. Five years ago I could not tell you what “reformed” meant. It was after New-Calvinism crashed into my sons that I finally woke up and started learning about it. About a year ago I was going through some of my old stuff and was surprised to find an old John Piper cassette. I don’t remember whether or not I ever listened to it, but it showed me how unaware I had been about that movement until recently. Most people have no reason to think they need to doubt seminary trained pastors.

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  38. Ken F (aka Tweed): Most people have no reason to think they need to doubt seminary trained pastors.

    Mainline (non-Calvinist) Southern Baptists will wake up to this unfortunate fact someday … but it will be too late … the New Calvinists have already crept in unawares and now control most SBC entities (seminaries, mission agencies, publishing house, church planting network, and a growing number of takeover traditional churches). Yes, they already have reason to doubt seminary trained pastors but haven’t fully realized that yet.

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  39. Ken F (aka Tweed): The church I left last year is not the same church I joined 10+ years ago.

    The denomination I left last year (SBC) is definitely not the same body of Christ I joined 70 years ago. It was agonizing to witness a once-great evangelistic denomination change its 150-year message and mission, and surrender its pulpits and seminaries to a rebellious movement of new reformers.

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  40. FW Rez: God will handle [church discipline] as he did with Annanias and Saphira. Granted Peter called them out, but God did the heavy lifting of the discipline process.

    In fact, Peter only called them out because (as far as it appears) the Holy Spirit told him in the first place.

    The only problem with this option is that there is no “Holy Spirit” any more. He/It was only ever a mysterious, anomalous blip to plug the gap until the church was organised enough to receive the Bible, God’s ultimate act of self-revelation. (Writing to the church in Colossi, Paul refered to this: “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Scripture being expounded to you by Gospel Bible teachers, the hope of glory.“)

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  41. Max: For good reason! The word is out about these young whippersnappers taking over churches! May there be more “suspicion and hesitancy” in the ranks than “intrigue and hopeful excitement.” Giving in to intrigue and excitement about the New Calvinists has been the downfall of many SBC churches.

    And my experience has been that the “hopeful excitement” has to do with, please make our church grow and be cool so we won’t be embarrassed we go here.

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  42. It has been a while since I posted here, but here goes.

    The idea of church discipline is sound; however, how it is applied in 9Marx and Gospel Coalition churches is not to bring back sinners into the church, but to control the tithing units. There is one set of rules for the pew setters (stamp out heresy, do not tarnish the name of Christ, do not tarnish the name of the pastor or the church, keep sin out of the church). There is another for the leadership (do not spread gossip, protect the pastor, we are all sinners, do not gloat over the fall of the lofty).
    9Marx and The Gospel Coalition exist for the protection of church leadership and the institution. If church members understood this they may be more circumspect in their dealings with these guys. Here is an old post on The Gospel Coalition site that defines who the most dangerous member of a church is (spoiler, she is the individual who knows to much of the Bible).

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/who-is-the-most-dangerous-guy-at-your-church/

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  43. “…many wonderful, godly Christians have opposed discipline (at least initially) for understandable, albeit uninformed, unbiblical, and misguided reasons.”

    Are they really so blind that they miss how incredibly arrogant this sounds (and is)?! Arrogance is not one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. In fact, I am pretty sure the Bible mentions in multiple places how God opposes the proud.

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  44. Patti,

    I know that the pastor in my former AOG church has quoted from both Piper and Greear from the pulpit. Though he also expressed that he’s on the Arminian side of things, so that dichotomy confused me, and I don’t know how much he’d been influenced by the New Calvinists.

    Though you can’t really tell it’s associated with the AOG unless you attend their membership/indoctrination “next steps” class – the affiliation is not revealed anywhere on their web site, and for all intents and purposes it was your typical wannabe mega with the hip, cool, “intentionally misspelled” name.

    Piper and Greear quotes weren’t the reason I left; there was plenty of Bible verse twisting, psychological manipulation, and spiritual abuse going on at that place. Fortunately no covenants/contracts, though it was made clear to me that the pastor and his top lieutenants were keeping tabs on everyone’s “involvement” with church activities – that was one area where I was told I was failing miserably, but I had one foot out the door by then so I didn’t really care.

    With that said, if they had presented me with a contract to sign, I would have told them that I’d have to run it by my attorney first, and then not sign it. (I attended the membership class sometime after the Karen Hinkley/Matt Chandler situation broke, so I was well aware of the dangers of such documents.)

    Many churches really are Hotel California. In addition to not signing their contracts, I advise being very careful with giving churches your contact information – a lesson I learned the hard way.

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  45. Nick Bulbeck: The only problem with this option is that there is no “Holy Spirit” any more. He/It was only ever a mysterious, anomalous blip to plug the gap until the church was organised enough to receive the Bible, God’s ultimate act of self-revelation.

    Well, Paul did write, “when the perfect comes the partial will be done away with.” What else could it mean?

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  46. Nick Bulbeck: The only problem with this option is that there is no “Holy Spirit” any more. He/It was only ever a mysterious, anomalous blip to plug the gap until the church was organised enough to receive the Bible, God’s ultimate act of self-revelation.

    Nick, are you being facetious? Or are you not a Trinitarian? Or am I too dense to take in Nickist epistemology? 😉

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  47. Loren Haas,

    Yes, we left. It took us awhile, but we left. We knew it was totally crazy when the pastor blasted my husband from the pulpit for following the mandated reporter laws of our state…and the silence of our church family spoke more to the spiritual sickness in our church than the attack itself. But my in-laws and many other people we love have remained…with their heads planted firmly in the sand.

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  48. From the 9Marks article: “[Objection to Discipline] 2. ‘Jesus never turned anyone away.’ True, Jesus never turned away a repentant sinner. But Jesus did drive out money changers from the temple..”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the money changers there with the approval of the chief priests and teachers of the law (i.e., church leadership)?

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  49. Muff Pottter: I believe you have a legal background from previous comments you’ve made here at TWW:

    So what’s the skivvy?

    1)How can these ‘covenants’ be legally binding on the poor saps who sign them?

    2)Are they getting a pass on the responsibilities that secular contracts may have?
    Much in the same way that religious non-profits get to skate on financial disclosure requirements?

    Law Prof might wanna’ weigh in too.

    To be honest, I’m not sure they’re legally binding if they don’t have what is known as “consideration.” In other words both parties have to give something of value. I would make the argument that the covenants are not valid contracts because there’s no consideration being passed, unlike, say, buying a car, where you promise to pay a note in exchange for that shiny new vehicle over there. I’m not seeing something of value being given by the church. There’s also the possibility that the covenants are invalid due to duress or fraud. Or it might not meet other requirements for a contract.

    But this is the kicker–when you sign one of those things, you’re promising not to take them to court but to go through whatever bogus arbitration process they have set up. And even if you DO take them to court, it’s all very expensive, and for Joe and Jane Pewsitter, the average legal costs are beyond this. And this is not like a hit and run accident, the legal precedents are really thin on the ground.

    As for “religious non-profits get to skate on financial disclosure requirements,” it’s an entirely different thing. The IRS Code gives an out to churches. So when a Focus on the Family or a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association converts from a 501(c)3 ministry to a church, and the IRS approves, it no longer has to legally present Form 990 for review. Frankly, that should raise the eyebrows and the hackles of people who give to those organizations, but it doesn’t because people can be such sheep about this.

    I can only repeat what our blogmistress has said here:

    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.
    Do not sign a church contract.

    Just don’t do it. Jesus didn’t require his followers to sign a contract. Paul didn’t. The Jerusalem church didn’t. It’s only these crazy latter-day dudebro followers of Calvin who are doing this.

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  50. refugee: My question is how legally enforceable the tithe might be. Could the church potentially have a case to garnish the wages of someone who stops tithing or tries to leave (which typically invokes the “discipline clause,” to my understanding)?

    Oh, what a rathole. A private arbitration could find that Joe and Jane Pewsitter are required to pay tithing, but I’m thinking that no court would enforce such a provision because this would require the courts to get entangled in a matter of religious doctrine. Other countries have a state-collected church tax, which people can disenroll from, but the USA has no such thing, because of church-state separation. I could see a church using *private persuasion* or a handpicked arbitrator to try and coerce people to pay tithing, but no court is going to even touch that with a 10 foot pole, because it would require the court to get in the middle of deciding a church doctrine. No court would enforce a private arbitration finding for wage garnishment for not paying tithing.

    I’d note that in Texas, an amendment had to be passed to the state constitution (which required a vote of the people) to allow for wage garnishment of child support (also, student loans and taxes due). So REALLY not going to happen in Texas.

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  51. Max: The New Calvinists have extended their tentacles into most denominations. The new reformers are everywhere – out and about to restore the “gospel” into all corners of Christendom (Gospel = Calvinism to them). They alone hold truth.

    The Assemblies of God put out a position paper on Calvinism in 2015. Apparently some younger AoG ministerial types are being seduced by Calvinism. One thing I found interesting in the position paper is this:

    A fairly consistent issue promoted by Neo-Calvinists is complementarianism, with its rejection in some cases of any ministerial role for women, and in other cases a sharply limited sphere of ministry for women. This is an issue on which the Assemblies of God disagrees, as expressed in our position paper on Women in Ministry.

    https://ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/Reformed-Theology-Response-of-the-AG-Position-Paper

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  52. Ken F (aka Tweed): Most people have no reason to think they need to doubt seminary trained pastors.

    I just cannot wrap my head around that. But I know it’s true. And with the brainwashing done to church members since childhood that they are not supposed to church hop, they have no idea that different and legit denominational seminaries even exist.

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  53. Friend,

    It’s Bulbeckesque-satire of the situation as presented by Biblicists. Note how often these guys say ‘Biblical’, rather than Christlike…which is another reason so many are becoming disillusioned with this approach – the Bible has been made into another set of laws to follow, rather than a witness to Christ & Christlikeness.

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  54. Brother Maynard,

    “the pastor considered me unsaved”

    How arrogant. All because he couldn’t beat you up spiritually.

    It seems to me that the whole motive behind the church covenant is “stantanic” at the root. It stems from the desire to be like God, to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit, and to push Jesus aside to the margins because “the anointed” can do Jesus better.

    Puke.

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  55. Wild Honey:
    From the 9Marks article:“[Objection to Discipline] 2. ‘Jesus never turned anyone away.’True, Jesus never turned away a repentant sinner. But Jesus did drive out money changers from the temple..”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the money changers there with the approval of the chief priests and teachers of the law (i.e., church leadership)?

    ++++++++++++

    Indeed they were! Good catch!

    Just another plea from the choir….Don’t sign any church covenant! Never!

    Let our verbal, “yes”, be yes and our, ” no”, be no, that should be sufficient. No need of signatures but a matter of the heart, soul ( Holy Spirit ) to verbally accept or reject doctrine, or parts of doctrine, or plain old, dogma.

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  56. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: The Assemblies of God put out a position paper on Calvinism in 2015. Apparently some younger AoG ministerial types are being seduced by Calvinism.

    This one line from the position paper opened the door for the New Calvinists into AOG life, IMO:

    “While there are clear distinctions between those who self-identify as Arminian and as Reformed, there is indeed more that unites than divides us in theology.”

    https://ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/Reformed-Theology-Response-of-the-AG-Position-Paper

    Another issue to consider here is that individual AOG churches support denominational entities (e.g., a huge foreign mission program) through annual financial gifts, much like the SBC. A local AOG mega-church gives a bundle to AOG each year … their pastor aligns with the New Calvinist movement (a true-blue Driscollite). For AOG headquarters to challenge the reformed teaching at this church could result in a cash-cow going to other pastures. However, the above theological loophole keeps that gate open and everybody is happy.

    SBC did the same thing in its 2000 revision of its statement of faith, which provided more wiggle room for theological diversity under SBC’s big tent. Combined with that was call to unity by SBC’s Executive Committee on the issue of New Calvinism. Dr. Page called for all Southern Baptists to make room for the new reformers, agree to disagree, and get along to go along. (sidenote: Dr. Page resigned his post later due to moral failure)

    God calls what is happening in SBC and AOG compromise, divisive, mixture in the camp, and never blesses it.

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  57. Hey trivia buffs–it’s John Calvin’s 510th birthday today. Do you suppose he’d be tickled to death or rolling over in his grave if he saw the puerile behavior of many of his ‘New Calvinist’ followers?!?

    Thankfully, our church utterly rejected signing a covenant for membership when our former YRR Neo-Cal pastor tried to sneak this stuff into our congregation.
    My covenant is very one-sided: Christ initiated it and maintains it. I need not sign one in order to be a member of His Body! Be very leery of any church that tries to force you into signing one.

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  58. Root 66: My covenant is very one-sided: Christ initiated it and maintains it. I need not sign one in order to be a member of His Body!

    Amen! The one written in His blood is sufficient for all believers. Membership in the Body of Christ supersedes church contracts. Praise God! Jesus set you free; the organized church wants to bring you back into bondage. I repeat, church membership is voluntary … DO NOT sign a church membership agreement … your agreement with Christ is enough.

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  59. Root 66: it’s John Calvin’s 510th birthday today. Do you suppose he’d be tickled to death or rolling over in his grave if he saw the puerile behavior of many of his ‘New Calvinist’ followers?!?

    I suspect that ole John would just wink at the childish behavior of the new reformers as long as the aberrant faith he charted continues to bear fruit.

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  60. Max,

    I don’t think so. In his commentary on John 3:29 he has this to say:-
    “Christ does not call his ministers to the office of teaching, in order that, by conquering the Church, they may claim dominion over it, but that he may make use of their faithful labors for associating them with himself. It is a great   and lofty distinction, that men are appointed over the Church, to represent the person of the Son of God……..   But what are ministers to do? Certainly, the Son of God calls them, that they may perform their duty to him in conducting the sacred marriage; and, therefore, their duty is, to take care, in every way, that the spouse–who is committed to their charge–may be presented by them as a chaste virgin to her husband; which Paul, in the passage already quoted (2 Cor.11:2-3), boasts of having done. But they who draw the Church to themselves rather than to Christ are guilty of basely violating the marriage which they ought to have honored. And the greater the honour which Christ confers on us, by making us the guardians of his spouse, so much the more heinous is our want of fidelity, if we do not endeavour to maintain and defend his right.”

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  61. Lowlandseer: “they who draw the Church to themselves rather than to Christ are guilty of basely violating the marriage which they ought to have honored” (John Calvin)

    It is good to hear that even John Calvin would be upset to see what the New Calvinists are doing to his namesake! Some of the mega-boys are the worst offenders of drawing the church to themselves (Driscoll, MacDonald, etc.).

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  62. Ken F (aka Tweed): The author is Lutheran (LCMS). I was unaware that TGC and LCMS have a relationship.

    I would guess that any ‘relationship’, LCMS with TGC, is purely casual, and that the writer of the article just happens to be Lutheran, and is simply sharing his perspective on pastoral duties.

    Max: The New Calvinists have extended their tentacles into most denominations.

    I have sincere doubts that they’ll be able to pull Lutheranism into their sphere of influence. Lutheranism (both LCMS and ELCA) is an ancient tradition, it’s creedal and liturgical. Everything ‘biblical’ is already contained in those creeds and liturgy.
    I don’t think they’ll take kindly to ‘new reformers’ redefining what’s biblical and what’s not.

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  63. I was thinking about church covenant-contracts this morning, and it occurred to me that it seems to be all of a piece with the overall paradigm of a sort of perfectionism that can lead toward a form of gnosticism (the kind in which only “smart” people count, only the totalist-thinking version is only “right” people count).

    In terms of personal “growth” and “maturity,” having the right-correct-perfect *information* is equated with being right with God and others. Hence, extensive theological codes.

    In terms of community,” having the right-correct-perfect *situation* is equated with flourishing congregation. Hence, unconditional submission to overseers and church discipline for failure.

    But when we aim at absolute correctness in beliefs and behaviors, we remove the heart from the equation. It’s no longer freedom in Christ, but enforcement in church. Such moral behaviorism naturally generates fear, which negates love, and we make it far to easy to give the appearance of godliness personally or in community, but deny the power thereof.

    So it makes sense that “confession” (saying the right-correct-perfect things about our sins) becomes equated with repentance–leaving the gateway to the congregation wide open for those who would ravage the sheep.

    It looks oh-so-good, but ends up oh-so-bad.

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  64. Friend: Nick, are you being facetious? Or are you not a Trinitarian? Or am I too dense to take in Nickist epistemology?

    I’ll take your questions in order:
    1) Yes – you were clearly paying attention!;
    2) Yes, and
    3) Nickism is open to everyone, so absolutely not (although some have misunderstood what Nickism really teaches)

    IHTIH…

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  65. brad/futuristguy: I was thinking about church covenant-contracts this morning, and it occurred to me that it seems to be all of a piece with the overall paradigm of a sort of perfectionism … having the right-correct-perfect *information* is equated with being right with God and others … no longer freedom in Christ, but enforcement in church … generates fear, which negates love

    TGC’s promotion of church membership agreements fits with the MO of Calvin’s attempt to institute a Christian utopia in Geneva. He teamed with the magistrate to “reform” the citizenry by the strong arm of the law when necessary. Dissenters were exiled from the city, imprisoned, tortured, or executed. The modern day expressions of that in New Calvinist churches (and others who ‘contract’ with members) are discipline, shunning, and excommunication. Again, DO NOT sign a church membership covenant! It’s simply not necessary in the Body of Christ and puts church leaders at an advantage over you should you question the belief and practice you are exposed to. Just say bye-bye to Geneva and go on down the road with Christ leading the way.

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  66. Muff Pottter: I have sincere doubts that they’ll be able to pull Lutheranism into their sphere of influence. Lutheranism (both LCMS and ELCA) is an ancient tradition, it’s creedal and liturgical. Everything ‘biblical’ is already contained in those creeds and liturgy.

    Agreed. Converting Lutherans will be a tougher row to hoe, compared to the easier deception of Southern Baptists and pentecostals. The average SBC/AOG member is not deep enough in the Word enough to sort out truth from error vs. the Lutherans who have their creeds/liturgies memorized. Southern Baptists and pentecostals simply don’t read Scripture and pray as they ought; thus, they are weak in discernment (based on my 70+ year snapshot of both groups). I have been a “Bapticostal” for most of my life.

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  67. Nick Bulbeck: I’ll take your questions in order:
    1) Yes – you were clearly paying attention!;
    2) Yes, and
    3) Nickism is open to everyone, so absolutely not (although some have misunderstood what Nickism really teaches)

    IHTIH…

    Ive noticed Nickism. You know you have arived when you have a thing named after you. Just like when you get your first stalker.

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  68. Nick Bulbeck,

    From the Urban Dictionary

    “Nickism
    The religion for the biggest bad ass’es in the universe.Anyone who belives in Nickism will obviously go to heaven. And anyone who doesn’t obviously isn’t going to heaven.
    God, I am so happy i converted to Nickism, i know if i didn’t i would certainly not go to heaven and not be the coolest person on earth.”

    Don’t let it go to your head. 🙂

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  69. brad/futuristguy,

    The goal of their instruction is “absolute control”. “Faith expressing itself in love” is nice, but less essential than control.

    My suspicion is that the biblical/theological justifications are simply window-dressing; “control” is a high priority for the people on top in any enterprise.

    Jesus: “It will not be so among you”

    The fact that it is so is to my mind an indication that these enterprises are not legitimate successors of the “you” to whom that statement was first made.

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  70. Will M:
    Here is an old post on The Gospel Coalition site that defines who the most dangerous member of a church is (spoiler, she is the individual who knows to much of the Bible).

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/who-is-the-most-dangerous-guy-at-your-church/

    That’s interesting. I read the article and was thinking to myself that he seems to be describing some (but not all) seminary graduates I know. Then I saw other articles he’d written listed, including this one on pastors who are bullies. I wonder if he’s ever connected the dots?

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/18566/

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  71. Lowlandseer: And the greater the honour which Christ confers on us, by making us the guardians of his spouse…

    Does anyone else have problems with this imagery? I don’t recall the Bible every describing ‘ministers’ this way. It seems to convey the medieval imagery of a steward guarding the king daughter with chastity belts and locked towers…
    No, those God ‘calls’ are supposed to strengthen and encourage, not isolate and confine.

    My two cents…

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  72. Lowlandseer,

    Improbable as it seemed that you would misquote a source, I felt compelled to look this up. Astonishingly, it seems that some later disciples will invent time travel and go back to 2003 to post the above definition! Although, if I may so observe, they seem to’ve slightly misunderstood the true meaning of Nickism.

    The same urban dictionary gives alternative definitions of Nickism:

    2)

    A phrase of words that almost makes sense but just isn’t quite right.

    3)

    The act of going on the internet to start a religious cult following by making silly little postings on otherwise useful websites

    And I think I need say no more than that.

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  73. Lowlandseer (quoting Calvin):

    And the greater the honour which Christ confers on us, by making us the guardians of his spouse, so much the more heinous is our want of fidelity, if we do not endeavour to maintain and defend his right.

    I can’t shake the feeling that this, here, is where the leak is. There’s something I’m not sure Calvin ever grasped, which is: “defend his right” against whom? The man who thinks himself set apart from, and appointed over, the church needs to lay his own life down in the church’s defence, not sacrifice others’. Calvin never did manage to defend the church from himself.

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  74. Whistleblower4Jesus: But my in-laws and many other people we love have remained…with their heads planted firmly in the sand.

    I’m so sorry. Had a very similar experience. It is difficult and painful to see people you love remain loyal to unhealthy and destructive structures. It is especially painful when it divides families and friends. I sometimes feel like Job, losing all that I loved. Perhaps, someday, God will see fit to restore some of what I have lost. If not, he is enough.

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  75. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: To be honest, I’m not sure they’re legally binding if they don’t have what is known as “consideration.” In other words both parties have to give something of value. I would make the argument that the covenants are not valid contracts because there’s no consideration being passed, unlike, say, buying a car, where you promise to pay a note in exchange for that shiny new vehicle over there. I’m not seeing something of value being given by the church.There’s also the possibility that the covenants are invalid due to duress or fraud. Or it might not meet other requirements for a contract.

    But this is the kicker–when you sign one of those things, you’re promising not to take them to court but to go through whatever bogus arbitration process they have set up. And even if you DO take them to court, it’s all very expensive, and for Joe and Jane Pewsitter, the average legal costs are beyond this. And this is not like a hit and run accident, the legal precedents are really thin on the ground.

    As for “religious non-profits get to skate on financial disclosure requirements,” it’s an entirely different thing. The IRS Code gives an out to churches. So when a Focus on the Family or a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association converts from a 501(c)3 ministry to a church, and the IRS approves, it no longer has to legally present Form 990 for review. Frankly, that should raise the eyebrows and the hackles of people who give to those organizations, but it doesn’t because people can be such sheep about this.

    I can only repeat what our blogmistress has said here:

    Just don’t do it. Jesus didn’t require his followers to sign a contract. Paul didn’t. The Jerusalem church didn’t. It’s only these crazy latter-day dudebro followers of Calvin who are doing this.

    Nick Bulbeck,

    I don’t buy it. IMO Calvin was a demonic fraud. His goal was to out and destroy the true reformers demanding change, by pretending to be one of them, then create the same sort of top down ‘reformed’ church as he left.

    Sure, he said many right-sounding things. He was the king of doublespeak, almost as subtle and deceptive as satan himself. The man was about domination, control and stopping the impending dissolution of the ruling, oppressive state church.

    One by one, genuine servants of God came to see what a fraud and gangster Calvin was. He would have thrown his own grandmother to the lions. He turned Servetus over to the ‘enemy’, hoping to have him murdered by the Catholic inquisition. When Servetus escaped, Calvin was forced to reverse himself and begin practicing the very slaughter of heretics he had previously condemned in his writings. He is rightly the namesake of authoritarian, double-talking, oppressive New Calvinists.

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  76. The ev free church close to me is John MacArthur calvinist and they have a six page member application. Here is the bottom third of the covenant that you have to sign

    I promise to support the church in its purpose and ministry to the best of my ability.
    I submit myself to the government of the church, and promise to pursue its purity and peace.

    ***I submit myself to the discipline of the church and will persevere in church discipline until those in leadership determine
    that the disciplinary process should come to an end.****

    Finally, I have received and read the church’s bylaws, and I hereby covenant and agree to support and submit to them

    Sign your name here

    Asterisks provided by me.

    Only an idiot would sign this.

    They also demand immersion and if you are divorced or separated they want all the details.
    They also ask why you are leaving your church and if you are under discipline.

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  77. Jeff: Here is the bottom third of the covenant that you have to sign

    In case people don’t know, this really is not done in all churches. When we changed denominations, we joined during a service that included confirmation, using language that reaffirmed baptismal vows. Afterward we had cookies in the social hall.

    It is not normal or right for church people to pursue members and make their lives a misery. One can live a godly, righteous, and sober life without the thuggery of church discipline.

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  78. ***I submit myself to the discipline of the church and will persevere in church discipline until those in leadership determine that the disciplinary process should come to an end.****

    The audacity to expect people to sign such a thing is amazing. I suppose they can’t help but feel contempt towards those who can be manipulated into agreeing to this. And what are they promising to the believer, in return? NOTHING.

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  79. Lowlandseer: “Christ does not call his ministers to the office of teaching, in order that, by conquering the Church, they may claim dominion over it, but that he may make use of their faithful labors for associating them with himself. It is a great and lofty distinction, that men are appointed over the Church, to represent the person of the Son of God…….. But what are ministers to do? Certainly, the Son of God calls them, that they may perform their duty to him in conducting the sacred marriage; and, therefore, their duty is, to take care, in every way, that the spouse–who is committed to their charge–may be presented by them as a chaste virgin to her husband; which Paul, in the passage already quoted (2 Cor.11:2-3), boasts of having done. But they who draw the Church to themselves rather than to Christ are guilty of basely violating the marriage which they ought to have honored. And the greater the honour which Christ confers on us, by making us the guardians of his spouse, so much the more heinous is our want of fidelity, if we do not endeavour to maintain and defend his right.”

    I don’t see any of this in the Bible.

    The man who thinks he has been commissioned to be the guardian of what is God’s alone ought to take heed to the story of Uzzah.

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  80. Jeannette Altes: Lowlandseer: And the greater the honour which Christ confers on us, by making us the guardians of his spouse…

    Does anyone else have problems with this imagery? I don’t recall the Bible every describing ‘ministers’ this way. It seems to convey the medieval imagery of a steward guarding the king daughter with chastity belts and locked towers…
    No, those God ‘calls’ are supposed to strengthen and encourage, not isolate and confine.

    My two cents…

    My thoughts, exactly. And in the name of “guarding” one can justify abuse.

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  81. Jeffrey Chalmers: our “Master” is JC, not the church

    Now, therein is the dilemma. Most church folks I have met in my life identify more with the institution than with the person of Jesus. They define their Christian experience in terms of the traditions and teachings of men rather than a personal relationship with the living Christ. They sing songs about walking and talking with Jesus, but I have met only a few believers who really do.

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  82. SiteSeer,

    The chutzpah of Calvin was incomparable. He pronounced himself the one and only true shepherd, the savior of the stumbling church and chief architect of the kingdom of God – all offices that belong to Christ alone. I know this will not sit well with many, but I cannot imagine a greater antithesis to the humble, sacrificial servant-hood of Jesus than the arrogant, controlling tyranny of Calvin. You cannot get anymore anti-Christ than John Calvin. You cannot get anymore anti-gospel than Calvinism, turning ‘for God so loved the world he gave . . .’ into ‘God hated many, but he’s the big Kahuna, so shut up and deal with it.’

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  83. TS00,

    No, I’m sorry, he didn’t.

    “Demonic fraud”, “King of doublespeak”, “subtle and as deceptive as Satan”, “fraud and gangster”, “you cannot get any more anti-Christ than John Calvin”……. He wasn’t any of these things either.

    Going back to the the commentary on the text I quoted above, this is also written
    “  ‘This my joy therefore is fulfilled.’He means that he (John the Baptist) has obtained the fulfilment of all his desires, and that he has nothing further to wish, when he sees Christ reigning, and men listening to him as he deserves. Whoever shall have such affections that, laying aside all  regard to himself, he shall extol Christ and be satisfied with seeing   Christ honored, will be faithful and successful in ruling the Church; but, whoever shall swerve from that end in the slightest degree will be a base adulterer, and will do nothing else than corrupt the spouse of Christ.”

    A bit different from your opinion I think.

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  84. Pingback: Linkathon! - Phoenix Preacher

  85. Max,

    There is real irony in your statement, given our calling is to follow our master, JC, not a specific “flavor” or “guru “. It is my understanding, that the word “Christain” means “follower of Christ”…. just as Paul in the NT, admonishes believers for follow “so and so”…. I guess those verses are not in the Calvanista’s Bible!

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  86. Lowlandseer: “ ‘This my joy therefore is fulfilled.’He means that he (John the Baptist) has obtained the fulfilment of all his desires, and that he has nothing further to wish, when he sees Christ reigning, and men listening to him as he deserves. Whoever shall have such affections that, laying aside all regard to himself, he shall extol Christ and be satisfied with seeing Christ honored, will be faithful and successful in ruling the Church; but, whoever shall swerve from that end in the slightest degree will be a base adulterer, and will do nothing else than corrupt the spouse of Christ.”

    Is he seeing his role as “ruling the church”? Was he “seeing Christ honored” and being “faithful and successful in ruling the church” when he had Servetus killed?

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  87. Mae: Let our verbal, “yes”, be yes and our, ” no”, be no, that should be sufficient. No need of signatures but a matter of the heart, soul ( Holy Spirit ) to verbally accept or reject doctrine, or parts of doctrine, or plain old, dogma.

    Agreed. But listen to what a friend in one of these covenant signing churches told me recently. “Pastors need church covenants so they will know which people in the church are their sheep and who they need to look after.” So shocked I was speechless.

    Jesus makes a pointed connection in Mark 10: 42-45 between those who wanting to rule over others and serving:

    “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.

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  88. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    In order for 9Marks to qualify as exempt from filing Form 990, it must be an “integrated auxiliary” of a church. The IRS mandates that more than 50% of support be received from internal church sources as opposed to public sources. 9Marks 2017 budget (available online) shows that most of its support is from public sources. I have attempted numerous times to discuss this issue with the Executive Director, but he will not respond. Therefore I am informing the IRS using Form 13909 – Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint.

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  89. ishy: I don’t even think that it’s the finer point of Calvinism that attract many men. I think it’s the idea of being “specially elect” along with the kingship domain promised by patriarchy.

    The Lure of The Inner Ring, God’s Speshul Pets who Get To Hold the Whip over the others.

    “The Only goal of Power is POWER” with the addition of “DEUS VULT!”

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  90. Max: “Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!” shouts the carnival barker.

    More like:

    “WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS
    TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS!
    WE’RE SO GLAD YOU COULD ATTEND!
    COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!

    “WE’VE GOT THRILLS AND SHOCKS!
    SUPERSONIC FIGHTING COCKS!
    LEAVE YOUR HAMMERS IN THE BOX!
    COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!

    “AND NOT CONTENT WITH THAT
    WITH OUR HANDS BEHIND OUR BACKS
    WE PULL JESUS FROM A HAT!
    LOOK AT THAT! LOOK AT THAT!”
    — Emerson, Lake & Palmer, “Karn Evil Nine (long version)”

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  91. TS00: SiteSeer,
    The chutzpah of Calvin was incomparable. He pronounced himself the one and only true shepherd, the savior of the stumbling church and chief architect of the kingdom of God – all offices that belong to Christ alone.

    Doesn’t that sound like a CULT Leader?

    Why didn’t he just o all the way and proclaim himself the New Messiah like Sun Myung Moon?

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  92. Friend: In case people don’t know, this really is not done in all churches. When we changed denominations, we joined during a service that included confirmation, using language that reaffirmed baptismal vows. Afterward we had cookies in the social hall.

    Your description sounds like an established Western Rite Liturgical Church or a church with one in its ancestry.

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  93. I have a thought but, I need more info to develop a hypothesis. The question is do families in the NeoCal covenant churches, how many families are either foster parents or adopt children? Adopting children includes those in their teens.

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  94. Dale,

    “In order for 9Marks to qualify as exempt from filing Form 990, it must be an “integrated auxiliary” of a church. The IRS mandates that more than 50% of support be received from internal church sources as opposed to public sources. 9Marks 2017 budget (available online) shows that most of its support is from public sources. I have attempted numerous times to discuss this issue with the Executive Director, but he will not respond.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    so, what 9Marks is doing is “illegal”, then?

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  95. SiteSeer,

    No he saw the pastor!s role as defending Christ’s headship so that His body the church would be safe and grow to maturity.
    Yes, because Servetus was a heretic. The Dean of the faculty of Medicine at the University of Paris called for the death penalty, as did the RC church and then the Small Council of Geneva. And here’s the thing. Calvin did say “Servetus has just sent me a long volume of his ravings. If I consent he will come here, but I will not give my word; for if he comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive” which is often thrown in the face of Calvinists. But he also wrote “The messenger has returned from the Swiss Churches. They are unanimous in pronouncing that Servetus has now renewed those impious errors with which Satan formerly disturbed the Church, and that he is a monster not to be borne. Those of Bâle were judicious. The Zurichers were the most vehement of all; for they not only animadverted in severe terms on the atrocity of his impieties, but also exhorted our Senate to severity. They of Schaffhausen will agree. Also to an appropriate letter from the Bernese is added one from the Senate, in which they stimulate ours not a little” 26th October 1553 to Farel. Again note it wasn’t all Calvin.
    And lest you think that all this denigration of Calvin is a new and clever thing, he wrote to a friend in 1558 “at the very name of Calvin has the rage of certain persons broke out, who think it more plausible to crush a man by denominating him a heretic, than as formerly, when they stigmatized him as a thief, a church-robber, an adulterer, and a gambler. Let this pretext fail, they will forthwith discover another, nay, they will every day invent new ones.”

    This really is a case of “nothing to see here, please move on”

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  96. Lowlandseer,
    Sure. And all the others who were severely punished, tortured or killed, men, women and children, were just sheep desperately in need of ‘guidance’. The people who began to see through him, and his false pious claims to godliness made themselves into his targets, for he suffered no dissension.

    It is a very frightful thing when a man is convinced, or seeks to convince others, that he is the voice of God and none dare disagree with anything he believes. I once had a pastor like that, and I swear that, had he the power of Calvin, he would have used it similarly to wipe out all dissension. No one would want to live under the shepherding of Calvin, or his likeness.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    C.S. Lewis, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment

    On a website called ‘The Neglected Books Page’ one can find Stefan Zweig’s book ‘The Right to Heresy: Castellio against Calvin’. The site states:

    “Calvin’s attempt to establish his right to act as an agent of divine judgment that moved Sebastian Castellio, a Reformist theologian and teacher in nearby Basle, to write an eloquent rebuttal, “De haereticis”, which cut it to shreds with a logic even colder and sharper than Calvin’s. The very notion of heresy was not only contrary to Protestantism, but wholly absent from Bible. Heresy is man’s invention, not God’s: a relative, not absolute concept: “When I reflect on what a heretic really is, I can find no other criterion than that we are all heretics in the eyes of those who do not share our views.” Given that this one statement effectively condemned “a whole era, its leaders, princes, and priests, Catholics and Lutherans alike,” it demonstrated “immense moral courage.”

    But Castellio not only punctured the pretense of heresy as an excuse for authoritarianism, he went on to claim that “freedom of thought had a sacred right of asylum in Europe.” “De haereticis”, Zweig shows, stands as a milestone for civilization for not just defending the right to think and speak freely, but for asserting that tolerance is the state to which we should all aspire: “We can live together peacefully only when we control our intolerance. Even though there will always be differences of opinion from time to time, we can at any rate come to general understandings, can love one another, and can enter the bonds of peace….”

    Perhaps those words seem mild today, but they inflamed not just Calvin but many others who understood how directly Castellio’s argument undermined the very basis of their political and religious power. Although nominally protected as a citizen of the free city of Basle, Castellio was forced from his university post, ostracized, and driven into poverty and sickness. His death in 1563 prevented Calvin from orchestrating his return to Geneva (Castellio had lived there and even worked alongside Calvin for a time) and trial. Still, Calvin’s followers dug up Castellio’s body, burned it on a bonfire, and scattered the ashes as a post-mortem retribution.”

    Nothing to see. As long as you approve of controlling tyrants and murderous despots.

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  97. Lowlandseer: This really is a case of “nothing to see here, please move on”

    Wow. It’s arguments like this that make me loathe Calvinism and the associated apologies for Calvin. The “nothing to see here” argument is grossly overused by Calvinists. They are not the only religious group who does this, but they have elevated it to a form of art.

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  98. TS00: Heresy is man’s invention, not God’s: a relative, not absolute concept: “When I reflect on what a heretic really is, I can find no other criterion than that we are all heretics in the eyes of those who do not share our views.”

    Great quote. According to the internet, every famous Christian is a heretic. But even before the internet, every major line of Christianity was considered heresy by at least one other major line.

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  99. TS00:
    SiteSeer,

    The chutzpah of Calvin was incomparable. He pronounced himself the one and only true shepherd, the savior of the stumbling church and chief architect of the kingdom of God – all offices that belong to Christ alone. I know this will not sit well with many, but I cannot imagine a greater antithesis to the humble, sacrificial servant-hood of Jesus than the arrogant, controlling tyranny of Calvin. You cannot get anymore anti-Christ than John Calvin. You cannot get anymore anti-gospel than Calvinism, turning ‘for God so loved the world he gave . . .’ into ‘God hated many, but he’s the big Kahuna, so shut up and deal with it.’

    So much this. Thank you.

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  100. Lowlandseer: This really is a case of “nothing to see here, please move on”

    It is a case of my not accepting him as the guardian of Christ’s headship or my or anyone else’s faith and seeing it as highly audacious that he presumed to do so. And further, if we are predestined to believe or not, what need is there for a guardian of ones faith? There are raving lunatics all around us in this world that have their religious ideas, who has given anyone the authority to kill them? Does God need protecting?

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  101. Fisher,

    Exactly. These pastors want to dictate the behavior of their parishioners, and use signing a covenant grants them the means to do it.

    A good shepherd feeds the sheep, he does not beat the sheep. These man are sheep beaters.

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  102. Ken F (aka Tweed): The “nothing to see here” argument is grossly overused by Calvinists.

    I suppose even Calvin’s first followers said something like that in Geneva … as dissenters were exiled from the city, imprisoned, tortured and executed. While Servetus burned at the stake, I can hear one of the faithful encouraging the crowd to move along “Nothing to see here.” Well, there’s a lot to see when any expression of Christianity drifts off course and those who see it need to speak into it, lest we all end up falling off the cliff.

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  103. Ken F (aka Tweed): even before the internet, every major line of Christianity was considered heresy by at least one other major line

    I heard someone say once that “Heresy is an overemphasis of a long-neglected truth” … pushing anything to the extreme can appear heretical, I suppose.

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  104. TS00,

    Great comment and historical background TSOO!

    It’s easy to see why our founding fathers took steps to ensure that religious despots will never accrue the kind of power they all covet.

    NOT ON THESE SHORES, NOT EVER!

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  105. Nick Bulbeck,

    Sorry – not sure what happened there, as I don’t remember hitting “Post Comment” – though I am listening to the podcast download of Mayo and Kermode’s Film Review, and it’s possible I hit “return” or something without thinking about it.

    Anyway, back to Siteseer’s rhetorical question.

    If my God is a myth of my own making, and one that I need to maintain in order to maintain my access to money, and/or sex, and/or power, then yes, it does need protecting.

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  106. TS00: It is a very frightful thing when a man is convinced, or seeks to convince others, that he is the voice of God and none dare disagree with anything he believes. I once had a pastor like that …

    I had one like that, too … briefly until I exercised my free will to get the heck out of there! When I questioned him once about his obvious distortion of a particular Scripture, he replied “You dare to question me?! I’ve been to seminary!” This fellow wasn’t a Calvinist … he was just otherwise arrogant, overly authoritative, and Biblically-illiterate about the subject at hand and he didn’t want to admit it. Church leaders are most dangerous when they rule without Truth.

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  107. SiteSeer: Does God need protecting?

    No, He’s big enough to take care of Himself! However, the Truth that He has left us with does need to be protected. Paul advised Timothy:

    “Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:14)

    The devil continues to hang out at church, attempting to get pulpit and pew off track … “Is that what God said?” Thus, believers need to read Scripture themselves, pray that the Holy Spirit will lead them to Truth, and be prepared to test the spirits around them which seek to preach/teach error. The teachings and traditions of mere men who dilute truth to support a pet theological interpretation have done the church much harm.

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  108. Max: “Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:14)

    How do good church-going believers get tripped up on aberrant belief and practice? (e.g, New Calvinism). They have grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit within them by the way they live … they can’t discern Truth from error.

    How do we fix this problem in the American church? …

    “IF MY PEOPLE, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN WILL I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

    The church is supposed to be in the world but not of it … but in far too many places it is in the world and of it! And, thus, far too easy to deceive. If we are going to activate the “THEN WILL I” of God and rid ourselves of that which is contrary to His will, we need to access Him through humility, prayer, repentance, and obedience. The problem is, I don’t see much movement in that direction within the organized church – we’re having too much fun one foot in the church and one foot in the world.

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  109. Lowlandseer: Off topic, a bit, but he’s back.

    https://theweeflea.com/2019/07/16/daddy-driscoll/

    ““I don’t hold with the five points of Calvinism – I think its garbage” (Mark Driscoll) … his disavowal of his previous theology and his bitter language, cause a great deal of personal distress and even doubt …”

    Looks like the unrepentant potty-mouth from Seattle is still struggling to reinvent himself. He’ll eventually come up with a new revelation, a new gimmick, and a new crowd to propel him to mega-status. The bunch which has put him back on the throne deserve him. Forgive him if he genuinely repents? Certainly! Restore him to ministry? NO!

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