What In The World Is Going On With Matt Chandler, The Village Church(SBC) and Abuse? Andy Landrum Accused of Abuse

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Westerlund 2: Hubble 25th anniversary

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” ― C. S. Lewis


I returned home very late two nights ago. I had an incredible time seeing places that I’ve read about I. Paul’s letters to the church. Once I get organized, I will start sharing pictures and thoughts. I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts and used to think it was wonderful that we had protected such historical landmarks as The House of the Seven Gables and the Witch House (where trials occurred.) However, on this trip, I encountered places that had thousands of years of history. It’s pretty amazing.

It appears it was also a busy time for news.

A truly amazing story is going to posted on Friday. The audio of a woman confronting her abuser was released on this blog a number of months ago. The outcome of this story is starting to be covered in national media.

Anna Keith does it again.

Anna texted me while I was in Greece telling my about a private meeting *just fo some members* that was about to take place at The Village Church, Fort Worth. She had obtained a private phone number to dial to listen in to the meeting. However, the word go out and the phone plan was ditched and only parents of kids at TVC’s Fort Worth Campus were invited to participate. She and I came to the conclusion that we had another abuse situation on our hands. I texted back “I’m sure it isn’t a meeting for Mrs Chandler to share her latest brownie recipe.”

Anna wrote YOUTH VOLUNTEER AT THE VILLAGE CHURCH CONFESSES TO SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS I asked permission to quote her post while adding some of my own observations.

She received this text from a person who attended the meeting.



So what happened?

According to Anna:

Andy Landrum is/was a volunteer in the youth ministry at TVC Fort Worth campus youth department for approximately 4 years. My source has informed me that her two children were directly involved in activities where Andy was a volunteer leader, particularly on Wednesday nights.  He also led a small group of junior high boys (approx ages 12-13), along with TVC staff member Neal Batman, who is the Student’s Minister at the Fort Worth Campus.

My source tells me that a concerning issue came up during a youth retreat in 2016. At this weekend retreat/sleepover at Landrum’s home, he spoke openly to the boys about his struggle with pornography and offered to be available to them if they wanted to talk to him, if they were experiencing the same struggles. What is interesting to note is that Landrum & Neal Batman were ROOMMATES, which is a living situation that is encouraged for singles at TVC. Also, the youth were told to turn off turn off their cellphones for the entire weekend, which my source’s sons found very odd.

Let’s spell this out.

  • Landrum had a pornography problem which he shared with some boys at the retreat.
  • Apparently, he wanted them to talk with him if they had some issues in this area.(Oh, great. Parents, find out what he said. I bet it was weird.)
  • This retreat was a sleepover and the 12-13 year old boys boys were not allowed to keep their cell phones turned on during the weekend.
  • Landrum roomed with Neal Batman, the youth leader.
  • He claimed that he had unspecified and egregious sin with an adult and a child who were NOT part of The Village Church.
  • He also claimed he tried to take pictures of the children and staff without their permission.

So, how did TVC respond?

They said that no child attending TVC was a victim. Now, how in the world do they know this? Is Matt Chandler that naive? Do they actually think that this molester had just two victims?…..No wait. What about all the pictures he took *without permission.* This is stupid talk for video voyeurism which is also a crime.

Here is where it gets interesting. According to Anna, only some people were informed of this matter.

It must also be noted that there are many youth events that are combined amongst the campuses, where Landrum could have had access to many kids from all TVC campuses. This meeting only took place at the Fort Worth campus and only the parents of the youth involved at activities at the FW campus were invited to the meeting.

Were there any more red flags?

Yes. Anna found a blog post written by Landrum in the same time period of this retreat.  In this post, Andy is so frustrated with his *problem* that he was planning on cutting out all media and certain food (I’m sure clean meat was excluded. Wouldn’t want to get Chandler upset) for the coming year.

Once again, how did those around him respond?

This sort of response is over the top. He was sending signals that things were very wrong. Red flags were being waved vigorously. Did anyone at TVC start asking questions? What about the church leaders? Don’t they supervise the staff? What about his roommate? Did anyone note his social media presence?

Are leaders in this church so self absorbed  that they didn’t notice this obvious cry for help? Doesn’t TVC have some sort of fancy biblical counseling department? Where were they in all of this?

How did Matt Chandler respond? Like you might expect.

So, was he present at the meeting with *some* of the parents? Instead, it looks like he was at a football game.

This, unfortunately, appears to be Chandler’s way of dealing with bad situations. His church is getting sued for another situation in which a child was molested at a summer camp and he had no time to give the family a call. Maybe he was just too busy with the clean meat enterprise? Is it true that he’s getting some good deals by being the exclusive provider of steaks to certain fine dining establishments?

I have begun to wonder why this church and Chandler is having problem after problem.

An immediate update: TVC statement amended to now say an individual from TVC was harmed!!!

So, I’m getting ready to hit the *post* button and saw these tweets by Anna Keith. Lo and behold, there is a victim at TVC who is called an *individual.* Child? Adult? Or was everyone at the football game and didn’t have time to check?

 

 


Matt Chandler and his dudebros seem singularly unable to properly handle reports of abuse.

  • First, they said there was no one from TVC involved as a victim. How stupid to make such a statement since molesters often have multiple victims.
  • There was a TVC victim mentioned in this current statement. This demonstrates TVC’s inability to understand the problem of sex abuse .That is why they put out an earlier statement that said no one from TVC was victimized..
  • I think they read Anna Keith’s post since they now bring up video voyeurism.
  • They also now admit that this molester was running around a whole bunch of churches so they are going to reach out and let them know. How thoughtful!
  • Why in the world is this victim at TVCFW being ministered to by the staff and pastors? This is a group of people who couldn’t read the red flags being waved by the molester. I hope the person who was hurt seeks out some real counseling.
  • Has Chandler returned from his football trip?
  • Note how this statement that this the hurt *individual* is being ministered to by the staff at TVCFW. Guess why? Matt Chandler is at the main campus and he is not going to be involved. Is this a scheme to protect the bossman? This appears to be a recurring strategy of Chandler and the gang.

A warning to parents of children/teens in any of TVC related activities

I would not leave any children in TVC’s programs unless a competent family member is present to keep them safe. Something doesn’t smell right here.


Comments

What In The World Is Going On With Matt Chandler, The Village Church(SBC) and Abuse? Andy Landrum Accused of Abuse — 120 Comments

  1. I believe Anna Keith, Watchkeep (Amy Smith) and others did a great service by raising the issue of the secret meeting last week, asking why the telephone conference was cancelled, and then asking from Sunday until now why The Village Church didn’t announce publicly it had another predator operating under its umbrella. And now it comes out that there was “one” individual who is a victim. I find that *very* hard to believe.

    If you are victim of Andy Landrum, or anyone else at TVC: go to the police. Don’t even go anywhere near the leadership. They handled the case of the woman sexually abused by staffer Matthew Tonne horribly, aided and abetted by TVC’s awful covenant. Again, if you’re in that situation, GO TO THE POLICE. Do not go to TVC, they do NOT have your best interests at heart. It’s all about protecting Matt Chandler and his empire.

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  2. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Agreed! What guarantee do we have that TVC would admit it if scores of victims came forth? After all, each victim only knows their own story. We don’t know how many victims there might be, and, gauging from TVC’s record, we likely never will.

    I think the possibility cannot be completely rejected that these institutions are deliberately hiring and covering for abusers. Is this, perhaps, one way abusive pastors get away with so much – by purposely employing people who have great incentive to not divulge inconvenient truths? Sort of an Epstein strategy? Just a question that might be worth considering as the body count continues to grow.

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  3. as well as with one individual who attends The Village Church Fort Worth.

    I just saw this in the link ishy left in the other thread. They make a big deal about him ‘self disclosing’ but either he didn’t mention the TVC ‘individual’ before the big meeting or they lied about it? What is the timeline here?

    And what prompted him to disclose?

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  4. Which is more important for a pastor: attending a college football game or leading a meeting about a child abuser in your church? There are just things a pastor should not delegate to others. While he was jumping and cheering for his team, I suspect there were church members weeping in that meeting. Instead of sackcloth and ashes, he was most likely wearing an A&M sweatshirt. Perhaps he thought sovereign God was in charge of the problem, so need to show up.

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  5. Max: Which is more important for a pastor: attending a college football game or leading a meeting about a child abuser in your church?

    I think this is a side question – they picked the time for the meeting and it didn’t have to be scheduled during a football game. Actually, that’s kind of rude anyways in texas. They should have had it wednesday (or whatever) night as planned.

    IOW, it’s not that Chandler had to pick and choose between football and this meeting, it’s that he flat didn’t want to go.

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  6. 1. EVERY youth and young adult pastor at that kind of church has a pornography problem that he’s open talking about, so you need to be too. I’d actually not read too much into his blog posts.

    2. You get it – a lot of word parsing in the statements. Big differences in sex crimes, consensual but unethical sex, and violations against only evangelical purity standards, unless you want to maintain the “all sin is equal” canard.

    3. Those are PRIMO tickets at Kyle Field. That section sells for hundreds of dollars a seat on the resale market if seats are available at all. But I’m sure Pastor Matt drove the “Gimpala” there.

    4. Standard MinistrySafe training includes the stat of the average molester has 150 victims before the first time getting caught. They know better.

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  7. TS00: I think the possibility cannot be completely rejected that these institutions are deliberately hiring and covering for abusers. Is this, perhaps, one way abusive pastors get away with so much – by purposely employing people who have great incentive to not divulge inconvenient truths?

    There’s one definite example of that–Highpoint. Chris Conlee said he knew all about it and hired Andy Savage anyway.

    Paige Patterson seems like a pretty certain example, since he repeatedly has defended Dustin Boles. Oh, and have you heard Paige Patterson’s new defense strategy? He says his right to ignore and even punish women reporting abuse was/is protected by the first amendment. Totally ridiculous.

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  8. Lea: I just saw this in the link ishy left in the other thread. They make a big deal about him ‘self disclosing’ but either he didn’t mention the TVC ‘individual’ before the big meeting or they lied about it? What is the timeline here?

    That is correct. It was in their own latest announcement at the top dated October 16th.

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  9. ishy: He says his right to ignore and even punish women reporting abuse was/is protected by the first amendment.

    What? Wow.

    I think people like Conlee just flat don’t think it’s a big deal. There seems to be a culture that taking advantage of the youth is no more than frowned upon and you’ll just have to shuffle off to another church. I’ll never forget that comment over at SBC Voices that basically said this was told to youth pastors! I think about it alot. [I also think conlee might be in the category of having come out of an abusive home and really not getting enough therapy about it iirc]

    Patterson is a whole nother level, though. Chandler is too, really. I think maybe he’s just a lightweight in general.

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  10. Lea: it’s not that Chandler had to pick and choose between football and this meeting, it’s that he flat didn’t want to go

    Yep, he didn’t want to go so he chose not to. These things are just too tacky, too beneath a lead pastor, you know. And the family is just too excited about going to the game.

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  11. Lea: Alternate thought, did the first meeting get cancelled because they found out about the Village church victim and realized they needed to revise their statements?

    As far as I know, the meeting itself wasn’t canceled, just the phone-in option. But I might be wrong about that.

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  12. Lea: I think people like Conlee just flat don’t think it’s a big deal. There seems to be a culture that taking advantage of the youth is no more than frowned upon and you’ll just have to shuffle off to another church. I’ll never forget that comment over at SBC Voices that basically said this was told to youth pastors!

    I’ve definitely seen a thread of argument from New Cals that “all men think really this way”. Which I believe is wholly untrue and is indicative of the type of men they attract. Goes back to our discussion yesterday that they are men who don’t like to be told “No.” for any reason and who think everything should about meeting their wants.

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  13. Stan: EVERY youth and young adult pastor at that kind of church has a pornography problem

    There is probably more truth to this than we want to believe. I repeat, the American church desperately needs to rethink its youth ministry model. Putting flesh-babies in charge of other flesh-babies is an accident waiting to happen. There’s so much more we need to be nurturing young believers in than shallow Bible studies, pizza parties, and movie outings. The Biblical model is a better approach: older believers mentoring young folks. It is true that sin knows no age boundaries, but mature Christians who walk the walk and talk the talk are a better gamble as youth leaders.

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  14. Max: These things are just too tacky, too beneath a lead pastor, you know.

    I’m of the opinion that he avoided it because it’s difficult and it requires sensitivity and other skills that he doesn’t have.

    I think Chandler is way over his head in his position honestly. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.

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  15. ishy: I’ve definitely seen a thread of argument from New Cals that “all men think really this way”.

    Which of course is stinkin’ thinkin’ to even think this! New Calvinism with cheap grace teaching like this will eventually lead to Tullian-type antinomianism.

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  16. Lea: I think Chandler is way over his head in his position honestly. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.

    “We’re just not experts in this … I was not trained in any of this.” (Matt Chandler)

    https://religionnews.com/2019/06/11/matt-chandler-megachurch-pastor-addresses-allegations-of-abuse-at-village-church-during-sbc-meeting/

    Chandler is like so many other “lead pastors” in the Acts 29 Network (which he heads). They only show up on Sunday mornings for a sermonette and delegate all other church matters to associate pastors/elders. This is not only a mega problem; I’ve seen it at small New Calvinist church plants in my area. The lead pastor is just too important and too busy to be bothered with pastoring; thus, he doesn’t know the heartbeat of his congregation nor who the bad-boys are. But he finds plenty of time to tweet his life away in the local coffee shop.

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  17. The whole “food thing” is weird also….. yes, gluttony is a problem… but there sure is allot focus on food and behavior and “Clean meat” preventing cancer weirdness at that place..

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  18. At the reception for my first ministry position a lady came up to my wife and I and said, “You must have a lot of faith to come here.”

    The life of a pastor & his family is an adventure.

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  19. Jeffrey Chalmers: The whole “food thing” is weird also

    Yes. Especially the way it was tied to morality. It’s not new, but it’s still a very specific kind of hokum, imo.

    [Also, whenever anybody starts talking about a detox I just want to send them a textbook about the purpose of your liver…]

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  20. Stan: 1. EVERY youth and young adult pastor at that kind of church has a pornography problem that he’s open talking about, so you need to be too. I’d actually not read too much into his blog posts.

    Will you please say more about this? Some churches define porn as a photo of two people holding hands, or the sales tag on a bra in a department store. That’s one extreme.

    The other extreme is obsession with the worst images the dark web offers.

    From what you have observed, are all youth pastors afraid to walk past the lingerie department at Walmart, or are they maladjusted and seeking access to minors?

    Please forgive me if these questions come across as unduly challenging. I’d really like to understand your point and your experience.

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  21. OP: I think they read Anna Keith’s post since they now bring up video voyeurism.

    I don’t necessarily agree with this particular teaching, but I’ve heard it taught that the reason God raised up Deborah as a woman judge in the book of Judges is because the men leaders were not doing a good enough job. It strikes me that there are some parallels with this version of the Deborah story and Anna and TVC.

    Personally, I like to think that both Anna and Deborah are recognized on their own merits.

    In either case, good for you, Anna. It is encouraging to see the new actions on the part of TVC, even if made under outside pressure.

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  22. “… I am going to eat meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, rice, beans, and anything else that is simple. Plus I am going to keep it all under 2500 calories …” (Andy Landrum)

    Not exactly a fasting diet, nor a sacrifice of the flesh. This is essentially the recommended diet and caloric intake for an adult man! I guess to a young American man, no pizza for a season would be torment. And this kid was put in charge of youngsters?!!

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  23. Max: Which is more important for a pastor: attending a college football game or leading a meeting about a child abuser in your church?

    This is an easy call. Football is more important, especially in Texas (Dee will attest to this from her time there). I’ve heard it said that Football is really the primary religion in Texas. You have to give Chandler a break, Alabama was in town.*

    *Sarcasm if you can’t tell.

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  24. Clean Meat. “Simple” season of repentance. Woo, woo and more woo.
    Yes, Texas worships at the gridiron. Heck, when I was growing up, I briefly spent a few years in Richardson, and my pastor was the team chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys. Sermons always ended on time so he could get to the stadium…

    Every Village may have an idiot, but TVC is abusing the notion.

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  25. This older item at SGM survivors might be continuingly relevant:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2018/03/22/a-theory-of-why-sovereign-grace-churches-seemed-to-side-with-perpetrators/

    Speculating freely, I wonder whether there might be a connection between the announcement that AL “self-disclosed” and the in-house counseling of the survivors. The “self-disclosure” might be interpreted to be — within the church context — evidence of repentance, which could permit those counseling the victims to advise them that Scripture commands them to forgive. Per the above-linked article, this is how SGM seems to dealt with at least some of its abuse cases; one wonders how far this “theological DNA” may have spread while CJM’s star was still ascendant.

    I’m so cynical; one hopes that there is no hint of this in the background, but, as I said, I’m very cynical.

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  26. “Note how this statement that this the hurt *individual* is being ministered to by the staff at TVCFW. Guess why? Matt Chandler is at the main campus and he is not going to be involved. Is this a scheme to protect the bossman? This appears to be a recurring strategy of Chandler and the gang.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    my overall impression: he simply can’t be bothered. it’s not important enough to him to be a priority.

    from observation, these are priorities:

    his side-businesses:
    –growing his Texas Craft Steaks of necessity takes time, energy and focus. it is impossible that this is not a high priority (especially since money is involved).

    his conference speaking schedule:
    –how many each year? of necessity, takes time, energy, and focus. and out of town travel.

    –his books. first of all, another christian book is the last thing the world needs. but writing a book of necessity takes time, energy, and focus. it is impossible that htis is not a high priority.

    –(but perhaps it was ghost-written and he’s just putting his name on it to generate money and branding for himself and others. it’s all a lie, of course, but perhaps a less demanding priority.)
    .
    .
    pleasure:
    –‘ministry cruises’ — a ridiculous notion to begin with. a pleasurefest, which i assume is not only all-expenses paid, but for which he also is generating a paycheck.

    –a long sabbatical — another ridiculous notion to begin with. amazing entitlement. but in the midst of sexual abuse in his church? truly astonishing.

    –football game vacation — ….in the midst of sexual abuse in his church. i’m still “all astonishment”.

    –curious how many vacations he takes each year

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  27. Lea,

    “Patterson is a whole nother level, though. Chandler is too, really. I think maybe he’s just a lightweight in general.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    i suspect Matt Chandler and his peers are operating under the following premise:

    pastor:
    –God’s most important person

    –the mantle of being God’s most important person is tiring. how very hard it is to show up to BBQs and picnics organized, prepared and cleaned up by others, when you’re God’s most important person.
    .
    –God’s most important person deserves celebrity, fame, special treatment, and the very generous paycheck and perks which should rightfully be afforded important people — for the sheer reason that they are important.
    .
    .
    actual work & selfless ministry are not part of the equation.

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  28. The following could be the mission statement of TWW
    “What does the Lord more urgently command us? If we do what the Lord commands, we behave properly, and must without partiality[ 135] expose the frightful vices that are in vogue among the clergy and the people, which many will regret,[ 136] most of all those who need a sharper rebuke. But we must reprimand and cannot do other than to bring reprehensible vices into the daylight.”
    (Johannes Oecolampadius, Sermons on the First Epistle of John, Basel, June 1524)

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  29. Magistos: my pastor was the team chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys. Sermons always ended on time so he could get to the stadium…

    Darrin Patrick, previous Vice President of Acts 29, was chaplain for the St. Louis Cardinals … both positions he forfeited due to moral failure. These New Calvinists just don’t get it.

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  30. elastigirl: –God’s most important person deserves celebrity, fame, special treatment, and the very generous paycheck and perks which should rightfully be afforded important people — for the sheer reason that they are important.

    If The Village Church members were smart, they would start calling for Matt Chandler’s resignation just like the members of Harvest called for JMac’s resignation.

    Repeated issues of molestation is bad enough, but he doesn’t even have the guts to show up and deal with them himself. But he’s real happy to show up to anything where he can sell stuff!

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  31. elastigirl: his side-businesses:
    –growing his Texas Craft Steaks of necessity takes time, energy and focus. it is impossible that this is not a high priority (especially since money is involved).

    Channeling Steve Taylor,
    “And you’ll only eat steaks
    If they come from a CHRISTIAN cow”?

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  32. Jeffrey Chalmers: The whole “food thing” is weird also….. yes, gluttony is a problem… but there sure is allot focus on food and behavior and “Clean meat” preventing cancer weirdness at that place..

    Have you ever heard of “Gluttony of Delicacy”, where the gluttony is in just-so fussy preparation? Or “Orthorexia”, a Gluttony of Delicacy where the gluttony is in NOT eating Incorrectly (determined by Ideology)?

    (I vaguely remember one of the Screwtape Letters going into Gluttony of Delicacy, using the example of an old woman on an incredibly-fussy diet.)

    Gluttons of Delicacy are just as much Gluttons as Baron Harkonnen or Mr Creosote, an Appetite animating a body. What they eat (or do NOT eat) is in complete control of the meat puppet.

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  33. (from the post) “Also, the youth were told to turn off turn off their cellphones for the entire weekend, which my source’s sons found very odd.”

    Just want to comment, as a parent of my 3rd teenager, that I don’t find that unusual and appreciate when leaders (or other parents) request! The teens are entirely too glued to their cell phones; at our church they’ve had to collect them during MS Sunday school class due to the distraction…
    My daughter goes a week each summer at horse camp w/o her cell phone, and I think she is starting to understand the value of decompressing, also.

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  34. readingalong,

    Andy Landrum admitted to at least molestation. A predator was telling teenage boys about his porn problem that weekend while the kids were told to turn off the phones. He was trying to groom them that weekend.

    In this case, being told to keep your phone off was a way to control and corner the teenage boys.

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  35. readingalong: teens are entirely too glued to their cell phones; at our church they’ve had to collect them during MS Sunday school class due to the distraction…

    Our denomination’s established summer camp has long been described as a break from media. This gives kids a chance to develop self-reliance and new friendships during 4-7 days away from home. Campers absolutely can make emergency calls.

    This is a decades-old campsite with its own personnel. It’s not a place a congregation can rent and staff, perhaps giving the congregation’s opportunists access to youngsters. Of course, no place is guaranteed completely safe.

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  36. Lea: I mean, I’m on board with Chandler being simply lazy and also incompetent at the actual work of dealing with people.

    How then pray tell, are said fops and dandies able to exert such sway over otherwise intelligent and goodly folk?
    It’s a fair and honest question, how do they do it?

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  37. My church stopped doing sleep-overs several years ago. They were always at the church (the big AWANA before-summer event), and from everything I could tell sufficiently and appropriately staffed, but after some issues at some other churches, they just decided that they were too big a liability. Our kids go to camp as a group, a camp that also has its own staff as mentioned in a previous campus. Our youth staff don’t have kids in their homes unless it is an officially sponsored activity, like a progressive dinner. In other words, no one-on-ones with minors unless it’s in a small group, and an official activity. Nothing is foolproof (I wish it was), but churches in general need to tighten their “hangout” polices when minors are involved, and check in with their staff when there are any warning signs of instability. I have a feeling that TVC may be too big to know how to monitor its staff, which means this will probably happen again.

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  38. Samuel Conner: which could permit those counseling the victims to advise them that Scripture commands them to forgive.

    Unfortunately, this is prevalent in a lot of evangelical churches, and the entire biblical counseling scenario. This is why I do not trust most churches to deal properly with abuse. If it has been ‘repented of’ and ‘forgiven’ they consider it a moot issue, move along, nothing to see here.

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  39. Muff Potter: How then pray tell, are said fops and dandies able to exert such sway over otherwise intelligent and goodly folk?
    It’s a fair and honest question, how do they do it?

    It seems that Chandler isn’t really a pastor —- he’s no more than just an overpaid guest speaker.

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  40. “It’s a fair and honest question, how do they do it?”

    Muff, Are you asking me?

    I honestly think with this giant church model, centered around a pastor who generally hasn’t passed seminary, and is often not under an established church or denomination system, full of guys like chandler and the gateway dude…They feel like motivational speakers, tony robins types. They use whatever charisma they may have (not that I necessarily see it, someone must) and they frame it as religion. They became a church.

    It’s an odd fit when it comes to traditional church stuff, and we see the outcomes here. (which is not to say some of the trained folks are better at what they should be doing, look at patterson)

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  41. Folks here might be interest in Wednesday’s blog post “Is Enlightenment Compatible With Sex Scandals” over at Slate Star Codex. While almost entirely about Buddhism in America, the issues raised are similar.

    The discussion groups are very different, so the discussion thread is unlike what would be seen here. Yet I see overlap between the kinds of points made, if not the vocabulary with which they are made.

    https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/10/16/is-enlightenment-compatible-with-sex-scandals/

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  42. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): It seems that <> isn’t really a pastor —- he’s no more than just an overpaid guest speaker.

    Almost anyone who oversees a congregation that is too big for him (or, much more rarely, her) to know everyone personally fits this bill. They’re just motivational speakers.

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  43. It’s tempting to blame the CEO, Senior Pastor, or other organizational leader when a low-level employee engages in some kind of egregious behavior. Reasonable people can disagree on what degree of responsibility a leader of a large org’n has for the conduct of every employee under them.

    Sometimes the degree of culpability is very high, if it turns out the leader was modeling and reinforcing a culture of bad behavior thru his own character and direct actions, like personally hiring terrible people into his org’n. Other times it’s pretty unreasonable to think the leader can know about every employee’s character and nefarious activities, especially if there is no prior history and a skilled coverup of the behavior by someone who’s learned to live a double life to function in respectable society.

    I don’t know where on this spectrum to place Matt Chandler, but his failure to personally show up when the church is attempting to comfort and help its victims, and inform the church as to how the situation is being handled, which is the case now with two pedophile staff members, is completely egregious and baffling.

    Whatever Matt Chandler’s faults, he’s not in the James MacDonald category. How he could not show up to demonstrate the church’s support for the victims and their families (whether they are members of his church or not), and to indicate strong action to counter future abuse, seems incredibly stupid as well as insensitive, and Chandler is not a stupid man. Insensitive? Maybe that’s what we’re seeing, I don’t know.

    I do know that even the most cynical, secular CEO who cared only for his position and his bottom line would show up to handle these situations personally, if only to decrease the very real chance of his firm being sued for millions, and losing, in a tort action. Juries are composed of ordinary folks, and when the privileged head honcho demonstrates (in their minds) an arrogant disdain for the “little people” who’ve been hurt by his organization by failing to show personal concern, you can hear the cash register ringing up the millions in punitive damages that said jury will award to the plaintiff. And once the firm loses in court bigtime, the board usually fires the CEO for cause, if only to clean the slate in the public mind, going forward.

    What if someone became gravely ill from eating Chandler’s beef, say, from E. Coli contamination — I have to believe he would be all over that situation to save his reputation, his company, and his assets.

    Does Chandler’s theology or conservative politics have anything to do with this? Often the right is sick of the victimhood mentality of the left, for good reason, and therefore reacts badly when very real cases of abuse need to be handled proactively and humanely.

    I really have no idea, but inquiring minds need to know, especially those of his church. For me, it’s just a puzzle to solve; I’m not demanding answers myself, I’m just an onlooker; but his church should be asking a lot of questions of its leadership and getting straight answers.

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  44. Codon,

    “How he could not show up to demonstrate the church’s support for the victims and their families (whether they are members of his church or not), and to indicate strong action to counter future abuse, seems incredibly stupid as well as insensitive, and Chandler is not a stupid man. Insensitive? Maybe that’s what we’re seeing, I don’t know.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    well, church culture causes intelligent, educated, and successful people to lose touch with the common sense they would normally operate by.

    (at least that’s one of my explanations for SGM)

    it’s the influence of the God/fear/power/money cocktail everyone drinks.

    everyone replaces common sense with ‘biblical’. which results in the nuttiest, stupidest, cruel and dangerous things.

    in addition, leaders under the influence start to become quite inebriated with entitlement.

    is matt chandler stupid? insensitive? maybe.

    matt chandler is full of entitlement.

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  45. Codon: Whatever Matt Chandler’s faults, he’s not in the James MacDonald category.

    You missed the point. My post wasn’t to put them in the same category, but the members of their churches. Both HBC and TVC are authoritarian and exert strict control over members. Both do not allow members to have any level of decision-making ability. Both have elder boards that were made to be yes-men to the lead pastor.

    And yet, the members at HBC got so angry about what James Macdonald was doing and who he really is that they pressured and pressured the elders until they removed Macdonald. If HBC can do it, TVC can too. Matt Chandler continues to show that he is not capable of the position in which he put himself. He can’t even live up to the standards he holds for his members.

    And these churches under 9 Marks, of which TVC is supposedly the flagship church, are not “doing church right” by not allowing members any input. Their ideology is an utter failure. Members shouldn’t allow these mere men the kind of control they believe they should have.

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  46. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): It seems that Chandler isn’t really a pastor —- he’s no more than just an overpaid guest speaker.

    New Calvinist “lead pastors” as a group don’t pastor well, IMO. There is a gob of them at SBC church plants in my area. They are all cut from the same cloth … arrogant, elitist, distant, delegate pastoral duties to elders, don’t know the pew and don’t seem to care about them.

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  47. ishy: Both HBC and TVC are authoritarian and exert strict control over members.

    Both MacDonald and Chandler have been known to rant and rave in the pulpit, yelling at their congregations. I continue to be amazed that folks actually follow them … the MacDonaldites would put him back in the pulpit in a minute … the Chandlerites keep coming back for more.

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  48. Max: New Calvinist “lead pastors” as a group don’t pastor well, IMO.There is a gob of them at SBC church plants in my area.They are all cut from the same cloth … arrogant, elitist, distant, delegate pastoral duties to elders, don’t know the pew and don’t seem to care about them.

    I’ve found this to be quite a troubling week. It started off when Tim Challies posted one of his “flashback” moments from a year ago entitled “The Pastor’s Job Isn’t to FixThings”. The article itself was good as he contrasted the differences between fixing and healing but the title has stuck in my mind as being symptomatic of what many of these New Calvinists believe – he’s not here to fix things. As it happens, I’m finishing off reading through Zechariah and what I was reading about shepherds mirrored the actions and statements of the YRR crowd. The problem with that, of course, is that the Lord’s word to Zechariah about sheep was a judgment on the people for rejecting Him. Maybe the evangelical church in its present form is such a judgment, highlighting all the things a real, true pastor shouldn’t do.

    “Zechariah 11:15–17 (The Message): God then said, “Dress up like a stupid shepherd. I’m going to install just such a shepherd in this land—a shepherd indifferent to victims, who ignores the lost, abandons the injured, and disdains decent citizens. He’ll only be in it for what he can get out of it, using and abusing any and all.
    17  “Doom to you, useless shepherd,
    walking off and leaving the sheep!”

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  49. Lowlandseer: I’m finishing off reading through Zechariah and what I was reading about shepherds mirrored the actions and statements of the YRR crowd. The problem with that, of course, is that the Lord’s word to Zechariah about sheep was a judgment on the people for rejecting Him. Maybe the evangelical church in its present form is such a judgment

    Such an argument can certainly be made for certain corners of the American church. God has given it what it wants. The ails of seeker-friendly megapolis and the cheap grace teaching of New Calvinism falls at the feet of the sheep who are just as guilty as their shepherds for being off-track. This is what they want! Zechariah’s prophecy is appropriate for much of the 21st century church. Isaiah also speaks to this:

    “You must not prophesy to us what is right! Speak to us pleasant things and smooth words, prophesy deceitful illusions that we will enjoy.” (Isaiah 30:10)

    New Calvinism claims orthodoxy, but is just as guilty as seeker-friendly, for putting self on the throne.

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  50. Lea: ishy: Matt Chandler continues to show that he is not capable of the position in which he put himself.

    This is it.

    If you can stomach it, John Piper’s YouTube interview with Matt Chandler about his “calling” into ministry is very enlightening. Chandler certainly put himself in the pulpit.

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  51. Lowlandseer,

    Max,

    This has been my “working hypothesis” for a number of years, that what is billed as “success” in current church trends might actually be a manifestation of Romans 1 “wrath of God” working itself out in specifically church-like ways in present-day church contexts. Wrath came against Old Israel at various junctures in history; do we really think this doesn’t happen to present-day groups that regard themselves to be “the people of God?”

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  52. Samuel Conner: Wrath came against Old Israel at various junctures in history; do we really think this doesn’t happen to present-day groups that regard themselves to be “the people of God?”

    Make no mistake about it, “the people of God” are steering the American pulpit. There would be no stages for charlatans to strut on if they didn’t have audiences cheering them on = mega church and aberrant faith of various flavors.

    “So He gave them their demands but sent them leanness in their souls” (Psalm 106:15).

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  53. drstevej: Coach Satan is a big draw.

    Now, now. Don’t you go dissing our Saint Nick.

    Seriously…of course Chandler should have been at that meeting rather than at the game. I totally agree. Dereliction of duty, big-time.

    OTOH…Roll Tide!

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  54. Max: If you can stomach it, John Piper’s YouTube interview with Matt Chandler about his “calling” into ministry is very enlightening. Chandler certainly put himself in the pulpit.

    No, I cannot stomach Piper or his cronies.
    I’ll take your word for it Max, these guys are alpha-male tribal chieftains whose power derives from violence, whether done to the Scriptures themselves, or to the people they enslave.

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  55. Max,

    “Both MacDonald and Chandler have been known to rant and rave in the pulpit, yelling at their congregations. I continue to be amazed that folks actually follow them”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    why going to church means voluntarily taking ‘stupid pills’ is beyond me.

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  56. elastigirl: why going to church means voluntarily taking ‘stupid pills’ is beyond me

    As Al Mohler would say “Where else are they going to go?” … to which I shout in reply “NOWHERE!” You don’t have to go to church to be the Church.

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  57. “As Al Mohler would say “Where else are they going to go?””
    ++++++++++++

    ha…. hopping on their bicycles and off to the best breakfast place in town for a morning of leisurely quality time spent with loved ones.

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  58. Chandler and MacDonald are long-time friends. Chandler used to talk about what a good friend he was with Mark Driscoll. I was sitting in the crowd about 3 years ago when he was hawking a book by “his friend” CJ Mahaney.

    Why would we think he is different?

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  59. I am curious as to what you would like to see. It seems to me that there is a culture of confession at The Village and, in that, someone confessed to their sin. Since their sin was a crime, they immediately reported it to authorities and to all current and former campuses. Additionally, The Village is currently rolling off all campuses to autonomous churches, so each campus has their own elders and campus pastors. In this case, since the perpetrator was a member of the Ft Worth campus, the Ft Worth campus elders and pastors held a meeting.

    I am just not seeing much that was done incorrectly here. Obviously, we can pick apart every move they made, but I think it’s important to acknowledge when things are done well.

    We all know that perpetrators prey on churches as they can use the gospel to lure in victims. I am grateful The Village immediately reported it when they found out about it.

    Your FAQ states:

    “ Men and women are sinners. As such, they will cause pain and conflict within the life of the church. The Bible shows the story of man in all of his/her glory, sadness and pain. However, the Bible offers us redemption and hope through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we deal with issues in the church, we will also offer hope, along with potential solutions.”

    It seems to me that you understand that we are all sinners in need of Jesus, but then you hold churches (in this case The Village) to an unattainable standard. It seems to me like any approach they take, you would rip it apart.

    What could they have done to satisfy you? And then, if they did exactly what you want, do you think all other bloggers would agree or would another blog rip that apart too? If so, what is the “potential solution” (as you’ve stated in your FAQ that you provide)?

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  60. Lea: Chandler is probably as mean as the rest of the company he keeps, then, just better at looking nice.

    One doesn’t get Mark Driscoll’s old job as Acts 29 President without a bit of a dudebro, macho man, mean-streak in him. Acts 29 followers seem to prefer “pastors” who manipulate, intimidate, and dominate them. It’s a strange set-up for something called “church.”

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  61. ION: Sport

    Quick update from the Rugby world cup in Japan. Where the host nation’s fine campaign, which saw them restrict a strong South African side to 5-3 at the interval, has ended a little abruptly to a dominant second-half display by the Springboks (South Africa 26-3 ahead with just a few minutes left to play. However, the tournament overall reflects nothing but credit on Japanese rugby. The team have produced some fine displays on the pitch, and the crowds and atmosphere off it (or next to it) have been outstanding, especially in the face of a major typhoon hitting the country.

    South Africa go on to face Wales, who made it through with a late try against France; the French were superb as only the French can be in the first half, and terrible as only the French can be in the second. South Africa v Wales could go either way… the other semi is between England (convincing winners over Australia) and the All Blacks (even more convincing winners over Ireland). New Zealand are peaking at just the right time, and when the All Blacks peak they win. It’s a bit like coming up against an in-form Rafa on clay, or a fully-fit Usain Bolt. Both semi-finals are next weekend. Probably a New Zealand / South Africa final.

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  62. Kim,

    If everything was handled so well, why is your church being sued by a victim who hired two well known Christian attorneys? One of them, Boz Tchividjian, founded a group called GRACE in order address the problems os sex abuse in the Christian church. Mitch Little was involved with victims of the mess at Willow Creek

    If everything is copacetic, then why are a number of advocates expressing concern over the matter? To add to that, why is TVC beginning to see some concerns expressed regarding their rather weird *counseling* program?

    It is no surprise to me that he is spining off the satellites. There appears to be, IMO, some serious leadership issues that have found their way into the DNA of all of the satellites. I suspect that there are going to be more and more revelations of problems in the near future. The spin off is one way for Chandler and BFFs to have plausible deniability.

    In the meantime, you have a lead pastor who can’t pick up a phone to call a victim (see the lawsuit) and her family for months and months. Guess he’s a bit too busy working on more important things. He spends time buying a business and pushing *clean steak* (which, by the way, has raised a few eyebrows and elicited some laughs from those in the medical community. Before you blow, my daughter had a malignant brain tumor and was operated on at Dallas Childrens.)

    There was a serious meeting about abuse at TVCFW and it appears Chandler decided to go to a football game. He lacks even a smidgen of empathy. The optics were terrible.

    So you want hope? Here’s some for you. I hope that Chandler steps down and spends time on what he really likes-the meat business and football.

    If he doesn’t, I hope you enjoy attending a church which has a pastor who has so many irons in the fire that he comes off as a podcast with legs.

    TVC has a problem and I’m convinced it is centered in Matt Chandler’s leadership. I suggest you find a church in which the pastor knows your name and spends his time and energy being a true shepherd. It’s time for people to stop running around thinking they’ve found *the real deal* because the church is so large and growing larger and the pastor is *well known* so it must be a stellar church.

    But then again, after having lived in Dallas for 10 years (and now finally home in Raleigh), I know the culture there loves the glitz, the size and the fame. Everyone gets so excited because a famous football player is present and that is proof positive thatit must be a really, really cool church.

    It is not. You have some weird stuff going on there. (Can I mention the Karen Hinckley story?)

    I wish that folks like you would take a deep breath and think. Why in the world are people upset at your church? Are they all stupid and not *real* Christians? Is this just an attack of Satan on your obviously incredibly huge church which means that God is super pleased with you? Or is it something more?

    You are smart. I bet you can figure it out on your own.

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  63. Kim: I am curious as to what you would like to see. It seems to me that there is a culture of confession at The Village and, in that, someone confessed to their sin. Since their sin was a crime, they immediately reported it to authorities and to all current and former campuses.

    Here are two unanswered questions I have about this sequence of events.

    1. What prompted said confession? Was this person about to get caught, had already gotten caught? We know nothing about this.

    2. Why did they confidently announce that NO ONE at the village church had been harmed and later reverse it, if his initial confession was both true and included all information? Because this seems to have been a midway reverse and that sounds suspicious to me. Furthermore, they should never have said no one was harmed at TVC if they did not know, which they couldn’t have done prior to announcing as it is likely more victims will be found.

    On the move to autonomous campuses, I think thats a good idea, but Chandler has not impressed in any of the multiple previous issues of this nature they’ve had, nor was he seemingly actively involved. I’m not impressed.

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  64. dee: obviously incredibly huge church which means that God is super pleased with you?

    Bigger is not always better. Mega does not necessarily mean blessed. Was God pleased with Mars Hill, Willow Creek, Harvest Bible Chapel? Any man with a touch of charisma, gift of gab, working knowledge of the Bible, and a gimmick or two can grow a church without God’s presence.

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  65. dee: TVC has a problem and I’m convinced it is centered in Matt Chandler’s leadership.

    Accountability floats up. After a while, every organization takes on the personality of its leader. Acts 29 has spawned a lot of ministers and ministries which operate on the fringe of Christianity, with problems waiting to happen. TWW has covered many of them.

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  66. ishy,

    Hi Ishy, I actually wasn’t responding to your post, I didn’t read most of the existing posts, including yours, before I wrote my own. Sorry I literally did not get your point! I gather you made reference to James MacDonald as well. When I did so, it was pure coincidence, or maybe great minds think alike. In any case, I read your reply to my post, and agree very much with your points about the memberships of both churches and the authoritarian way that both churches have been run (as far as I can tell, not having visited either one).

    All I really meant in referring to MacDonald is that Chandler hasn’t tried to hire hit men or pointed loaded guns at people (as far as we know, anyway!). Seems like Chandler is making the kind of mistakes that young, zealous, Neo-Calvinist guys who think their theology solves all the problems of the real world, that such guys would make.

    MacDonald is genuinely unhinged, to the point where it would be wise to do a CAT scan of his brain, maybe he has a slow-growing brain tumor that’s causing him to go off the rails, like that guy who shot a bunch of random people from the tower at the U of Texas in the 1960s. But probably he’s just a really bad guy who fooled a lot of people for a long time because he had the “right” theology.

    Cheers, Codon

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  67. Codon: Seems like Chandler is making the kind of mistakes that young, zealous, Neo-Calvinist guys who think their theology solves all the problems of the real world, that such guys would make.

    The New Calvinists sincerely believe that they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the gospel that the church has lost (Gospel = Calvinism to them). For the last 500 years, 90+% of Christendom have rejected the tenets of reformed theology; thus, the new reformers must feel special being in such a minority, surely they alone must be the elect. That attitude provides an atmosphere of arrogant stinkin’ thinkin’ as typified by Chandler and the other New Calvinist elites.

    Codon: MacDonald is genuinely unhinged … probably he’s just a really bad guy who fooled a lot of people for a long time because he had the “right” theology

    There have been several really bad New Calvinists with the “right” theology (Driscoll, Tullian, etc.). They were so right, they somehow justified their wrongs.

    New Calvinist belief and practice, if left to itself, will evolve into antinomianism within a generation … with “grace” releasing them from the obligation of moral law.

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  68. RC Sproul Jr and Child Abuse Allegations

    RC Sproul Jr began his pastoral career when he moved to Meadowview, Virginia in 1996. There he founded The Highlands Study Center. Around the same time he also founded St. Peter Presbyterian Church. It all started as a study group in his home. The functions and activities of St. Peter and HSC were so intertwined it was difficult for anyone to determine where the one ended and the other began. This was also true of the finances, the two being routinely co-mingled, ultimately winding up in Sproul’s back pocket. It’s been alleged by some that because there was seldom any actual “study” or “students” at The Highlands Study Center (one of the few “student” exceptions being the serial pedophile Steven Sitler¹) the primary purpose of HSC was as a fundraising boondoggle for RC Jr. Indeed, Sproul profited handsomely off donations to HSC, and mostly just because of his name, or rather his father’s name.

    While pastoring St. Peter Presbyterian Church and heading up The Highlands Study Center (subsequently renamed Highlands Ministries), RC Sproul Jr was an advocate and proponent of the “infant training” methods taught by Gary Ezzo.

    On Becoming Babywise: More Than a Survival Guide, was published in 1993. Baby Wise gained popularity among authoritarian “full-quiver” homeschooling Christian Patriarchy leaders such as Bill Gothard, Michael Pearl, Doug Phillips, and RC Sproul Jr. Outside those circles, however, Gary Ezzo was widely condemned, especially among pediatricians and other baby experts.
    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned against the book, stating that its advice could result in infant development problems such as dehydration, poor weight gain, slow growth, delayed development and failure to thrive, as well as lack of milk supply in the new mother and involuntary weaning of the infant. The Babywise series of books was observed to be in direct contradiction to the AAP’s own policy statement, ‘Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk,’ which recommends 8–12 nursing sessions every 24 hours for newborns, feeding until the baby is sated. (On Becoming Baby Wise)
    Gary Ezzo had no training in pediatrics, infant care, nursing, health care, or did he ever work in any capacity that could qualify him as having any baby expertise of any kind. Gary Ezzo is, however, a graduate of Talbot Theological Seminary. He subsequently worked on staff at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, holding the position of “Pastor, Family Ministries” (1985-1993) and taught a Sunday school class for parents. Gary and his wife Anne Marie published several papers and books on parenting which initially received official support from GCC. The Ezzos soon began condemning mothers for comforting their children, babies “controlling their own feeding schedule,” and mothers using baby sling carriers. The Ezzo’s teachings had caused such a rift in the church that by 1997 GCC reversed their position and banned the books. John MacArthur and the elders of Grace Community Church owned their mistake and repented to their congregation. A number of other prominent Christian leaders have likewise renounced Gary Ezzo. However, RC Sproul Jr never did renounce Ezzo’s Baby Wise teachings.

    As everyone who has ever had a baby knows, babies are a joy, but they can also prove quite inconvenient. For one thing babies can cost parents, and especially moms, lost sleep. The objective of Baby Wise is to eliminate those inconveniences and give parents a restful night’s sleep. The program promises to have baby sleeping through the night within 8 weeks. Baby Wise also promised to keep babies “well-behaved” when out in public. Conditioning the baby in this way promises that as they grow into a toddler, an adolescent, and then a teenager, the child will remain docile, compliant and obedient. Given the challenges and difficult schedules of tending to little ones it’s no wonder that what Gary Ezzo promised might be appealing to certain parents, especially those obsessed with control. However, the “training” comes at the emotional and psychological expense of the child. It’s all about control through breaking the will of the child. In their view any form of willfulness is sinfulness.

    Baby Wise ignores the fact that a baby’s physical and emotional needs (eating, sleeping, diaper changes, comforting, etc.) often don’t coincide with their parents’ personal convenience. A developing child’s sense of security comes from their parents. If the parents refuse to provide reassurance of security then that child is left with none.

    There are multiple troubling aspects to Baby Wise, but two of the more disturbing are called “blanket training” and “self-comfort.” Many critics of Baby Wise have characterized it as child abuse dressed up in religious rhetoric. What follows is the eye-witness account of how blanket training and self-comfort was carried out in RC Sproul Jr’s home:
    Ghirard Says:
    December 30, 2013 at 11:08 am
    We were there in the early years of St. Peter Presbyterian Church. RC would sometimes invite families to his home for a meal, not so much for the regular folks, but if you were big donors to the church and Highlands Study Center like we were. We saw at least three horrible things that night. The first was the “blanket training”. We’d never seen anything like it before and hope to never have to see it again. It involved RC placing his baby girl on a blanket and every time the baby crawled off the blanket RC would hit the baby with a wooden spoon. This happened repeatedly while we were in the living room with RC while Denise was in the kitchen making supper. All the baby was trying to do was get close to her siblings playing there in the living room. But RC just kept hitting her. RC explained that he was “breaking the will of the child.” He got his goal because the baby got exhausted from her own crying and fell asleep on the blanket. Not once did he ever comfort her after he hit her. He called it “self comforting” and explained that you shouldn’t comfort a crying child because children are manipulative and if you comfort them they’ll get the idea that they’re in charge.

    The baby woke up about the same time as Denise called us to supper. RC laid the baby on her back on the blanket and put one of those baby gym entertainment things there over the baby for her to play with. While we were all at the dinner table the baby started screaming. Denise tried to go and comfort the baby but RC sternly told her, “Sit down Denise”. The baby screamed and screamed for the longest time. It was awful to have to listen to. Finally RC got up to check on the baby. He was very angry. Then we heard him say, “Oh, I see what’s wrong.” He came back and explained that the baby gym had fallen over onto her face and she couldn’t get it off her. The screams had been screams of terror, cries for help, but RC ignored them and stopped Denise from helping.

    I don’t know what to call it but child abuse. He never comforted the baby and he wouldn’t allow Denise to either. Most people would look at the Sproul children and say, oh they’re so well behaved. If the only goal of blanket training and refusing to comfort your children is to get them to behave themselves then RC has done a great job as a father. I can’t believe that his children feel that their father loves them though. I’ve often thought about the severe psychological problems his children must suffer from today.
    Ghirard’s comment is backed up by an additional eye witness account from Lindt. In addition to the blanket training Ghirard and Lindt also speak of RC Sproul Jr spanking his first wife, Denise. This article will only address the blanket training (the wife spanking was previously addressed in an article by Spiritual Sounding Board. We may also address the wife spanking issue in a future article, but readers are welcome to comment on it themselves below).

    Blanket training is sometimes called “playpen in a purse.” In other words the “playpen” is a small blanket that mom can carry in her purse when she takes baby out in public. There are varying degrees of severity used to enforce the “boundaries” of the “playpen.” Some of them are downright loony, but in our opinion it’s all child abuse. It starts with placing baby on a small blanket on the floor, verbally threatening baby while hitting the floor with a wooden kitchen spoon and yelling, “Stay on the blanket!” This communicates baby’s “boundaries.” After initial success in blanket training your baby you take it to the next level by tempting baby off the blanket with a treat or toy. When baby crawls for the toy you yell “No!” Threats, yelling and tempting is the tamer version of blanket training. With RC Jr and many other practitioners of blanket training they go immediately to smacking baby with the wooden kitchen spoon when baby crawls off the blanket.

    Baby Wise also teaches “self-comfort.” What this entails is anytime baby cries you don’t pick baby up and comfort it. You just let baby cry and cry until it stops crying, usually falling asleep from exhaustion. You do the same if baby wakes up in the middle of the night crying, whether it be from hunger, needing a diaper change, or otherwise. You just ignore baby and let baby cry themselves back to sleep. “Self-comfort” wasn’t invented by RC Jr but he was one of its Baby Wise practitioners. Self-comfort has also been routinely practiced by many other Gary Ezzo devotees.

    On a purely practical level the blanket training and self-comfort “worked” for RC Sproul Jr. Any casual observer would look at RC Jr’s children and see they were “good kids.” Always well behaved, quiet, obedient and submissive. He was proud about how his well-behaved children made him look good in public. When other parents would comment and ask what he’d done to train them to be so well-behaved he’d let them know about Baby Wise. But all that “training” came at the expense of having their wills broken from the time they were babies. It’s hard to imagine that any baby subjected to such emotional and physical abuse wouldn’t be deeply traumatized by it.

    In our view blanket training and self-comfort are, plainly put, child abuse. RC Sproul Jr has never repented to his children for physically and psychologically abusing them. Nor has RC Jr repented to the parents whom he instructed and encouraged, both in word and by his example, to likewise perpetrate blanket training and self-comfort against their own babies. It stands to reason that RC Jr hasn’t repented of it because he has no remorse for it. That assumption seems all the more valid in light of recent allegations that RC Jr continues abusing his children.

    In March of this year RC Sproul Jr and wife Lisa Sproul were publicly accused by Lisa’s daughter of physical, verbal and emotional abuse against Sproul’s three minor children:
    Sarah Michelle Kelley “I am Lisa’s second oldest daughter. They are currently under investigation with the Department of Child Services as well right now… trust me- there will be legal action… They are very physically abusive, and even more verbally/emotionally abusive. We have encouraged as many people as possible to please call the child abuse hotline , and we will not stop until alI 3 children in the home are gone. * this is all coming from them, and we are their voices”
    Sarah Kelley is the same daughter that also outed RC Jr for taking her mother’s opioids, allegedly popping some the same night that he’d been arrested for drunk driving. He blew a .175 on the breathalyzer (more than twice the legal limit). But for a chronic daily abuser of alcohol like Sproul, even this high level doesn’t account for the magnitude of his inebriated condition, as described in the police report. It seemed as though he was far more drunk than a .175 BAC would account for. Had the police drawn blood and checked for drugs they would have discovered that RC Sproul Jr wasn’t merely drunk, he was also stoned on opioids.

    In addition to the current allegations of child abuse going on in the Sproul home, RC Jr and Lisa Sproul are guilty of perpetrating another form of child abuse — family alienation. RC Jr has cut himself off from all his adult children, all of whom are happily married with children of their own. This means he’s also cut himself off from his own grandchildren, and this with his wife’s encouragement. They also forbid any contact between RC’s minor children and their older siblings, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, or other relatives (the comment thread in one of our previous articles prompted a great deal of discussion about that).

    Immediately prior to the release of RC Jr’s latest book, his daughter Darby Sproul Stouffer posted the following on her Facebook:
    “This book is coming out in May. Please do not buy it. My father (RC Jr) is an unrepentant abusive narcissist who is estranged from everyone who used to be his friend and even all of his family outside of his wife and minor children. Just wanted to give a general heads up. Feel free to let others know as well if they mention being interested in it. There is so much more info than just what I’ve shared here, I’m just trying to be concise.”
    All of RC Jr’s adult children are members in good standing of Reformed Presbyterian churches. Considering all the trauma and abuse they’ve been subjected to they’ve remained remarkably restrained in their comments about their disgraced father. But the little they have said is troubling, and it’s also consistent with other reports.

    Family alienation, though tragic, isn’t uncommon even among Christians. Were RC Sproul Jr merely your average church member and his vocation was an insurance salesman, a realtor, a used car salesman, etc. none of this would be worthy of blogging about. But RC Jr is far more than that. He holds himself out to be a “Pastor” and “Rev.” He’s therefore placed himself under a “stricter judgment” (James 3:1). How did he become a pastor? He declared it to be so. Oh, and his wife Lisa agrees with him about that. RC Sproul Jr fails every single biblical test for being a pastor (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, 1 Peter 5:1-4). Let’s just take one of them: he “Must manage his own household well” (1 Tim. 3:4). Why is that important? “For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim 3:5)

    It should, therefore, surprise no one that RC Jr cared for his church, both before and after his defrocking, in very much the same manner as he cared for his household — autocratically and abusively. From 1996-2006 he routinely threatened members with “discipline.” Everyone understood that meant excommunication and shunning, and it could happen for nothing more than disagreeing with him, or for leaving his church and joining another church without his permission. The problem is he made it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to obtain that permission. St. Peter Presbyterian Church was routinely referred to as a “cult” by other churches in the area. It was referred to as “The Hotel California” — You can check in anytime you want, but you can never leave. Ghirard too explicitly said that St. Peter church is a “CULT!” as have many former members who managed to escape.

    By 2006 RC Jr’s abusiveness caught up with him. Formal ecclesiastical charges were submitted against him to his Presbytery by multiple former members. An investigation was made and resulted in his being defrocked from the ministry for spiritual abuse, tax ID fraud, identity theft, financial malfeasance and duplicity.
    “The consistent pattern of actions taken by these men are duplicitous in nature, and demonstrate that they willingly and knowingly act in an arbitrary fashion in violation of their vows of ordination and in violation of our denomination’s Book of Church Order. Most importantly, their actions manifest that they lack the qualification for the ministry (1Timothy 3:1-7). It would be unwise to allow these men to continue to hold an office for which they are not qualified.” Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly Declaratory Judgement
    RC Sproul Jr, and his three yes-men elders, were deemed unfit and biblically disqualified for ministry in 2006. In more than a decade since that time has anything transpired demonstrating that RC Jr has made himself fit and biblically qualified for ministry? Quite the opposite. After his defrocking he refused to step down as pastor. Instead he orchestrated a congregational vote to have himself reinstated. He rewarded his obsequious cult followers by increasing his threats of church discipline. He wound up excommunicating even far more families than he ever had previously. Eventually he’d kicked so many families to the curb there wasn’t enough money coming in to maintain his six-figure salary. So in 2010 he left Virginia and went back to working for his father’s Ligonier Ministries in Florida. Then in 2015 came his Ashley Madison adultery account scandal. By the following year he was arrested and criminally convicted for felony drunk driving (with two minor children in the car, no less!). In the ten years since his defrocking RC Sproul Jr went from bad to worse.

    RC Jr’s 2006 defrocking proved that he uses confession and repentance for purely manipulative purposes. He has never repented to any of the St. Peter families he’d threatened, bullied and abused. The one “confession” he ever offered up was ultimately proven to be a sham intended to dupe his denomination into releasing him from their jurisdiction so he could avoid any further investigation and an impending ecclesiastical trial. His Ashley Madison “confession” a decade later proves he still uses confession and repentance to manipulate and deceive. He’s still playing the victim, and he’s still telling lie upon lie to excuse himself.

    From all the evidence of his life it would seem RC Sproul Jr is devoid of a conscience. Our earnest prayer is that RC Jr will come to experience the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in his life. His heart needs to be broken and softened so he can confess and repent to the many people he’s bullied, abused, harmed and injured, starting with his own children. Then he needs to repent to the dozens of families that he spiritually abused and bullied as a “pastor” both before and after he was defrocked.

    Lastly RC Jr needs to come to his senses, cease masquerading as “Pastor” and “Rev” and seek honest employment for which he isn’t biblically disqualified. We’ll continue doing what we can through our reporting to dissuade him from his misguided ministry pursuits. However, we know RC Jr to be an exceedingly proud and stubborn man, so we’re not hopeful of a happy outcome. What we are hopeful of accomplishing is convincing Christians to not lend any support to RC Sproul Jr. Our readers are encouraged to assist in that effort, as well as engage in further discussion, by linking this article, or any of our other articles, in their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts.

    _____________________
    ¹The Steven Sitler pedophile scandal, and RC Sproul Jr’s direct involvement in it, is just another example of RC Jr’s gross incompetence, selfishness, and total lack of regard for his responsibilities as a father and a pastor. Space doesn’t permit delving into it here. However should we deem it needful we may publish an expose´ on that topic in the future.

    Labels: Ashley Madison, Baby Wise, Blanket Training, child abuse, Gary Ezzo, Highlands Ministries, Highlands Study Center, Lisa Sproul, RC Sproul Jr, Self-Comfort

    posted by RC 2.0 @ 12:39 PM 2 comments
    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 05, 2019
    RC Sproul Jr Accuses God Of Creating Sin, Weaponizes Calvinism
    RC Sproul Jr God created sin

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  69. Samuel Conner:
    Lowlandseer,
    Max,

    This has been my “working hypothesis” for a number of years, that what is billed as “success” in current church trends might actually be a manifestation of Romans 1 “wrath of God” working itself out in specifically church-like ways in present-day church contexts. Wrath came against Old Israel at various junctures in history; do we really think this doesn’t happen to present-day groups that regard themselves to be “the people of God?”

    I suspect that the role of shepherd – as in, the REAL role of shepherd – has been de-valued much and often throughout the history of the church. Back in the nascent church there were doubtless many besides Diotrephes, and for that matter even the Twelve persistently argued about who was the top dog, even when Jesus was physically in front of them.

    It’s a truism that if you put a servant in charge of other servants, they may soon stop being content with serving. It’s more appealing to be an orator/guru, or a ruler, or both, or more besides. I read a (probably apocryphal) story today about an occasion on which Dwight Moody suggested to some of his students that they clean some visitors’ shoes (there was a sensible context to this). They supposedly refused on the grounds that they didn’t attend seminary to clean shoes, but to study the Word_Of_God for The_Ministry, so Moody cleaned the shoes himself. But with a mindset that the bible lecture is the most important sacrament when believers come together, that’s inevitable.

    We know now, of course, that there is not, and never has been, an actual “Holy Spirit”. The phrase is simply a metaphor to describe the pre-incarnate Holy Scriptures, the fullness of Which had yet to be revealed in the first century. But, as a heretic, I love to ponder what it would be like among believers if the Holy Spirit existed.

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  70. Leslie Lea: RC Sproul Jr began his pastoral career when he moved to Meadowview, Virginia in 1996. There he founded The Highlands Study Center. Around the same time he also founded St. Peter Presbyterian Church … RC Sproul Jr fails every single biblical test for being a pastor …

    The horrible abuses detailed in the article you referenced describe a demon not a pastor. R.C. Sproul Jr. is an example of Paul’s warning to the church:

    “Never be in a hurry to ordain a man, or you may be making yourself responsible for his sins” (1 Timothy 5:22).

    The churches, ministers and reformed organizations which supported R.C. Sproul Jr. share the responsibility for his sins.

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  71. Leslie Lea: A developing child’s sense of security comes from their parents. If the parents refuse to provide reassurance of security then that child is left with none.

    This is exactly what attachment theory says…children whose needs are readily met are more secure as they age. This advice is, as you said, the opposite of helpful and it is so sad to see that it was promoted. Did you say this stuff was out in the 90’s??? That is way too late, imo.

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  72. Nick Bulbeck,

    “But with a mindset that the bible lecture is the most important sacrament when believers come together, that’s inevitable.”
    +++++++++++++

    goodness, what a time waster, that bible lecture. there are better ways to process information

    (minus the tortured comedy, minus the 6 points manufactured to all start with the same letter or to form acronyms like ‘shmoop’, minus pop psychology peppered with verses, minus having to hear words like ‘one another’ and all the other silly vocabulary.)

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  73. Codon: All I really meant in referring to MacDonald is that Chandler hasn’t tried to hire hit men or pointed loaded guns at people (as far as we know, anyway!). Seems like Chandler is making the kind of mistakes that young, zealous, Neo-Calvinist guys who think their theology solves all the problems of the real world, that such guys would make.

    Ah, okay.

    I personally think that a pastor believing that they should have absolute authority over members disqualifies them from ministry. JMac and Chandler have that in common. It also disqualifies pretty much any pastor who supports New Calvinism and 9 Marks. I believe that their view of pastors and churches is entirely opposed to Jesus’ example. So my criteria is pretty simple even though JMac and Chandler are totally different.

    I definitely agree with you that JMac goes beyond a little whack to total psychopath. He’s just scary. Chandler seems to me like a young guy who really has no idea what he’s doing but likes the benefits and accolades of being in charge and is more representative of a lot of the YRR I have known.

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  74. ‘We know now, of course, that there is not, and never has been, an actual “Holy Spirit”. The phrase is simply a metaphor to describe the pre-incarnate Holy Scriptures, the fullness of Which had yet to be revealed in the first century. But, as a heretic, I love to ponder what it would be like among believers if the Holy Spirit existed.’

    Interesting as always Bulbeck.

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  75. ishy: Chandler seems to me like a young guy who really has no idea what he’s doing but likes the benefits and accolades of being in charge and is more representative of a lot of the YRR I have known.

    That certainly fits the young reformed “lead pastors” at SBC church plants near me. I actually heard one of them say “I don’t know what I’m doing” … but he was able to draw a sizable crowd of 20s-40s with an espresso coffee bar and cool band. He credits his success to sovereign God; I credit it to a gift of gab and gimmicks.

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  76. Nick Bulbeck,

    Looks like the story might be true.
    “A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.

    Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s only famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.

    When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never know by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret. Perhaps the episode is a vital insight into why God used D. L. Moody as He did. He was a man with a servant’s heart and that was the basis of his true greatness.

    Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence, (Victor Books, a division of SP Publ., Wheaton, Ill; 1985), p. 98”

    I remember being told many years ago by a student at the Faith Mission in Edinburgh that they regularly cleaned the bathrooms with a toothbrush as an exercise in humility and service.

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  77. Nick Bulbeck,

    I interpret your final paragraph to be an ironic and perhaps a bit over-the-top restatement of traditional cessationist ideas.

    A question that fascinates me is the “why” behind Jesus’ assertion to the apostles, in the Johannine Supper discourse, that the Spirit **would not** come among the apostles while Jesus remained among them.

    A parallel question is whether the two great themes of that discourse, “love one another” and “the coming of the Spirit” might be connected in some way — perhaps the former is a necessary condition of the latter, as may be implied by what the Spirit said to the church at Ephesus in Rev 2.

    On that theory, cessationism might be regarded to be, in some instances at least, a self-serving self-protective excuse for the consequences of lovelessness in the churches.

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  78. Lowlandseer: Looks like the story might be true.

    Thanks for the improved information, Lowlandseer. Many of these stories do the rounds and they often do turn out to be wholly or partly fictional. But I must admit that I like to think this one is true. From what little I know of Moody, it’s plausible.

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  79. Samuel Conner,

    I can see why it looks like a satire of cessationism, though I actually meant it as a Poe parody of the belief, expressed here on Wartburg by a temporary visitor on two occasions, that the Bible actually is Jesus; that is, that the two are literally identical. (This is actually beyond parody.) I know a number of people who would declare themselves cessationists and who certainly don’t believe this.

    It’s also in part an expression of astonished exasperation at the extreme biblical sufficiencyness espoused by one Mr MacArthur in (for instance) Christianity magazine a while back. He rejected the idea of speaking in tongues today, not on the grounds that he believed this from scribsher, but because it contravened his credal axiom of the sufficiency of scribsher. How his theology handles the idea of Jesus actually returning, I have no idea. That would seem to be the ultimate extra-biblical revelation.

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  80. Stan:
    I’m hearing the Village Church’s Dallas campus was heavily damaged or destroyed by the tornado last night. Awaiting John Piper’s take…

    They (Northway) were spun off as an autonomous campus last month. (Actually once again, they were independent one time before coming into the Village Borg. And they also have a historical tie to another megachurch–they were the sponsoring church for Prestonwood before it became independent)

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  81. Stan,

    “I’m hearing the Village Church’s Dallas campus was heavily damaged or destroyed by the tornado last night. Awaiting John Piper’s take…”
    +++++++++++++++

    oh, i’ve got a “thus saith the lord” ready to go.

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  82. Stan: Awaiting John Piper’s take…

    The Pied Piper’s tweet today:

    “Moab shall be destroyed and be no longer a people, because he magnified himself against the Lord.”

    Who knows what/who Piper had on his mind on that one.

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  83. Brian:
    Mark R,

    Thought:

    It’s suspicious that TVC is shedding a campus in light of a civil suit and a police investigation.

    They planned to spin off all their other campuses (besides Flower Mound) some years back. They already shed Denton and Plano, Northway was next.

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  84. Leslie Lea,

    This is not terribly surprising. Word of his issues has been seeping out for quite some time. Makes you wonder what his home life was like as a child. There is so much dysfunction among celebrity pastors and teachers. Too much to be mere coincidence.

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  85. TS00:
    Leslie Lea,

    This is not terribly surprising. Word of his issues has been seeping out for quite some time. Makes you wonder what his home life was like as a child. There is so much dysfunction among celebrity pastors and teachers. Too much to be mere coincidence.

    Chandler came from a home where his Christian mother married a non-Christian, a naval officer who was very abusive. He openly admits he had no interest in religious anything until a sports teammate shared Christ with him. That may very well be rooted deep within him.

    Remember also that he had never worked in any church ministry (outside of some Bible studies) until taking over what is now Village Church. He was working in a non-profit entity when he sent his resume in.

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  86. Max: “Moab shall be destroyed and be no longer a people, because he magnified himself against the Lord.”
    Who knows what/who Piper had on his mind on that one.

    Random Tweet Generator?
    Or a veiled Political dig on someone?

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  87. Leslie Lea: The objective of Baby Wise is to eliminate those inconveniences and give parents a restful night’s sleep. The program promises to have baby sleeping through the night within 8 weeks.

    In the 19th Century, that’s what Laudanum (opium dissolved in alcohol) was for.

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  88. Leslie Lea: Given the challenges and difficult schedules of tending to little ones it’s no wonder that what Gary Ezzo promised might be appealing to certain parents, especially those obsessed with control. However, the “training” comes at the emotional and psychological expense of the child. It’s all about control through breaking the will of the child. In their view any form of willfulness is sinfulness.

    James Dobson and his best-seller The Strong-Willed Child = Ezzo Lite?

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  89. Max: There have been several really bad New Calvinists with the “right” theology (Driscoll, Tullian, etc.). They were so right, they somehow justified their wrongs.

    Their Ideology was Pure and Correct, Comrades.
    Party First.

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  90. Max: The New Calvinists sincerely believe that they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the gospel that the church has lost (Gospel = Calvinism to them).

    And al-Qaeda and ISIS sincerely believe they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the Original Pure Islam from Apostasy.

    Is there any difference other than which Holy Book gets recited?

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