The Lawyers Who Have Defended the SBC for 50 Years Have Severed Ties With the SBC!

Popcorn Face

“Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.”  William Shakespeare


This is going to be one heckuva winter. I’m stocking up on popcorn.

Southern Baptist Convention’s Lawyers to Cut Ties After Vote to Waive Privilege Bless Julie Roys’s heart. She linked to their letter to Ronnie Floyd.

Here is their problem.

“We simply do not know how to advise a client, and otherwise represent a client, with the quality of advice and representation the client must have, and in keeping with the standard of practice our firm tries to uphold, when the client has indicated a willingness to forego this universally accepted principle of confidentiality,” Guenther and Jordan wrote in a letter to Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd.

This is going to be a hot mess. I’ll keep you posted.


Comments

The Lawyers Who Have Defended the SBC for 50 Years Have Severed Ties With the SBC! — 77 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Chalmers: Mixing “spiritual piety” with business and “corporate legal” behavior is a receipt for “issues”……

    The SBC is a perfect example of a secular business with a primary goal of protecting itself ……… not a Christian organization whose goal is to “go ye therefore” and share the gospel of Jesus.
    —— And, like Max, I am a former Southern Baptist.

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  2. What attorneys will represent the EC now? Not just in the SA investigation and any consequences that may follow, but in all of their business dealings as they fulfill their charter purpose? I can incision a scenario in which the EC has to be disbanded and reformed under a new constitution.

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  3. Chuck P:
    Since money is important to any law firm, I am most interested in why the severed their relationship withthe SBC. Any attorneys on this blog that can chin in?

    And also, if the client and attorney part ways (especially if the parting is not on good terms), does the attorney still have right to claim privilege for him/herself? Or does the attorney now get dragged into whatever mess the client now is?

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  4. Burwell Stark:
    What attorneys will represent the EC now? Not just in the SA investigation and any consequences that may follow, but in all of their business dealings as they fulfill their charter purpose? I can incision a scenario in which the EC has to be disbanded and reformed under a new constitution.

    Very good question. And will their insurance carrier (Brotherhood Mutual) decide to drop them as a client? (After all, their decision to waive privilege may hinder the insurance carrier’s “duty to defend” which exists in most such policies.)

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  5. Muff Potter:
    Why would they (the lawyers) do that?

    That was answered by the lawyers letter, in a part dee didn’t quote, at the bottom of page 1 and top of page 2:

    There has always been an expectation of privacy in these communications. … and we advised the Executive Committee and its officers, employees, and committee members that they could also safely rely on that expectation. Because the attorney-client privilege existed, these persons have on occasion shared with us sensitive information which we needed in order to competently represent the Executive Committee. … However, going forward we can no longer assure Executive Committee and Convention personnel with whom we work that the privacy of their communication with their lawyers will be secure.

    … In fact, the attorney-client privilege has been for centuries a pillar of this country’s jurisprudence and rules of evidence. The concept is rooted in a principle of judicial fairness and the belief that our nation of laws is best served if persons and entities can communicate with their legal counsel freely and confidentially. … It does not corrupt justice, it creates the space for justice.

    Even with attorney-client privilege, getting the truth out of a client can be a challenge for a lawyer. A common challenge for criminal defense attorneys (public defenders or privately retained attorneys) is getting their clients to tell them the truth instead of made up bullshit so that the client’s lawyer isn’t the dumbest person in the room when a trial or pre-trial conference is happening.

    In the organizational space that is likely worse, because the organizational lawyer’s client is always the organization not the employee. So if the organization decides to become adverse to the employee the employee can get left shafted by having spoken to the organization’s lawyer.

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  6. grberry: Even with attorney-client privilege, getting the truth out of a client can be a challenge for a lawyer.

    Isn’t that the primary reason why an attorney would drop a client … when their client refuses to be truthful? There are other reasons I suppose: client failing to pay their bills, misleading the court, refusing to follow attorney’s advice, etc.

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  7. dee:
    grberry,

    Awesome answer. I bet you are an attorney. Thank you for helping us. If you’re still reading, I have a question. Do you think that there is the possibility of criminal action? I am betting on it.

    If their waiving a legal protection that some in other countries don’t enjoy, I would say yes to the possibility of criminal action.

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  8. grberry,

    Very interesting answer…. and I have to agree with you… I have seen this first hand at Big U… lawyers work for the Big U, not the employee, including the top dog administrators…
    Which, gets back to my core issue.. in the final analysis, a church org will act like a company, or other “org” and will use the law to protect itself.. nothing wrong with that… just as the lawyers above state… it is how our “system” works..

    But, if a church/goes down that legal path, then the church/org should then NEVER play the “we are spiritual, we speak for G$d”… card… Christ did not play it…

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  9. grberry: So if the organization decides to become adverse to the employee the employee can get left shafted by having spoken to the organization’s lawyer.

    The org at large has its ear to the ground, with regard to what is a Good Look for their constituency of donors.

    Culture, with #MeToo & #ChurchToo et al, has turned a corner with the culpability in Court & on SM (as well as in docs/podcasts) of Mr. Movies Weinstein, Mr. NYC Allen, America’s Dad Cosby, & wayward priests.

    Evangeo Church orgs lag in showing up to the clean-up party; squirming in their cesspool of cases, evidence, and witnesses, slowly they want in on what is a Good Look.

    Will the pulpit trifecta of anti-evidence, anti-witnesses, and case denial, be left in the dust as irrelevant or aberrations, (i.e. Wilson, Piper, Driscoll & their ilk)? The question.

    Hybel’s dynasty seems to have been a passing shadow. So much hype in it’s day … now a distant mirage (except for those whose lives were plundered and damaged).

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  10. I saw a statement on another blog that made me pause. The statement was The problem is that no SA happened at the EC. Abuse accusations have surfaced at SBTS, SWBTS, and SEBTS. Is this strictly true, that none of the accusations of abuse occurred at the EC? Is the cover-up alone what is being investigated? Then the waiver of attorney-client privilege takes on a new shade.

    The question is raised: what about those entities? Will they waive privilege as rapidly as they called for the EC to waive its own? This issue has the potential to unravel a lot of the SBC infrastructure.

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  11. Ava Aaronson: left in the dust as irrelevant or aberrations, (i.e. Wilson, Piper, Driscoll & their ilk) … Hybel’s dynasty seems to have been a passing shadow. So much hype in it’s day … now a distant mirage …

    “If this teaching or movement is merely human it will collapse of its own accord” (Acts 5:38-39)

    Hybel’s who? Someday, it will be Wilson who? … Piper who? … Driscoll who? A large book could be written on “Preacher Who?” for flashes in the pan who faded to obscurity because their ministries were built on shifting sand. Too many folks follow charisma, gab and gimmick because the don’t stand on the solid rock called Jesus.

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  12. Burwell Stark: The statement was The problem is that no SA happened at the EC. Abuse accusations have surfaced at SBTS, SWBTS, and SEBTS.

    This is what I’m being told. Since I don’t know the history of the members of the EC, I don’t know if any of them have had issues.

    My guess is that much of it will be coverup. Read my stuff about Jules getting rejected by the EC when she asked them to investigate Steve Bradley who did not report her abuse. He was h the lead pastor.

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  13. Max: “Preacher Who?” for flashes in the pan who faded to obscurity because their ministries were built on shifting sand.

    dee: Read my stuff about Jules getting rejected by the EC when she asked them to investigate Steve Bradley who did not report her abuse. He was h the lead pastor.

    The Flash in the Pan ministries come and go, forgotten in the dust.

    Unfortunately, the damage they do lasts a lifetime for each victim, survivor, witness. They don’t forget.

    Fortunately, our Heavenly Father promises a day of reckoning when all victims put their ordeals behind them for Eternity and all predators face the reality of what they did, also for Eternity.

    Not everyone believes this. I do. We choose this day whom we will serve and map out our Eternity.

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  14. Headless Unicorn Guy: Widows tithing their Social Security checks is what made Kenneth Copeland the World’s Richest Televangelist (now pushing Billionaire).

    Wow. Resources flowing the exact opposite direction of the Biblical mandate to assist widows and orphans. An alpha wolf in a shepherd’s costume if there ever was one.

    The televangelists make promises: “Sow your seed [send me $$$] so God will take care of your need.” Baloney. Snake oil.

    Widows & orphans & everyone looking to God for needs: read the Bible over and above listening to the snake oil salesmen masquerading as men of God.

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  15. Ava Aaronson: all predators face the reality of what they did, also for Eternity

    I figure church predators will be in a whole category of their own come Judgment Day … “To whom much is given, much will be required” … “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” … “Woe to you, blind guides” … “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell” … etc.

    If that’s not enough to scare the hell out of pulpit actors, I don’t know what will do it. If you are listening in “Pastor” and know you fall in that category, there’s still time to turn … Jesus shouts from Heaven “Repent or else!”

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  16. Scott Shaver: They won’t be the only ones washing their hands and leaving the SBC to its lunatic fringes.

    A great multitude has already exited. The Conservative Resurgence saw a bunch leave. When the CR was eventually revealed to be a Calvinist Resurgence instead, a gob more left … and the ranks still dwindle as SBC’s elite vie for the throne. What a shame to see a once-great evangelistic denomination come to this. (My SBC tenure goes back to the 1950s … I’m Done now)

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  17. Ava Aaronson: the damage they do lasts a lifetime for each victim, survivor, witness. They don’t forget.

    There is a vast multitude wandering through life in America who are suffering from PTCD (Post-Traumatic Church Disorder). Burned through deception and abuse at the hands of religious leaders, they are done with church (but, hopefully, not done with Jesus).

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  18. Max: Burned through deception and abuse at the hands of religious leaders, they are done with church (but, hopefully, not done with Jesus).

    I’d like to think about this special group as ‘the Church in exile’ until better days when they can find ‘their people’ again. When you consider that they are still in ‘the Body of Christ’, these people in exile ARE ‘the Church’ also, just homeless for a while, except ‘in Christ’ they shelter still. Abused, and ‘without a shepherd’, Our Lord Himself watches over them in compassion. They are in His keeping still.

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  19. It is not just televangelists: we visited an SBC church in Colorado once and were treated to a sermon where the pastor was clear if you were not tithing fully, expect your kids to get leukemia or hit by a mack truck, expect to lose your job, expect this or that woe. Add to that he explained carefully why he did not tithe on the portion of his pay that was for insurance, or saved for the future. He could do that. You could not. Touch not mine anointed. He made it very clear you were to tithe money to the church for those EBT benefits, Social Security checks, housing allowance, medicaid, etc. If medicaid payed off a $20,000 hospital bill he figured you owed the church $2000. Of course, he could deduct his insurance premiums from his tithe, but you could not. Touch not mine anointed.

    We left the building figuring he need anointing all right, with tar and feathers and a rail out of town. But as of this summer he was still there fleecing the flock.

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  20. Dave: Perhaps I don’t understand? I thought they left BECAUSE their clients were waiving their rights?

    You are correct, sort of……….
    The law firm that has represented the SBC since the mid 60’s did leave because the EC did vote, by a fairly narrow margin and under pressure from SBC rank and file, to waive their right to attorney-client privilege. However, they voted to waive that right in a very limited fashion. I believe that the EC is just trying to protect itself by throwing the dogs (SBC rank and file) a few bones.

    It is my guess that the law firm that just quit has been protecting the SBC for decades.

    The SBC EC has now brought in at least one high-end law firm to represent and advise them.
    (I think they have hired 2 firms, but I cannot remember for sure.)

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  21. https://baptistnews.com/article/sbcs-legal-counsel-quits-in-protest-of-executive-committee-waiving-privilege-in-sexual-abuse-investigation/#.YWcNUco8KhA
    From the article:
    “Jim Guenther, who is 87, has represented the SBC since 1966. In an August interview with the Tennessee Baptist and Reflector, he said his firm never has lost an ascending liability suit filed against the SBC. He estimated that he handled about 50 of those cases over the years.”

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  22. linda: as of this summer he was still there fleecing the flock

    “The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love to have it so! But what will you do when the end comes?” (Jeremiah 5:31 AMP)

    As long as “My people love to have it so”, there will always be false prophets standing in line to fleece the flock.

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  23. christiane: I’d like to think about this special group as ‘the Church in exile’ until better days when they can find ‘their people’ again. When you consider that they are still in ‘the Body of Christ’, these people in exile ARE ‘the Church’ also, just homeless for a while, except ‘in Christ’ they shelter still. Abused, and ‘without a shepherd’, Our Lord Himself watches over them in compassion. They are in His keeping still.

    And in Ezekiel 34, the LORD says he’s going to go gather the scattered:
    16 “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will eliminate. I will feed them with judgment.

    If the LORD is coming for you, his coming is good news for the homeless “scattered” members of the church in exile and very bad news for the false shepherds.

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  24. Muff Potter: I think that most of it is a fear based religion.

    “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

    If a spirit of fear is keeping you under the influence of a certain minister or ministry, you can rest assured that God is not involved. Believers should exercise the power they have in Christ and get the heck outta there, before their love and sound mind are ensnared by fear.

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  25. christiane: ‘the Church in exile’ until better days when they can find ‘their people’ again

    Great way to look at the “Done” movement, Christiane! Some believers have chosen to leave aberrant faith and practice, some have been expelled from it. Either way, they have been exiled from what was once their “native country” … the Church of the Living God. I would like to think that better days are coming, but as you note “they are just homeless for a while, except ‘in Christ’ they shelter still.” Beautiful words of hope, truth and life.

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  26. Max,

    As Max likes to say, I was once young, but now am “getting up there”
    I have seen/experienced allot of “fads” in Fundamentalisms/Evangelicalism, and now observed the train wreck of the massive abuse, and cover-up, of kids in the Roman Catholic Church…. and it looks like there is equally massive kid abuse/cover-up in Protestant world….
    The verses that Max cites, as well as others that were drilled into me in my fundy upbringing do come back to my mind.. namely, ability of mankind to corrupt “religion”, and how, ultimately, we are “followers of Christ”, and we need to follow HIS teachings, that somehow the HS is in us to guide us, and to not trust the teachings of mere men, especially those that are “wolves in sheep clothing”..

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  27. dee: Since I don’t know the history of the members of the EC, I don’t know if any of them have had issues.

    There was an EC employee a few years back who retired early due to a personal failing thewartburgwatch.com/2018/03/30/frank-page-resigns-his-sbc-post-due-to-a-personal-failing/
    His buddies at the EC might not have found any SA issues, as they might have forgotten to investigate.

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  28. dee: I’m waiting for one lawyer I know to chime in.

    That would NOT be me. I am not a lawyer.

    Still… it is my understanding that attorney-client privilege does not apply if the attorney and client are breaking laws together. Maybe this firm is trying to protect itself from exposure of things its lawyers did, or knew about.

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  29. Jeffrey J Chalmers: we are “followers of Christ”, and we need to follow HIS teachings, that somehow the HS is in us to guide us, and to not trust the teachings of mere men, especially those that are “wolves in sheep clothing”.

    Wolves are easier to detect if we truly follow Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us … red flags pop up! If our faith is built on the teachings and traditions of men (which Jesus told us not to do), and we don’t pray and read Scripture as we ought, the wolf can move in.

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  30. Max,

    One “teaching” that comes to my mind with respect to TWW, is that we are to “love others as yourself” and look out for the “oppressed” and “lesser” among us.
    A clear example of those we are to “look out for” are the those that are ABUSED by the church, which to me, is the focus of TWW.
    Covering up that abuse, to allow the “abused” to silently suffer, some for the rest of their life, so that some “preacher” or “org” (i.e. RZIM) does not have to publicly admit their abuse of others is depraved….. and not hard for me, at least to say publicly

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  31. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    One example of “accelerate”..
    I have observed myself, as well as been told by a old preacher friend of mine, that has a ministry to other pastors, is the observation that many Christians, especially the politically “right wing” ones, are further “withdrawing” into their little “bubbles”..
    This is not good.. At Big U I also see a continued decrease in “dialog” between different points of view, which is a fundamental criteria for a democracy.. sigh…

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  32. Max–we quit waiting expecting SOMETHING BIG to happen.

    Something big has already happened. The Dones, the Free Range Christians, the House Church folks, and others have already moved on from the Christian Industrial Complex. The unreached and unsaved are strongly averse to the Christian Industrial Complex.

    The Temple building is crumbling and falling all over again. That is not a bad thing. We took a real hard turn in the wrong direction with the whole “organized church” thing a couple of millennia ago. But God took that wrong thing and in many cases used it for good, just as He did the temple in Jerusalem. Not one stone was left upon another. And there likely won’t be many church buildings in use as churches in the next century barring a real revival.

    But that is ok. The faith that turned the world upside down was not centered around buildings and preachers. It was centered around The Church, meaning all the believers living out their faith all day long everywhere they went. And it will be so again.

    Don’t be like Lot’s wife, looking back at the churches, especially SBC churches, we knew. Time to get busy serving in the new and improved model!

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  33. linda: The faith that turned the world upside down was not centered around buildings and preachers. It was centered around The Church, meaning all the believers living out their faith all day long everywhere they went.

    Amen & Amen! Those who are trying to find the one true church can locate it on the highways and byways ministering to the hurting and oppressed in Jesus’ Name … while multitudes are swaying to the beat of the drums in the Christian Industrial Complex.

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  34. linda: That is not a bad thing. We took a real hard turn in the wrong direction with the whole “organized church” thing a couple of millennia ago.

    It’s really a mixed bag. Had it not been for an organized church we would not have a New Testament, for example. For all its flaws, it seems like God used it anyway.

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  35. dee:
    grberry,

    Awesome answer. I bet you are an attorney. Thank you for helping us. If you’re still reading, I have a question. Do you think that there is the possibility of criminal action? I am betting on it.

    I am not a lawyer, but I work with business transaction lawyers. I have the habit of reading a lot of appellate law cases and lawyer blogs.

    I don’t see enough data for speculate on the prospect of criminal action to be worthwhile.

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  36. linda: But that time seems to be over, at least for the moment.

    I wonder if there is a viable solution. We humans are generally sociable creatures who tend to flock together with other, sonit seems like avoiding organization and institution is not in our nature. Maybe it is a necessary evil. Organizations would be healthy if not for the people in them.

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  37. Ken F–well, in my neck of the woods those that have left the institutional church have NOT stopped getting together with other Christians. What they do is currently influenced a lot by covid, because we are low vax/high infection rate. So even vaxxed older Dones may be reluctant to get together over coffee at the local cafe. But Zoom is popular. Some get together in homes within their covid bubble. There are outreach phone trees. And curbside visits–visitor in car at the curb, visitee on the porch.

    Examples of how it works: of course one can tithe to the church. But many outside the CIC simply put the money in the bank, and when they see someone struggling they meet the need. I know of one case where a teen graduating high school, kicked out of their home by their parents, was taken in for the rest of the senior year and then gifted a car at graduation. In another case some medical travel expenses were picked up by a believer for someone else. It is absolutely amazing what gets done when there is no building to pay for and no salary, insurance, retirement, etc to fund.

    As to sharing the gospel: best preacher I ever knew when it came to evangelism taught us to listen more than we speak, and when we do go about in the world gossip the gospel. I have had telemarketers pour their hearts out when you ask “Before you begin, is there anything I can pray with you for?” Sometimes when we call tradesmen, stores, or repairmen with a request and they say “We have that in stock” if you just say “Thank you Jesus!” they may open up talk to you for over an hour. I’ve offered the plan of salvation to foreign hucksters trying to scam me and had one call back several times. He would loudly read his scam script and then very quietly say “If they catch me they will kill me but I downloaded the Bible like you said. Can you give me more scriptures?” Final call he would scream out loudly “No do not talk of Jesus to me they are listening they will kill me you are evil and then quietly just said “Thank you. If they kill me I will go to heaven now.”

    And of course there is prayer ministry. Start praying for those you see on a daily basis even if just talking heads or actors on tv. You might be surprised how many people reach out to you with prayer needs. Once a young woman must have sensed my DH’s ability in the area. We were exiting McD’s and a young mother, very pregnant stopped my husband, poured out her whole story of her tough pregnancy and health issues, and asked for prayer. Total stranger. She happily went her way and we went ours.

    None of that requires a committee, none of it requires professional clergy, none of it requires anyone in charge or any money up front for expenses. No special space, special clothing, or special language required. Fits any and every culture. All ages and genders and talents and socio economic groups can serve. Immediately.

    No need for a guru to “cast a vision.” No boring meetings, no manipulative wiles used on anyone.

    The highways and hedges are ripe. What we need are more workers.

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  38. linda,

    You are describing something wondrous. I hope it lasts.

    At the risk of causing offense, I’ll add that you are also echoing some messages of non-Christians: why give to the church when you can give directly?

    Our family does give to our church, and to the (secular) food bank and other institutions. We also directly help those in need. Worth considering, though: nonprofits in the USA, such as the church and food bank, can actually stretch charity dollars further than direct giving, because people can take a tax deduction.

    I am shocked by waste, wiles, and manipulation. I am not shocked that a church or food bank would have a building, or would pay people a living wage to do work (sometimes after years of education and training). If all the churches, and all their affiliated schools, universities, hospitals, libraries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, second-hand shops, and food banks closed tomorrow—or had to move out of their buildings—would the US be better off? I’m sure you aren’t suggesting that.

    Please keep doing what you are doing, and also please remember that the church is more than today’s SBC or some televangelist who wants another personal jet.

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  39. Friend–of course the Church is doing wonderful things. However, in the end I still believe one on one giving has much longer lasting results. I’ve watched people receive one on one help and within a year be contributing members of society and more importantly, clearly changed internally by a walk with Jesus Christ. On the other hand, having lived in rez country, I have watched people learn helplessness by organized giving. Tons, literally tons, of used clothing were sent to the rez yearly to “witness to Christ.” A few people would show up around Christmas representing thousands and enjoy a wonderful time of fellowship with the rez residents. But they would leave, and the rez residents would throw most of the stuff in the trash and wait for the next round of gift givers to arrive. No thought to actually using the clothing, which had by the way been pre sorted to be in excellent condition, in fashion, and carefully cleaned. No thought to at least use it to make quilts for winter. Why bother when blankets will be airdropped with the first snow? But I also lived near another rez that was not as popular with the helpers. Aid there was one on one. Lives were changed. Sure, there were fewer people “receiving aid” but the aid was effective. Alcoholism was overcome. Jobs were taken. Housing was mended, cleaned, made habitable. In the end, I have come to see those large amounts of organized aid as suspect.

    But that said, without Catholic Charities many in the USA would have no health care available. Rural areas are so blessed to have them provide healthcare.

    So yes, I do advocate shutting down what you may think of when you hear the word “church.” But I do not advocate shutting down The Church.

    If you google Old Regular Baptists (which I am not) you will find a different way of viewing church offices. Take the pay out of the way and amazing things happen.

    So yes, I do think the USA would be better off if the Christian Industrial Complex disappeared. Small, intimate neighborhood churches, all volunteer army, using whatever buildings were available. Hmm–sounds much like the past. Folks used school buildings, halls, even saloons in Colorado as churches on Sunday. Volunteer staff.

    Twelve of them a long time ago turned the world upside down.

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  40. linda: in my neck of the woods those that have left the institutional church have NOT stopped getting together with other Christians

    I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. At the same time, I am skeptical that things like this are immune to becoming institutionalized. While I am not a fan of an institutional church, I don’t know how Christianity would have survived without some level of organization to sort through things such as essential vs non-essential beliefs, which scriptures are authoritative, which heresies to avoid, etc. The current state of protestantism, with thousands of different denominations having conflicting beliefs, makes me think there are problems with completely abandoning the institutional church, because the obvious end state is everyone having their own view of what is or is not Christian. But I also share concerns.

    There is also the issue of these two verses:
    Matthew 16:18 – “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
    1 Timothy 3:15 – “… which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
    It’s often difficult to believe these verses are true.

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  41. Ken F (aka Tweed): I don’t know how Christianity would have survived without some level of organization to sort through things such as essential vs non-essential beliefs, which scriptures are authoritative, which heresies to avoid, etc.

    When the Holy Spirit as teacher was gradually deemphasized in the Christian church, organizations sprang forth to promote the traditions and teachings of men (something Jesus warned us about). Bingo … 2,000 years later, there are 30,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world … each with their own version of the one true church, the correct theology, the only anointed preachers to listen to, perfect Biblical belief and practice, etc.

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  42. Max: When the Holy Spirit as teacher was gradually deemphasized in the Christian church, organizations sprang forth to promote the traditions and teachings of men (something Jesus warned us about).

    When do you think that happened? When I tried to find out when the church went off the rails I could not find anything definitive. It seems like the church has never been fully on the rails, while at the same time never being too far from the track. Calvinists talk about the reformation recovering the gospel, but they don’t seem to agree on when the gospel got to a point where it needed recovery. Was it ever lost? The 4th century was a pretty rough time for Christianity because of the Arian controversy where Trinitarianism was nearly eradicated. Athanasius was one of the bright spots in that time, but he suffered greatly for defending Trinitarianism. It seems like there is almost always a conflict like that in every generation, yet somehow the church always seems to hang on by a thread. Christian history is messy, starting with the NT.

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