Peasants Rising-What Mahaney, Mohler, etc., Could Learn From Martin Luther’s Mistakes

For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel. Martin Luther


Breaking News: More turmoil in SGM. Joshua Harris ‘stepping down’ or pushed out from board because he is apparently ‘at odds’ with the SGM ‘leadership’ over the Mahaney mess. Things are happening fast and furious and it appears, for now, that things are a bit out of control for these control-meisters. As Mahaney would say "Change is here to stay." Here is the LINK.

Breaking Response: Before beginning our post, we would like to link to SGM Refuge so that our readers can read Brent Detweiler’s response to the charges that were despicably raised by the stone-cold leadership of SGM. We believe that said leadership is ably demonstrating a spiritually abuse tactic of “the messenger is the problem.” Please read our article on this tactic, Odd Man Out, that we posted at this Link

We also highly recommend the book, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. Can our reader’s guess why???



Dateline: Assyrian Online University with Professor Dee and Deb presiding…

Today is Thursday and it is the day we do a little history lesson. In order to keep it relevant, we are responding to a most astute comment from insightful reader, Lin, whom we believe received a Doctorate in the School of Hard Knocks at this fine institution. Pay attention, for you will be tested.

“I could be wrong but think Josh is throwing bones to the peasants on purpose. Part of what others are calling the ‘glasnost’. Which is a totally new thing for SGMers.”

Her comment fits in with today’s topic: Martin Luther and the Peasant Revolt. Much to the chagrin of the Calvinistas, PBS overlooked John Calvin and declared Martin Luther was most influential person of the last millennium in a program that aired on the last day of the old millennium. Although I do not have the link, I was listening on that day, in which the most influential invention was declared to be that of the Gutenberg Press which was that era’s version of the Internet.

Luther had his faults, just like Calvin, and many historians would point to his contemptuous view of the Jews and his support of the nobility during the Peasant uprising as his two greatest mistakes. Others might add his disdain for the Book of James and Revelation but that is another topic. We understand that a few historians might disagree but, in general, there is some consensus on this matter.

Today, we would like to focus on the Peasant uprising because we believe that it holds some very important lessons for the principles in this current debacle. These would include CJ Mahaney and his ardent defenders such as Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan and the ’leaders’ of SGM.

As you read this account, please put those who have shared their hard stories at SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge in the role of the peasants, CJ Mahaney and the SGM leadership in the role of the nobility and Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan in the role of Martin Luther. Oh yeah, we are the Gutenberg Press.

The Peasant War took place between 1524-1525. Martin Luther was now widely respected throughout Germany. The German nobility had played an important part in protecting Luther from the Pope’s murderous intents and as such, he was understandably indebted to them.

A group of German peasants, who believed that they were experiencing extreme economic oppression at the hands of the German nobility, presented a petition, called the Twelve Articles, to the Holy Roman Emperor. This was the German King who had received this title from the Pope and who ruled over an area encompassing central Europe.

The document asked for the abolishment of certain taxes and for the establishment of common lands on which the peasants could hunt and fish. They also called for the abolishment of the oppressive serf system. They wanted, in other words, the right to be free and to be allowed to lease land on which to build a living.

In fact, it may have been Luther’s own stand against the Catholic church that gave courage to these peasants who also sought justice from another kind of oppression. However, they would soon find that they did not have a friend in Luther. Although they raised armies, they were doomed to failure.

“Although the revolt was supported by Huldrych Zwingli and Thomas Müntzer, its condemnation by Martin Luther contributed to its defeat. Some 100,000 peasants were killed. Reprisals and increased restrictions discouraged further attempts to improve the peasants' plight.” Link 

Although Luther had encouraged the nobility to see to the plight of the poor, when push came to shove, he published Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants, denouncing the uprising. Some would say he did so to protect the reformation, perhaps fearing that the nolbilty would blame Luther’s ideas for the unrest. LINK 

Lesson learned for this current situation

1. There was the appeal to Biblical “authority” to justify quelling the peasant uprising.

The “authority” tactic was big then and even bigger now within the Calvinista crowd. Luther misused Scripture to his advantage then and many authority junkies do so now.

Some believe that Luther based his attack on the peasants on what is known as Paul's doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings, which he based on
Romans 13:1-7, which says (NIV-Bible Gateway):

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Luther spoke out strongly against the peasants showing little concern for their oppression by the nobility.

(Luther, Martin. Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants. (1525) )

“The peasants have taken upon themselves the burden of three terrible sins against God and man; by this they have merited death in body and soul… they have sworn to be true and faithful, submissive and obedient, to their rulers… now deliberately and violently breaking this oath… they are starting a rebellion, and are violently robbing and plundering monasteries and castles which are not theirs… they have doubly deserved death in body and soul as highwaymen and murderers… they cloak this terrible and horrible sin with the gospel… thus they become the worst blasphemers of God and slanderers of his holy name”

It is our opinion that much of the turmoil within SGM, as well as some of the Reformed Baptist crowd, rests in a nonnegotiable belief in the power and authority of the local pastors. These hardliners appear to run roughshod over the people in their churches who raise questions about their actions and polity. Their belief in the God-given power of the pastor is then used to make unilateral decisions. This adherence to their authority means they have little use for those who would disagree with them. After all, they know what God wants them to do and the peasants better not get in the way.

2. Once order was restored, the nobility put harsher rules in place to avoid any such revolt again.

SGM dissenters be prepared. Unless the leadership renounces their previous practices there is little doubt that they will institute further oppressive rules that will limit the ability of the local priesthood of the believer to have any input. It can get worse. They claim it will take one year to change things. That is a long time. As time passes, the passion of these moments will fade and there will be less push to make major changes.

3. No one noticed the peasants until they revolted

One thing for sure, the blogosphere is making the cries of today’s ‘peasants’ heard, loud and clear. Today’s ‘nobility’ will respond by trying to shut down the most effective means of communication with which God has ever blessed the masses. Anybody has the right to set up a blog and put his ideas out into the marketplace of ideas. If we can do, so can anyone.

However, the current day nobility will be unsuccessful in trying to shut down the blogs. So, instead of dealing with it like big boys, they will stomp their feet and pass resolutions to declare that blogging is unscriptural. They will attempt to discredit bloggers by calling them names. These are the feeble attempts of increasingly desperate men who cannot believe that the masses are beginning to question the status quo. Could it be that blogging is the next great Reformation of the church?

4. Leaders, who are more concerned with their own aggrandizement, often ignore the voice of the multitude.

This is evidently the case in this situation. I have not heard one word by Mohler, Mahaney, Duncan, Piper, the ‘leadership’ team of SGM, about the years and years of accusations which have been raised by hundreds of hurt people and their friends on SGM Survivors. This is the reason that we at TWW became interested in SGM. We had rarely read so many instances of reported cases of abuse within one organization.

We have contacted some well-known pastors and begged them to consider the issues being raised at SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge. But we have been ignored. One even claimed that we were assaulting the character of the men involved.

It appears that leaders support leaders and have little use for the peasants. So, the peasants are speaking out.

5. History will judge those leaders who ignored the cry of the people.

But maybe money and power in the present trumps the old “cloud of witnesses” thing in the future, doesn’t it?

6. The cause of the Reformation became more important to Luther than the people.

Do you see this in today's Calvinistas? The cause is more important than the people they are called to love and serve. In fact, the peasants, with all of their needs and issues, just seem to get in the way of these preachers who are trying to do the Lord's work.


However, this time, the peasants have a weapon that cannot easily be overcome. They have access to the court of public opinion and, in this case, the public is beginning to listen. So, to Mohler, Mahaney, Duncan and the leadership crowd at SGM, what do you want your legacy to be? Do you wish to be know as oppressive patriarchs or loving leaders following the example of the Great Servant who spent more time with the nobodies than the somebodies.

We leave you with this You Tube video submitted by astute reader Craig who gets an “A” in this course. This little clip humorously represents the stance of the Mahaney apologizers!


Lydia’s Corner: 2 Samuel 17:1-29 John 19:23-42 Psalm 119:129-152 Proverbs 16:12-13


Peasants Rising-What Mahaney, Mohler, etc., Could Learn From Martin Luther’s Mistakes — 30 Comments

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    This “Calvinista” stuff is getting tiresome. Look, C.J. Mahaney and Josh Harris would have supported Karlstadt in the peasant’s rebellion. The Reformers would have condemned them, as they would you.

    I think you are just looking for an historical atrocity to make an easy comparison. According to this list on the right side of my screen, you already hit the Salem witch trials four times!

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    Listen, I grew up in Salem and studied the history of the Puritans in that area. It happens to be a passion of mine along with the great popcorn at the Salem Willows and the clam chowder at Stromberg’s on the bridge.

    If you are so tired of our haranguing of the Calvinistas, please feel free to quit hitting our URL and go read something else. Might I recommend the Peabody Essex Museum site in which I spent many happy hours as a child.

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    Luther was actually was unstable in some ways but he knew the root of anything that was diabolical in nature encouraged rebelliousness. Luther did not go far enough back in understanding the antisemitic fevor of the Catholic church. It looks like he reverted to a civic mindedness and forgot the paraclete advocate nature of God in the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Luther riddled with “fits of rage” in his writings.

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    Randall said:

    “Look, C.J. Mahaney and Josh Harris would have supported Karlstadt in the peasant’s rebellion.”

    You’ve got to be kidding!

    Until very recently, Mahaney sat perched at the top of his SGM pyramid. He has shown absolutely no concern for the SGM ‘peasants’.

    I’m withholding judgment about Josh. Only time will tell whether he is sympathetic toward the SGM peasant class. I pray that he is not interested in kingdom building like the Calvinsta leaders featured here. By the way, just what is so appealing about them to you?

  5. Pingback: Peasants Rising-What Mahaney, Mohler, etc., Could Learn From Martin « Apologetics « Church Leadership

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    Yes, the Devil built his wicked castle near His Majesty’s Church. The loud-mouthed loons and Baptacostals, enthusiasts to the core, impuged and oppugned Christ’s Church. They were subversives and wildcats, like modern Enthusiasts in Mahaney’s Hothouses of indiscipline.

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    Wartburg, stick to the Detwiler claims and steer clear of history. These wildcat ana-Baptists and Pentaholics were self-assured enthusiasts “getting a word” like the Baptacostaholics of SGM, “speaking a word into situations” based on hunches and senses. Untrained, unteachable, loud, self-righteous, etc. Stick to the facts.

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    You are priceless. :o)

    So, they deserved to be wiped out by the princes, eh?

    I am holding my breath of what you might say about the Jews that Luther wrote about.

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    “This “Calvinista” stuff is getting tiresome.”

    Randall, You still feel that way after reading the Donald?

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    1. Yes, the radical ana-Baptists were vastly out-of-order. Not for the sword, assuredly. The Munsterites, however, were millenarian loons, radicals, and hyper-enthusiasts.

    2. But to an interesting degree, theology and history to the side which this article avoids, folks need to assume responsibility for being ignorant and sucked in by these Baptacostals? Sorta like yeah? Ya kinda and sorta allowed it and need to sorta accept responsibility for it? Yes, expose it, but also–for those involved–accept responsibility for involvement with it. That’s a part of maturing.

    3. Anyone with sense, catechetical training, liturgical orientation, vast–and I mean vast–Bible reading, and years of exposure to the classics would have sniffed this stuff out in a “nano-second.” Elitist? If ignorant, sorta like accept it. Ya got hoodwinked. There is doctrine, worship and a piety that “trains the instincts.” If you joined SGM with these abusive and enthusiast tendencies without a background, it’s unfortunate. My deeper concern is for children in abuse and molestation cases.

    4. That includes the Revivalistic enthusiasms of Piper, Mohler, and others. It is sad that many haven’t had that background and were sucked in. Wiser men have been getting bad whiffs for quite some time about the lot of them. Ignorance mitigates, but doesn’t exculpate.

    5. WB, stick to the facts, e.g. the Rottweiler-Detwiler Report. There’s 600 pages worthy of careful review.

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    Well, I guess I’m going to have to conduct an old-fashioned “fire oath” type book burning, because my books on European, early American and church history *must* be off. (According to one commenter, anyhow.)

    Shades of Luther. (The fire oath was sworn by Hitler Youth and others who were involved in Nazi-sponsored book burnings – though they would NOT have burned Luther’s “On the Jews and their Lies.” See )

    btw, I’m Lutheran *and* I come from an area where there are a number of different Anabaptist sects/offshoots of denominations, and having grown up learning a lot of their history, I’ve got to say that they were not the Reformation’s “loons” by any means. Were there some really wacked-out sects? Yes. But to refer to ALL Anabaptists as “loons” is just plain wrong.

    Must split, as I’ve got to turn my keyboard upside down so that I can dump out excess sand… 😉

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    Sorry, I misread something – my apologies.

    Still, I think oversimplification has its dangers…

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    Do you guys really read my blog?

    I was suggesting our information revolution and the discussion blogs will revolutionize us and render dear leaders reduced in excessive power and ifluence similar to the way the invention of the printing press made the reformation a reality.

    CJ and Molehill and Dunkin Donuts will be history’s losers.

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    Sometimes, I think God gives simultaneous kicks to a bunch of people. That is why we are the ‘Wartburg’ Watch. We named it after the castle that Luther was hidden in order to avoid the Pope. During that time, he completed the translation of the New Testament into German and the Gutenberg Press started printing his work.

    If you read our FAQ, we answer this there. We both firmly believe the Internet is changing the church, exposing hypocrisy and raising questions. I am personally amazed that these young bald guys with goatees and cargo shorts are so startled by the use of the blog medium. Are they as stupid as they are authoritarian? Maybe seminary does not train them in common academic areas such as communications and history.

    As for the donut question, I am convinced the frosted donut with sprinkles is here to stay.

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    “We have contacted some well-known pastors and begged them to consider the issues being raised at SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge. But we have been ignored. One even claimed that we were assaulting the character of the men involved.”

    Dr. Erwin Lutzer wrote a great book by the name of “Hitler’s Cross” and another one titled “When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany.”

    It would seem that he would understand the situation here, but as the scripture says in Proverbs 26:16 “He who meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.” It could be Lutzer will withhold comment until he gains more information bringing better clarity.

    Proverbs 18:13 “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”

    To Lutzer’s credit, he has in the past spoken out against some of Glenn Beck’s indoctrinations and upset the apple cart in so doing.

    As far as blogs revolutionizing the world, it will be through hate speech legislation that current freedoms are eventually squelched. Political correctness silences all ideas outside its own.

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    Your theory is intriguing (too freaking tired to use spellcheck, I saw U2 last night but I digress.)

    Oh, and I like white cream filled donuts; if you’re going to be bad, be bad all the way.

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    Oh, and Dee, I do make reference to TWW in my musings. This is a good time for me to express my gratitude for your (plural your) efforts in this realm.

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    The good news about such legislation is this. The blogosphere will raise the ire of the people and such legislation will have little chance of passing with the ground swell that would instantly arise.

    “He who meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.” It is humorous that people in the faith think that each little church is its own fiefdom. I believe the issues of the church belong to the church as defined in Scripture. We are the Church not the little local church.

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    I happen to live in Bath, NC, where the oldest church in the state now sits = St. Thomas Episcopal. It bespeaks the historical control the Church of England held over the Colonies and early settlements.

    Here is what we forget which is even more historical as Jesus said, “He who wants to be great must be the servant of all.”

    Almost every early settlement composed of religious dissenters of some fashion from England and Europe met with its demise over the control freaks who established them as a theocracy—with them being the “theo.”

    That same battle was fought between Paul and Peter—one being an “Apostle of the Damascas Road / the other a real outspoken Apostle (who denied Jesus thrice).

    Whenever a follower becomes a leader, he should be sure he reflects the leader’s humility and willingness to wash the Disciples’ feet instead of some household servant. Both C.J. and Mohler are hardly wanting to wash anyone’s feet and that is the problem. When control and ego become more important than being a servant (without pay) the offering plate is passed and the message is meant to sooth the listeners or undergird their prejudices and anger to get more money (kinda like the Pharisees).

    I think this whole thing bespeaks a forgetting of the Master’s words!!!! Now, please pass the offering plate, but put into it your willingness to serve God and our Saviour, Jesus, the Christ!!!

    Not Calvin or any other former “church leader!!!”

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    Bath is one of my favorite places in NC. I am currently at Wrightsville beach .

    You speak much truth. I have never understood how these hyper-authoritarian leaders can ever believe that they are following after the Master. If they really read the Gospel that they talk about so much they would see that the reflect the way of the Pharisee.

    Have you ever visited an SGM church? They are filled with guys who shave their heads and use inflections so they sound like CJ. The boys in the Gospel Coalition, etc. do the exact same thing. They have lost their true love-Jesus, and have substituted a shepherding renegade. And they have lost the faith.

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    Dee–>Have you ever visited an SGM church? They are filled with guys who shave their heads and use inflections so they sound like CJ. The boys in the Gospel Coalition, etc. do the exact same thing. They have lost their true love-Jesus, and have substituted a shepherding renegade. And they have lost the faith.

    Wow, that’s a pretty harsh judgement on people you have never met or know personally. How is what you are saying of them any different than what you are accusing them of? Of harshness, sin sniffing, and the list goes on?

    Come on, stop the tabloid like behavior and be fair!

    How many SGM churches have you visited? How many times in each church? How many SGM people do you know in real life? Online doesn’t count.

    I know why you don’t like me…because I get on your case about being fair. Maybe I am your Assyrian Army, bwha ha ha.

    I’ve got a great idea…let’s go to the SGM church in Roanoke on the same day and witness together the awfulness of that place. I’m game. You write down your observations and I’ll write down mine and we’ll both put them up. Might be up for a NC church if it isn’t too far.

    I’m not saying SGM is perfect, and there aren’t some problems that need to be corrected. What I am saying is that SGM is full of wonderful, dedicated Christians whom I really admire and I wouldn’t doubt their Christianity any more than I would doubt the people you seem to admire.

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    Firstly, what people do I seem to admire? I am curious to see what outsiders perceive.

    It would make no difference if we both visited the same church. I have never said that there weren’t “wonderful” people in SGM. There are wonderful people everywhere and wonderful people who drink koolaid as well.

    The reason it wouldn’t make a difference is because I focus on the hurt, you focus on the niceness. I focus on families abused, including children who have been hurt and then told to shut up.I focus on the absence of women in any position of influence , you focus on GirlTalk.

    I focus on the history of shepherding and its abuses. You see cool dudes running around the Gospel Coalition. I focus on implosions where pastors misrepresent the truth, like at KingsWay and I watch a church implode. You tell me there are nice people at KingsWay.

    You do a good job defending your case but you have rarely expressed concern for the people who have been harmed. Maybe they don’t fit you definition of “wonderful.” Wonderful” people don’t let other “wonderful” people hurt “wonderful” people.

    I am currently sitting on two phone calls from two women who were hurt by your “wonderful” ministry. They are my concern. You can focus on your wonderful people who are “oh so happy.”

    I see the pain, you see the happy. That is why we would both visit and write different reports. Also, a “visit” rarely shows the underbelly of the painful politics of a church. And I can assure you, I would never be allowed to see that.

    SGM has spawned survivor sites with scads of stories. There are too many to ignore yet that is what your wonderful ministry has done. So, don’t go giving me the old “no church is perfect” nonsense. Everyone with half a faith knows that. There are some churches that have more than their fair share of issues and I say SGM is one of them.

    As for you asking me to be fair, I, at least, have the guts to let you chastise me in public. Until the recent brouhaha at your wonderful ministry, few people would ever publish opposing viewpoints and you know it. Funny how this woman has more cojones than your supposed patriarchal leaders.

    However, on a positive note, you are living up to your position as a warrior of Tang. You keep your temper and don’t go all emotional on me like a few of your cohorts who pitch a hissy when I rattle their cage.

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    I have to agree, at least in part, with Dee. I was a member of Gathering of Believer with C.J. and Larry. Yes there were MANY really wonderful folks there. I had a great time in general,socializing with most and calling more than a few my friends.

    That said, I think to keep pointing out the obvious, that SGM contains good and decent people, is deflecting the focus from a very real and serious problem which should be addressed.

    It would be tantamount to harping on someone who is trying to fix the economy that there are many people who are doing just fine. While that may be true, what does it have to do with the problem at hand? Nothing.

    If those at SGM really care about creating a Church that honors what Jesus taught in the New Testament, if it really is more about the people than the process or the growth or the money. Then there is no reason why every single one of those good people shouldn’t be
    lined-up, encouraging and supporting Dee in her attempt to shine some light on a bad situation.

    The first requirement for anyone to be able to help and serve others is to see their own strengths and weaknesses in a clear light, be open about them, and embrace criticism from outside that is offered to heal and help, but you cannot do that if you deny the problem or are so self-conscious about your own image that you cannot admit the problem.

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    Fantastic article. I wrote several posts over at the SGM survivors blogs rebutting the ridiculous assertion that Mat. 18 precludes expressing dissent in writing.

    One of them was as follows:

    If believers are supposed to “correct” each other in person, does that mean that Dr. Mohler should be talking personally to Katherine Jefferts Schiori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, instead of slamming the Episcopal church on his blog every other day?

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    I have an idea of Mohler’s answer to that. She is not a believer and he does not have to follow Biblical principles in regards to her statements.

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    Dee –

    By the way I’m a new friend of Happymom, and I’m thrilled to meet you. She sent me here and I feel like I’m in heaven now that I’ve found this site and the SGM survivor site.

    Firs a Disclaimer: I know many wonderful thinking Christians who consider themselves Evangelicals. Any negative generalizations about evangelicals below stem from my inability to make my points without using that general term to describe those who call themselves Evangelicals and true believes, but whose true agenda I believe is using the Bible as a means of dominating others.

    You have an excellent point, Dee. In the original version, I said “Christian” rather than “Believer” although the Evangelical powers-that-be will go with “Believer” so they may get me there.

    I also mentioned Martin Luther’s decision to write strongly worded letters to the Pope and Henry the 8th rather than meeting with them in person, I asked if he was therefore sinned according to Mat. 18.

    And I brought up Paul who also wrote strongly worded letters to any number of people rather than trekking out to meet them. Were Paul’s written letters a sin according to Mat. 18 (even though it hadn’t been written or canonized at that point)? Evangelicals are big on taking Paul’s decisions/words literally.

    The “they weren’t believers” would be a weak argument concerning the Pope and Henry the 8th, but it certainly doesn’t apply to Paul at all in their world!

    But back to Mohler…

    He tends to maintain that he cannot say with certainty whether or not someone is a Christian – only God can determine that, in my recollection.

    And Dr. Mohler is a very smart man. I think he knows that if he starts saying Biblical models of behavior don’t apply because he can state with certainty that so and so is not a Christian, he’s going down a slippery slope.

    For instance, Mohler loves Peter Akinola, the Bishop of Uganda presently representing the arch-conservative wing of the Anglican communion to which Jefferts-Schiori also belongs. If he discredits the ecclesiastical authority of the Anglican communion he’s essentially saying that Akinola isn’t a Christian either.

    If nothing else, going with the “blogging is an inherently evil means of correcting a believer” mantra would keep Mohler from publicly posting “correction” to Evangelical leaders with whom he doesn’t agree but can’t possibly declare non Christian for political reasons.

    I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

    My goal is making this (blogging=slander=non Christian behavior) equation very hard on Evangelicals by taking advantage of its potential to backfire making it impossible for them to take advantage of using blogs as a communication medium without contradicting themselves.

    Thanks for making me think, Deb. Best, Janna

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    Dee – sorry I called you Deb at the end.

    Quick follow-up, the more I think about it the more I hope Mohler say that he doesn’t have to be nice to Jefferts-Schiori or any of the heads of other mainstream denominations he’s constantly trashing because deviating from Extreme Evangelicalism’s current position that believers cannot start judging each other as Christian/Believer or non Christian/non Believer with certainty would lead to so much infighting that the movement would disintegrate.

    The problem is that Dr. Mohler is smart enough to know this.

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    Although he is smart enough not to say that he knows she is not a Christian, he does so but his series of comments on behavior which is a back door into the issue with plausible deniability.

    However, you can be sure that this argument is going to ratchet up. He states he is going to make creationism his number one issue. But, by this, he means that if you don’t take the YE, Flintstone Doctrine approach you are not following the Bible and ergot, you are a heretic which means you are not saved. YAWN

    However, I need to state that I have some serious reservations with the hierarchy in the Episcopal church and am glad to see other groups standing up for their beliefs. It has not been easy. She has sued them for church properties whose buildings were constructed with local funds. Thankfully, the courts are siding with the locals.

    I am big when the little guy stands up to the dinosaur and shakes him up. But, that is what this blog is all about. A couple of middle-aged female nobodies standing up to the entrenched bureaucracy.

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    Dee –

    Thanks for your thoughts. At least dealing with Dr. Mohler’s propaganda machine is challenging and interesting unlike dealing with the propaganda machine of another organization, that will remain nameless, that mostly makes me wonder, “are they impaired” and “how can I dignify this with an answer that doesn’t seem condescending?”

    I understand your perspective on the church property situation you mentioned. What I’ve been told about the legal issue at hand, which is coming up for SGM churches incidentally as some of them may want to break away, is that when a church secedes from the union it gives up all its assets irrespective of how much congregants contributed to the church’s building fund, upkeep, etc.

    This appears to be standard operating procedure in all 50 states.

    That law/standard may not be fair yet enabling people to walk off with church property whenever they feel like it isn’t doable either.

    If the church we are referring to is one in VA, the legal issue at hand is a technicality – the Diocese didn’t file the standard paperwork it should have filed to ensure that church property stayed in church hands.

    Let me be as honest about my biases as you have been since we’re never really objective and stating so often helps.

    At least one of the VA churches that seceded refused to let the presiding Bishop of Washington at the time (sorry I don’t have her name on hand), enter church property because she was a woman and they didn’t accept her ecclesiastical or administrative authority.

    Even bishops that don’t believe in ordaining women will usually say, “I accept Katherine Jefferts-Schiori’s administrative authority even if I believe she has no business being a Bishop because she was born with the wrong genitalia.”

    Thus the people at the VA church in question were being super not nice/unreasonable by refusing to let the Bishop on church property on the grounds that not even her administrative authority counted for anything.

    The rector at my church, who is probably also biased because she’s a woman, was of the opinion that one family had hijacked the church by taking over the vestry (Episcopal way of saying board of directors) making it impossible for the issue at hand to be resolved without going to court.

    I normally fight for the little guy too but in this case, I think the local less-than-friendly-to-women church was just lucky they got to walk off with church property because the typically super-organized Episcopal church didn’t do its paperwork due diligence.

    As for hierarchy issues generally, ironically the Episcopal (but not the Anglican church) church in 2011 has more of a congregationalist polity as opposed to an episcopal polity practically speaking.

    The vestry members are elected democratically by lay people; my dad ran and won a seat at one point. Bishop are also elected democratically by a Synod made up of lay people and clergy people.


    The reason that there are gay and women (or gay women for that matter) rectors and Bishops in the Episcopal Church in America but not other parts of the Anglican Communion as a whole, is that Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schiori, unlike her counterpart in the Anglican church, the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, does not have the authority to veto the election of Bishops.

    In other words Arch-Bishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams can tell gay bishops to get lost but Katherine Jefferts-Schiori cannot. As long as all of the Diocese in the U.S.A. support the appointment of a Bishop, she has no say in the matter.

    This is getting long and I could talk about Episcopal hierarchy all night.

    Let me close with the thought that I believe the Episcopal Church in America is the finest denomination in Christendom right now due in large part to its democratic polity.

    I also may have mixed up a few details regarding church property issues as two churches seceded from VA and I don’t know as much about the one that wasn’t being nasty about letting women on church property.

    Thanks, Dee.

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    Don’t shoot me – this one will be short.

    One last point is that my Episcopal church spent $2,000,000 – $3,000,000 of congregant’s cash money (the Diocese didn’t kick in at all except by guaranteeing the loan) to build a new wing of the church about 3 years ago.

    This was done with the full knowledge that if the church wants to leave the Episcopal Church in America over doctrinal issues, which is admittedly unlikely as it’s liberal enough to have a new gay male rector, that building and all other church property is forfeit.

    I think the folks at the local church you mentioned knew what they were getting into as well, but won’t take responsibility for it now that the going has gotten tough.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.