A Revolution Against Rezolution – A Calvinsta Conference in Africa

"EXPOSITORY preaching, PASSIONATE worship, GOSPEL devotion…"

Rezolution – MMXIII

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Johannesburg_CBD.jpg

Johannesburg, South Africa (Wikipedia)

Have you heard about 'Rezolution'?  Don’t get confused…  We're not talking about one of the latest diet pills to hit the market.  Rezolution Fat Incinerator  (manufactured by LG Sciences) is being promoted as the ‘happy diet pill’, meaning it is supposed to keep your mood up, even when dieting.  According to its websiteRezolution is filled with 'happy' ingredients and potent stimulants which will 'get you flying high'.

Now don’t get with this diet pill mixed up with a Calvinista conference that goes by the same name. The Rezolution we are focusing on in this post is a newfangled gathering of pastors and Christian leaders taking place a half a world away in Africa.  The event takes place April 15-20.  

Rezolution appears to be a spin-off of a familiar sounding conference – Resolved – which was hosted by John MacArthur and gang from 2005 to 2012.  Resolved was pioneered by Rick Holland, who was youth pastor at Grace Community Church.  The name of the conference was inspired by the ‘Resolutions’ of Jonathan Edwards, which he penned as a teen.   Holland attempted to build a bridge between this 18th century teen and young people in the 21st century.  Did it work?  Well, the conference got canned last year…

Meanwhile, the Rezolution conference, purportedly inspired by an American missionary/pastor named Tim Cantrell, launched in 2010 and featured John Piper and Conrad Mbewe, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church.  Some have described Mbewe as ‘the African Spurgeon’.   According to the 9Marks website, Cantrell pastors at Antioch Bible Church in Johannesburg, South Africa.   As you might imagine Antioch Bible Church is listed on both the 9Marks directory and The Gospel Coalition church directory.   

The Rezolution conference was held again in 2011 and featured Rick Holland and Paul Tripp.  That year’s theme was Hell and Heaven.  It appears there was no Rezolution conference in 2012.  Maybe the 2011 conference scared the H$LL out of them, but now the conference is B-A-C-K!!!  This year’s theme is “What is the Gospel?”

Rezolution MMXIII (yeah, the IXMarks crowd is involved this time), features some familiar names… Mark Dever, C.J. Mahaney, Kevin DeYoung, Ligon Duncan, and Bob Kauflin.  Here is the promo video:

What is interesting is the promo has changed since I first saw it.  Here is the original version, which I embedded into a draft on our blog a while back. 

It should come as no surprise that The Gospel Coalition promoted Rezolution 2013 under its “Right Now” section last Friday (3/8/13).  I took a screen shot to remember the promo date.  On the same day Thabiti Anyabwile promoted the conference on his blog, which is linked to The Gospel Coalition website.  Only problem is – he got the name of the conference wrong.  His mentor Mark Dever might take issue with his misnomer – the "Rezolved Conference"…

Anyabwile includes this overview "from the Conference Organizers":

"REZ was launched in 2010 with the unforgettable preaching of John Piper and Conrad Mbewe, along with the music ministry of Stuart Townend.  The heart of REZOLUTION is a weekend conference in Gauteng aimed at young adults but open to all – centred around expository preaching, God-centred worship with the REZ Band & Choir, and rich gospel fellowship (plus a great book table!).  All of this is rooted in the deep heritage of Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening in the 1750s.  Edwards was a 19 yr. old who was RESOLVED to live for God’s glory, and God used him to see tens of thousands brought to Christ and countless churches revived, strengthened, and planted."

One humorous typo on the website is that Mahaney, who leads Sovereign Grace Ministries, hails from Kentucky, IL.  Oh well… SGM did recently moved from one state to another; however, it is highly unlikely that those attending the conference will notice the error.  

As we see the Calvinistas trying to making inroads overseas, it reminds us so much of AMWAY (which stands for 'The American Way').  Back in 2002 (when PDI International became Sovereign Grace Ministries), there was an article in the Sun-Sentinel entitled Amway's New Way Overseas.  That article revealed the following surprising information:

"At Amway in the mid-1980s, the company did 80 percent of its business in the United States.  Today, 80 percent of Amway’s revenues come from international distributors… The global move spurred Amway’s overall growth.”

We suspect that the revenues Amway derives from its overseas markets have only increased during the last decade.  We have shared some statistics in previous posts that seem to indicate that the Calvinista movement is stagnating here in the United States.  Could it be that the Calvinstas are taking lessons from Amway and exporting their particular brand of theology?  Maybe the Calvinistas are the Amway distributors of the Theological World…  They use the very same methods Amway uses to 'attract' a following – conferences, books, CDs, etc.  And the bigwigs are laughing all the way to the bank!

We are doing our part to revolt against this movement that is invading Africa and other parts of the world.  We believe much harm has been done by leaders such as C.J. Mahaney.  One need look no farther than Sovereign Grace Ministries for evidence of the terrible damage.  We are reminded of this important Christian principle:

If you're not doing it right at home, why export it?

Getting back to Rezolution Fat Incinerator, we believe you'll be much better off taking it and passing on the Rezolution conference.  (This is an unsolicited and unpaid endorsement.)  We think this 'happy diet pill' will improve you mood much better than these Calvinista 'shepherds', who are supposed to protect the flock.  May this revolution against Rezolution (and other similar conferences) spare many from harm.

Lydia's Corner:   Joshua 22:21-23:16   Luke 20:27-47   Psalm 89:14-37   Proverbs 13:17-19  

 

Comments

A Revolution Against Rezolution – A Calvinsta Conference in Africa — 190 Comments


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    Does using the “z” in place of the “s” make you cooler or more relevant? Is “z” a hipper letter? Did I miss that week on Sesame Street? Maybe they should change the tag line to “Expozitory Preaching, Gozpel Devotion and Pazzionate Worzhip.” Praiz Jezuz.


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    That Bad Dog,

    LOL!!! I love your sense of humor. It’s definitely the best medicine when it comes to the CALVINISTA crowd.


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    They already have pretty wicked forms of Patriarchy in those parts of the world, and all they will do is make it much worse.


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    Mapping their tactics to Amway is brill. You have the whole top down thing, adoring followers who want to be like their top guy. Plenty of conferences, books, etc to buy which is how the top guys are getting rich because it ain’t soap making them rich. (Read an expose on this a while back that the millionaires got an average of $150,000 year on actual Amway products but the millions came from the books, conferences and other resources they sold. Same article told how you towed the line or they would not allow you to speak on stages. And everyone wanted to be like their top guy)

    What is Amways highest level? Some jewel or another. So who do ya’ll think is the top level RBD? Who is the brains behind the movement?

    And yes, I think the Reformed movement is at it’s peak now. I read an article the other day over at Scott McKnights quoting some prof who did more research on the nones and another fast growing segment are the middle age and seniors who are leaving their churches.


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    Suppository teaching?? that has to be the funniest thing I have heard all day.@ Eagle:


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    C.J. being exported? I guess it was time to take the show “on the road”…


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    First Dever’s head floating to the upper left corner in the video intros. Then Mahaney’s to the upper right. DeYoung to the lower left and Duncan down to the right. Cue the “this conference is going to be awesome” music.

    I can imagine CJ saying, “If you’re going to use my head in the video that’s fine, but make sure it’s positioned in one of the two top corners. My head needs to be a Headship Position. Put Ligon and Kevin underneath. I watch more sports.”

    I’m serious! 😀


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    @ dee:
    Is that the kind of teaching the sexually abusing priests were engaged in?


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    South Africa is home to some pretty harsh Calvinism already — the Dutch Reformed variety (they have exported some to Australia, and they’re pretty hardline.
    And honestly? I suspect they’ve got a ready-made audience there — amongst those who can afford American-style conference fees, anyway.

    Now I don’t quite know how to say this, because I try to keep a policy of not bashing other countries, but there are some dots joining up here that I don’t like the look of. Put the links between the patriarchy crowd and the neo-confederates (is that the correct term?) on one side, and the links between the Dutch Reformed Boers and apartheid on the other — well, it ain’t pretty! (For those who don’t know, it was the Boers who were the architects of apartheid, it locked straight into their hierarchical view of the universe, where everyone belonged to their own kind and should never presume to cross the boundaries,Hard-line complementarianism fits that worldview like a glove!

    But I can hardly bear to watch CJ, even in a clip. Something about that guy freaks out the abused child inside me — and was doing so long before the present SGM stuff emerged


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    Perhap$ the RBD$ are jealou$ of the RCC, and they’ve joined force$ to create they’re own global communion. Will there be a conclave to choo$e their $upreme Leader, or will Mohler, Mahaney, MacArthur, Dever and Dri$coll have to arm wre$tle each other for the job?


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    CJ, quoted from the first video: (my comments added)

    “Who am I?” (CJ Mahaney, false leader.)

    “That I should have been the object of his mercy?”

    “Who am I?” (CJ Mahaney, defendant in a class action lawsuit filed by former members of SGM.)

    “That I should have been the object of his grace?”

    “Who am I?” (Someone who has made a comfortable living out of recycling messages such as this one.)

    “That I should have been the object of his affection?”

    “Why?” (We’re wondering the same thing.)

    “Why me?” (Using the gospel dishonestly in an effort to appear humble are we? We’re not buying it anymore, pal.)

    “I don’t know why me!” (You don’t believe what you’re saying and nor do we.)

    “Because if I look for a motive within me for ‘why me’ all I discover is my sinfulness.” (Question is, what do you do when you see sin, or others point it out to you? Repent? We don’t think so.)

    “And as I contemplate his holiness I become more aware of my sinfulness.” (You know this is a load of crap. You don’t think of yourself as sinful at all. It’s an act. Stop using the truth to tell lies.)

    “And as I contemplate his holiness and my sinfulness, then I become more aware that I richly deserve His righteous wrath – in light of his holiness – against my sinfulness – and I richly deserve his righteous wrath for an eternity in hell because of my sinfulness.” (What about the wrath former members of SGM feel toward you? Have you contemplated that?)


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    Wonder who will be footing the bill for CJ’s trip to the conference?

    Wonder what kind of deal he cut with the SGM Board, all of whom could be beat in an arm-wrestling contest by a snake.

    Will he have an entourage? Will he be there as a representative of SGM, or as the Pastor of a small church in Kentucky, Illinois 😛 ?


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    Is that earlier version a joke? And was that the Terminator 2 music? I wonder if they paid for the rights to it?


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    Yep, it is the Terminator 2: Judgement Day theme music. I don’t think that Universal is going to like that very much…unless they paid some big bucks for it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPAfwBKZ9T8


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    The weird spelling reminds me of what junior high girls do when they want to do a revised name change: ie, from, Lindsay to Lynzi because with an “I” at the end, you can do a lot of fun things. For the dot on the “I”, you can draw a big funky flower and it looks kewl.

    Around high school, they outgrow that fad (I work with high schoolers each day – I observe their behavior). These guys just must have started later in life.


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    @ Evie:
    Haha, Evie. Good one!


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    I think the key name here is Jonathan Edwards. He was the first Calvinista. They are just piggybacking off of him. I read recently that one or two in his congregation committed suicide due to his obsessive introspection to see if one was truly elect. Today he would probably be diagnosed with OCD. If you watch John Piper you are watching the baptist reincarnation of Edwards. This is not to say that Edwards wasn’t “saved” but, he definitely had strange, mystic tendencies. I read an article talking about how Edwards gave the testimony of a four year old who basically was borderline about to have a breakdown due to her sin and how finally her family was satisfied that she had truly converted. Note that this was a FOUR YEAR OLD! There were some strange things that came out of the Puritans.


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    shock & awe over slowly moving heads

    and then they spoke. cardboard words with histrionics in ill-fitting shirts.

    does any professional christian have anything new, fresh, and interesting to say anymore???

    i’ll get my fill at TWW.


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    @ Hannah Thomas:

    “They already have pretty wicked forms of Patriarchy in those parts of the world, and all they will do is make it much worse.”

    And their natural corollary, frighteningly large rape statistics. Let’s hope they don’t tell any of those poor women to “submit.”


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    @ Robin:

    I heard that story about the despairing 4-year-old girl. To me that’s the only logical outcome of the “self-examination on steroids” that Edwards and his Puritan forebears preached. It’s the only thing I could ever get out of it.


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    Hester, isn’t it crazy?? It makes you wonder how parent could go along with that and then I think of SGM and I think “oh wait never mind.”


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    “I read recently that one or two in his congregation committed suicide due to his obsessive introspection to see if one was truly elect.”

    He was personally discipling both of them! The man cut his throat open with his shaving razor. And I cannot remember how the woman did it. And yes, it was due to the introspective sin sniffing Edwards was facilitating.

    From Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God:

    “The God that holds you over the pit of Hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over a fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked.”

    God hates you.

    Did you know he eventually was fired from that church with an overwhelming vote? He had becomea tyrant checking what people were reading at home, etc.


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    Eagle wrote:

    I don’t know why….but when I think of “Expository” from this crowd I actually think of “Suppository.”

    LOL I thought the same thing.

    Also in a Joel Osteen sermon, Osteen kept talking about “explosive blessings,” and all I could think of was the term “explosive diarrhea.”

    I hope nobody was eating or snacking as they read this.

    @ ThatBadDog,

    Does using the “z” in place of the “s” make you cooler or more relevant? Is “z” a hipper letter?

    I’m more than tired of “unpacking.”

    These Calvinist guys “unpack” everything. “Today, we’re going to unpack two chapters in Galatians,” or “Let’s unpack the teaching of Limited Atonement.”


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    @ Lynne T: I must admit that Jo’burg was a red flag for me. I remember a very detailed article that was published in The New Yorker (US mag) in the 80s that went into great detail about some of the more extreme (apocalyptically-oriented) Dutch Reformed types in SA… somehow the writer was able to get permission to attend a series of close meetings, way out in the veldt (on someone’s far) that were something like a Rushdoony conclave, but with racial hatred at the top of the agenda.

    I also have an old friend (grad school roommate) who grew up in southern Africa and who was able to verify the things in the article + explain a lot of the references to such that are in the movie “The Gods Must be Crazy.” (Which was very popular at time time.) And not just the weird “Christian” stuff – the bright-colored underwear, the works!


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    I decided to do a gospel drinking game with thesr 2 videos. I made through the first video pretty hammered but had stop during the second one or I would have died of alcohol poisoning.

    Is it just me or when people repeat the same thing over and over again they are setting you up for brainwashing of some sort.

    Maybe Eagle is on to something and Activia is the antidote to “suppository preaching”.


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    err… closed meetings on somebody’s farm

    My mind is working too fast for my fingers to keep up. 🙂


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    @ Eagle: Yes – “A Church Group, a Lawsuit, and a Culture of Abuse” by T.F. Charlton, who grew up at CLC in Gaithersburg, MD.

    It was posted here last week, from this link:

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/6788/a_church_group__a_lawsuit__and_a_culture_of_abuse/

    imo, it’s an excellent article, but I wish Salon.com had used a better title.


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    @ Anon 1:

    on the nones and another fast growing segment are the middle age and seniors who are leaving their churches.

    Yep, Julia Duin wrote a book about this a few years ago. She mentioned that people over 35 are leaving churches.

    Never- married (and divorced) people over 30-ish years of age totally feel out of place in most American churches, which is one reason they have stopped attending. (She cites other reasons in her book, but that is one of them.)

    Too many U.S. churches keep fixating on people who are under the age of 30, as well fixating on the topics of marriage and parenting, however.

    Many American churches don’t give a hoot about any one who does not fit the neat little category of married young, age 25 to 45, with two small kids at home. If you’re not married with kids, you are neglected and feel out of place.


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    Does anyone know if Edwards felt responsible for two suicides under his discipleship? That is nuts!


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    @ Robin: I’m willing to bet that George Marsden covered that in his recent bio. of Edwards, which is supposed to be really good.


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    @ Eagle: Edwards was brilliant, but yeah – *very* deeply flawed.


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    @ Robin: go to Amazon.com, click on the book preview, and do a search on “suicide.” There’s lots of info. (haven’t read it all as yet.)


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    You know what gets me about the whole Edwards’ shtick? Because they approve of his “doctrine”, then all the other revivalistic stuff that happened was good and of God. Yet (circular argument warning) the fact that God blessed him with revival proves how right everything he said was. But, if the same phenomena happened for Benny Hinn (or whoever else) then the opposite is true. (In Benny Hinn’s case, I’m inclined to agree — not that I know that much about the guy — I just can’t think of a more mainstream example)

    What I’m trying to say is that when weird stuff follows Calvinista preaching, to these guys it’s of God, but when it follows from some other doctrinal position, then it obviously false ’emotionalism’. (useful word that, some people throw it around a lot)


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    @ Lynne T:
    I agree that it’s creepy. And the Calvinistas aren’t taking lessons from Amway, they are Amway—that company was built by de Vos and Van Andel, Dutch Reformers from MI.


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    @ Anon 1:

    Thanks for that totally awesome info Anon 1!

    I’ve always wondered about the unhealthy obsession that Calvinists have had with Jonathan Edwards. It all makes more sense now. Two suicides and fired from a church! – You don’t seem to find that in the history books. At least people back then had some spine.

    Do you know of the older source materials where these suicides are discussed? – I’d love to get my hands on it.


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    @ Numo

    It’s a LONG time since I’ve seen The Gods Must be Crazy, and I don’t remember the bright underwear, but now I’m thinking I must watch it again, and do some more research. Sth Africa is a very worrying country, and very violent.

    I would love to see some research on the subject, but I have a hunch that the more hierarchical the society, the more violent it is


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    @ Lynne T: According to my friend, bright magenta bras and underpants (as seen in the film) were very much the norm back then!


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    “Do you know of the older source materials where these suicides are discussed? – I’d love to get my hands on it.”

    I have read it in several places but the source most recent is Marsden’s bio of Edwards. It is funny reading that bio. Things that seem pretty norm to Marsden struck me totally different. Marsden is Reformed.

    http://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Edwards-George-M-Marsden/dp/0300096933

    I think one of the other sources was not about him per se but some narrative of the Great Awakening. If I can remember the name of it…..


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    Hey Ryan, here is a fun factoid for you. Aaron Burr is Jonathan Edwards grandson.


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    Robin wrote:

    I think the key name here is Jonathan Edwards. He was the first Calvinista. They are just piggybacking off of him. I read recently that one or two in his congregation committed suicide due to his obsessive introspection to see if one was truly elect. Today he would probably be diagnosed with OCD.

    I also would not be surprised to learn Edwards also had bouts of depression. You put depression and OCD together, you get “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and near-lethal levels of Puritan Morbid Introspection.

    Edwards was also an educated man, a noted amateur biologist who cataloged and described a lot of New World insects and spiders, as well as founded (or helped found) at least one university. Yet all he’s known for these days is ONE Hellfire-and-Damnation sermon. Granted, it’s one of the best examples of nonfiction essay structure building to a theme, but it’s only ONE SERMON.


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    Lynne T wrote:

    South Africa is home to some pretty harsh Calvinism already — the Dutch Reformed variety (they have exported some to Australia, and they’re pretty hardline.

    As in the Afrikaaner Dutch Reformed, connected to Apartheid and its predecessor Baaskaap? Who were once on record as saying that “God created the black man to be servant to the White Man”? Whose Boer ancestors fled the British in the Great Trek because slavery was illegal in the British Cape Colony?

    How much of Afrikaaner Hyper-Calvinism fueled the Broederbond (South African Ku Klux Klan — black robes/hoods instead of white) and the AWB (South African Nazi Party — three-armed Triskelion instead of four-armed Hakenkreuz)?


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    Anon 1 wrote:

    Mapping their tactics to Amway is brill. You have the whole top down thing, adoring followers who want to be like their top guy.

    And Amway models its motivational conferences almost directly on Baptist Revival Meetings. And goes after Christians to convert them into serving two masters(TM), to the point that having Amway in a Baptist or Fundagelical church is a common trope.

    “Obi-Wan. The circle is complete…”


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    They must be desperate for attendees; I see the evenings are now free. I have been wondering whether to book for an evening session and go see what the fuss about CJ is, or whether not to let him have any of my money. The conference doesn’t seem to be big news here, I’ve only heard about it through TWW. Or else, I move in the wrong circles. If it’s gonna be like an Amway meeting, forget!


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    Though maybe I should go and ask his advice on what to do if I find out someone in my church is abusing children?


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    You guys want to see how bad it is in the SBC? Check out this pastors blog and see if you can spot the pastor who is NOT a Calvinista:

    http://sbcvoices.com/three-rules-for-christian-debate-on-the-internet/#comment-165519

    (Hint: It is the one who does not think Servetus deserved to die)

    Oh, and isn’t it wonderful that Keller has given us rules for blogging?


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    @ Anon 1:

    Sometimes I wonder if all the Calvin defenders are going to get to heaven and have Calvin himself say, “You all know I was wrong about Servetus, don’t you? You should never have defended me on that!”

    (Of course I don’t really think anyone will be worrying about this debate when we are worshipping before the throne of God.)


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    Eagle wrote:

    We need to get CJ Mahaney on the back of a milk carton.

    With the election of Pope Francis I, I wonder if Cee Jay (AKA The Humble One) ever lived in a small apartment outside the ritzy part of town, cooked his own meals, and took the local bus & subway to get around like the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires/Primate of Argentina?


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    I just read through that whole comment thread on Servetus. Un-be-liev-able!!!!!! The way they can twist Calvin’s own words to mean the opposite of what he said makes me dizzy. And, BTW, I think idolatrous worship of Calvin might be a worse sin than getting a bit confused about the Trinity.So should it be off with their heads?


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy: It’s a sermon that had a terrible influence on many people.

    The 1st suicide following Edwards’ preaching – an uncle of his, who had been severely depressed. He attributed the death to the attacks of Satan, because mentally unbalanced people were, to him, supposedly much more easily influenced by evil.

    In fact, he went on about that at great length… even when there were more suicides; even when there was what sounds like mass hysteria, where people in Northampton were overwhelmed by a desire to commit suicide by slitting their throats (as Edwards’ uncle had done).

    Edwards attributed all of this to Satan trying to undercut the recent revival. the quotes in Marsdens’ book sound like they could have come straight out of the “strategic-level spiritual warfare” circles that I knew down in the D.C. area.

    Of course, the saddest thing about this is that, in attributing all of these deaths and suicidal thoughts to the devil, Edwards avoided responsibility for gong WAY overboard in his sermons, which were certainly (per the quotes Marsden includes on the sermons preached before his uncle’s suicide and that of others – or, at very least, the deep despair of others) *more* than enough to send a lot of folks off the deep end.

    It’s wonderful to talk about the love of Christ, but, as Marsden notes, some sermons that were mostly about Christ’s love had real stingers in them – sections where people were berated in a most unmerciful way, even told that God despised them to the core.

    And… that way madness lies.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy: I think the world would have been better off if he’d spent his life working as a naturalist. As I mentioned in another comment, he clearly was a brilliant man, but his preaching… wow.

    I was 16 when i had to read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” for a HS English class. At the time, I was in fairly desperate straits myself, and it was NOT the kind of thing I needed to be exposed to. (Especially the part about god supposedly taking pleasure in suspending people over the burning pit of hell by a single, exceedingly slender thread. I’m very grateful that the people I was talking to at that time presented a God who loved me, rather than the monster found in this sermon – and others – by Edwards.)


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    Also, I do not believe Marsden is giving Edwards a pass on his claims (about Satan “raging” re. the suicides and attempted suicides) – it’s a scholarly bio. and he’s trying to explain what Edwards believed, not editorialize.

    there’s a place for analysis, but in the sections I’ve read so far, Marsden is setting out facts, both verifiable (re. the suicides and suicidal people) and then, Edwards’ interpretation of those events.

    Really, I *have* seen all of this kind of thinking in contemporary charismatic/evangelical churches that are in no way, shape or form Calvinist or even neo-Cal. People latch onto all kinds of bad ideas for diverse reasons – in the case of the churches I’m thinking of, there’s a tendency to see *everything* in this life in supernatural terms. So if something is good, it’s from God, and if something’s not good, it’s “of the devil.” The people in those churches use that kind of language, too. (I did for many years… against my better judgment.)

    sometimes it’s easier to revert to this kind of “magical” view of life and suffering, rather than to face our own mistakes and the way in which we really cannot comprehend loss, suffering, illness and death. It’s also much easier (imo) for young people to gravitate toward this kind of extremely polarized thinking – I did, anyway. (Not knowing any better… and people older than me were engaging in same, so I often felt like that validated its truth.)

    On the whole, I think our country is a more than a little drunk and crazy on religion.


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    We also tend toward the apocalyptic… Edwards was apocalyptic, seeing evangelism as a holy war against the devil.

    and with the many fears, uncertainties (and much more) facing the US since 9/11, it’s almost easier to revert to apocalyptic thinking than to try and understand the issues behind it all. (Especially seeing as so many of those issues are very difficult to grapple with.)


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    Estelle wrote:

    Though maybe I should go and ask his advice on what to do if I find out someone in my church is abusing children?

    Oh, please do. And be sure to have your video camera running!


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    I have a couple of observations to make on the general theme of revolutions against big-ticket, centralised, conference christianity. To set the context, I quote from the TWW post “Exit Strategies by C.J. Mahaney…”, itself quoting Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier-Journal:

    [Arnold Pastor] also supported Sovereign Grace’s highly centralized leadership structure in its churches, with “very strong pastoral direction” and internal discipline.

    “It’s something clearly called for in the New Testament,” he said.

    [A. Pastor] said he knew this practice has had online critics for years.

    “Basically there are people who are very uncomfortable with the strong kind of spiritual direction that comes through the Sovereign Grace Ministries,” A. Pastor said. “It’s very hard to criticize it on biblical terms, as you’ll see on most of those Web sites. It basically comes down to the criticism, ‘I don’t like that.’”

    I’ve removed the person’s name, although you all ken fine who it is, because the issue is much bigger and wider than one person and – sadly – said person speaks for many, not all of whom are as wealthy and influential as he. But I like this quote, because I can adopt it myself with a few small changes:

    Nick Bulbeck also rejected highly centralized leadership structure in multiple, isolated “churches”, with “very strong pastoral direction” and internal discipline.

    “It’s something clearly banned in the New Testament,” he said. “In fact it’s one of relatively few things that Jesus did explicitly ban.”

    Bulbeck said he knew this practice has been aggressively defended for years.

    “Basically there are leaders who are very uncomfortable with the strong kind of spiritual identity that many so-called ‘nones’ have”, Bulbeck said. “It’s very hard to criticise it on biblical terms, as you’ll see on most of those church web sites. It basically comes down to the criticism, ‘We don’t like that.’”


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    And…..as we all know….Great Awakenings (revivals) always bring a suicide or two and the desire to for some involved to want kill oneself! Sheesh!

    I think Marsden does a great job of playing that down as a normal course of event.


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    “We also tend toward the apocalyptic”

    We?


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    @ Numo:

    I really want to read that Marsden book. Marsden gets excellent reviews by other historians.

    I’ve read exactly one Edwards sermon. It was NOT Sinners and it still freaked me out completely. Basically, if you don’t pray regularly enough, you’re lost and you need to pray to be saved. (It really doesn’t help when you’re trying to figure out how to pray through an over-self-examination-induced funk.) Edwards really gets under my skin and I can’t explain why. I’m afraid to read The Religious Affections, which is basically overgrown assurance/tests of salvation literature so it would probably throw someone dealing with doubt for an unrecoverable loop.


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    I think one of the best critiques on Edward’s Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God was Karl Malden’s sermon in the Disney movie <Pollyanna, large parts of which were taken verbatim from that Edward’s sermon, and the subsequent reactions by the characters in the film (“Hell and damnation on top of ham and eggs”) and the theme of the movie itself.

    While Edwards delivered the sermon in a calm everyday manner, Malden’s hellfire and brimstone delivery is spot-on for its portrayal of its affect on people.


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    Thanks all for the recommendation of the Marsden book, just ordered it for my Kindle. Another reason I love this website.


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    Anon1

    I will be dealing with these blogging “rules” tomorrow. I plan to point out a few that the big boys overlooked.


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    dee wrote:

    I will be dealing with these blogging “rules” tomorrow. I plan to point out a few that the big boys overlooked.

    What’s a little sad is how quickly the discussion, on the very blog post referred to here, degenerates into ad hominem pot-shots and straw-man rhetoric, all arguing over the character qualities of a long-dead icon who was nothing to do with the topic of the post. It happens right here in only the fifth comment – by the author of the article, no less.


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    Mea culpa – to be fair, the author suffixes his comment with a smiley. My bad. That’s not the point at which the debate degenerates.


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    @ Daisy:
    The elder Hagee, father of the Matthew Hagee in the article, is/was a real piece of work. He was kicked off of the staff of another evangelical church in San Antonio for having an affair with a woman when one of them was married to someone else. The woman became his wife. Then he started a church, bought the land and financed the building which he owns or owned directly or indirectly. He always claimed not to take a salary, but the church provided his support staff, paid him rent on the buildings and grounds, provided vehicles, and he owned the rights to his sermons and the broadcasts, much involving church paid for celebs, etc.


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    Dee, I look forward to your take on the blogging rules. My first thought upon reading them: Who defines?


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    56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC wrote:

    The elder Hagee, father of the Matthew Hagee in the article, is/was a real piece of work. He was kicked off of the staff of another evangelical church in San Antonio for having an affair with a woman when one of them was married to someone else. The woman became his wife.

    This the same Pin-the-Tail-on-The-Antichrist Hagee whose megachurch was recently covered by Internet Monk regarding its new 28,000 sq ft Noah’s Ark attraction, complete with Costumed Bible Characters, life-size Disney-esque animatronics, cotton candy, kettle corn, and balloon-sculpting clowns, all to plug YEC Uber Alles?
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/updates-on-the-creation-wars


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I often wonder how people can read the same Bible and come to such differing conclusions . . . especially the concept of leading and what Jesus said about it. It seems as if some people have put on CBMW or manly-man sunglasses and everything they read filters through those glasses before it hits the brain.


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    numo wrote:

    The 1st suicide following Edwards’ preaching – an uncle of his, who had been severely depressed. He attributed the death to the attacks of Satan, because mentally unbalanced people were, to him, supposedly much more easily influenced by evil.

    In fact, he went on about that at great length… even when there were more suicides; even when there was what sounds like mass hysteria, where people in Northampton were overwhelmed by a desire to commit suicide by slitting their throats (as Edwards’ uncle had done).

    Edwards attributed all of this to Satan trying to undercut the recent revival. the quotes in Marsdens’ book sound like they could have come straight out of the “strategic-level spiritual warfare” circles that I knew down in the D.C. area.

    Sounds like Edwards was trying to convince himself “Not My Fault!”, “Satan did it!” sub-type.

    Some months ago at Rachel Held Evans’ blog, she had a Q&A interview with a woman with Aspergers. She related how after being saved young, she went regularly into obsessive morbid introspection about her own sin and whether she was saved, along with elaborate paranoia-party scenarios about The Antichrist and Great Tribulation coming for her. She also related that shrinks advise Aspies to stay away from churches for that very reason — runaway worst-case scenarios running wild in their head.

    Though never diagnosed, I suspect I’m borderline Aspie — when it comes to morbid sin-sniffing introspection and runaway worst-case scenarios of my imagination; I’VE BEEN THERE! (For a pop-culture dramatization of what this is like, check out Twilight Sparkle’s breakdown in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic second-season episode “Lesson Zero”. I find her crackup with its ever-increasing runaway imagination scenarios and flashbacks very realistic — again, I’ve been there.)

    Given all this, could it be that Johnathan Edwards may have been a combination of Aspergers and OCD with added bouts of depression?


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    in 1994, I attended a mass church choir gig in Atlanta. John Hagee preached. That was the first and last time I heard him preach. He was going on and on about “fat women.” Projection, much? He had so many expressions and they just ran off his tongue. Here’s one I remember: “that lady was so fat, she should have required a license plate to legally walk down the street.”

    I was shocked, because John Hagee himself looked like he could have lost have of himself and still wouldn’t be thin. When we arrived back at our church, I saw several woman talking and in tears. He was such a rude man.


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    numo wrote:

    I was 16 when i had to read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” for a HS English class. At the time, I was in fairly desperate straits myself, and it was NOT the kind of thing I needed to be exposed to. (Especially the part about god supposedly taking pleasure in suspending people over the burning pit of hell by a single, exceedingly slender thread. I’m very grateful that the people I was talking to at that time presented a God who loved me, rather than the monster found in this sermon – and others – by Edwards.)

    Same here. Now compound that with Jack Chick’s “This Was Your Life” and Hal Lindsay’s “tick tick tick tick tick…” all at once and you can see why I burned out like Eagle. When you’re already prone to morbid introspection, that one-two-three punch is the LAST thing you need.

    And as an aside to Hal “Pin-the-Tail-on-The-Antichrist” Lindsay, here are three little ponies — Line Code, Palette Swap, and Emerald May — in “The End Is Neigh!”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8imw1y-elY


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    Julie Anne

    How awful! Pot, meet Kettle…


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    I am not sure how to describe my feelings about Edwards – let’s just say I’ve long been fascinated by the study of Edwards: his writings, most of which I’ve read, and diverse historical as well as theological accounts of him.

    I think it is fair to say that he was a pre-eminent and VERY complex figure in American history, the first widely known purely American theologian, and his influence was vast, regardless of one’s perspective of his Puritan theology.

    It’s such a fascinating history – the relationships with the Boston Mathers, the establishment of the church in Northampton and its deep theological divides, the relations with the great CT Valley mercantile class, the First Great Awakening, the exile from Northampton and the work among Native American tribes in Western MA, to the presidency of Princeton University and his death shortly thereafter – it’s a unique American history.

    Personally I find his writings on the nature of the relationship between Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost to be completely engrossing, though incredibly dense. The exercise of detailed self-examination and studies of the natural world were the hallmark of intellectuals during the Age of Reason, and while it may strike us post-moderns as “OCD”, it must be taken in context of the era.

    Marsden’s biography, which is now almost 10 years old if I’m correct, was widely hailed as an important contemporary history by many academics, not just evangelicals. I think it’s a good place to start in studying Edwards. While Marsden’s reputation is that of a conservative historian (much like a Hannah Arendt or a Simon Schama), he’s on the faculty of Notre Dame which last I checked is not exactly the SGM Pastors College.

    I guess I’d encourage anyone to get their hands on as many historical accounts of Edwards from across the spectrum of scholarship as possible, and to read his own works. It’s a terrific perspective and straight line from Edwards to American evangelicalism and worth the time.


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    Daisy wrote:

    @

    Many American churches don’t give a hoot about any one who does not fit the neat little category of married young, age 25 to 45, with two small kids at home. If you’re not married with kids, you are neglected and feel out of place.

    I can add one more group: those dealing with disabilities, whether their own or a family members’.

    We’re fortunate in that our church is pretty accepting of our son (with autism). Not all churches are like that.


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    I learned about Edwards when I tried to read Piper’s “Desiring God” awhile back. I found it strange Piper’s thesis was not based on scripture at all, but an Edwards quote. I daresay he quoted Edwards 3x as much as he referenced scripture in that book. At least, the first 3 chapters, because that’s how far I made it before I stopped reading.


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    @ Rafiki: Arendt and Schaama are seen as “conservative”? By whom?

    That’s a new one on me, but then, I’ve been out of the professional loop for a long, long time now…


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    Rafiki, Did you find it interesting in reading Edwards’ break with his grandfather’s (Stoddard) position over church membership?

    I found some interesting parallels in reading Edwards implementation of a more legalistic criteria for church membership and what 9 Marks is working toward with the their Keys to the Kingdom program. This is where I think the whole church discipline area is moving to. You will be interviewed and will have to be vetted by the leaders in order to be a memeber.


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    Years back, Hagee had a non profit for his personal ministry. Well, when the 990’s became available online, it became obvious he was making a fortune. He stopped the personal ministry non profit and ran it all through his church which is protected and no available to the public. Not sure if it is still that way or not but I can remember reading about it must have been 8 years ago.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy: I am always wary of trying to diagnose people who died a long time ago… we have no way to get them a decent medical evaluation, for one.

    It seems like some folks use this kind of posthumous diagnosis (which is all speculative, anyway) as a means to advance their own theories – cf. Kay Redfield Jamison’s assertions that most of the great Western classical composers were bipolar. Some might well have been, but there’s no way to know that; especially given that many entirely physical conditions produce psychological symptoms.

    I think that a lot of people who are prone to depression – and not just bipolar disorder – can become very despairing in the face of the kinds of assertions about God that Edwards made, and that many make today.


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    Late last night I saw a tweet from Piper announcing a new conference. I just blogged my findings (http://goo.gl/8kJ6B). The complacency and utter disregard for the victims, with all the upheaval at SGM churches just baffles me. I took a bunch of screen shots and also at the bottom have included my Twitter list of key CJ supporters. I really don’t think these folks will stop allowing him to speak until there is public outrage. Please, if you are a tweeter – have at it.


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    Anon 1 wrote:

    Years back, Hagee had a non profit for his personal ministry. Well, when the 990′s became available online, it became obvious he was making a fortune. He stopped the personal ministry non profit and ran it all through his church which is protected and no available to the public.

    In other words, he’s as crooked as they come?


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    Anon 1 wrote:

    Years back, Hagee had a non profit for his personal ministry. Well, when the 990′s became available online, it became obvious he was making a fortune. He stopped the personal ministry non profit and ran it all through his church which is protected and no available to the public. Not sure if it is still that way or not but I can remember reading about it must have been 8 years ago.

    Another celebrity preacher that’s nothing more than a greedy bloodsucking bastage – could have knocked me over with a sledgehammer.


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    Julie Anne wrote~

    “Late last night I saw a tweet from Piper announcing a new conference. I just blogged my findings (http://goo.gl/8kJ6B). The complacency and utter disregard for the victims, with all the upheaval at SGM churches just baffles me’.


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    Eagle wrote:

    When I look at the 9 Marks as espoused by Mark Dever this is what I think of…
    9. Following “Der Fuhrer”

    LOL Eagle, remember last year several of us were trying to converse on the IX Marks blog? and no matter WHAT we said, John C (name not coincidental) kept coming back with “Obey your leaders!” Heb 13:17 He was rather unChristian in his treatment of you, and I even tried to get him to be nice by quoting Jude 1:22, “Be merciful to those who doubt…” Later I looked up his church’s website, and was not surprised to see a video on the home page featuring– not Pastor John C, but Pastor Mark Dever!


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    Eagle and Dave A A,

    Remember how Mahaney referenced Mark Dever?

    O Captain, My Captain…


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    Julie Anne,

    Thanks for the heads up on yet another conference. How many jobs do these young people hold down to be able to afford these conferences? I feel another post coming on…


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    @ Anon 1:

    Anon 1, yes, the issues between Edwards and Stoddard over church membership and determining who was allowed to partake in communion were fascinating and divisive. And eerily echoed church rifts over secondary issues that exist today!

    IMHO American evangelicals could increase their understanding and historical knowledge of how we got to where U.S. evangelicalism is today, warts and all, with a thoughtful and balanced study of Edwards.

    Numo, Schama’s history of the French Revolution, Citizens, was lauded in some conservative historical circles for its critique and received a lot of criticism for its central thesis that the Terror was not an anomaly but rather a philosophical foundation of the entire revolution. Hence my characteristic of him as such but politically he’s a strong Labourite, etc.

    As for Arendt, her brilliant writings on totalitarianism were criticized by many on the left and embraced by those on the right as somehow equivocating Communism and Nazism.

    “Left” “right” “conservative” and “liberal” are politically charged phrases that are somewhat useless in the world of academia. I suppose to be more precise I should NOT have referred to either Schama or Arendt as “conservative” rather at points in their careers their writings were embraced by political conservatives.


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    @ Deb:
    Even though the SS SGM may be going down, Captain Mahaney is already safe on board the Louisboat with Captain Dever and the smartest man he knows at the helm. It is well (it is well) with my soul!


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    Let’s try that again~

    “Julie Anne wrote~

    “Late last night I saw a tweet from Piper announcing a new conference. I just blogged my findings (http://goo.gl/8kJ6B). The complacency and utter disregard for the victims, with all the upheaval at SGM churches just baffles me.”

    It used to baffle me too. Now it only disgusts me. The only conclusion I can come to is that the Mahaney/SGM machine is going at it (the cash) while the going is good. They have no idea…well, they may have some idea…of what the civil suit will bring and how it will ultimately affect them. In my opinion they are cashing in while they can. I have no other conclusion to come to–with the absolute non-mentioning of the victims under SGM’s “care and service toward them” and the continued promotion of SGM by their cohorts in cash.


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    Diane – I’m not typically a cussing person, but these men make me want to cuss like a sailor and GBTC would not appreciate me typing what I really feel. @ Diane:


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    @ Julie Anne:
    These conferences just gigs for those guys. I mean, why go to a conference to hear someone talk down to you through a microphone from up on a stage about “What is the Gospel?” (Revolution conference theme).

    These guys are hijacking the gospel and presupposing we need for them to define and fine tune it. Problem is their gospel isn’t free. It’s loaded with their agendas that they want you to follow. And they present themselves as faithful disciples of Christ, qualified to follow.

    Your left pinky toe is doing more to follow Christ than CJ Mahaney is Julie Anne! Yet there he is, being welcomed onto stages, introduced as a leader who claims to be a follower. Follower? Hardly.

    I’ll tell you who the followers are. People who, like Jesus, are closely following the SGM story. But those guys are are saying to NOT follow the story, to know as little as possible, yet follow what they have to say?

    So what do you think Julie Anne? They don’t seem to think it’s right for believers to be following the story about CJ & SGM. They’re not paying attention. Apparently they don’t think God is following the story, either. So, instead they’re out inviting people to their conferences, to come listen to and follow them, because God is in what they’re saying, because they’re following God.
    _________________________________________

    We’re saying to follow the story. Read the blogs. Hear what people have been saying. Get informed. We’re involved each in our own way because we believe God in is involved. That God wants people to follow this and understand what’s happened and what’s going on. To be actively informed. To contribute to shining the light, not to keeping people in the dark.

    The line has been drawn. We can’t both be right, can we?


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    @ Eagle:

    “Whiskey Tango Foxtrott!!! Interviewed and vetted before membership?!?”

    Oh yeah. The Puritans in New England did this all the time. You first had to demonstrate to the leadership via a personal testimony that you had had a genuine “work of grace” in your heart. You then had to relate your testimony to the congregation on Sunday morning, and they could question you on the spot about any aspect of said testimony. Only then would you be admitted to communion.

    This was the only way you could become a church member at all until the 1660s, at which point so many of the founders’ children were unable to become members that the Halfway Covenant was instituted. This allowed “half membership,” where you could be a member of the church but could not take communion. This was necessary because they had previously decided that only church members could serve in government.

    Edmund Morgan’s book Visible Saints tracks the development of these ideas from England to America and is excellent.


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    @ Julie Anne: That is straight-up misogyny. That guy is a pr###.


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    @ HUG:

    “Some months ago at Rachel Held Evans’ blog, she had a Q&A interview with a woman with Aspergers. She related how after being saved young, she went regularly into obsessive morbid introspection about her own sin and whether she was saved, along with elaborate paranoia-party scenarios about The Antichrist and Great Tribulation coming for her. She also related that shrinks advise Aspies to stay away from churches for that very reason — runaway worst-case scenarios running wild in their head.”

    I think I read this article and I’m glad RHE has focused on Aspies/autistic people. Their experiences really are unique and many don’t understand them. I know the above resonates with what happened to my head after reading Puritan assurance literature and I’m likely on the spectrum as well. I never hit “rock bottom,” but I can definitely relate. If the well is kept pitch black, I imagine it could be hard to find the rope in the dark – esp. with constant reiteration of the fact that YOU ARE SUCH A ROTTEN SINNER!


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    Hester wrote:

    Edmund Morgan’s book Visible Saints tracks the development of these ideas from England to America and is excellent.

    I will have to check out Morgan’s book, sounds like my kind of reading!

    And of course all of the Puritan wrangling over who was allowed to join the church and thus come to the table is intricately linked to baptism, too – this aspect of doctrine which led to outright wars in Europe never really went away with the advent of the “New World” up to the year 2013 now did it?


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    @ Julie Anne:

    Me too JA!!


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    Evie – I was 30 yrs old then. I had never heard a church leader talk like that before. I was thin and the words didn't personally affect me the way they did other ladies in my choir. I initially dismissed it thinking I was hearing things and then those rude "fat lady" expressions rolled off his tongue like they were his everyday language. If he was speaking like this before a packed audience – probably thousands in attendance – you can be sure that he speaks this and much more privately. Pr### seems to be an appropriate word choice.


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    @ Evie:
    My apologies for name calling and using a foul word. Please delete. I shouldn’t have said that.


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    Julie Anne, why would a gargantuan man pick on overweight women? Obviously he thinks it’s wrong fora woman to be overweight but for a man not to be? That reveals the man’s a misogynist who objectifies women, and does so based on his christian beliefs? I’m sure he views women, in general, as being responsible for evil in the world too. Why else would he pick on women but give himself a pass? Personally, I have never known a man who talks like who doesn’t have a hidden problem viewing women primarily as sexual objects.


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    Hester wrote:

    This was the only way you could become a church member at all until the 1660s, at which point so many of the founders’ children were unable to become members that the Halfway Covenant was instituted. This allowed “half membership,” where you could be a member of the church but could not take communion. This was necessary because they had previously decided that only church members could serve in government.

    And you don’t want to deny the Predestined Heirs to the Throne. Just like Bob Jones Jr and Bob Grenier Jr…

    “Oh, the more it changes
    The more it stays the same;
    And the Hand just rearranges
    The players in the game…”
    — Al Stewart, “Nostradamus”, 1973


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    @ Evie:

    There are several definitions to that word, Evie. This certainly applies: feel a sensation as though a sharp point were sticking into one

    Yes, those were sharp, pointed words, intended to inflict pain.


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    Evie wrote:

    Julie Anne, why would a gargantuan man pick on overweight women? Obviously he thinks it’s wrong fora woman to be overweight but for a man not to be?

    The trope of the grossly-fat preacher ranting from the pulpit about some other (usually-sexual) sin has a lot of basis in fact.

    And SBC preachers in the Former Confederate States have a rep for putting on the pounds. They like to eat hearty down there (op cit Elvis Presley) and the all-you-can-eat Church Potluck is an institution.


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    Eagle wrote:

    Puritan thinking led to the rise of Deisim.

    I would disagree with this statement. The best known American Deists of the Age of Enlightenment were Jefferson and Franklin, and Deism arose in Europe well before the Puritans in the colonies.

    In some ways the Calvinism of the Puritans could be seen as classical Aristotelian reason run amok and devoid of emotion and ultimately, grace.


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    I’m sure no-one will be surprised to hear I won’t be downloading anything about Jonathan Edwards onto my kindle. If anyone wants me I’ll be under my bed weeping until it all goes away. 🙂


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    numo wrote:

    We also tend toward the apocalyptic… Edwards was apocalyptic, seeing evangelism as a holy war against the devil.
    and with the many fears, uncertainties (and much more) facing the US since 9/11, it’s almost easier to revert to apocalyptic thinking than to try and understand the issues behind it all. (Especially seeing as so many of those issues are very difficult to grapple with.)

    It was there long before 9/11. I got hammered by “revert to apocalyptic thinking” during the Cold War. A lot of it seemed to be Nuclear War Obsession jitters filtered through Hal Lindsay. It wasn’t until after the Reagan Years that I stopped having flashbacks.


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    “Whiskey Tango Foxtrott!!! Interviewed and vetted before membership?!?”

    I don’t think it will be implemented the same way at all due to the fact that too many people don’t want to go to church as they did back then. I think it is more like what we have seen with the love bombing, get them sucked in, sign a covenant and make certain aspects of membership criteria like an exclusive club. Sort of like what Amway does with do this and then you can lead a group or usher, or something. People do tend to fall in line once they are sucked in. See the Milgram experiment

    But from what I have read (which is not a lot) of Dever’s Keys to the Kingdom, it is starting to sound eerily familiar to what Edwards was doing with membership but with Dever it is more like one has to be vetted by the elders to be considered “saved”.

    From 9 Marks:http://www.9marks.org/blog/what-are-keys-kingdom

    “The apostles had heaven’s authority for declaring who on earth is a kingdom citizen and therefore represents heaven.”

    Does this sound right to you all? Read the whole thing, I see some serious problems with it. But I see it going in the direction we are discussing with some caveats concerning Edwards and how the church worked back then.


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    Julie Anne wrote~

    “Late last night I saw a tweet from Piper announcing a new conference. I just blogged my findings (http://goo.gl/8kJ6B).”

    Gee…advertising it 9 months in advance? Isn’t that a little soon? And $250-325 for a non-student as opposed to $100-175 for a student. Guess who wants your college age kids all to themselves.


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    “I’m sure no-one will be surprised to hear I won’t be downloading anything about Jonathan Edwards onto my kindle. If anyone wants me I’ll be under my bed weeping until it all goes away. ”

    Hee Hee. I don’t blame you! And you guys have your own fascinating Christian history which has always interested me.


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    Anyone else find CJ’s delivery to be oddly Shatneresque? “WHO AM I … that I … Should’veBeenTheObject … of his mercy … I’m … JamesTKirk… oftheStarshipEnterprise…”


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    Anyone else find CJ’s delivery to be oddly Shatneresque? “WHO AM I … that I … Should’veBeenTheObject … of his mercy … I’m … JamesTKirk… oftheStarshipEnterprise…”


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    @ Rafiki: No worries!

    I think Arendt’s idea is that people on both the far Left and far Right (think = Nazis and the Chinese Communist Party during, say, the Cultural Revolution) may *look* different in terms of ideology, but how they act – well, there’s the rub. And they tend to act the same. I don’t see much difference between the various iterations of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions (which were also carried on in their colonies in the New World) and the Maoist “Cultural Revolution.”

    I haven’t read Schama’s book on the French revolution, and do know that there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding it, but think he’s a good historian regardless of that – as in his book on Dutch 17th century culture (and art, etc.), Embarrassment of Riches. (But then, art/art history folks like myself tend to love that one, for obvious reasons.)

    He’s been focusing on North America of late, and I have yet to read his book on slavery here, though it’s on my extremely long list of things to read.


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    @ Beakerj: May I join you, beaks?!


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    @ Rafiki: @ Rafiki: Unitarianism might be what Eagle was referring to? (Meaning classic New England-style old school Unitarianism, not Unitarian Universalism, which is actually pretty recent.)

    I’ve always understood Deism to be a European thing that got transplanted here (to a fairly limited degree), as you’ve said, Rafiki.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy: Well, of course, but 9/11 certainly got it going – again.


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    @ numo:

    I’ve read both “Citizens” and “Embarrassment of Riches” and I love them both. “Citizens” is remarkable. The academic/reviewer row over “Citizens” – Schama really put Rousseau in his analytical cross hairs and found him lacking, among others – was really intense when it first came out!

    And I always re-visit sections of “Embarrassment of Riches” prior to visits to the Rjiksmuseeum in Amsterdam for sure!


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    numo wrote:

    Meaning classic New England-style old school Unitarianism

    That makes sense, numo.


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    I was once talking to the son of a pastor who also wanted to be a pastor. The son was telling me that he wanted to go to Cambridge and study the Gospel and what it really was. He was going to have to come up with $200,000 for this venture. I kindly offered to tell him what the gospel really was for only $50,000. He turned me down.
    I guess a certificate from Krunchy Academy isn’t quite as prestigious as Cambridge. Shame, I could’ve saved him quite a bit of $$ and earned some pocket money on the side.


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    @ kindakrunchy:
    Apostle Appalled Academy (AAA) will tell him for only 5 grand! what a deal!


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    “Oh, the more it changes
    The more it stays the same;
    And the Hand just rearranges
    The players in the game…”
    – Al Stewart, “Nostradamus”, 1973

    I frequently sing the following to myself when thinking of the whole celebrity pastor/conference thing:
    “While sometimes it seems impossible
    That the game could get that rough
    But the stage is set, the exit’s barred
    And the make-up won’t come off!”
    — Al Stewart “Carol”


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    “think Arendt’s idea is that people on both the far Left and far Right (think = Nazis and the Chinese Communist Party during, say, the Cultural Revolution) may *look* different in terms of ideology, but how they act – well, there’s the rub.”

    She was starting down the road to the understanding that Fascism and Communism are on the same side of the continuum and about controlling people. Far right is total anarchy. No government at all. I realize that most disagree with this analysis because they have been taught how to think differently. But the issue to consider is the degree of governmental control of the population.


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    @ kindakrunchy:

    Krunchy, I swear I’m not trying to be obtuse, but I don’t understand what is the issue with getting a degree from Cambridge? With the qualifier that one has to be able to afford it, of course.

    I actually have no idea of the degree offerings in this field at Cambridge: history, comparative studies, divinity, etc.


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    Anon 1 wrote:

    I realize that most disagree with this analysis because they have been taught how to think differently. But the issue to consider is the degree of governmental control of the population.

    That’s one of the most concise explanations of Arendt in, like, the history of ever. 🙂


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    @ numo:
    Anytime Numo…it’s a big bed, there’s room for others too! :)P.S. Must like dogs, they’re always under here with me 😉


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    RSA does not have only the legacy of the Reformed churches that make some of us tsk-tsk and shake our heads. A friend of mine has spent extensive time in Joburg, and also in Uganda. He was amazed and chagrined by all the expressions of American imported “health and wealth gospel” churches in Africa. Anybody (any *man* that is) can call himself a pastor, start preaching and set up a money machine. (sound familiar?)

    Here’s a post by a South African blogger I follow, Steve Hayes, explaining that some of this importation from America has a long history:
    http://khanya.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/zionist-christians-and-christian-zionists/

    (HUG, I think you would be very interested in Steve’s “Tales from Dystopia,” his musings on some of his experiences under apartheid. You can’t make this stuff up.)


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    @ Beakerj: , Well, I’m bringing my bunny along!


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    Rafiki wrote:

    The best known American Deists of the Age of Enlightenment were Jefferson and Franklin, and Deism arose in Europe well before the Puritans in the colonies.

    I think it’s important to note that as with all schools of thought/ideology, not all who fall under the various labels subscribe to the same ideas en toto.
    For example, I consider myself a latter day deist of sorts who believes the following:
    1) I believe in the supernatural miracles of Jesus and that they literally happened ~ Jefferson did not
    2) I believe in Jesus’ virgin birth and his bodily resurrection from the dead ~ Jefferson did not
    On the other hand I reject the doctrines of imputed guilt & righteousness, and find them as absurd as Franklin did.


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    @ 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC:

    Yes, I had read before of John Hagee’s divorce. I used to watch his show a lot, over a span of years.

    I notice that he’s never mentioned on his show that he’s been divorced, yet he rails against divorce on his show on occasion, and gives marital advice in some sermons.

    I’m not saying a divorced person is automatically unable or disqualified to opine or talk about any of those topics, but it sort of rubs me the wrong way, like married 50 year old couples who’ve been married for 30 years who lead singles classes for any single of any age.

    Or heck, at my age (early forties and never married), I don’t appreciate seeing the condescending lectures / marital or dating advice from 27 year old married Christian guys online.

    Hagee also said several years ago that Jewish people don’t need the Gospel to be saved because in his view and understanding of a chapter in Romans, the Bible says they are on a different track from Gentiles, under the old covenant still.

    I saw the original comments printed in the Houston Chronicle at the time when he was interviewed, and yes,he said that. He later backtracked on that view point when it created controversy,and he sort of denied it, or claimed he was misquoted/ misunderstood.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Yeah, I just linked to a story about that life sized Noah’s ark in a post above.

    I don’t mind teaching kids about Noah’s ark, and I’m a YEC myself, so I don’t care about that.

    What bothered me was the five million dollar price tag! Does the world really need a five million dollar animatronic giraffe?

    Does Hagee not have any single mothers raising two kids in his church who are struggling to get by that he could buy groceries for them, for a month? Or buy some clothes for some homeless people in his city? Or pay the electric bills for a couple of months for some of his elderly members?

    It’s like that church (in Texas?) that spent was it $12 or $20 million on a fancy waterfall for their church.


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    @ lilyrosemary

    Twist’d Dreams: “We Certainly Have No Time For This?”

    HowDee,

    Kirrrrrrrrk!

    “I am da proverbial C.J. Mahaney, of the ‘deadly’ proverbial calvinesta clone ship Sovereign_Grave_Los Miserables…”

    “Drop your shields, and prepare to be borded…”

    best s_in_-_-_-_-p

    ever…

    -snicker-

    *
    hum, hum, hum…

    ..♪♫♪ We certainly have no time for all of this, we need to speak the closing prayers, now little choice or sense of reason, and all we knew has come to bear?

    ..♪♫♪ These nervous sounds come from behind us, in the night, unseen by anyone, so many bonds are forged between them, but deepest love is now snapped and gone…

    ..♪♫♪ It’s not up to us to point the finger, the shields have been hammered into place, complex thoughts are well beyond us, the shock has buried them without any trace?

    ..♪♫♪ Certain moments fraught and crowded, certain dreams… twist and reform, certain facts keep getting bigger, certain thoughts are lost in the storm…

    ..♪♫♪ We certainly have no time for all of this, we thought there’d be a whole lot more, –this ignorance was stalked and captured, the horizon draws so close, I’m sure…

    ..♪♫♪ A silent cry, a sense of shock, too long da hiding from the truth, the past is dead, the throne abandoned, no point in seeking further proof, it’s not up to us, to point the finger, the shields are hammered into place?

    ..♪♫♪ Complex thoughts are well beyond us, the shock has buried them without any trace, certain moments fraught and crowded, certain dreams..are twist’d without possible reform, certain facts just keep getting bigger, certain thoughts simply lost in da storm…

    We certainly have no time for all of this… *

    (sadface)

    God so loved us ☺that He gave His only Son ☺to save us from the proverbial fate that c-e-r-t-a-i-n-l-y lies in store for the nefarious (ole “BruisedHead”)  devil, and his mischievous fallen angels, (Denizens Of da Deep) 

    Whosoever who would believe in Jesus, SHALL NOT PARISH, but live with Him for all eternity.☺

    The ‘choice’ is ours to make.☺

    take care…☺

    S“㋡”py!
    ___
    Notz:  * “We Have No Time” Lyrics Copyright © 2013 Collusion/David Kelsey. All Rights Reserved. (lyrics reflect parody adaptation, disclaimer: U.S. Title 17 infringement unintended.)  🙂
     Whew!


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    @ Julie Anne:

    Oh yeah, John Hagee has a weight problem. He is based out of San Antonio and likes to sprinkle his sermons with references to Tex Mex cuisine.

    On the positive side, I have heard him tell married males in his congregation that if their wife needs help with housework, that they should get off their rear ends and help – do dishes, etc, that being a man does not excuse them from domestic chores. Other than that, he is fairly sexist and stuck in gender complementarianism.

    His son (Matthew) who is also a preacher used to be very overweight, but got skinny a few years ago and has kept the weight off. Kudos to him on that.

    (But then in a sermon a few years ago, Matthew Hagee spent the whole time going on about how a Christian woman’s greatest service in life is to support her husband – and I, as a never married Christian woman, found that pretty lousy.)

    I used to watch J. Hagee’s show a lot, but I can’t take it too much any more. Not that I ever cared for his style previously. He’s very loud and bombastic.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    I used to be very interested in prophecy, but after years of listening to people (or reading books) about it, it grows tiresome. These authors and pastors keep rehashing the same material over and over. I can’t believe Lindsey is still going on about it.


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    I made the same comparison yesterday…highly doubtful


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    @ Tina:

    Yeah, I think many American Christians (at least the churches or denominations) are terrible about accepting anyone and every one as they are.

    If you don’t fit their particular mould, which is usually age 25 – 50, married with two kids, in okay health and in okay middle class circumstance, you don’t exist to them.(*)
    —————–
    (*) Except with some who ignore the hurting in their midst to focus exclusively on orphans overseas or homeless people in their downtown.

    You have this class of Christians, like we were discussing in a previous thread, who snub hurting people they actually, personally know, or come in contact with daily, to care about people they don’t know (e.g., homeless people, third world nation orphans, etc.)


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    @ Julie Anne:

    So this conference is for college aged students (people in their 20s)? Why do some many pastors and these authors focus so heavily on people under the age of 30 or 25?

    There are a lot of Christians over the age of 30 who are leaving the church, but many of these guys continue to ignore that and the needs of older Christians, to latch on to college-aged people.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy: Re: Sinners in the hand of God.

    Me too. But I also had to recite it.


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    @ kindakrunchy:

    I was once talking to the son of a pastor who also wanted to be a pastor. The son was telling me that he wanted to go to Cambridge and study the Gospel and what it really was.

    That is so very sad.

    God tried to make salvation as easy for us as he could (difficult for him to accomplish, as it cost him his son), but easy for us.

    Jesus even said to come to God as though you are a little child. You don’t have to be a Cambridge scholar.

    The Gospel =
    John 3:16
    and
    ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ (*)
    ————
    (*) which, I read before, has been mocked by preacher Mark Driscoll and sung at some of his church’s sponsored social events by him as, “Jesus hates me.”

    That is sick and warped. I guess 1 John 4:8 is not in Driscoll’s copy of the Bible.


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    This article and the responses are so filled with hatred for fellow believers of ‘reformed’ persuasion,that one might possibly find more peace, love and edification on the pornography sites.


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    @ Ginklestinker:

    What article?


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    Ginkletinkle
    Hatred. Oh good night! What are they teaching you out there?

    I can assure you that you would find us sweet, adorable and quite nice. You would love having dinner with us. You might do better in expressing yourself with reserve. CS Lewis said that it is better to understate than overstate. I say it is more fun to be clever than dull.@ Ginklestinker:


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    I am a bit tired so take what I say with a grain of salt. I believe Hagee is one turnip short of a bushel.I wonder if this would upset Stinkle Tinkle?@ Daisy:


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    Because people under 30 look up to and admire them. People over 30 can see through their bull sh…

    Daisy wrote:

    @ Julie Anne:
    So this conference is for college aged students (people in their 20s)? Why do some many pastors and these authors focus so heavily on people under the age of 30 or 25?
    There are a lot of Christians over the age of 30 who are leaving the church, but many of these guys continue to ignore that and the needs of older Christians, to latch on to college-aged people.


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    Dainca

    Welcome to TWW!


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    Hatred ???

    Deb –

    Did you say you hated someone? I mist have missed that.

    Were you talking about people of the reformed persuasion? Or Calvinistas?

    I think Mr. Ginklestinker is confused . . .


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    I love the name GinkleFinkle!

    Eagle, You stole my line! You CAN find Christian gospel approved porn at Driscolls place.

    This idea that one has to hate people because one does not like (strongly) a certain doctrine is getting old. I happen to despise all tyranny, making merchandise out of the Good News (and people) and the determinist god paradigm which turns our Holy Father into a moral monster.

    I guess you could say I am more astonished that dead state church tyrants are so beloved by so many and all the rage as Christian examples. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that one.

    The above is not limited to New Calvinism movement. It is just a big movement right now.


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    @ Numo:

    “I think Arendt’s idea is that people on both the far Left and far Right (think = Nazis and the Chinese Communist Party during, say, the Cultural Revolution) may *look* different in terms of ideology, but how they act – well, there’s the rub. And they tend to act the same. I don’t see much difference between the various iterations of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions (which were also carried on in their colonies in the New World) and the Maoist ‘Cultural Revolution.'”

    I’ve definitely noticed this, though in a much less philosophical way (haven’t done any reading on political ideologies). The way I found this out was by being mildly into survivalism for about a year and a half. Left or right, they all agree the world is going to end and they have to go off the grid. They just don’t agree on how or why, though there is usually some overlap.


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    Ginklestinker wrote:

    This article and the responses are so filled with hatred for fellow believers of ‘reformed’ persuasion,that one might possibly find more peace, love and edification on the pornography sites.

    What about all of the hatred and mockery that we who reject Calvinism have to endure from the likes of Young, Restless Reformed movement? What about the hated I’ve received from the high and mighty Reformed people who’ve told me I’m going to hell because I’m a dispensationalist? Sometimes Calvinist bullies kill me – they love to throw punches but whine whenever someone crticizes their theology or even the natural results of their theology, such as authoritarianism and ABUSE.


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    @ Ginklestinker:

    “This article and the responses are so filled with hatred for fellow believers of ‘reformed’ persuasion,that one might possibly find more peace, love and edification on the pornography sites.”

    Really, seriously? TWW = worse than porn?

    Wow.

    Dee, I think you need to add this one to your list.


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    @ Rafiki:

    Everything I’ve read of Morgan is awesome. Also check out The Puritan Family, but you’ll have to buy it in paperback or else it’s $100+. (That’s how I found out that Piper’s view of divorce was NOT the historical Puritan one, at least not in New England.)

    There’s also an interesting book (not by Morgan) called In Pursuit of the Almighty’s Dollar about the history of Protestant fundraising after the ratification of the Constitution. It’s pretty dry and academic and I’m not done with it yet, but it does say that the “Biblical mandate” to tithe was “rediscovered” at some point in the 1800s.


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    dee wrote:

    Ginkle Finkle
    Are you any relation to the infamous Tinky Winky? I loved the episode with Tubby Toast! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2jFGsvWwS8@ Ginklestinker:

    You made me snort out loud in a very unladylike way!
    Ginklestinker: there is quite a bit of criticism here for the behaviour & antics of those who claim to be following Christ & yet promote ongoing ridiculousness in his name. The public personas of some of those who are bigwigs in the Reformed world are truly abysmal & yet none of the criticism you’ll find here comes close- by a long shot- to what is said of those whose theology is less reformed than theirs. But as individual humans they are not hated….but their views & actions may well be.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Hey, HUG. You’ve convinced me to start watching MLP to see what all of the fuss is about. S1 E1, here I come…


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    kindakrunchy wrote:

    I was once talking to the son of a pastor who also wanted to be a pastor. The son was telling me that he wanted to go to Cambridge and study the Gospel and what it really was. He was going to have to come up with $200,000 for this venture. I kindly offered to tell him what the gospel really was for only $50,000. He turned me down.

    I studied at Cambridge and I can tell you that the neither the Christian Union nor the Department of Divinity are particularly unusual. Much as I hate to admit it, C.S. Lewis worked in the other place.


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    @ Daisy:
    I agree re the simplicity of the Gospel, which should be understandable to anyone. Francis Schaeffer once said that he discussed it with a Swiss peasant (probably “agricultural worker” would be a better term!) on the same day as he did with a doctor or some other intellectual, and while the labourer would not have understood some of the conversation with the doctor, he still understood the Gospel.

    And of course John Bunyan was a tinker by trade and yet wrote “Pilgrim’s Progress”.


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    @ dee:

    So that Ginkle guy was referring to us here? I wasn’t sure if he was referring to this blog or something else.

    I was mainly talking about John Hagee in this thread myself, and I’m not sure what Hagee’s overall theological bent is, don’t know if he’s a Calvinist or not.

    I don’t think disagreeing with Calvinism or the rude or mean spirited behavior of some of them,including older, historical Calvinists who are dead now, is the same as ‘hating.’

    Actually, as I pointed out in a post above, it’s some Calvinists such as Mark Driscoll who preach hate.

    Not only do some of them take unwarranted pot shots at people (or types of people), but they tell people ‘God hates you.’

    Driscoll changed the lyrics of “Jesus Loves Me” to “Jesus Hates Me” to drive that point home with one audience. Driscoll serves as a handy example, but I’ve seen other Calvinists say and act the same way, not just pastors, but rank and file guys who post on forums online.

    I see that God says in the Bible that He is not fine with sin, but I don’t understand the Calvinist habit of preaching or believing that God “hates” every one. It looks to me like a lot of the Bible tells us God loves us in spite of our sins and grants us mercy and even grace.


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    Eagle wrote:

    Ginkletinkle-
    EVEN BETTER!! You can shuffle off, shuffle off and listen to Mark Driscoll or read his book “Real Marriage” and still be involved in pornograghy!! It’s “The Gopsel” Ginkletinkle!!

    Or preacher Ed Young’s Sexperiment.

    We have some segments of American Christianity telling people, the kids especially, “say no to sex!,” while the rest has “Porn-i-fied” Christianity.

    The Church of Sex
    (editorial on WND discussing current American Christianity’s obsession with sex)


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    @ PhillyInDC:

    I suppose that’s one reason. The older I get, I do find it easier to see through people’s horse hockey.

    I notice that although plenty of over-30’s have left church and / or the Christian faith, many preachers and Christian groups only seem concerned about the under-30’s leaving church / the faith, and that bothers me.

    I’m not saying it’s wrong to study about, or be concerned about, why the under-30s are leaving church or Christianity, but the total disregard or un-concern for Christians (or for Non Christians) past the age of 30 who are also leaving bothers me.


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    Of course they’re going to target young adults (I see the same strategy happening over here, BTW). The young are both naive (in terms of lack of real life experience) and idealistic. They don’t want to compromise or sell out, so they are more vulnerable to extreme teaching. The kind of extreme self-abnegation that Calvinista doctrine demands is appealing at that age. They’re on fire with enthusiasm, they have a lot of physical energy and they they are zealous to prove their zeal by doing hard things. They have no one else they need to protect, and they are often afraid of “Getting it wrong”.

    If you catch them at that age, it’s going to take years (if ever) to disentangle them from the guilt trips that rising doubts and questions induce. Common sense is labelled “worldly thinking, compassion is labelled “emotionalism”, any desire to self-actualise and become the uniquely gifted person you were created to be is labelled “the sin of pride”. And if you are a woman you risk becoming a “usurper” or a “Jezebel”.

    Young adults have outgrown parental authority but are not yet secure enough in their own judgement to resist all other authority figures. You have to catch them small before they outgrow the cage

    And yes, I was that young adult once. Now I have left all that behind I have learned what it truly means to be loved by God.


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    Daisy wrote:

    I see that God says in the Bible that He is not fine with sin, but I don’t understand the Calvinist habit of preaching or believing that God “hates” every one. It looks to me like a lot of the Bible tells us God loves us in spite of our sins and grants us mercy and even grace.

    I think they stopped trying to be faithful to Scripture long ago, if that was something they ever cared about. Mark Driscoll has openly said that he finds traditional Christianity wussy and will only worship a Jesus who can beat people up. So much for the Bible.

    The “God hates you” thing seems to be an effective way to manipulate a congregation. Have you seen Driscoll’s “Pornovision” video? “I can see your sins … God has given me special powers …”I don’t believe him for one second, I don’t even believe that he believes it for one second, though I’m willing to grant that he may have convinced himself that it’s all for “his flock’s” own good. But it looks like budding cult leader stuff to me.


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    Lynne T wrote:

    f you catch them at that age, it’s going to take years (if ever) to disentangle them from the guilt trips that rising doubts and questions induce. Common sense is labelled “worldly thinking, compassion is labelled “emotionalism”, any desire to self-actualise and become the uniquely gifted person you were created to be is labelled “the sin of pride”.

    What a great quote. That is along the lines of some things I have been thinking. I am tempted to post it on Facebook.


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    @ Kolya: Farmer is probably best… there are lots of farmers in that neck of the woods.


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    @ Lynne T: Exactly! (Everything in your post, right down to the “no longer One of Them” part.)


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    @ Daisy:

    “Driscoll changed the lyrics of ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to ‘Jesus Hates Me’ to drive that point home with one audience.”

    Head. Banging. On. Wall.


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    @ Hester
    Words fail me!
    Does Driscoll know the same Jesus I know?


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    I don’t think John Hagee is Calvinist…. dispensationalist is probably the most accurate label, although I think other dispensationalists may disagree with him about his view of the continuing validity of the Old Covenant to the point where Jewish people don’t need conversion. Obviously it’s a sensitive issue for political and historical reasons, but I think his interpretation is wrong.

    Numo, farmer sounds good to me 🙂

    I wouldn’t say that neo-Calvinists have stopped being faithful to the Bible – that is a hard thing to say about any Christian denomination. I do think however that they are have their own emphases, just as dispensationalists and Arminians (to quote two examples) do. I think Calvinism goes wrong (like any “system”) when it exalts one part of the truth at the expense of the rest – in this aberrant form the love of God gets too easily trumped by God’s sovereignty and God’s holiness. In other forms God’s love is reduced to a wishy-washy thing and one never hears of God’s holiness or sovereignty. And so on.

    But yes, when some people start shooting their mouths off, you can say they’re entitled to their opinion, but it’s just that – opinion. We are all free to express it, but equally we are free to disagree with it.

    Lynne T, good post about the allure to the young, which might have been patronising if you hadn’t been so candid about it echoing your own history.

    And now, all rise for Justice Goanna ;-)… I’m off to bed.


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    @ Ginklestinker:
    Gavin, is that you?


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    dee wrote:

    I am a bit tired so take what I say with a grain of salt. I believe Hagee is one turnip short of a bushel.I wonder if this would upset Stinkle Tinkle?@ Daisy:

    The funny thing about this is I can hear Dee saying this in my head with her sweet Southern accent 🙂 hahahaha!! My “accent” would be so boring. Go, Dee!


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    @ Julie Anne:

    With a slight New England Russian flavor. 🙂


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    Kolya wrote:


    I wouldn’t say that neo-Calvinists have stopped being faithful to the Bible – that is a hard thing to say about any Christian denomination. I do think however that they are have their own emphases, just as dispensationalists and Arminians (to quote two examples) do. I think Calvinism goes wrong (like any “system”) when it exalts one part of the truth at the expense of the rest – in this aberrant form the love of God gets too easily trumped by God’s sovereignty and God’s holiness. In other forms God’s love is reduced to a wishy-washy thing and one never hears of God’s holiness or sovereignty. And so on.

    Agreed, Kolya. Paul himself observed that we see only as in a mirror (which, in the first century, would have been a polished piece of metal giving a very imperfect reflection; they didn’t have the float glass process in those days). Whenever I take my understanding of scripture and how the Holy Spirit is outworking the words He inspired, and use it to elevate myself and judge others, I demonstrate that I understand nothing of scripture and am unworthy to propagate my opinion of it.


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    @ Kolya:
    I should have made it clear that I was talking specifically about the megachurch pastors who preach sin and depravity from the pulpit…I do think they have an agenda. I have sympathy for everyone genuinely wrestling with these teachings. I have been there.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Whenever I take my understanding of scripture and how the Holy Spirit is outworking the words He inspired, and use it to elevate myself and judge others, I demonstrate that I understand nothing of scripture and am unworthy to propagate my opinion of it.

    Well said, Nick. And we can too easily allow ourselves to yield to the bitterness which the Devil and her angels put before us.


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    Anon 1 wrote:

    Years back, Hagee had a non profit for his personal ministry. Well, when the 990′s became available online, it became obvious he was making a fortune. He stopped the personal ministry non profit and ran it all through his church which is protected and no available to the public. Not sure if it is still that way or not but I can remember reading about it must have been 8 years ago.

    Didn’t know where to put this, but speaking of 990’s the Panda’s Thumb had a post on Ken Ham’s 990 for AIG. A couple of interesting observations: attendance at his Creation Museum has dropped (Yeah!), it appears that Ham controls a bazillion different companies that he uses to play a corporate version of 3-card monte, not to mention millions of dollars in state and local tax breaks, road improvements, preferential land sales, etc. for his grandiose Ark Park which includes a property tax discount of 75 percent over the next 30 years, tax-increment financing deal, $200,000 as an enticement to keep the project located there, 100 acres of reduced-price land, a promise of $40 million worth of sales tax rebates and a possible $11 million in improvements to the interstate.

    All sorts of interesting info and links at http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2012/12/pts-year-end-re.html


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    lilyrosemary wrote:

    The “God hates you” thing seems to be an effective way to manipulate a congregation. Have you seen Driscoll’s “Pornovision” video? “I can see your sins … God has given me special powers …”

    Has anyone mashed up a classic “Big Brother Is Watching You” poster using a pic of MD’s mug? It seems appropriate. (“I SEE Things…”)


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    Lynne T wrote:

    If you catch them at that age, it’s going to take years (if ever) to disentangle them from the guilt trips that rising doubts and questions induce. Common sense is labelled “worldly thinking, compassion is labelled “emotionalism”, any desire to self-actualise and become the uniquely gifted person you were created to be is labelled “the sin of pride”. And if you are a woman you risk becoming a “usurper” or a “Jezebel”.

    An important principle of Newspeak is to redefine words into the one and only one meaning of the Party Line. Screwtape (“My Dear Wormwood…”) referred to it as changing words into their “diabolical meanings”.

    And regarding “catching them at that age”, a certain A.Hitler put it this way: “Give me your children when they are young and they will be Mine. You will pass away, but they will remain Mine.”


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    Daisy wrote:

    I used to be very interested in prophecy, but after years of listening to people (or reading books) about it, it grows tiresome. These authors and pastors keep rehashing the same material over and over. I can’t believe Lindsey is still going on about it.

    Two discoveries started deprogramming me from the Gospel According to Hal Lindsay:

    1) A Seventh-Day Adventist Prophecy book titled What Jesus Said, using the same Book of Revelation (and other Bible Prophecy quotes) to construct an entirely-different End Times/Great Tribulation Checklist.

    2) Discovering End Time Prophecy books of 40-50 years before, which cited now-forgotten Current Events as PROOF that This Is It!

    And there’s a Pony for End Time Prophecy, too.

    1) Why you don’t write crossover fanfics of My Little Pony and the Book of Revelation — “The Gospel According to Twilight Sparkle” at FimFiction:
    (can’t get to the site right now for the URL — 502 Error — but it’s genuinely painful to read)

    2) And Line Code, Pallete Swap, and Emerald May in “The End is Neigh!”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8imw1y-elY


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    Oasis wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Hey, HUG. You’ve convinced me to start watching MLP to see what all of the fuss is about. S1 E1, here I come…

    Welcome to the Herd, Oasis.

    Season 1 is the one where Lauren Faust was in charge; Season 2 is also pretty good, but has a few duds in the mix. Season 3 (the most recent, only half the number of episodes) suffered a bit from not knowing if they were going to be cancelled after that season so they rushed a lot of story arcs into series cappers and it shows.


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    numo wrote:

    @ Ginklestinker:
    Gavin, is that you?

    Sorry Numo but I’ve been struck off!


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    Gavin

    We are watching. You are in eternal moderation. Play it straight and all will be well. Still believe you are ginkle tinkle.


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    @Dee No, I am not Gavin or Tinkle Tinkle, etc., but Baron von Ginklestinker, und vee haf vays und means of dealing with naughty boys and girls like Tweedledum and TweedleDEE who need to mind their P's and Q's.

    To get back to the original article about exporting the Reformed faith to South Africa, it should be pointed out that a strong Calvinistic/Reformed/Protestant tradition was already in existence in South Africa for more than a hundred years before 1776. It was the Reformed churches who were largely responsible for persuading the electorate in the 1980/90's that political union, social integration, and economic sharing were better forms of government. For this, the last white president received the Nobel Peace Prize.


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    Tinkleblinker

    I have a hard time believing you. So, your comments will go through personal moderation. Play fair and it will go OK. Saw a comment by you over at TGC,


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    Ginklestinker wrote:

    @Dee … und vee haf vays und means of dealing with naughty boys and girls like Tweedledum and TweedleDEE who need to mind their P’s and Q’s.

    Is this a joke? or a threat?


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    @ Katie:
    ….the persuasive ways of gentleness and reason, and means of kindness and generosity of spirit…


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    @ dee:

    Ginklestinker says he is not me and I say that I am not him. Testimony established by the mouths or two or three witnesses.

    Regards
    Gavin


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    For the record, here is an excellent article in response to the inclusion of C.J. Mahaney in the line-up of speakers at the Rezolution Conference.

    http://www.futurechurchnow.com/2013/04/18/why-have-south-african-christians-welcomed-cj-mahaney/

    It concludes with these poignant words:

    “I am disappointed in my many conservative friends who have supported this conference and specifically Mahaney while knowing the fact that he has stepped down from ministry in the USA. By all means support him privately, but do not endorse his public ministry. I am disappointed that the Reformed churches in South Africa do not take the issue of sexual sin amongst one of their leaders seriously. I am disappointed in the message that a watching world has received from this Rezolution conference.

    I distance myself from this brand of Christianity.”

    BRAVO!