World Magazine Journalists Bravely Take on the Allegations of Abuse by Paul Pressler. So Why Has Their Boss, Marvin Olasky, Resigned ?

s June 2021 image, our Sun’s glint beams off the Indian Ocean as the International Space Station orbited 269 miles above south of western Australia.-NASA

“Reality is an aspect of property. It must be seized. And investigative journalism is the noble art of seizing reality back from the powerful.”
\\― Julian Assange,


Whoa! This story is getting a lot of play! I agree, in general, with the assessments of the posts dealing with this matter but I think I may have an additional spin on the whole thing. The New York Times posted His Reasons for Opposing Trump Were Biblical. Now a Top Christian Editor Is Out. It was subtitled: A clash over culture and politics comes to World, a groundbreaking journalistic institution that covers evangelical Christians.”

Who is Marvin Olasky and what happened to him?

Marvin Olasky is out as the long-time editor of World Magazine. He submitted his resignation on November 1, 2021. According to the NYT article:

He had, he said, received an effective “vote of no confidence” from World’s board, which had recently started a section of the website, World Opinions, without fully consulting him. The new section offers opinion essays on religious issues with the kind of commentary on secular topics like mask mandates, inflation, race and President Biden’s spending plans that can be found on any number of other conservative websites. 

Here is a link to Wikipedia:

Olasky was a professor at the University of Texas at Austin from 1983 to 2007, provost of The King’s College in New York City from 2007 to 2011, and Patrick Henry College’s distinguished chair in journalism and public policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a senior fellow at the Acton Institute.[3][4] He joined World Magazine in 1990 and became its editor in 1994 and its editor-in-chief in 2001. Earlier, he was a reporter at the Boston Globe and a speechwriter at the Du Pont Company.[2] Since 1996 he has been a ruling elder within the Presbyterian Church in America.[5]

I had no idea that he was the originator of compassionate conservatism. As one who practiced public health nursing in the projects and on the Navajo Reservation, this thinking appealed to me. Here is a link to his well-known book The Tragedy of American Compassion. Again from Wikipedia:

Olasky’s most famous book is The Tragedy of American Compassion, which in 1995 Newt Gingrich distributed to incoming Republican representatives of the 104th Congress.[7] The book, an overview of poverty-fighting in America from colonial times to the 1990s, argues that private individuals and organizations, particularly Christian churches, have a responsibility to care for the poor, and contends that challenging personal and spiritual help, common until the 1930s, was more effective than the government welfare programs of recent decades.[8] Olasky argues that government programs are ineffective because they are disconnected from the poor, while private charity has the power to change lives because it allows for a personal connection between giver and recipient.[8]

The book eventually helped to define “compassionate conservatism” in relation to welfare and social policy. In 1995, Olasky became an occasional advisor to Texas gubernatorial candidate George W. Bush. Bush made faith-based programs a major component of his 2000 presidential campaign, and Olasky’s academic work helped form the basis for Bush’s “compassionate conservatism.”[7] In 2001 and thereafter Olasky and WORLD criticized the Bush administration for not following through on school choice or on ideas for tax credits to encourage more individual giving to poverty-fighting groups. [5] In an interview with Mike Huckabee on October 10, 2009, Olasky denied that the Bush administration had implemented compassionate conservatism, remarking that “it was never tried.”[9]

Others have “resigned” or are planning to resign along with Olasky

Julie Roys wrote Marvin Olasky, Other Top Staff Leave as WORLD Shifts Toward Opinion:

The Roys Report has also learned that Angela Lu Fulton, managing editor for WORLD, and senior reporter Sophia Lee offered their letters of resignation Oct. 27.

Fulton and Lee confirmed to The Roys Report that they’d resigned but declined further comment. Lee said a column was forthcoming announcing her departure.

So, something happened.

When in doubt or confused, think politics.

So, it seems like he is a decent journalist and has been well-liked at World Magazine. So what the heck happened? According to Wikipedia, that might mean that Donald Trump happened.

In 2014, The New York Times reported that “evangelical Protestant journalism is generally more public relations than reporting; World stands out as an exception. ‘We’re a Christian publication but not a movement organ,’ Olasky said.”[24] That became even more evident in October 2016, after Donald Trump had consolidated his support among evangelicals. Olasky received about 1,500 critical letters when he wrote a cover story that called Trump “unfit for power” and proposed that he step aside because “we set the stage for even worse behavior when we ignore blatant offenses.”[25]

In 2019, Olasky wrote a book laying out his controversial journalistic philosophy and his emphasis on God’s objective sovereignty and man’s subjective liberty. He explained biblical objectivity through use of a whitewater rapids analogy that he says will help Christians avoid overusing the Bible (claiming “God saith” when He has not) or underusing it (ignoring God’s wisdom when it does not conform to our biases). He emphasized the importance of careful reporting rather than opinionating.[26]

That year, Olasky announced he would retire as editor in chief when he hit his 30th anniversary of editing in 2022.

The NYT article remarked:

At one level, Mr. Olasky’s departure is just another example of the American news media sinking deeper into polarization, as one more conservative news outlet, which had almost miraculously retained its independence, is conquered by Mr. Trump.

Olasky also noted that an October 2016 editorial calling Trump “unfit for power” drew 2,000 mostly dissenting emails in response. WORLD founder Joel Belz said the incident “divided our staff as we have never been divided before.”

This is a charge that the World CEO denies. From Roys:

Yet, WORLD CEO Kevin Martin told the Times he disagrees with perceptions that WORLD is becoming pro-Trump.

“I don’t see in any way that we are becoming more partisan or more Trumpy,” he told Smith.

Similarly, Joel Belz said he believes Olasky’s departure is simply a matter of “growing pains.”

But Belz, who also left, stated (again from Roys)

In an Oct. 21 column about her resignation , Mindy Belz wrote that her approach to journalism was “at times at odds . . . with some directions World News Group is charting.”

Olasky was not enamored with Trump or Hilary Clinton.

I knew that Olasky took a firm stance against Trump. What I hadn’t realized is that he also took a stance against Hilary Clinton and the World staff was divided, just like the rest of America. According to the NYT:

By the general election, it was clear that, whatever leaders thought, Mr. Trump was popular in the pews. And so when World’s editors, in October 2016, declared Mr. Trump “unfit for power” on its cover because of his remarks about grabbing women, and demanded that he step aside, Mr. Olasky received about 2,000 emails, he said, about 80 percent of them disagreeing. (In a column two days later, Mr. Olasky also suggested that Hillary Clinton step aside for her “lies” and policy errors.)

“That was a very painful time for us because it divided our staff as we had never been divided,” Mr. Belz said.

Sadly, the division appeared to extend to many issues:

Ms. Belz said she had felt growing pressure on two topics in particular: “on issues that related to masks or to voter fraud.”

There have also been tensions over World’s coverage of Republicans, particularly a piece in August 2020 by the reporter Harvest Prude about the allegations against Mr. (Madison) Cawthorn, who won election to Congress. (You can read about the allegations of sexual misconduct against the NC respresentative in Wikipedia here.)

Enter Al Mohler and the SBC-uh oh…

According to the NYT:

The last straw came when he learned in September that Mr. Eicher and Mr. Mohler, the board member and seminary president, planned to start World Opinions in the coming weeks.

“That’s when I realized this wasn’t going to work,” he said. “I realized we were really coming from different vantage points.”

Paul Pressler and long time allegations of sexual misconduct

Sometime in 2010 ( I can’t remember exactly), I received an email from a person who claimed that he had been molested by Paul Pressler and asked if I would write about what happened. I was new to this sort of thing and I became concerned. Do you know who Paul Pressler is?

According to Wikipedia:

is a retired justice of the Texas 14th Circuit Court of Appeals in his native Houston, Texas. Pressler was a key figure in the conservative resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention, which he initiated in 1979.

Even as a neophyte, I knew that going up against Pressler without facts would be difficult. The person who contacted me forbade me to use his name and I knew I couldn’t write the story without pertinent facts. Sadly, I was unable to post anything until 2017. Even then, I was unsettled. During the years after 2010, I met Amy Smith of Watchkeep and we shared stories of what we had heard. Here is one article, written in 1989, about Pressler that ‘ETHICS PROBLEMS’ DERAIL BUSH CHOICE TO HEAD OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS Read what it says about him.

His name was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in July for the routine background check on candidates in advance of formal nomination. Officials would not detail the FBI findings except to say they did not involve allegations of crimes or financial improprieties. A senior official said, “Information was uncovered that we felt was disqualifying.” Pressler could not be reached for comment,

We heard that many SBC leaders were well aware of Pressler’s “issues” but looked the other way. One person claimed that when leaders discussed him, they referred to him by another name.

(Before I continue, in an effort to be fair, one person that I know and respect claims that he, as a young man, spent time with Pressler, and Pressler was very appropriate in his actions. However, even alleged abusers don’t abuse everyone they know. )

Pressler knew everyone in the SBC. His was the worst kept secret in the SBC. I believe that there are current-day leaders in the SBC who knew about the accusations and turned their heads the other way. He was such a beloved friend of Paige Patterson that Patterson put his image on a stained glass window in the chapel of SEBTS. It has since been removed. One of my satisfying moments at TWW was when we uncovered the “stained glass window” heard round the SBC world.”

World Magazine posted a devastating article about Paul Pressler.

Mary Jackson and Lynde Langdon of World Magazine bravely posted What is a young man worth? subtitled “Accusations against a longtime Texas Baptist leader highlight the difficulties of addressing the abuse of men in the church.” Wow, just plain wow. I had doubts that I would ever be around to see an article like this one.

In interviews and documents WORLD reviewed, we found evidence that over a 40-year period two young men said Pressler sexually assaulted them and two others said he made unwanted sexual advances. Some of the accusations were reported in the press in recent years when one man sued the judge for sexual assault. WORLD also found evidence that a few Baptist leaders were aware of accusations of misconduct against Pressler but made no moves to protect young men once the accusations surfaced.

Through his attorney, Pressler declined to comment for this report. In court filings and other news reports, he has denied all accusations of sexual misconduct.

I wonder. Will the SBC handle this one as they investigate accusations of abuse? Or, are some of the folks involved in the investigation ones who knew about it? Did some turn a blind eye due to Pressler’s power or from the fear that they would be sued?

All of the judge’s accusers say Pressler’s alleged behavior changed their lives. Interviews WORLD conducted showed some who heard rumors or accusations against Pressler through the years dismissed the idea that a married man in a leadership role would engage in homosexual behavior. Now the Southern Baptist Convention is reckoning publicly with how it has handled sexual abuse cases.

Pressler, who many believe was a bastion in the SBC started his “career” as an Independent Presbyterian. He was also allegedly a member of River Oaks Country Club.

The judge often also took small groups of boys from the church to the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Twining said. In his affidavit, he gives the following account of one trip when he was 18: He said he agreed to go but was surprised when he learned it would just be the judge and him. They went into the sauna alone, where Twining said Pressler approached him and fondled his genitals without permission. He quickly walked away, redressed, and rode home with the judge without speaking about the incident.

River Oaks Country Club does not have membership records going back that far. A representative said no one from the 1970s who might recall details about the judge still worked there.

The pastor removed Pressler as youth director but appears to have, as Amy Smith puts it, “passed the trash.”

Two weeks after his alleged molestation by Pressler, in September 1978, Twining said he told three people: a friend who also attended Bethel; the church’s pastor, Bob Tolson; and his dad. Both of Twining’s parents have died. Twining said Tolson believed his account. He said he met a second time with Tolson and an elder who questioned him. After those meetings, Tolson removed Pressler as youth director.

Pressler went onto the SBC while becoming a judge.

Pressler and his family left Bethel in 1978 and began attending First Baptist Church in Houston. Pressler earned an appointment in 1978 as a judge on the Texas appellate bench. He became increasingly involved in SBC politics, leading what he described as a grassroots movement to renew the denomination’s commitment to the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. In 1984, Pressler was elected to the SBC Executive Committee, an elected group that manages the denomination’s budget and makes decisions between its annual meetings of delegates from local churches. He served for seven years.

From there, he allegedly would go on to molest some young men. As I read their accounts, I realized that what they had endured was made worse by the continued silence of those SBC leaders and pastors who knew what was going on. Here are three stories that need to be read in their entirety.

Brooks Schott, a 30-year-old attorney, moved from Washington state to Houston in 2016 to work at the Woodfill Law Firm, where Pressler was by then a former law partner. WORLD contacted Schott, who declined to comment for this story. He said he gave a complete account of his interactions with Pressler in an affidavit he submitted to Rollins’ attorneys. His statements allege that Pressler continued to make unwanted sexual advances as recently as 2016 and that knowledge of the judge’s behavior was widespread among his legal colleagues.

…Tabor described a group of nearly a dozen men ages 18-24 whom Pressler referred to as “dear friends.” After dinner and a stop at a pie joint, Tabor carpooled with Pressler and a young male driver. He said the judge talked about “fringe benefits” of friendship with him, including trips to his Austin-area ranch for men’s retreats. Tabor claims Pressler asked to speak with him alone later that night and talked further about ways he helped people both monetarily and through networking. He then allegedly clarified that at his ranch, men often went in his hot tub naked together. Tabor said Pressler told him “Christians should not be afraid to be naked together,” and asked if Tabor would have a problem with that.

Tabor says the conversation jolted him. At the time, he privately struggled with gender dysphoria. (He now identifies as transgender.) Tabor says he immediately distanced himself from Pressler.

…Rollins’ lawsuit claims, Pressler started abusing him two to three times per month. The abuse often comprised inappropriate touching at the University Club, an athletic club in the Houston Galleria, followed by rape at the Pressler home, Rollins said in his initial court complaint filed in 2017. He said he began drinking and using drugs to cope with the alleged abuse, which he said led to criminal activity and several years in prison in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Where does that leave us? Marvin Olasky is gone (in January 2022) but these two journalists fearlessly went after the truth about Paul Pressler and the allegations of molestation. Even better (or is it worse?), it appears that they uncovered that some leaders knew about this. If this is true, then all of them should resign and hang their heads in shame. What worries me is that they will take this excellent piece of journalism and attempt to politicize it. I can see that happening in some powerful factions of the SBC. I will be watching what happens from here. There better not be any further “forced” resignations from World Magazine. One thing I know, I am really mad about all of this. Thank you, Mary Jackson and Lynde Langdon. I am so sorry about Marvin Olasky.


Comments

World Magazine Journalists Bravely Take on the Allegations of Abuse by Paul Pressler. So Why Has Their Boss, Marvin Olasky, Resigned ? — 110 Comments

  1. Inasmuch as TWW does not want to become involved in party politics and religion, it is going to become difficult for this excellent site to remain neutral. There are too many intersections between faith and politics for all to be ignored.

    This comment is written out of love and respect for TWW, NOT being negative.

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  2. Luckyforward,

    neutral?

    Can you explain with more detail? Your statement might be taken just a little bit too much like a warning to ‘keep quiet’, at least it might sound that way to some, THESE days

    would you care to be more specific?
    so you are not misunderstood?
    no one wants to misunderstand, if some light can be put on the word ‘neutral’ when talking about a revelation of the presence of intense evil

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  3. Luckyforward,

    “Inasmuch as TWW does not want to become involved in party politics and religion, it is going to become difficult for this excellent site to remain neutral. There are too many intersections between faith and politics for all to be ignored.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    then may crickets of all kinds find the bedrooms and bodies of the christian powerbrokers and their minions who politicize everything.

    (probably the crickets, too)

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  4. elastigirl,

    Unfortunately, the link between “American Christianity” and politics has been strong, and ebbs and flows throughout our history. One only has to read what preachers/theologians/politicians said during the US Civil War to realize this painful link… TWW has been, and will have to continue to try to walk a “fine line” which is ever changing…. sigh…

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  5. “… many SBC leaders were well aware of Pressler’s “issues” but looked the other way …”

    Evidently, the Conservative Resurgence (aka Calvinist Resurgence) was more important to the SBC elite than Christian integrity. (Pressler, along with another failed SBC leader Paige Patterson, championed SBC’s CR)

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  6. Luckyforward:
    Inasmuch as TWW does not want to become involved in party politics and religion, it is going to become difficult for this excellent site to remain neutral.There are too many intersections between faith and politics for all to be ignored.

    This comment is written out of love and respect for TWW, NOT being negative.

    I do not see that as a problem in this instance. It is noteworthy that an editor got fired for presumably not supporting Trump but he called out Hilary as well. That is the best sort of neutrality.

    Faith has become a game if people can get fired due to their political leanings.

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  7. Max: They fought the law, but the law won … for now. As Hubmaier said “Truth is unkillable.”

    The word he actually used here, unsterblitch, is normally rendered immortal in English. Those who seek to hide it should keep this in mind, ultimately facts do not go away.

    Interesting that you are familiar with his work. His comments on infant baptism are priceless.

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  8. Max: Evidently, the Conservative Resurgence (aka Calvinist Resurgence) was more important to the SBC elite than Christian integrity.

    Rebranding as a strategy to sustain/save the org. The “ideology/theology” rebrand is simply org survival; they depend on the org, not Jesus.

    When Christians commit to the success of an org or the call of a leader, they’re off the path of following Jesus.

    Church covenants are org commitments.

    Nothing about an org or institution or leader or publication should challenge our Jesus commitment.

    In this regard, some Christians fall short. Jesus was betrayed by human hands and then overcame even death by God’s power.

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  9. Chuck P: I subscribe and am supposed to renew but probably won’t.

    We’ve subscribed intermittently over the years. “World” is not a news service hill to die on. Nor is CT.

    All Christian publication businesses are soft on the criminal activities of Christian leaders. That’s what perpetuates crime via churches.

    As Max points out, it took the Houston Chronicle to compile data, and there’s much more.

    The BFF factors of the shenanigans of moneyed influential Christian leaders fortifies a social club for their busine$$ purposes, and for the People’s Myth of America as a Christian nation. The business sustains grimy leaders who sustain the myth for the pew polishers kowtowing to grimy but shiny leaders. Altogether swimming in a toxic soup.

    Dee and Todd, you don’t charge for your journalism. So there’s that. It’s not a busine$$. Do you have friends? The predators have networks of BFFs propping them up.

    Observation: most blogwatchers are women. Nice to see Todd’s work.

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  10. Judas Maccabeus: facts do not go away

    Payday someday.

    Judas Maccabeus: Interesting that you are familiar with his work.

    I’ve read much about the Anabaptists. Verduin called them the stepchildren of the reformation. Sure, the Anabaptists had their problems, but they championed a free church of Jesus Christ while the other reformers put everyone back in bondage to jots and tittles of the law.

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  11. “Olasky argues that government programs are ineffective because they are disconnected from the poor, while private charity has the power to change lives because it allows for a personal connection between giver and recipient.”

    When I read things like this, I always wonder what’s in it for the giver: gatekeeping? Emotional gratification? Bragging rights? Some sort of proof that private cheese is better than public cheese? (That’s not sarcastic. It’s a claim that gets made.)

    In real life, hungry children need food more than personal connection between giver and recipient.

    When the schools shut down last year, our district strove to keep feeding students. At first, an adult and a child had to go to a central location in a two-hour time frame to pick up a bag of food. This did not work well, and it had the effect of shaming people.

    After a herculean effort, the district managed to put the food onto school buses and send them out on their usual routes at their usual times. People simply had to walk to the school bus stop near their home. The food came from an alliance of government, businesses, and the food bank—which in turn is supported by individuals, businesses, houses of worship, and a big local charity.

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  12. I am only half-way through the post, so I hope my comment isn’t premature or disproven by the second half, but I have a few observations:
    1. Al Mohler must have an ideological purity test that he implements whereever he works. To be sure, he is not the worst or most egregious SBC leader, but there is a trail of bodies in his wake.
    2. I corresponded a bit with Olasky in the mid-00s – I doubt he would remember me. He was always gracious and encouraging, willing to give some writing pointers to an unknown (then and now) and amateur producer of word salads.
    3. Doubtlessly, World is making a business decision. Look at Babylon Bee, Daily Wire, etc.: there is big money to be made in ginning up the conservative base and demonizing your political opponents (the same is true for the Progressive Left, but they are not the target audience for this set).

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  13. Max: Mohler is continuing to build his kingdom on earth. Lord help the poor soul who gets in his way.

    Yes, but OTOH, Mohler – who was condidered by many the reigning evangelical intellectual* – is in a terrible downward spiral. Just look at his website – from “intellectual” to political shill in 2 years, what a steep slope that is.
    ____

    * Yeah, I know, oxymoron alert.
    ____

    The church in the US always thought it had too little worldly power, that it needed more. Well, it got it, and like everywhere, power attracts the corrupt and the corruptible. Unlike civic institutions, churches had very little immunological resistance to these people, and -because of a certain authoritarianism- no agreed protocol for getting rid of them. The scorn and the disdain of “the world” for a crtain type of christian and a certain type of christian leader are well deserved, and definitely not a sign of “persecution”.

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  14. Luckyforward,

    “it is going to become difficult for this excellent site to remain neutral. There are too many intersections between faith and politics for all to be ignored.”
    +++++++++++++++

    just because these ‘rapscallions’ decide to politicize things as neutral as crickets and kindness and compassion doesn’t make it so.

    ignore the ‘scallywags’.

    just like i ignore all the ‘nincompoops’ who have hijacked my religion many times over.

    (you’re getting some attention today, and your comment is very well-intentioned)

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  15. I do not understand the reason that people gets up set about faith intersecting with politics. IMO, I think this is because political background and how it impacts the society during biblical time is rarely taught. Faith is often taught in a vacuum as if faith is just pure Jesus/God, me, church, non-church, and nothing else.

    Jesus sentenced to death was the result of Pilot’s calculated political decision.

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  16. Gus: Mohler – who was considered by many the reigning evangelical intellectual

    Being intellectual is not the same thing as having understanding and wisdom. Most religious intellectuals I have known in my long life have not been very smart. Being able to talk the bones off a chicken doesn’t necessarily mean you have anything to say.

    Mohler is definitely sly and crafty, I’ll give him that. He has been a brilliant strategist for the New Calvinist movement in his takeover of the largest non-Calvinist Protestant denomination in America! He is now the reigning Pope of the Southern Baptist Convention, where he espouses his theopolitical views unchallenged.

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  17. Sowre-Sweet Dayes,

    “I do not understand the reason that people gets up set about faith intersecting with politics.”
    +++++++++++++++

    in my observation, the “wrong” political stance equates to, ”

    “you’re not a christian, then, and are in fact dangerous, so i’ll make the sign of the cross and back up very slowly. And then when i’m back home safe i’ll go tell everyone and try to get you shunned, fired and ruin your future career and community prospects.”

    and that’s mild.

    there’s just not enough emotional maturity in religous culture.

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  18. Max,

    “It is exclusion and separation to such an extent that no fellowship is held with such a person by Christians, whether in speaking, eating, drinking, grinding, baking, or in any other way, but he is treated as a heathen and a publican, that is, as an offensive, disorderly and venomous man, who is bound and delivered over to Satan. He is to be avoided and shunned, lest the entire visible church be evil spoken of, disgraced and dishonoured by his company, and corrupted by his example, instead of being startled and made afraid by his punishment, so that they will mortify their sins. For as truly as God lives what the church admits or excludes on earth is admitted or excluded above.”
    (Hübmeier on discipline)

    Nice chap

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  19. Lowlandseer,

    “It is difficult, from the facts we have at hand, to infer the motives that led Hübmaier to take so active and so discreditable a part in this agitation. It is extremely probable that he honestly shared the prejudices of his time against the Jews, and even believed that persecution of them was a mark of a good Christian. Even after he had become more enlightened as to the true spirit of the gospel, he expressed no regret for his course, but rather gives it tacit approval, though he by no means tells the whole story of his misdeeds. In 1526 he makes this allusion to the matter: “When I was preacher in Regensburg, I saw the great oppression that the population suffered from the Jews; I saw that ecclesiastical and secular statutes gave law and sentence against this. Then I said to the people from the pulpit, that they ought not to suffer in this wise for the future. But nobody repented, and all remained as before.“
    (Hübmeier’s antisemitism, From his examination while in prison at Zürich, Egli, Actensammlung zur Geschichte der Zürcher Reformation, S. 432.)

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  20. How long has Al Mohler been involved with World? I have subscribed for decades and I think he has written for them for much of that time and been on the board a long time. He and Olasky have been alike in their thinking more often than not. So it is not like Mohler recently has snuck in and suddenly ousted Olasky. They were much involved with leading World when it took part in the conservative evangelical attack on the NIV publishers when they first attempted to make the NIV gender-accurate 20+ years ago.

    Also, I do not quite understand Olasky’s concern with “opinion” in the “new” section of the website. World had published opinions forever, of Olasky, Mohler, John Piper, and many others. World is, like many places, amixed bag; so is Olasky.

    Also, the Mindy Belz who resigned is the sister-in-law, much younger, of the Joel Belz quoted in this post. The editing in this post section about them was confusing. Joel Belz, while semi-retired, still writes for World and so far has not left it. Of course, he is the founder and long-time publisher.

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  21. dee: I do not see that as a problem in this instance. It is noteworthy that an editor got fired for presumably not supporting Trump but he called out Hilary as well. That is the best sort of neutrality.

    YES ! It’s like that TWW post on Josh Duggar’s arrest and how his wife blamed one political leader for arranging it, and also said that if another political leader ‘had been in office’, the arrest would never have happened:

    in TWW, the FOCUS wasn’t political at all, the focus was kept firmly on wanting Anna Duggar’s children to be kept safe from their father’s predatory issues. I do think TWW tries to protect innocents who are caught up in the ‘craziness’ that is showing up in today’s ‘game’ (political and religious).

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  22. Lowlandseer: Nice chap

    “Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.” (John Calvin)

    World Magazine would have had a great time covering the reformers and their various threads! From Calvinists to Anabaptists, none of them came across Christlike all the time.

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  23. Max: “The last straw came when he learned in September that Mr. Eicher and Mr. Mohler, the board member and seminary president, planned to start World Opinions in the coming weeks.”

    Good Lord! Big Al is everywhere … he’s everywhere!!

    How can Big Al run a seminary and do a podcast and write a column and now he’s going to be doing editorializing out of World? All those streams of income. All those fingers in all those pies. Hmmm.

    I have known who Paul Pressler is for decades. I’ve told this story before, but one of my law school classmates, who clerked on Pressler’s court, died of AIDS-related complications. We (his classmates who knew) had to absolutely remain silent about the actual cause of death, specifically because of Paul Pressler. We did not want our classmate to become fodder for sermonizing by him. That’s all I’m going to say.

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  24. Lowlandseer,

    So you think people who behave like the devil should be allowed fellowship in the church and accorded the privilege of membership? There we will have to disagree, if many of the immoral people were put out, instead of being recycled endlessly, we would not be in such a mess. There is a way back in, repentance with fruits to show for it. Christianity DOES have absolute limits.

    BTW, during the Regansburg years, he was still very much within the Catholic Church of the period, which was bitterly anti Semitic. He does not finally and fully embrace Anabaptism until he was in Nicholsburg.

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  25. Sowre-Sweet Dayes: Jesus sentenced to death was the result of Pilot’s calculated political decision.

    One could argue that “politics”, in the sense of “who gets to exercise power”, runs throughout the OT narrative, starting with Abraham’s sons, and continues through the NT.

    Jn 11:45-53 suggests that political considerations (“how to keep the uneasy peace with Rome”) were “front and center” for the leaders of Israel, too. The theological arguments they had with Jesus may have been more pretext than substance. Paradoxically, Jesus seems to have agreed with them on this point — it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer (Lk 24:26).

    Politics, in the sense of “who gets to exercise and benefit from the privileges of power”, is inescapable even in determinedly non-political religious discourse, unless that is completely abstract. The question IMO is, ‘can be we kind to one another as we disagree?’

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  26. Samuel Conner,

    “The question IMO is, ‘can be we kind to one another as we disagree?’”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    i wish it were so.

    or a willingness to yield or compromise some.

    the word ‘compromise’ is unfairly loaded (Keith Green’s song comes to mind).

    each ‘side’ needs the other to balance it out, generally-speaking. it’s an enormous mistake to stay around one’s pole. (and really obnoxious when it’s righteously done.)

    (and really stupid to denigrate those who aren’t there, too)

    i’m very thankful for both sides. seems to me the answers are usually in the messy middle, and sometimes more towards the opposite pole.

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  27. By now I know I sound like a broken record, but here goes: you cannot fix an incorporated institution that was never supposed to exist in the first place. We cannot fix a clergy system because there is not supposed to be one. We don’t have to worry about what the mean kids are saying behind our backs if we are not in their system nor jockeying for position with them.

    Jesus will be with us wherever we worship Him in spirit and in truth. And He will be notably absent no matter how nice the building, fancy the robes, wonderful the music, or learned and kind the leadership if we are not worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.

    Ditch the organizations and magazines and seminaries and come on out and walk with Jesus. It is wonderful! You will find His true people everywhere, and the fellowship deep and meaningful. Who needs a choir when the neighborhood can sing while someone sits on their front porch and strums? Communion? At least 3 times a day assuming you eat all three meals, more if you get a drink between meals if every time you eat or drink you remember Christ. He is always decorating His sanctuary anew with the change of seasons.

    Come out and experience the joy of your salvation!

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  28. Luckyforward: it is going to become difficult for this excellent site to remain neutral. There are too many intersections between faith and politics for all to be ignored.

    We need to keep in mind that, in this post, Dee simply quoted the subjects of the post to make a point about the directions our churches and religion-bases newspapers/magazines, as well as some religious leaders, seem to be trending toward. She did not make the politically centered statements herself.

    Faith and politics have been bedfellows, in some form or fashion, for ……. how many centuries??? There are a lot of “leaders” out there with fingers in both pies. In some instances, faith and politics are so intertwined that it is almost impossible to speak of one without other….. Siamese twins??? Symbiotic relationships???

    TWW has never been about politics, and never will be.
    Yet, TWW has never been “neutral” either. There is no neutral zone when it comes to good vs. evil. TWW has always been about standing up for victims and exposing people who use “faith” to gain fame and fortune… to use, abuse, etc.

    Some people combine politics and religion to gain money, power, some twisted satisfaction, and/or control (Paul Pressler, for one). We can’t stop that.

    As commentors, it is our duty to focus on the reasons TWW exists when we chime in, and leave political bickering out of it. I believe we can do that. I believe most of us want to do that. You obviously want to do that. So, let’s just do it!

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  29. Sowre-Sweet Dayes:
    I do not understand the reason that people gets up set about faith intersecting with politics. IMO, I think this is because political background and how it impacts the society during biblical time is rarely taught. Faith is often taught in a vacuum as if faith is just pure Jesus/God, me, church, non-church, and nothing else.

    Jesus sentenced to death was the result of Pilot’s calculated political decision.

    THIS!

    It’s ridiculous to say that faith and politics don’t intersect. If your faith doesn’t challenge you to examine your politics, then your faith is useless.

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  30. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): There is no neutral zone when it comes to good vs. evil.

    Which is why ethics and morality transcend or are bigger than politics.

    Politically, leaders et al interpret how to manage ethics and morality for the Common Good and the Rule of Law in an organized society.

    Providing loans for businesses to survive during a pandemic seems good. Saw another example recently of someone who received $20K fraudulently (of working taxpayers’ $$$) for a fake business. Fraud and fake are evil; no need for party affiliation identification.

    Any leader who, of public record, violates minors is criminally evil in any society, any church, any time, anywhere. Politics not needed.

    Silencing women is also evil. Kate DiCamillo gives a nod to this in her latest: “The Beatryce Prophecy”. A girl is unlawfully taught to read (with the implication that she can also think, talk, and discuss) so she is considered dangerous and must be removed from the community (since the reading skill can never be removed/undone from the girl).

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  31. Samuel Conner: The question IMO is, ‘can be we kind to one another as we disagree?’

    The question for me is WHY we are seeing such an uptick in violent acts and threats and fear-mongering? It is almost as if some wish this new violent public display becomes ‘the new norm’ as people act out their rage in sometimes minor ‘Karen-type’ incidents and sometimes major acts of violence (as in the punching of airline stewardesses in the face, breaking teeth or bones).

    The ominous signs are there of death threats or ‘we know where your children go to school’ threats made on members of school boards, and on those who are professionally working on election supervision . . . some of these verbal attacks have been filmed and they are vicious in their intent to intimidate the victim of abuse, yes.

    If this is some ‘new norm’, how do Christian people respond to it? And NO, it is not a political question because attacking with threats and violence has no place in any AMERICAN political party or most certainly in any CHRISTIAN denomination, no.

    We watch the trials on television. We hear reports of road rage and ‘Karen’ outbursts, and we see the gangs running into the malls and grabbing merchandise and ‘running’ out the doors into waiting cars, and we know that there is always a ‘trigger’, always some ’cause’, either newly in place, but mostly inspired by an age-old evil that seeks chaos in order to be released to its fullest strength.

    So your question has much merit with me, Samuel Conner. Is there some kind of ‘change’ in the works where the evaluation of what is ‘acceptable’ as a ‘norm’ has shifted away from what is remembered as a time that recognized honorable folk who served their nation and deserved the thanks of that nation for their service?

    Samuel Conner, do you see forces behind the growth of the open chaos we are now seeing in our land? I ask because my family lives in Charlottesville, and they have witnessed something unspeakable in that quiet civilized university town and they tell me it was a ‘turning point’ in their own awareness of ‘changes’ now unleashed as that torch-bearing confrontation to them seemed ‘distopian’ in its extremist violence in such a civilized place as ‘Mr. Jefferson’s University’.

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  32. Gus: The scorn and the disdain of “the world” for a crtain type of christian and a certain type of christian leader are well deserved, and definitely not a sign of “persecution”.

    ‘Amen’ to this: in the resort city where some of my family reside, there is a ‘lead’ pastor who has been arrested for taking part in a prostitution ring involving minors – some years back, he had been reported by a worker at the Church for ‘inappropriate’ behavior towards her, but the authorities did nothing about it. She was the one who was dismissed as credible.

    The young people see all this and the Church’s ‘witness’ suffers greatly, not from persecution but from corruption from within so vile as for the young to wonder ‘how could this have been going on and no one spoke out?’.

    I wonder, if someone had paid attention to that young woman who worked at his Church, would it have all come to this explosion of ‘outing’ such a man?????

    so we learn . . .
    ‘persecution’ is cried by many in the fundamentalist-evangelical world, but upon examination, much of it is because people are saying ‘no’ to the methods these churches are using to shame and belittle ‘those other sinners’ . . . bullying is apparent to the public where ‘truth spoken in love’ is not heard at all, and so the young are leaving and searching for their own way back to Eden away from the help of grifters and complainers and bullies, and who can blame them???

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  33. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: How can Big Al run a seminary and do a podcast and write a column and now he’s going to be doing editorializing out of World? All those streams of income. All those fingers in all those pies. Hmmm.

    John MacArthur got dinged by an accreditation committee for something similar. Silly committee, thought a university and seminary needed an actual full-time president. His solution? Hire someone else as president, and become chancellor. *cue major eyeroll*

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  34. christiane,

    I don’t understand what is happening. I hope that the unhappiness is at heart economic (US has been de-instrializing for decades as a matter of official policy, with inadequate measures to mitigate the hardships this has imposed on the affected segments of the population), since in principle (I think; maybe I’m mistaken) those could be addressed with appropriate policy changes (a ‘new New Deal’, or a return to 19th century industrial policy, etc. ).

    But I’m not sure. If the disagreements are fundamentally cultural, that might be harder to solve.

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  35. christiane,

    A possible interpretation of recent trends in US that is oriented toward discerning “under the sun” causes would be that of Peter Turchin’s ‘cliodynamical’ approach. He and like-minded social scientists try to employ cross-cultural and historical ‘big data’ to discern patterns.

    He thinks the current situation (he’s forecasting a decade of political instability) is the result of two major factors that he calls ‘elite overproduction’ (too few jobs for people at the top of the income/power hierarchy, leading to competition and conflict among the elites) and ‘popular immiseration’ (the decline in income and opportunities (and even things like life-span, as seen recently in US) among the groups outside the elites.

    https://peterturchin.com/ages-of-discord/

    This isn’t to discount cultural factors and forces. The politicization of the US Evangelical movement is a real and consequential thing. I suspect that PT would interpret it to be more of a symptom than a cause, however.

    I think it was you who responded to a prior comment of mine about US running on the legacy of the greatest generation that, ‘don’t worry, we have their DNA.’

    On my interpretation, the legacy of that generation was three-fold — * the New Deal, * the industrial powerhouse that US became during WWII and * the strong labor movement that developed after the war.

    All three are quite tattered these days (though there are hints of life in the labor movement), and I suspect that they will need to be repaired if we would like to return to the relative social tranquility and widespread prosperity of the post-war period.

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  36. Samuel Conner: what is happening in the wider society.

    In my opinion, the US is still reacting to 9/11, although less acutely than in the immediate aftermath. The pandemic has destabilized many individuals, and society.

    People do recover from hardship and trauma, but the recovery is neither fast nor spontaneous. A lot of folks do not have access to the resources they need. Families are split, and in many cases the loving parent or wise old relative has died. Therapy costs money and might not be available in person. Remote work and education have harmed in addition to helping.

    I think that rebuilding social ties will help people, but it’s often scary and hard to achieve.

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  37. Samuel Conner: the legacy of that generation was three-fold — * the New Deal, * the industrial powerhouse that US became during WWII and * the strong labor movement that developed after the war.

    All three are quite tattered these days

    Unfortunately, bad deals in a global economy have replaced the strength of the New Deal, other nations have kicked us off the industrial throne, and labor ain’t moving like it was. Underlying U.S. post-war successes was a pride in America which fueled the “greatest generation.” “I am proud to be an American” has taken an awful beating in recent decades. I’m not sure we will ever recover a mass sense of pride in who we are (were). The church mirrors the nation and vice versa.

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  38. christiane: and sometimes major acts of violence (as in the punching of airline stewardesses in the face, breaking teeth or bones).

    They do it because they can.
    They can because they fear no real punishment.
    If assaulting flight attendants carried ten years hard time mandatory with no parole or early outs, I’m bettin’ you’d see a huge drop in incidents.

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  39. Christiane: I am not high pooh bah of anything, just an old Ozarks housewife, but I have some speculations about what might be going on based ONLY on my personal experience. For what it is worth:

    1. We were natural, adoptive, and foster parents plus I taught in SS for years, and we have family who are educators. In all that there has been a ton of training on how to spot the unbonded child or the adult who never properly bonded with their primary caregivers as children. Right now, and for about the last 8-10 years, it has appeared to me there are way more unbonded people in the USA than bonded. And that brings consequences, such as the personality forming with a “me first, last, and always” attitude, along with poor anger management ability and poor impulse control.

    2. The all out embrace of victimhood. I stand with RCC priest in ND who used to roam the small town making sure all in his town had a personal relationship with Jesus and handing out Billy Graham tracts. (Go figure that one!) But he made it very clear that each human being is responsible for the choices they make and the actions they take, and will answer ultimately to God as to how they responded to the light they had. He was known by the town as the priest who “told you to quit confessing someone else’s sins and confess your own.” That is, don’t come to confess “I slapped my wife but she made me when she said…” or “Yes I drink to excess but my father never really loved or accepted me and it warped me.” That sort of thing. For the record he was whiz bang at getting people into meaningful treatment but as to their faith, he expected them to take ownership of their own behavior no matter how strong their temptations. Lenient on those trying who failed 1,000 times, harsh with those that refused to see whatever their sin was as sin.

    3. Several generations of not eating a healthy natural diet, not getting enough exercise, not getting enough sleep, and overuse of various chemicals in food, drink, recreational drugs, alcohol, etc. We have literally damaged our brains as well as our bodies.

    4. Covid brain. It really is a thing, and mental problems and emotional problems seem to be plaguing many covid survivors, even with mild cases.

    5. A total disrespect for lawful authority. Yes, there is unlawful authority and we should resist it when necessary. But there truly is a place for the community of human beings to agree some actions are right, and some wrong, and enforce them. In my state there is a county, Shannon, where “freedom” is worshipped to the point of outlawry. That is why the drug laws, the game management laws, the laws regarding education, etc, are flouted with impunity. Enter Shannon County at your own risk. (Natural law is flouted also, and incest rampant.)

    6. And finally, poor theology. When you combine a dispensational belief in the rapture zooming believers off the earth before anything really bad can happen with far out word of faith “deny what you see don’t speak it or you call it into being” along with “I’m saved and can do whatever I want and still go to heaven no matter what” with science denying young earth creationism, you have a toxic brew that gives evil more footholds than you can shake a stick at.

    We have literally turned earth into purgatory or worse!

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  40. Muff Potter: If assaulting flight attendants carried ten years hard time mandatory with no parole or early outs, I’m bettin’ you’d see a huge drop in incidents.

    The news stories alone might already be providing some deterrence. Who wants to get duck-taped to an airline seat?

    Criminal cases take time, so the public doesn’t see swift punishment through the courts. All of these assailants do get arrested and prosecuted, though. Presumably that also makes some people think twice.

    As a further deterrent, in-flight assailants should immediately be put on the national Do Not Fly list. Right now I think they are barred by the individual airline.

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  41. linda,

    That does sound like a toxic brew.

    Thanks for this. The problems aren’t all down to impersonal historical forces.

    (And, I’ll note, the ‘historical forces’ aren’t all that ‘impersonal.’ The erosion of the US postwar legacy occurred as the result of policies, adopted by elected governments, designed to do what they did)

    Sadly, I think that bad theology is very hard to correct. The “word of faith” people I know have a tidy explanation for their inability to control the problems they are facing — ‘too small faith’. I sympathize with their desire to have a stronger sense of ‘agency’ over their problems while I grieve at the self-inflicted trouble.

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  42. linda: Enter Shannon County at your own risk.

    “Shannon County is a part of the Bible Belt with evangelical Protestantism being the majority religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Shannon County who adhere to a religion are Southern Baptists (56%), Methodists (12%), and Christian Churches & Churches of Christ (11%).”

    Shannon County is also dominated by one particular political party.

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  43. Max: Only because they want

    … because they want … whatever.

    Chicken or egg?

    The heart of the lawlessness in this county or anywhere, is criminal activity, IOW sin, AKA, rebellion against God, which transcends politics.

    However, criminals will frequent any social network which ignores or facilitates or supplies or camouflages or rewards their criminal activities, be it a church or political party or family, etc.

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  44. Max: … everybody is your cousin there!

    If this is in reference to Linda noting that in this stay-away-for-safety’s-sake county there is rampant incest, … for people (think of the violated girls in particular who carried and birthed a child after rape, in those circumstances), it’s in no way cavalier and never humorous or something considered lightly or casually.

    (Reference: a fictional true-to-life account in the book, “Legal Grounds”.)

    If the comment was not in regard to this: Never mind.

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  45. Now for the $64,000 question:

    I did not realize it when I moved to the Ozarks, but my own family came from Texas County, and there is a rather infamous situation with a family Bible that is readily online to see, with a missing page in the family register. That page showed up later on in someone’s trunk and now the world can find the case of the irregular birth back in the 1850’s. My family kept moving west rather than settle in the hills, although I have near kin born quite near my current house, and extended relatives galore in the area, including Shannon County.

    My question: when and if the pandemic eases enough for personal contact up close with folks again, how do I minister the hope of Christ in such a fearful and yes, dangerous, place? I feel I am not here by accident, that there is a purpose. But what? How?

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  46. We’ll see if Walker continues as executive editor of the journal of the Council of BM & W, that job has been dropped from his Twitter bio.

    https://cbmw.org/journal/

    https://cbmw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/eikon_issue5_web.pdf

    “EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DENNY R. BURK, Professor of Biblical Studies, Boyce College
    EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ANDREW T. WALKER, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary”

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  47. linda: My question: when and if the pandemic eases enough for personal contact up close with folks again, how do I minister the hope of Christ in such a fearful and yes, dangerous, place? I feel I am not here by accident, that there is a purpose. But what? How?

    Christianity needs sane people right now. The best advice I have heard is for people to keep one another tethered to reality.

    I have a friend who now believes some completely unhinged things. We don’t discuss those topics in any detail. I ask her about her husband and children, her holiday plans, her job. She asks for prayer, and I tell her I pray for her. Her new beliefs are seemingly compatible with her faith, and they also frighten the living daylights out of her. She is suffering. Jesus wants us to comfort the suffering.

    This is not the same as winning new souls. However, it might turn lives around. Our country is having a huge mental health crisis, and I see unlimited need for mature, steady Christians to meet people where they are and help them with their fear, anxiety, and depression.

    This approach doesn’t have to happen in person, but opportunities to help new people might be limited right now. Blessings to you as you find your way.

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  48. Friend: Jesus wants us to comfort the suffering.

    This is not the same as winning new souls. However, it might turn lives around. Our country is having a huge mental health crisis, and I see unlimited need for mature, steady Christians to meet people where they are and help them with their fear, anxiety, and depression.

    extremely well said – this represents the God who would see wounded people healed

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  49. Friend: and they also frighten the living daylights out of her.

    one intuits that the concerns in question may relate to the book of Revelation and the ‘number of the beast’ and concerns that these are being fulfilled in our time in the context of the pandemic.

    That’s another set of beliefs that (like ‘word of faith’) is very hard to persuade people to examine or question, and I’m not sure that it’s wise to try. The only alternative may be to “wait and see what happens.” In particular, if ‘under the sun’ events portrayed in Revelation that are subsequent to the mentions of people receiving ‘the mark of the beast’ do not occur in our time, that might provide evidence that the current events that are interpreted as terrifying fulfillments might have been misinterpreted. That’s no comfort in the moment, but it might be opportunity for clarity after the fact.

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  50. Friend: Our country is having a huge mental health crisis, and I see unlimited need for mature, steady Christians to meet people where they are and help them with their fear, anxiety, and depression.

    From my experience during The Age of Hal Lindsay and Christians for Nuclear War, they will do just the opposite to get those notches on their Bible and brownie points at the Bema. Stoking the fear, pouring gasoline/petrol on the fire with the plagues of Revelation and Mark of The Beast. SCARE THEM INTO THE KINGDOM.

    “Fear Always Works!”
    — acting mayor Bellwether, Zootopia

    But if you finally bail out of it, the Fear will have gone so deep you will never be completely free of it. Like what happened to Frodo after he bore The Ring, there is no healing this side of the Undying Lands.

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  51. Samuel Conner: In particular, if ‘under the sun’ events portrayed in Revelation that are subsequent to the mentions of people receiving ‘the mark of the beast’ do not occur in our time, that might provide evidence that the current events that are interpreted as terrifying fulfillments might have been misinterpreted.

    What helped me was discovering End Time Prophecy books that were 20, 30, 40, 50+ years old. Saying the exact same things, quoting the exact same verses, citing PROOF by news headlines now completely forgotten.

    Another big help was a Seventh Day Adventist End Times book titled What Jesus Said. Plugging a completely-different End Times choreography but PROVEN by the exact same verses and quotes. Completely-different choreography, exact same SCRIPTURES(TM).

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  52. Headless Unicorn Guy: But if you finally bail out of it, the Fear will have gone so deep you will never be completely free of it.

    This truly saddens me.

    People can heal, though, even if not completely. Things that help might include time, therapy, different friends, limited/no contact with abusive folks, prayer, meditation, exercise, new habits and hobbies, online support, and efforts to notice catalysts and reactions (ex.: causes of shallow breathing, responding with deliberate deep breathing). If an escapee is strong enough, they can help other people.

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  53. christiane: extremely well said – this represents the God who would see wounded people healed

    Unfortunately, the God Of Wrath Pouted Out Upon Thee (NOT Meeee) is far more popular – SMITE! SMITE! SMITE!

    Both Eagle & I think this is why so many Culture Warrior Evangelicals went Trumpist in 2016 & 2020; they got tired of waiting and through in with someone physical who WOULD Smite Their Enemies AND Get Things Done.

    Too bad they never read Chesterton; he wrote once that in Magick, it is the DARK Powers who have the rep of Getting Things Done. They Deliver. But in order to pay them off to Deliver The Goods, you have to make yourself just like them.

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  54. Friend: Things that help might include time, therapy, different friends, limited/no contact with abusive folks, prayer, meditation, exercise, new habits and hobbies, online support,

    Which is why so many abusive churches flat-out FORBID anything outside the church environment. Why so many Megas are full-service with Christianese Knockoffs. So you have NO contacts or life outside church activities. No exposure to the virus of Heathen Contamination. Church is All and All is Church.

    What brought me (in 1976) out of that End-of-the-World Heavy-Shepherding Fellowship(TM) was attending my first SF con, then discovering Dungeons & Dragons. I had found others like me OUTSIDE of The Christianese Bubble. I had something on the outside.

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  55. Friend: I think that rebuilding social ties will help people, but it’s often scary and hard to achieve.

    But (in the words of the Zuckerbot) “B-BUT EVERYONE WILL BE CONNECTED! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS!”

    (It’s my belief that the Zuck is autistic with hyperfocus on Cyberspace and becoming a Billionare by 25 can warp your sense of values all by itself.)

    No different than Gnostics who went so far into the Spiritual (or Virtual) that they ceased to be Physical – or human in any way.

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  56. Headless
    it’s the ‘smiting of enemies’, the ‘finger-pointing’, the ‘insults’, the complete ‘contempt’ for ‘the others’ that set fundamentlist-evangelicals apart from other denominations in the Church,
    so maybe that is the ‘why?’ this particular group fell so completely into the hands of the trumpists politically and sadly ‘from the pulpit’ – what this did to their Christian witness is terrible, in my opinion, sure. (Maybe it’s just the neo-Calvinists at the forefront of this, but it looks like the SBC is knee-deep in supporting trump.) ?
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

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  57. Luckyforward,

    It’s been difficult already. Honesty, accuracy, proportion and extensive knowledge are going to be essentials for all human beings just as they always were. Goons (outlet) design scandals like this on purpose.

    Humans should decide for themselves – both under and over 18 – individually who to be comfortable naked with. It has nothing to do with christianity.

    Samuel Conner,

    All Scriptures have many fulfilments some of them partial. There have been many abominations of desolation and they are crowding more. Knowing real logic, semiotics and hermeneutics in all matters will make us each sane.

    Fundamentalists and Muscular Christianity have driven hordes into incaution since they brought in the occultic “body theology”. What out of behaviours and tastes (e.g pink shirts, ear studs, bifurcated garments) are not average human being so they don’t have to be carved up in reaction to a “scare”? The bully is permanently “male” hence shall inherit the “kingdom of heaven” and his inert foil is decreed permanently unfruitful. Note the Muscular Christians object less loudly to some amputations than others (note Abraham and friends saved the population of Sodom except the king who had somewhere handy to jet off to).

    They went home by another route. Don’t go down into the house (denomination). Leave your sacrifice (Lord’s Table) and go and find your brother somewhere else entirely. Shake the dust off from that town (not just one batch of denominations but their professed opposites or opposers also).

    Southwark wasn’t a chic boutique district – it was the only safe place. There is something rotten in the state of – wait, a stupid exotic place, nowhere we know. Rhymes and many forms of narrative allude to events which people learned the hard way to survive.

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  58. Luckyforward: Inasmuch as TWW does not want to become involved in party politics and religion, it is going to become difficult for this excellent site to remain neutral. There are too many intersections between faith and politics for all to be ignored.

    Especially in the past five years, when Christians(TM) have become as politicized as anything in the old USSR.

    The Patriot Churches are just the most blatant.

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  59. Max:
    “The last straw came when he learned in September that Mr. Eicher and Mr. Mohler, the board member and seminary president, planned to start World Opinions in the coming weeks.”

    Good Lord!Big Al is everywhere … he’s everywhere!!

    With his Little Playgroup tagging right along.

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