Since Dee and I began our investigation of the “New Calvinists”, we have become increasingly concerned that this hot new theological movement may have a very serious downside, namely, hero worship.  We are becoming extremely familiar with the leaders of this movement because their names and faces seem to be everywhere on the internet, among other places.  You likely know them, too.  Let’s begin with the Fab Four of “Together for the Gospel” aka T4G – Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, and C.J. Mahaney, not to be confused with those whom we call the Fab Five (the Fort Lauderdale Five of the 1970s Shepherding Movement who were Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Charles Simpson, Don Basham, and Ern Baxter).    

Al Mohler serves as President of the SBC’s flagship seminary, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a board member of Focus on the Family.  He also is a member of the governing body of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which is housed at SBTS.  The CBMW web site is being re-constructed at this time. Ligon Duncan, who hails from the Presbyterian Church of America, serves as President, and Chairman of the Council, of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and as Chairman of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  He is also a Council Member of the Gospel Coalition. 

Mark Dever serves as senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and is the founder of 9 Marks.  He is a Council Member of the Gospel Coalition and serves on the Council for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.  Rounding out the Fab Four is C.J. Mahaney, who heads up Sovereign Grace Ministries, is Vice-Chairman of CBMW, is a Council Member for the Gospel Coalition and serves on the Council for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.  Now you know how these guys have gotten to know each other so well. 

Here are some of the other leaders of the “New Calvinists”, not in any particular order.  There’s Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Joshua Harris, and Matt Chandler.  I know I’m leaving some out.  Sorry!

Recently, we discovered that Carl Trueman, a Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, is also concerned about what’s happening in the “New Calvinist” movement.  He wrote an excellent article in September 2009 entitled “The Nameless One”, which can be found at this link:

If you are enamored with the New Calvinists, please take the time to read Trueman’s article.  He begins by explaining that in recent months he has been asked what he thinks about the young, restless, and reformed (YRR) movement.  While he is overjoyed by the positive aspects of this movement — that more Christians are reading their Bibles, going to church to hear the gospel preached, and studying the writings of the reformers (Calvin, Owen, etc.) — he is beginning to realize there may be some “shortcomings and potential pitfalls”.

Trueman writes:  “One striking and worrying aspect of the movement is how personality oriented it is.  It is identified with certain big names, rather than creeds, confessions, denominations, or even local congregations.”

He continues:

“Yet the hype surrounding today’s leaders of the YRR movement far outstrips anything these earlier heroes enjoyed in their lifetime; indeed, Luther never became rich, despite his great stature, and never headed up a ministry named after himself, or posted a fee-schedule for speaking engagements on his website.”

Trueman explains that Martin Luther had to work as a gardener and carpenter to make ends meet during the Reformation.  He also explains that neither Owen, Edwards, or Spurgeon ever enjoyed the “good life”.

Here’s how Carl Trueman explains the potential pitfalls of the YRR movement:

“The significance of the leaders of the YRR movement, however, seems less like that of ages past and at times more akin to the broader cultural phenomenon of the modern cult of celebrity, a kind of sanctified Christian equivalent of the secular values that surround us.”

Trueman goes on to name the world’s celebrities: Brad, Angelina, Tom, Barak, etc., and explains that the Christian world has its celebrities, too.  Then he then hints of the idolatry described in 1 Corinthians 1.

Here are quotes from Trueman’s article that I found thought-provoking:

“The supply side economics of the YRR movement is also worrying here, as it can easily foster such idolatry by building up a leader’s importance out of all proportion to his talent.”

“Carrying on from the danger of personality cults, part of me also wonders if the excitement surrounding the movement is generated because people see that Reformed theology has intrinsic truth or because they see that it works, at least along the typical American lines of numbers of bodies on seats (in Britain, we’d say ‘bums on seats’…)”

“Finally, I worry that a movement built on megachurches, megaconferences, and megaleaders does the church a disservice in one very important way that is often missed amid the pizzazz and excitement: it creates the idea that church life is always going to be big, loud, and exhilarating, and thus gives church members and ministerial candidates unrealistic expectations of the normal Christian life.”

Trueman then explains that in the real world many of us worship in churches of 100 people or less, and church for most of us is rather routine and ordinary.  All the hype will inevitably lead to disappointment.

The concluding paragraph of Trueman’s article begins as follows:

“Ultimately, only the long term will show if the YRR movement has genuinely orthodox backbone and stamina, whether it is inextricably and inseparably linked to uniquely talented leaders, and whether ‘Calvinism is cool’ is just one more sales pitch in the religious section of the cultural department store.  If the movement is more marketing than reality, then ten to fifteen years should allow us to tell.  If it is still orthodox by that point, we can be reasonably sure it is genuine.”

Our question about the YRR movement is this:  just who is being glorified – God or man?  We can be so idolatrous.  That’s why God’s first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.”  For those of you who are caught up in the YRR movement, it’s just something to think about…



  1. These are prophets who profit from the preaching and speaking that they do, having mega-salaries and benefits. They fail to preach that, unless we take care of the poor, orphan, widow, homeless, incarcerated, and alien, we are not meeting the standard that Christ taught. That is, we are not serving the One we claim as Lord, and in fact, denying Him, since He said that He is the one who is served when we serve those in need. However, there is no profit for the prophet that preaches that our giving needs to benefit the needy instead of the profiting prophets.

  2. If only more Christians realized what you have just shared… What if they took the money they are spending to attend these conferences (travel expenses, conference fees, lodging, and food) and looked after the orphans and widows or contributed it to missions?

    Based on comments informed individuals have shared on Christian conferences like T4G, it’s usually the churches that pay for these pastor perks. In other words, the congregation, like it or not, is picking up the entire tab. I’m sure the conference attendees aren’t eating at McDonalds unless they are seminary students paying their own way! No, they likely dine in style!

    As congregations are disempowered by their “authoritarian” pastors, this trend will only increase…

  3. I am thinking about attending TG4G this year. I have been unable to make it previous years. A couple of people on our staff (pastor and director of church ministries) and a couple of laymen have gone the last 2 times (do they hold it every other year?).

    They have enjoyed the conference immensely each time. They have said that it is substantive and that there is a great spirit there. They also have said that the books that come with the registration are great, and actually drive down the true cost because they are books, in many cases, that they would want to purchase.

    My pastor is 46, and is a co-founder of our congregation. He does not worship any of these guys, but finds much of what they say to be very good. We are not a 5 point Calvinist church, nor do we advertise ourselves as such.

    I went to the convention last year. I attended the 9 Marks meetings that were held after each of the SBC plenary sessions. They were held late in the evening when lots of folks were going home. Mark Dever did an excellent job, as did the others who joined him on the platform at those meetings. I can see why young pastors look up to a guy like Dever. He is bright, educated, and theologically solid and well spoken. He has done a great job at his church in D.C. by all accounts and has served there for years. He is not act like a millionaire pastor with a jet and corny presentations. I have looked at his 9 marks website, and say that I like what I see there.

    Of course, I like Dr. Mohler, as well, and think that he has done a good job at the seminary.

    I cannot speak for the other guys. Never heard them or read their stuff.

    I can see why younger pastors (my pastor is really Dever’s contemporary) like these guys.

    I do not discount some of the things that you have said about one of the speakers, but I suspect that none of that is related to T4TG.

    If I go to TG4G, I will let you know what I think. It is mid-week, so I doubt that I will go, but I may.

    If anyone on here has ever gone, I would be interested in hearing a perspective.

  4. I have experienced your “Church #1”. It is common there to have staff wives contact members through mass e-mails requesting gifts for other staff wives. We were invited to contribute gift cards for a pastor’s baby #3 or #4 and could have our names put on a card. Then these wives would have a staff only party to present our gifts. How special! Can you imagine how that feels? Members are encouraged to supply the gifts, but are never invited to the parties! And you are right, these parties aren’t catered by McDonalds!

  5. Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. If you do get to attend the Together for the Gospel conference (held bi-annually), it would be great if you could describe your experience for all of us. Of course it will be a wonderful event. Anytime you get thousands of people together for whatever reason, it’s going to be dynamic! Been there, done that at other conferences… You can get a “high” just from the loud music.

    I’m sorry to sound so cynical. It’s just that I believe “Together for the Gospel” is a misnomer. You see, the reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, and SGMers are “together”, but those who are not aligned with their theology (Calvinism) feel left out. I suspect that women feel out of place too.

    Just for clarification, the acronym is T4G, meaning four buddies together for the gospel. I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful comment, and I truly wish I felt more unified with Mohler, Dever, Duncan(PCA), and Mahaney(SGM), but I just don’t and suspect I never will. I believe they are being extremely exclusive within Christendom.

  6. Deb, if I attend, I will give you a short summary.

    I have not been around this site to get all the particulars of the issues that you and Dee care about.

    I gather that you guys believe that there should be no difference between men and women in officers or functions in the church. So, I feel certain that these guys would not be your cup of tea on that issue.

    I have articulated before that on that issue the folks who are in favor of women pastors, elders etc. should plant some new churches with women pastors. I really don’t know why that is not happening. They also can join the groups that advocate that.

    I think that would be more productive toward bringing about the desired changes. Instead, what I tend to see is a lot of argumentation and political activity in various groups or denominations.

    I don’t think that is persuasive or effective anymore, and that it just constantly causes division. But, I am not in charge. I might visit a biblically solid evangelical church plant that has a woman pastor. But I can’t find one in the South!

    On the reformed issue, as I said, I am not a 5 pointer, and it really does not occupy my time. A lot of reformed people whom I meet are eaten up with being reformed. And a lot of anti-reformed people I see comment from time to time really say silly things about reformed theology. I actually believe that Mohler and Patterson’s discussion at the SBC a few years ago was really good. I would say the same thing about the meeting at Ridgecrest.

    I can go to a meeting like this and pick up the good stuff and leave the bad.

    But I will say, as I have said before, that some of the guys on the speaking list are weak. Mohler and Dever are not. So, if I go, I am sure that I’ll enjoy some of it, and some of it I won’t. Just like the SBC pastor’s conference.

  7. Anonymous,

    As you said, “I have not been around this site to get all the particulars of the issues that you and Dee care about.”

    Then I guess you have misunderstood our intentions here at TWW. We are not advocating for women pastors. We are deeply concerned that the “priesthood of believers” is being minimized in many churches, and that’s a real shame! IMHO, this change in church polity will not bode well for the future of Christendom.

  8. Deb,

    Thanks. I am not trying to argue in either direction, but your statement helps me.

    I agree. The priesthood of the believer is very important, and is an Baptist and evengelical distinction of some strength.

    The contours of what “priesthood of believers” means is usually the rub.

    Some argue that it means each believer can decide for himself what constitutes sin, or which parts of the Bible are myth and figurative and which parts are historical (e.g. Is the resurrection of Jesus a scientific, historical fact, or does the priesthood of believers allow each person to decide that maybe it was not a real event but a story to build our faith and that the deeper meaning is somewhere else), or if a woman says God is calling her to preach, she is her own priest and can decide that for the church, whether or not the church believes that is not proper.

    Others believe the doctrine means that a “one man, one vote” type of congregationalism has to exist. All matters should be discussed so every believer has an equal say in polity and doctrinal matters.

    Others believe it means primarily that we each go to God directly, through Jesus our high priest.

    I am not sure that there is not some truth in each one of these examples, but some of them can be taken too far to where they are out of bounds, in my opinion.

    At the end of the day, groups of Christians should be able to assemble, start churches, schools, seminaries, send missionaries etc. It seems to me that things run best when people who do that agree on the things and issues that each of those endeavors touches upon. I don’t know why in the world people who have fundamental differences about things would want to be linked together by history or common culture, but not theology. They will spend all their time arguing about things.

    Then, each group can live and practice as they choose, and the Lord can sort out all of this in eternity.

    The SBC went through a 20 year battle to sort all of this out after modernism became fairly prominent in its educational insitutuions. The conservatives won the seminaries. The liberals/moderates (I am not trying to cast stones by labels) appear to have won the State Baptist colleges (though most are no longer Baptist). This debate really took place from about 1920 through 1990 or so, with the political acitivity in the SBC being from 1979 to 1990 or so.

    The Episcoplaians/Anglicans are going through it now.

    The Presbyterians went through it in 2 phases – with the OPC in the 1920s or 30s, and the PCA in the 70s until today.

    The Methodists continue to go through it without formal schism. Asbury and the Good News movement still exist within the Methodist Church.

    The Lutherans went through it with the creation of the Missori Synod.

    The Non-denominational groups usually formed to avoid participating in either side of a debate. Just start something new!

    So goes the world.

  9. Anonymous

    I am still not sure if the conservatives won in the SBC. The ones who led the revolt are conservatives+(fill in the blank). I am a conservative theologically. However, it seems as if there is a group that my current pastor might call religionists. These are the ones who invent issues. Like, you must believe in a young earth. Or, if you are a missionary and speak in a PRIVATE prayer language, well, come on back to the United States. Wade Burleson outlines the IMB issues in his book, Hardball Religion. So, I am not sure conservatives are really in charge. I guess it is how one defines conservative.

    I assure you that this is not a one issues blog. In fact, it is our goal to look at some of the controversial topics within Christendom and illuminate them. Once our archives transfer, you will see that the role of women is just one of a variety of issues. I believe the role of women is an “in house” debate. But, it is worthy of discussion.

    As for a good church to try that has an associate woman pastor, I would recommend Bent Tree Bible Fellowship of Carrollton (Dallas) Texas. The head pastor is Pete Briscoe, the son of Jill and Stuart Briscoe. I attended there for about 9 years. Joanne Hummel is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and is conservative in her view of the Bible. Pete has her preach for him when he goes out of town. As you are probably aware, the Briscoe family are not thought of as theological lightweights or liberals.

    Finally, I grew up in the Boston area and became a Christian when I was 17 during an episode of Star Trek (crazy but true). Up in that area, no one worries about denominations. It is too hard to find a Bible believing church so most churches major on the majors and minor on the minors out of necessity. The nonsense in the SBC over reformed versus “whatever” would not even be an issue. They just want to find evangelical Christians.

    Since making the South my home, I have been shocked at some of the nonsense over minor issues. Thank God he has directed me, once again, to a church that knows the difference. There are evangelicals of all stripes in that church and I love it that way. My previous church had a litmus test for what constitutes “really Christian” and it involved a particular view of creation and a view of the pastor as an untouchable ruler.

    And the pundits wonder why children graduate and leave the faith in droves. If I hadn’t been a Christian very long and had encountered such foolishness, I might have been tempted to bail as well.

    Blessings and thanks for reading and commenting

  10. Dee,

    Thanks for the additional info. I concur that there is a lot of craziness out there. Sometimes people who claim to believe the Bible the most can be the ones to add to it. Isn’t that a human tendency?

    Take care.

  11. “One striking and worrying aspect of the movement is how personality oriented it is. It is identified with certain big names, rather than creeds, confessions, denominations, or even local congregations.”

    This is nothing short of “cult of personality”. It has simply been transferred from the seeker mega movement to the reformed movement.

    It has been hard to get people to see that. I come from the inside of the seeker mega movement and was cured but I went to the Reformed movement because I thought they put Sovereignty of God first. Boy was I wrong. They are no different from the seeker mega leaders except they focus more on doctrine with tertiary issue. Now, those are primary salvic issues.

    The same old quest for power and authority is there. The Reformed crowd hides their quest for wealth better but they are churning out the seminars and books and are catching up. Once again, I want to ask them how they look in the mirror when they are writing books and doing conferences WHILE being paid a salary by thier church or entity (such as a seminary). They keep the speaking fees and royalties.

    They really are not that different from the Joel Osteens and Ken Copelands. They just hide it better. And folks buy into it and keep the money, power and influence flowing. Lots of young guys are very ambitious and want to become “professional Christians” It pays well and is quite the heady experience with lots of adoring followers.

  12. “I am still not sure if the conservatives won in the SBC.”

    Many are finally waking up and realizing it was a political win for power. They used ‘doctrine’ as the rallying cry. But if it were about doctrine, most would have repented by now for the evil tactics they used to gain power.

    And I was a big supporter of the CR until I started seeing all the bodies thrown under the buses. It has only gotten worse. But thank God for the internet which is shining much light on evil deeds by professional Christians who peddle the Gospel for influence and the nice life.

  13. “What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:12-13) Or, as my former pastor sometimes liked to paraphrase it, “I follow John Piper, I follow C. J. Mahaney, I follow John MacArthur…” Sadly, there is nothing new under the sun.

  14. Amanda,

    Like I said, following humans is a human tendency that is never truly rooted out of the church.

    I follow Paige Patterson, I follow Al Mohler, I follow Ergun Caner, I follow Wade Burleson, I follow FBC Jax Watchdog, I follow Dee and Deb on Wartburg Watch.

    Legitimate and illegitimate ministries are all subject to the same hero worship that is part of the psyche of man.

  15. “I follow Paige Patterson, I follow Al Mohler, I follow Ergun Caner, I follow Wade Burleson, I follow FBC Jax Watchdog, I follow Dee and Deb on Wartburg Watch.”

    Apples and oranges. I do not go to blogs for spiritual guidance. I have a conversation with Dee and Deb. That would be logistically impossible with Al Mohler even IF he would give someone like me the time of day. He certainly would not view me as his equal.

    He EXPECTS to be followed. Dee and Deb, don’t.

    There is no hero worship here. NOr any supposed “authority” over others in the Body as Mohler and Patterson teach.

    When professing Christians wake up and realize that all believers are depraved and saved by the exact same grace and are given the Holy Spirit with the same abundance if sought…they will start being Bereans and stop following mere men.

  16. BTW, Anonymous. Quit rationalizing sin of hero worship even if it is in the psyche of all men and women.

  17. Lydia:

    I was not addressing you. I have no idea who you are or what is going on with you, nor would I even try to guess.

    It is rude of you to come on this blog and tell me to quit doing something, and to mischaracterize what I have said in the process.

    I read what Dee and Deb have said about rules on this blog. If I were they, I would delete your last comment. I am asking them to do that now, but it is up to them, of course. If they delete your comment, they can certainly delete mine.

    I think that Dee and Deb want civil discourse on this blog. That’s why I have enjoyed coming here to visit. I hope that the civil discourse I have seen on this blog will continue.

  18. Congrats anonymous. You sound just like most of the authoritarian and arrogant leaders in Christendom.

    PS: I have no idea who you are either or what is going on with you. :o) I was only responding to a public blog comment where you said there will always be hero worship in the church and it will never be rooted out. What a sad commentary on the power of the Holy Spirit in believers lives.

    Is it civil to accuse folks of following “Dee and Deb” as spiritual leaders as you did above? Who gets to define civility?

  19. “We are deeply concerned that the ‘priesthood of believers’ is being minimized in many churches, and that’s a real shame! IMHO, this change in church polity will not bode well for the future of Christendom.”

    Note the difference between “priesthood of the believer” and “priesthood of the believers.” It’s a very subtle difference but a very important (and frightening) one. Up to and including the BF&M 1963 the term used was “priesthood of the believer.” In other words, what each person has determined between himself and his Maker. But in the BF&M 2000 they changed the terminology to “priesthood of the believers.” Or now, in other words, what a group (namely the BF&M 2000 committee and subsequent SBC leadership) determines we should believe. That’s not to say that something obviously wrong in the eyes of God (homosexuality, for example) can be explained away by someone who wants to live in such a “lifestyle,” but it does allow for differences of interpretation on teriary matters. It’s just that TPTB want to define “tertiary” now, too.

  20. notastepfordsheep:

    Love the name!!!

    I agree with your points! Each of us belongs to the “priesthood” because the Holy Spirit indwells each Christian, as promised in God’s Holy Word.

  21. Al Mohler insisted on the ‘s’. He wanted the Priesthood taken out of the BFM but could not get it. Bet he could today.

  22. Lydia

    Darn. I have always wanted my own cult like following. This stems out of a wish to have an entourage to accompany me where ever I go.

    I once saw a movie that starred Jimmy Smits as the lead detective of some elite group He jumped out of a HUmmer and had at least 10 people following him. He didn’t even look back at them. He started pointing his finger in different directions and people in back of him peeled off and went in the various directions. Wouldn’t life be easier if people had their own entourage? Are you sure you won’t join my entourage??

  23. Anonymous

    The word “follow” is part of the vernacular. But the real issue is whether we mean it more than I do when I say “I follow the Carolina Hurricanes”.

    Many of us follow people in our early stages of faith. Then, sooner or later, we get let down and begin to follow Jesus and listen to those who had good ideas on how to do so. Then, I also fellowship with other believers and become stronger and happier for doing so. But, I don’t follow them and they don’t follow me.

    I love my good friend, Doug Pittman, who signs all of his comments with Following Christ, Not Man.

  24. I agree with anonymous that Lydia’s comment should be removed. Others who don’t always agree with Dee and Deb have had their comments removed so it is only fair to apply the same standard to Lydia.

  25. Lydia

    The vast majority of this movement won’t admit it but deep down believe that they are somehow specially set aside for the work of the ministry. When I heard JD Grear making fun of educated people (and not including himself as one of them) I realized that we have a real problem in the church today.

    As one of my former pastors so eloquently put it ” I drive the vision and the elders agree with me and do it. They have only disagreed with me twice in 28 year!!” If he is right, something is really, really wrong. Whoops, that’s right, its wrong and I am no longer there. I would rather be in a church with healthy disagreement going on regularly than be in a cage with “forced” agreement. That is the old Soviet style of polity.

  26. OK, ANN F and Anonymous

    How many comments do you think we have removed. Not many. Two were removed for frank vulgarity-trust me- you’d agree.

    Another was removed for purposely trying to hurt someone’s feelings. I removed it and Lydia was one of the ones who said not to do it. She felt openness was far more valuable so that the world could see what people who claim to be Christians actually write. I agreed and stopped doing that.

    Then, with one individual who will remain anonymous, well, we didn’t actually remove his comments (maybe one or two)-just transferred them to different posts and held a contest to see who could find the comments. Trust me-this was one very, very weird honcho.

    If I have missed any other comment, other than spam, we have removed, could someone please remind me. We have been posting for almost a year. That makes about 5-7 comments actually removed and a couple of comments just moved.

    So, that should be the final answer since it is our blog. Oh, and Lydia is one of the smartest women we have ever read. Instead of judging her, read all of her comments. Everybody who does is impressed. She graces us with her presence.

    Blogs can be tough. We can’t see one another’s faces and can’t hear tone. So, hang tough and get those thoughts out. We like it hard hitting instead of the pretend nicey nicey that we see in some churches. Its called keeping it real.

    Blessings all. Love the comments

  27. Whoops, forgot one thing.

    Certain comments, with which we have strong disagreement or which have caused us a good giggle, will get featured in their very own posts. In fact, as we move our archives, we shall create a new tag for searches. It shall be called “Comments that deserve a post.”

    For anyone who thinks we don’t post comments that disagree with our positions, I have two things to say.
    1. Have you actually been reading our blog??? Good night!!!

    2. Dissenting comments are the life blood of any blog. It means we are “ruffling feathers.” That is good in the blogosphere. Few people want to read a blog in which everyone always agrees. Bleccchhh! That’s too much like the way my last church was run. Everyone pretends to agree to appease shallow egos. Give me thinking minds that disagree.We all grow that way.

    BTW, one of the vulgar comments (really, really vulgar) was on one of the posts that we did on Mark Driscoll. It kinda seems appropriate, doesn’t it?

  28. Ann F.,

    When you start your own blog, then you can decide which comments to delete. Until then, please don’t presume to tell us how to censor comments here.

    I have very little patience for comments such as yours. We believe in freedom of expression, even when Dee and I are criticized. Believe me, we can handle it! Been there, done that…

  29. Dee and Deb:

    I have not questioned whether this is your blog. It certainly is, and so you have the right to do what you want.

    I have just asked for a civil discussion.

    Lydia’s comment is rude and not civil.

    Ann F., thanks for at least recognizing what is obvious.

    This is what bothers so many people about Christianity today. Christians won’t curse, use or put up with the mildest of slang.

    But they will engage in or tolerate hateful behavior under the guise of “Christian truth”.

    Good bye.

  30. Anonymous

    Have you read the majority of Lydia’s posts? I think you will find that she is an insightful, thoughtful individual. She has seen things that many of us have not seen and offers a unique perspective into the current evangelical movements. I know a bit more about her than you do and she is a remarkable woman.

    As for Ann F’s comments: in it she accuses us of removing comments of those who do not “always agree with us.” That is a pile of nonsense and is wrong and is easily disproved. It irritates me that she would make such a rude, unfounded comment. But wait…why is her comment still on the site?

    Many folks who post on this site have been victimized by arrogant, supercilious church “leaders.” There is bound to be some feelings left over from these circumstances. I should know…been there. Instead of condemning Lydia, why don’t you probe her thoughts, get to know her based on more than a couple of exchanges? Who knows, you may be blessed. Deb and I sure are.

  31. Well, if you want to see entourages, you should attend the next SBC convention in Orlando.

    It can be amusing to watch. They tend to look like clones of the leader.

    You can even pick out the Mahaney Baptist young men by their shaved heads.

    Even tiny Russell Moore had his own entourage of young men following him around. With the same haircut, too.

  32. The ‘vision’ stuff concerns me personally since I was a strategic planning facilitator for years.

    1. First of all, in most organizations, the leadership team is the one that develops the vision. But even more, many organizations realized this was stifling and included folks from all areas includng some from very low on the totem pole.

    2. This does NOT map to the Body of Christ at all. Jesus Christ set the vision. It is already there: Go and make disciples. How: The Gospel

    3. A human “vision” for the Body is to the detriment of the Holy Spirit communicating to each believer in the Body. The pastor’s human vision is doing the job of the Holy Spirit.

  33. “Lydia’s comment is rude and not civil.”

    Can you point to what is rude and not civil? And then will you allow me to point to what anonymous said that was rude and uncivil?

    Then we can discuss why one thinks something is uncivil or rude or not. :o)

    Me thinks I hit a nerve about the rationalizing of hero worship in the Body. If it makes you feel any better, I used to do it too, until I got saved.

  34. Lydia

    You did hit a nerve. When people descend to ad hominem attacks, it means that they have nothing of substance to add to a critique.

    I recall a head elder type at one of my previous churches that admitted to starting a rumor that my marriage was in trouble. I had pointed out an issue to the church and defined it with quotes, etc. Instead of countering my concerns, he started an ad hominem rumor.And this guy was a long time elder!!! Egads!

    So, you are in good company, friend. And I loved the ending to your comment- I needed a laugh.

  35. You mean the rumor was just that your marriage was in trouble? You got off light! There was a rumor started against one lone dissenter at a mega church that he was homosexual. And because the pastors and elders, who also happened to be successful businessmen in town, were circulating the rumor (as in, isn’t this horrible but we had to confront him and let him go), everyone believed it!

    It was years before the poor guy got his reputation back and by then he had been ruined financially.

    The bottomline is they do not want to discuss issues. That is too dangerous. It is much easier to attack the dissenter and it works!

    BTW: Some of the well known profs at SBTS told a reporter that a friend of mine (someone who is a dedicated Christian who did a presentation on the problems with patriarchy) was a new age witch. I kid you not. They actually said that to a reporter!

  36. Lydia,

    I assume that your friend is Cindy Kunsman (as you know, we link to her website). If so, when you next speak with Cindy, please tell her that I watched her entire presentation (at the seminary she is not supposed to name) on YouTube.

    It was during the fall of 2008, and I had become aware of some pretty bizarre stuff like singles’ ministries being an “abomination”, quiverfull, and the mandate for couples to get married young. When I watched Cindy’s presentation, I didn’t really understand what was going on. It was around this time that I became aware of Doug Phillips and Bruce Ware.

    I’m glad to say that after extensive research over many months, I’m understanding what is happening very well, and much of it is being reported in this forum. Cindy is one of the reasons why TWW exists.

  37. Lydia

    If it wasn’t for the Scriptures and the testimony and sacrifice of Jesus, I would run as far away as I could get from these folks. And they presume to consider themselves leaders. It is sick.

  38. And guess what? Our Cindy is a comp! She is not even egal. She is conservative orthodox in her doctrine.

    Yet, they considered her a threat. Why?

    Because she can clearly articulate the cultic tendancies seeping into the movements that are becoming quite mainstream.

    She is one sharp gal and I am honored to call her my sister in Christ.

  39. I know. Finally seeking Jesus Christ on my own is what made me run as fast as I could away from them.

    If we pray and seek, He will give us the PURE Wisdom from above. (James)

  40. I have read almost every entry on the blog, including almost all of the comments. I am with Dee and Deb in general most of the time. I have no particular axe to grind. That said, I was rather shocked by Lydia’s comment: “BTW, Anonymous. Quit rationalizing sin of hero worship even if it is in the psyche of all men and women.” It seemed…personal and accusatory, in a very unnecessary way. And I believe that he is right that you mischaracterized what he said; I don’t think he was at all trying to “rationalize” any particular sin, but to suggest that that sort of problem could happen in any group, good or bad. Whether I agree or not is irrelevant. Your further response, “Congrats anonymous. You sound just like most of the authoritarian and arrogant leaders in Christendom.” was no better. That’s…pretty personal. There are so many ways you could have expressed that idea without it having been so personal. By that definition, I do not think it was civil. That is not an ad hominem attack. Anonymous has come with some different opinions, and expressed them in a totally nonaggressive and, I believe, honest way. How often does that happen?

  41. Wow, Anonymous really got irked and called out the troops! Good job!

    Let me say this about all the hurt feelings: This is serious business. What anonymous said about not ever being able to root out hero worship in the Body because it is in the psyche of all people is a lie from the pit of hell. It negates the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. When we are saved, God WILL take away all our idols. That may not happen right away but it happens. God does not raise up celebrities for us to follow. He gave us HIS SON to follow. We can learn from others but we had better be Bereans and we had best encourage others to be Bereans.

    You can send out 100 more objectors to my comment and I will stand by it. Quit rationalizing sin. It is sending folks to hell because they are following men instead of Christ. They know what Piper ways about the Word and they know what Mahaney says about the Word. But do they know the Word as revealed to them by the Holy Spirit because they have an intimate relationship with our Savior? That is the question for hero worshippers.

    How is that for uncivil? I SAY IT OUT OF LOVE AND FEAR FOR MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST. And I am out of cherries and whipped creme to wrap it in.

  42. Please hold your horses, Lydia!
    I don’t know Anonymous at all outside of the context of this blog; he couldn’t have “called” me to post if he had wanted to. Please don’t make assumptions of bad faith on my part; my only motives for posting are the ones that I’ve stated. I didn’t feel that you were being entirely fair towards him. I have read almost all of your posts as they came, and I highly respect your opinions and experience. I’m not your enemy, and I don’t necessarily agree with him and disagree with you. I love both of you, and I don’t think that this is good for either of you.
    My objections to your comments have little to do with the issue of hero worship, but with the way that you have expressed yourself. Yes, it is serious business, but so is how we treat one another, perhaps on an even more important level. As Paul said, even if you know everything, if you do not have love to go with it, it is worth nothing. Of course, I’m >>not<especially< if we disagree. I think that that holds true for our treatment of everyone, and I believe that there's much more to that than “cherries and whipped creme.”
    The messages of avoiding hero worship, of escaping “churchianity” or “religiosity”, of having a personal relationship with God through Jesus, are all important with a capital I. I don't think we can afford to jeopardize them by expressing them in a way that is not loving.

  43. I, too, do not know Anonymous or Garland or Observing so we are not “troops”. We simply agree that your response to Anonymous came across in a way that you may not have intended. Your passion for this subject is obvious and may that impacted your original and subsequent responses.

  44. The difference, friends, is that I do not hide my concerns from “professing Christians” with subtle insults or worldly pragmatism. I find very little “loving” with anonymous’ comments but tons of ignorance and defense of celebrity Christians.

    But I suppose I am not post modern enough and should really try to wrap my words to other Christians with more whipped creme and cherries.

    In other words, you want to focus on what you take offense to, call it unloving but don’t want to address the content. That is post modernism.

    It is a shame that I cannot assume we are all Christians and grown ups? And I have no idea whether you know anonymous or not.

    Ann, my passion is for the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. “Christians” should know better than to try to spin that hero worship is something that cannot be rooted out of the Body. Has it really gotten that bad that other Christians are not offended for the precious Blood?

    It really is too bad that anonymous cannot witness one of Mohlers tyrannical tirades. Maybe he would not worship him so much.

  45. Anonymous is using sophistry. Anonymous’ comment that “every group has this sin” is falacious reasoning. While true, it misses the point entirely – it is the focus of this group. It is like the difference between a group that pushes a belief in a flat earth, and saying a lot of groups have people who believe in a flat earth. It may be true, but it is off the point entirely.

  46. Lydia –

    You write interesting comments that I mostly agree with. But, you are way off on your definition of postmodern.