Todd Wilhelm Joins Dee at TWW


My good friend and TWW contributor, Todd Wilhelm

“My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand.” Martin Luther


 

I often get emails from people who say that this website is one of the few that discuss the following issues.

  • membership contracts/covenants as a legal contract
  • membership covenants/contracts that are set up in way to deny the freedom of conscience of the individual
  • churches which pursue their former members when they resign due to conscientious objection
  • retroactive church discipline ( I believe I coined the term)
  • the authoritarian culture of 9 Marks (aka 9 Marx)
  • the authoritarian culture of The Gospel Coalition (of which 9 Marx is a proud member)
  • the seemingly bizarre worship of anything by CJ Mahaney. Mark Dever has yet to speak out against Mahaney and his BFFs.

My understanding on all of the above was seriously impacted by my friendship with Todd.

The Guy From Dubai: What happened?

I introduced Todd, aka *The Guy from Dubai* in a post titled My My Dubai. Todd was an air traffic controller for over 30 years. In his last eight years, he worked in Dubai (UAE). During that time, he became a member of the 9 Marks church,UCCD (United Christian Church of Dubai), which is led by John Folmar who is joined at the hip with Mark Dever. He is also admired by The Gospel Coalition. Sometimes I have trouble figuring out the difference between 9 Marks, The Gospel Coalition and Acts 29. Is there really any difference? Folmar and his wife travel back and forth to Dubai about as often as my husband drives back and forth to big Duke. You can be sure that big bucks are spent to keep him on the conference circuit.

Here is a post that my cohort wrote in 2015:  A Crying Need for Reformed Churches in Dubai? At UCCD, Todd was being groomed by John Folmar as a deacon. Remember that. They thought he was quality 9 Marks  leadership material until…

As a church leader, Todd would be expected to oversee the book store for the church. Todd, who had been a member of a Sovereign Grace Church prior to coming to Dubai, was well aware of the serious problems surrounding CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.

So, when he spotted books by Mahaney being sold in the UCCD bookstore, he wanted those sales to stop. In fact, if they didn’t, he was not going to continue to attend UCCD.

9 Marks leaders love CJ Mahaney because Mark Dever (aka the 9 Marks’ Papa Bear) loves Mahaney

Therefore, John Folmar looooved CJ Mahaney.  Here is what happened next.

I am a Care Group Leader at our church.  My church loves all things put out by 9 Marks, T4G, TGC, etc. When all this stuff on SGM started breaking, I started advising my pastors via email of what was going down.  I should add that I attended a Sovereign Grace church in the United States before moving overseas. I had a run in with ___________, an assistant pastor there who headed up CLG’s. I now refer to him as the Care Group Nazi, but that is another long story. Suffice it to say I was told (screamed at) that I should find another church to attend because I was not attending Care Group regularly. My care group leader’s heart was revealed to me, and I shortly thereafter took his advice to find another church. Imagine my shock when I found out this domineering man was made the senior pastor of another SGM church!

Anyway, when CJ fled to Dever’s church I advised my pastor (in the foreign country where I now live) that he may want to advise his close friend Dever to think twice about providing cover for CJ because it could involve him in a messy situation. I believe my message was looked at skeptically. I continued to share information with my pastors via email, and I think I was pretty much ignored. I send stuff to three pastors and only one of them responds, and that rarely. I think this is by design. Well, about a month ago a pastor in my church wanted to meet me for lunch. At that lunch he proposed making me a deacon. He wanted me to take charge of the book ministry. He knows reading is my passion. I said that sounded like something I would be interested in. As we discussed the job he asked if I would have any problem with selling/promoting Mahaney’s books. It hadn’t crossed my mind until that point, but I told him I absolutely would have problems. There was no way I could, in good conscience, have anything to do with selling/promoting anything authored by Mahaney.

At that point he was somewhat put out and said that would be a problem as they consider a couple of Mahaney’s books “go to books” for newer Christians. He said he would have to talk to the elder board and see whether they wanted me to have the job and stop selling books by Mahaney or find someone else for the job. I pretty much knew what the answer would be. I told him whatever they decided was fine with me, but there was no way I would compromise on this.

I never heard back from him until after meeting with another pastor for lunch who said he heard I had turned down the offer to become a deacon. I was a bit aghast. I told him what the pastor had said about discussing it with the elders and asked if that had ever taken place. It had not. Shortly after our lunch, he called me and stated that he had discussed my situation with two or three elders, and they decided not to offer the job to me. I didn’t confront him with his dishonesty, but just said I was fine with that.

As they continue to pump Mahaney’s books, the pastor recently held up the Humility: True Greatness book from the pulpit and highly recommended it. As the RBDs and my local church leaders refuse to stand in opposition to Mahaney, I have grown more frustrated. The leaders have chosen to remain quiet, while I made the conscious decision to speak out.

Todd told *unhelpful* truth to UCCD.

He then began to post some of his concerns to the UCCD Facebook page

Our church has a private Facebook page, so I decided to utilize that forum speak out against CJ. I simply linked to many blog articles that spoke to the facts of the scandal. I included a few from The Wartburg Watch. I figured this would attract the attention of my pastors, and I was correct. Here is an email I received after having posted links:

He received this email from a church leader. It is apparently *unhelpful* for members to read the truth.

As you may have noticed, I have removed several of your past posts from our church’s Facebook page. The posts removed deal with the crisis at Sovereign Grace. I sympathize with your concern for these important issues, however, I feel that the posts deal with the issues at play in ways that are unhelpful for our congregation and the members of the Facebook group.

Thank you for your understanding, please feel free to speak with me about any concerns you have!

Todd attempted to get the church leaders to understand the problems with Mahaney.

But the boys were having none of it. If Dever loves him, they love him and don’t wish to be confuse with the facts.

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

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

Church contracts and retroactive discipline.

Finally, Todd had enough and he resigned from the church.  He wasn’t on church discipline when he left. So,  case closed? No way. Todd was going to be listed for months on the member care list. Folmar made the ridiculous decision to place Todd on the *member care list* which is 9 Marx speak for “You ain’t getting out of here until you can prove you are a member of a 9 Marx approved church.” In other words, you are not free to leave unless you do exactly what they tell you to do. This is what I called *retroactive church discipline.*

Because this church is in Dubai, it doesn’t have to abide by the laws in the US. In the US, a church MUST let a member leave upon receiving documentation from the member which state he has resigned.

Todd stood firm. He was not going to quickly join another church after his experience with UCCD and SGM. He kept writing letters to the church asking them to remove his name. It took months but Todd prevailed.

Years ago, I dubbed Todd the official™ TWW hero. This was due to his decision to stand up for the SGM victims. Remember, he was living in a foreign country and friendships are not easy to come by.

Todd and his family return home to Arizona and he makes his mark following the Tom Chantry, Anthony Moore, ARBCA, etc.

Todd and his family eventually returned their home in Arizona. He continued to write his blog Thou Art the Man.  He decided to follow the Tom Chantry trial and attended all court sessions, much to the dismay of the ARBCA folks. His write ups of the court proceedings were thorough and informative. His ability to get to the heart of the matter caused him to find evidence that the leaders of ARBCA had allegedly known of Chantry’s actions and had attempted to keep things quiet. Todd was dogged in his pursuit despite some criticism. I believe his work led to the resignation of a number of ARBCA churches. Thankfully, Chantry is now a guest of the state of Arizona for the next couple of decades.

Todd was the first to expose the Anthony Moore situation at Cedarville and raised questions about how the university vets their educators.

In other words, Todd does a great job investigating a situation and writing it up.

Todd has taught me much about living out the Christian life.

Todd would have my head if I told you how he lives out the Christian life in some amazing ways. One day, the 9Marks tribe will understand what they missed in Todd in their single minded pursuit of hard core membership nonsense.

Here is what Brent Detwiler wrote today on the closing post at Thou Art the Man.

Todd is a truth teller and that truth has educated the Church which suffers from so many corrupt leaders. This has meant the world to so many victims of spiritual, physical and sexual abuse. If not for his efforts, so much evil would have been covered up. Instead, their stories were told!

Todd is not a man pleaser. He is a convictional Christian. He does what is right, not convenient or expedient. Todd has put himself at risk and persevered for a long time. Why? He loves those who are weak, been abused, and find it hard to speak for themselves.  He has defended their cause.

He also hates evil, like God hates evil. He has done so much to expose darkness among evangelical elites. I am so grateful for his work and the many ground breaking stories he covered that others in the mainstream evangelical press were afraid to cover or unwilling to cover because it might decrease their subscription base or followership.

I am also grateful for his friendship. He is one of two men, to whom I owe my life. He sustained me when I could have perished. Todd will lay his life down for you.

Todd loves to ride his bike in the desert early in the morning. He is an excellent photographer and posts on Instagram, He also loves to scuba dive and spent some wonderful days diving in the Maldives while doing some underwater photography. He also finds the most beautiful music.

He is also my friend. I’m so grateful for his support as I have worked through a number of issues, the most recent was being reported to the police. Wade Burleson told me he thought it would be a good idea if we joined forces.

My agreement with Todd is simple. He can post whenever he likes. He will have no set schedule. He’s also agreed to stay away from politics. I suspect the next few months are going to be nuts in that area!

Now, the only thing I have to do is figure out what time it is in Arizona. Right now, they are on Pacific time and in the *Fall back* season, they are on Mountain time. I’m writing this here so I can check it to remember.

Welcome, Todd. Thank you for considering my offer. Given our combined life experiences, you and I could be considered the elder statesmen of the blogging world! We’ll keep those kids in line…

PS: 9 Marks/UCCD We’re still waiting…

Todd has agreed to sign away his privacy rights so UCCD/9Marx could tell their side of the story. Jonathan Leeman sounded like he was going to have a seizure when I reached out to him. They all love to say *You don’t know the whole story.* Well, we gave them a chance and they declined. Wonder why?


Comments

Todd Wilhelm Joins Dee at TWW — 74 Comments

  1. The brave good guys find each other, as well as the courageous lovely ladies, here at TWW, and out there on the net. Ever grateful to come in contact with Dee’s friends and colleagues in God’s family here and at their websites: Tim Fall, Wade Burleson, Todd Wilhelm, Max who comments, HUG also comments, et al. God has genuinely good guys and ladies, in contrast to some of the off-the-mark (maybe even x 9) ones we read about.

    Back when overseas looking for something that would not result in trouble (hotel room had been searched) – that’s when TWW appeared online. Returning ever since, wherever in the world, and staying out of trouble.

    Indeed TWW is a safe place. Thanks, Dee et al for taking some hits for God’s team and providing this safe place of writing truth to power. Ever grateful to Jesus, who is our ultimate Truth to the powers of this world that are a click (or more) off.

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  2. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    When I told him that Todd would sign a release so his info could be shared, Leeman incensed said “So who is going to adjudicate?” I said that this has nothing to do with pronouncing binding verdicts and everything to do with honestly trying to see what went wrong.

    So few people out there are interested in the truth. They hide behind their rules and pretend they have the truth.

    Take Dever. He refused to do online services because he said that God was chastising his people with the pandemic and the folks had to contemplate this. Dever is like Piper. They believe they know exactly what God is doing. I have a feeling he got pushback because he is doing these little sermonettes during the period of chastisement.

    I tweets that I was grateful to Dever because he told us that his people caused the pandemic because they were being chastised. I said that I now knew who to blame.

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  3. “Sometimes I have trouble figuring out the difference between 9 Marks, The Gospel Coalition and Acts 29. Is there really any difference?” (Dee)
    9Marks and TGC are linked at the hip. Acts 29 is the radical fringe of New Calvinism. While 9Marks/TGC might view the Acts 29 bad boys as a little too radical, they put up with them for the common good of the New Calvinist movement. They all swim in the same sea of aberrant faith.

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  4. Max: Welcome Todd.

    I meant to say “Welcome, Todd” (needed a comma) … “Welcome Todd” could be interpreted as a command for others to welcome him (which they should of course).

    Commas are useful … they actually could save lives! For example:

    “Let’s eat, Grandma!” vs. “Let’s eat Grandma!”

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  5. Hey Todd,
    Welcome home. I look forward to reading your TWW posts!

    I’ve seen a little bit of Arizona – Yuma proving grounds, Grand Canyon, Painted Desert………..
    I saw a couple of dust devils and some huge cacti on the drive from Yuma to the Canyon ….. So many breathtaking views! Wish we had had more time to get off the beaten paths!
    Winslow – couldn’t help but think about that Eagles song…….. And, with that low humidity, there are no bad hair days! I loved visiting your state — lots of good memories and lots of photographs!

    Arizona is a magnificent state! I daydream of going back there to see the Superstition Mountains some day – on horseback! Is that possible?

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  6. Max,

    It really is “odd” (being sarcastic) how much not just the “New Calvanist”, but so many of the “oppressive” “Christian leaders” oppose openness and transparency when the NT clearly speaks of “light” and being the “light of the world” and many, many other similar examples. In the “grand scheme of things” leaders being truly open and transparent, even when the have warts, and (key here) being willing to deal with them, can really make them “great leaders”… if only they would realize this…

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  7. Thanks to all for your warm welcome. I am honored that Dee has invited me to write with her, I probably can’t live up to the hype, but I’ll do my best.

    As for pugs…. I prefer larger dogs. (I hope Dee misses this comment!) My wife has owned a few Boston Terriers in the past, and she will likely have another one someday. Bostons are funny in a quirky sort of way. My got a nice big German Shepherd mix to protect her as she returned from Dubai several months ahead of me. I really like him. I think my favorite breed is Golden Retrievers. I have had two of them. Here is a video of our Shepherd: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBXBg5_jWPk/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    For all you cat lovers, I am highly allergic to them, so I have never had one.

    As for suggestions on churches in the East Valley – I can only tell you a couple to stay away from – Center Church, formerly known as Sovereign Grace Church of Gilbert, and Grace Covenant Church, also in Gilbert. Grace Covenant is pastored by one of Chantry’s biggest enablers, John Giarrizzo. He was the top dog in ARBCA for several years and his church is one of only 16 remaining in ARBCA. That should tell you all you need to know.

    Other than that I tell people to check the 9Marx church list prior to visiting a church. If they see the church on that list I would advise against attending. I would also steer clear of any church that insists on making you sign a membership contract.

    Of course, most churches are still not open in the Phoenix area and as it appears COVID is on the upsurge in the area it may be some time before they open again.

    If you ever get the urge to see a circus you may want to drive north to Scottsdale on the 101, take the MacDonald Dr exit, go one mile west, and pay a visit to Mark Driscoll’s clown show! And of course, his place is now open. He likely couldn’t afford to stay closed much longer.

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  8. “…but so many of the “oppressive” “Christian leaders” oppose openness and transparency when the NT clearly speaks of “light” and being the “light of the world” and many, many other similar examples.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    it’s like they’re above such things. unsophisticated things like transparency are for the simple little people, but when you reach a certain level they don’t really apply (they seem to think).

    well, i think they’re thoroughly unimpressive.
    ————

    “In the “grand scheme of things” leaders being truly open and transparent, even when the have warts, and (key here) being willing to deal with them, can really make them “great leaders”… if only they would realize this…”
    +++++++++

    ha — it’s very true. but they’re not interested in leadership. not really. power & spotlight & histrionics hat, sure.

    they’ve been namedropping with the words “lead”, “leading”, “leader”, “leadership”, and “hey everyone, i’m the leader, look at me leading as i lead in leadership!” for so long they are just a caricature shell now. as is their understanding of the words.

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  9. Jeff Chalmers,

    I couldn’t agree more that great leaders aren’t afraid to be transparent and open. They will neither attempt to put on a mask of sinless perfection nor attempt to project humility (a la CJ Mahaney) by claiming the title of ‘worst sinner‘.

    The apostle Paul said ‘Follow my example, as follow the example of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1)

    For me, this biblical statement has always come with the inference that when a Christian leader diverges from the example of Christ, we don’t follow them down that divergent track or give them our unqualified support. We follow the example of any Christian leader only to the extent that they are continuing to follow the example of Christ.

    The New Calvinist movement works on a different (and as I see it, unbiblical) premise: that church ‘leaders’ or ‘elders’ have inherent ‘authority’ and that lowly pew-sitters must submit to and obey those ‘leaders’ unconditionally based on that ‘position of authority‘. Ironically, such ‘leaders’ or ‘elders’ often appoint themselves.

    Christ’s example is of the ultimate servant-leadership: ‘he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant‘ (Phil. 2:7) and ultimately laid down his life for others. By contrast, New Calvinist leadership seems to be all about making themselves something and then to lordIng it over those they should be serving.

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  10. Todd Wilhelm: For all you cat lovers, I am highly allergic to them, so I have never had one.

    But it’s safe if cats respond online, right? Asking for a friend. 😉

    More seriously, I have read that a lot of people are church shopping online during the pandemic, taking advantage of live and recorded worship services to check out the content of preaching and get some sense of the congregation, depending on the available format.

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  11. Jeff Chalmers: so many of the “oppressive” “Christian leaders” oppose openness and transparency when the NT clearly speaks of “light” and being the “light of the world”

    “Unlike most teachers, we are not fraudulent hucksters of God’s Message; but with “transparent” motives, as commissioned by God, in God’s presence and in communion with Christ, so we speak” (2 Cor 2:17).

    Thus, those who “oppose openness and transparency” in their ministries are: (1) not commissioned by God, (2) not in God’s presence, (3) not in communion with Christ. They are “fraudulent hucksters of God’s Message.”

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  12. Sjon: nor attempt to project humility (a la CJ Mahaney) by claiming the title of ‘worst sinner‘.

    In Mahaney’s case, I suspect that the self-description of “worst sinner” was in part a method for control of his congregations. It allowed him to teach them that they too were “the worst sinners they know”, and this led to all sorts of problems:

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

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  13. Todd Wilhelm: I tell people to check the 9Marx church list prior to visiting a church

    While they are at it, it would be prudent to also check links to member churches on The Gospel Coalition and Acts 29 websites. All are places to avoid, but not all are on each list. Heck, might as well check at other bad-boy places to steer clear of … e.g., Founder’s Ministries and ARBCA affiliated churches. A believer doesn’t want to stumble into any of those places unawares!

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  14. Todd: I expect Dee sweet-talked you! We don’t get told the Laws of the Medes & Persians (which were handed down to us on graven tablets) till we are at the “next level”. They are:

    – we don’t have any rules here so make sure you don’t break any
    – we’re free & easy here so make sure you don’t step out of line

    Keep these, and ye shall be far from the Kingdom of Heaven!

    I expect Pastor Dee will disfellowship me for this.

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  15. Friend,

    “I have read that a lot of people are church shopping online during the pandemic, taking advantage of live and recorded worship services to check out the content of preaching and get some sense of the congregation”
    ++++++++++++

    interesting. as far as preaching,… i find it hard to believe that they really find it helpful.

    I used to find sermons helpful. and then something changed (this change i’ve mentioned that seems to have happened about 25 or so years ago).

    I don’t think it was me who changed.

    Across the board, no matter where i went in christianland or who i listened to, or what book i happened to read, i kept waiting for something insightful, something useful, for something merely interesting to gnaw on. it never happened. it wasn’t there.

    the delivery was compelling. but then a moment later it was like, “So?”

    it’s exactly like that Ted Talk, “How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk | Will Stephen | TEDxNewYork”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S0FDjFBj8o

    a ton of nothing, but really dressed up pretending to be something.

    it’s as if the insight & inspiration faucet has been turned off hard at the tap (where christian preachers, speakers, & book writers are concerned. For the record, there’s plenty of insight here at TWW, however)

    i know in music & art, inspiration immediately shuts off when self and self-validation are involved, and turns back on when you disappear (and let the music & art happen as the main event, making yourself a selfless vehicle).

    i tend to think that’s what’s happening here.

    So much “self” (whether it’s “yes, i really am all that. i’m the bees knees” or “I’m dirt, but longing for validation”) that the tipping point has been reached where inspiration just simply shuts off in christianland.

    like, the scene in movies or TV of a satellite shot of a large area of land (a country, a state, etc) at night, where the lights go off in wave across the land.

    i’m sure money factors in here, as well.

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  16. elastigirl: interesting. as far as preaching,… i find it hard to believe that they really find it helpful.

    Honestly, I hadn’t thought about the content of sermons helping people in their daily lives or understanding of the faith.

    I was thinking about other things, like whether the preacher says that demons will infest those who do not tithe sufficiently.

    If a sermon has an uplifting or thought-provoking message, maybe the church is worth checking out.

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  17. Todd Wilhelm: If you ever get the urge to see a circus you may want to drive north to Scottsdale on the 101, take the MacDonald Dr exit, go one mile west, and pay a visit to Mark Driscoll’s clown show! And of course, his place is now open. He likely couldn’t afford to stay closed much longer.

    EEK! That’s just asking for trouble. I was just reading about a church in Oregon that is the location of a the largest outbreak so far in the state-236 cases. YIKES!

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  18. elastigirl: it’s exactly like that Ted Talk, “How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk | Will Stephen | TEDxNewYork”.

    Just substitute ‘spiritual’, ‘sanctified’, (you know the drill) for ‘smart’, and yeah elastigirl, you’re right on the money with the TED talk analogy.
    And they’ll love it!
    Like trained seals clapping their flippers together for bits of herring.

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  19. Sjon: project humility (a la CJ Mahaney) by claiming the title of ‘worst sinner‘.

    That always struck me as “Worse Sinner Than Thou” One-Upmanship.
    The Calvinista variant being “More Totally Depraved Than Thou.”

    Meditate upon this:
    Are either of those really something you want to brag about?
    And play One-Upmanship with?

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  20. elastigirl: it’s like they’re above such things. unsophisticated things like transparency are for the simple little people, but when you reach a certain level they don’t really apply (they seem to think).

    “Morals are for men… Not… GODS!”
    — “Where No Man has Gone Before” Second Star Trek pilot, 1966)

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  21. elastigirl: interesting. as far as preaching,… i find it hard to believe that they really find it helpful.

    I used to find sermons helpful. and then something changed

    Same here. When I realized I could sum up the takeaway content of most 45-minute sermons in a sentence or two, I also realized I had much better ways to spend my time.

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  22. Friend: If a sermon has an uplifting or thought-provoking message, maybe the church is worth checking out.

    I remember vividly one such sermon.
    It was delivered by a gifted young woman in her last year of seminary before ordination as an ELCA (Lutheranism) pastor.
    In it she deconstructed the old chestnut about how a shepherd will break a wayward sheep’s leg in order to teach it a lesson.
    Papa Chuck (founder of Calvary Chapel) was particularly fond of that one.
    She exposed it for what it is; a cruel fiction with no basis in practical reality, and when she was done, there was nary a dry eye in the place.

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  23. Sòpwith: Todd, will you be discussing the inherent
    falsity of the Calvinistic gospel?

    Sopwith,
    I hold to the reformed doctrines of the faith – Calvinism if you must; therefore, were I to discuss the matter I would not agree that it is an inherent falsity. That said, my intention is to steer clear of discussions on the subject. Twenty years ago I would have engaged, but these days I do not consider it to be worth the effort.

    Here is the “gospel” I hold to. If you hold to the same, then I consider us brothers. We can argue the particulars but it is unlikely either of us will change the other’s mind, and on the day when we no longer see through a mirror dimly we will likely discover that neither of our views were totally correct.

    “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
    For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.” 1 Cor. 15:2-5

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  24. Todd Wilhelm: Here is the “gospel” I hold to.

    I completely agree with this standard. But I find in practice that I get excoriated by my former tribe for believing that we are not saved by adhering to various doctrinal standards. By the standard you set here, there is nothing that excludes, for example, Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox (or Protestants). I am now believing that God is much more inclusive than we can imagine, even on our best days.

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  25. Todd Wilhelm: and on the day when we no longer see through a mirror dimly we will likely discover that neither of our views were totally correct.

    I think there’s a scene in Purgatorio or Paradiso where Dante writes about a theologian whose entire career was a detailed angelology. Upon “no longer seeing through a mirror dimly”, he discovers that ALL of his theories and theology about angels was wrong. This being Paradise or Purgatory (not Hell), his reaction upon learning this is to have a laugh about the joke being on him.

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