It is almost always the cover-up rather than the event that causes trouble.- Howard Baker
Last week, we received a link to a Petition at Change.org titled: An Open letter to President Mark Jobe on behalf of the Moody Bible Institute community. A group by the name of Moody Survivors addressed this petition to Moody Bible Institute’s 10th president Mark Jobe who has served in this position since 2019.
Moody Bible Institute is described in Wikipedia as:
is a fundamentalist Christian institution of higher education with its main campus in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded by evangelist and businessman Dwight Lyman Moody in 1886. Since its founding, MBI’s main campus has been located on the Near North Side of Chicago. Moody also operates a graduate campus in Plymouth, Michigan.
In speaking with those who have attended this institution, I do not believe they would characterize it as a fundamentalist institution on the order of the IFB.
Moody Bible Institue describes itself as:
Moody Bible Institute has been preparing students for ministry since 1886, with a combination of biblical knowledge and practical training. With an undergraduate biblical studies campus in Chicago and an undergraduate aviation campus in Spokane, Washington; seminary campuses in Chicago and Plymouth, Michigan; and Distance Learning options, Moody Bible Institute has long been considered the gold standard of Bible-based education.
It also has a media ministry that incorporates Moody Radio and Moody Publishers. According to the website, the educational institution incorporates:
Approximately 3,300 students in the undergraduate and graduate programs.
Approximately 65 countries are represented in the student body.
Here is the petition from the website. Apparently, students and alumni that claim instances of discrimination, stalking, sexual, and rape. This was allegedly exacerbated by Dean Ahrens who appeared unwilling to address these concerns. Here is a link to Dean Tim Ahrens who is the Vice President and Dean of Student Life.
There are further allegations of disciplinary actions being taken against abuse survivors.
Julie Roys also posted Petition Alleging Cover-Up of Sexual Abuse at Moody Bible Institute Garners 1,700 Signatures
As of 9:00 a.m. Monday, the number of signatures on the petition exceeded 2,200. In a recent comment, John Cherne, who says he worked for MBI Residential Life as an RA from 2010-2014, writes: “I . . . was very disappointed by the sin and mismanagement of the department. Moody cannot remain and permit these reports to go unaddressed. The protection and safety of students are essential for a learning community.”
Dear President Mark Jobe,
As Students, Alumni, and parents of Moody Bible Institute, we write to you hoping to be received with an open heart to the issues we bring before you, issues we feel have gotten in the way of Moody’s goal to educate students to think biblically, live Christianly, and serve the Church effectively. When you began your tenure as President, you stated you hoped people would be able to find not just a degree, but a calling on the campuses and within the community of Moody Bible Institute. We share that desire—some of us found our callings here, some of us seek it on campus as we speak, some of us watched our children grow into men and women of God during their time at Moody. While many of us have found God and His calling on our lives within the walls of Moody, some of us have also faced harm. Harm that includes instances of stalking, discrimination, sexual assault, and rape. These harms were made worse when members of our community in positions of authority, specifically Dean Arens, seem to have an inability or unwillingness to act to address them. While we have no desire to malign individuals out of spite, we feel it must be addressed that a few individuals who have been tasked with protection of Moody students have failed.
In our conversations with our classmates, we were deeply saddened to hear common themes of dismissal, cover up, and even disciplinary action being taken against survivors of abuse, after they risked so much to come forward. It is essential that Moody students are able to trust the leaders of this campus with their safety, and sadly for some, that has not been the case with Dean Arens, despite his capacity and responsibility to keep all students safe. Additionally, other people with responsibilities to students both legal and moral, failed to ensure the safety of students, at times instead seeking discipline survivors. The stories we gathered from survivors brave enough to come forward and share their stories, which can be found explained in detail here.
We are coming forward with this letter, not out of bitterness or spite, but because we hope to find real solutions to our communal problems. We hope your heart is soft enough to hear and consider the trauma and pain we have endured. We hope we can move forward together.
As relational beings created in the imago dei, our personhood and relationships are reflective of the way in which God relates to Himself. The triune relationality of God offers a framework for how God’s creation is to relate to each other.
God is the creator of life and possibility; He is a creator of relationships and relationality. To disgrace a relationship with perversity is not only an act against a fellow member of creation, but of the creator Himself and the relationships He intended.
Moody Bible Institute must do all in its power to defend their fellow image-bearers. We must stand together and value each other’s dignity and thus respect our creator. God is the creator of possibility. But if the possibility we are creating amongst each other is one of pain and abuse, we are not acting in accordance with the very nature of our God.
We feel that the steps outlined below will help our community address the harms that have been caused, which will then lead to healing. These steps will also ensure that we come out a stronger community, one where reconciliation is possible because responsibility is taken when harm is caused, and justice is served when necessary. We are calling on you, President Jobe, to hold the leaders of this campus to a higher standard, and to take steps to rebuild trust with the students, alumni, and parents.
We are clear that some of what we are asking you to do goes beyond what is required by law. However, we feel these are the steps necessary to rebuild trust that has been broken, foster forgiveness and reconciliation, and move us forward to a Moody Bible Institute that is a safe place for all students to pursue God’s calling on their lives.
We are calling on you to:
1. Create a process for Student and Alumni voices to be considered in the naming of a new Dean of Students to replace Dean Arens.
2. Replace Rachel Puente as the Title IX coordinator and create a process for Student and Alumni voices to be considered in the naming of a new Title IX coordinator.
3. Remove any Title IX decision makers who also have disciplinary powers (as Title IX requires), and replace them with impartial members of our community who can evaluate Title IX claims without considering potential disciplinary measures for the reporter.
4. Annually publish Title IX complaints made, with identifying details redacted, in a way accessible to Moody students, Alumni, and parents.
We believe these steps will help restore trust and put systems in place to ensure accountability and safety moving forward. We are open to meeting with you as well to discuss how we move forward together.
The Moody Bible Institute community
*Current students and Alumni, please put your years attended/graduated in the comments section of your signature
**If you are a survivor with a story to share please reach out to us at MBISurvivors@gmail.com. Stories will be kept anonymous upon request.
To add some teeth to these allegations, MBI Survivors has included the stories of abuse at this link. I am including one here.
Bethany Timm – Moody Bible Institute student, 2014-2016
Posted on 10/16/2020
My first semester sophomore year I met a male student in my philosophy class. He quickly became interested in having a relationship and I immediately had a conversation with him addressing the fact that he was becoming obsessed with me and he agreed and apologized. After a couple other conversations stating boundaries, he began finding out where I was at all times of the day by asking mutual friends and would show up to where I was. I became so anxious about the situation that towards the last few weeks of classes, I missed two whole classes of philosophy because I was having panic attacks thinking about going to class and being in an environment with someone that was stalking me, and I ended up having to switch to an entirely different section of the course. The stalking continued for two months and I felt entirely unsafe to leave me room, except for going to classes in order to keep my GPA up. I finally told my brother a little about what was happening to me when he came to visit and was alarmed by my drastic weight loss. We went to talk to Mr. Stoffer (head of Public Safety), but he was not in his office, but we left a note stating what had been happening. After seeking advice from my brother and a family friend, I decided to go to Dean Arens about the situation.
When I met with Dean Arens, I brought all of the evidence I had with me. Our meeting was brief and when I offered to show Dean Arens the evidence, he said that it was not necessary. Dean Arens lacked any empathy about the situation and merely asked me what I wanted him to do about it. I told him that I was unsure of how protocol was handled in these situations and that was the reason why I was coming to him for help. I mentioned that I did not want said student to be kicked out of school for stalking me and Dean Arens laughed and said, “He will definitely not get kicked out.” Dean Arens never once mentioned that I could file a report through Title IX (as required by law) or that there was a definition within Title IX that fit my situation. Instead, he told me that my situation could not be considered stalking because I was not in any physical harm and that this student surely would not be able to harm me. I began to cry because I felt like this was not enough and I told Dean Arens that I was unsure of what this student was capable of, especially because I believed that this student might have had an undiagnosed mental health issue. Dean Arens began to laugh and said “Women tend to get over emotional about things like this.” As we ended the meeting, I began to feel embarrassed and once again asked Dean Arens what he thought I should do in regards to the situation. He then suggested that I have my boyfriend tell the student that was stalking me to “back off a bit.” He offered no other solution and said he had another appointment coming up, so he asked me to leave.
Dean Arens never followed up with me, I never was given any resources for my emotional strain nor did he ever show any interest in an update in the situation. A few months later, my father set up a meeting with Dean Arens about the situation and Dean lied by denying ever formally meeting with me. He told my father that I had “caught him in the hall and mentioned it briefly, but did not want to file any sort of Title IX claim, so he let it go.”
If these allegations are true, and I believe they are, I believe that Moody Bible has a long way to go in order to change up their culture. I am concerned that they are running years behind the culture which increasingly understands sex abuse and cover-up.
oooooh, it came down to seconds
2,200 signatures as of this morning.
i wonder how surprised the leaders were that this petition came about, and with this much support from those who are/were a part of their community.
i’m only speculating, but i imagine they were caught off-guard.
well, the christian church institution is nothing if it’s not unaware and out of touch with reality.
i think that’s the working definition of “faith” these days.
(there are exceptions, of course)
These kinds of things keep happening.
The wise learn from others’ mistakes, while the less wise learn from their own.
But what is one to make of individuals, institutions and movements that refuse to learn at all?
Are they merely fools? Or perhaps sociopaths?
Maybe these “Christian” organizations need more Women Presidents,Deans etc. It just seems when women tell the men leaders their stories of abuse these men just want to dismiss the stories and the abuse survivors. It is just wrong for any women to be abused and then have to tell their story to a male or group of males and hope he will help them find justice and protection. It is just not right and needs to change IMO.
Have at their Title IX info https://www.moody.edu/about/reports-and-policies/
Clery report is in the Fire & Security report at https://www.moody.edu/about/consumer-information/annual-security-and-fire-safety-reports/
I think you’re right, but I suspect they (Christian organizations) are very reluctant to put women in upper positions of authority, probably on account of certain Pauline writings.
Still though, I’m perplexed.
Why is it that secular institutions of higher learning will not tolerate unwanted sexual advances whether it be the student body, faculty, or administration?
And why do Christian outfits bend over backwards to cover it up and silence the aggrieved parties?
I haven’t found this to be true for women already in these positions. The women that end up in those positions try real hard to appease the men around them and often do worse things. Look at Sharayah Coulter. She’s done worse things than her husband to make Paige Patterson happy.
If there were a lot more women, it might make a difference, but Christian institutions often put yes-men in positions instead of capable people who do the right thing, whether men or women. I also suspect that if someone did try to stand up, as all the professors at Liberty did, they’d just get fired or the case would be taken from them and given to someone interested in protecting the institution. It really doesn’t help that most schools have campus police, whose first job is also to protect the institution instead of enforce the law.
I think there’s two main reasons. One is that they don’t want it getting out that there’s “sin” on campus. Particularly because many evangelical parents send their kids to that school to shelter them instead of teach them to be responsible adults. This is a huge thing that was constantly visible when I was at LU. People know about it and talk about it. It’s an utter lie, of course, but apparently there are a lot of utterly naive Christian parents out there who believe it.
The other reason is my suspicion that many Christian male leaders believe women exist to serve men in all capacities and men “can’t help it” when they commit sex crimes. In other words, they don’t believe women deserve to be treated with dignity and they don’t believe men can treat women with dignity. I’m betting it’s because most male Christian leaders lack a lot of integrity themselves, so they assume everyone else does, too. And they are in power, so if an accusation offends the first reason, that it would get out that there’s sin at the institution, then they don’t think women deserve to be treated like they were victims of a crime. And they really don’t believe men deserve to be treated like criminals, because “they can’t help it”.
There is some real irony here…. Schools like Liberty and Moody are really “uptight” about things most people do not think are much of a issue ( low level drinking of alcohol, girls dress code, etc), and then ignore/cover rape, or “pool boy” situations, etc, No wonder these institutes do all they can to “shut us up”!
P.S. Moody is famous for forbidding ALL drink on and off campus! And really hammering people that do..
I read several articles about this the past few days, and one of the female students said she was drugged before being raped, but Moody instead expelled her for taking drugs and the perpetrator got off with a slap on the wrist. She had a rape kit done at the hospital and a testimony from the doctor that it was a date rape drug that was used, but they treated the doctor’s testimony as “proof” she willingly took drugs.
If you remember, that is a very similar story to Jane’s story from Master’s. The schools blamed the victim for the date rape drugs instead of investigating or pushing to investigate the case and expel the victim to “get rid” of the problem.
I wish I could say that secular schools aren’t as much of a problem, but we had a case here a few years ago where a male student kidnapped, raped, and tortured a female student for several days, admitted to it, but the university refused to refer it out to the local police and insisted that the campus court handle it. He got expelled, but no criminal charges could be filed through the campus court unless it was referred out. The victim was a good friend of a family member of mine. The university makes students sign a waiver when they enroll that the campus court could decide to handle any crimes committed on campus and refuse to allow them to be handled by police, and apparently that’s legal in this state.
A good friend of mine applied to Moody in the 80’s. They almost didn’t admit him because he admitted he did drink alcohol occasionally (he was of legal age), even though he was willing to sign the required pledge to not do so while a student. A professor intervened for him, so he did end up attending.
“And why do Christian outfits bend over backwards to cover it up and silence the aggrieved parties?”
it’s just heartbreaking (& shocking) to me that (some) christian leaders value human lives so little. (especially female ones)
as to why? having lived in a theological/doctrinal bubble for too long. they’ve lost their ethical, common sense, and empathy marbles.
some never grew them in the first place — the grains of potential are there, but christian dogma kept everything tamped down. (if you hear a message repeatedly over time from influential sources, you simply adopt it and get programmed).
some never had the potential.
and all the rest have just learned from the types described above, and emulate their behavior and belief system.
general observation bears these things out — the kindest and healthiest people i know are expressly not christians.
(‘christian’/’christianity’ as wholly distinct from Jesus of Nazareth)
I’m totally gob-smacked that a University can put itself above the laws of the land.
How can this be?
This is the first time I’ve ever heard tell of such a thing.
Have them take a number and stand in line with all the others.
“Institutional Cover-up of Sexual Abuse” in a CHRISTIAN institution?
Lather, Rinse, Repeat;
Lather, Rinse, Repeat;
Lather, Rinse, Repeat…
They can claim they are not anti-women but will use Paul’s words to shut them down.
I assume it’s because the university brings in so much money. I remember signing the waiver myself. Liberty didn’t have a campus court, but as we’ve discussed before, has used their campus police to cover up things.
But if you remember back when dee posted about the church in Alabama having it’s own police force, similar situations were brought up by several people.
Slightly off topic:But relevant to the website.
And the “independent investigation” has been announced: https://julieroys.com/moody-independent-investigation-mishandling-sex-abuse/
Folks the schools ignore the allegations UNTIL they realize donors will withhold money….then they have no choice but to act. Sadly it seems the money is more important than the safety of the female students…
An issue that consistently arises in cases like this is that the “independent” investigator is “hired” by the entity to be investigated. One is asked to trust that the resulting report is not colored by the fact that the investigator is examining its employer.
Are there alternatives to this? Crowd-funding? Would accused institutions cooperate with a truly independent, independently funded investigation?
Perhaps the only solution, that could lead to objective discovery, is civil litigation.
If they hire SNAP, I will believe they are serious about an investigation. Anything else… well, that’s why I put it in quotes.
I’m not sure this is legal. Note a crime is prosecuted by the state not by the victim. It is difficult for the state to prosecute if the victim doesn’t cooperate, but, the state can legally force someone to testify despite a civil contract (with the exception of a small set of legally exempt communications or self-incrimination). However without the name of the institution or at least the state we have no way of checking things out. It is also entirely possible the university lied to the victim and she didn’t check with a lawyer.
She had a page up for awhile but has since taken it down. She went to the city police and they told her it was a university crime and to deal with it there. She may not have checked with a lawyer. She was so severely traumatized that not long after the campus court, her family put her in a mental health institution. I don’t know if she got the proper legal help she needed, but I do know the perpetrator got off extremely lightly. His family made a big stink about him being kicked out of his PhD, but it seems to me he should have been sent to jail for years over that.
I have the impression that it is pretty common in corporation settings that alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are made a condition of the weaker party (prospective employee in a corporation setting, prospective church member in church setting; I think this even happens is something as garden-variety as credit card contracts) entering into a relationship with the stronger party.
The ADR is often some kind of arbitration or mediation mechanism, and I think the terms of this inevitably favor the stronger party. Dee has written about this in the church contexts.
But this is for disputes that would otherwise be resolved in civil, not criminal, courts. I speculate that this is what is in view, though it’s not hard to imagine that officers of the institution might want to convey the impression that this extended to criminal complaints — spreading that perception might help to tamp down stories that otherwise could damage the institution’s reputation.
I have a post hung up, but she went to the police and they refused to investigate it, claiming the university should do it. I think they could have taken it, but they refused because of the university’s power over the city.
“But even survivors who do report to the police are often abandoned by the system. Only a quarter of all reported rapes lead to an arrest, only a fifth lead to prosecution, and only half of those prosecutions result in felony convictions… Schools, unlike the state, must take up every report for adjudication and response according to the victim’s wishes. For most campus survivors, then, their school may be their only resource for justice and safety.”
The details of what he did were pretty atrocious. He threatened to kill her if she tried to escape (which she did anyway). And maybe her family could have fought it, but her mental health deteriorated to a dangerous state, so maybe they just wanted to move on. But I have no doubt that guy will try it again.
I agree. This attitude is found throughout society, but it’s very strange that it is so popular among people who claim to be “Biblical.”
Untested rape kits in cities at inexcusable levels apparently remains an issue. Reportedly, it falls under the umbrella of crimes that purportedly reform-minded district attorney offices evidently don’t want to pursue too vigorously due to elevated incarceration rates as a result — ones that aren’t so easily dismiss or pled down by defense attorneys because of their violent nature. Words versus actions on victims’ rights appears to be baked in at another institutional level.
Very common in the Christian Industrial Complex.
For thos nosey souls who are tweeting as to his whereabouts, Phil Johnson was diagnosed with cancer a few days ago. Now give him some peace. Luther in a lengthy exposition of the Formula of Concord, refers to muck rakers as swine, even if here is truth in some matters. If only the Lutherans read thei Catechism and lived by it.
“Biblical” leaders/followers are some of the worst offenders of Biblical truth. Cherry-picking verses, taking text out of context, and misinterpretation of passages to defend one’s belief and practice are not done by those who search the Scriptures daily for Truth. Genuine Biblical Christians who pray for Truth to be revealed to them through Scripture (the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth) are few and far between. Most of Christendom are wandering in a wilderness of theological error.
Yes he will, he’s a sociopath.
Your assertion about timing is wrong, undercutting your comment.
Phil Johnson announced the diagnosis on Twitter on June 12, according to his own Twitter account. At that time he tweeted, “I had surgery last week, & the pathology report this week informed me that I have prostate cancer. It’s early-stage and treatable…”
Between that date and August 29, he actively tweeted and re-tweeted.
His Twitter account does not explain his sudden silence. If you are not aware, prostate cancer is a very common condition, often treatable. It does not necessarily sideline patients. Of course everyone can always choose whether or not to post things on Twitter.
One of Dee’s tweets reads, “I believe that something more is afoot. And I wish him well.” Your quarrel seems to be with that Twitter thread, and yet you came over here to accuse a different part of the Venn diagram.
In future, may I suggest that you confirm the medical status of every single person you address online, before posting? That would set a lofty example indeed.
I think it would be more accurate to write the phrase “abandoned by the system” (as quoted in the comment by ishy) in plural, re-writing the phrase as “abandoned by the systems”.
For many (perhaps most) victims and survivors, knowing where to turn for support, help, assistance, advice, etc., would be like the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Add in that victims or survivors may not have (never had) been believed, may not have (never had) been listened to with compassion, may not have (never had) been listened to with understanding, may have come from a cult-like background, may have been isolated, etc…..I am not surprised when a victim or survivor does not do what others expect.
Ok so she did go to the regular police and the state failed in its duty to her as a human in its jurisdiction—that is all too common for sexual assault victims whether or not they are university students. I note that kicking her assailant out of the PhD program and therefore presumably out of the university is the most any university in the US can legally do.
Without generalizing further, I would say it’s impossible to read the New Testament without coming to the conclusion that the writers believed men and women could interact chastely. Not that they always would, but that it’s a realistic possibility as well as a desirable goal.
Indeed! Heck, churchmen in the first century church didn’t even care if God called a woman to hold church in her home, be a deaconess, preach, teach or prophecy!
Yep, they were all “complementarians” back then … men and women working together to fulfill the Great commission, each one’s spiritual gifting complementing the others.
Yet he was a highly accomplished muckraker himself. Consistency was not one of his strengths.
The issue with Phil Johnson disappearing just makes me very fearful for those in that church. Their spreading that covid is a hoax and everybody should keep going to church without masks is going to hurt a lot of people in the long run (it probably already has). Couple that with their obsession with keeping all their scandals quiet, I have no doubt that they will threaten their members into not getting tested if they have symptoms and with NDAs if they get very sick or family members even die from the virus.
I’m sorry, I don’t believe for one second that Macarthur just wants everybody to go back to church. If that were the case, he wouldn’t be preaching all these sermons based on extremely erroneous virus statistics and telling people they shouldn’t wear masks. And I know from people that go there that they are telling everyone the virus is a hoax targeting Grace personally (which is ridiculous).
This is beyond crazy!
There a lot of people there that bought into the qanon thing, including someone I know there, so I think it’s related to that. It is crazy. And sad.
One wonders how an outbreak in that group, followed by elevated mortality, would be interpreted from the pulpit.
Perhaps references to Acts 5:1-11 or I Corinthians 11:29-31
The Scriptures provide so many ways for leaders to blame their followers.
Of course, one mustn’t forget texts like II Samuel 21. In our day, one has to reckon at some point that people are responsible for who they prefer to follow.
That sounds ill-tempered, but isn’t meant to. It’s a sorrowful reflection on the present state of things.
Of course, that OT citation should have been to II Samuel 24, the story of YHWH inciting David to number the soldiers of Israel and bring judgment on the nation.
I’ve been watching how they work for almost 20 years now and had close friends who I actually have had to separate from over these issues. I guarantee if it does get mentioned at all, which I strongly doubt, there will be some story about how somebody is persecuting them with it. But I think they will try to hide it and claim the numbers are fake and the outbreak is a conspiracy to attack them. Which is why Johnson’s silence is pretty scary. They will try with every vehicle they have to silence people if they get the virus or lose people to it.
People on Twitter have confirmed Phil is apparently doing a speaking tour. But his silence on Twitter is pretty weird for him. I wonder if he got shadowbanned or something for posting some of the ridiculous stuff he does.
If the institution doesn’t change and transform their core ideologies and enact direct and measurable restitution for their past, the few women they hire or appoint just end up advocating for the old system and their own status and perks in the system. Those few women don’t typically end up advocating for women or (others). It doesn’t lead to transformative change in any real way which usually starts with years of complete discomfort and upheaval and rebuilding.
Hiring or appointing a couple women (usually close friends of influential people) ends up doing more damage for women or others trying to speak out because they’ll just point to “Susie” as doing well and we hired Susie to work on this. Well you gave Susie all these perks so of course she’s doing well and speaking highly of everything. Susie is really here for Susie and you’re giving her supply and she’s giving you supply and nothing has really changed. It only serves to reinforce the dysfunctional family systems that a lot of ministries and churches operate in. Susie is reinforced as the golden child and everyone else who tries to raise concerns is reinforced in their lost child or scapegoat role and the cycle just keeps repeating.
I agree with ishy that hiring one or a few women usually doesn’t help but hiring or appointing or consulting a ton of women might actually work to force a system change of heart. And even then like is said often – that resolve to finally change usually only happens because at that point the fear of losing money is the primary motivating concern to make the change. Its usually not because of self awareness or out of love, empathy, or concern.
I tend to agree.
Hiring a strategically placed woman here and there (for political reasons) is okay, just as a token black or two began to be okay after 1964.
So long as the Pauline apple cart doesn’t get upset too much, they’ll do it
Preach it! (in the spirit of Priscilla and Phoebe, of course)
It shouldn’t be too much to ask in the Body of Christ for church leaders to keep their pants on … for the Spirit to overrule the flesh.
“Let the Holy Spirit lead you in each step. Then you will not please your sinful old selves.” (Galatians 5:16)
“You are a new man in Christ … act like it!” (Max 1:1)
The complementarian version of that verse:
“You are a new wo/man in Christ … act like it!” (Max 1:1)
Better to be Serena Joy than Offred.
Q-Drops are the latest Inerrant SCRIPTURE(TM).
Already cut up into single verses like a Twitter feed.
No, it’s SCRIPTURE(TM).
At least under the Private Revelations of Superapostle JMac.
“‘Laws’ of Men or WORD! OF!! GAWD!!!”
Or sound bites…
Sadface. Please. Don’t let these wayward men take away the love of God …away.
https://youtu.be/EJDPhjQft04 prayer moves mountains. Yehoooooo…
Body cams and the internet is your friend.
Gotta gotta foot loose…
And there it is…
What is surprising is they only have 3 confirmed cases. When I saw the headline I was expecting a much higher number.
Ken F (aka Tweed),
Oh, I’m sure there are more that are being church disciplined for admitting to the virus’ existance…
I wish I could be sarcastic, but they probably are threatening people who show virus symptoms. I know they have threatened members for less.
I have been wondering if their meetings were causing an increase in cases because it seems like there should have been news about this by now. I was also surprised that 3 cases out of several thousand people was called an outbreak. I wonder what the real truth is.
Ken F (aka Tweed),
There are almost certainly more cases in the congregation, I think; most of them may never be diagnosed, having been asymptomatic and the ethos of the group apparently unfavorable to protective measures, which would include contact tracing. US mortality attributed to CV-19 as a ratio to “confirmed cases” is around 3%, which is far higher than what the true case fatality rate is thought to be (the demographics of the infected population is obviously important, too but I don’t think this can account for the appallingly high US CFR thought of as fatalities/confirmed cases). It’s impossible for me to believe that the true (but unobserved) number of infections in US is not a multiple of this, perhaps 5 to 10 times higher.
The confirmed cases reported here (I speculate) were symptomatic (which, I speculate, is why they were tested); there will almost certainly be numerous asymptomatic cases, which means that spread will almost certainly continue there.
One wonders what fraction of the congregation have named the church as beneficiary in their wills. Perhaps a cash deluge is imminent.
This whole situation is really so distressing….. a classmate of mine was sick for 10 weeks with it, as still has lung damage… it is not just about “the number of dead from it”
How a viral disease, and ensuing pandemic, which has been predicted for decades in scientific circles ( I know, I saw seminars predicting exactly the progress of COVID), as turned into a HUGE political issues, and to some, a “Religious persecution” just shows how bad things are getting….
PS… i do not wish COBID on anyone, but not surprised it is nailing the skeptics…. virus does what the virus does
It’s not clear to me from the way that article is written whether the report of the outbreak was made by the church to the county public health authorities or was discovered independently by the county through contact tracing. If the latter, I think one could be very confident that there is more fire at the source of this smoke.
Given the pulpit rhetoric that the pandemic is a hoax and a pretext for evil secular authorities to persecute this congregation, it seems probable to me that individual members of that group who are diagnosed and treated for CV-19 might be reluctant to admit that they are members of that church — not out of shame, but in order to “protect” the church from “persecution” by the secular authorities.
“If I admit that I have attended church in person, it will lead to more muscular efforts to prevent us from worshipping God. So I had better conceal my involvement in the group.”
This is just a “just so” story, but it seems a highly plausible one to me, which suggests the possibility that a slow-motion outbreak could have been on-going there for some time, with people getting sick and being diagnosed, but not admitting that they may have been exposed (or may have exposed others) at a mass church gathering.
It has for me a bit of the feel of the OT prophetic predictions that the people of Jerusalem faced with Babylonian siege and confident that YHWH would protect them since they were the custodians of YHWH’s temple, would be disappointed.
This happened again in AD70. YHWH abandoned His temple in that siege, too.
Historical memory is a useful thing, and one that Evangelicals are notoriously poor at.
Article says this: “Under the county health officer’s order, places of worship must report to the county Public Health Department when at least three coronavirus cases are identified among staff or worshipers within a span of 14 days so the agency can determine whether there is an outbreak.”
Since the church and its lawyers are withholding information, and the county government seems limited in what it can divulge, I think there might be more than three, and they might have known about one or two at a time earlier, and they might not be chasing the information too hard.
By contrast, when my church had second-hand exposure among staff months ago, they instantly closed down and gave us all complete information.
This is a terrifying thought, that a church would hope their members die and lie to them to get them to take risks so they would. I don’t know if I could go that far, but their wonton disregard for others in their community is pretty bad as it is.
I suspect Macarthur is a true believer in this, but I also think his mental state has been deteriorating for some time. I wouldn’t be surprised if his elders are certain there is a virus, it’s as bad as public health says it is, and the elders are doing everything to silence members who might intentionally or unintentionally go against Macarthur.
But it can’t last and it already hasn’t. And even if members don’t cause problems for Grace, if any of them infected other people, then there will be lawsuits. The elders can’t control those outside the flock.
I mean, just look at the photos in this article and tell me they did one thing that protected people…
Talk about a super-spreader!
How can people be that brain-dead?
We read a lot about young adults and college students partying, and surely there’s truth in that. However, a lot of them are sensibly concerned and following the rules. Some young adults are having to be treated for heart problems. At their age, most will probably recover—if they have health insurance and consistent access to skilled care.
I have heard the same thing suspected of John Piper and Pat Robertson.
Unfortunately, the Rules of CELEBRITY are in effect, where Nobody tells the CELEBRITY anything the CELEBRITY does not Want to Hear.
THE TITHES MUST FLOW.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyo0XUGLYeY (if you have an AdBlocker, use it)
And given the exposes on church corruption I’ve read here and elsewhere, it is a DEFINITE Possiblity.
FAITH, FAITH, FAITH.
“IT IS WHAT IT IS.”
Even Asymptomatics can spread the virus.
It’s called “Asymptomatic CARRIERS” and is the reason this virus is so insidious; you’re still contagious before you show symptoms (and if you never show symptoms).
That’s what made AIDS so insidious; once infected, you could be a carrier for YEARS before your AIDS surfaced, spreading the whole time.
Bethel in Redding (remember them?) has over 100 traceable to them.
I have a hard time believing there are not many more cases. The LA Times wasted an opportunity to look for those cases. Instead, by saying there are 3 cases out of 7000 people, it makes it look like the church gatherings have been a huge success because of so few cases. Is that the message they intended to convey? Calling 3 cases out of 7000 an outbreak sounds like a case of Chicken Little.
Ishy, are their any groups outside the campus systems, that can help marshal them through a checklist of sorts, to make the right contacts, including a lawyer?
I’m sure there are. I don’t know if they were ever connected with those resources. She moved to the other side of the country to leave it all behind and get far away from the perpetrator. I know she did get help to get through her trauma, but I hope that that someone went after that guy. She deleted her page about the incident, and my family member that knew her has also moved away, so I haven’t heard an update in awhile.
Brings to mind a situation where a church facing massive cost overruns had on its fundraising campaign featured comments from someone who had worked in that professionally. IIRC, in the context of estate planning to augment church funding, this person talked without batting an eye about how a specific number of people dying in the near term could yield income for the church towards the project. Priorities…
“It is estimated that about 45% of people who contract COVID-19 will have no symptoms. This is one of the biggest challenges regarding the virus. It is clear that asymptomatic people may still have the ability to spread the virus to others.”
There are numerous reports of churches around the country which have been the source of COVID spreaders in their communities. This is a real deal, folks! Exercise some common sense … don’t use your Christian liberty and religious freedom as an excuse to harm or kill others.
Question for all:
How does MacArthur (and other big-name fundagelicals) hold such sway over otherwise intelligent and rational adults?
This article is pretty interesting: https://www.onlinepsychologydegree.info/what-to-know-about-the-psychology-of-cults/
But I still ask myself that every day. I’ve lost about half my close friends over the years to cultic groups (including the new SBC). I don’t develop a lot of close friendships easily, so to see intelligent, thoughtful people allow themselves to be controlled by people who mostly just want to use them is very disheartening.
Human intelligence is no match for the wiles of the devil. Church folks who don’t equip themselves with the full armor of God can easily fall prey to Satan’s schemes, strategies and tricks. He does his best work in church.
We have been forewarned about the enemy’s work in our midst: Ephesians 6:10-18.
Pride. On the part of the congregation members, that is. Having left two such situations, in both I can say that there was definitely a sense of superiority amongst members in how “special” and “better” our church was over all the other churches out there because of the gifted preacher, the professional-quality music, the “committed” small group members, etc.
It’s embarrassing to admit, now.
Marci Preheim (who shared Jane Doe’s story from The Master’s University), observes this (and it resonated with my experience, too:
“ My parents were attracted to the “intellectual” aspect of the Bible teaching in the cult I was raised in. They were deceived into thinking they were smart enough to find the narrow path—as if the Kingdom of God is found that way. They believed they had found the corner on Biblical truth, and were selected as the chosen people to go out and proselytize all those poor ignorant bastards living in hedonism.” (http://www.marcipreheim.com/2018/03/07/the-theology-of-fear/)
The “mind control” section of that article had me checking off a number of mental boxes.
“ …once they are established members, cult leaders often maintain emotional control through various exercises meant to publicly humiliate a member. One such method involves someone sitting in a chair surrounded by other members, at which time they are required to admit their recent failures, base thoughts, shortcomings, etc.”
So all those small group meetings that encourage a time of public confession? Ruh-roh.
Especially since the New Calvinists and other groups plant leaders whose job it is to report the worst failings of people back to the elders. Then that informtion is used to emotionally blackmail people if they step out of line. And to the whole church, if they want to really control you.
Beware of joining “LifeGroups” … the New Calvinists coined that term. They are used to corral members into weekly meetings, where hand-picked leaders can keep ears and eyes open for potential dissent within the ranks. These yes-men report back to the elders who will keep track of such folks for future disciplining, shunning, and/or excommunication. LifeGroups may seem like simple Bible study and prayer gatherings, but there is a more sinister face behind the mask.
Apparently New-Calvinism is thriving in China:
Perhaps they have been beat down enough to make it seem like freedom.
High density congregate settings are clearly high transmission risk settings:
It seems apparent that this plague is not going to “pass over” groups that rely on a “we must obey God rather than men” excuse for defying public health orders. In less life-or-death situations, it would be a bit ironic or perhaps funny how a biblical text like Romans 13:1 is set aside in favor of a text like Acts 5:29, and that is pretended to be “rightly dividing the Word of God.”
I’m sure this point has been made at TWW before, but it bears repeating — choosing texts to support what one already wants to do is not in any way faithful to the text; it’s actually IMO, a form of post-modernism, a disregard of authorial intent for the sake of present exercise of power.
When this is over, it will be clear which shepherds actually cared about the well-being of their charges.
A sad development, indeed! Those poor souls need the Gospel, not a movement of aberrant faith … they need Christ not Calvin. When the New Calvinism bubble breaks across the globe (it will), millions that sat under the teaching will still be lost.
““The harvest is past, the summer has ended and the gathering of fruit is over, But we have not been saved,” comes the voice of the people again.” (Jeremiah 8:20)
Does God see the “blood” on our nation? … on our politics? … on our churches? Why would COVID pass over America?
As my dear wife just reminded me … the Hebrews obeyed God, went into their houses, shut the door, and stayed home until the plague passed by. They didn’t meet with a big gob of other folks to wait it out … not in the bars, not in stadiums, not even at church.
Covid is an RNA virus. These are more prone to mutations than DNA viruses like herpes or smallpox.
It’s a strand of protein, not even alive.
If there’s a human cause in any of this, it may be overcrowding, environment & poor infection control.
I suppose you could make a case that there is some political angle but the virus is opportunistic, not a punishment from God.
If every single person turned to the correct version of Christianity right now, we’d still have a virus to deal with.
There are lessons to be learned but this is (arguably) a human caused problem, not a faith based one.
The virus doesn’t care which faith we subscribe to. Many faithful of all religions will succumb.
It didn’t in 1918.
I remember reading about a town or diocese in Spain that took that route when the flu burned through their region. This being Rural Spanish Catholic, it was novenas, processions, marathon prayer and devotions (in large groups), kissing statues and holy relics to the point of superstitious obsession. And officially neglecting the precautions from the SECULAR government.
That town/diocese had the highest infection rate and death rate in all Spain.
Never mind that EVERY version (even “Us Four, No More, Amen” house churches) claims they are The Only Correct Version.
“Targeting them PESONALLY”?
That makes them SOOOOOOOO SPESHUL!