What’s Going On With John MacArthur and Grace Community Church? Must True Believers Vote Republican?

The Lagoon Nebula: NASA/Hubble

“The unholy alliance of religion and politics collaborated in finding Jesus guilty.” ― Eugene H. Peterson,


I kept meaning to write this post and kept getting sidetracked. Several things on social media have transpired. So, here we go. The events in this post are changing by the minute So this list is complete as of 3 PM, 9/11. (As far as I can tell.)

Grace Community Church(GCC) faces off with Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, and LA County to keep the church open.

In late July, Macarthur opened his church despite the local government mandating that churches could not meet indoors. In the following article, there is a discussion of civil disobedience and the broader church. According to Christianity Today:

John MacArthur announced that his megachurch would hold in-person, indoor services, despite California’s recent COVID-19 restrictions banning in-person meetings. In a statement explaining the rationale for the church’s actions in the midst of a pandemic, the pastor wrote:

Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority. Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.

LA County decided to fine GCC. GCC fought back. (8/20/20)

Judge Rules No Court Order Prohibits Indoor Worship, Attorneys Say; LA County Asks To Sanction Grace Community Church Up To $20,000

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that there is no court order in place that prohibits a San Fernando Valley megachurch from holding indoor worship services, attorneys said Thursday.

Jenna Ellis, an attorney for the Thomas More Society, which is representing pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, said Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff “correctly found there is no court order prohibiting Grace Community Church from holding indoor services.”

…However, the judge also put off a decision on whether the non-denominational, evangelical megachurch should face sanctions for holding large indoor services in spite of the county’s guidelines.

On 8/28, LA County tried a fourth time and their bid was rejected.

However, it was apparent in this finding that the judge gave the county some leeway and it was also apparent that the county would take them up on their offer.

The court held that the county’s attempt to obtain a restraining order did not meet statutory requirements and that a previous order did not justify a new temporary restraining order, but simply stayed an Aug. 14 order and gave the county permission to enforce its own health order.

On 8/30, LA County fought back and plan to take back the rented parking lot used by GCC since 1975.

The church has been renting this parking lot since 1975. This request came from the Public Works Department of the County. Church says Los Angeles County plans to take parking lot in retaliation for services amid Covid.

Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., which is about 20 miles north of Los Angeles, said it received a letter from the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works on Friday, informing them that they are being evicted from a parcel of land the church has used continuously since 1975.

If the church fails to vacate the premise by Oct. 1, the letter says, the district may enter the premises and remove Grace’s personal property, and Grace will be responsible for any district expenses.

The church has been told to remove all personal property before 10/1.  Did the church build anything on this parking lot, assuming that they would always have this rental? My father used to say that we should always remember that a rental can be taken back at any time. I usually say “There is always a loophole.” The church continued to fight back.

During this time, LA County was seeking fines from GCC.

The county is claiming that Grace Community Church, led by pastor John MacArthur, should face $8,000 in fines — or $1,000 each for eight acts of contempt they’re alleging. The county also seeks an additional $1,500 in fines for violations of court orders, bringing the total to $20,000.

“Defendants’ actions this past Sunday likewise constitute four separate violations of the TRO and Court of Appeal Order by each Defendant. Therefore, the Court should sanction each Defendant $1,500 per violation, for a total of $6,000 per Defendant,” the request reads. Both MacArthur and his church are named as defendants.

On Septemeber 9, a judge ruled that GCC is barred from meeting indoors. GCC also received a cease and desist letter, threatening arrest (? MacArthur)

Judge grants injunction barring John MacArthur, Grace Community Church from meeting indoors

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted a preliminary injunction against Grace Community Church, prohibiting Pastor John MacArthur from holding indoor worship services.

The County of Los Angeles has sought to stop the megachurch from hosting indoor services that have filled the sanctuary with many unmasked congregants sitting next to each other in recent weeks.

Los Angeles County attorneys recently sent a cease and desist letter to the megachurch, threatening arrest or a daily fine of $1,000.

…County officials sent a statement to Religion News Service, saying they were grateful for the court’s decision to uphold the county’s COVID-19 public health orders that temporarily ban indoor religious services.

… “We went to court only after significant efforts to work with the leaders of Grace Community Church to protect public health,” the statement read.

“We now look forward to working with church leaders on a plan to move services outdoors with physical distancing and the use of face coverings, which will allow worshipers to gather for religious observances in a manner that is lower risk and consistent with public health directives.”

MacArthur says that true believers must vote for Donald Trump.

Amid this mess, MacArthur took time out to say that Christians must vote for Donald Trump. That move will only cause more negative press and was unnecessarily combative given that most politicians in that area are Democrats. The Christian Post reported: John MacArthur says ‘true believers’ will vote for Trump, can’t affirm abortion and trans activism

Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur recently said that “any real” Christian will vote for Republican President Donald Trump in November because they cannot support the policy agenda of the Democratic Party.

Interestingly, this was a discussion that he had with the president of the FallKirk Center at Liberty University on 8/20.

“There’s no way that a Christian can affirm the slaughter of babies, homosexual activity, homosexual marriage, or any kind of gross immorality,” MacArthur asserted.

“No way we could stand behind a candidate who was affirming transgender behavior, which of course is really the ‘reprobate mind’ of Romans 1.”

MacArthur said he told Trump that abortion and LGBT matters “aren’t even political of us,” but rather “these things are biblical; these things are laid down by the Word of God

My thoughts on the mess

Government and religion

This is a hard one for me. I am a moderate libertarian at heart However, (This is not a political statement, merely an explanation of my general bent.) I’m a nurse and have several medical people in my family. I believe that all people have the right to worship as they see fit. I also believe that the government has a right to speak to health issues that might fall back on them. What happens when the government must care for the victims of a pandemic and its services become overwhelmed? I believe the government has the right to attempt to lessen the spread of a  dangerous virus.

At the same time, local laws can seem a bit capricious. I know we must follow the science. But how that science is interpreted sometimes appear mercurial. I live in Wake County, North Carolina. We are now at 3,000 deaths in NC. My Lutheran church has carefully followed the dictates of our public health officials. We have been meeting for a few weeks now. We are socially distanced and we must wear masks We are encouraged to use the provided antibacterial hand sanitizer when entering the sanctuary. Our pastors are masked and, when serving communion, are also gloved. We do not share the common cup. It is not offered.

GCC is in LA County, California, which has seen 14.000 deaths. The state and the county bar ALL indoor services although they can meet outside, so long as they are masked. MacArthur/GCC demands to meet without any adherence to requiring masks or social distancing. LA County claims they have been trying to meet with him to work it out. If that is true, why not listen?

I have no good solution to this mess. From a personal perspective, I am so grateful to attend a church that is functioning within the mandated guidelines. JD Greear’s huge Summit Church has decided not to meet in a large assembly until 2021, although they are encouraging home meetings. This is one more reason that I’m glad to be in a smaller church (@ 700.)

True Christians must vote for Donald Trump

I checked the Apostles Creed. No voting mandates are included. This stuff MUST stop, no matter who one supports. As Christians, we must take our voting obligations seriously and consider how that vote will affect those who are temporarily in authority in our government. Most people that I know, think long and hard about this. However, their vote does not determine their Christian faith. God alone knows our hearts.

I love our church which faithfully prays for those in office, for law enforcement, for our troops, for an end to racism, etc. That is where I stand. In the end, I love and serve with all of you as we fight for an end to abuse in our churches.

Michael Mahoney

Mahoney, one of the most influential pastors at Grace Community Church was fired. The rumor mill has made certain suggestions about the behavior of Mahoney but I cannot get any confirmation at this point. I will keep you posted.

Also,  Phil Johnson seems to be MIA over the last few weeks. Still trying to get information on this,

Never Forget These Lives That Were Lost.


Comments

What’s Going On With John MacArthur and Grace Community Church? Must True Believers Vote Republican? — 299 Comments

  1. The church has been told to remove all personal property before 10/1. Did the church build anything on this parking lot, assuming that they would always have this rental? My father used to say that we should always remember that a rental can be taken back at any time.

    The church screwed itself over on this one by originally going for a short-term lease instead of a long-term, with right of withdrawal at any time. They apparently didn’t realize this right of cancellation applied to BOTH parties — both them and the County. And their antics regarding Public Health in a pandemic managed to piss off the County enough that their lease got cancelled.

    It would not surprise me if they “built something on the lot, assuming they would always have the land”. Like God gave it to them forever. Such arrogance seems to be come with the territory to those who view themselves as God’s Chosen (and You’re NOT).

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  2. True Christians must vote for Donald Trump

    It has become THE Litmus Test of your Salvation.
    THAT is how Politicized American Evangelicals (“Christian” without any modifiers) have become. (Move over USSR.)

    Look at blogs like Warren Throckmorton, Wondering Eagle, The Way of Improvement Leads Home. They’ve been covering this phenomenon for some time. How the Born-Again Christians have become THE most Fanatical of Trump Fanatics. (Just recently, Eagle just had to ban his regular Bible-quoting Trump-fanatic troll. I counter-trolled that guy on a regular basis and he got SCARY.)

    Yes, the same types who used to lecture me about Revelation and “God shall send THEM strong delusion that they shall believe a lie, Tsk Tsk” are now fighting over who can get to the front of the line to Bend the Knee, Burn the Pinch of Incense, scream the loudest Praise and Adoration, and Take the Mark on Forehead AND Right Hand. All for a packed Supreme Court and “Merry Christmas!” instead of “Happy Holidays”. Every man’s got his price, and Christians are showing everyone that they come cheap.

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  3. I have been very disappointed in MacArthur. He has never been one of my favorite preachers, but I have respected him. Now, I attend a church that has begun indoor worship (granted with safeguards like social distancing and masks) when no indoor gatherings are allowed because our pastor is totally convinced that everything poor persecuted MacArthur says comes from Heaven itself in a gold-bound NASB Bible. I won’t be attending those services, by the way. I pointed out to my pastor that there are no indoor services yet, and I got, “But MacArthur says…” I’m really wondering if I need to start looking for a new church. 🙁

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  4. The 1973 decision to legalize abortion was 7 to 2 decision in favor. Of the seven affirmative votes five were republican appointed. The only democrat on the court voted no. The court since 1969 has been controlled by republican appointed justices so I would like to asked MacArthur why is abortion still legal after all these years controlled by republican appointed justices? This thumper is just another politician preacher who obviously doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about. These politicians know how to get the so-called evangelical vote. Just say I love Jesus and am pro life and the sheeple swallow that hook line and sinker every time. By the way I personally am opposed to abortion.

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  5. “GCC is in LA County, California, which has seen 14.000 deaths. The state and the county bar ALL indoor services although they can meet outside, so long as they are masked. MacArthur/GCC demands to meet without any adherence to requiring masks or social distancing. LA County claims they have been trying to meet with him to work it out. If that is true, why not listen?”
    +++++++++++++

    i have a number of relatives in the general area. we wanted to have picnic in their front yard to see them, all of us 6 feet away from each other. several of them have health conditions that make them vulnerable – even the picnic posed to great a risk to them.

    we’ve all been rather meticulous at social distancing – the risk was the exposure any of us may have had on the occasional grocery, target, or gas station run.

    we love our relatives, so we nixed the picnic idea without hesitation.

    the exponential exposure risk of MacArthur’s church services is unconscionable. every attender became a potential super-carrier.

    vulnerable people go to pharmacies to get their medicine. imagine the consequences should any of MacArthur’s super-carriers also be at the pharmacy at the same time.

    the complete and total disregard and un-love for the least of these is breath taking, staggering, and any number of synonyms.

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  6. I often become frustrated with the Christian world because so many things seem obvious to me but so bizarre to others.

    I believe in the resurrection, not reincarnations. I expect neither MacArthur, nor I, to materialize as any other then ourselves. We are who we are.

    That’s not to deny death can’t alter a persons opinions and general outlook on life, and certainly will provide greater experiance. But we rise from the dead as us. I expect MacArthur will be MacArthur.

    I expect factions will rapidly form after the resurrection for control of the Kingdom of Heaven. I can envision no way this will be prevented. The types of contentions will be the same as today.

    *Do the saints have the ability to exclude fellow saints from the Body of Christ?
    Do factions within the Assembly possess the power to determine laws of the Kingdom and acts of retaliation against nonconformity?

    I am certain the answer is yes, because it will represent merely a transferring of current preparations into a finalized form.

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  7. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Yes, I read the lease and it is very clear that GCC have no security of tenure whatsoever on the parking plots and the County are fully entitled to serve 1 month’s notice to terminate the lease. There is absolutely no recourse under the terms of the lease for GCC to challenge this. They cannot legitimately complain since they signed up to the lease knowing full well that those were the terms. If they spent money improving or building on plots with such insecure lease terms then they were very foolish indeed.

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  8. I’ve always felt that Christians should obey the laws of the land unless they go against God’s laws. That is a fairly simplistic view, I suppose, and can be subjective on an individual basis. I’ve tried to walk the straight and narrow in my faith, while also living in a world governed by the laws of men which are often crafted and regulated by folks who don’t know God (in both political parties).

    Romans 13 provides some guidance for us in regard to the pandemic and attempts by government authorities to contain it:

    “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists what God has appointed” (Romans 13:1-2)

    It’s hard to believe that God would appoint some of these rascals, but He knows what He’s doing and I’ll obey them … as far as I can and still stay faithful to the Supreme authority over them. I suppose MacArthur thinks he is doing this, but personally I think he has stretched things a bit too far.

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  9. Christians are being held hostage by their opposition to abortion. Politicians know that they can get away with anything as long as they posture themselves as against abortion, that one issue will always assure them of continued support no matter what sleaze, corruption, or self-dealing they engage in. And it’s an easy and empty promise to make. Abortion is not going to end.

    MacArthur mentions “any kind of gross immorality” But I find Christians to be very selective on the gross immorality they get offended by. They can overlook the most egregious immorality when it comes from “their guy” and will nitpick the tiniest things from those across the aisle. The thing I find interesting is that they are mainly up in arms about things that other people do, that have no actual affect on them or their lives. There have always been gays and there always will be. You can make impassioned speeches and laws but you are not going to change that. And why do you care? In what way does it have any bearing At all on your own life?

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  10. Falkirk? Seriously. What an evil omen of a name. Why am I the only person that believes in omens?

    Any sacrifice with a spot, blemish or variation was rejected by the High Priest.

    “The Scottish Gaelic name was calqued into Scots as Fawkirk (literally “variegated church”), then later amended to the modern English name of Falkirk.”..
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falkirk#:~:text=The%20Scottish%20Gaelic%20name%20was,also%20has%20the%20same%20meaning.

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  11. Linn: I pointed out to my pastor that there are no indoor services yet, and I got, “But MacArthur says…” I’m really wondering if I need to start looking for a new church.

    We are in the same boat. Church has been holding parking lot services. We’ve gone when temperature and air quality (we’re in CA, bad summer for fires) permitted. Church recently started holding indoor kids Sunday school classes, because it’s “childcare” (IMHO, childcare is intended for working parents so they can feed their families, but what do I know). The pastor was asked what will happen if rain comes before restrictions are lifted in our county. “We’re moving inside.” We’ve already had one family in the church with Covid. Thankfully, they’ve all recovered, but I think that should have been a warning sign.

    I’ve been struggling personally if this is an area where I need to be willing to give more grace to a “weaker” member of the church family (while maintaining my social distance 🙂 ). But they’ve just announced they’ll be starting a new small group ministry and re-plant the church with the “right” kind of elders to pursue accountability and encourage one another toward Godliness with family life, finances, etc. So… Been there, done that, got the t-shirt in two different sizes. Thank you, no.

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  12. Headless Unicorn Guy: Yes, the same types who used to lecture me about Revelation and “God shall send THEM strong delusion that they shall believe a lie, Tsk Tsk” are now fighting over who can get to the front of the line to Bend the Knee, Burn the Pinch of Incense, scream the loudest Praise and Adoration, and Take the Mark on Forehead AND Right Hand. All for a packed Supreme Court and “Merry Christmas!” instead of “Happy Holidays”. Every man’s got his price, and Christians are showing everyone that they come cheap.

    I’ve been thinking about this very thing a lot lately. And add to it that a “falling away “ was also predicted, along with that delusion that would “deceive, if possible, the very elect.“ Well, the evangelical church has become nothing more than a political party. They no longer have their eyes fixed on Jesus or his kingdom that is “not of this earth.” They want power now. They want authority and recognition in this fallen world. They want to make the rules. And they are willing to embrace corruption to get there. If that isn’t a falling away, then what is? What fellowship hath light with darkness? They are pretty intimately involved at this point.

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  13. SiteSeer,

    Yes a falling away is fortold, and I believe the delusion is underway now, and was mentioned in the Parable of Wheat and Tares.
    My take is the Letter to the Laiodecians was another angle, again in parable form. In the seventh age of the Church, people become delusional, self guiding and believe in their own sight of right and wrong, as discribed by their name.

    What I don’t believe is that the end of the Church age is imminent.

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  14. Dee, why must “this stuff stop”? Freedom of speech. Just cuz Johnny Mac says something doesn’t make it the 11th commandment. Doesn’t he have a right to his opinion? It’s not like they will be checking members’ voting and nonRepublican voters get excommunicated. Unless the Bible teaches it, one can take it or leave it. I just don’t think we need to get outraged/upset/exercised about everything.

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  15. In the Old Testament everyone was required to participate in religious practices except when they were unclean.This had ceremonial purpose and practical reasons. Being as they did not understand germ theory, the priests saw evidence of disease as a spiritual manifestation that they did not want to spread in the community. Like many other religious practices this had a health benefit. The person with “leprosy” would be excused, in fact prohibited from doing what aas otherwise required. No doubt socially painfully, but necessary.
    Old MacDonald is completely missing this biblical concept. The question is why?

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  16. I don’t know what to think of someone who claims in one breath to be a Bible-believing Christian, yet places his tithing, in-person, church gathering ahead of the health of not just the church community but ahead of everyone that community will be in contact with in the broader community. Especially when public health officials nation-wide have warned about the dangers of such meetings.

    It seems that this leadership group care nothing for the actual physical health of Los Angeles in the face of a deadly pandemic, a plague that has already killed 14,000 people in this county, and nearly 200,000 in the nation already, with no end in sight. I personally wear a commercial respirator with N100 filters whenever I go to the grocery store, my doctor’s office, out of our home, off our rural farm. My wife has a damaged immune system from an episode of septic shock that could have killed her hears ago, so I want to protect both myself and her.

    We have dear friends next door on east and west, and when I speak to them, I stay away even when outdoors. I’m quite fond of shopkeepers I buy fresh baked bread, wine, fish and meats from. Some are elderly, some may have health issues I’m not aware of. But I care more about these folks in my commercial world far more than “Rev.” MacArthur cares about his “flock,” which can just pass a sometimes fatal disease around right in front of him for lack of good health care practices as identified by medical science.

    This is not only un-Christian to an extreme, it’s not even humane. People who are not caring of each other can’t be good Christians by definition.

    Just ask What Would Jesus Do?

    He would ask people to stay safe, that’s what I believe. We know how to prevent Covid-19 from spreading and killing more vulnerable people, it isn’t even complicated or difficult, or expensive, even. Now just go out and do that!

    To do as MacArthur wants to do is not just crazy, it’s MAD — I think he needs people to show up to tithe so he stays wealthy, just as Jesus wants, right?

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  17. I’m just going to point out that with regards to the parking lot, I’ve read the contract and the letter from Los Angeles County. Warren Throckmorton has them posted on his blog. Based on what I have read, I would like to state the following:

    1) There is nothing in the letter from the county where it states that the contract is being terminated as revenge on Grace Community Church (GCC) for its actions. That’s strictly GCC’s belief, with no proof to back up the assertion.

    2) The last contract was a *month-to-month* contract negotiated in *2001* (aka 19 years ago). The rent was stated as a certain amount, and increases were pegged to a standard county formula. Moreover, the contract said that either party, the county flood control district or GCC could end the contract with 30 days notice. GCC could have given 30 days to terminate as of September 2, sent a letter, and there would have been nothing the county could have done about it.

    Here are the docs (thanks Warren!): https://www.wthrockmorton.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Grace-Community-Church-Letter-for-County-of-LA.pdf

    Now some commentary…if this piece of property was so important to GCC, why didn’t it negotiate a more standard lease contract sometime in the last 19 years? You know, a year to year lease with additional terms to govern when the lease could be broken or ended?

    I’m not saying that GCC should have tried to buy the land, and I’ll tell you why. It’s in the flood control district, specifically, on the Tujunga Wash. The property is on the edge of a floodway (just confirmed by looking at a flood zone map). Without knowing more, I don’t know that I’d want to own a parcel on a floodway.

    As for what is on the property–there are improvements. They consist of a low block fence punctuated with a couple of gates on Truesdale St. and Roscoe Blvd. On the back side of the lot, along the Tujunga Wash, there is a chain link fence. There are a number of light poles in the lot and a lot of very mature trees planted in parking islands. The April 2019 Google Maps street view shows at that time that the block wall along Roscoe Blvd. needed some repairs (missing portions of the wall, chipped bricks).

    Personally, while I think what the county is doing MIGHT be called revenge against GCC, that cannot be said. It is certainly not in evidence, and frankly, I’m not going to feel sorry for an organization that went on a 19 year month to month lease, paying quarterly. It would be weird to find out that LA County needed that land back because it was going to work on Tujunga Wash and needed a place to store the construction equipment. Who knows?

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  18. Godith,

    While I theoretically agree with you, unfortunately, Johnny Mac has risen to, IMHO, a status among to many Christians, to almost “Pope” level… The very thing he rails against… So, the bigger question is, IMHO; How do we hold him accountable for what he says and does, and how do we encourage pew peons to read their Bible themselves and decide for themselves? Finally, it is people lik Johnny Mac that make me want to distance myself fromm anything, including names/ labels associated with him…

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  19. J R in WV:
    I don’t know what to think of someone who claims in one breath to be a Bible-believing Christian, yet places his tithing, in-person, church gathering ahead of the health of not just the church community but ahead of everyone that community will be in contact with in the broader community. Especially when public health officials nation-wide have warned about the dangers of such meetings

    Because Johnny Mac is on record saying COVID is a hoax…

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  20. Godith,

    The problem here is MacArthur has made his opinion and position on meeting despite court orders, etc., as the “biblical” position. Like most of his teaching it’s binary. Right or wrong, with us (the have a sign up page to show your support). He says to people in churches whose pastor and leaders are obeying the rules, leave them and come join us (which is how he built that church in the first place. From 1969 (when he started at GCC) to 1980, there was an overall decrease in the number of churches in the greater San Fernando Vslley area, and one substantial church saw nearly 60% of its members leave and go to GCC so they could get “meat” preaching. MacArthur, in many ways, continues the same approach.

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  21. Personally i think its wise for pastors to say something to the effect of “when you vote please remember that abortion is a very serious issue” and just leave out names….or “do research to see which parties support marriage of a male and female” if you choose to vote”….a little more wise way to phrase this…

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  22. From the Article up-top:

    “My Lutheran church has carefully followed the dictates of our public health officials. We have been meeting for a few weeks now. We are socially distanced and we must wear masks We are encouraged to use the provided antibacterial hand sanitizer when entering the sanctuary. Our pastors are masked and, when serving communion, are also gloved. We do not share the common cup. It is not offered.”

    Lutheranism is vastly different from what MacArthur’s tradition evolved from.
    It (LCMS and ELCA) has strong central governments which steer church polity.
    It is not the loose confederation you find in the independent Evangelical outfits.
    Lutheran pastors cannot do what they damn well ‘feel like’, because they have superiors they must answer to.

    Not so with the ‘independents’.
    More often than not, they are run by an autocratic tribal strongman whose word is law, and executed from there by an elder board of yes men.

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  23. Bill: The court since 1969 has been controlled by republican appointed justices so I would like to asked MacArthur why is abortion still legal after all these years controlled by republican appointed justices?

    Does anyone remember the story of when LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act into law in the Sixties, he was reported to have said “This’ll have the [blacks] voting straight-ticket Democrat for the next hundred years!”?

    Same thing.
    When the Republicans picked up the Christian (and White Southern) vote after Roe v Wade around 1980, they strung their Christian base along with promises that all you need to do is elect a Republican President and Congress who’ll appoint a Christian Republican Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v Wade and put you Christians back into your deserved place atop a Christian Nation of Christian Values. (I remember American Life League’s telermarketers threatening me with Hellfire if I didn’t fork over money to them to get Bork confirmed; the exact words were “GOD Will Hold YOU Accountable For Every MURDERED Baby!” Heavy Guilt Manipulation there.) Well, the Republicans strung them along with that promise for some 40 years; if Trump hadn’t actually done it, the GOP could have strung them along for another 100.

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  24. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Now some commentary…if this piece of property was so important to GCC, why didn’t it negotiate a more standard lease contract sometime in the last 19 years? You know, a year to year lease with additional terms to govern when the lease could be broken or ended?

    GCC shot themselves in both feet with that one. Maybe all they could see was that THEY could cancel out at any time. And never thought the County could or would do the same.

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  25. SiteSeer: There have always been gays and there always will be. You can make impassioned speeches and laws but you are not going to change that. And why do you care? In what way does it have any bearing At all on your own life?

    To pararphrase a trailer-trash Ku Kluxer of the FIfties, “If I Can’t Be Better Than [one of THEM], Who Do I Got to Be Better Than?”

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  26. Linn: I pointed out to my pastor that there are no indoor services yet, and I got, “But MacArthur says…” I’m really wondering if I need to start looking for a new church.

    Start looking.
    Your pastor either worships or fanboys JMac, and neither explanation will end well.
    Or one Sunday you’re going to come in and see a giant gold-plated statue of JMac in the sanctuary with an incense alter before it.

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  27. Nathan Priddis: I expect factions will rapidly form after the resurrection for control of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    I have no desire to control anything.
    I couldn’t care less who snags the contract to build Muad’Dib’s palace so to speak.
    In Olam Ha-Ba, I and like minded individuals just want to be left alone in peace, to pursue whatever floats our boats.

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  28. Godith: Dee, why must “this stuff stop”? Freedom of speech.

    I’m not Dee, but I’ll give you reasons. First, churches do not pay any taxes. In exchange for their lavish use of prime real estate all over America, subsidized by us all, they are not supposed to be quasi political party headquarters handing down political endorsements on Sundays. The Johnson Amendment has been around since 1954. It is rarely enforced. Many churches respect it. (There is also a risk that church donations could be funneled to candidates, who would quickly learn how to seek donations and skirt laws about limits and disclosure.)

    Second, voting is not a religious activity. I would be so sad if my church came out for one party or the other. Would that not make people feel excluded, or forced to side with the pastor? At our church, we tend to keep our politics private and focus on worshiping and serving the community.

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  29. So much going on at GCC and with the MacArthur “entities.”

    1) The SEC charged his son, a director of Grace to You, in February.
    2) The ongoing probation of TMU.
    3) JMac’s lying about Dr. MLK and Memphis.
    4) His lying about his football career.
    5) Grace to You paying millions of dollars to his son-in-law to assist in a tape ministry.
    6) JMac’s confusion over GCC applying for government assistance through the PPP loans.
    7) Grace to You not filing Form 990 disclosure statements after 2014 presumably due to there magically becoming an integrated auxilliary of GCC.
    8) The construction of a 2nd story shrine to JMac.

    But this ongoing battle with LA takes the cake. It is logical,though,in the fact that MacArthur teaches that the pastor stands in the place of God. In other words, it is MacArthur himself who is the “essential service,” apart from whom the GCC member is in grave spiritual danger.

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  30. I have relatives who are ardent MacArthur followers, so for years I’ve kept an eye on what he’s up to. I can tell you this is typical MacArthur behavior. He’s an absolutist in every way, and unless you agree with him, you are labeled as backsliding, blasphemous, corrupted, or worse. He’s written off Catholicism as not real Christian, and done the same thing with the charismatic movement.

    I believe his system is cult-like in many ways. Certainly in how controlling it seeks to be and how unwilling to engage with anyone who thinks even slightly differently. He and his followers really do seem to believe they have a line to God that no one else does. It’s a spiritual superiority complex on steroids, and it leads to a kind of contempt for anyone outside the group.

    As a result of these influences, my relatives who follow him have become very different people than they used to be, and I don’t mean better. They have behaved in very immoral and selfish ways and brought real harm to our family.

    As it has done with many things, the pandemic has made this awfulness starkly apparent in a way it’s never been before.

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  31. Nathan Priddis,

    “I often become frustrated with the Christian world because so many things seem obvious to me but so bizarre to others.

    I expect factions will rapidly form after the resurrection for control of the Kingdom of Heaven. I can envision no way this will be prevented. The types of contentions will be the same as today…..

    ….I am certain the answer is yes, because it will represent merely a transferring of current preparations into a finalized form.”
    ++++++++++++++

    so, these things are plain as day to you. just like the pope’s catholic and bears doodle in the woods.

    well, that’s good because i’m looking forward to answers to these questions:

    as you see it, is this proposed power struggle motivated by evil?

    if so, then evil is present after the resurrection.

    as you see it, is there a final reckoning where evil goes kaput and goodness reigns?

    what happens next?
    .
    .
    bonus question: you mention that you “believe in the resurrection, not reincarnations.” Do you see resurrection happening in a context of reincarnation? as in time is not linear and we come back and give it another go?

    i’m counting you to speak plainly. or else kites will feature in my response.

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  32. Nathan Priddis: My take is the Letter to the Laiodecians was another angle, again in parable form. In the seventh age of the Church, people become delusional, self guiding and believe in their own sight of right and wrong, as discribed by their name.

    wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.

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  33. Wild Honey,

    “I’ve been struggling personally if this is an area where I need to be willing to give more grace to a “weaker” member of the church family (while maintaining my social distance ).”
    ++++++++++++

    if “grace” means enabling something harmful to someone else, even if just potentially and even if just one person (the least of these can be reduced down to a solitary human being), that would be enough to call it quits. –as i see it, at least.

    either ‘the gospel’ applies to the least of these, or it applies to no one.

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  34. Godith,

    “Unless the Bible teaches it, one can take it or leave it. I just don’t think we need to get outraged/upset/exercised about everything.”
    +++++++++++++++

    human beings in too many christian environments are expected to be compliant and do what they’re told and believe what they’re told. they lose objectivity and walk into a stupor and stay there.

    until someone shakes things up, that is.

    the brainwashed reversed critical thinking is bad enough. the problem is that it is often destructive to the followers and enabling to unbalanced leaders who exploit their followers for their own gain.

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  35. J R in WV: I don’t know what to think of someone who claims in one breath to be a Bible-believing Christian, yet places his tithing, in-person, church gathering ahead of the health of not just the church community but ahead of everyone that community will be in contact with in the broader community. Especially when public health officials nation-wide have warned about the dangers of such meetings

    It comes across as callous and self-righteous. I don’t understand how they are reading the same Bible as I am, yet have such a different picture of Jesus. Where is the kindness, the gentleness, the love, the concern for others’ welfare, the sense of responsibility? All of which I see in your attitude but I do not see in MacArthur’s.

    I will say one thing about the present circumstances, they are certainly revealing peoples’ hearts.

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  36. John: As a result of these influences, my relatives who follow him have become very different people than they used to be, and I don’t mean better. They have behaved in very immoral and selfish ways and brought real harm to our family.

    As it has done with many things, the pandemic has made this awfulness starkly apparent in a way it’s never been before.

    This is my experience as well with people I know from there. I also think Grace is bordering a cult, if not one already. Honestly, Macarthur expects his church members to obey him unquestioningly, even if it hurts everyone around them. I think there is heavy brainwashing. I think they are so desperate to resume in person because some of that brainwashing might have been crumbling as people took a step away.

    I also question Macarthur’s sanity. Not only does Grace have a heavily patriarchal culture, they have made mental health an enemy, even if it is clearly physiological. Who could force Macarthur to step down if he has dementia? I have the same questions about John Piper. These guys say stuff that’s just looney toons, but have taught their families and their churches that everything they say is from God and will accept it no matter how ridiculous it is. That’s scary!

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  37. Nathan Priddis: I expect factions will rapidly form after the resurrection for control of the Kingdom of Heaven. I can envision no way this will be prevented. The types of contentions will be the same as today.

    The historical view of salvation is all of us will pass through the purifying flames of judgment, where that which is not love will be burned away. But we get a choice in the matter. Those who submit to love will view it as cleansing and liberating. Those who cling to what is not love will feel it as painful burning. If this is the case, it makes perfect sense that there will be no power struggles in heaven because those who are clinging to power will be occupied with dealing with their burning pain. Whether or not people in this state will be able to repent is a whole other topic. This is one of the best summaries I have seen of this historical view:
    https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2020/09/hell-and-hate/

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  38. If anyone in MacArthurs church actually had a set they would have ran this guy off a long time ago. Making outrageous statements tying people’s Christian faith to a particular political party or candidate to me is outright heresy. Denying the scientific fact that we are in an awful pandemic right now is another believe it or not statement. Is this some kind of a cult that puts up with this nonsense?Nine thousand or so people supposedly attend his church on a regular basis so I wonder if there has been any kind of internal resistance to this bs. I doubt it.

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  39. Linn: I pointed out to my pastor that there are no indoor services yet, and I got, “But MacArthur says…” I’m really wondering if I need to start looking for a new church.

    It depends. Does he say “MacArthur says …” more than “God says …”? Does he mention Jesus in his sermons more than quoting New Calvinist icon names (MacArthur, Piper, etc.)? If the answer to the first question is “Yes” and/or the answer to the second question is “No” … RUN!!

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  40. SiteSeer: I’m not sure why you see the power-hungry entering into the kingdom of heaven? “not all who say to me Lord, Lord”

    Here’s a few thoughts. Some are general and some about Matt 7:7, so I’ll seperate them..
    1. It’s normal to think good things automaticly happen to good people. An American Evangelical example is Gothardism, reincarnation and karma would be Eastern examples. These generaly function as a mystical tabulation force of good and bad deeds. The Kingdom is no such thing.
    2. 1800’s revivalism introduced the concept of personal salvation. Something like this:
    God’s wrath abides on humans because of cussing, saloons, something unspoken but interpreted as sex, dancing and general white trash living. But conversion brings forgiveness, as if you never sinned. Going forward, you can confess every time you cuss or return to the saloon. This concept does not visualize a monarch accepting pledges of loyalty as part of an general amnesty. I see the latter.
    3. Matt 7:21. Your point is well taken. Not all will enter.
    4. Vs. 22 mentions that day as the timeframe of a conversation. It does not specify it occurs in some sort of final judgement. It appears to be in person.
    5. Vs.23 is about identity with the Lord, followed by a command to depart. This suggest they are arguing in Heaven and some leave. It’s not addressed to a bailiff type person to remove an individual/s.
    6. Pay close attention to the wording in Matt 22:9-10.
    ..”Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

    10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.”..

    Rather than go on, I would say an emphatic yes, a person enters Heaven regardless of personal ambition. As it says: ..”.if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved..”..

    This is not a towering threshold of entry.

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  41. elastigirl: if “grace” means enabling something harmful to someone else, even if just potentially and even if just one person (the least of these can be reduced down to a solitary human being), that would be enough to call it quits. –as i see it, at least.

    Yes, I agree. We knew the thoughts of the pastor and some staff members were at odds with our own fairly early into the shut-down, but at least they were following county/state guidelines. Now that they’re actively seeking out loopholes and expressing willingness to openly defy authority other than their own… I think that’s crossed a line.

    I read “Celebration or Discipline” by Richard Foster a few years ago, and something he said really stuck with me: We are called to submit *until it becomes destructive.* This makes a lot of sense to me.

    I think the problem is, I believe the official pandemic stats. They don’t. If I didn’t believe the official stats, I’d probably also be worried about an oppressive government. So… no, I think “grace” is more about showing respect and less about enabling behavior, and that’s what I’m trying to flesh out for myself.

    Does this make sense?

    I appreciate your two cents, your comments always give me something to think about.

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  42. Nathan Priddis,

    This account, in terms of the behavior of “the people of God”, is a tidy summary of what actually happened in the transition from “Old Israel” to “the Church”. FWIW (perhaps not much), that’s the view I favor. “The wrath to come” of which Jesus warned concerned primarily Israel and took place in the catastrophic wars that Old Israel brought on itself in refusing to pursue what makes for peace. The Temple was destroyed in AD70, prophesied by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, and after the AD132-135 Bar Kochba revolt, the population of Judea was deported (a reaction foreseen by Israel’s religious leaders per Jn 11:48) and the name of the province was changed. Old Israel was basically erased from the map. But the Church that replaced it as the principal manifestation on Earth of the worship of YHWH was in its own ways as troubled as Old Israel had been.

    —-

    Paul writes in Romans that those who die are done with sin. I would hope that God, who is powerful enough to restore the dead to life, would also be able to complete their transformation into the likeness of Christ. I think that a future post-general-resurrection world will be considerably more peaceable than the world as we know it.

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  43. ishy: Who could force Macarthur to step down if he has dementia?

    Perhaps one could regard this to be a feature rather than a bug, and (under the circumstances) actually a useful, clarifying feature. Authoritarian forms of church polity are not able to self-correct, and so they eventually become self-limiting. I think that GCC has reached that point. When you have to medically endanger the flock in order to maintain control over them, a season of wrath may be approaching.

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  44. Since MacArthur is a Calvinist, he would have to believe that people ultimately have no control over who they vote for. Calvi-god (Calvinism’s god, who is not the God of the Bible) will make them vote for whoever he wants them to vote for, and they have no say in it. Their actions have already been predetermined, and no one can do anything differently. Additionally, all the trouble MacArthur’s church is getting into has been predestined by Calvi-god also, for his pleasure and glory. So JMac should be praising his Calvinist god for it, not trying to fight it or getting upset about it (or about who people vote for). After all, if Calvi-god is causing it for his glory (as he does all things, bad or good or sins or tragedies) then who is JMac to question Calvi-god’s decisions. (Venting my frustrations with Calvinism, the theology that recently made us leave our church of nearly 20 years.)

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  45. Abigail: Personally i think its wise for pastors to say something to the effect of “when you vote please remember that abortion is a very serious issue” and just leave out names….or “do research to see which parties support marriage of a male and female” if you choose to vote”….a little more wise way to phrase this…

    Has any church come out against marriage of males and females? Does anyone on any side not believe abortion is a serious issue?

    It seems to me that you want churches to endorse one party indirectly. Sure, that would be legal. And people would smell it a mile away. And this would promote division by making political party affiliation an acceptable way to judge the people next to you in the pew.

    I’ve gone to a great variety of churches over the decades, and have never once heard a nudge-wink endorsement of a specific candidate or party. It is possible for a church not to take sides. Mirabile dictu!

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  46. If LA County evicts MacArthur’s church from the parking lot they have leased for over 40 years, JMac will just defiantly bus members in from other parking areas. Members will enjoy the bus ride, embrace each other without masks and sing kumbaya like it is a trip to summer camp. That’s what lemmings do; the personality cult has cast a spell over them. They are so open-minded to every word that JMac utters, their brains have fallen out.

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  47. Max: I’ve always felt that Christians should obey the laws of the land unless they go against God’s laws.

    I think we have to be real careful with statements like this. Many of god’s laws involved putting people to death for moral crimes. The United States is constitutional republic. If the majority want to follow god’s law (which god has failed to really clarify) that constitution protects the rest of us.

    As for god placing those in authority above us, again we have to be careful. Does anyone really believe the Nazis were ordained by god? It’s never as simple as plucking a bible phrase out and saying “here it is. God said this is ok”. It can be like playing bible boggle. Put your phrases in a cup, shake and roll, then put them together and voila god agrees with me.

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  48. Heather: if Calvi-god is causing it for his glory (as he does all things, bad or good or sins or tragedies) then who is JMac to question Calvi-god’s decisions. (Venting my frustrations with Calvinism, the theology that recently made us leave our church of nearly 20 years.)

    You will find others who share your sentiments on The Wartburg Watch. New Calvinism is a pandemic in the American church.

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  49. Proffy: Must True Believers Vote Republican?

    No, but it WOULD be nice…..

    How much time have you spent in a country with one-party rule? I have spent months in such a place, and that system was not a good experience for the citizens.

    I’m quixotic enough to expect major party candidates, and even third and forth parties and independents, to present ideas worth discussing.

    If American pastors are truly dispensing wisdom on Sundays, surely their adult members are wise enough to make their own choices.

    No pastor should view the congregation as a voting bloc to be delivered.

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  50. John: I believe his system is cult-like in many ways … He and his followers really do seem to believe they have a line to God that no one else does. It’s a spiritual superiority complex on steroids, and it leads to a kind of contempt for anyone outside the group.

    As a result of these influences, my relatives who follow him have become very different people than they used to be, and I don’t mean better. They have behaved in very immoral and selfish ways and brought real harm to our family.

    New Calvinism, if left unchecked, will lead to antinomianism where followers are freed from the moral law by virtue of grace (their version of grace, of course). It is a cult which is spiritually dangerous to those ensnared by it.

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  51. Bill: If anyone in MacArthurs church actually had a set they would have ran this guy off a long time ago. Making outrageous statements tying people’s Christian faith to a particular political party or candidate to me is outright heresy. Denying the scientific fact that we are in an awful pandemic right now is another believe it or not statement. Is this some kind of a cult that puts up with this nonsense?Nine thousand or so people supposedly attend his church on a regular basis so I wonder if there has been any kind of internal resistance to this bs. I doubt it.

    Yes. Grace Community Church is a cult.

    I invite members of GCC and followers of John MacArthur to compare what they know to Steven Hassan’s BITE Model.

    https://freedomofmind.com/bite-model/

    And now, a funny story. (Funny haha or funny weird, that’s your decision to make.) Last year I was protesting at a neighborhood church which teaches that women who have abortions should be executed by the state. I had made four poster boards with the BITE Model on them and taped them to my SUV. One guy wandered up, started reading “Behavior Control” and said something along the lines of “but these are GOOD things.” I was all, “Dude, you’re not supposed to be agreeing with these things,” but he said, “These are Biblical.” I have to say I was completely gobsmacked.

    My point is that some people are going to read the BITE Model and think some of the things on the list are good, godly behaviors. *shudder*

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  52. researcher: Dee’s post and the thoughtful (and thought-filled) comments it generated was my version of doing early-morning Church.

    TWW has been a great place for dialogue. Every now and then things go off the rails, but it never lasts long before things get back to normal. It’s a pretty eclectic group here. I have learned so much from this crowd.

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  53. Wild Honey,

    “I read “Celebration or Discipline” by Richard Foster… ‘We are called to submit *until it becomes destructive.’* ….

    I think the problem is, I believe the official pandemic stats. They don’t. If I didn’t believe the official stats, I’d probably also be worried about an oppressive government. So… no, I think “grace” is more about showing respect and less about enabling behavior, and that’s what I’m trying to flesh out for myself.”
    ++++++++++++++

    i like that quote, too.

    (i read that book many years ago as required reading – something about ‘required’ sucks the life out of reading. especially when ‘reading’ amounts to the last-minute pseudo speed read. i should give it another try.)

    showing respect / enabling behavior…

    i’m thinking out loud, here… (and i’ve gone on & on in what follows — which may be simply dissecting the obvious):
    ——-

    i can see how disbelieving the stats would lead a pastor to wanting to defy government-issued orders, and for valid reasons.

    i think back to my experiences in church that ranged from troubling-to-devastating…

    narcissism clearly played a part in 2 pastors. for the most part, though, the others were truly trying their best. they were honest, and had good intentions.

    the problem was lack of objectivity — they were impressionable.

    –they aligned themselves with ‘coalitions’ and the perceived (so-called) ‘elite’ in their industry (‘the ministry’ = an industry). it gave instant credence to them as pastors and made their church an instant bona fide franchisee.

    and that was their source of truth. the franchisor and other influential people were their true north. (they would have said that God and the bible were their true north — however the coalition’s party line was always presented, and never crossed. there no other perspectives. that, to me, that says it all.)

    the pastors’ impressionable lack of objectivity led to a second problem: principle-over logic, principle-over-common sense, principle-over-what is ethical… all of which result in principle over people.

    finally, the pastors’ impressionable lack of objectivity somehow disabled their ability to recognize let alone feel empathy for the harm experienced by people on the receiving end of ‘principle’.

    this impressionable lack of objectivity (words i’ve said too many times, now) is what i found destructive. this is what i could no longer enable and still be true to my deepest held values and beliefs.

    and i’ve come to see that my deepest held values and beliefs and the current iteration of “christianity” are like two roads diverging in a wood.

    (and yet my values and beliefs are not incompatible with the bible, certainly not incompatible with Jesus Christ)

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  54. Bill: Making outrageous statements tying people’s Christian faith to a particular political party or candidate to me is outright heresy. Denying the scientific fact that we are in an awful pandemic right now is another believe it or not statement. Is this some kind of a cult that puts up with this nonsense?Nine thousand or so people supposedly attend his church on a regular basis so I wonder if there has been any kind of internal resistance to this bs. I doubt it.

    You can also add that he has retold history to insert himself into civil rights in the 60s. Everyone there at the time says he wasn’t there. Guy is either a hoax himself, a la Ravi Zacharias, or has lost his marbles and should be in a nursing home.

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  55. It isn’t just MacArthur.

    The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has send letters to the governors of several states basically telling them the same thing MacArthur is saying.

    Our local LCMS is holding indoor services, small building, and the pastor is adamant he will not require masking nor turn away the unmasked. Still singing. Still loud preaching and talking.

    We continue to wait out the pandemic, since we live in an area where people not only revolt against masks but revolt against quarantining when sick. One woman was on television adamant that it is HER CHOICE whether or not to stay home if she is sick with anything or test positive for covid19.

    Can’t fix stupid but can avoid it. Pandemic won’t last forever, but I sure as heck won’t eat in a restaurant where she works–bet she figures hand washing is her choice too. Or not sneezing on the salad.

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  56. Nathan Priddis: In the seventh age of the Church, people become delusional, self guiding and believe in their own sight of right and wrong, as discribed by their name.

    “Seventh age of the Church” is a Dispy term, viewing the Seven Churches (like all of Revelation) as a neat chronological checklist in linear order. I’ve experienced that “plain reading” and its fruits are NOT good.

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  57. Bill: Denying the scientific fact that we are in an awful pandemic right now is another believe it or not statement.

    Is he demonstrating his belief in this by mingling closely with his flock between and after services, w/o masks, hugging, talking, shaking hands? Or does he run off to a private room, avoiding everyone?

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  58. readingalong: Is he demonstrating his belief in this by mingling closely with his flock between and after services, w/o masks, hugging, talking, shaking hands? Or does he run off to a private room, avoiding everyone?

    I think he has always kept a distance between himself and the members, so that’s nothing new, but it sure is convenient right now, isn’t it?

    I noticed something last week in his sermon about “There is no pandemic”. While he had to make up a definition for pandemic so he could knock that straw man down, he pretty much admits the virus is real and not a hoax. So that contradicts what he has said previously.

    He claimed that a pandemic was defined by 3% deaths. His critics (rightfully, I’m sure) said that “pandemic” isn’t even the technical term and that such things are measured by how many people get the virus, not deaths. But that implies he does think there is a virus, no matter how it’s measured. Unfortunately, he has to make up stuff to be capable enough to tackle the topic, but that’s par for the course for him and those like him.

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  59. elastigirl: the problem was lack of objectivity — they were impressionable.

    –they aligned themselves with ‘coalitions’ and the perceived (so-called) ‘elite’ in their industry (‘the ministry’ = an industry). it gave instant credence to them as pastors and made their church an instant bona fide franchisee.

    YES. “Naive” is the word that keeps coming up in my husband and my conversations. “Teachable” (and flat-out “immature”) has come up in conversations with select other people in the church, which I find troubling as descriptors for the only two pastors on staff. I mean, sure, all of us (except maybe Max) are to some extent always maturing and always still learning. But if it were to describe a spectrum, I’d rather church leadership be more in the “teaching” side and less the “in-need-of-teaching” side.

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  60. Max: Regardless of political affiliation, “The heart of the wise inclines to the RIGHT, but the heart of the fool to the LEFT.” (Ecclesiastes 10:2)

    In ancient societies left handedness was a sign of evil. I’m left handed and for much of my education the system was stacked against me. Thank goodness I had a left handed kindergarten teacher because my parents thought I was dyslexic. I wrote everything in mirror.
    This is an example of ‘majority’ rule with no protection for the minority.

    The bible is reflecting the discrimination of its writers. This is not god’s endorsement of right wing conservatism.

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  61. I still believe trying to stop Johnny Mac from saying who should vote for whom is bad for society. We don’t need to de-platform people, we need to answer people by debate.
    Who’s going to be the arbiter of who and what gets shut down. It’s the same freedom of speech and expression problem.
    MacArthur said what he said in an interview, unless I missed something. He didn’t proclaim it from the pulpit. He, and all of us, deserve to believe what we want, live our beliefs, and speak our minds.

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  62. Samuel Conner,
    …”Paul writes in Romans that those who die are done with sin. I would hope that God, who is powerful enough to restore the dead to life, would also be able to complete their transformation into the likeness of Christ. I think that a future post-general-resurrection world will be considerably more peaceable than the world as we know it.”

    I’m not sure we are visualizing resurrection in the same way. Resurrection (for myself) does not mean I return from the dead. I see atoms as standardized data packets. Bits-subatomic particles, form bytes-atoms. They are not reconstituted upon resurrection, but are dispersed upon death into the environment. This understanding comes from Genesis.

    Two Worlds exist. Ours (the Universe) originates from light, a waveform. The light is divided, and is both data and energy. Energy is the equivalent of mass. We and our Universe are quantized.
    The data used to create discrete packets of data, in the form of atoms exist elsewhere, and the resurrection therefore takes place elsewhere. To be mortal means a 3+1 dimensional object. Immortal is not. Nor is immortal meant for a 3+1 world. The difference is mass.

    Dispensationalism (1800’s) did get the concept of a Heavenly existance and resurrection versus Earthly correctly. But, that’s one of the only things it got right.

    The concepts I hold do not fit orthodox traditions. Prior to 1900, and the discovery of the Planck Constant, there was no way to discribe a quantized Universe in addition to the fact the quantized nature was unknown.

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  63. Wild Honey: I’d rather church leadership be more in the “teaching” side and less the “in-need-of-teaching” side

    I actually had an SBC-YRR church planter tell me “I don’t know what I’m doing” when it came to preaching/teaching! I had questioned him about a strange interpretation he had given for a particular passage in a sermon.

    One of the qualifications of pastor/elder is the ability to teach (1 Tim 3:2; Titus 1:9). Folks don’t need to be teaching others if they are not so equipped.

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  64. Godith: Who’s going to be the arbiter of who and what gets shut down. It’s the same freedom of speech and expression problem.

    First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    The First Amendment prevents the government from restricting speech. It has no power over YouTube, Facebook, TV and cable networks, etc.

    Furthermore, exactly how has JMac been silenced and deplatformed and not debated? I read about the guy’s parking lot rants virtually every day.

    He’s just a sobbing, martyrbating scofflaw, making bank on the laughable I HAVE BEEN SILENCED message.

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  65. Max: Furthermore, exactly how has JMac been silenced and deplatformed and not debated? I read about the guy’s parking lot rants virtually every day.

    He isn’t only claiming that churches should have a right to assemble in person. He claimed that his church should have a right to assemble in-person, without masks or social distancing, because the virus is a hoax and it’s all a government conspiracy.

    If he claimed that Grace should still have the right to assemble and they had services in the most safe way possible, I’d believe this was about constitutional rights and peaceful protest. I don’t think it is. I think it’s about him worried about losing his cult-like control over his members. I saw some of the conspiracy videos his church members are passing around. They are insane. Not only are they very obviously faked, they have elements of qanon and things like that. I had to block people sending them to me.

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  66. Godith: I said we should not advocate silencing people of differing viewpoints, referring in my original post to Dee’s “This stuff MUST stop”.

    I don’t think Dee is advocating the silencing of JMac. Her words about this are sensitive and insightful.

    There are Christians in both major political parties and in the minor political movements too. Personally, I think it’s good that Christians have influence throughout all our political structures. That seems to be what most American Christians want… just look at the panic when a non-Christian is elected.

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  67. One of the first things that comes to mind when his name comes up is the following:

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/08/24/john-macarthurs-son-in-laws-alleged-compensation-for-video-production-and-macarthurs-alleged-comments-during-a-meeting-with-seminary-students/

    MacArthur, per the reported recording: “ someone said to me, “why did we have to find out about this probationary status on Facebook?’ I’m going to be real honest with you., You didn’t have any right to find out about anything. That’s not your responsibility”

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  68. A:
    The “parking lot” that is rented is a narrow strip of unusable land right next to a flood zone canal. LA County is lucky to have it rented and receiving money for so long. There is nothing built on the parking lot. It’s easy to vacate. Church attenders can easily park somewhere else.

    Then why are MacArthur and church moaning about persecution?

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  69. Headless Unicorn Guy: “Seventh age of the Church” is a Dispy term, viewing the Seven Churches (like all of Revelation) as a neat chronological checklist in linear order. I’ve experienced that “plain reading” and its fruits are NOT good.

    I’ve seen a few attempts to construct a historical model of the Seven Churches. Church Missler had one and others escape my memory. They aren’t very detailed and inevitably turn into moralizing. These would be decended from the era of the Fundamentalist rise, so moralizing would be expected.

    I have never seen a coherent explanation of Revelation from the Dispensationalist side. But in their defense, some of the other eschatology interpretations are even worse.

    I’m very comfortable with the idea of the Church being designated in seven divisions while on Earth. Sort of a accounting method as much a historical designation. This concept changes into 24 divisions at the resurrection where specific individuals are seated into specific courses.

    When you consider Pre-Trib-Dis dates from 1827, Darby’s era could barely be called scientific.

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  70. Muff Potter: Bible is as perspicuous as claimed, why do literate folks need somebody to ‘teach’ it to them?

    Exactly. Moreover, John 14:26 … promises the Holy Spirit teaching us all things, presumably in tandem with reading the Bible.

    Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, & Ephesians 4 name 18 Gifts of the Holy Spirit “given” – not sold – one to each church member for the benefit of the whole Body of Christ.

    Teacher is one of the 18. So is discernment. Perhaps if the HS anointed teachers and the HS anointed discerners worked together on level ground for the benefit of the Body, integrity would reign.

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  71. Godith: Doesn’t he have a right to his opinion? It’s not like they will be checking members’ voting and nonRepublican voters get excommunicated. Unless the Bible teaches it, one can take it or leave it.

    “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

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  72. ishy: I saw some of the conspiracy videos his church members are passing around. They are insane. Not only are they very obviously faked, they have elements of qanon and things like that. I had to block people sending them to me.

    QAnon is really making its way into evangelical churches. I also know Mormons who have embraced it. I think a lot of people are picking up the ideas without even knowing where they originate from. I read a good article about it just recently: https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/08/26/1007611/how-qanon-is-targeting-evangelicals/

    It made me think of what Peter said in 2 Peter 1: “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” Cleverly devised tales. “Wordly fables fit only for old women,” as Paul put it.

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  73. It seems to me that calling this place Grace Community Church is now very pretentious. They are not reflecting the bride of Christ and have little gracious concern for their community. Maybe it’s time for JMac to rename his organisation more honestly. How about: Arrogant Selfish Religious Enterprise. The acronym also works well IMO.

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  74. Friend: How much time have you spent in a country with one-party rule? I have spent months in such a place, and that system was not a good experience for the citizens.

    I think your comment is intended to suggest that I am a narrow-minded, Trump-supporting Republican who does not understand life in other parts of the world.

    Actually, I suspect that I may have more experience than most in countries with one-party rule, having done extensive consulting and training work in impoverished, developing countries throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, and former Soviet-bloc countries in Eastern Europe. For example, I have made more than two dozen trips to do work in Cairo with the Minsters of Economy, Finance, and Social Insurance (under Mubarak). I was doing training/consulting work in Jakarta back in the mid-to-late 90s when Suharto (essentially a dictator) was overthrown and the city descended into widespread anarchy. Your condascending claim that I am somehow naive does not resonate with me at all.

    Having said that, my tongue was (mostly) firmly in cheek when I wrote that. Hard to get that across in a blog. But, also having said THAT, while both candidates for the US presidency are deeply flawed individuals, I just find it hard (and frankly ungodly) to support a party that supports the murder of unborn, defenseless babies. I am also a pretty staunch capitalist and believe we are careening quickly into becoming a more socialistic state that will be unable to sustain our financial success.

    But what do i know? But thanks for trying to school me.

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  75. “Church isn’t a building it is the fellowshipping of believer’s around the teaching of God’s Word. That fellowship can’t happen online …” (John MacArthur tweet, 9/11/2020)

    Jesus said that the genuine Church will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. I have found that sort of fellowship online among the Wartburgers and elsewhere. Spirit and Truth flow where Jesus is lifted up above the teachings and traditions of men. Pulpits are not the only source of teaching of God’s Word.

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  76. Max,

    Well, we definitely discuss/debate what G$d’s word means on TWW, share concerns about our fellow humans, both those that genuinely believe, and those that act like they do, try to encourage each other to take “stands” to support the downtrodden/abused, and genuinely encourage each other. We certainly do not “idolize” religious leaders, and some would say we are downright rebellious. But, given many of us are Protestant, and Protestant has “Protest” in the name, one could argue we are just following our “heritage”… ( no offense to our RC brothers that participate!)

    I guess we do not sing together!

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  77. Serving Kids in Japan: How do you know that for certain? From what I’ve read about MacArthur, I wouldn’t put it past him to exercise that level of control.

    I think so, too, knowing what I do about how they do “counseling”. It’s why I am very worried that they will harass and threaten people into not seeking tests or treatment for COVID if they have symptoms.

    This is exactly how cults work and I personally believe Grace has been heavily influenced by Scientology (though they’d never admit it). They use very similar tactics.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/how-cults-exploit-one-of-our-most-basic-psychological-urges-2016-4

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  78. So, I just read the “ Doctoral Statement” that Grace Community Church, GCC has on its web page…. Quite specific and detailed. There are a number points I would like to highlight, and I think is not consistent with topic of this specific post. I really think a fundamental “issue” is that no one is “challenging” Johnny Mac…
    For example, Max just posted a Johnny Mac tweet above, yet GCC defines “The Church” in a traditional way, much like we do here at TWW….

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  79. Regarding the itemized list of issues or controversies of John MacArthur that someone posted, it has been my suspicion that his latest virus denying and government order disobeying is actually because of this list of things that look bad .

    MacArthur knows his people. And like any cult-like group there is uniformity in ideology. Everyone who follows JMac is about as conservative politically as they come. So if you’re JMac, one way to make sure the sheep don’t focus on the millions to his son in law or the irregularities found and documented by the accreditation team is another controversy, but a good one where he and his church can feel victimized by the mean ol government.

    With all this bad stuff is swirling (there’s the more recent SEC charges against his son who is a Board menmber) what better way to get your followers to look a other way than through a common hated enemy—the “liberals” , The Dems, Gavin Newsom, the government etc? It’s all or nothing in their thinking . They feel that a person who respects LGBT people or is pro-choice, surely they can’t have wise opinions about not spreading a virus that has killed 190,000 people. They can’t accept that people and institutions are a mixed bag.

    And about these mass indoor worship services, I think that if a bunch of people at Grace ever do get sick, there will be a massive cover up after JMAc’s unwise public proclamations. People won’t admit to having attended services because protecting the institution and JMAc is more important than being honest or the health of others.

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  80. Jeffrey Chalmers: So, I just read the “ Doctoral Statement” that Grace Community Church, GCC has on its web page…. Quite specific and detailed.

    They also have a long list of “Distinctives.” It’s no longer enough to have a statement of faith. They go beyond that to show how different they are from other churches. It reminds me of how fast food franchises make claims about how their fries are different from all the others. Other New-calvinist organizations are also listing distinctives. Seems like a new fad.

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  81. “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭16:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    MacArthur has a long track record of creating divisions between the “real, true Christians” and the apostates. But his criteria for distinguishing between the two goes far beyond first-order issues and deep into secondary and tertiary issues. He’s created divisions between Christians based on politics, interpretations of Genesis, views on women in ministry, adherence to Biblical counseling, etc… When the “real, true Christians” must hold to certain opinions on tertiary issues, he’s creating an obstacle to faith.

    His long list of criteria for determining the “real, true Christians” is contrary to the doctrine I have been taught regarding who is a Christian or not.

    I’m avoiding this man and his teaching while hoping God gently corrects him.

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  82. Bunsen Honeydew: MacArthur knows his people. And like any cult-like group there is uniformity in ideology. Everyone who follows JMac is about as conservative politically as they come. So if you’re JMac, one way to make sure the sheep don’t focus on the millions to his son in law or the irregularities found and documented by the accreditation team is another controversy, but a good one where he and his church can feel victimized by the mean ol government.

    Hm. You may be right. It could be a distraction from the whole state being angry with them. And by distracting them with that topic, it makes an enemy out of the state and might make them more compliant in their “protest”. I still don’t think their protest is really about freedom of religion, because if it was, they’d probably acknowledge the virus and have services in the least endangering way. By calling the virus a hoax and telling people they don’t have to listen to the government, they reinforce their hold over the minds of members. And the election is just one way to unify them over their “enemy”.

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  83. Bunsen Honeydew: if a bunch of people at Grace ever do get sick, there will be a massive cover up

    Easily dismissed as a satanic attack, preferably one that can be blamed on public health officials.

    Meanwhile, weirdly, the public is suddenly heaping all sorts of wrathful blame on college students for spreading the virus at parties.

    I don’t understand how the virus can be fake at Grace Community Church but real at Miami University of Ohio.

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  84. I don’t recall our greatest Teacher, Jesus, ever endorsing any political party within the Roman governmental system.

    He already knew what was in man’s hearts. I am deeply saddened and sickened by any church who advocates or campaigns for any political party.

    And I don’t recall Jesus ever using a pulpit to teach and minister to people. The pulpit sounds pagan to me and the making of a lord it over soul, desiring power over others

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  85. Bunsen Honeydew: It’s all or nothing in their thinking . They feel that a person who respects LGBT people or is pro-choice, surely they can’t have wise opinions about not spreading a virus that has killed 190,000 people. They can’t accept that people and institutions are a mixed bag.

    Thank you for saying this.

    People are God’s own creatures. They are complicated and deserving of love. They are not symbols to be propped up or destroyed.

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  86. Paul K,

    Interesting you point this out…. the doctrinal statement of who is a “Christian” fits, as far as I can tell the traditional, orthodox view. Yet, as you point out, Johnny Mac does focus on tertiary issues… and uses it to divide Christians…. again, why are not elders calling him on this????

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  87. Jeffrey Chalmers: why are not elders calling him on this????

    Because they were hand-selected to be yes-men, and if they have any visible disagreement, they get the boot. That’s how that whole theology system works.

    Once again, if they really believed in the theology they teach, then they would be able to handle disagreement. But they really aren’t about God, they’re a cult of human personality.

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  88. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Bunsen Honeydew,

    Yup….just like dictators start wars with “outside, evil enemies” to divert attention to the domestic scandals

    And to Christians, “Teh Fags” are THE Ultimate “Outside EVIL Enemies”, the Ultimate OTHER.

    “Homophobia is the fear that a Bigger, Stronger, More Manly Man than you will do to you what you do to a woman.” As well as re-introducing the pre-Torah distinction between Penetrated and Penetrator in an Animal Forced-Dominance Display. To paraphrase Douggie of Moscow, “The STRONG Man Penetrates! Colonizes! Conquers! Plants! The WEAK man lies back and takes it.”

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  89. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Paul K,

    A couple guesses: 1) they agree with MacArthur’s statements 2) they disagree and are too afraid to say anything

    MacArthur has struck me as being the product of decades of unaccountability.

    Interesting you point this out….the doctrinal statement of who is a “Christian” fits, as far as I can tell the traditional, orthodox view.Yet, as you point out, Johnny Mac does focus on tertiary issues… and uses it to divide Christians….again, why are not elders calling him on this????

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  90. Jack: In ancient societies left handedness was a sign of evil. I’m left handed and for much of my education the system was stacked against me.

    I’m SERIOUSLY left-handed, and tend to mirror-image hand gestures.

    I think it comes from my mother’s side; I remember her saying a couple times that she was MADE to be right-handed in school in the Thirties.

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  91. Jack: In ancient societies left handedness was a sign of evil.

    “Dexter” is Latin for “Right”.
    “Sinister” is Latin for “Left”.

    The dictator of Elbonia (the fictional Third World country in Dilbert) was titled “The Right Man” and had Ethnically Cleansed his land of all Left-Handed people. Dilbert himself was left-handed and found this out the hard way when his company assigned him there.

    P.S. Many-many years ago I bought myself left-handed scissors from a San Diego place called “The South Paw Shop”. Really great to have scissors that don’t wreck out my hand when I use them. Really fun to have someone right-handed ask me for scissors and I hand them mine.

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  92. Paul K: 1) they agree with MacArthur’s statements 2) they disagree and are too afraid to say anything

    3) they are bamboozled by the ambiguity and like it because they are pious (“it’s a mystery!”) and are useful because they can model contented bamboozlement for the rest of the congregation to copy.

    This combines the self-perceived agreeement of 1) with the denied fear of 2).

    They wouldn’t want to be thought using something so immoral as a mind now would they? I think I’ve discovered something – the trustees of Watermark are nuns in disguise!

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  93. Ava Aaronson: Teacher is one of the 18. So is discernment. Perhaps if the HS anointed teachers and the HS anointed discerners worked together on level ground for the benefit of the Body, integrity would reign.

    This yes, there is no better teacher than the Holy Ghost.
    But I also believe this in conjunction with what I heard many years ago from a Jesuit:

    “The Bible has no equal on the planet so far as holy books go, but it too must be read with sound reason, context, and common sense. This in no way denigrates its supernatural origins or its supernatural claims, but rather, provides its own buffer zone between the two.”

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  94. Thankful that God’s grace freed us from JMac and his abusive theology in the 90’s. Hasn’t been without long-term devastating consequences on our entire family though. Freedom in Christ is cherished and very guarded now.

    I don’t like being told who to vote for. I don’t like being told I need to vote. After all, the choice between two evils is always evil.

    Thanks for the reminder to never forget 9/11! I’m sure the Franklin Square Munson Fire Department appreciates it too, as they suffered severely from it.

    https://www.bitchute.com/video/Am32Ua98zS4H/

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  95. Jeffrey Chalmers: the doctrinal statement of who is a “Christian” fits, as far as I can tell the traditional, orthodox view.

    Except that their doctrinal statement is clearly Calvinistic, which makes it non-orthodox. The Nicene Creed served as a good statement of faith for quite a long time. I wonder why it is not used more frequently these days. Perhaps because it is too inclusive?

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  96. Dale,
    Is there any available link floating around in cyberspace re: evidence of the older things JM/GCC has done? I’ve kept up with the church after I left it a few years ago, and am familiar with the MM-SEC situation, as well as the TMS/TMU/WASC/son-in-law financial stuff. But would love to know how to verify dealings that go further back. Thanks so much!

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  97. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I really wonder about not just about respecting science, but his reasoning in general. Johnny Mac repeating the “right wing” line that “CDC quietly admits that only on the order of 10,000 have died ONLY from Covid-19” shows extreme lack of understanding of human disease and death, OR he is so blinded by political ideology he can not think straight… If one “demands” only one cause of death, the number of reported deaths from seasonal flu, diabetics, and cancer would be much less. Anyone that deals with sick people, especially older sick people, know that most people have multiple serious health issues, and getting a serious infection will push the “over the cliff”… Doesn’t Johnny Mac visit his “flock”, especially the elderly? Also multiple, respected web sites, and news agencies, have shown that risk of dying from COVID REALLY goes up with multiple risk factors.
    The more I think about this the angrier I get. This is not “fun and games”…. were are talking about nasty deaths on ventilators… I have a good friend that had COVID for 10 weeks, and still is on O2 with lung damage…..
    Johnny Mac lacks any semblance of love for his neighbor..

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  98. Jeffrey Chalmers: This is not “fun and games”…. were are talking about nasty deaths on ventilators…

    What seems to complicate this and give him leverage are the remaining gaps in understanding exaclty how this virus spreads. Wearing masks and practicing social distancing appear prudent even though we don’t have rigorous double-blind studies that prove they are effective. But we do have enough evidence to suggest it makes a positive difference. His arguments sound a lot like someone arguing that not wearing a seat belt saved them in an accident.

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  99. It all eventually crumbles for authoritarian legalists…just like Gothard or that Vision Forum sicko wacko (whose name escapes me). Where authority is emphasized , people get abused and the unchecked power corrupts.

    Add in inconsistencies and irregularities that emerge over time and things start to get very uncomfortable for these leaders. They have to hide and dodge.

    If you’re MacArthur and you’ve been especially hardline about certain sins, how do you address what appears to be money funneling to the son in law for about a decade (allegedly) and how do you deal with these SEC fraud charges against your son who is a ministry leader—a board member.

    When you’ve been about as ungracious as possible toward certain families and people , where is the admission and/or outrage, JMaC? Where is the repentance expected of everyone else ? JMAC has told families of adult gay children to disown them, not even have a meal with them, and “give them over to Satan”. Has JMac’s son repented ? If your son frauds people , as the SEC seems to believe, do you still have a meal with him or is that only for gay people?

    And what about SIL, who received some incredible amounts of money? If the video service was so complex and amazing, warranting about 700k/year , no one has readily explained. Wouldn’t a ministry want to explain these excessive fees if the amounts were warranted ?

    Don’t be so ungracious toward people and not own your own dirt. What you show is that the outrage and concern over sin is just a persona and part of the success of the family business.

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  100. A rejection of knowlege has a history in Reform/Augustinian thinking. Here is a translation of Augustine, post A.D.420. The Canons of Dort also mention this.

    The Enchiridion
    Chapter 9. What We are to Believe. In Regard to Nature It is Not Necessary for the Christian to Know More Than that the Goodness of the Creator is the Cause of All Things.
    When, then, the question is asked what we are to believe in regard to religion, it is not necessary to probe into the nature of things, as was done by those whom the Greeks call physici; nor need we be in alarm lest the Christian should be ignorant of the force and number of the elements — the motion, and order, and eclipses of the heavenly bodies; the form of the heavens; the species and the natures of animals, plants, stones, fountains, rivers, mountains; about chronology and distances; the signs of coming storms; and a thousand other things which those philosophers either have found out, or think they have found out. For even these men themselves, endowed though they are with so much genius, burning with zeal, abounding in leisure, tracking some things by the aid of human conjecture, searching into others with the aids of history and experience, have not found out all things; and even their boasted discoveries are oftener mere guesses than certain knowledge. It is enough for the Christian to believe that the only cause of all created things, whether heavenly or earthly, whether visible or invisible, is the goodness of the Creator the one true God; and that nothing exists but Himself that does not derive its existence from Him; and that He is the Trinity — to wit, the Father, and the Son begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the same Father, but one and the same Spirit of Father and Son.
    https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1302.htm

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  101. MacArthur and GCC have been problematic for a *very long time*.

    John MacArthur and Grace Community Church first hit my radar when I was in law school in the later ’80s. Ken Nally was a member of GCC in the 1970s and received counseling from them. He committed suicide in 1979. Walter and Maria Nally, Ken’s parents, sued GCC for “clergy malpractice.” Ultimately, the case was thrown out, in large part because courts have been instructed by the US Supreme Court to say way, way, way far away from internal church doctrinal issues and workings. (This does not generally apply to wills, trusts, estates and contracts, where there’s usually a paper trail and religious dogma does not usually have to be invoked to interpret the law covering wills, trusts, estates and contracts.)

    The court case is Nally v Grace Community Church of the Valley.

    Here’s a web page recounting what happened, which takes the position that MacArthur and GCC were horribly in the wrong about what they did to Ken Nally which may have pushed him to kill himself.

    http://survivingchurch.org/2016/09/03/the-story-of-ken-nally/

    It’s because of this court case that I’ve always had my suspicions about MacArthur and GCC. The only time I’ll go to GCC is when I plan to stand on the sidewalk to protest. I’m hoping I can make it to Shepherds Conference next year to let all those guys know how they wouldn’t have a Christianity to preach if it had not been for Mary Magdalene proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection.

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  102. Dale:
    JMac and the PPP loan lie. He claims the government just sent over $1 million to them and they didn’t ask for it. GCC applied for the loan through a bank:

    https://projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts/loans/grace-community-church-of-the-valley-39b9dc944ea7feba93455fec9919ee10

    I can verify that companies/businesses/churches *had to apply* for the PPP money. I work for an evil too big to fail bank and for several weeks last spring the workings around PPP loans were a constant concern, especially around the application system just to get in the queue for the PPP money. If Johnny Mac is saying they just got sent the money, then he’s a flat-out liar.

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  103. Dale: JMac and the PPP loan lie. He claims the government just sent over $1 million to them and they didn’t ask for it. GCC applied for the loan through a bank:

    https://projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts/loans/grace-community-church-of-the-valley-39b9dc944ea7feba93455fec9919ee10

    It’s worth going to the link and entering one’s own zip code to see who applied for and received funds.

    In the city nearest me, where my church is located, only three churches and one church school received funds, out of literally dozens of Christian institutions. My church did not apply.

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  104. Dale,

    That’s pretty interesting about Form 990s re Grace To You. Given what was on the 990s leading up, I’m sure they benefit from the privacy.

    Kory Welch was also being paid large sums through TMU as well. Here’s a bit of run down.

    https://www.hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-latest-news/masters-university-president-pays-son-in-law-millions-of-dollars-through-nonprofits-251199

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  105. Dale,

    Thanks for clarifying…. Given that there is some “untruthfulness” in his statement, and other “conflicts of interest” in their system, AND SEC charges on Johnny Mac’s relatives, one wonders if they still have the money?

    I keep coming back to the NT phrase “ above reproach”…. and also, why? Are they that greedy that they need do stuff that raises concerns?

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  106. Jeffrey Chalmers: Thanks for clarifying…. Given that there is some “untruthfulness” in his statement, and other “conflicts of interest” in their system, AND SEC charges on Johnny Mac’s relatives, one wonders if they still have the money?

    I hope this gets checked out. I know they went after a guy in Florida who bought a boat with his PPP. It really does sound suspicious.

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  107. Dale:
    JMac and the PPP loan, in his own words.

    https://www.gracechurch.org/news/posts/1992

    He discusses the loan at the 3 minute mark.

    To be blunt, he’s lying. GCC applied for the loan through MUFG Union Bank, N.A. That is their lender. They had to submit documentation (probably electronically) to get the loan. The government wasn’t just mailing out checks willy-nilly. Johnny Mac is blatantly lying. And considering what a headache PPP loans were in the spring of this year, I am so not going to let him pass on that.

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  108. Max,

    Max, that really does say it all… “Merchandizing the Gospel”. It really is the “mating” of the Gospel with good old American capitalism/marketing/profiteering .
    I am teaching a senior engineering design class…. and the bottom line is for the student to design a process/product that maximizes profit for the project champion…. it is interesting that is is OK for making soap, but begins to get “uncomfortable” when it is make a medical devise to help people or make a drug that cures them… American evangelicalism/fundamentalism is figuring out how to maximizing a profit when your product is an after life in heaven, and feeling of been chosen/superior to all the other peons in this life….

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  109. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: The government wasn’t just mailing out checks willy-nilly.

    As I understand it, the Paycheck Protection Program was designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the pandemic. Since the loans were administered by the Small Business Administration and available to churches, the government obviously recognized what the average churchgoer hasn’t … some churches are businesses!

    “My house shall be called a house of prayer. But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!” (Jesus)

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  110. Jeffrey Chalmers: “Merchandising the Gospel” … “mating” of the Gospel with good old American capitalism/marketing/profiteering

    Scripture says that ministers and ministries which do so are “condemned to destruction.”

    “BUT man, he could should sure preach!” doesn’t cut it in Heaven. It is not wise for a churchgoer to sit on that “BUT” … it is a place of religious death, not life in Christ. “Be not a partaker of her sins” shouts Heaven … run like hell before hell overtakes you.

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  111. Jeffrey Chalmers: American evangelicalism/fundamentalism is figuring out how to maximizing a profit when your product is an after life in heaven, and feeling of been chosen/superior to all the other peons in this life….

    You should start a blog about this. It would be fascinating to examine the evangelical complex from a business perspective–everything from structure to how they gain followers to things like why they lower the lights during worship (having been on worship teams, I know this isn’t just for show, it’s to make people more complacent).

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  112. JMac stepped into the pulpit yesterday in defiance of a court order. He was greeted by a packed church, a standing ovation, applause, cheers, and laughter mocking government regulations.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHu0YdukPR0

    Hero of the faith? Nah, civil disobedience. A Christian resisting a government that commands or compels evil is one thing … but refusing to obey public health requirements during a pandemic is quite another, even if it is framed in freedom of worship.

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  113. Max,

    So, should I defy my University and hold my classes? Will I get a standing ovation? Can I claim it is a oppressive government? He complains about the government restrictions… …. Should I complain about all the rules my grad students and I are under to continue to conducted our funded research?

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  114. ishy: It would be fascinating to examine the evangelical complex from a business perspective–everything from structure to how they gain followers to things like why they lower the lights during worship (having been on worship teams, I know this isn’t just for show, it’s to make people more complacent).

    Some people use the scent of cooking and / or baking to help create a “homey” atmosphere when selling a house. Some businesses have used the scent(s) of citrus oils to perk up or “energize” their employees. Many people (in various walks of life) use a variety of scents around different holidays to evoke “happy” and / or money-spending moods. They tend to forget there are people who trigger with those same smells.

    In “channel surfing” the three available TV stations looking for something mindless to watch while eating my lunch, I saw a “celebrity pastor” who looked and sounded exactly like he had attended one of those “how to be successful (at anything)” seminars and / or workshops (the kind of seminar and / or workshop designed to get you to buy into an idea, leading you to buy more seminars, workshops, CDs, T-shirts, etc.). I changed channels and found something more interesting to watch…

    Some establishments (restaurants, fast-food places, hospitals, etc.) use colour and / or music to create different kinds of atmospheres (calming, energizing, neutral, etc.), depending upon the demographic and what they want the people to do.

    Some “churches” (brick-and-mortar and / or online) will do almost anything to separate the “pew people” from their money. Examining such “churches” from a business perspective could take a very long time…

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  115. Max:
    JMac stepped into the pulpit yesterday in defiance of a court order.He was greeted by a packed church, a standing ovation, applause, cheers, and laughter mocking government regulations.

    JMac and thousands of doctors/scientists around the world are pointing out the massive deception, fraud, and duplicity behind the “science” being used to shut people and organizations down and control them. I don’t think he’s being consistent with his 501c3 registration, but I do think he’s on the right track defying an abusive GOV.

    Research technocracy, Max. Look at the big picture.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHu0YdukPR0

    Hero of the faith?Nah, civil disobedience.A Christian resisting a government that commands or compels evil is one thing … but refusing to obey public health requirements during a pandemic is quite another, even if it is framed in freedom of worship.

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  116. Max: JMac stepped into the pulpit yesterday in defiance of a court order … laughter mocking government regulations.

    Perhaps the Psalmist had JMac and GCC in mind when he wrote the first words of this book: “Blessed, fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God is the man who does not … sit in the seat of mockers.” (Psalm 1:1)

    Mocking those in authority removes the favor of God in your life. JMac and GCC will understand this in the days ahead. This is not a battle to keep churches open, nor to protect the freedom to worship … this is a battle to keep JMac on his throne.

    In the 1918 pandemic, newspaper accounts record that most churches agreed to suspend worship services to help save lives. Of course, folks had much more common sense in those days; we are too educated today to do the right thing it seems. History records that the Church survived the 1918 pandemic … that it went back to meeting as usual … and lived to face another pandemic 100 years later with a cast of characters who now demand that you leave them alone at the expense of public health. Arrogance and rebellion are not good substitutes for love and obedience … it just might kill you.

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  117. Dale:
    JMac and “Lordship Salvation.” Denial of justification by faith alone?

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=193

    While I have no sympathy for what JM has become, I think that “The Gospel According to Jesus” was, in its day, a useful contribution to the problem of the evident distinctions/differences between the NT presentations of Jesus’ message to Israel and Paul’s message to the Gentiles.

    Now, decades after having read “The Gospel According to Jesus”, and having shaken off the dispensational influences I absorbed from the first churches I associated with, I note with some amusement that JM did not consistently apply his own hermeneutic. Dispensationalism is an “analytic” rather than a “synthetic” approach to theology. It prefers to see differences rather than similarities in the texts. Most famously, “the Church” and “Israel” are seen as essentially non-overlapping thoughout past and future history.

    Given the Dispensational penchant to divide rather than unite in its interpretive methods, it would have made a lot of sense to reckon that Jesus and Paul were not preaching the same message. Jesus’ message to Israel concerned Israel’s peril of imminent wrath, which did not concern Gentiles much (except inasmuch as some of the Gentiles would be instruments of that wrath). Paul’s message to the Gentiles addressed a different set of concerns and problems, primarily the pervasive influence of idolatry.

    I think this view is gaining ground in Evangelical circles, fueled by the remarkable scholarship of NT Wright.

    I hope that JM lives long enough to see this view eclipse his own. It would be a fit way of bringing his grey head down to the grave in sorrow.

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  118. Max: Hero of the faith? Nah, civil disobedience. A Christian resisting a government that commands or compels evil is one thing … but refusing to obey public health requirements during a pandemic is quite another, even if it is framed in freedom of worship.

    If it weren’t for the pandemic and the fact that I’d feel compelled to isolate myself for 14 days to be certain I had not brought home anything nasty, I’d run over to GCC next Sunday and give them some sidewalk opinionating. But I can’t do that, because I am one of my elderly mother’s caregivers (even if that is mostly of the “mom, you need to use your walker” and “mom, can I do that for you before you drop it on the floor and make a mess?”). Why do I have to be so responsible?

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  119. Dale:
    JMac and “Lordship Salvation.” Denial of justification by faith alone?

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=193

    Side note-I truly hate it when people post online but don’t date their work. In the internet era I think it equals, or surpasses citing your sources. Hate it.

    On JM- Regardless of his identity of Dispensatialist, I see him as an enemy of Dispensationalism. His net effect is to undermine it’s standing.

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  120. Nathan Priddis: On JM- Regardless of his identity of Dispensatialist, I see him as an enemy of Dispensationalism. His net effect is to undermine it’s standing.

    I think he left theology behind some time ago. I mean, most of his recent sermons are simply to manipulate his audience into doing what he wants them to do. I question whether he even is mentally competent anymore.

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  121. Re merchandising the church:

    Three times when we were moving I sold my house very quickly. All three times I used baking bread and either baking lasagna or crock pot stuffed peppers to put out delightful odors. One sold to the first viewer. One sold in the first week, full asking price. One sold in a troubled town, again in less than one month. Average market time in those places was 8 to 24 months.

    Fast forward a few years and I was in a church so desperate for instrumentalists they could use my poor keyboarding skill. Lots of work, I hate public performing, and boy was I glad when I was not needed. But I started learning a few things. At first it seemed innocent, this hit the target meter, go softly on that third verse, etc. But it also hit me as off. I started researching online and was shocked to discover that there is this whole “worship leader” thing where everything from temperature to tempo, light, harmony and disharmony, shock and comfort, etc are massaged to give us the “right worship experience.” It has been my particular experience it is worse in contemporary evangelical churches, but it isn’t absent even in high church with choirs and organs and that whole bit. Simply put it is the forbidden (and I will misspell it) pharmacopea the Bible warns about. It is using our own brain chemicals as psychological drugs. Including giving us that “high” that we absolutely must have, so we come back time and again.

    Could it be JMac is aware that his congregation is detoxing and soon can live without his particular “acid”?

    God is with us all the time. Jesus doesn’t keep office hours, and we can assemble together without physically assembling, or assemble within our own households if we don’t live alone. We are specifically told to have no “fathers” over us.

    Why not use this time of pandemic to peel off around 20 centuries of man made fluff and get back to Christianity?

    And Max–love your comments!

    I’m about determined only way to avoid that is to full on Biblical: no set worship format or set speaker. Each one has a song, a scripture, a prayer or…..you get the idea.

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  122. ishy: It would be fascinating to examine the evangelical complex from a business perspective–

    “Whenever people begin to confuse the nobility of their cause with the goodness and wisdom of their actions – ‘We’re good people in pursuit of a noble cause, and therefore our decisions are good and wise’ – they can perhaps more easily lead themselves astray. Bad decisions made with good intentions are still bad decisions.”

    Jim Collins (businessman), in his book “How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In”

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  123. Max: Hero of the faith? Nah, civil disobedience. A Christian resisting a government that commands or compels evil is one thing … but refusing to obey public health requirements during a pandemic is quite another, even if it is framed in freedom of worship.

    “Persecution: The Live Role-Playing Game”.

    Like bashing Balrog after Balrog, getting no closer to actual bloody combat or real danger than rolling 20-sided dice.

    And these F’ers call US gamers “living in a fantasy world”?

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  124. Muff Potter,

    And you have just given a wonderful explanation of one of the positives of being a LCMS member ( or any other “orthodox”,organized denomination I suppose).

    You get accountability, very limited authority and our Pastor has no more say over expenditures than any other voting member.

    We experienced a couple of the disastrous, Pastor is Pope scenarios in our past and it takes an amazing Christian to lead an independent church and not fall prey to the ego.

    I would urge everyone to rethink this issue. I once believed that the structure of denomination “quenched” the work of the Holy Spirit. I have come to believe it mostly “quenches” greed and arrogance.

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  125. linda,

    music
    +++++++++

    what you describe is simply the inherent qualities of music.

    where words end, music takes it up and conveys what 10,000 words+ could not.

    music is meant to move us.

    living without music is like subsisting on bland, dry, cold food.

    our feelings and emotions are every bit a part of us as our ability to calculate 2+2, or df/dt=lim f(t+h)-f(t)/h,…(or not calculate, as the case may be). but there’s no more reason to be afraid of feelings any more than of numbers.

    if one can be freely moved by The Nutcracker Suite, or Debussy, or a Puccini opera, or any other piece of music (“Who Wants To Live Forever” on cello– wowzers), why not by music about God?

    so…. that’s what i think about that.

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  126. Jeffrey Chalmers: This whole situation is really kind of surreal… i really wonder where all of this (the big picture) is heading…..

    For me, I’m hoping for a better resurrection.
    Repair of my genome so that it no longer wears out and passes corrupted information to my cells so that they age and die.
    After that, I dunno, I’m sure I’ll find something to do that doesn’t involve streets of gold and jewel encrusted vistas.

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  127. elastigirl–no, I am not speaking of the inherent properties of music.

    Miss the part I am a musician, even if a poor one?

    No, I am talking such specifics as “Before we ask for that vote for the new building we want people up on their feet at least 35 minutes. Up beat music. We want them feeling like they have to enlist in fighting the devil.” Or specifics like “We need to bring them to tears BEFORE pastor tells them he is considering a call to another church. If we want to keep him we have to really get their juices going on this.”

    Or more crassly, the specifics of which songs, which tempo, which beat will release dopamine, which will have the people more suggestable, or the idea we need a certain type of music for people to get saved.

    One of our more memorable times of worship was about 20 years ago in NM. Tiny country church, very conservative. More moderate Baptist preacher who played drums. Pentecostal song leader. I would say mercifully we did not sing well. Except for the day I believe the Holy Spirit took over “I’ll fly away.” We usually droned that song. That day we sang it from the heart and it was breathtaking.

    Fast forward two years ago at Easter. Large church, large venue. Attempt was made to use that same song to gin up a revival atmosphere. Fell absolutely flat, folks started walking out and leaving.

    Music is wonderful and moves people. Manipulation through use of music is deplorable.

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  128. linda: there is this whole “worship leader” thing

    The most important position in contemporary church is not the pastor, but the worship leader! They are recruited, as you note, to create the mood to draw and keep a crowd. Some will say “Ahh, but Max, you are an old guy and just don’t like this generation’s worship style.” I may be ancient, but I’ve never had a problem with form as long as there is some substance to it … after all, Jesus is the eternal contemporary! But hoochie-coochie worship teams in tight pants gyrating to the whine of electric guitars and loud drums – all of this on a stage in a black sanctuary, with laser lights and top-of-the-line audio-visuals – just doesn’t seem right to me. Yep, those worship leaders are worth their weight in gold!!

    Linda, in case you haven’t seen this parody about “Contemporvant” church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giM04ESUiGw&t=116s

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  129. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    ishy,

    In some ways, this is what TWW is all about.While not the only reason, one reason church “leaders” cover up abuse/do not want to deal with it is the negative impact “abuse” has on their “brand”…

    Especially when it’s allowed to become a brand of an empire / family business and / or trade, which keeps surfacing time and again. One of the articles linked above had the reminder that the current MacArthur’s dad had a longtime broadcast ministry:

    http://www.drjackmacarthur.com/a-fathers-legacy

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  130. https://www.google.com/amp/s/patch.com/california/northridge/amp/28958677/grace-community-church-defies-court-with-packed-sunday-service

    I guess John read all the mandated requirements and the church just laughed .

    My church is in LA area, not far from GC, and we’re doing just fine with zoom. We even are getting a few new faces now that “gathering” is more convenient . Yes, we do miss each other, but if you love people, you keep safe. Financially we’re doing even better as the pandemic has limited discretionary spending …trips, movies , concerts. People are giving extra with other spending down.

    There is no problem here unless you want attention and need to make a splash. GCC has better resources with huge parking lots to hold multiple outdoor services and lots of money. They could do this safer if they wanted . But if you think all those temporary morgues out in NYC back in March/April were a hoax, then you don’t care.

    I hope their liability insurance is paid up because it just takes one person to infect many. There are many “older” people in his congregation. JMAc himself is in his 80s. I can’t help but think of Herman Cain who posted something nonchalant about the virus before he attended that rally. He was dead in a few weeks.

    As someone who handles liability claims, what JMac is doing is so naive. All of his public commentary and laughing will give no defense against negligence claims if people get sick and die. Punis could be achieved with this kind of blatant disregard . And if you’re accused of intentional acts, you may be on the hook for a judgment. Insurers reserve their rights with that. It would take one superspreader event to potentially bankrupt his church. But, hey, it’s “the Lord’s will” for them to meet.

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  131. linda: Or more crassly, the specifics of which songs, which tempo, which beat will release dopamine, which will have the people more suggestable

    The Symp and Paraymp organs of The Heirarchy (a corrupt religious dictatorship) in Fritz Leiber’s novel Gather Darkness. Using subliminal tones to compel obedience to the Heirarchy’s Clergy.

    Or the “Jungle Rhythm” of Rock & Roll according to all those anti-Rock Christian activists of the Satanic Panic.

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  132. I appreciate Dee’s statement “As Christians, we must take our voting obligations seriously and consider how that vote will affect those who are temporarily in authority in our government. Most people that I know think long and hard about this.” and “I’m a nurse and have several medical people in my family.” I also really like Dee’s reference to people as people. Not as giving units, pew sitters, pew peons, lemmings.

    I imagine if he lived today Thucydides would be all lit up and scribe-ing away. He is that 5th century guy who kept vivid transcripts of the speeches he heard. He chronicled the contemporary conflicts and foibles of Athenian and Spartan men. He described the years a pestilence and its terrible effects killed a quarter of the population. He himself contracted the disease and recovered though may not fully.

    Onward we be in the 21st century with a pandemic and diarists / bloggers tracking the same penchants.

    There are people in our generation who prioritize the hallmarks of their Christian life differently than what keeps MacArthur comfortable and there are historians around who do not put religious tenants of people groups to the side and include it in their narratives.

    Footnotes:

    “Seven years ago, the late Rev. Vernon Tyson convinced me to go to Mitchell County, into the deep majority white Republican mountains of western NC. Here’s what happened.”

    William J Barber II YT video 09/10/2013

    Listen for Rev Barber’s terrific description of himself as the quintessential conservative Christian right down to chapter and verse!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dz0szoK7-0

    Pastor Jim Rigby St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Austin, TX FB 9/14/20

    Frank Schaeffer, son of Francis Schaefer, video appeal (of many!) yesterday FB 9/13/20

    Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes I Bring the Voice of My People

    Author / Professor of History Heather Cox Richards has written a series of books on the history of the Republican party and is presently active on bi weekly one hour FB video lectures and daily news itemization Letters From an American

    Phuc Luu – Teacher, Theologian, Pastor, Author of Jesus of the East

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  133. linda,

    ““Before we ask for that vote for the new building we want people up on their feet at least 35 minutes. Up beat music. We want them feeling like they have to enlist in fighting the devil.” Or specifics like “We need to bring them to tears BEFORE pastor tells them he is considering a call to another church.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    so they really said these things…. it’s sick.

    exploiting music to manipulate people is sick and very wrong. especially in the name of God.

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  134. linda: Or more crassly, the specifics of which songs, which tempo, which beat will release dopamine, which will have the people more suggestable, or the idea we need a certain type of music for people to get saved.

    I’m sure it has been mentioned at TWW before, but seems appropriate here, too. The technology of manipulating brain chemistry to promote “customer engagement” is well enough developed that there are people selling these techniques. They are used in video games and I suspect many other places.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/13/dopamine-labs-slings-tools-to-boost-and-reduce-app-addiction/#:~:text=Dopamine%20Labs%2C%20a%20small%20startup%20in%20Los%20Angeles%2C,people%20a%20way%20to%20kick%20their%20app%20habit.

    The thought occurs that one needs to be highly self-aware of how one is responding to what is being presented. If it feels good, it might in fact be very bad; you don’t know the character of the intentions of the people who are trying to manipulate you. Otherwise, one may fall unaware into a manipulation trap and find oneself increasingly addicted to what the seller is selling. It’s another example of the commercialization of church. I feel confident that the Searcher of Hearts is not pleased with these developments.

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  135. Samuel Conner,

    with video games, it’s an experience the player wants and is expecting. just like going to the cinema to see a film — we want to experience a story, and we expect music the help make that happen.

    also like going to the ballet or opera. we are expecting music to help create the experience.

    i could argue that when people want to connect with God, they use music (not in an exploitive sense). it’s not unlike when one prays, they may use other ‘devices’ like shutting the door to be alone, closing their eyes, taking a deep breath,… maybe also dimming the lights, lighting a candle,…

    the issue i have is when music is exploited to control people, unbeknownst to them, for the purpose of selling something – an ideology, an idea… a propaganda situation.

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  136. ishy: If these were “cleverly devised”, I didn’t see it. More like “written by a preteen on a roleplay forum, complete with spelling errors”.

    They are cleverly devised in the sense that they suck people in and entrap them. It’s amazing to me that people buy into it but I know many who are, and to be honest, it frightens me.

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  137. Las Paletas: Is there any available link floating around in cyberspace re: evidence of the older things JM/GCC has done? I’ve kept up with the church after I left it a few years ago, and am familiar with the MM-SEC situation, as well as the TMS/TMU/WASC/son-in-law financial stuff. But would love to know how to verify dealings that go further back. Thanks so much!

    These early articles by Miles Stanford calling MacArthur out for what he saw as doctrinal problems are interesting to look at in retrospect. There was some controversy about the way “someone” bought the rights to the elderly Stanford’s works right before he died. That “someone” forced all these articles to be taken down right after his death, but they remain on the wayback machine. I think these date from the early 90’s. https://web.archive.org/web/20101202123851/http://withchrist.org/MJS/macarthur.htm

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  138. Proffy: I just find it hard (and frankly ungodly) to support a party that supports the murder of unborn, defenseless babies. I am also a pretty staunch capitalist and believe we are careening quickly into becoming a more socialistic state that will be unable to sustain our financial success.

    Abortion is going to happen, it always has. The only question is whether it will be legal or underground.

    Capitalism with no controls inherently leads toward slavery.

    Socialism is sometimes the most humane and cost-effective way to see that everyone’s basic human needs are met.

    Principles can become more important than human beings, and in following some principles to an absolute, one finds he can’t avoid violating other, equally important, principles.

    There are no easy answers. We should be sure that our decisions reflect the values that are *most* important to us.

    Politics can make liars of all of us.

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  139. Proffy,

    “I just find it hard (and frankly ungodly) to support a party that supports the murder of unborn, defenseless babies.”
    +++++++++++

    just pointing out that it’s problematic for a pro-life conviction that turns off when the life or born and grows up.

    not a reference to you, since i couldn’t possibly know.

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  140. dee,

    This is extracted from the 2020 Democratic Party Platform:

    “Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice.We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion. We will repeal the Title X domestic gag rule and restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides vital preventive and reproductive health care for millions of people, especially low-income people, and people of color, and LGBTQ+ people, including in underserved areas.”

    The 2020 Republican Platform: “Proud to be the party that protects human life and offers real solutions for women” and “strongly oppose[s] infanticide,” including specific support for: the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; a human life constitutional amendment; a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, when unborn babies can feel pain; a ban on abortion based on sex or disability; a ban on dismemberment abortion “in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb”; abortion clinic safety regulations; a ban on human cloning,and creating or experimenting upon human embryos, including three-parent embryos; a ban on any sale of body parts; and a ban on the “use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood.”

    1. Clearly one party’s platform leans more strongly toward life.
    2. Is abortion a biblical procedure in anyone’s world of biblical interpretation?
    3. I don’t know Ms. Alsup but would like to know why she votes for what is clearly a party that has abortion as a part of their platform. Placing the qualifying “Prolife” before “Democrats” doesn’t change the fact that when she votes for a democrat she is manifestly voting for abortion to remain legal and federally funded. I don’t think any democrat in Washington would even argue the point.
    4. Yes, I am a single issue voter. Why? Because it’s a matter of life and death. I don’t think I can look at a second issue when the first issue is of such grave consequence.

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  141. SiteSeer,

    “ Abortion is going to happen, it always has. The only question is whether it will be legal or underground.” Is this the ONLY question? Could you apply this argument to murder, robbery, molesting children, etc.?

    “There are no easy answers.” But aren’t there SOME easy answers?”

    “ We should be sure that our decisions reflect the values that are *most* important to us.” What do we do if I value something MORE than you and no decision will reflect both our values?

    “Politics can make liars of all of us.” How so?

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  142. Steve,

    You may be surprised to learn that a fair amount of Reformed Baptist are going in this direction. I have avoided writing about this in order to avoid an all out war on politics. I have chosen to not discuss politics on this blog because, in general, I write on abuse and some interesting devlopments within the church.

    one thing you need to understand about me is that I am very well versed on the viewpoints of the various political parties. I used to be deeply invovled in volunteering for candidates.I would be careful about making an assumption as to where my political beliefs land.

    I became deeply disappointed of the antics of political parties. I used to be invovled in a women’s political group. i walked out the day after a group of Christians were judging those who were not Christians. I said “This is not another Bible study and all are welcome.”

    In my lifetime I have been both Democrat and Repuglican. My husband and I still hold to certain views but we have come to the conclusion thatboth parties are messed up. I don’t vote third party because I’m pragmatic.One of the two major candidates will win.

    But I am prolife from preganacy to the end of life.I beleive that most people care about the lives of all people but have differing ways how this affects their vote. Please be careful here. I allowed your comment but no more politicking here. I respect the thoughts of those who post here and I can assurfe you that most understand the party platforms.

    I have grown to hate politics. When I was younger, I toyed with running for an office. But I couldn’t imagine doing so in this climate. So, I will continue to fight abuse which is usually accepted by all sides of the political spectrum.

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  143. elastigirl: what about the life of lives after they are born?

    One of them was a pastor we know … one of the best Gospel preachers who ever hit the pavement. His mother changed her mind about abortion at the last minute; she gave him up for adoption. My brother also stepped into adopt a child who was scheduled to be aborted by his daughter … my great-nephew graduated from college last year. I realize these are good stories of the “life of lives after they are born” … many more stories are not so good.

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  144. Dee: I became deeply disappointed of the antics of political parties. I used to be invovled in a women’s political group. i walked out the day after a group of Christians were judging those who were not Christians. I said “This is not another Bible study and all are welcome.”

    I had an encounter with a party I was a member of that made me disassociate from parties entirely. They sent me a letter with a big red “DEBT COLLECTION” on the front of the envelope. The whole letter and included form was incredibly threatening, that I “owed” them $500 in back payments for my “membership”, and I better pay by a certain date. Then, I noticed at the bottom, in like size 5 font, “This is a political advertisement. A debt is not actually owed.” I was enraged. Can you imagine the little old lady down the street getting one of those and thinking she owes hundreds of dollars?

    I did a little research and found out both parties have done this. I found this so ethically reprehensible and atrocious. So I was done.

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  145. Talking about abortion. Should the law be changed what would be the penalty for a woman having an illegal abortion be? We know there would still be thousands of illegal abortions performed regardless of what the legality of having the procedure is. Say a single mother of three or four has an illegal abortion and is found by law enforcement to have committed the crime. Just what would be the penalty she would have to face? Let’s not just blame the physicians doing the procedure because the woman obviously had to find a doctor to get her abortion. Do we put her in jail or what?

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  146. I have a friend who has probably listened to every sermon MacArthur has ever preached. He subscribed to the cassette tapes back in those days, and started listening online when that became available.

    He has read through the Bible at least 30 times, and knows it backwards and forwards. He strives every day to live his life in a Christ-like manner. And every day he tries to find opportunities to tell people about Jesus.

    And he tells me that as a result of his theology (which he will not entertain questions about) he is unsure of his salvation and his standing with God.

    By their fruits you shall know them.

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  147. ishy,
    I’d call my local Postmaster, get contact info for the Postal Inspectors, and forward the envelope to them. They take a very dim view of misleading advertising like that.

    The example where I did this years ago wasn’t a political ad, but some sort of junk mail from a “Fountain Bureau of Invitations” whose envelope mimicked an official FBI one.

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  148. Gary Boswell: It seems to me that calling this place Grace Community Church is now very pretentious.

    “Grace” in the official name of a church should trigger the same alarm as “People’s Democratic” in the official name of a country.

    “The more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.”
    — TV Tropes “People’s Republic of Tyranny”, RL example

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  149. Headless Unicorn Guy: I’d call my local Postmaster, get contact info for the Postal Inspectors, and forward the envelope to them. They take a very dim view of misleading advertising like that.

    That’s exactly what I did. I did get a letter back saying it was being investigated. There was a news article by a paper about it a couple months later–the party refused to comment about it and the investigation was dropped.

    But imagining people on low incomes who’d always voted party line because they thought it was the right thing to do getting one of those letters still makes me really angry. And both parties are guilty of it. Now I watch the media just push extremes because it gets views and clicks and advertising makes me not want to ever play party games again.

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  150. Sjon,

    The parking lot is supposed to ebb the flow of filling up the local neighborhood with cars owned by church attendees. Taking away that parking lot is only going to mean the neighbors have to contend with an overabundance of parking. It does NOT mean people will be staying away from Grace church! Talking about shooting oneself in the foot! Now the city commissioners who are taking away the parking lot will be dealing with complaints from local residents instead. Stupid idea…

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  151. Dawn: This is a Devastating and bewildering blow to our church.

    If you follow TWW, you will know that there has been an outbreak of “devastating and bewildering” in Christendom. There is a spiritual leadership crisis in the American church, leaving countless thousands of churchgoers confused and disillusioned. Whose plan would that be?

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  152. dee: If one looks at the context of his comments over years, I find Dale’s comment to be believable.

    Christ has little authority and influence in New Calvinism. He has been usurped by mere men who talk a lot about “God”, but hardly mention the precious name of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Indeed, Christ’s authority is waning in much of Christendom.

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  153. Wild Honey: The pastor was asked what will happen if rain comes before restrictions are lifted in our county. “We’re moving inside.”

    My church holds Mass outdoore in the parking lot. Rain’s unlikely this winger, but they’ve got the lot all but covered with pavillion tent and tarp roofs. If they have to hold Mass during the rain, they’ll stay dry.

    Another church in the area (my old parish) has a better deal. They’ve got a large roofed-over open area as part of their parochial school and they just moved the benches and tables out and put in folding-chair “pews”.

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