Pioneer Drive (SBC) Baptist Church, Abilene, Under Fire for Response to Jeff Berry’s Arrest; John Piper Doesn’t Get Real Life; Sovereign Grace Churches Leaving the Fold and Acting Weird When Called


Centaurus A 

“Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.” Ismail Haniyeh


Time to play catchup. Lots to read about for the weekend.:

Jeff Berry, Christian Musician, Arrested for Child Sex Crimes and SBC’s Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Abilene, Under Fire for Initial Response.

Berry was pretty well known around the Christian music scene. He often opened for well know singers like Michael W Smith. Here is a link to the church he was at when he allegedly molested a child.

The Abilene Reporter posted Jeffrey Berry extradited to Abilene in child sex crime case, released on bond.

A former Abilene man arrested in Nashville, Tennessee, on a warrant accusing him of a child sex crime is out on bond after being extradited to Abilene.

Jeffrey Charles Berry, 55, working as a Christian music artist manager in the Nashville area, was booked Wednesday into Taylor County Jail on a charge of second-degree felony indecency with a child by contact.

….=According to court document, the alleged offense occurred on or about March 1, 1996, when Berry was working as a music intern at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church and was a performing artist.

The victim was younger than 17.

USA Today reported:

Berry spent more than a decade directing Grace Bible Study, a Christian study group aimed at college students, and was a worship leader at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church.

He was the frontman of the Jeff Berry Band, a praise and worship group formed in the early 2000s.

In Abilene, he headed a band called Grace, recorded and opened shows by well-known Christian artists, such as Michael W. Smith in May 1997 in Fort Worth.

Here is the first statement from Pioneer Drive Baptist Church which appeared on Facebook.

Read this statement carefully. After all the talk that the SBC is Caring Well…is this still going on?

Dear Church Family,

On KTXS news last night it was reported that a former employee of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Jeff Berry, was arrested and jailed in Nashville, Tennessee, on a child sex crime. The alleged offense dates back to the mid-1990s in Abilene. Our employment records reflect that Jeff Berry was employed as a music intern at Pioneer Drive for nine months in 1985-86 and was re-hired for a similar position on September 1, 1995. He continued in this position until May, 1996.

Jeff Berry is the 55-year-old son of Pioneer Drive members, Russell and Paula Berry. We love this family deeply. Just as our church rejoices with fellow members in good times, we also stand beside them offering prayer and strength in difficult times. This is exactly what we will do for the Berrys. They represent the best of our church and we will remain by their side.

We also pray for the alleged victims. Our hearts go out to any and all who have ever been abused in this way and to their families as well. May God bring healing and peace to their minds and souls.

Jeff Berry is my friend. I love him as a Christian brother. We have served in revivals together on two occasions. I am praying earnestly for Jeff today and will continue to do so.

We do not have all the facts surrounding this situation. We do not know the full story. I would urge against speculation and for compassion toward all involved. I would also remind us that God can bring good and even victory out of the most troubling and tragic circumstances. Please join me in praying for Him to do so now.

Grace to you,
Pastor StanS

This statement unleashed a firestorm which was written about bt Baptist Global’s Bob Allen: Under #caringwell scrutiny, Texas Baptist church slammed for response to abuse arrest

While national leaders continue grapple with new revelations of past missteps involving the reporting of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention, a Texas church urged its members to give a former worship leader under arrest for alleged sex crimes in Tennessee the benefit of the doubt.

...Amy Smith, a blogger and longtime advocate for abuse survivors in Southern Baptist life, called it “a textbook church response in how to discourage other victims from coming forward to police thereby enabling an alleged child sexual predator.”

The church released a separate statement offering assurance that “Pioneer Drive is committed to the safety of our children and does not take these matters lightly” and pledging “to cooperate with any local authority and encourage others who have information regarding this circumstance to do so as well.”

If you take a look at the comments under this statement on Pioneer Drive Baptist Church Facebook page, you will discover that this was not well received and 130 comments on that page spell it out. (October 15). Here is one comment by Anne Marie Miller.

Needless to say, the church immediately realized that this did not play well and they released a second statement CLARIFYING STATEMENT FROM PASTOR STAN ALLCORN REGARDING HIS RECENT COMMUNICATION ABOUT A FORMER PIONEER DRIVE EMPLOYEE

Oct. 17, 2019

Tuesday morning, I (not Pioneer Drive Baptist Church) sent an email to the church family after news broke that an individual who last worked in our ministry 23 years ago had been arrested in Tennessee on charges linked to a child sex crime allegation.

I never intended to downplay the severity of the charges detailed in the arrest warrant or to diminish any victim of childhood sexual abuse or their families. I now realize that my words did both of those things. I also understand that my words caused many people both inside and outside of the Pioneer Drive family to be hurt and angry.

I am sorry.

I ask for your forgiveness.

My email has now been shared widely through social media by victims’ advocates and others. I understand my words were insensitive, and they did not convey what is truly in my heart.

Therefore, I want to be clear today when I tell you that Pioneer Drive will not protect those who harm children. We pledge to everyone who entrusts a child to us at Pioneer Drive through our many church activities, Mother’s Day Out or Child Development Center that the safety and well-being of your child is our top priority.

Pioneer Drive is committed to protecting children and to ministering to anyone who has been traumatized by sexual abuse. If you or someone in your family is a victim, Pioneer Drive will pray for you, serve and protect you, and help you in the healing process.

STAN ALLCORN
Senior Pastor
Pioneer Drive Baptist Church

The SBC has a long, long way to go. Someone on the ERLC needs to send Pastor Allcorn some materials stat.


John Piper Doesn’t Understand How the Real World Works

Maybe his naiveté is understandable given his celebrity status. If Piper were to be in a life threatening car accident, he would expect his fanboy doctors and nurses to take care of him, even if it occurred on a Sunday. When I saw this title: Advice for Christians Who Work Sundays, I knew we would be in for a typical answer. You must try to get to church on the Lord’s Day, no matter what.

Here was the question posed:

“Dear Pastor John, thank you for your wisdom over the years. By God’s grace, I have grown up in a solid Christian home and have known your name as long as I have known my own. I recently graduated as a registered nurse and now work in an ICU that requires all nurses to work every third weekend (Saturday and Sunday). Since I work day shift, this means that I miss being with the body of Christ every third Sunday for both the morning and evening. This is hard on me. I believe the Sabbath is a precious day of rest and refreshment in the Lord and in the company of his people. And yet, I am thankful to have the opportunity to help bring physical healing on the Lord’s Day, as our sweet Lord Jesus healed on the Sabbath. What wisdom could you give to us with jobs that require weekend work?”

His solution was one dimensional, given the fact that he spent all of his life as a pastor working on a Sunday.

He claims that we MUST worship within the 24 jours period that defines Sunday.

One implication of this was — and I think still should be — that on that first day of the week, we mark worship of the Kurios, worship of the Lord.

He goes on to say that the church should consider doin Sunday evening services to accommodate those who work. However, he shows a lack of understanding on how a nurse’s work schedule occurs. Most hospitals have nurses work 12 hour shifts (many stating at 7 AM or 7PM.) Believing that the shift only lasts 12 hours is a nice idea but many nurses end up working a t least13 hours. Also, the weariness factor comes in. Even if some churches did have very late or early morning services, a nurse who has worked two shifts on a weekend might be dangerously fatigued.

Piper shows a concerning lack of understanding of many people who, for various reasons, engage in a profession that requires these hours. His opinion are simplistic. We should all just seek to be employed in such a way that gives you the most freedom on the Lord’s Day. If this were to be adopted, Christians could not participate in many health care positions. They couldn’t become air traffic controllers since they have shift work. Police, firefighters, EMTs, military personnel, etc. are professions that good, Lord’s Day Christians wouldn’t pursue because it might interfere with hearing those all important sermons given by men who work every Sunday wouldn’t it?

I don’t believe that Piper travels too far outside his comfort zone these days. This post was lazy and he missed an opportunity to carefully think through this issue. Now, he leaves it up to his people to translate Piper for the rest of us.


Sovereign Grace Churches (aka Sovereign Grace Ministries) is experiencing a decline in church numbers: 7 will leave ( We think.) They are sure acting weird about it.

We have been hearing for months that some member churches have been quietly contemplating leaving SGC/SGM because the denomination (or family of churches or whatever they are calling it these days) will not consider an independent, third part investigation on the number of claims of child sex abuse and child sex abuse coverup.

There is nothing on the planet that will cause people to flee churches faster than churches participating in what is perceived to be a coverup. I am seeing it here in Raleigh as well as around the nation. Todd Wilhelm has written extensively about the decline in the ARBCA denomination after their problems surrounding coverup regarding Tom Chantry. And their denomination is so tiny that it is barely a blip on the important church radar.

SBC churches are quickly changing the name of their churches in order to remove the word *Baptist,” even though they are still SBC. One of the funnier videos I’ve seen is JD Greear explaining to The Summit Church that they really are SBC when he ran for the President of the SBC. Even he was afraid to tell people in our area that he, as well as his church, is SBC

Todd found the following comment at SGM Survivors

One of the funniest phone exchanges that I have seen posted is the one that goes through Todd’s attempt  to
get a confirmation that Grace Church in Frisco was leaving.for those of you who haven’t had 10 years of experience dealing with Sovereign Grace madness, this phone call is all you need. These people cannot answer a simple question, even a question whose answer in already known.

Todd, who spent time in an SGM church knew that he should document his attempt to reach the church. SGM used to deny all sorts of things. I’m convinced God invented screen shots due the bizarre behavior of SGM.

Receptionist Cheryl Webster answered my call. I identified myself and asked my simple question. She put me on hold and then came back on the line a short time later. She told me my question would have to be answered by a pastor, and the pastor was in a meeting. She said he should be out of the meeting in about an hour and asked for my phone number so the pastor could call me back after his meeting was over.

…So I sat back and waited for a phone call from a clergy member of the Frisco church.None came.

O.K., fine. The Clergy-class was probably too busy to make a two-minute call to me. And really, what right did I, an individual who had never donated a dime to their fiefdom, have to expect to talk to them?

…Never one to give up my search for truth so easily, I called Cheryl, the Deacon of Hospitality, again today. (See phone logs above) She talked kindly to me, as one would expect a Deacon of Hospitality would, and remembered me when I advised her that I had called yesterday and never received that promised return call. She once again put me on hold.

Upon returning to my call Cheryl advised me that she was going to put my call through to Lead Pastor, Craig Cabaniss.  I thought this would be great, I would undoubtedly have my simple question answered by the top clergyman in the Frisco church.

His phone rang.

And rang.

And rang.

My call went to Lead Pastor Craig Cabaniss’ voicemail where I was then advised to leave my name and phone number! What? Surely Deacon Cheryl had just spoken with Clergyman Craig and he was expecting my call to be put through. Why would he not answer me? I hung up, determined to “believe the best” about my friends at Frisco, I figured something must have gone wrong with their phone transfer.

…So I called right back, at 10:34 to be precise. (See the logs above.) I was expecting Deacon Cheryl to answer and patch me right through to Clergyman Craig. Deacon Cheryl’s phone rang five or six times and then went to voicemail! I couldn’t believe it! These people were attempting to avoid my simple question by gaming me! I left a short, curt message stating I was just looking for a simple answer on whether or not their church was withdrawing from Sovereign Grace. I left my number once again and asked them to call me back.

If you once again examine the logs above you will see that I waited 34 minutes and, receiving no return call, I once again called Deacon of Hospitality, Cheryl. The phone rang five or six times and again went to voicemail. This time I was upset and said that the way I was being treated was despicable, much more the way I would expect to be treated from a Sovereign Grace Church than a church that was leaving the denomination. I stated that judging by the fact that they did not answer my simple question by stating no, they had not left the denomination I surmised that they in fact were leaving.  I said I hoped they would learn how to treat people better and then bid Cheryl goodbye.

Then it really got interesting.

Thirty-five minutes after my last phone call Cheryl called me back. I answered.

Hello.

Hello?

Helloooo Grace Church!

Nothing. Silence. Then she hung up.

One-minute later Cheryl called me again. I answered.

Hello.

Hello?

Hello, Deacon of Hospitality Cheryl!

Nothing. Silence once again. I set the phone down and about 10 seconds later Cheryl hung up.

This was unbelievable treatment. I can only guess as to what Deacon Cheryl and Clergyman Craig were thinking by calling me and refusing to speak. My guess? They realized how ridiculous their little game of not answering my call would look to the world when I blogged about it, so they attempted to create a paper trail which would allow them to say that they returned my call but I didn’t answer, or they returned my call but obviously were encountering technical difficulties with their phones.

The bottom line is there is really no excuse for the treatment I received from these classless individuals. It speaks volumes about what type of church they are running. And speaking of running, if I were a member I would run from that place as fast as I could. It is clear to me that merely withdrawing from Sovereign Grace Churches is not going to solve their problems.

Why did they refuse to answer my simple question? If they did not want to answer they could have stated that “at this time they did not care to answer.” Fair enough. Or they could have admitted that they were withdrawing, but would I please hold off publishing that until they had time to formally withdraw and advise their church members? I have honored requests like that from churches in ARBCA.  Instead, they played some immature and inexplicable game with me.

Would it surprise you if I told you they didn’t return my call today either?  Does anyone over there understand how to just confirm or deny a report? It really isn’t hard to not sound like a bunch of middle school kids making prank calls.


Comments

Pioneer Drive (SBC) Baptist Church, Abilene, Under Fire for Response to Jeff Berry’s Arrest; John Piper Doesn’t Get Real Life; Sovereign Grace Churches Leaving the Fold and Acting Weird When Called — 150 Comments

  1. How ironic!
    I read this while waiting to pick up my wife from her 12-13 hour shift as a nurse in the ICU. I pick her up because she is frequently exhausted beyond safely driving. She decompresses on the 15 minute trip home. I listen to her stories and hold her hand.
    Oops here she comes…
    Today her patient died. She is not ready to talk about it. Yet.
    She missed church last week to work, will attend the next two Sundays. Our pastor knows her work schedule and what goes on in the ICU. He sees her there. Sometimes they are attending the same patient. He sees her professional work and how the Spirit of God works through her.
    A pastor that regularly visits people in hospitals would never shame a medical professional for missing church. That tells you something doesn’t it!

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  2. Three examples of Christians in ministry that live a sheltered life, inside a bubble, and are too clueless to even know how clueless they are. But- they lead and advise others!

    “The church released a separate statement offering assurance that “Pioneer Drive is committed to the safety of our children and does not take these matters lightly” and pledging “to cooperate with any local authority and encourage others who have information regarding this circumstance to do so as well.”

    These canned messages telling us that the opposite of what we are seeing is true are getting so tiresome. Does anyone even listen to them anymore? What good are they?

    If at all possible, worship with God’s people on the Lord’s Day, the day he rose from the dead – Sunday, the first day of the week – to declare that he is risen and he is Lord of lords.

    Because? He might forget?

    I guess we’re assuming there won’t be any of “the Lord’s people” at the hospital on Sundays. Hah! I guess we’re also assuming that being one of the faces in the crowd at church service will do a lot more good than being there to help human beings in need in a concrete way, when they are seriously injured or ill. I don’t know but my guess is, you might actually get a more real experience of God in the hospital than in church.

    Or maybe it just seems like there needs to be a rule about this just like for every other minute detail of life, so might as well pull one out of your rear…

    The Sovereign Grace church is the saddest to me. After all of these years of what should have been learning experiences, they have not even gained their moral and spiritual bearings to the point where they have enough confidence of their convictions to speak them out loud to another person.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  3. Sovereign Grace Ministries: Their attempt to survive as a whole, and the individual SGM churches trying to exit for their own survival, why do they think it is possible?

    The Temple in Jerusalem, God never allowed it to stand forever. Jesus prophesied its destruction (Matthew 24:1-2). Roughly a little more than 40 years later, it was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.

    SGM and the exiting churches think they can beat those odds?

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  4. SiteSeer: I don’t know but my guess is, you might actually get a more real experience of God in the hospital than in church.

    Amen to that too. I have found that most of the time in my life walking into a “worship service” was the most fake experiences supposedly centered around God. For me, being outside in the beauty of nature alone with God is the most real experiences I have while awake. The most powerful moments have mostly come when I was asleep. With people there are distractions and get a large group of them together and the whole thing really tends to take on a religious spirit that does not come from God.

    Serving God in practical ways to help people is also a holy calling, regardless of what day or hours you end up having to do that as there is always need on every day and hour. There is a big difference between serving a religious institution and serving the living God. The New Testament does not support what Piper says, so again a well educated fool who is ignorant about holy days…

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  5. After reading Pastor Allcorn’s glowing endorsement of the Berrys (it almost sounded like a character reference!), my first thought was that Jeff Berry’s folks must be absolutely loaded and are H-U-G-E givers at that church! At least the public backlash caused him to rethink his email and he sought forgiveness and set the record straight…so that’s hopefully a step in the right direction! But the SBC has a LONG way to go in dealing with this…and they MUST deal with it!

    As for Piper? He ought to get a REAL job and stop heaping guilt on those who have to work on Sundays! I had to do it for a number of years myself (EVERY Sunday), and although I wasn’t crazy about it, I did what I had to do to provide for my family (I’m pretty sure the Bible is quite clear about that). So maybe he ought to read Romans 14 where Paul talks about ‘whatever day you observe, do it unto the Lord’. He should really quit making people feel inadequate because of their work schedules. He’s obviously lived in such an insulated world for so long that he can’t understand why some people can’t be in the pew every-single-Sunday. I’ll bet that he doesn’t mind that the waitress at the restaurant he eats at after church has to work on Sunday!

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  6. Over on Facebook a while back, I saw a discussion about working on Sunday. Someone had asked a question along the lines of, what if you can’t find a job with Sundays off?

    Person’s answer: “The Lord will provide.”

    That phrase has now gone on my ‘hit list’ of Christianese, along with “God is in control.” It’s not that God isn’t in control (in the sense that he knows what is best and his will will be done, and he loves us and will guide us), nor is it that God won’t provide (I can name ways he has for me). I just resent how both of these phrases are just too often thrown around as the proper “spiritual” thing to say when you know you have to say something

    The Bible also talks about how if anyone doesn’t provide for their family, they have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever. I would think that if someone didn’t take a job because they’d have to work on Sunday, and ended up not providing for their family, that God would see that as worse than “forsaking the assembly”.

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  7. I am no Piper fan, but in this case I do not think his advice is all that bad – he basically says try to go to church on Sundays when you can and don’t stress too much if you cannot. Nothing very much wrong with that. The bigger problem is the fact that 1) people think they should ask him questions like this, as if they cannot use their own judgment, and 2) he feels like he needs to give advice on topics like this and that his advice is useful. In the bigger picture, this is a form of grooming people to get them to believe they cannot figure out things like this on their own. It’s all part of an effort to dumb down evangelicals.

    Also, I don’t believe the questions he gets are from real people. I believe they are staged questions, which is all part of the grooming.

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  8. A tangentially related point, that also touches on “not understanding what real life is like”, that I encountered in one of NT Wright’s books (probably “the New Testament and the People of God”), is that most of the first gentile believers were slaves, and were obliged to work Sundays the same as every other day (perhaps this reality underlies Paul’s remark some observe Sabbaths and New Moons (presumably this refers to believing Jews who still observed Torah) while others regard every day to be the same — presumably Gentile believers).

    Wright reckons that believing slaves could have been free to participate in pre-dawn Sunday gatherings — their masters will still asleep — but would have to perform their every-day duties after sunrise.

    This kind of weakens a related point, that the “Moral Law” of the Exodus 20 Decalogue implies that it is wrong to work on “the day of rest.” Paul certainly does not seem to have taken that view.

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  9. I will admit that the first time I read the letter from Pastor Stan, I thought “what is the problem with this? Seems OK to me.” As a woman who has spent the past 35 years of her life in a male dominated world, I will admit that I am very slow on the uptake, and frequently when I relate stories to friends, they are horrified by things that I accept as “normal”. To be honest, at this point, I am contemplating leaving my job because I am done and burned out. I am tired of being bullied, and I am tired of being treated with less respect than my male colleagues, just because I am a woman. Yes, when I was 25 and had one of my coworkers turn into a stalker, I think my life would have been different if *someone* had supported me, if someone had suggested that it was not my fault but this man’s warped brain but through that experience and others, I am so conditioned.

    So, as a teaching exercise, I rewrote the letter. Would this have been a better letter, or does it still miss the mark? I do believe that one has to leave in “alleged offense” in this day of oddness and threats of slander. I think to call victims alleged is part of the problem. Yes, people do falsely report, the majority don’t report at all. I do agree that referencing the accused as a friend creates all sorts of problems, reads as a character report and will create a wall for anyone that might want to reach out to the church which, with that, becomes a non option.

    “Dear Church Family,
    On KTXS news last night it was reported that a former employee of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Jeff Berry, was arrested and jailed in Nashville, Tennessee, on a child sex crime. The alleged offense dates back to the mid-1990s in Abilene. Our employment records reflect that Jeff Berry was employed as a music intern at Pioneer Drive for nine months in 1985-86 and was re-hired for a similar position on September 1, 1995. He continued in this position until May, 1996.
    We pray for all victims. Our hearts go out to any and all who have ever been abused in this way and to their families. May God bring healing and peace. If you have been abused and want to report to authorities, they can be contacted at (xxx-xxx-xxxx). We pray that you are now in a safe place with people to support you and help you find healing. Counseling in our community can be found at….(provide sources outside the church).
    Jeff Berry is the 55-year-old son of Pioneer Drive members, Russell and Paula Berry. Just as our church rejoices with fellow members in good times, we also offer prayer and support in difficult times.
    Grace to you,
Pastor StanS”

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  10. WRT to John Piper, most are referencing health care workers, but don’t forget the firefighters, the police and all the restaurant workers their to provide a meal when you leave church……oh, and when you run to the grocery store because you forgot the cream of mushroom for the casserole…..those people are working, too.

    Firefighters work 24 hour shifts…..

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  11. Celeste: WRT to John Piper, most are referencing health care workers, but don’t forget the firefighters, the police and all the restaurant workers their to provide a meal when you leave church

    This just reminded me of a week at Liberty where Jerry Falwell Sr got up and spoke during convocation about how everyone should be in church on Sunday and people should find jobs that didn’t require them to work on Sunday. It was similar to Piper’s response.

    I saw him and the family at a restaurant right after church that Sunday…

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  12. re: the Jeff Berry mess … Pastor Stan’s initial response reminds me of Chris Conlee when Andy Savage’s sins were exposed

    re: the mess called John Piper … what would he do if his son fell into a well on the Sabbath day? (Luke 14)

    re: SGC/SGM/SBC name changes … you can run, but you can’t hide. I can’t believe that folks still want to go to an SGC/SGM affiliated church! If the new generation of SBC leaders (New Calvinists) are so ashamed to be called “Southern Baptists”, why don’t they just do their own thing – ahhhh, but they won’t – SBC has a lot of stuff they want (seminaries, mission agencies, publishing house, 47,000 churches to convert to Calvinism)

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  13. ishy: I saw him and the family at a restaurant right after church that Sunday…

    More than one waitress has told me over the years that church people are some of the meanest customers they have on Sundays and the worst tippers. Those churchgoers may as well be working somewhere on Sunday than going to church!

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  14. Quoted in the original post:

    Our hearts go out to any and all who have ever been abused in this way and to their families as well. May God bring healing and peace to their minds and souls.

    Jeff Berry is my friend. I love him as a Christian brother.

    What contented folk don’t quite realise is that the above translates to the following:

    Our hearts go out to anyone who has ever been abused.

    Apart from people who may’ve been abused by my friend. THEY can f*** off and die.

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  15. Piper’s response is rather legalistic. Ironic both as someone who worked on Sundays as a pastor and as someone who allegedly teaches on grace. Seems to miss the whole Jesus teaching that humans were not made to serve the Sabbath but rather Sabbath, humans. Sad but not surprising to me.

    Loren Haas:
    How ironic!
    I read this while waiting to pick up my wife from her 12-13 hour shift as a nurse in the ICU. I pick her up because she is frequently exhausted beyond safely driving. She decompresses on the 15 minute trip home. I listen to her stories and hold her hand.
    Oops here she comes…
    Today her patient died. She is not ready to talk about it. Yet.
    She missed church last week to work, will attend the next two Sundays. Our pastor knows her work schedule and what goes on in the ICU. He sees her there. Sometimes they are attending the same patient. He sees her professional work and how the Spirit of God works through her.
    A pastor that regularly visits people in hospitals would never shame a medical professional for missing church. That tells you something doesn’t it!

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  16. I came across this quote. It seems the early Church Fathers were pretty upset with clergymen who abused children:
    Concerning those in Holy Orders who fall into these sins, Saint Basil the Great writes:

    “The cleric or monk who molests youths or boys or is caught kissing or committing some turpitude, let him be whipped in public, deprived of his tonsure, and () reduced to eating rye bread once a day in the evening three times per week. After six months living in a separate cell under the custody of a wise elder with great spiritual experience, let him be subjected to prayers, vigils and manual work, always under the guard of two spiritual brothers, without being allowed to have any relationship . . . with young people.” (St. Basil the Great, in St. Peter Damien, Liber Gomorrhianus

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  17. Celeste: Our employment records reflect that Jeff Berry was employed

    Just an observation… Saying “our employment records reflect” instead of just plain “Jeff Berry worked here” is a subtle way of distancing one’s self from the situation (and responsibility. If only those stupid employment records would get their act together!).

    Celeste: I am so conditioned.

    I’m sorry. It’s hard, and recognizing the darkness of the situation you’ve been in and taking the initiative to get out is a challenging but important step. It’s a process, and it sounds like you’re heading in the right direction.

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  18. Brian,

    Further defining my question, based on past experience. I’m asking this because I’m not a pastor.

    A victim of child on child molestation can in turn, molest another child. If an accusation of molestation against the original victim, an investigation will be made. The original victim should’ve been under a therapist prior to the accusation. Hopefully the parents are facing reality and are participating in the original victim’s treatment all the way.

    Now, we have Jeff Berry’s parents. Did they know of other allegations in the past regarding their son, looked the other way? Or is this the first allegation their son they’ve heard?

    If that’s the case, it would be understandable to not believe it at first. How would you, as a pastor approach them? Human nature in some, not understanding the crime of child molestation will blame the parents, shun them. How will this be handled within the church?

    🙂

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  19. And don’t you dare miss church on Wednesday night either!

    The vaunted 1689 London Baptist Assembly recommended that sanctions be imposed even for nonattendance at midweek church services:

    from the Narrative of The Proceedings of the 1689 London Baptist Assembly
    http://www.reformedreader.org/history/cramp/s07ch01.htm

    “The Questions Proposed from the Several Churches, Debated, and Resolved
    ….
    Question. Whether when the Church have agreed upon the keeping of one day, weekly or monthly, besides the first day of the week, to worship God and perform the necessary services of the Church, they may not charge such persons with evil that neglect such meetings, and lay them under reproof, unless such members can shew good cause for such their absence?
    Answer. Concluded in the affirmative (Heb. x. 25).”

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  20. Brian: What year was this written?

    This link has some very interesting references, including that 4th century reference by Basil:
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.catholicsforrenewal.org/Documents%25202016/CanonLawOnChildAbuseThruTheAges.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjjiKjPl8zlAhVlh-AKHf3rDEwQFjAIegQICRAB&usg=AOvVaw0XHPE6132Wou5_fhssObmg
    (I tried to clean up the link but was unsuccessful)

    The most striking thing about this paper is how old and persistent this problem has been among Christians. It also looks like the early church took it much more seriously than the modern church.

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  21. Brian,

    St. Basil was born in Caesarea, Asia Minor, and received his education in Constantinople and Athens. He joined the University of Athens in 351 where he studied philosophy and the great classical works for five years. There he did very well in his studies and lived as an ascetic.

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  22. the late Ian Campbell as well, was a real stickler on this:

    https://www.theintelligencer.com/news/article/Islanders-Oppose-Sunday-Flights-10563821.php

    “EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — There are some things you can’t do on a Sunday on the Isle of Lewis: go shopping; take a bus; buy a newspaper; leave.”

    “The island in the Outer Hebrides is the spiritual home of the Free Church of Scotland, an evangelical group that split from the Church of Scotland in 1843 and claims 5,000 of Lewis’s 22,000 residents as members.”

    “Loganair, a regional airline run by British Airways…cites the needs of tourists and students who want to leave the island at the end of the weekend instead of waiting until Monday. The airline said its flights, operated by a single 34-seat propellor aircraft, will be unobtrusive, and insists no employees will be forced to work Sundays. ‘We’re flying in the afternoon, to avoid church services,’ said Loganair chairman Scott Grier.”

    “Two years ago, campaigners rebuffed plans by a ferry company to begin Sunday service to Stornoway.”

    The Rev. Ian Campbell prefers ‘Having one day a week when the place is in a state of suspended animation”.

    “Campbell, pastor of Back Free Church on the island…fears the Loganair flights will be another nail in the coffin of Sabbath observance.”

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  23. When I first read the letter by the Berry’s pastor I felt sick because of the language used: We love this family deeply… they represent the best of our church… Jeff Berry is my friend and I love him, we did revivals together, etc. The whole thing screams of support for the “alleged” child abuser. The mention of victims was vague… probably in his mind referring to other victims in other circumstances. A little later I was reading an Agatha Christie murder mystery and this paragraph jumped out at me. Poirot was speaking of showing mercy to “alleged” murderers, but the principle applies:

    “For himself, Poirot did not agree. He was a man who thought first always of justice. He was suspicious, had always been suspicious, of mercy… too much mercy, that is to say. Too much mercy, as he knew from former experience, both in Belgium and this country, often resulted in further crimes which were fatal to innocent victims who need not have been victims if justice had been put first and mercy second.” From Halloween Party, Chapter 14.

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  24. From the OP: “He claims that we MUST worship within the 24 jours period that defines Sunday.”

    At the risk of sounding like a wild-eyed heathen: how I spend my time is not any pastor’s business. Church is voluntary.

    Besides, isn’t the shaming likely to backfire? If my church had attendance rules, and I missed a few Sundays, I would probably stay away longer to avoid the chiding.

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  25. SiteSeer: we’re assuming there won’t be any of “the Lord’s people” at the hospital on Sundays.

    Scary implications there… Let’s say the church bans Christian medical personnel and first responders from working on Sundays. Christian patients, victims, and people burned out of their homes would have to be cared for by atheists, agnostics, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, and other folks who are destined for eternal darnation, according to these same dogmatic churches.

    Of course, such folks are already helping all over the country, but shh! Don’t tell anyone!

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  26. Friend,

    Colossians 2:16; Hebrews 10:25.

    Referencing the above two verses, all we’er not to forsake our gathering together. And the day in particular isn’t an issue. Is there anything in the New Testament that sets the number of days in the month and year that require Christians to come together? If I’m correct, doesn’t the Catholic church require at least one mass a year to be attended?

    Also, the Sabbath is technically on Sunday? Maybe except for the Seventh Day Adventists, Christianity in general hasn’t observed the Sabbath in two millennia.

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  27. Jerome,

    That’s outdated. Ferries and flights intrude on the Sabbath. It’s strange that a way of life for these islanders can be so easily set aside because the secular hordes demand it. Any other indigenous group on planet earth would have to heir traditions respected – Ayers Rock anyone?
    Nice of you to cite the late Iain D Campbell as your source, no doubt hoping to throw a few more stones at him as well. Utterly pathetic!

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  28. Lowlandseer,

    From the website of the best Christian bookshop in Scotland

    “Biblical Sabbath-keeping, on the first day of the week (the day that the world calls “Sunday”), is an important part of Christianity. When you visit again, you can find out more in the section of the site dealing with the Sabbath.

    While most of the material on this site is suitable for reading on the Sabbath, we are cautious about using the internet on the Lord’s Day. There are aspects to using the internet that are not conducive to keeping the Sabbath. There is a lot more to faithful Sabbath-keeping than is usually acknowledged. The Shorter Catechism (Ans. 60) records the view, in better days than ours, of the Westminster Assembly:

    The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the publick and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

    After weighing the issues involved, the Free Presbyterian Synod issued the following statement:

    The Synod which met at Glasgow on Tuesday, 22nd May 2012, advises the people of the Church not to use the internet on the Sabbath, except for the purposes of necessity and mercy.”

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  29. Jerome: 1991, concerned undergrad Tom Chantry sounded off on this matter (among others) in Furman University’s student newspaper:

    https://cdm16821.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16821coll21/id/30340/rec/1

    “university activities on the Christian Sabbath have become common”

    “Furman has not for some time attempted to enforce Sabbath observance”

    Jerome: the late Ian Campbell as well, was a real stickler on this:

    2 good illustrations of Colossians 2:

    “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day…

    “…matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

    *No value against fleshly indulgence.*

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  30. Brian: we’er not to forsake our gathering together.

    What about those of us who miss Sunday church for years while recovering from abuse?

    Church is optional.

    But if we do indeed join, and decide to follow certain verses, church needs to deserve us. Then it can make a claim on our time.

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  31. Lowlandseer: It’s strange that a way of life for these islanders can be so easily set aside because the secular hordes demand it.

    Are there no secularists among the islanders? Surely even good Christians might like to buy medicine on a Sunday. That era without flights and ferries would have kept people from traveling in an emergency. People must have missed opportunities to pay a last visit to the dying, both on the islands and elsewhere.

    (I grew up in a place where most things were closed on Sundays. Saturdays were frantic.)

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  32. Friend,

    I was trying to point out the massive difference between JP’s definition of a must attend within 24 hours of the Sunday service. What is a gathering? It was all house churches then, no big cathedrals or mega mother ships. The only example of communion is in I Corinthians where it is a recreation of the “Last Supper”. There is nothing in the New Testament that backs up JP’s vision.

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  33. Brian,

    My previous church did visitations to shut-ins to those who couldn’t make it to the services. They also did one bimonthly visitation to a funeral home, of which I was part of that visitation team.

    My intention was not to cause you any anxiety. My apologises.

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  34. Brian: It was all house churches then, no big cathedrals or mega mother ships. The only example of communion is in I Corinthians where it is a recreation of the “Last Supper”.

    Thanks, Brian. You didn’t cause me any anxiety, and I think most of our regulars are at peace with our own attendance decisions.

    Some of my jobs have required me to work Sundays, just to meet deadlines—not to do anything as noble as save a life.

    Work on Sundays was certainly a topic when I was a kid, but it was always about paid work outside the home, or organized sports. Nobody ever objected to grandmothers making huge Sunday dinners.

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  35. Brian: we’er not to forsake our gathering together

    Considering the condition of certain corners of the American church (e.g., those which are subjects of TWW posts), believers in such places are under a tension between two exhortations in Scripture: “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together” vs. “Come out of her My People and be not a partaker of her sins.” When we find ourselves in a church which has little resemblance to ‘the’ Church – where ungodly authority has taken root; where believers are subordinated because of race, class or gender; where the God of Entertainment sits on the throne; where the precious name of Jesus is seldom mentioned; where another gospel supersedes ‘the’ Gospel; where a pet theology has replaced Truth, etc. – a believer is under no obligation to stay and should forsake assembling with such folks.

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  36. Friend: Church is optional.

    This cannot be emphasized enough. Church attendance is voluntary for a believer. ‘You’ are the Church even if you don’t go to church. Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. As I’ve said before, an institution in your area called church is OK ‘if’ it is reaching lost folks for Christ, equipping them in the Word, and engaging them with their unique spiritual giftings to fulfill the Great Commission together. Anything less than that is doing church without God. There is a Body of Christ on earth – some go to church, some don’t.

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  37. “Seek to be employed in a way that gives you as much freedom as possible on the Lord’s Day.” (John Piper)

    It should be noted that the phrase “on the Lord’s Day” is mentioned only once in Scripture (Revelation 1:10):

    “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet …”

    John’s vision goes on to describe what he saw at the end of the age regarding “the Day of the Lord” … when God intervenes to bring all things to finality, when evil is conquered, when Jesus returns, when church-going is done, when John Piper’s legalism ends. Perhaps we have misinterpreted what Apostle John was saying about the Lord’s Day … could it be that his words are an introduction to what he saw in his vision about the Day of the Lord as he continues to relate in the rest of Revelation?

    Even if the Apostle John was referring to the Sabbath, how many of us can honestly say that we go “in the Spirit” to church every Sunday? Does Piper?

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  38. Sòpwith: statute of limitations

    There should be no statute of limitations on child abuse in any State. There should be no church in America (or anywhere) where church leaders give benefit of the doubt to abusers who are on staff, while doubting victims.

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  39. Linn,

    It does read that way doesn’t it? Always the over-emphasis on something holy, when the person knows they are doing wrong elsewhere in their lives. It makes me nervous around those who are very shouty about anything.

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  40. Beakerj,

    Beakerj, it took me 70+ years of doing church to realize the difference between doing church and being the Church. I now sift and measure things through my “knower” … what is in my knower, I can’t un-know; what I see, I can’t un-see. The organized church is off-track on many things, but folks don’t want to listen to a seasoned veteran of life much these days … thanks for listening.

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  41. Two things dear and constant readers:

    1)Was man made for the Sabbath, or was the Sabbath made for man?
    2) St. Paul himself weighed in under Colossians 2:16 and its attendant context.

    So my question is, how come it’s such a big deal for so many, and why do some religions insist on Sunday as theee one and theee only Sabbath?

    I see it as one of those ‘work arounds’ in reverse, so that a particular tradition can hold sway and not be questioned.

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  42. Max: but folks don’t want to listen to a seasoned veteran of life much these days … thanks for listening.

    Max, I’ll take your counsel under advisement before I listen to one of those whipper-snapper weasels any day.

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  43. Beakerj:
    Linn,

    It does read that way doesn’t it? Always the over-emphasis on something holy, when the person knows they are doing wrong elsewhere in their lives. It makes me nervous around those who are very shouty about anything.

    It’s called “Displacement Behavior”:

    When everything is spiraling out-of-control and you’re overwhelmed, find something you CAN control, tunnel-vision on it, micromanage it to death, and point to that as PROOF that “I’M IN CONTROL! SEE? SEE? SEE? NO PROBLEMS AT ALL!!!!!”

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  44. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    And the “something holy” doesn’t have to be Holy per se.

    I remember a sexual predator whose “something holy” was militant anti-smoking. He was VERY shouty about it.

    And what is Virtue-Signalling except a secularized version of all this?

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  45. What’s with the fawning language? It’s as if the woman is appearing before an oracle:

    “I…have known your name as long as I have known my own.”

    Huh?
    Couldn’t DesiringGod have presented the query without such weirdness?

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  46. Friend: (I grew up in a place where most things were closed on Sundays. Saturdays were frantic.)

    Not much of an improvement, was it?

    The whole idea behind Blue Laws was “If we shut down everything on the Sabbath, then they’ll HAVE to Go To Church, Won’t They?” (Prohibition also used this logic, except tunnel-visioned onto bars/saloons. They actually expected everyone to Go To Church instead.)

    And when “Holier Than Thou/Can You Top This?” comes into play…
    Didn’t that Rabbi from Nazareth have a lot to say about that, even using Tithing and Sabbath Observance for his examples?

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  47. Brian: I was trying to point out the massive difference between JP’s definition of a must attend within 24 hours of the Sunday service.

    If by “JP” you mean The Pious Piper, he’s just shooting off his mouth (and Twitter finger) again.
    “THE WORDS OF A GOD, NOT OF A MAN! WOW DADDY WOW!”
    The guy has become a cartoon of himself, and that’s never a good sign.

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  48. Muff Potter: So my question is, how come it’s such a big deal for so many, and why do some religions insist on Sunday as theee one and theee only Sabbath?

    It’s in Acts 20:7, but it also says that Paul intended to leave the next day. I don’t see evidence that it was something consistent, probably because you meet when you can when people are persecuting you.

    I guess it’s just easiest now to pick one day so most people can coordinate their schedules. But I certainly don’t think it’s some absolute.

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  49. I lived many years in NM when there were blue laws–waaaaayyyy back. And in ND when there was the “until noon” blue law in effect.

    Never got the impression it was to force folks to church, rather to allow those that want to be in church the chance rather than be employed.

    Of course, necessary services such as medical were in place, and there was usually a rotating at least service station and restaurant open. Some precincts allowed all of those to be open, others limited it.

    I see no need for blue laws and yet since I want folks to have the chance to attend church on Sundays it is very rare for me to dine out on Sunday, gas up, or go shopping. My choice. I figure if nobody were doing nonessential shopping on Sunday businesses would see no profit in opening.

    Never experienced any crazy rush on Saturdays nor any problem planning ahead and doing commerce other days.

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  50. Ishy: HBC has officially disqualified James Macdonald, and on every count…

    … while the rest of Christendom unofficially disqualified him from ministry months ago!

    The HBC elders left the bad-boy from Chicago an opening to make a comeback: “The Bible does not teach that disqualification from ministry is permanent … We believe that James could be restored to ministry someday … There is much potential for God to be glorified through him …”

    Here we go again.

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  51. Ishy: HBC has officially disqualified James Macdonald

    Within the ministry, there are two categories of men: the qualified and the disqualified. The question remains in my mind is whether or not James MacDonald was qualified for the sacred office of pastor in the first place. A touch of charisma, a gift of gab, and a bag of gimmicks do not equal anointing.

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  52. I know he’s no friend of this blog, but Robert Morris recently wrote a book called “Take The Day Off”, and he doesn’t argue that you have to take a specific day off each week so long as you take a day off. He recognizes that some people have to work weekends and doesn’t chastise them for it. Morris has better theology than Piper (and that may be saying something).

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  53. Mark R: Robert Morris recently wrote a book called “Take The Day Off” … He recognizes that some people have to work weekends and doesn’t chastise them for it.

    As long as they don’t gossip on Christian blogs! He’ll rip you a new one if he knows you are reading “Satan’s hit list” in the blogosphere.

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  54. Max: … while the rest of Christendom unofficially disqualified him from ministry months ago!

    The HBC elders left the bad-boy from Chicago an opening to make a comeback:“The Bible does not teach that disqualification from ministry is permanent … We believe that James could be restored to ministry someday … There is much potential for God to be glorified through him …”

    Here we go again.

    And he may have an opening in SW Florida. The congregation at HBC Naples was just given notice to vacate their building, which they were renting from church members for a nominal amount.

    Turns out the members are big JMac fans.

    So here’s the likely scenario: church vacates building, pro-JMac members gather to start new church and hire JMac as the pastor.

    (Meanwhile at FBC Naples they’re in a tussle over a failed vote for a new pastor; one side claims racism was involved while another argues the prospective pastor was theologically questionable, and now accusations exist that members are being kicked out for voting against the prospect — though supposedly the vote was by secret ballot. What is in the water down there?)

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  55. Headless Unicorn Guy: It’s called “Displacement Behavior”:

    When everything is spiraling out-of-control and you’re overwhelmed, find something you CAN control, tunnel-vision on it, micromanage it to death, and point to that as PROOF that “I’M IN CONTROL! SEE? SEE? SEE? NO PROBLEMS AT ALL!!!!!”

    Wow, that’s my former Calvie pastor to a T. The man was so controlling he wouldn’t even let anyone help him set up chairs – it had to be just perfect, and, obviously, only he had such talent. Is it any wonder I’m in no hurry to put myself back into that sort of abusive setting again? I’d rather take a crisp walk, or help an elderly lady rake her leaves. (Okay, I tried. She adamantly refused any help. Perhaps she was enjoying the exertion, but it sure looked painful.)

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  56. Max: “The Bible does not teach that disqualification from ministry is permanent … We believe that James could be restored to ministry someday … There is much potential for God to be glorified through him …”

    That’s despicable. Talk about an unrebuking rebuke. The man was a total fraud, a liar, schemer, thief and abuser . . . for a start. He has no more business talking about God than the local atheist. When narcissistic tyrants ‘repent’ it never goes beyond words . . . and he hasn’t even had the grace to repent in words.

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  57. Max: The HBC elders left the bad-boy from Chicago an opening to make a comeback: “The Bible does not teach that disqualification from ministry is permanent … We believe that James could be restored to ministry someday … There is much potential for God to be glorified through him …”

    What do they mean, the Bible doesn’t teach disqualification from the ministry is permanent? It is so crazy the different ideas people support with the Bible.
    God does not need JM to glorify him.

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  58. Max: Beakerj, it took me 70+ years of doing church to realize the difference between doing church and being the Church. I now sift and measure things through my “knower” … what is in my knower, I can’t un-know; what I see, I can’t un-see. The organized church is off-track on many things, but folks don’t want to listen to a seasoned veteran of life much these days … thanks for listening.

    Not in church, maybe, but your insights mean a lot to me, Max. Keep on sharing them.

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  59. SiteSeer: What do they mean, the Bible doesn’t teach disqualification from the ministry is permanent?

    They probably decided the Bible didn’t say that because JMac would sue them.

    Though I think they may believe there’s no way JMac would ever submit himself to a group of elders for a decent amount of time to redeem himself, so may be moot with him in particular.

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  60. TS00: Talk about an unrebuking rebuke. The man was a total fraud, a liar, schemer, thief and abuser . . .

    … not to mention his history of excommunicating elders which tried to correct him, twisting Scripture to sue other Christians, significant violations of EFCA stewardardship standards, allegations of solicitation to murder, etc. … yeah, let’s put JMac back in the pulpit as soon as possible! Good Lord! The HBC elders are so open-minded about his return to ministry that their spiritual brains have fallen out!

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  61. On “compulsory” church attendance for a believer: why would this be brought up by a pastor and in a church:
    1. If you aren’t there, you cannot tithe or give your offering – those in ministry (as I was) remain acutely aware of financial issues.
    2. If you aren’t there I cannot affect your thinking.

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  62. TS00: That’s despicable. Talk about an unrebuking rebuke.

    That is so true. As I commented yesterday on Julie’s blog, the fact that two witnesses have stated that on two separate occasions JMac was looking for a hitman to kill two different personal enemies speaks all by itself. There is nothing additional needed to righteously judge the man as the worse kind of wolf, and to say that he is disqualified not just from leadership, but also according to the Bible that we should have nothing to do with him and not even eat with him.

    Elders who do not practice the clear instructions of the scriptures are not qualified to lead. We live in a society that greatly downplays the evilness of all kinds of sins. That is why there has to be blogs like this one. It should be evident that child molestation is a horrible sin that should be treated with the harshest and most severe due diligence, but most of the time it is not. Nor are many other sins that are common among our churches today. The fact that attempted murder is treated so lightly just shows how worldly the churches have become…

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  63. Max: it took me 70+ years of doing church to realize the difference between doing church and being the Church. … The organized church is off-track on many things, but folks don’t want to listen…

    Amen to that. My tough life lessons that started in 2002 and continue to now have been the same. Doing church is not being the church. Doing church means pleasing some person or persons–whoever holds the power in the institution. This always leads to certain carnal ways that tend to elevate old, or create new, traditions that get in the way of actually being the church. Being the church means having a meaningful personal relationship with Christ that you rely on instead of the institution. The things the Holy Spirit teaches us then can be brought in and shared with others in a way that helps them. That is how being the church works. If you do not have that personal connection, then you have nothing to share. Then you tend towards acting like a parasite on the body, instead of an active participant helping it to grow into Christlikeness. Many churches are very sick because the leaders want to keep the people acting like spiritual parasites in exchange for money and free volunteered labor. This creates a sick mutual parasite condition that just drains and exhausts everyone in the process. Even good pastors and their congregations burn out because they are not regularly practicing going to Jesus who is THE LIFE for their life.

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  64. Mr. Jesperson: As I commented yesterday on Julie’s blog, the fact that two witnesses have stated that on two separate occasions JMac was looking for a hitman to kill two different personal enemies speaks all by itself.

    Don’t forget the “Put child pornography on [the editor of Christianity Today]’s computer” from The Mancow Tapes. Plausibly deniable as “just a joke” (with a built-in laugh track from HBC’s Elders), but why does it remind me of King Henry re Thomas Becket?

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  65. SiteSeer: Ken F (aka Tweed): This is why I believe they are ghost-writing all of the questions. No real person would ask these questions.

    Or word them in such a fluttery Piper-like manner?

    Yeah. That says “shill”.

    Back in the Seventies there was a radio show on local Christianese AM airwaves called “Counseling with a Purpose”, presented as actual phone-in counseling. Every call (no matter what the problem) ended in the “counselor” leading the caller in The Sinners Prayer to Accept Jesus Christ as His/her Personal Lord and Savior.

    Every time.
    Looking back, that whole show smelled of “staged”, “scripted”, and “shill”.

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  66. I don’t understand the response to the Piper quote;
    Point 1 – “If possible…” implying his understanding that it is not always possible. He then explains why Sunday is set aside in general for worship services.

    Point 2 – Again “If possible set aside one day for rest…” He doesn’t mandate Sunday or any other day. He then supports his answer with his understanding that God modeled rest and if God rested and is infinite and omnipotent then perhaps created not omnipotent people should follow that model.

    Point 3 – “Seek out employment that gives as much freedom as possible…” there is no must, no mandate of any kind.

    John Piper says plenty of controversial things to fuel debate but I’m not seeing it here. As to the canned/ planted questions, do you really think that a person with a national following doesn’t actually get tons of questions all the time? Why would people ask him questions like this, perhaps because they want reassurance, they want another perspective, they value his opinion… who knows. There is enough struggle in this world we need not manufacture more simply to fuel our own disdain.

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  67. Jeremy: Why would people ask him questions like this, perhaps because they want reassurance, they want another perspective, they value his opinion… who knows.

    I think people want reassurance, because it’s a scary to step out on your own and think for yourself.

    Security in numbers, it’s a group think thing, and it’s not just confined to Piper and what he tells his followers, it could just as well be Greg Laurie, Robert Morris, or even John Hagee.

    They sell certainty in an uncertain world.
    All you have to do is believe such and such a way, keep forkin’ over those greenbacks, and you’ll get sweet pie in the sky in the sweet by and by, and not get consigned to flames of woe.

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  68. Jeremy: “Seek out employment that gives as much freedom as possible…” there is no must, no mandate of any kind.

    He wants us to seek out employments that gives as much freedom as possible. It is always possible to seek that out. The nurse could work in a doctor’s office, the air traffic controller could teach science to junior high students, a doctor could become a biology teacher, etc. etc. etc. We all can seek out something we don’t want to do in order to have a much freedom as possible to attend church on the Sunday as mandated.

    So, if I give up a professional goal-ICU nursing and go work in a doctor’s office, am I being more obedient to his mandates? It is always possible to do what he says. It is not always wise.

    And I truly believe that it is possible that Piper has questions that are made up to prove a point from time to time.

    I don’t think Piper truly understands the marketplace these days. Also, I attend church on Saturday nights which apparently does not fit his good Christians always worship on Sunday.

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  69. Muff Potter: All you have to do is believe such and such a way, keep forkin’ over those greenbacks, and you’ll get sweet pie in the sky in the sweet by and by, and not get consigned to flames of woe.

    “When coin in Pastor’s coffer rings…”

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  70. Friend: How does Piper stand on demons infesting those who do not tithe sufficiently? Does he have a protection racket?

    Those who do not tithe sufficiently are not part of God’s Elect so the demons can have carte blanche.

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  71. dee: So, if I give up a professional goal-ICU nursing and go work in a doctor’s office, am I being more obedient to his mandates? It is always possible to do what he says. It is not always wise.

    This reminds me of modesty advice for girls who like to swim: play basketball instead, so you can pile on the layers of clothes.

    A few Christians just don’t want people to do what they are good at doing.

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  72. dee,

    I understand where there might be a perceived pressure to do that but when I read what was posted I don’t see any mandate of any kind but I do see a presentation of an ideal situation. As for the canned questions my point is simply that it would not be necessary as Desiring God has such a large following but I certainly concede that it is possible they write their own questions some or all of the time. For what its worth I think Saturday night services are fine in the same way that the old Wednesday night service was fine. I don’t know of a Biblical prohibition of such meetings. I do think he was presenting the ideal celebration of our faith on the commonly held day and gave some reasons for that but its no different than celebrating Christmas on another day if the actual day doesn’t work. I think the spirit of the celebration is what matters.

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  73. Jeremy: I don’t understand the response to the Piper quote;

    Maybe Mr. Piper was having an off day. His answer displays a certain lack of creativity surprising for someone of his experience.

    First, he neglects to remind the questioner that she is only missing church every third Sunday. And that presumably this is only for a season as it is her first job in her field. Ideally, he could encourage her to give herself a little grace.

    He says we must worship on the Sabbath. Can’t someone who’s been called to serve others use these gifts as a way of worshiping? (After all, Mr. Piper did it as a pastor, and doesn’t seem the worse off for wear.)

    Nor does Mr. Piper remind her that “worshiping” and “gathering together” are not synonymous with a sermon and music played by someone on a stage. If she’s working on a Sunday, she could listen to worship music on her breaks or commute. Say a quick prayer before entering a patient’s room. Write an inspiring scripture on an index card and carry it around, taking a look when she has a chance to meditate on it. Find other believers in her workplace and fellowship together as time permits.

    PS – He idealizes the time when churches had both Sunday morning and Sunday evening services. For a year, my family attended Sunday morning services then went to a Sunday evening small group. We are introverts. It was exhausting, the opposite of a day of rest and refreshment. Mr. Piper does not explicitly say this one way or another, but I think it important to realize that what is “ideal” for one person or situation is often far from “ideal” for another, for reasons that can be equally valid to both parties.

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  74. <

    First, he neglects to remind the questioner that she is only missing church every third Sunday.And that presumably this is only for a season as it is her first job in her field.Ideally, he could encourage her to give herself a little grace.

    I agree this is a significant missed opportunity.

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  75. Wild Honey: He says we must worship on the Sabbath. Can’t someone who’s been called to serve others use these gifts as a way of worshiping? (After all, Mr. Piper did it as a pastor, and doesn’t seem the worse off for wear.)

    Which day is the Sabbath?
    Saturday or Sunday?
    (To Seventh-Day Adventists, “Sunday-keeping” IS the Mark of the Beast.)

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  76. Friend: A few Christians just don’t want people to do what they are good at doing.

    JMJ/Christian Monist has written of churches in his experience that deliberately assign the LEAST competent/skilled/experienced person to a task so they “will have to do it in the Spirit instead of the Flesh”. This usually does not end well.

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  77. Mark R: Friend: How does Piper stand on demons infesting those who do not tithe sufficiently? Does he have a protection racket?

    Those who do not tithe sufficiently are not part of God’s Elect so the demons can have carte blanche.

    Protection racket.
    Like an Appalachian Conjure-Man or PA Dutch Hex type extorting money from those around him by threatening to curse them with his magick. With his familiar spirits as his Enforcers.

    Somehow I doubt YHVH would hire out as ANYONE’s Enforcer.

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  78. The Bible is apparently used in certain 501c3 churches today to give the semblance of faigned legitimacy. Unfortunately many parishioners are duped,grifted, and taken for a ride. Beware!

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  79. Jeremy,

    “Point 2 – Again “If possible set aside one day for rest…” He doesn’t mandate Sunday or any other day. He then supports his answer with his understanding that God modeled rest and if God rested and is infinite and omnipotent then perhaps created not omnipotent people should follow that model.

    Point 3 – “Seek out employment that gives as much freedom as possible…” there is no must, no mandate of any kind.
    +++++++++++++++++++

    john piper is a weaver.

    he weaves what he writes with implications and threats. doesn’t outright say them, but implies that if you go against them you are going against God. he implies that your salvation is to be questioned, is on the line.

    it terrifies people. so much so that they feel obligated to do what he says. or else wracked with fear and guilt if they are unable to.

    it causes christians to begin doubting their own salvations. it causes christians to doubt the salvation of other christians who come to different conclusions.

    this little weasley wisp has a ridiculous amount of power. he is very irresponsible with the loaded statements he makes, casually dripping off.

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  80. elastigirl`,

    We all have convictions and presuppositions from which we engage the community around us. So if Piper, answering a question based on his understanding of Sabbath where he lays out an ideal but not a single time says one MUST do so and so the inference that it is a mandate is at least partially the responsibility of the hearer and their background as it is the speaker, right? For example, I read the words and had a much different reaction and understanding than some others on this board. I read it and heard him lay out his ideal based on his understanding but left the door open for those who cannot. Others for what ever reason focused on his description of the ideal as him driving them to his point as the only allowable outcome and yet that is in their mind and not in the words. If you disagree with him fine but in what world is it acceptable to let my inferences put words where there were none? How do we get to sit in here in this message board and write as if we have a definitive understanding of what was in this person’s mind when we were not there and do not have the benefit of follow up discussion? In the same way that we don’t know what all was going on people’s minds when they write their posts we can only legitimately respond to what is actually written and published. We don’t get to then state our inferences as fact do we?

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  81. I agree that Mr. Piper is likely laying out an ideal. Does he come outright and say that, or is it an implication?

    Just some curious pushback, if I may. Mr. Piper does outright say: “When we worship on the first day of the week, we say that Jesus is Lord.” What is the implication here if one is unable to “worship” on the first day of the week (which happens to be Monday in Europe, by the way), in your opinion?

    I think a danger in presenting ONLY an ideal is that plenty of people are going to strive for the ideal and self-flagellate if they’re unable to reach the ideal, which is hardly in the spirit of, say, Galatians. Because no alternatives or caveats are also presented. I’m thinking, for example, of a friend who follows Mr. Piper’s podcasts religiously. She’s a stay-at-home mom of four kids ages 6 and under who doesn’t sleep through the night because her youngest is still nursing and whose husband routinely works 50+ hours/week and whose younger kids wake up at 5am. She is in despair because, on the rare occasion she finds 30 minutes to herself without a child in tow, she is physically and emotionally drained. But the “quiet time” and “being in the Word” ideal she has been taught is sitting down in a quiet space every single day to pray, read Scripture, journal, and pray some more. Is this kind of ideal possible in her situation?

    Ideals are great. But the only one who can reach them is God. So where does that leave the rest of us when ideals are the only thing presented to us?

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  82. Wild Honey,

    I see what you’re saying there. You addressing that quote makes the mandate interpretation more plausible. It also clarifies some of elastigirl’s points. When I read that I took it as him describing what worship is, declaring Jesus as Lord, rather than worship is only declaring Jesus is Lord if it is done on a specific day. That said, I see how the wording is touchy there. As to your example my answer as a father who works two jobs and goes to school is yes it is possible but sometimes you have to be creative in how you meet those expectations of being in the Word. Maybe its listening to sermons on CD while you drive or while she is nursing playing instrumental hymns. I think we also have to think for ourselves and know that when a pastor, friend, mentor whomever presents an ideal we need to mold that into our own circumstances and understand how to apply it best and in the right spirit in our own lives. Based on your example, the mother and children, How would you have preferred any pastor address that point?

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  83. elastigirl`: he weaves what he writes with implications and threats. doesn’t outright say them, but implies that if you go against them you are going against God. he implies that your salvation is to be questioned, is on the line.

    Implying something without ever saying it directly is a classic form of Plausible Deniability:
    “Did I say that? Huh? Huh? Huh?”
    Plausible Deniability with a ready gaslighting counterattack all set up:
    “You’re putting words in my mouth! LIAR! LIAR!”

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  84. Jeremy,

    “i think we also have to think for ourselves and know that when a pastor, friend, mentor whomever presents an ideal we need to mold that into our own circumstances and understand how to apply it best and in the right spirit in our own lives.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    thank you for your comment.

    if only more christians shared your view. if only this was christian culture’s party line.

    i mean, it’s so disappointing that christian powerbrokers have engineered the party lines that the christian masses, clergy and lay alike.

    if only the party line was for each individual christian to take responsibility for their own faith, instead of parceling it out to the professionals to manage for them. to tell them what to do, what to think.

    ha…. there’s just no money or power in it.

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  85. Celeste: “Dear Church Family,
    On KTXS news last night it was reported that a former employee of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Jeff Berry, was arrested and jailed in Nashville, Tennessee, on a child sex crime. The alleged offense dates back to the mid-1990s in Abilene. Our employment records reflect that Jeff Berry was employed as a music intern at Pioneer Drive for nine months in 1985-86 and was re-hired for a similar position on September 1, 1995. He continued in this position until May, 1996.
    We pray for all victims. Our hearts go out to any and all who have ever been abused in this way and to their families. May God bring healing and peace. If you have been abused and want to report to authorities, they can be contacted at (xxx-xxx-xxxx). We pray that you are now in a safe place with people to support you and help you find healing. Counseling in our community can be found at….(provide sources outside the church).
    Jeff Berry is the 55-year-old son of Pioneer Drive members, Russell and Paula Berry. Just as our church rejoices with fellow members in good times, we also offer prayer and support in difficult times.
    Grace to you,
Pastor StanS”

    But that wouldn’t pass the Liability Attorneys (plural).

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  86. Ken F (aka Tweed):
    I am no Piper fan, but in this case I do not think his advice is all that bad – he basically says try to go to church on Sundays when you can and don’t stress too much if you cannot. Nothing very much wrong with that.

    I have to agree with these comments from Ken, even while agreeing with the original post that Piper often seems to not know how the real world works. He never tells the woman that it’s a sin to work on Sundays. He just gives some general advice to try not to work on Sunday if at all possible. He’s not a strict Sabbatarian that I know of, and in any case, Christians of all stripes have pretty much agreed that even if you have a strict view of the Sabbath, it doesn’t apply to those whose work involves saving lives.

    There’s plenty to critique Piper about. This piece of advice from him isn’t it.

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  87. Jeremy,

    I suspect we are going to agree more than we are going to disagree. I like your suggestions of CDs and hymns. Some of the things I suggested in a previous comment would work equally well for a nurse or a stay-at-home mom or anybody willing to think outside the box.

    To answer your question, how would I have preferred a pastor address that point… Be less black-and-white about the exact mechanics of how one must “worship” or “celebrate the Sabbath” or “be in the Word,” etc. Acknowledge that different things will work for different people and that what once worked in one life stage may not work in another. Be upfront in stating that there is an ideal to strive for, but that we must “mold that into our own circumstances and understand how to apply it best and in the right spirit in our own lives.”

    May I ask, do you see that sentiment, that of encouraging thinking for ourselves, in Mr. Piper’s response?

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  88. Jeremy,

    Sorry if this is a repeat, I can’t tell if I accidentally deleted a comment or it got lost in the nether.

    I suspect we are going to agree more than we disagree. I like your suggestions of a CD or hymns. I made some suggestions above for the ICU nurse that would work equally well for a stay-at-home-mom or anyone willing to think outside the box.

    To answer your question about how I would have preferred a pastor address that point… By being less black-and-white about the MECHANICS of how one must “worship” or “celebrate the Sabbath” or “be in the Word.” Acknowledge that there is an ideal to strive for but that how that ideal is reached is going to look different from person to person based on their personality/gifts and circumstances and even changes based on your life stage. State that it is not only ok but that it is GOOD “to mold that into our own circumstances and understand how to apply it best and in the right spirit in our own lives.”

    May I ask, do you see that sentiment present in Mr. Piper’s response, that of thinking for yourself?

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  89. Wild Honey,

    “Acknowledge that there is an ideal to strive for but that how that ideal is reached is going to look different from person to person based on their personality/gifts and circumstances and even changes based on your life stage.”
    +++++++++

    i appreciate your comments, Wild Honey.

    i’m totally interrupting the conversation here, but (well, there’s no stopping me now),…

    i would say ideals have gotten crazily specific and detailed in the last 20 years or so. i’m just thinking about my growing up years in christianland. what mattered was how you treated people. not all these rules, rules, and more rules.

    sheesharama… christian culture has been going more and more in the direction of sahdi oraybia.

    i think things are starting to balance out, at least a little (thanks to people saying, “no, i don’t think so” in honest and public conversations like happen here).

    i firmly believe these totalitarian-in-name-of-God trends are simply incompatible with survival of the species, and as such will mutate away. not quickly enough, though.

    perhaps i’ll be able to observe my grandchildren and great grandchildren (great-great?) from the hereafter. (not to say other perhaps more enormous problems won’t be happening.)

    as i go through life, i find my criteria for conduct, for what is good and right, etc. is shrinking to the most basic life-giving things. kindness, & personal responsibility. that might be it.

    which of course won’t solve complex world problems, (well, maybe they would help) — but it makes me a better human being, a better citizen, a better member of my communities. brings people together, instead of keeping them apart.

    i’m sure i’m rambling into other subjects now.

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  90. elastigirl:

    i would say ideals have gotten crazily specific and detailed in the last 20 years or so.i’m just thinking about my growing up years in christianland.what mattered was how you treated people.not all these rules, rules, and more rules.

    I agree. My grandfather was recently describing growing up Southern Baptist in the backwoods in the 30s and 40s. Their community was too rural and small for a pastor, so even though they had a church building, they only had the occasional itinerant preacher wandering through to preach on a Sunday morning. But he has fond memories of Saturday night sing alongs at the church growing up.

    His mother (my great-grandma) was illiterate. She just didn’t see the point of it when there were peas to shell and corn to husk. And yet she was a devoted Christian at the same time. So when I hear people being black and white about needing “deep theology” or black and white about reading the Bible for so much time every single day, for example, I can’t help but wonder where it’s coming from.

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  91. Wild Honey,

    “when I hear people being black and white about needing “deep theology” or black and white about reading the Bible for so much time every single day, for example, I can’t help but wonder where it’s coming from.”
    ++++++++++++

    i’d say faith in christianity. the system of ideas.

    not faith in God.

    in my observation, that is what christianity has become. faith in itself.

    christianity is what people make of it. that’s what people have made of it.

    i say no thanks.

    it means i have a faith that has no name a weird feeling.

    (to be clear, it’s faith in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, and nothing else.)

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  92. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    “Implying something without ever saying it directly is a classic form of Plausible Deniability… gaslighting…”
    ++++++++++++

    i consider john piper to be king of the gaslighters.

    i consider the current iteration of christian culture to be a religion of gaslighting.

    “you must do this or else… “ (pregnant pause, implying something too horrible for words: the sky will fall, and it will be curtains. because of God.)

    i’ve heard these things in every sermon for the last 20 years. every bible study. every small group. in fact, i hear variations of it at every prayer meeting at my beloved prayer group i started some years ago. i say nothing, and wait until the subject changes.

    i’ve said things in the past. it goes like this:

    “well, i didn’t do it and the sky didn’t fall on me. in fact… you didn’t do it, either– did the sky fall on you? if God still answers my prayers, does that mean curtains happened?”

    “i never said the sky would fall. and i certainly never said curtains.”

    …but i’ve learned that to maintain my prayer group, it’s best to be very conservative on sharing my ‘unorthodox’ ideas.

    such is the life of an oddball. i’ve had a lifetime of practice.

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  93. Ken F (aka Tweed): I am no Piper fan, but in this case I do not think his advice is all that bad – he basically says try to go to church on Sundays when you can and don’t stress too much if you cannot. Nothing very much wrong with that.

    Agreed. Never thought I would be defending Piper, but this appears to be one of his less objectionable commentaries. Even if I would personally assert that regularly assembling with the saints does not equate to doing church.

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  94. W,

    Wild Honey,
    I do see that sentiment of being free to do what is necessary, but again I believe that is at the very least in part my perspective on this topic. For me, the “if possible” is enough but I feel I understand your point better focusing in on the quote you zeroed in on in the earlier post. I can see where a person who was heavily dependent on Piper in this case might feel the anxiety of needing to adjust to meet that ideal circumstance. My life is filled with a variety of influences that admittedly includes John Piper but also people like Carl Trueman and Aimee Byrd, The Wartburg Watch (been reading for a few years but don’t comment much) and others. I try but do not always succeed to take the best and most useful items from the influences in my life and apply them while also trying to be a critical thinker and not idolize people. Not everyone operates that way.

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  95. elastigirl,

    I believe people in general tend to operate with a herd mentality in part for self preservation but when pressed would display an individualized version of the general “party line”. I think its important to give people a safe place to have variety on the secondary issues and promote critical thought about the people and institutions we hold in high esteem. I do think there are hill we should be willing to die on but worship on Sunday versus another day is not one of them. I find value in participating with the global church in a day of worship but if you cant it would be better to worship on Tuesday for example then not at all.

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  96. elastigirl,

    Thanks for the link, I see a lot of assumption on Piper’s part in the quotes that were included. I think the most powerful part of the article was the suggestions at the end. It is difficult to see the weakness in our own thinking sometimes and also being familiar with a topic we can sometimes assume certain things and not be intentional with our words. Is that a regular blog or author or was that a one off piece from “Flying Free”?

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  97. elastigirl,

    Its hard to get away from “party line” thinking but I’m encouraged that people are questioning the status quo. My circle of friends and church community is influenced by Piper and others but also people like Carl Trueman and Aimee Byrd. We have had serious critical discussions about the leadership/ idolatry of the modern evangelical community. I think it is best to take the best and most useful items from the influences in our lives while having a safe place to think critically and re-humanize (my word) those we have begun to elevate in an unhealthy way.

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  98. Robert,

    “He’s not a strict Sabbatarian that I know of, and in any case, Christians of all stripes have pretty much agreed that even if you have a strict view of the Sabbath, it doesn’t apply to those whose work involves saving lives.”
    +++++++++++++++

    just a reminder that if the Sabbath on Sunday (or else!) applies to everyone except those saving lives, all aspects of society that christian leaders and lay expect to be available to them will be shut down.

    no air travel on Sundays
    no taxis, trains, buses
    no police when crime happens
    no meals out at restaurants after church
    no place to buy milk, bread, coffee, batteries, other things that our lives run on
    no place to buy pain reliever, cold medicine, first aid supplies
    no place to buy gas to put in one’s car

    …unless of course these employees were consigned to hell from the get-go so it doesn’t really matter anyway.

    (there are so many logical disconnects in christian thinking…)

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  99. Robert,

    “He never tells the woman that it’s a sin to work on Sundays. He just gives some general advice to try not to work on Sunday if at all possible.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    he does say, as Wild Honey pointed out above,

    “When we worship on the first day of the week, we say that Jesus is Lord.” What is the implication here if one is unable to “worship” on the first day of the week”

    such a loaded statement. doesn’t matter if he meant it to be or not. it is. people are responsible for what they say — exponentially so when they are in positions of influence. exponentially exponentially so when they have been anointed with ‘guru’ status (as ridiculous as that is).

    the implication is that if you don’t worship on Sunday your worship is inferior. you are an inferior christian, not one of the elite. God is less pleased. You are risk of kindling God’s hot displeasure.

    there is room galore for the neurotic christian’s imagination to run wild. and i would contend that john piper and all his celebrity peers on down through the local leaders have embraced ideologies and communication that foster neuroses.

    underneath the friendly face, the average christian is a frightened neurotic mess, in my observation.

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  100. Jeremy:
    My circle of friends and church community is influenced by Piper and others but also people like Carl Trueman and Aimee Byrd. We have had serious critical discussions about the leadership/ idolatry of the modern evangelical community.

    It’s encouraging to see that these kinds of discussions are taking place. Speaking of idolatry, did you happen to notice this particular line from the nurse asking Mr. Piper the question: “I have known your name as long as I have known my own.” I can’t say I’m too excited that this made it past the editing process of whoever selected the question to present it to Mr. Piper. Do you feel like this sort of attitude should be overlooked by Mr. Piper (or any pastor/spiritual mentor), or do you think there’s an appropriate way to address it?

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  101. Wild Honey: Do you feel like this sort of attitude should be overlooked by Mr. Piper (or any pastor/spiritual mentor), or do you think there’s an appropriate way to address it?

    To quote HUG: “Feature, not bug.” The fact the the questions are so fawning and ridiculous is what bothers me even more than the answers. It is why I question whether they are real questions from real people. They have the feel of being staged. And they show far too much idolatry for Piper.

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  102. Wild Honey,

    I think it probably happens so much that it most likely becomes white noise. I also know sometimes people feel it’s easier gloss over a statement like that rather than address it. As for how to address it I would say 1 Corinthians 3 would be the model, we are not of Piper or Luther in the same way that the NT Church was not of Paul or Apollo’s, but of Jesus Christ, one church focused on Him and the revelation of the scriptures.

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  103. elastigirl: the implication is that if you don’t worship on Sunday your worship is inferior. you are an inferior christian, not one of the elite. God is less pleased. You are risk of kindling God’s hot displeasure.

    Which is the greater transgression: Not attending a church regularly or shaming the flock into submission to the teachings and traditions of men? Forsaking to assemble under a banner of aberrant faith or reluctantly surrendering to error because Sunday attendance is the right thing to do.

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  104. Jeremy:

    I think it probably happens so much that it most likely becomes white noise.I also know sometimes people feel it’s easier gloss over a statement like that rather than address it.

    I agree. But does that make it ok? Particularly for something that Mr. Piper and his staff know will be read by thousands all around the world? “With great power comes great responsibility.” Is the power and responsibility being handled with due diligence here?

    Overlooking idolatry.

    Presenting only an ideal without encouragement to think for one’s self in how to mold that ideal, in the right spirit, to one’s own circumstances.

    Neglecting an opportunity to extend grace for a situation that isn’t as bad as the writer sets it out as.

    At what point do we stop offering excuses and start saying, hey, this isn’t ok and it needs to change?

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  105. Wild Honey,

    “At what point do we stop offering excuses and start saying, hey, this isn’t ok and it needs to change?”
    +++++++++++++++++

    well, yesterday.

    ‘this is bull$h|t’ would be a nice touch, i think.

    it’s a technical word. says it so well.

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  106. Wild Honey: At what point do we stop offering excuses and start saying, hey, this isn’t ok and it needs to change?

    MANY people have been trying to do this. But his bubble will not break until his followers wake up from their stupor.

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  107. Ken F (aka Tweed): I wish more Christian “leaders” would hold him (John Piper) accountable for his words. For example, his tweet about watching kids making out means he is either a peeping tom or a liar. There is no good way to spin that tweet, but he still gets a pass.

    Amazing, isn’t it?! For insanity to enjoy such popularity!

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  108. Wild Honey: Oh my.

    When using “oh my” in the context of John Piper, I believe it’s more technically correct to use “(chuckle) oh my.” The reference is this video by him: https://youtu.be/3OkUPc2NLrM. This particular video has rightly gotten quite a lot of negative publicity, yet Piper remains popular among his followers. If something like this does not wake them up, nothing will.

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  109. Max, you’re the wisest commenter Every. Single. Time. It took me 50+ years but I’m in your camp. It’s hard for me to believe Jesus had any of this; mega church, smoke machine, rock concert, props for every single life topic sermon series, pastor worshiping; in mind when He walked/taught the earth. I prefer studying on my own and living a life that (hopefully) shows Christ through my deeds and actions, rather than my words. I’m shamed by my fellow “Christians” for not being in “fellowship” on a weekly basis. The irony is that the shaming comes from people that check the attendance box, go to church to get the latest gossip, and mistreat people on the daily. This girl has seen too many wolves in sheep’s clothing within the walls of the church to continue to be eaten alive. We’re to pray for discernment but once we receive it, the “church” wants you to disregard it, shut your mouth, and keep drinking the koolaid. I’m a Christ follower, not a church follower. We’re not exactly popular people these days.
    Max,

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  110. ewelk66: I’m a Christ follower, not a church follower.

    Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. The institution we call church is OK if it is reaching lost folks for Christ, discipling them in the Word, and mobilizing them with their unique spiritual giftings to fulfill the Great Commission together. Anything less than that is doing church without God. Very few churches actually past the Great Commission test. Yep, better to be a Christ follower, than a church follower. The Christian experience is about relationship, not religion.

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  111. Ken F (aka Tweed): “(chuckle) oh my.”

    What should a woman’s submission to her Sabbath look like, if she’s gotta work? Part of that answer’s clearly gonna depend on what kind of work we’re talking about. If she’s a pastor, working on Sunday is just ducky! So long as she only pastors women, girls, and boys before their Bar Mitzvah. Of course, could also depend on what kind of sabbath we’re talking about. Maybe we should change it to Monday! At Troas, when they assembled themselves together for the Sunday night service, they never got around to breaking bread until Monday! And it’s already the day of rest for lots of pastors and barbers! (chuckle) Oh my!

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