It Appears That Ravi Zacharias Was a Serial Liar and Predator. I Find It Hard to Believe That No One Suspected Anything.


Photo shamelessly ripped off from JA Smith’s blog  and Steve Baughman’s video

“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar” ― Abraham Lincoln


Graphic Warning: Some explicit descriptions of sexual activity.

Years ago, I became aware of the lies of Ergun Caner and wrote several articles about it. Here is a synopsis by Wikipedia which is accurate.

(Caner) is a Swedish-American academic, author, and Baptist minister, who became well known for his book, co-authored with his brother, on Islam and his claims that he was a devout Muslim trained as a terrorist, claims since proven to be false.[2] He emigrated to the United States at age four and claimed to have converted to Christianity in the early 1980s.[3]

Caner is the former[4] President of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia. He previously served as the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Arlington Baptist College and was the former dean of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School of Liberty University. He was removed from this position after it became clear to Liberty University faculty and the Liberty University Board that he misrepresented his background.[5]

He was a prolific liar about his background! He was so good that the US military used him to train soldiers on understanding Islam. However, a Muslim man in the UK heard Ergun *quoting the Koran” and realized he was speaking gibberish and wrote about it. Christians came to Ergun’s defense, claiming that this was a Muslim plot. Except, the Muslim gentleman proved to be correct.

Here is the whole sordid mess should you wish to read it.

n a 2009 San Francisco Examiner article, Davi Barker highlighted errors Caner had made in public statements about Islam, including mispronouncing the word muadhin, misquoting the Shahada, and incorrectly stating that the Muslim holy month of Ramadan lasted 40 days.[30]

In 2010, Christian and Muslim bloggers accused Caner of making up and lying about his life story by citing details that were incongruent with his regularly stated, printed, and often repeated story.[31] The critics particularly challenged Caner’s claims to have grown up in Turkey, when he actually grew up in Ohio; being raised in a devout Muslim home, rather than a nominal one; having been trained as an Islamic jihadist; having debated dozens of Muslims, although they say there is no evidence of such.[31] Mohammad Khan, a Muslim from London, England, was the first to show that Caner’s recitation of what he claimed was the Shahada, the Islamic creed, is actually the first two verses of the Qur’an, wrongly recited.[32]

On May 10, 2010, Liberty University announced that it would launch a formal inquiry into allegations of discrepancies in the claimed background of Caner, the Dean and President of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School.[33] Caner said, “I am thrilled that Liberty University is forming this committee, and I look forward to this entire process coming to a close.”[34] The committee reported “discrepancies related to the matters such as dates, names and places of residence” in Caner’s public statements, although they found no evidence to contradict the idea that he was a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager.[35][36] The committee also reported that Caner had cooperated with its investigation and apologized for the identified discrepancies.[35] As a result of the investigation, on June 25, 2010, Liberty University removed Caner from his position as Dean of the seminary, but decided to retain him as a full-time faculty member of the seminary for the 2010–2011 school year.[36]

On September 24, 2010, Caner was the keynote speaker for the Twin City’s 12th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast in Bristol, Virginia. When interviewed about the controversy, the chairman of the local prayer breakfast committee said that members were aware of the controversy, but the invitation had been issued before the controversy became apparent. He also noted that the Community Prayer Breakfast does not delve into the backgrounds of their motivational/inspirational speakers.[37] At the meeting, Caner claimed that he and his brother had seen the controversy coming for years. The bloggers were simply “frustrated people in their basements”, he said, adding that it would take more than edited videos to take him down.[38]

Caner left LU in June 2011 to become Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Arlington Baptist College.[39] The President of Arlington Baptist College, Dr. Dan Moody, stated that Caner’s controversy was in the past and the new Vice President had his full confidence.[citation needed] Caner filed a lawsuit on June 18, 2013, in the U.S. district court in North Texas claiming copyright infringement for reproducing, uploading and maintaining his videos without permission.[40] The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on April 17, 2014. The judge ruled the videos had been posted in their entirety and were not edited as Caner had earlier claimed.[41][42] Two courts ruled the lawsuits were frivolous and ordered Caner to pay a combined total of $59,183.39 in legal fees.[43] Following the court order, YouTube made the videos available again.[44][45]

Steve Baughman, a banjo-playing, atheist immigration attorney, should get the credit for exposing Ravi Zacharias.

I really like Baughman. He is kind, a straight shooter, and determined to get to the truth. He was willing to face the problems of Zacharias while the Christian community was busy justifying Zacharias. Baughman approached me a few years ago about his concerns. Recently, he was on Julie Roys’ podcast: Atheist Explains His Investigation of Ravi Zacharias. You can read a transcript of the podcast at that link. He told Julie exactly what he told me.

 I’ve been interested in Christianity since I was a kid. I grew up around missionaries in Southeast Asia and I actually came across Ravi Zacharias in around early 2015 as part of my intellectual and spiritual searches. I was looking for the best Christian apologists I could find and I found him. And that’s how I started getting interested in it because he made such a powerful impression on me. And sadly, I began looking into a certain, a few red flags, and it’s been a five year journey of just uncovering dirty thing after dirty thing. But no, it really has nothing to do with hostility to Religion. It’s just if someone is deceiving millions of people like that, I think it’s something that’s worth calling them on.

He discovered that Ravi lied about the prophecies in Daniel.

I’m always reading and I’m taking a class right now with a Christian Professor on the proofs for the existence of God. So yeah, Ravi’s, I found Ravi because I was really impressed. I remember the argument very well, he made an argument about fulfilled prophecy and Daniel, and it was powerful. And I said to myself, if that argument is true, I need to change my worldview. And I looked into it, and that began my realization that Ravi was not a straight shooter.

Zacharias always said we should seek the truth. Steve did this. Ravi apparently did not.

In 2015, I wrote a post and asked the question, “If he lied about this, what else did he lie about?”

Little did I know that I would find out more than I ever wanted to know about Zacharias. In the post, I quoted from an article by Baughman: Press Release: Has Evangelist Ravi Zacharias Misrepresented His Academic Credentials?

It seems like Ravi Zacharias is in a bit of a pickle. I apologize that I didn’t have time to consult Tim Bayly to see if a woman is allowed to point out pastors who lie. It appears that MR. Zacharias may have been fudging things his entire ministry. My question is simple. If he lies about this, what else does he lie about?

We are two atheists and a Christian who are concerned that a prominent evangelist, Mr. Ravi Zacharias, has engaged in misconduct that undermines academic integrity and misleads the public.   We issue this press release with two primary goals in mind. First, we wish to draw attention to what we believe are the dishonest practices of Ravi Zacharias.
Their stated concern:

We believe that the problem of professional evangelical Christians exaggerating their academic credentials deserves much more media attention and public discussion than it currently receives.  There is much grumbling even within Christian circles about the practice of honorary degree recipients using the “Dr.” title ‘
They credibly dispute the following claims of Ravi Zacharias:

He was not a visiting scholar at Cambridge.
He refers to himself as Dr Zacharias yet has no earned doctoral degree.
He claims to have lectured at the world’s most prestigious universities.
He claims to be a scholar yet has published nothing in scholarly journals and does not have peer reviewed research.

Hypothesis 1: When Christians flagrantly lie on their CV, I believe they are probably lying about much, much more.

This was true for Ergun Caner and, as time goes on, it appears to be true for Zacharias. For those of you who do not know about the sexting scandal involving Zacharias and Lori Anne Thompson, here is catchup.

The sexting scandal

Before this broke, I had the opportunity to speak to Lori Anne Thompson. I believed her narrative and I urged her to get an attorney. Julie Anne Smith wrote a great post which showed the proof of the emails, etc. However, due to the eventual lawsuit settlement, the evidence needed to be removed.

Hypothesis 2: When Christian celebrities have one sex scandal, there are usually more scandals to come.

The massage parlor debacles

Think Tullian Tchividjian. Only God knows how many women he trolled in his time as pastor. I believe that there were likely more than he said. Here is an interesting article which was written shortly after Zacharias’ death: DETRACTORS MOUNT AN ATTACK ON RAVI ZACHARIAS Notice the wording by Eternity Magazine. Those who were exposing Zacharias’ duplicity were *detractors* who were attempting to attack him. (I plan to write about the Varnier situation soon.)

One common meme has been to compare the situation to that of Jean Vanier (founder of the L’Arche communities that support people living with disability). But there was a detailed examination by Vanier’s L’Arche ministry into his background that took a couple of years – and definitively established that he had abused a number of women.

Investigations into Zacharias by his denomination, the Christianity and Missionary Alliance, have resulted in a decision not to discipline him.

So, in the absence of further information, we do not have a Jean Vanier situation. Another point of difference is that the allegations against Zacharias have been on the public record for some time. The Vanier stories came as a shock.

The author quickly cleared Zacharias of abusing other women because of the poorly handled investigation by the CM&A which supposedly cleared him. As I read this, I banged my head on my kitchen table, upsetting my pugs, Tulip and Buttercup. Way too many naive Christians were willing to declare that this celebrity was unfairly targeted and the victim was a liar. As one who spoke with Thompson, I believed her story was true because it had the elements of predators I have covered. I’ve read many of the Zacharias’ defenders who gleefully tried to pin this one on the victim. They spoke too soon.

Todd wrote Ravi Zacharias – Working the Kinks Out While Earning Extra Cash for Spreading the Gospel! In this post, he features Baughman who discovered that Zacharias has owned at least two massage parlors. Christianity Today posted Ravi Zacharias’s Ministry Investigates Claims of Sexual Misconduct at Spas. On 9/20/20, RZIM decided to investigate what appeared to be sexual misconduct or harassment.

(RZIM) opened an investigation into allegations that its late founder and namesake sexually harassed multiple massage therapists who worked at two day spas he co-owned.

They were obviously quite uncomfortable and sought to downplay what I believe to be their lack of oversight of Zacharias.

Three women who worked at the businesses, located in a strip mall in the Atlanta suburbs, told Christianity Today that Ravi Zacharias touched them inappropriately, exposed himself, and masturbated during regular treatments over a period of about five years. His business partner said he regrets not stopping Zacharias and sent an apology text to one of the victims this month.

RZIM denies the claims, saying in a statement to CT that the charges of sexual misconduct “do not in any way comport with the man we knew for decades.” The organization has hired a law firm “with experience investigating such matters” to look into the allegations, which date back at least 10 years. RZIM declined to answer any further questions about the inquiry.

….CT has verified the identities and job histories of the three women. They shared their stories under the condition that they not be named, fearing the stigma of coming forward as victims and possible retribution for harming the reputation of a famous Christian leader. They spoke with CT by phone multiple times over the past five weeks, and CT heard from

Zacharias is credibly accused of inappropriate behavior by both the women who worked in the spa as well as his former business partner.

…By that point, they had talked for hours in the private massage rooms, the woman said. He had asked about her life, and she had told him everything from her career aspirations and her struggles as a single mother to her childhood relationship with Jesus and how she had been sexually abused.

The woman felt that Zacharias was ministering to her and “there was a holiness around him.” She thought she was, in turn, helping him and felt compelled to go along to an extent.

Then Zacharias tried to move her hand to his penis, the woman told CT. She refused and turned away as he masturbated. The next time she gave him a massage he exposed himself again and masturbated again. By her account, this happened more than 50 times over the next three years.

“He would say, ‘I need it. I need it. I need it,’” the woman recalled. “He would say he needed it so much and it was good therapy.”

Hypothesis 3: When Christian organizations claim they have investigated sex claims and that their celebrity are totally in the clear, it’s time for an outside, independent investigation because something is up. These organizations are often in the pocket of the celebrity and their boards are simply for show.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance exonerated Zacharias two years ago (2018). Looks like they did a shoddy job but it made them feel better. PUBLIC STATEMENT ON ACCUSATIONS AGAINST RAVI ZACHARIAS

While it is not appropriate to publicly discuss the nuances of these allegations, the available evidence does not provide a basis for formal discipline under the C&MA policy.

On 10/2/20 Christianity Today published Christian and Missionary Alliance Opens Second Investigation of Ravi Zacharias

Uh oh.

The new allegations came from former employees at two Atlanta-area day spas Zacharias co-owned and frequented for massage therapy more than a decade ago.

Three women told CT Zacharias would touch them inappropriately, expose himself, and masturbate during treatments. In a follow-up article, World magazine reported additional allegations that a therapist was fired after complaining that Zacharias asked for “more than a massage.”

Hypothesis 4: If an organization does not police themselves, they may be on the receiving end of litigation.

RZIM may well face multiple lawsuits from around the planet.

It appears that the CM&A is getting worried. They should. Zacharias traveled all over the world. Given what is now known, it is likely that they have only experienced the tip of the iceberg. They are probably fearing the possibility of multiple lawsuits.

The denomination sent a letter to Alliance workers on Friday announcing that the leadership had “determined that we must look into these new allegations, in spite of the fact that Mr. Zacharias passed away earlier this year.”

They are so worried that they’re revisiting their initial response (or should I say their lack of response.)

The CM&A may also revisit previous allegations against Zacharias. It said in the announcement that the new information reported by CT “raised concerns” about the decision not to discipline Zacharias after a prior investigation.

They investigated him back in 2018. Then they let him loose on the world. Imagine what might have happened in those intervening years before his death. I believe that the organization may be in trouble.

Hypothesis 5: Silence on the part of famous affiliates of the ministry is the usual response. They hope no one notices.

Besides Sam Allberry,  here are other speakers for RZIM. To make matters more complicated, there are a bunch of well-known folks who have connections to  RZIM or whose works are posted at RZIM. Feel free to add names in the comments.

I hope that anyone, who has had connections to RZIM, issues some sort of statement regarding their care and concern for the growing list of victims.

Final thoughts:

  • My thanks go out to Steve Baughman for pursuing the truth. Here is a link to his interview with Julie Roys.
  • Boz Tchividjian chimed in with his usual wisdom regarding investigations from the above  CT article.

“It’s more than just, ‘Hey, create a protocol.’ It’s also working hard to shift the culture in our churches so that no one is beyond accountability,” said Boz Tchividjian, founder of GRACE and an attorney for victims of sexual abuse with the law firm Landis Graham French, PA.

“Beyond the investigation, an organization needs to be doing what it can to shift the culture,” he said. “Talk about these matters repeatedly, publicly. Talk about how you don’t care who it is, no one in leadership is beyond accountability. And prevent leaders from becoming mega rock stars in the first place.”

  • I believe that there are more victims. Perhaps there are many more victims.
  • I believe that RZIM and CM&A will regret their quick exoneration of Ravi Zacharias.
  • I believe that lying on a CV points to an underlying problem. I’ll leave the analysis up to the psychologists. In the meantime, always assume more is happening.
  • Christians should be the first to understand that ALL are fallen and capable of great sin. Instead, it appears they want their *pure* celebrities and will defend them to the bitter end. Maybe they have a hard time accepting the reality of why Jesus came. We have got to stop this starry-eyed view of our heroes. It’s really sad when we need those outside of the faith to come in and point a finger at this stuff.
  • I believe that some in his circle knew that this stuff was going on and remained silent for the *sake of the ministry.*  Warning: that attitude will always come back to bite you.

Comments

It Appears That Ravi Zacharias Was a Serial Liar and Predator. I Find It Hard to Believe That No One Suspected Anything. — 151 Comments

  1. Like Dr. Phil says, “For every rat you see, there’s 50 you don’t.”

    The abusive church we went to peddled Ergun Caner’s story pretty heavily. Made dozens of CD’s so members could hand out as a form of sharing the Gospel. I had several on hand when I heard about Caner’s lies, then promptly dumped them in the trash. I once called him out on a Facebook post, and he was remarkably snarky for a theology guru.

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  2. IN my world, serious lying on a CV gets you fired, period, discussion over. I might also add we usually indepently verify Info on CV.
    I have had arguments with RZ supporters that either Said it is not a big deal to lie on your CV, or one of better ones was the supporters trying to play a “culture” card… ( 1/2 of my department is foreign born, and a “culture” card is very insulting).

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  3. A statement to the victims by those men?! You make me laugh, Dee.

    I do hope the victims are compensated for the abuse they suffered and are able to get any care they may need. I am so sorry they are going through this nightmare because of Ravi.

    Ravi’s partner bears responsibility in this matter as well.

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  4. “I believe that some in his circle knew that this stuff was going on and remained silent for the *sake of the ministry.*” (Dee)

    Sounds familiar: Hybels, Falwell Jr., etc. etc.

    For the “sake of the ministry”? Whose ministry?! The “circle” will be held accountable for not saying something, doing something.

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  5. It should not escape notice that the headquarters for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is also in Alpharetta, Georgia.

    And CEO Kevin Ezell has been throwing around a lot of favors and cash and luxury houses “for church planters” in recent years. Homes mysteriously distant from any known church plants. http://www.reformnambnow.org/misuse-of-funds.html#properties And then he hired Johnny Hunt and gave him a bunch of walking-around money … spent on frequent massages, it seems.

    The Calvinists keep bashing people for listening to conspiracies. But … has Ghislaine Maxwell ever visited Alpharetta, Georgia? Because I’m not sure how bad this is going to get.

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  6. There was a time, about 15 years ago, that I thought my progress at the evil too big to fail employer was being impeded by one line on my resume, which was that I’d graduated from law school. I was on the verge of applying for another job and seriously debated removing that one line from the updated resume before I submitted it, because, inevitably, I got asked why I wasn’t practicing law. I am telling you that I really thought hard about just erasing three years from my life because it was causing me problems nearly two decades later. But I ultimately left it on my resume.

    Apparently that one line landed me on the top of the stack of resumes the hiring manager received, and I ultimately got the job.

    As for the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Ravi’s heirs, I strongly suggest to them that they need to release Lori Anne Thompson from the non-disclosure agreement (NDA). I’ve said this before elsewhere, but it bears repeating here. RZIM and Ravi’s heird look a lot like the really sleazy Harvey Weinstein, who covered up his sexual abuse with NDAs. Oh, and I’d remind RZIM and the heirs that Bill Cosby tried to keep a cap on his sexual assaults by having his victims sign NDAs. Cosby is currently a guest of the state of Pennsylvania.

    I’m also going to state that if the allegation that Ravi Zacharias pleasured himself in front of a massage therapist over four dozen times, every one of those times would likely be a crime. However, Zacharias is beyond earthly judgment. RZIM and the heirs can make this right by releasing all of the victims (I’m assuming there’s more than one) from NDAs. Because some of us are going to be clamped to your ankle, just like a friend of mine was clamped to Bill Cosby’s ankle for almost 20 years, trying to bring the guy to justice. The sooner all this gets done, the sooner you try to remake your apologetic enterprise so that it centers around Jesus and not Ravi.

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  7. “…for the *sake of the ministry*”
    +++++++++++++

    gaaawwwwwwwwwwwd — so much moral compromise, abuse, crimes against the laws of what is good & right & honest & true if not against the law of the land are tolerated and enabled *for the sake of the ministry*.

    it’s quite a thing to be disgusted with your religion.

    (and christianity is what people make of it — it is wholly separate from jesus of nazareth)

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  8. dee,

    “Can you imagine…a secular institution of higher learning having higher scriples than Ravi and friends?”
    +++++++++++++

    if scriples are scruples, i started noticing some years ago that all the people in my life and those i observe who are expressly not christian have higher scruples than christians i know and observe.

    (the christians i know can be very nice, though.)

    but it’s troubled me deeply for so long.

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  9. dee:
    Bridget,

    Get ready. This may be another huuuuuuge scandal.

    Amazing how it has to reach pro fryer levels (was going for Prairiefire, but auto correct seems to capture another aspect as well) for anything to change when there’s institutions insulated by design from transparency, accountability, and oversight. And as noted in the comments, it’s the professed Christian religion and its practitioners that continually take the hit — which makes it even better to be consistently standing up here and elsewhere against the artifice and hypocrisy that does so much real damage.

    But of course, grievous wolves crave and carve our the insularity that can be created by the nature of Christian Industrial Complex standards and protocols, central to which are pliant sheep lining up to be sheared. The imaging is key. Even the woman outside of the construct sensed a supposed image of ‘holiness’ about the guy even amidst the circumstances in which they were meeting. What was that about those who masquerade as ministers of righteousness?

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  10. Is there any source that discusses the circumstances under which Ravi Zacharias became co-owner of strip-mall massage parlors? Maybe I’m just a cynical old bat, but my impression is that it was entirely for the intended purpose of having regular sexual access to vulnerable women.

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  11. Cynthia W.: he circumstances under which Ravi Zacharias became co-owner of strip-mall massage parlors?

    It’s a strange investment, and it’s strange that RZ frequented them himself. Was this really the best investment opportunity he could find? It’s hard to believe that “perquisites” were not also in view. Good luck to his defenders holding that line.

    It seems that at the upper reaches of American churchdom, the implicit answer to Paul’s rhetorical question in Romans 6:1 is

    “Yes, we most certainly shall”

    As Paul wrote elsewhere,

    “their god is their belly”

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  12. dee: Can you imagine…a secular institution of higher learning having higher scriples than Ravi and friends?

    Sadly, I can. Several companies I’ve worked for have had higher ethical standards and levels of professionalism than the churches I’ve been on staff with and the Christian grad school I attended and worked for.

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  13. Samuel Conner,

    (As I observed above, I’m a cynical old bat, but) I wonder if there’s a theological error behind some of this. I have the impression that quite a few men in Christian leadership believe that women were created to gratify men’s genital urges, and that’s it: as if when God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone,” He meant, “Ooops, we just realized the man can’t have sex with the giraffe!”

    Maybe I read too much ancient history, but it’s almost (a lot?) like a good old phallic cult.

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  14. Cynthia W.: I have the impression that quite a few men in Christian leadership believe that women were created to gratify men’s genital urges, and that’s it: as if when God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone,” He meant, “Ooops, we just realized the man can’t have sex with the giraffe!”

    Maybe I read too much ancient history, but it’s almost (a lot?) like a good old phallic cult.

    You are not alone in your impression.

    “phallic cult” = church hierarchy IOW gender hierarchy in “church”, maintaining supreme power payroll/pulpit males as gatekeepers prohibiting truth-tellers.

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  15. Jeffrey Chalmers: 1/2 of my department is foreign born, and a “culture” card is very insulting

    But Ravi played it himself, egged on by the CM&A which are targetted as a very clever Macarthur-Johnson blend. I was never convinced by his manner of acting or speech or his written wordings (like the new fad for popes and priors to spread their arms wide). They overpromoted him on his boyhood suicide bed while with impaired functioning, out of dutifulness (dharma). Spas are the standard add-on for gurus. CM&A is not “how nice the gospel is reaching the nations and that the d**kies are even helping out themselves”.

    When did churchy Americans leave their brains out with England following? I’d like to know more detail about the Daniel issue – is it exaggeration which in context can be just as bad a form of misrepresentation – and very useful for fine doubters like Baugham. People shouldn’t tell Baugham he has got to go through their hoops – he’s here already. I hope the Dominicans aren’t trying to pull fast ones.

    Are RZIM going to say oops we’ll quit with the fi*th and carry right on with the po faced mysticism: distraction burglary? Are CM&A too big: is Ravi almost a nobody to them? The up and coming last ditch branch of the C of E (I dare not name fashionable names) which pins all its hopes on tyrannising its members’ minds instead of sharing truth and belief, with their Ravi and Johnson caused mass mental breakdown among hundreds in my present town.

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  16. I think that we need to lay a lot of blame right at the feet of evangelicals for their incessant blathering at the feet of Christian leaders……making them celebrities….and then refusing to call them out when exposed. Don’t people realize that the church is being mocked for this…and rightly so??? I think the unbeliving world would stand up and take notice IF we called out abuse and defended victims!!!

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  17. AnonymousBaptist: It should not escape notice that the headquarters for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is also in Alpharetta, Georgia.

    I grew up in this area. There are soooo many Baptist churches and loyal Baptists, even before NAMB stuck their HQ down there. And when they first built NAMB, the land was a lot cheaper than it is now. It was built before the takeover, though I am sure the New Cals were already pulling some strings at that point. The building actually looks a bit old now, imho, especially compared to some of the other really fancy buildings around it.

    When I was a student at Liberty and at SEBTS, I had more than a few baby pastors tell me they were planning to plant churches in Alpharetta and “spread the gospel”. I asked them how they would compete with the five close megachurches (including Northpoint) and slightly farther ones like Woodstock FBC (Ravi’s good friend Johnny Hunt’s church). None of them seemed to know the area at all, like it was just some place with a bunch of rich people available to fund their new churches.

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  18. Hell-low friends. Uncle Satin here— father of the infernal Daughters of Stan. I’ve read some comments on the Roys Report and the World Magazine crediting me and my minions for inspiring (or is it despiring— misspiring?) the reporters to attack a godly dead man (who did lots of wonderful stuff) when he can no longer defend himself. My minions HAVE been working overtime on this case… but it’s not what they think. We’ve been pulling the wool over the eyes of Xians so they can’t see the truth about their dead hero, no matter how many witnesses there are! It was easier a couple years ago when all we needed to say was “Potiphar’s wife” and they’d swallow it hook line and sinker.

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  19. elastigirl: gaaawwwwwwwwwwwd — so much moral compromise, abuse, crimes against the laws of what is good & right & honest & true if not against the law of the land are tolerated and enabled *for the sake of the ministry*.

    I think the question bears asking, “For the same of ministry TO WHOM?” Obviously not to Mr. Zacharias’ victims. Obviously not to discerning atheists questing after truth such as Steve Bannon. Obviously not to the scores of followers left to grapple with two different versions of a beloved Ravi.

    And I think this question bears asking in smaller ministry settings, as well.

    A pastor disclosed in a Sunday school class that he was struggling with a recent decision. He was hosting his daughter’s group of friends for a homecoming dance dinner. A date of one of the girl friends had been inappropriate with at least one of the other girls in the group. Being friends, most of the girls in the group knew the story. The daughter (rightly) knew that having this particular boy to her home would make her girl friends extremely uncomfortable. The pastor dad was struggling with his commitment to “make his home welcoming to everybody [including the boy] for the sake of the Gospel” in this situation.

    My (unasked for) opinion is that he would thus be making his home UN-welcoming to all the other girls, and harming that ministry. And by not enforcing consequences for sinful behavior for this boy (i.e., you treat women poorly, you don’t get to be around them), he was encouraging the boy in a bad path. Not to mention the boy’s date, and the sake of ministry to her that she is an image-bearer of God and does not deserve to be treated in the same way this boy had treated other girls around school (assuming, of course, that was her situation).

    The pastor ended up saying the boy couldn’t come (and hosting the dinner at a restaurant instead of his home), but it was obviously still a decision he was struggling with. I think, for the sake of his ministry, perhaps he needed to reframe the question a little bit.

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  20. I have a question on the second spa. An RZIM affiliated entity was a “beneficiary” of the for profit business. Did they have ownership? If so they had to file a tax return and pay taxes on ant profits. If not what does “beneficiary” mean? Below is from the Christianity Today article.

    Zacharias didn’t keep his involvement in the spas secret. RZIM confirmed its former president’s ownership of the businesses in a response to CT. He also had business cards listing him as the owner of Touch of Eden and appeared at a grand opening event for Jivan Wellness. The second spa’s website indicated RZIM’s relief arm—Wellspring International—was a beneficiary of the for-profit business.

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  21. Wild Honey: thus be making his home UN-welcoming to all the other girls

    Exactly.
    Welcoming predators for the sake of the Gospel:
    When the church is a hunting ground, everyone who does not desire to be prey must leave. Fact.

    “not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.” 1 Corinthians 5

    Unfortunately some (even leaders) must place their hand full palm on the hotplate to get burned before they heed sound warning.

    Some create work-arounds (often “theological”) to wisdom & warning. (“We’re keeping an eye on those predators in our fellowship.” “Jesus forgives & forgets.” “Restoration.” “Everyone’s a sinner.” “Church welcomes sinners.”) Fool’s play.

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  22. Max: For the “sake of the ministry”? Whose ministry?! The “circle” will be held accountable for not saying something, doing something.

    The more I read, the more I believe that this is going to get very big. I want to find out who knew about this. At this point, I am going to lay the blamec at thee feet of the borad.

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  23. AUCPA,

    This is an important question and piece of information. If the board of RZIM, at the time of his ownership. cleaims they didn’t know anything, I will not believe them. I believe that some one or some folks in the organization knew about what was going on and covered it up.

    Todd and I are looking into this and I can assure that Steve Baughman is as well. I hope that if anyone has information. they will get it to us.

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  24. Touch of Eden.
    This roughly translates into english as Touch of Pleasure. Eden is not an english word. When Sarah laughed at the idea of having a son, she used a feminine form of the same word. She (90) could not have “Eden” with a 100 year old man.

    Why do I feel so isolated in my placing importance in Signs and wonders, as a Christian? Signs where introduced to us in Gen 1.

    Touch of Eden, by it’s very name, was not strictly medical.

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  25. Wild Honey,

    “The daughter (rightly) knew that having this particular boy to her home would make her girl friends extremely uncomfortable.

    The pastor dad was struggling with his commitment to “make his home welcoming to everybody [including the boy] for the sake of the Gospel”

    My (unasked for) opinion is that he would thus be making his home UN-welcoming to all the other girls, and harming that ministry.

    …the boy’s date, and the sake of ministry to her that she is an image-bearer of God and does not deserve to be treated in the same way this boy had treated other girls around school

    I think, for the sake of his ministry, perhaps he needed to reframe the question a little bit.
    +++++++++++++
    .
    .
    there’s much to respond to in your really good comment, here.

    but i’ll just start with my acute observation that in evangeliworld, the female disappears.

    everything leans in the direction of the male (the boy, the son, the man, the husband). what favors the male is the deciding factor. it is subconciously done (usually, at least).

    (i’m sure it’s been chronic in christian culture in a majority of times & places)

    the lack of awareness is both nature and nurture.

    (well, i notice it — if you and your kind virtually always get the short end of the stick, you tend to notice such things)

    this can be corrected. which starts with stating the problem.

    acknowledging it is the next step, of course (if it gets that far).

    (and i’m sure we could devote multiple posts to discussing what follows after that.)

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  26. I Find It Hard to Believe That No One Suspected Anything.

    “I KNOW NOTHINK! NOTHINK!”
    — Sgt Schultz

    (Johann Banner, I’m getting so much mileage from your best-known character tag line. At least Schultz had the justification that he was trying to survive the war (and the Reich’s Enforcers) by not standing out.)

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  27. JDV: But of course, grievous wolves crave and carve our the insularity that can be created by the nature of Christian Industrial Complex standards and protocols, central to which are pliant sheep lining up to be sheared.

    Sheared or SLAUGHTERED?
    (And a LOT of Christian leaders have mouths constantly watering for lamb & button.)

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  28. Max,

    “For the “sake of the ministry”? Whose ministry?! The “circle” will be held accountable for not saying something, doing something.”
    ++++++++++++++

    Apparently, Ravi stacked the board with his family members.

    He made them the fall guys.

    the thoughtlessness astounds me. he gambled his family.

    you make your family the members of the board, then when your corrupt deeds come to light they are rightly in the cross hairs and rightly to be discussed by name.

    how in the world could Margie, Sarah, Naomi not have known any of these things, even as inklings and suspicions that were pretty well-founded?

    https://nonprofitlight.com/ga/norcross/ravi-zacharias-international-ministries

    and then to deny, deny, deny, with a heavy dose of righteousness…

    how many parts protecting the family honor, and how many parts being unable to ‘understand something when their salaries depend upon them not understanding it’?

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  29. AUCPA,

    “Zacharias didn’t keep his involvement in the spas secret. RZIM confirmed its former president’s ownership of the businesses in a response to CT. He also had business cards listing him as the owner of Touch of Eden and appeared at a grand opening event for Jivan Wellness.”
    +++++++++++

    was it game to him? to see how much he could get away with right under everyone’s noses? an exercise in risk and danger for the purpose of multiple kinds of thrills?

    (if so, he risked his family, his entire organization, all his employees, all the donors who gave him tens of millions of dollars of their hard-won earnings, the christian public whose minds and hearts and affection he actively sought.)

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  30. dee,

    Dee, is Wellspring a 501(c)(3)? If so and they receive more that $1,000 in unrelated business income that have to report it to the IRS annually on form 990-T. This form is for all income you get that is unrelated to the exempt function (owns a % of a business, ad revenue from website or newsletter, etc.). According to the IRS, a non profit has to provide a copy of the 990-T upon request.

    Section 501(c)(3) organizations (charities) must make available for public inspection Forms 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return. IRS guidance provides as follows:

    https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/public-inspection-and-disclosure-of-form-990-t

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  31. I think the spas were quite legitimate businesses with sexual gratification not being on offer. This is why the request for such by one of the owners shocked the employees, and, that they don’t seem to have been shocked that he owned the business.
    As for one of RZIM’s groups being a beneficiary, I suspect that means the owners including Zacharias donated some of the profits (for which someone likely took a tax write off).

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  32. Erp: I think the spas were quite legitimate businesses with sexual gratification not being on offer. This is why the request for such by one of the owners shocked the employees, and, that they don’t seem to have been shocked that he owned the business.

    Jivan had a very good reputation, so I think so, at least about that one. I’m not familiar with the other one.

    Nathan Priddis: Touch of Eden, by it’s very name, was not strictly medical.

    There are a lot of spas and even hair salons named this. I don’t know if I would read too much into that.

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  33. elastigirl: was it game to him? to see how much he could get away with right under everyone’s noses? an exercise in risk and danger for the purpose of multiple kinds of thrills?

    That IS a common pattern among Those Who Can Get Away With Anything.

    “THIS WON’T RUIN ME! NOTHING CAN RUIN ME!”
    — Congressman Wilbur Mills when he got caught in a fountain with a stripper

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  34. ishy,

    ishy: Jivan had a very good reputation, so I think so, at least about that one. I’m not familiar with the other one.

    There are a lot of spas and even hair salons named this. I don’t know if I would read too much into that.

    I’m confident every customer and employee walked past the signage everyday with no clue of what the sign actually said in translation.

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  35. Dee… this quote from you is why I appreciate your site:

    “Christians should be the first to understand that ALL are fallen and capable of great sin. Instead, it appears they want their *pure* celebrities and will defend them to the bitter end. Maybe they have a hard time accepting the reality of why Jesus came. We have got to stop this starry-eyed view of our heroes.”

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  36. I had an “Official Workers” license in the 90s, and SPECIFICALLY in the rules was that someone with only honorary doctorates were supposed to use “Dr.”.

    I suspect this was a case of “Too big to fail” going on. Kinda of like John Howard Yoder in my current Mennonite circles, he was just too big to fail, so they never effectively disciplined him.

    To famous and too important to risk adverse publicity.

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  37. Michael in UK: The up and coming last ditch branch of the C of E (I dare not name fashionable names) which pins all its hopes on tyrannising its members’ minds instead of sharing truth and belief, with their Ravi and Johnson caused mass mental breakdown among hundreds in my present town.

    Can you explain what you mean a bit more? I’m an Anglican in the UK & interested in what you mean by this.

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  38. “Christians should be the first to understand that ALL are fallen and capable of great sin. Instead, it appears they want their *pure* celebrities and will defend them to the bitter end.” (Dee)
    As Scripture says “None is righteous, no, not one.”

    While this applies to both pulpit and pew, it shouldn’t be too much to ask a preacher of the Gospel to keep his pants on! They should at least be that “righteous.”

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  39. Max: As Scripture says “None is righteous, no, not one.”

    I’ve seen too many truly good people (good by their actions, not by what they spout), those of faith, and those of no particular faith, to take that Scripture as an absolute all encompassing literal truth. I see the verse as hyperbole and nothing more.

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  40. Max: They should at least be that “righteous.”

    I know a pastor who makes beer at home as a hobby. When I first saw his setup, the 15-year-old fundamentalist inside me woke up and said, “Wow, he’s such an important Christian, he’s allowed to BREW BEER AT HOME! Hooray!”

    So many of us were raised with strict standards and a belief that our leaders had all the answers, and the answers were easy if only we had a little more determination. If we’re walking around in shrouds, it’s a thrill to see pastor’s wife step out in style, knowing she’s a great Christian.

    If they’re getting away with it, then 1) my strict standard has no meaning, or 2) they are doing it wrong. Yet somehow we buy into the thrill and admire others for doing what don’t or can’t do.

    In the Case of the Brewing Pastor, he’s just a nice guy who doesn’t come from a temperance denomination. There is neither hypocrisy nor drunkenness. His example leads me to have less fear of nuance and The World.

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  41. I would like to believe that RZ was not like this from the beginning. It’s a bit disheartening to think that this might be a 4 decade long scam. OTOH, there is the NT precedent of the “hyper-apostles”, who self-promoted and took advantage of the church at Corinth.

    I wonder if there are people who have remained close to RZ from the beginning who could help C&MA to understand how this came to pass, assuming that they want to understand and learn from this case, as opposed to “resolving” it, drawing a line under it and getting it out of sight (which is what I interpret took place in a much smaller scale incident of CMA ministerial discipline that I observed a couple of decades ago).

    This kind of thing happens frequently enough that I would think that it ought to be a matter of deep concern for the higher-ups in the denominations and associations.

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  42. To make matters more complicated, there are a bunch of well-known folks who have connections to RZIM or whose works are posted at RZIM:
    Add Christ Community Chapel (Hudson, OH) to the list. Dee, this is the same church that you blogged about in Mar/Apr 2019 when they were covering up abuse at the Sankey Samaritan orphanage funded by Tom Randall. Christ Community Chapel donated $311K to RZIM in 2019.

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  43. Friend: In the Case of the Brewing Pastor, he’s just a nice guy who doesn’t come from a temperance denomination. There is neither hypocrisy nor drunkenness. His example leads me to have less fear of nuance and The World.

    I’ve noticed that in many fundagelical sects, there’s an almost Islamic aversion to, and a strict proscription against any type of alcohol consumption.
    During my time as a Calvary Chapelite, even a good Chianti with Italian pasta dishes was frowned upon. Papa Chuck had almost a standard litany against it.

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  44. Muff Potter: “None is righteous, no, not one” … I see the verse as hyperbole and nothing more.

    Obviously, a lot of folks in the ministry view it as an exaggeration not intended to be taken literally … sort of like “wait for an eternity” … well, these bad-boys will have an eternity to think about their misbehaving; some have already entered their eternal destiny.

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  45. Samuel Conner: I would like to believe that RZ was not like this from the beginning. It’s a bit disheartening to think that this might be a 4 decade long scam.

    The problem with that is he claimed all along that he had 6 PhDs, which he did not. I can verify this as of the mid-90s, because I went to hear him speak then at a major university and it was in his introduction and all the marketing.

    It is very disappointing to think that someone was so able to deceive people for so long and that clearly hardly anyone ever bothers to check credentials.

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  46. Muff Potter: During my time as a Calvary Chapelite, even a good Chianti with Italian pasta dishes was frowned upon. Papa Chuck had almost a standard litany against it.

    Even more so than his standard litany against Star Wars?

    And remember, Papa Chuck was God’s Shadow upon Earth. His Calvary Chapel DOMINATED Christianese AM radio, with one CC half-hour after another from various CCs switching off. And every Non-Denominational “Fellowship” and “Plain Christian Church” plant was a Calvary Chapel or Calvary Chapel Clone, Secondary Dogmas and all.

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  47. Muff Potter: I’ve noticed that in many fundagelical sects, there’s an almost Islamic aversion to, and a strict proscription against any type of alcohol consumption.

    “More Dry Than Thou” — a specific variant of “Holier Than Thou”.
    “If I can’t be Holier Than Thou, who do I got to be Holier Than?”

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  48. Friend: So many of us were raised with strict standards and a belief that our leaders had all the answers, and the answers were easy if only we had a little more determination.

    Which sets them up for CULTs.

    What happens when an aberrant Weird Religion hits all the metrics (often “Thou Shalt Nots”) of what you’ve been catechized to see as Godly Anointing? All the Marks of a Real True Christian and then some? Following the Rules of RIGHTeousness even stricter? Wouldn’t they be more Christian?

    Some years ago in his continuing snark-analysis of Left Behind, Slacktivist did a posting on Kirk Cameron, Greatest CHRISTIAN Actor of All Time (GCAAT), who is neurotic even by Hollywood standards — a specifically-religious type of OCD called “Excessive Scrupulosity”, the terror of committing any SIN and obseesion with keeping squeeky-clean to pass the Great White Throne Litmus Test. Slack postulated that KC(GCAAT) had been catechized in a church that defined Holiness in primarily NEGATIVE terms, i.e. “Thou Shalt Nots”. Coming in as an adult Celebrity Convert AFTER building up a lot of guilt baggage from his previous Hollywood career.

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  49. ishy,

    As I have mention above, there is sort of a “Christian pride” going on here… See, See, our boy can intellectually do battle with the best of those heathen, secular humanists… never mind that his degree are all “honorary”, and he has never really “competed” in the “Intellectual academic world”.. ( hint, he would not have lasted given his practice of lying about credentials/ experince)
    I think part of the problem is that are very few of us ( Professors successfully functioning in secular academic world) in evangelical circles.. while I lasted for many years, I now consider myself associated with A mainline denomination, and do not want to be associated with “evangelicalism”

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  50. BeakerN: I’m an Anglican in the UK & interested in what you mean

    A congregation where fashionable names and products were promoted. I saw similar things over the last 30 years in different locations where I went (one was non-C of E), but it gets worse each time.

    When things get out of hand there are three kinds of people: people who saw it coming, those who notice as it gets to a head, and those who still don’t twig. I always see it coming, but can’t get anyone talking about it.

    At one time there were places you could join in reciting some psalms calmly. Maybe they would even want to know you!

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  51. Are people willing to have people around them giving valid criticism both positive and negative? Even up and coming figures may well have mentors advising how to polish up their credentials to the point of deception. Once one is head of an organization it is easy to have sycophants around. In fact the difficulty may be not to have them; good leaders have to actively encourage valid negative criticism. I’m thinking of the legend about King Canute who took control of most of Scandinavia and England. His advisors, most of whom were powerful lords in their own right so not easily replaced, kept telling him that even the tides obeyed his will. Canute had his throne set up on the beach at low tide, told the tide not to come in, and when the tide came up and soaked his feet and legs rebuked his advisors and said that only God had that power. Hopefully the advisors were better advisors after that point.

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  52. Erp: Are people willing to have people around them giving valid criticism both positive and negative?

    “King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked … But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him … he followed the advice of the young men …” (1 Kings 12)

    The “tell me what I want to hear” counsel which Rehoboam received from his yes-men elders didn’t turn out well for him or the nation. The Kingdom of Israel was divided, Rehoboam ruled harshly doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and Judah fell to Egypt as a vassal state. TWW has recorded time and again that the yes-men elder approach has not worked well for celebrity pastors … there is always a payday someday. The New Calvinist elite and their band of rebellious followers will also learn that – some already have.

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  53. Cynthia W.: I wonder if there’s a theological error behind some of this.

    Agreed. I think it’s uncontroversial that there is quite bit more than a hint of misogyny in ancient Semitic cultures, and it is not hard to find hints of this in the descriptive (and at times, even the prescriptive) parts of the OT and NT. But I think that there is also a lot of “in the eye of the beholder” effect in the way these texts are used. If one thinks females exist for the sake of male enjoyment, the “not good for the man to be alone” text in Gen 2 will probably be read through that lens. It is quite possible to read that narrative as being about not Adam’s subjective sense of loneliness but the impossibility of an isolated male human fulfilling the “be fruitful and multiply” command given to the other creatures. Eve, like Adam, exists to serve God’s creational purposes, not Adam’s felt needs.

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  54. Cynthia W.: I wonder if there’s a theological error behind some of this

    To oppose God’s plan through Christ to eliminate barriers of race, class and gender = theological error. Everything changed when Jesus came on the scene.

    Ministers and ministries that look at female believers and shout “Sit down, shut up, submit!” have crossed into a theological kingdom where God does not walk. The overemphasis and misinterpretation of gender roles by cherry-picking Scriptural text out of context borders on heresy.

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  55. Ken F (aka Tweed): https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-jesus-was-not-a-woman

    “God became a man, and not a woman … God created Adam first … Jesus came not only as head and as husband, but also as an authoritative teacher … Our relationship, as creatures, with our Creator is not egalitarian”

    Brother! The New Calvinist “prophets” sing together. Around my house, we throw away broken records.

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  56. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I’m sure this point has been made many times at TWW, but perhaps it bears repeating. After reading that, the thought occurs that if Jesus were to appear today, preaching peace and laying down his life to be victimized by unrighteous authorities in order to save others, he would be despised as “weak” and “a loser” by these same people.

    I don’t like to agree with disgraced prognosticator and failed prophet “brother” Harold Camping, but there are times when his assessment that the Spirit has departed from the churches looks “about right” to me.

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  57. Samuel Conner: I don’t like to agree with disgraced prognosticator and failed prophet “brother” Harold Camping, but there are times when his assessment that the Spirit has departed from the churches looks “about right” to me.

    At best, the Holy Spirit has been relegated to the back pew in most churches. If you were to remove the Holy Spirit from the average church (if He hasn’t already left), the “ministry” would still go on without missing a beat … so whose ministry was it in the first place?

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  58. When I was a kid in the sandhills and oilfield of the southwest, there was church and then there was bush church or bush baptist or trunk baptist or tailgate methodists.

    What that meant was that although we lived where there were few people, and not all of them Christians, there was not much money in the game of church. We might sometimes be able to provide a rude shelter or building erected by field hands from the oilfield or moved to the site. The latter were likely to be surplus barracks from WW2. If we did that we might actually form and have church. No expenses to speak of, no paying a preacher. Sometimes we might hire a supply preacher for a day, but usually one of the men either felt called to preach and we ordained him or someone (male or female) could be relied on to bring a “brief devotional” after the singing and prayers. It might go on and eventually become a regular church, or the boom might go bust and the doors be nailed shut with no one left to attend.

    But that did not slow us down a bit about bush church. Might be held at home, just a man and wife or family. Might be mama inviting the neighbor kids for SS at her kitchen table. Might be a few families get together. Might be two men over a Bible sitting on a tailgate on a well site as they ate lunch from those old tin lunch boxes.

    I suggest not congregating until after covid passes since those are the sorts of gatherings that spread the virus. Even if no one gets ill they might still have become spreaders without knowing it.

    But once we can all come out and play again, think I will be looking for bush church again. Still sort of doing it now with phone calls, etc.

    Refreshing and amazing how different church is without the profits.

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  59. https://ministrywatch.com/accusations-of-abuse-shut-down-missouri-christian-boarding-school/

    Accusations of Abuse Shut Down Missouri Christian Boarding School

    “Among those going public with their stories of abuse was Emily Stoddard. According to WORLD: “Brian and Michelle Stoddard of Monroe, Wash., drove 32 hours in July to remove their daughter Emily from Circle of Hope after they began to question her safety. Upon their arrival, the Stoddards said Boyd told them they must sign a contract stating Emily was never physically or sexually abused. They refused to sign it. Instead, they drove straight to the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office, where their daughter recounted physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and grooming she said she and other residents experienced.”

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  60. Michael in UK: When things get out of hand there are three kinds of people: people who saw it coming, those who notice as it gets to a head, and those who still don’t twig. I always see it coming, but can’t get anyone talking about it.

    Do you remember Cassandra in the Iliad?
    Cursed by the gods with Perfect Prophetic Foreknowledge — that nobody would ever, ever believe.

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  61. researcher: Thank you, Headless Unicorn Guy, for including the information I could use to look up the lyrics. The lyrics spoke to my heart in a way for which I have no words of my own.

    You got struck by that audio; here’s the music video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7PQ9IO-7fU
    No prior knowledge of MLP is needed to understand the gist of it – the Pony myth of The Mare in the Moon:

    “Once upon a time in the magical land of Equestria, the land was ruled by Two Sisters, Immortal Princesses. The older Sister ruled the Day, and the sun rose and set by her command; the younger ruled the Night, and commanded the moon and stars…”

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  62. Max,

    Blergh. The article says this: “Manhood means taking on more, not less — venturing out, taking on risks, exposing yourself to criticism and conflict.”

    I let one guy know how I felt about that: “This is complete and utter garbage. It assumes women don’t venture out, take on risks, expose ourselves to criticism and conflict. WE DO. Instead, we find the Desiring God crowd hiding when it comes time to deal with things like child sexual abuse coverups in the churches.”

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  63. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: The article says this: “Manhood means … exposing yourself to criticism and conflict.”

    The author is sending the dudebros a message: “When all Christendom comes against you for your aberrant views on theology, pastoral authority, gender roles, church structure, etc., just remember you have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the gospel they lost. You are right, they are wrong.”

    The dudebros will stick together to the bitter end of their folly … it’s “manhood” to do so.

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  64. Headless Unicorn Guy: You got struck by that audio; here’s the music video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7PQ9IO-7fU

    Earlier, I had only read the lyrics to the song. This time, I watched and listened to the video link you included. My heart is breaking and I am in tears.

    I have spent my life in the shadow of others, unless I was used as the scapegoat. And while I never completed dissociated, I grieve the part of me I “lost” when I re-integrated the fragments.

    Thank you for finding me a way to begin to express my grief.

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  65. researcher,

    “…I grieve the part of me I “lost” when I re-integrated the fragments.”
    ++++++++

    i’m very sorry for the pain you’ve experienced. i’m no stranger to ‘relationship pain’, shall we call it (although we all walk different paths).

    can you shed any light on what you describe? [loss of a part of you through reintegrating fragments]

    (simply for understanding)

    “it’s too complicated” is a good answer, too.

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  66. linda,

    “Refreshing and amazing how different church is without the profits.”
    ++++++++

    indeed!

    i’ve been expecting a move to zero-dollars-balance ‘church’ for a few years, now.

    there’s been way too much nonsense and shenanigans.

    the brass tacks at the bottom of the pot: the mission of the church is to perpetuate itself; all else will be sacrificed in the process, whether human beings or what is good, right, fair, and ethical.

    there is too much financial and career investment to do otherwise.

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  67. I love Christian history and history in general and I was thinking that in many instances single women went into areas where there was zero Christian witness and developed churches, got people, men and women to believe in Christ, basically did everything that only a “ man” is supposed to do. I wonder how 9 Marks and other explain that.
    These women, if you read their biographies were called of God, He blessed their work and they suffered.
    My questions are, why would God call them, were there not any men? Why did God bless their work in so many ways? Was their work any less precious because it was done without male leaders? We’re these women out of the will of God because of it? Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon and a host of others labored for God under the worst conditions and I just have a very hard time
    thinking that the egalitarian position of men and women is wrong. Anyone ever heard their line of reasoning on how they explain the above?

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  68. researcher: Thank you for finding me a way to begin to express my grief.

    In several Pony fanfics that mix Ponies and humans, there is a recurring trope in many of these crossover fics that the presence of the Pony can somehow bring Healing to the human. (I used to see this trope occasionally – where the imaginary critter’s presence somehow brings healing – in early Furry Fandom before Entropy set in.)

    My interest in Bronydom (Pony fandom) was primarily for the vast tsunami of fan-derived derivative art, music, (doujinshi) comics, text fiction, and original videos. An amount of fan-produced derivatives larger than what came out of Star Trek & Star Wars fandoms combined. Something like that happens spontaneously, there has to be SOMETHING behind it.

    Who knows? Maybe the Holy Spirit is blowing through there as well; one of the few Private Revelations I respect was that Christian fiction/art/etc had dropped the ball so thoroughly that God was removing his Mantle from them and setting it on the shoulders of mainstream fiction/art/etc. Colorful cartoon ponies could be one of those “foolish things of the world” that “confound the wise”.

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  69. Chuck p,

    “My questions are, why would God call them, were there not any men? Why did God bless their work in so many ways? Was their work any less precious because it was done without male leaders?”
    ++++++++++

    i appreciate your comment very much.

    my clarifying comment is that God does, in fact, call anyone, then God calls women regardless of how many men there might or might not be.

    God needs/wants/requires a woman to have a male leader as much God needs, and wants, and requires a motorized rotary ice cream cone hold holder.

    as i see it (obligatory footnote)

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  70. Headless Unicorn Guy: Maybe the Holy Spirit is blowing through there as well; one of the few Private Revelations I respect was that Christian fiction/art/etc had dropped the ball so thoroughly that God was removing his Mantle from them and setting it on the shoulders of mainstream fiction/art/etc. Colorful cartoon ponies could be one of those “foolish things of the world” that “confound the wise”.

    I think, perhaps, so much depends on the individual. Much of what helped me make sense of the world (and of the Bible-world), I found in the oddest of places. And it took (and still takes) spontaneous and unconscious connection of many of these oddest-of-places to reach understanding on some of the simplest things. In this case, the combination of music, lyrics, facial expression, etc., triggered an unconscious and spontaneous connection between fragments of my life and experiences.

    If Jesus spent time with the thieves, the prostitutes, the poor, the downtrodden, etc., perhaps the Holy Spirit has an unknown role in non-Christian fiction, non-fiction, art, music, etc..

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  71. Headless Unicorn Guy: Who knows? Maybe the Holy Spirit is blowing through there as well; one of the few Private Revelations I respect was that Christian fiction/art/etc had dropped the ball so thoroughly that God was removing his Mantle from them and setting it on the shoulders of mainstream fiction/art/etc

    Having seen behind the scenes of the worship scene, I don’t think a lot of the “art” that comes out of Christians is from their souls. I think Christians often do things that they think other Christians want to hear/see instead of a personal outpouring of their experience. I think secular art is probably a lot more honest to the human experience.

    I have a couple books out. They’ve been out for some time now, but I don’t really write anymore. But I like writing action with comedy. When I wrote, I had this driving need to write or the story and characters would keep going around and around in my head. Writing it out was the only way to get it to stop.

    I went to a lot of writers’ conferences for a few years. No matter the genre, I could boil down writers into two main types: those like me who had to write or they’d go crazy and those that wrote from a strong desire for fame. I met writers who would open with “I only write ‘real’ books”. What they meant was “I only write to get attention”. Often those writers would denigrate science fiction and fantasy or self published authors (self publishing was really taking off at the time). But in writers’ circles, consistently, they had the most dry, boring writing I’ve ever heard. The ones that got attention were the writers for whom writing was a passion and a need. Art that came from somewhere deep inside.

    I think Christians may not all want fame in their art, but I do think they often do so to get approval from other Christians instead of creating something from deep in their hearts.

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  72. elastigirl: can you shed any light on what you describe? [loss of a part of you through reintegrating fragments]

    (simply for understanding)

    “it’s too complicated” is a good answer, too.

    It’s complicated and complex.

    It’s hard to describe how re-integrating fragments of myself was like murdering a different person, all while understanding those fragments were a part of me….AND while understanding that those re-integrated fragments are STILL a unique part of me.

    It took me literally decades to sort out most of the mess, and the sorting process never seems to end.

    I can’t imagine how awful life is for those people who completely dissociate, and how even more awful it is for them if they re-integrate (or even attempt the process of reintegration).

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  73. Chuck p: in many instances single women went into areas where there was zero Christian witness and developed churches, got people, men and women to believe in Christ, basically did everything that only a “ man” is supposed to do. I wonder how 9 Marks and other explain that … Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon and a host of others labored for God under the worst conditions and I just have a very hard time
    thinking that the egalitarian position of men and women is wrong. Anyone ever heard their line of reasoning on how they explain the above?

    It can be argued that SBC has never really been a female-friendly denomination, but there certainly was a better day for God-called women to serve in various SBC capacities. The “beauty of complementarity” under the New Calvinist movement put an end to the extent to which women could minister. Indeed, the Conservative (= Calvinist) Resurgence sent many women in leadership roles at SBC entities packing (I think particularly of Al Mohler’s heavy-handed treatment of female professors at SBTS when he became President there).

    “Annie” and “Lottie” surely pose some problems for the current reformed leadership. They depend on mission funds coming in under their names in the Christmas and Easter offerings for foreign and home missions (millions of dollars). To continue to use the legacy of Annie and Lottie as cash cows to build their kingdom would be an abuse of their good names and tremendous contribution to the Kingdom of God.

    To address your question regarding how the new reformers would explain the past leadership role of women to harvest souls for Christ by preaching/teaching whosoever will may come … in their world of predestination theology, they don’t believe anyone could really lead another to accept Jesus as Saviour … God has done all the saving or condemning before the foundation of the world. To them, the field is not white unto harvest the way you (as a non-Calvinist) look at it. Lottie and Annie could teach the New Calvinists a thing or two about that!

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  74. Chuck p: We’re these women out of the will of God because of it? Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon and a host of others labored for God under the worst conditions and I just have a very hard time
    thinking that the egalitarian position of men and women is wrong. Anyone ever heard their line of reasoning on how they explain the above?

    I missed this the first time. They avoid talking about it completely. In fact, I have not known them to talk about foreign missions at all. Just like they often avoid talking about Jesus and the teachings in the Gospels and Acts. They claim to be “biblical”, but they are very big on avoiding topics that create questions about how they do things. And those are some very good questions…

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  75. researcher: One of the things that annoys me are people who are condescending (voice, facial expression, etc.) while saying, “I only read non-fiction….”

    Yeah, I’ve met those people, too. But I’ll be honest, I read almost everything. And sometimes I find more human truth in “fun” novels than I do in “serious” ones. Lately, I’ve been rereading Tamora Pierce, one of my favorite authors. She started writing YA before Harry Potter made YA cool. She has a lot of human experience in her novels, which is one reason why they are so good. I find more real things in her books than I do non-fiction most of the time.

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  76. ishy: I read almost everything. And sometimes I find more human truth in “fun” novels than I do in “serious” ones. Lately, I’ve been rereading Tamora Pierce, one of my favorite authors. She started writing YA before Harry Potter made YA cool. She has a lot of human experience in her novels, which is one reason why they are so good. I find more real things in her books than I do non-fiction most of the time.

    Although I read a lot of everything, I had not heard of Tamora Pierce. And while I read the Harry Potter books when they first came out, I quickly found they became boring.

    Some of the characters in other novels I read (suspense, fantasy, etc.) became closer friends to me than people. The authors of those books really brought characters to life and their books held a lot of truth.

    I read some of the books so many times that their covers fell off. 🙂

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  77. researcher: Some of the characters in other novels I read (suspense, fantasy, etc.) became closer friends to me than people. The authors of those books really brought characters to life and their books held a lot of truth.

    Same here.
    I have always been able to relate to fictional characters more than I can to RL people.
    (Which is something you do NOT go public with, especially around Christians.)

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  78. researcher: Some of the characters in other novels I read (suspense, fantasy, etc.) became closer friends to me than people. The authors of those books really brought characters to life and their books held a lot of truth.

    Same here, I’m a Stephen King fan.
    Those in the snooty-lit-crowd say he’s just a schlock-meister, and some fundagelicals will claim that his stuff is only satanic.
    Not so, he develops characters that are both believable and down to Earth, and good always triumphs over evil.

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  79. Headless Unicorn Guy: Do you remember Cassandra in the Iliad?
    Cursed by the gods with Perfect Prophetic Foreknowledge — that nobody would ever, ever believe.

    So that church I left almost four years ago, predicting they’d close if they didn’t change their ways (“celebrity” pastor, volunteer burnout, financial ineptitude)… Found out today that they just closed their doors. The senior/founding pastor left about a year ago. I feel badly for the folks left behind.

    That officially makes me 3 for 3 with predictions at that church. Still only 2 for 3 at the next one we attended, but only left there 1.5 years ago. But given how long James MacDonald’s problems took to come to light, I’m willing to give it time.

    Unfortunately, things didn’t end well for Cassandra, either.

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  80. Wild Honey: So that church I left almost four years ago, predicting they’d close if they didn’t change their ways (“celebrity” pastor, volunteer burnout, financial ineptitude)… Found out today that they just closed their doors.

    “If this teaching or movement is merely human it will collapse of its own accord” (Acts 5:39)

    Some take longer than others, but counterfeit ministers and ministries always come to an end. The genuine moves on; the Kingdom of God in the here and now cannot be detoured, lured away, deluded, or delayed. While the authority of Christ is waning in the American church, there is a remnant which still have their spiritual heads screwed on right. Finding them is like looking for the needle in the haystack … a treasure buried in the field … a rare and endangered species.

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  81. Max: If the church collapsed after the founding pastor left, it appears to have been built around his personality rather than the person of Christ.

    Few Joseph Smiths are followed by a Brigham Young who can turn a personality-cult organization into a self-sustaining one. This holds true in the business world as well as the religious.

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