If there's nothing wrong with me… maybe there's something wrong with the universe!" — Dr. Crusher (Remember Me) link
For those of us who follow the "goings on" in the Christian community, this has been a busy couple of weeks. There is so much that we don't want to miss that we have decided to go with an overview of a bunch of posts. We received this email yesterday.
Did any of you ever read the book of James? Especially chapter 3. No matter what has happened, this blog is nothing but complaining and rumor mongering. I question everyone on this blogs motives and your relationship with Jesus.
Whenever we discuss a particular individual or ministry, we often get emails like this. When that happens, we know we have stepped on someone's sacred cow. So, I am sure this post will cause this individual further angst. Remember: we are never, ever supposed to discuss icky things that go on in the Kingdom-especially if it involves really, super-respected pastors and ministries. Now, onto the icky things…
There is too much here to read in one setting unless you are gluttons for punishment. I have given only some brief overviews of the situations and links to the articles. I look forward to hearing your perspectives. I get rather bored of mine.
UPDATE: Mars Hill Responds 3/7 10:25 PM
A NOTE FROM OUR BOARD OF ADVISORS & ACCOUNTABILITY
Enjoy the read. Gag orders, acrimonious ex employees and Mark is just peachy.
Mark Driscoll and Revisionist History: He Won't Remember You…
Warren Throckmorton wrote a fascinating post called How to Revise History the Mark Driscoll Way and presented another post Becky Garrison: Mark Driscoll's Revisionist History. The theme of both was quite simple. As time goes on, Driscoll ceases to remember those who helped him start Mars Hill and grow the ministry.
It is my opinion that this is a concerted effort by Driscoll to make himself the only Beloved Leader of his paltry empire. This is reminiscent of old Soviet leaders who executed rivals and wiped them from Russian history. Then, they threatened any and all who might "remember them." I once traveled on the Trans Siberian Railroad to Novosibirsk in Siberia. I spent a lot of time contemplating the fate of those who disobeyed this commandment. Bent, Paul-we think of you often.
This routine reminds me of an old Star Trek TNG episode called "Remember Me" in which Dr Beverly Crusher finds herself on an Enterprise on which crew members and parts of the ship disappear and no one, even the computer, remembers the way things used to be But she does. Here is an excerpt from that episode. Some of the dialogue is eerily funny if you think about the Mars Hill situation.
Wenatchee the Hatchet Weighs in on the Now Infamous Driscoll Contract
Please read this entire post to get details on the background. Wenatchee is the world's leading expert on all things Mars Hill (certified by TWW). You might find some of his information quite relevant.
Here are a few excerpts
…..Let's just say Wenatchee The Hatchet has enough eyes and ears that Turner's signature is a match for other publicly available documents featuring the same signature and the formal name certainly matches that on the Washington State Secretary of State listings for the Secretary/Treasurer of Mars Hill.
…..But let's get back to the detail about the trust instrument being set up in February 2011. Whatever the reasons for moving the Driscoll household the intent to buy a house looks like it began at the start of 2011. Given Driscoll's public statements about how the hardest part of ministry is the threats to the safety of his family we'll keep that in mind. There are other questions that can be raised about the particular tales Driscoll shared and whether or not his role as William Wallace II may have catalyzed one of those incidents but we'll set that aside for the time being.
The contract John Sutton Turner signed is dated October 13, 2011 and we've established that On Mission LLC was set up in January 2011 and Future Hope Revocable Living Trust, the instrument used to buy the million-dollar home for the Driscolls, dates to February 2011. People can't just go around buying million dollar homes without some planning. Driscoll had shared extensively in his 2009 sermon that he hoped one of his books popped so that, ideally, he could make enough money of royalties to not draw a salary and to preach for free at Mars Hill.
….Wasn't Turner introduced on November 23, 2011? Turner inked the deal with Result Source, it seems, before he was formally installed/introduced as an executive elder. He was apparently, in some sense, a general manager up until that point but LinkedIn profiles for people associated with Mars Hill have proven mercurial enough that one can't be 100% certain. It's worth noting, at least, that Turner inked the deal with RSI a couple of months before he was even introduced publicly as a pastor at MHC in November 2011 and the month after it was publicly announced Jamie Munson was stepping down.
79 and Single, Resigns
3/8-Thanks to singleman, I have changed my post. This has nothing to do with his singleness. It has to do with alleged perversion.
Well, it looks like the ever increasing reports surrounding Gothard and his overt interest in his bevy of carefully selected, very young, pretty female assistants has reached a critical level. Religion News Service reports on Gothard's resignation here.
I find the reasons given by his ministry a bit under whelming. Also, I sure would like to know why a guy, who "appreciated" young women so much, never married and yet allegedly felt it was his responsibility to give these young women advice on the types of bras to wear. (You cannot make this stuff up.)
Gothard told the Board of Directors he wanted to follow the New Testament command to listen to those who made accusations against him, according to an email sent from David Waller, administrative director of the Advanced Training Institute to families involved in the ministry.
“To give his full attention to this objective, Mr. Gothard has resigned as president of the Institutes in Basic Life Principles, its Board of Directors, and its affiliated entities,” Waller’s email said.
Why didn't he listen to complaints in the past? Never, ever underestimate the power of bloggers. TWW salutes Recovering Grace for their tenacity. Maybe this is the reason our emailer was upset. This stuff cannot be swept under the carpet of "don't give bad reports" any longer.
SBC Insider, Baptist 21, Expresses Concerns About Steven Furtick and Elevation Church
Well, this is interesting. Except for churches which accept women pastors and elders, many SBC leaders studiously avoid criticizing their fellow brethren. This even involves churches with issues in dealing with pedophilia but that is a rant for another day. Heck, the SBC even avoids critiquing outsiders who give money to the SBC like CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.
So, when the Reformed Baptist group, Baptist 21, openly critiques Steven Furtick, we take notice. It is interesting that the two of the signees of this letter are Jonathan and Nathan Akin, sons of Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Seminary.
Elevation Church is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention although TWW bets a number of members have no idea that they are "Baptist." Most "hipster" Baptist churches are eliminating Baptist from their name. Could it be that Furtick, once semi-aligned with the Neo-Calvinist crowd, is perceived as having drifted from the fold?
Please read the full statement. You will have to click on the link within that post. Here is a brief excerpt:
Note: Before we released this article we sent it to Elevation church with the hope of opening dialogue about these concerns and learning from Elevation church and Pastor Furtick more about the things of which we were concerned. It has now been nearly a week and we have not heard back from them.)
The evangelical world is buzzing with concerns about the practices of Elevation Church and Pastor Steven Furtick (Click here for one article). Let us begin by saying that we are grateful for every good thing that God has done through Pastor Furtick and Elevation Church. Their zeal to see lost people saved is truly wonderful.
Repeated statements about the authority of pastor Furtick’s vision from God seems to communicate a pope-like role for the pastor (contra 1 Peter 5). The Elevation Code seems to have no place for the Priesthood of the Believers; instead, the priesthood seems to lie with the Visionary alone. Elevation Code 4 states, “We are united under one vision: Elevation is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven. We will aggressively defend our unity and that vision.” This is quite problematic for two reasons among others: 1) The Scriptures indicate that all Christians can hear from God and know his plans for the church as outlined in the Bible. 2) We don’t need a priest to mediate these things to us because there is One Mediator (1 Tim 2:5).
Is Steven Furtick a Cult Leader?
I love it when someone else asks this question since we get into trouble when we do. In a post, Why is Steven Furtick Acting Like a Cult Leader, Kelly Givens at Crosswalk explores the issue. Here is an excerpt.
Of this, Matthew Paul Turner writes, “While the grownups are listening to Pastor Steven preach, the little ones are in Sunday school learning about “unity.” I actually cringed when I saw this. Not even the fundamentalist church I was raised in featured coloring pictures of our pastor. There’s nothing good or holy or trustworthy about this kind of b.s. It’s dangerous religion. It’s the kind of evangelical brainwashing that all of us should be calling out. This should make us angry. Because its wrong. And because it’s not Christianity.”
Several bloggers are also sharing this info-graphic produced by Elevation Church that includes the following statements:
1. We serve a Lead Pastor who seeks and hears from God.
3. We serve a Lead Pastor we can trust.
7. We serve a Lead Pastor who pours into us spiritually and professionally.
16. We serve a Lead Pastor who goes first.
Pruitt writes, “This is frightening stuff. We have a Lord who came not to be served but to serve (Matt 20:28). And yet at Elevation it is plain that "Pastor Steven" is the boss who expects to be served…I have not read language like that since the last thing I read about North Korea. Why would a church allow such cult-like manipulation?
The Authority of the Local Church Coming Soon to a Parachurch Group Near You
The Deebs want to be the first to issue an "observation and warning." A number of the "Right Type™" of local churches (in this case, those who endorse 9 Marks) are advocating that parachurch ministries need to be "under the authority" of the local church. Oddly, some of this thinking was first advocated by Bill Gothard which is a bit embarrassing given the recent dustup….
So, being the adorable prophets™ that we are, we make the following prediction. Local parachurch groups such as CRU, InterVarsity, Bible Study Fellowship, Precepts, etc. will be pressured to align their groups with a "particular local church." Those who refuse to do so will find themselves on the wrong end of competition and, as we have demonstrated, some of these megas have dollars to throw around.
Now, what might that look like? Take CRU. Suppose they have a Bible study night on college campuses. The Right Type of Local Church™ may start Bible studies on the campus on the exact same night. Remember, you read it here first. (Now, we are not saying that we have gotten reports of this happening or anything like that…)
Keri Folmar, wife of John Folmar, the pastor of the 9 Marks church in Dubai (UCCD) wrote a TGC post on women's Bible studies. Just in case you have forgotten, this is the church featured in this TWW post My, My Dubai which should help you to get what is going on at Hotel Dubai. We are sitting on other stories from this region. Dee is chomping at the bit to do all sorts of posts with titles like "Jai Alai in Dubai," "The Guys From Dubai," and "Bye, Bye Dubai" but alas we must wait.
Here is an excerpt.
Not all Bible study is church-based. Outreach-oriented Bible studies in a neighborhood, school, or workplace can bear much fruit. However, if you want to see exponential spiritual growth in women, keep your Bible study under the authority of a local church. Women in a local church sit under the same preaching of God's Word, so they are already becoming united in their theology. When a difficult question arises they come at it from the same foundation and can check their conclusions with pastors and elders. Those elders also provide oversight and advice about materials and leadership, as they care for women's souls.
Note carefully an assumption with no statistics. Exponential spiritual growth is only seen in context of the local church. Now, let's watch the right™ blogs. It will now become the standard to say "exponential growth only happens in the context of the local church sponsored Bible studies". This mantra will be taught and disseminated.
The other interesting assumption is that you, woman, need your pastors and elders to help you with difficult questions. This is code for "no women will be allowed" to help you with difficult questions because women are "not allowed" to answer" difficult questions."™ They can't "care for women's souls"™ either. Good night!
Is the New Legalism called the "Freedom to Obey?"
At TGC, Jen Wilkin penned Has Failure Become a Virtue? In this post, she posits that people are rejoicing in their sin when they discuss it in a certain manner. She seems to imply that when Jesus said to "Go and sin no more," He must have believed that it was possible. Of course, the earliest manuscripts do not contain this portion of Scripture. But even if they did, it is evident to me that Jesus knew that she would go and sin more.
Wilkins claims that
“My life strategy for today: fail, repent, repeat.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it? These sorts of statements comprise a growing body of commentary that finds the Law of the Bible to be a crushing burden, not just for the unbeliever, but for the believer as well.
She claims the following
The gospel sets us free from sin, but it does more than that. It sets us free to obey (Rom 6:16). And what are we to obey? The Law, that once gave death but now gives freedom. So, don’t miss this: behavior modification should absolutely follow salvation. It just occurs for a different reason than it does in the life of the unbeliever, as the outworking of a changed heart.
When Peter says we have spent enough time living as the pagans do, surely he means that it is time to stop disobeying and begin obeying. Paul tells us that grace teaches us to say no to ungodly passions, not merely to repent when we fail to say no. He goes on to say that we are redeemed, not from the Law, but from lawlessness (disregard for the Law).
If, as John attests, all sin is lawlessness (disregard for the Law), ought we not to love the Law and meditate on it day and night, as those who desire deeply to cease sinning? When Jesus says “Go, and sin no more,” don’t we think he means it?
She is correct when she says that we should not live a life of ecstatic disobedience. But, she also failed to discuss Paul who viewed his sins in this way in Romans 7:19 (NIV-Gateway)
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.
Paul got it. We will continue to sin and we will continue to seek forgiveness. I do not believe that most Christians are ecstatic over their sin and disobedience. They are ecstatic over the great grace which has resulted in the forgiveness of sins. We do not need to live like many people in certain ministries loved by Calvinistas. Such people live in constant condemnation. Their sins are dissected and pointed out by both pastors and sin hounds who relish "making observations."
I am ecstatic but I do not rejoice in my sin. I rejoice in a God who knew I would continue to sin and provided me a means for forgiveness and a way to go forward. It's called grace, a word which is getting bad press in certain circles these days. I am free. I want to do what is right but I know that many times I will fail. And I can be at rest in His grace and this gives me great joy.
Many self righteous leaders point out the sins of others; sins with which they do not struggle or with which they struggle and no one knows. I am concerned that there will be a new teaching that goes something like this.
"You are free to obey and you will obey if you are truly a Christian. And if you fail in the sins that I, well known leader claim are bad, then you may not be saved. If you are really regenerate,™ you are free to obey, so obey."
This sounds like warmed over legalism to me. Give me the freedom of grace any day.
Well, had enough? I think I have done enough talking for one day. In fact these dogs seem to agree.
Lydia's Corner: Jeremiah 33:1-34:22 1 Timothy 4:1-16 Psalm 89:1-13 Proverbs 25:23-24
I have to ask. Is the dog in that video really making that sound, or is it dubbed?
I think it is real.But I am gullible at times.
Does 9 Marks advocate that parachurch ministries need to be “under the authority” of the local church?
THE NINE MARKS
Biblical understanding of the Gospel
Biblical understanding of conversion
Biblical understanding of evangelism
Biblical understanding of membership
Biblical church discipline
Promotion of Christian discipleship and growth
Biblical understanding of church leadership
“Fail, repent, repeat.”
What a depressing and exhausting way to live. One of my least favorite Chrsitianese phrases is, “I’m not worthy.” When we were in church it crept up in sermons and songs. I could never sing those words. “For God so loved the world…” One of the very first verses we have kids memorize, yet the words seem to mean nothing to someone who ascribes to the above mantra.
And to think that five years ago I didn’t think there would be enough to write about in the Christian realm… Now we can’t keep up!
Mark Dever and Mark Driscoll; very, very different people.
Dever grew up in rural Kentucky where he was an avid reader. He began reading sections of the World Book Encyclopedia and the Harvard Classics before he was ten years old and based upon his reading and thinking considered himself an agnostic in his younger years. Later rereading and thinking about the Gospels and the change that he saw in the life of Jesus’ disciples led him to become a Christian.
Dever earned the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Duke University, Master of Divinity, summa cum laude, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Master of Theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Doctor of Philosophy in ecclesiastical history from Cambridge University.
Not sure of the justification of taking Jesus’ imperative, “Go, and sin no more.” as being so generalized–applying to every possible sin she might ever commit. It seems more likely to me that He’s simply commenting and instructing the woman based on the issue immediately at hand: the adultery the woman had committed. If this is true, He was simply telling her to stop committing adultery. That seems doable. 🙂
Wow. I used to struggle with teaching like this. The antidote:
Really…the whole chapter (or book) is dealing with the idea that the Law is not the way to righteousness and we cannot live by the Law and by the Grace of Christ at the same time…..
Soo…..having grown up under legalism and seeing how it never works (this blogs writes story after story that testifies to that truth), I choose Grace……
BTW…a Jewish friend once asked, “What’s wrong with you Christians? Don’t you know as Gentiles, you were never under the Law?” Hmm….Acts 15 comes to mind….. 😉
@ Seneca “j” Griggs:
I believe it does. We have written on their interest in local church authority.
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
What about love God and love your neighbor? Naw, what church needs that
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
It does seem that way.
“Mark 9: A healthy parachurch ministry seeks accountability relationships with the church. . . here is a way for parachurch ministries to be protected by the church: if more parachurch ministries sought accountability relationships from a church, both for individuals and for the organization as a whole, they would find themselves protected from the dangers implicit in marks 2 through 8.”
To quote that great theologian Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?”
@ Seneca “j” Griggs:
Fun Fact: Mark Dever and I were students at Duke during the same time frame. I was one year ahead of him, but I never got to know him, even though we both lived on East Campus.
It’s not surprising that these groups want parachurch ministries under someone’s thumb, because only so many people will put up with hearing “Well, a woman can teach a bible study on campus, but can’t say the same words from behind a pulpit during an official service.” If they make the bible study an official church event, then they can start limiting what women can do.
To bad Gothard’s ministry was never restrained by a local church.
When we were members of a family-integrated church (relevant doctrine: women may not speak during the service, not even to give announcements during the service or give prayer requests), one of the elders wanted to sometimes have people praying in small groups at the end of the service, instead of several men praying for the group about the various prayer requests. For some reason, the whispered prayers of the women in small groups were okay, but not if they had a microphone. One day, something happened (I don’t remember what) and he wanted the women to pray in normal volumes (maybe most of the men had gone to another room), so he announced “We’ll consider the service over” even though it wasn’t, because of people’s obsession with the verse about women “keeping silent” in church.
Okay, Mr. Hoppy helped me remember the situation. A member had just been officially put under church discipline and the elders invited all the men (and any women interested) to go in another room to pray with the man. The elder I mentioned wanted the women and children remaining in the main room to pray, too, so he announced the service was over, to keep the women from “sinning” by speaking out loud in a service.
Another time, all the men except Mr. Hoppy and one other were at a retreat. The other man gave the sermon and Mr. Hoppy was the only one able to request hymns or give prayer requests. (Women would be expected to pass him a note, if need be.) Since the service usually included at least an hour of open-mic time for sharing or praying (aside from a 60-90 minute sermon and singing), it wound up being unusually short. If all the men were at the retreat, I guess they’d have either canceled the service or asked a boy to run it.
So glad I’m out of there.
If I read those links on TGC, did I just put myself under the teaching of a women? I’m so, so confused…
I disagree w/the Bible Study tips – especially #1
Yeah tangents can happen, but sometimes they allow you so much opportunity to serve others in the study and help bear their burdens. The Holy Spirit oftentimes does not have the same agenda as you do.
I do think she does have a good point about how relying on video studies can stunt your ability to study on your own.
Excellent point! I guess the Neo-Cal men are discouraged (perhaps forbidden) from reading articles on the TGC website written by their sisters in Christ. 😉
I am updating today’s post with a statement from Mars Hill Church’s Board of Advisors. Same old, same old…Mark is just peachy.
Hmmmm. Is there anything that states who comprises this BOAA? Might it be similar to those who “oversee” Furtick? I wonder if the “outside counsel” that recommended Result Source are also “counselling” Furtick. Just curious.
This line jumped out at me:
Acrimonious = angry and bitter
Doesn’t matter, one lackey’s the same as another.
Look at this!
The Executive Elders oversee and manage the day-to-day affairs of the church as a standing committee and first-among-equals within the Board of Advisors and Accountability.
Our current Executive Elders are Pastors Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner.
FULL COUNCIL OF ELDERS
All of the pastors at Mars Hill (paid and unpaid) comprise the Full Council, which meets annually. The Full Council approves the slate of nominees for the Board of Advisors & Accountability, and changes to the doctrinal statement.
BOARD OF ELDERS
Advisory committee of Mars Hill elders selected by the Executive Elders to provide recommendations to the Board of Advisors & Accountability.”
Well, lookey here…
Mark Driscoll thanked Steven Furtick on Facebook for letting him preach to the 'Elevators' a couple years ago.
Driscoll's message was titled: Continuum of Forgiveness to Bitterness, and it was part of a series called How to Hug a Vampire: Loving the people who suck the life out of you.
Definitely birds of a feather…
Or maybe just “easily misled”?
Janet Mefferd is hearing reports of staff resignations at Mars Hill.
Here’s a question…if Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman believe so much in the 9 Marks…why didn’t they practice it with Der Humble One from Covenant Life Church? (You know CJ Mahaney) If the believe in 9 Marks so much why did CJ flee his “local church” and hide behind the skirts of Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman? Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever….do you not believe that the likes of yourself or Der Humble One do not apply to CJ Mahaney? Please explain Jonathan Leeman if you’re reading this blog…
Ha. Lead pastor at my former A29 church used to harp on parachurch ministries all the time and how they need to be under the authority of the “local church.” I guess that’s a “thing”. They all spew the same nonsense.
A little off topic, but I thought I’d include this: I have found the MD plagiarism thing to be really hilarious, because the same A29 church I was in plagiarized Driscoll in their member’s booklet. I remember reading through it and finding word-for-word unattributed MD sermons written out. I was familiar with MD’s sermons because I was chugging the kool-aid at the time, and I had listened to most everything on the Mar’s Hill website, at one point. At the time I figured the plagiarism was probably okay, because they were doing God’s work. Sigh… the things I let slide by without questioning… 🙁
If I am reading the MH governance statement correctly, Driscoll, Bruskas, and Turner are a part of the BOAA. They are also a part of the “Full Council of Elders” who approves the nominees for the BOAA. Driscoll is still running the show, he’s just trying to make it sound like he has accountability.
I guess we can call CJ Mahaney Der Humble Blackmailer. It was nothing…all he did was practice “Gospel Centered Blackmail” :-p
Remember… it’s “Gospel Centered Plagiarism” with this crowd. The plagiarism was foreordained by God….so Mark Driscoll was just following God’s will when he plagiarized DA Carson.
This is very serious stuff. When big names like these guys sin publicly the ramifications run very wide. Check out this story from the Religious News Service:
Alexandria, March 7 — Gaither Music announced today that due to public confusion resulting from the recent scandal in another highly visible ministry, popular Christian singer Bill Gaither has legally changed his name. Gaither said in the statement, “Since the Gothard story broke people have stopped coming to my concerts and bookings have begun to dry up. In order to avoid all appearance of impropriety and so as not to scandalize any weaker brethren I have legally changed my name. It has been a tedious and expensive process, but a scandal free reputation is well worth it. In honor of the great nineteenth century Scottish preacher, I will henceforth be known as C.J. M’Cheyne.”
@ Maynard Ferguson:
🙂 Do you have a link to that article?
Dr. James Duncan Responds to Mars HIll Statement. Read it-its good.
Meanwhile, Dee is having trouble keeping up……
Maynard Ferguson wrote:
I needed a laugh tonight!!
With all the new business models churches are following, multi site churches, multi church networks, corporate-like mission statements and extra codes of operation (a la IX Marks), I think the lines between evangelical church and parachurch organizations are becoming mighty blurry. In fact, the parachurch organization I am involved with is MUCH more accountable, transparent and evangelical (and has more local humble servant leadership) than the church I just left.
The idea that this organization should fall under the supervision of a local church is just plain stupid. Laughable, too.
If he doesn’t have them waiting on him hand and foot while jiggling their jugs in string bikinis like L Ron Hubbard’s “Commodore’s Assistants”, he isn’t even trying.
The drool dripping down his chin into a puddle on the floor wasn’t a clue?
See Elron’s “Commodore’s Assistants” above.
In honor of the Deebs taking on Driscoll, Furtick, Gothard, AND 9 Marks in a single post, I believe this video is illustrative:
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
“Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus” by Jonathan Leeman
I remember a phase several of the churches I attended back in the late 90’s went through: the “everything must fall under the authority of the local church” phase. It was a theological idea that grew like mushrooms in the rank and file. We all questioned almost everything that Christians did, and always asked, “is what you’re doing under the authority of the local church?”
It was holy war against “parachurch” organizations, private and personal ministries, seminaries, you name it. If a church member ministered to people out of his/her own gifting and love in his heart, the elders were sure to conduct a hostile takeover of the ministry (and unwittingly drive it into the ground, leaving the individual who started it disillusioned). I saw a number of personal ministries wiped out by this idea.
I knew a musician making a record who would not do a recording session in the studio without at least a deacon there to oversee. Everything was like this. Every detail of life was fair game to the church leadership. But what it did was create grotesquely overburdened church leaders who were so busy with micromanaging other people’s lives that it left them little time to take care of their own. I knew a deacon who resigned at his church because this was destroying his family and he needed to attend to them. His reward? “Well, deacons don’t step DOWN, they step UP to more responsibility to positions such as elder.” His whole family was shunned, including his kids, simply because he cared about them.
If you are hearing this in your church, take my advice and resist it while you can. Micromanaging authoritarians are waiting in the wings.
Outstanding! So damn funny.
Seneca "j" Griggs wrote:
Here’s another great post from him “Celebrity pastors are selling their pulpits for commercial gain”. You know your dealing with a megalomaniac when when the pulpit is surrounded by ads for their latest book – no cross, no alter. That’s blasphemy of the highest order – “Don’t worship God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, worship ME!”
DEB, were you in womyn’s studies or a stats girl for Coach K? smile
This is exactly what the (abusive) Adventist who tried to bully my mother and our entire homeschool group into submission said. She seriously thought she could stop sinning and that if she sinned deliberately, the Atonement didn’t cover it. So yeah, I don’t like seeing similarities between mainstream evangelical stuff, and SDAs.
Dee, go read ACFJ’s series on John Piper. It may be waaaaaaay worse than you think, esp. when the phrases “future justification” and “unmerited, conditional future grace” show up.
Also, once when my mother told a Neo-Calvinist-inclined lady she knows that if she sins, she knows God’s grace will cover it, that lady asked her if she was being “presumptuous.” Knowing the Atonement took and that you’re saved because of it is now “presumption”…? The mind is boggled.
And BTW Dee, it was my blog’s first birthday yesterday so do I get chocolate? 😉
Driscoll removes NYT Bestseller reference from his bio. Scrub-a-dub-dub.
^^^Happy Birthday to youuuu. Happy Birthday to youuu. Happy Birthday Scarlet Letterrrrrs. Happy Birthday to youuuu^^^
Hester, as your resident goddess of all things related to chocolate and baking, I would be honored to mail you extra chocolate chip cookies from my engagement party that is being held tomorrow. Or you could simply go to my famous recipe under the cookie section on this blog. Congratulations on the milestone.
I don’t know if you saw my reply to you on the other thread. I found something that might be helpful (I hope.)
@ BTDT & Mandy:
Well, I already gave myself cake… 😉
@ Lucy Pevensie:
I promise you, it will happen. Now, what will happen when there are three types of Right Local Churches?™ They will have secret meetings to determine who gets what. Not that I am saying this goes on or anything….
Then one day, Right Church A will get miffed at Right Church B and there will be a schism. Fights will ensue and it will slowly go back to the way things were before this all happened.
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
You mean by churches like SGM, etc.?
@ Rafiki: Thank you for the good laugh. My pugs were perplexed, however. Pugs usually do not have the much energy. They also admit it. That the IQ level of most pugs is a bit lacking is well demonstrated by a pug trying to take on a SWAT Team and dog. No gosh darn sense. But, they make up for it by being the "clowns" of the dog kingdom.
This is definitely worth reading!
The Mega-Pastor and the Best Seller List – a parable
Let me say this again. The Deebs have been slogging away in the blog trenches for a number of years. We first raised a stink about some of these Neo-Cal leaders prior starting this blog. Deb's former pastor jumped down her throat when she brought up Mahaney in particular and said something to the effect that all these “famous” Christian leaders support him so what is wrong with you!!!!
Guess what, former pastor? You owe her a big apology. She was smarter than you and all your seminary friends.
We are so grateful that both Dr. James Duncan and Dr. Warren Throckmorton have appeared on the scene.
We wrote about Duncan’s encounter with Perry Noble’s church awhile ago. It was the most despicable case of church mafioso tactics that I had even seen. Here it is in his own words.
God used that experience to spur Duncan on to looking into these thugs who masquerade as pastors. That particular post changed forever how I view these sorry excuses for pastors. And that is why I was not surprised when we got threats. They are a bunch of goons.
Dr Throckmorton has a different story, and we hope to highlight his many accomplishments in a post shortly.
The two of us salute these two men who have added much research and gravitas to the bizarre world of megachurch pastors/thugs.
@ Seneca “j” Griggs:
She was an English major at Duke and has more brains than most of your admired Christian leaders.
Yes- send address and favorite type….. Awesome!
What a crock. They have declared that they are the Right Local Church.™
What a pile of poopy theology. This is what is going around these days.
Congrats! That's a huge accomplishment.
After this revelation about rigged book sales, I am left asking this question:
Was there anything REAL about 'Real Marriage'?
@ Steve Scott:
This reminds me of a Mormom family I am acquainted with. When their children were in high school they were involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities. But the parents never attended any of the events because they were 'too busy' with church activities. I was really surprised when I discovered this because I thought Mormons were 'family first'. I am no longer a christian or a church goer but growing up the hierarchy was god, then family, then the rest of the world including church.
Oh, I don’t doubt you! When I called the notion stupid and laughable, I was referring to the authoritarians’ idea that it should be that way. Their going after it will not surprise me. What a massive misdirection of energy.
By the way, I am halfway through a book recommended by someone herein, Austin Fischer’s Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed. I find myself smiling, nodding, yes!-ing as I read. Fischer gives voice and validation to the things that troubled me (and nearly derailed my faith) during 5 recent years in an authoritarian, Neo-Cal church. Just wanted to mention that title again for those who might have missed it the first time around.
TWW, where I come for the news and thought, but I stay for the Star Trek references. ^_^
@ Lucy Pevensie:
I need to read that book! Here's the link to Amazon for anyone who might be interested:
In the interest of full disclosure, TWW does not receive any kind of kickback for promoting this book. 😉
Lucy Pevensie wrote:
Second the recommend of this book. Candid thoughts on why he left the Calvin fold……good read.
Thanks for the shout-out, Deb!
Love the title of your blog and especially the photo!
Good read…..and sad things is, the people in the pews will think this is “okay.”
Ha. Yes. The recent Mars Hill statement ends with, “We deeply appreciate their endurance through false accusation, their submission to authority, and their humility where regrettable decisions from the past have come to light. …. We are confident that God is preparing Pastor Mark and the ministry of Mars Hill Church for a great harvest of souls in the days ahead.”
The fact that we are even discussing the illegal (plagiarism) and unethical (secret book scheme designed to evade the NY times best seller detection system), shows that we are getting in the way of God’s will. Surely all of this is just an attack on our parts to interfere with a great ministry.
I found an interesting article published on Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2013/02/22/heres-how-you-buy-your-way-onto-the-new-york-times-bestsellers-list/) from early 2013. They interview an author who was tempted to use ResultSource. They say, “Kaplan expresses significant reservations about taking part in what is essentially a laundering operation aimed at deceiving the book-buying public into believing a title is more in-demand than it is.”
For all the MD cronies that say “everyone is doing it,” well, not everyone is. And most people can see that it isn’t an ethical practice, especially when being funded by a church.
They sure are good at adding burdens to the backs aren’t they?
Tim Fall’s parable blog post ends with a ponder about what this best seller achievement tactic is called.
I find myself wondering why it isn’t called fraud.
Seriously, it sounds like that helper company maintains thousands of false identities across numerous states for the purpose of gerrymandering sales figures to deceive the public. How is that legal? These guys are no better than the scammers that send letters to senior citizens informing them they’ve won a big prize and just have to remit a small processing fee to claim it. Slimy, sleezy and very very far from the glory of God.
Just read the Forbes article. This jumped out at me.
So a secular business disapproves, but Driscoll and his goons hire them. What a great Christian witness…
That reminds me of one of the comments from Tim’s blog post:
‘”What does it profit a man if he gains a spot on the bestseller list, yet compromises his testimony and integrity?” I forget what verse that’s from but it’s somewhere in the New Testament.’
Lucy Pevensie wrote:
Haven’t read Tim Fall’s article yet, but I suggest “legal laundering scheme.”
Here's a question…
To what degree do we hold those who endorsed Real Marriage accountable?
Some of the endorsers are:
And how about those who recommended the book?
From Dee’s post:
Pure speculation on my part, but… What are the odds this e-mail is from the guy on Twitter who goes by the handle “paperhymn”? He went back and forth a few times with Julie Anne Smith, but he seems to really have it in for our blog queens here. The way he was tweeting, you’d think Dee and Deb had kicked his poor dog or something.
Or, even worse, criticized his favourite Man-o-Gawd. 😉
Not to start some kind of campaign against the guy. He just makes no secret of his contempt for TWW.
Comment of the day as far as I'm concerned.
Thanks, KD. YOu might like my follow-up bit too: 3 Top Ways for Mark Driscoll to Spend $200,000. Short but to the point I hope!
Driscoll made headlines in the New York Times in 2009.
He definitely should have listened to those who were questioning him…
Who Would Jesus Smack Down?
Deb, I wish I could say a lot of thought went into the blog title, but it didn’t!
re: article published on Forbes — an author who was tempted to use ResultSource
“Kaplan expresses significant reservations about taking part in what is essentially a laundering operation aimed at deceiving the book-buying public into believing a title is more in-demand than it is.”
For all the MD cronies that say “everyone is doing it,” well, not everyone is. And most people can see that it isn’t an ethical practice, especially when being funded by a church.
amazing. per my comment on previous post,
why is it that the hindus, Buddhists, and moslems I know place a higher value on things like kindness, honesty, and integrity than many Christians? I believe that God & holy spirit enter in to the life of an individual upon the invitation. So, why the inferior behavior & morality?
it really makes me question Christianity’s product which Christians are selling, when the performance is so lousy. it’s embarrassing.
I know God makes a difference in the here & now… but I really wonder why Christians are sometimes the lousiest people of all.
(& Justin Dean has the nerve to call it “above reproach”… of course, his handlers in hiding sent him out & told him to say it. Mr. Dean, you need a new job somewhere else. I’m sure you’re better than this.)
Thank you! I did miss your comment; life is chaotic here trying to prepare for the engagement party. I have been doing a lot of research and learning about their belief system but its incredibly frustrating because of all the things that don’t mesh with what my Bible says. Salt Lake City itself is actually a good place for non-mormons to live but utah county is pretty much impossible. I actually have a lot more empathy for atheists and agnostics who engage in dialogue about our faith – we all just want to be able to ask questions and learn without feeling forced to “believe”. I did have one very earnest missionary tell me that I shouldn’t be drinking caffeine so I pointed to her chocolate doughnut and mentioned the caffeine content in chocolate. She backed off immediately. 🙂
“To what degree do we hold those who endorsed Real Marriage accountable?”
Certainly. But at the same time, some of them are just being who they are. it’s like expecting a snake not to slither.
@ elastigirl: Oh no! The snake analogy… Steven Furtick suddenly came to mind. 🙁
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m very wary of the constant references to Bill Gothard as “79 and single.” His singleness is no excuse for his alleged misconduct. If the accounts are indeed correct, and I have no reason to doubt them, Bill Gothard needs to permanently retire from public ministry, make amends to those women and to his board of directors, and publicly repent of teachings which are legalistic or contrary to Scripture. The board of directors should also prayerfully consider whether it’s time to shut down the ministry.
I’m also concerned that the Gothard scandal will make it even more difficult to be single, especially an older single man, in the American evangelical church. Many of us who’ve never married find ourselves out of place in family-centric congregations. Furthermore, Christian singles who struggle with relational or sexual brokenness find it difficult enough to find healing in a Christian context without being harshly judged or falsely accused. The Gothard scandal will likely make it even worse.
Re the freedom to obey? That is just bread and butter Wesleyan Holiness teaching. Nothing new, nothing earthshaking.
Many, including many in the Catholic church also, believe that will indeed give the grace to obey.
And indeed many today do seem to stop at Romans 7 and not go on and read Romans 8.
If one’s theology is indeed sin, repent, repeat, one might want to read Wesley, Adam Clarke’s commentary, etc.
Just a thought.
Make the obey read “believe that God will indeed give the grace to obey.”
I agree and now wish I didn’t say it. I shall adjust it immediately. Please accept my apology.
As we are speaking about 9 Marks I would love to have Jonathan Leeman offer commentary or explain what I have written below. Jonathan…please entertain me. We both live in the Washington, D.C. area I would be happy to hear you explain why 9 Marks is so important in light of CJ Mahaney fleeing to Capital Hills Baptist Church.
Mark Dever for all the talk about “The Local Church”, church membership, discipline, etc…has shown all that to be “meaningless” (To quote in the spirit of Ecclesiastes). All that 9 Marks has stood for, advocated, beaten its drum, stood on a chair in the Christian town square and proclaimed – is all meaningless.
Because when Mark Dever let CJ Mahaney take refuge at Capital Hill Baptist he VIOLATED most – IF NOT ALL (depending on interpretation) – what the 9 Marks ministry stands for. Like a fairy in Disneyland with a wave of his wand Mark Dever did the following:
1. He showed that you don’t have to be a member of “The Local Church” when he let Mahaney flee Covenant Life Church. Mahaney’s membership at CLC is fluid and ultimately null and void. Church membership means nothing.
2. Mark Dever showed that his preaching is fluid and not truth. How can you teach all the claims about church membership in the NT including Corinthians, Titus, etc.. AND ADVOCATE THAT AS TRUTH FROM GOD’S WORD ITSELF, and then wave all that truth for a person fleeing another church? Mark Dever threw the Bible under the bus and shows why he has no respect for the Word of God. Quite the Pastor eh?
3. Mark Dever violated “The Gospel” in showing that it is in flux and fluid depending on who it applies to. I, and everyone here would be subject to the decrees of “The Gospel” but Mark Dever waves his wand as to how its applicable, just because you are in the inside circle or he has a financial interest in seeing it succeed.
4. Mark Dever violated Leadership and showed why he is an EPIC FAIL as a church member, pastor, a man, and as someone who calls himself a man of God. His action showed why he is a fraud. His leadership when it comes to crisis shows why he is as strong as a piece of linguini fresh out of hot water. Yes he has that kind of spine. Giving someone refuge on suspicious circumstances shows that he doesn’t know how to lead. He can’t make hard decisions when its crucial. Basically as a man Mark Dever has no balls.
5. Discipline as Mark Dever has taught is null and void. He let CJ Mahaney flee discipline and gave him refuge. Through his subjective action Mark Dever has shown why church discipline is subjective, and not universally applicable.
6. Mark Dever also showed why discipleship is not universally practiced either. Mahaney could have been coached, taught to stay at CLC and discipled in place. Just the opposite has happened. Discipleship doesn’t universally apply either.
In closing, I also offer my analysis. Mark Dever showed that the 9 Marks Ministry is a fraud, and subjective and that there is no such thing as universal truth. Even “The Gospel” that Mark Dever proclaims has no truth as shown by his actions. Jonathan Leeman…care to respond?
Well in all likelihood Deb since it was plagiarized from Hustler what do you expect? 😛
Jonathan Leeman should get Vladimir Putin into the Capital Hill Baptist Church intern program. NOW that’s a man who loooooooooooooooooooves authority! Putin would make a great 9 Marks pastor. I can see him writing a blog post “How we do church discipline in Crimea” But think of all the possibilities that exist for Jonathan Leeman. Maybe he can also reach into totalitarian states such as North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe, etc… for the next batch of interns.
Remember God’s sovereignty at work! 😛
Hmmmm….maybe Mark’s mistreatment of Grace? I’d say THAT was real.
Speaking of Jen Wilken…do you guys remember this work by her right after the Newtown, CT massacre?
Quite the post for a Neo-Cal and tragedy. Remember how she write this about Adam Lanza?
“I have not pulled a trigger, but I have harmed my share of victims. The killer lies dead, but I live on to harm again.”
She’s capable of killing 27 people in an elementary school? I still think if she’s that capable of so much harm that she should turn herself into Dallas Police before we hear of a massacre in Texas by a Neo-Cal who is capable of such harm. 😛
She appears totally lost in total depravity.
Since Jen Wilken attends Matt Chandler’s church I have a question to ask. You’ve been touched by a brain tumor with your daughter as have I with my Dad. So I am not being flippant or mean in saying this….
But since God foreordains tragedy in this movement could it be said that Matt Chandler’s medical treatment showed that he does not believe God is sovereign? Could it be said that his treatment showed that he sinned in getting medical treatment? I thought that if you are a Neo-Cal that you should just submit to the hand you are dealt no matter what happens.
Well after I wrote on her blog that she should turn herself into Dallas Police and follow Romans 13 and Titus, my comments got deleted. (Grrrrr…..) But is she’s still capable of walking into an elementary school and killing 27 people then she needs to be removed from society.
Yum! Earl Grey! I get it loose leafed and put it in a tea ball to make it. 🙂
One of my favorite episodes of TNG, BTW. I can just see Crusher as she’s delivering that line.
(And, no, I haven’t had time to read the post yet. I’m at work. Hopefully, be able to read it and have some on-topic comments soon!)
It’s as real as this sheep I identify with. 🙂
Oops forgot link.
I agree with Challies. Ouch. That was not easy to say.
🙂 I can identify with that sheep, too. As well as this cat.
FURTHER UPDATES ON MARS HILL
Could using church funds to buy a spot on the NY TImes be illegal? Seems like it might be. Read this assessment by Dr Duncan. http://www.pajamapages.com/on-driscoll-its-called-inurement-and-its-probably-illegal/
@ Seneca "j" Griggs:
Seneca is right inasmuch as that is ostensibly what Mark Dever says he is promoting, and I am sure that Mr Dever believes he is genuinely doing so. However, I do remember a few alarm bells ringing in one or two sections of the book. Just my take.
I think your point is very well taken. I think I have mentioned my thoughts here on this blog or elsewhere before, but I believe what makes his singleness noteworthy is that even today on his web page, he insists he has just postponed marriage to devote himself to his ministry.
Being single is a perfectly legitimate choice to make in life. Then too, there are some folks who would like to be married but just haven’t found the right person. That is fine and churches should welcome everyone and enjoy their fellowship. But Gothard has put such an emphasis on family life, has not married while at the same time letting several young women over the years think he was considering it (isn’t that ‘defrauding’ them in Gothard terms?), and has reached the age of 79 and is STILL saying that he is only postponing marriage. That makes him being of single of interest to me whereas otherwise I would only see it as a personal choice.
The people responsible for the problems in Real Marriage are its authors, editors, and publishers. People who wrote book blurbs may have been asked to do so and they did. I’ve seen N. T. Wright write book blurbs for books where he’s said flatly he thinks the entire premise of the book is wrong. A book blurb/endorsement is not necessarily a sign of backing.
@ Marsha: not only that, he's spent decades dictating structures (and very confining they are, those roles) to those who are married.
His arrogance and presumption seem very great to me. And as a single person (middle-aged, never married, not entirely by choice but by circumstance) I do NOT believe he is representative or typical of older, unmarried people.
Kolya, I think the more you learn about Fever, the louder those alarm bells will become…
What? An endorsement, which is what a complimentary blurb is, is by definition a sign of backing. Or do these guys operate under some strange curse, a la Ella Enchanted, that deprives them of the ability to say “no”?
Two comments not approved including a rather wild one in which someone claims that they are finding fetuses of demon babies….you cannot make this stuff up.
I would never, ever put my name on any document or book without reading it first.
You mean you’re gonna just throw that out there and then walk away? 😉
You’re certainly not alone. Sarah Pulliam Bailey made that reference in the article she wrote for Religion News Service, and many others have picked up on it as well.
Nope. Simply not the case across the board. Negative press can be used to market as much as positive press. If none of you have read Wright’s blurb for Douglas Campbell’s The Deliverance of God then you can go look that up. Wright’s blurb speaks for itself. He considered Campbell’s whole approach problematic and wrong but wrote that he was impressed by the sheer length to which Campbell committed to the idea.
People can forget that negative reviews can be part of promotional materials, too. When Space ghost: Coast to Coast hit DVD they plastered the back cover with some of the nastiest pans of the show, which was the perfect marketing strategy for that show.
Yeh, I can’t help musing about that one. Is it someone pretending to be crazy, someone who is actually crazy, some kind of metaphor… I almost think I’d pay money for the backstory. Got to love the internet.
I have a question about this. If a lot of these parachurch groups put themselves under a church’s authority, say, a church that is gender complmentarian.
Would those churches demand that women cannot be leaders, teachers, or in positions of authority in parachurch groups?
One reason I wonder is that I read a book about a year ago that talked about different things, and one thing it mentioned is that a lot of women who are barred from using their skills, gifts, and talents in local churches opted to leave church to go serve in a parachurch group.
What happens to those women in the para groups if a church all the sudden demands that a para group enforce the same types of rules they expect in a church (such as, women cannot lead, teach, preach, and / or cannot be in authority over males)?
That would leave a lot of women with no place to go. Churches are already bad enough about limiting or excluding women, especially the singles and childless ones.
😆 I was just wondering the same thing! Maybe if I had seen your post first, I would not have posted mine above.
Are you sure there aren’t names on there like, Fluffy Driscoll, Rex Driscoll, Spot Driscoll, and Fido Driscoll? (Driscoll family pets) 🙂
I’ve read on ex fundamentalist Baptist sites that copying stuff is rife among Fundamentalist Baptist pastors, but to cover their rears, they use Psalm 50, “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
I guess the thinking is that everything belongs to God anyway, so it’s okay if they lift it from someone else.
@ Maynard Ferguson:
If that is so, I am glad that Gunther Gebel Williams isn’t alive today. He may have had to change his name to “Stumpy Tobaccochaw” or something. (“Gunther Gabel” looks and sounds vaguely like “Gothard,” after all.)
The “American Gothic” TV show will probably have to come up with a new name, too.
@ Seneca “j” Griggs:
So Mark is well versed in ecclesiastical history? All the better to take advantage of you, my dear.
Um, funny how these Neo-Cals are attempting to set themselves up as little popes. This whole idea of “authority” being given to the leaders only is a truly Catholic idea (Peter passing the office of pontiff on to his successor pope, generation after generation). What authority do they think the local church has that other leaders don’t? Seriously screwed up theology for such a well-read theologian.
BTW most Christians aren’t interested in allowing these Neo-Cals to become a Protestant authority. Try as they might, their inability to lead is rather glaring (CJ Mahaney was Driscoll’s ‘accountability mentor’ as well as Dever’s great friend), so much for 6 degrees of separation there. CJ has proven to be a disaster of a spiritual leader. Even Jesus said anyone who harmed a child ought to have a huge stone tied around his neck and be thrown in the sea. Mahaney somehow felt that forgiving abusers = excusing abusers, then set about to shield abusers from the law. It is truly pathetic when the secular Law offers more safety to a child victim then a spiritual body.
No, these guys are not worthy of being anyone’s leader. They have their eyes on control and one-upmanship. They are too concerned about worldly authority to be Spiritual leaders. In the Bible, Spiritual leaders were willing to die for their congregants. These leaders would chuck anyone out of their church who didn’t do what they wanted. These guys are more like corrupt, grasping medieval pontiffs and archbishops than spiritual leaders. Christians are no longer interested in these false claims to “authority”, there is no authority a Protestant leader has because he is in a church than another leader has who is in a campus ministry. Historically and Biblically, there is simply no claim to this notion.
And can teach these guys how to pull off big-time cronyism. They’re amateurs compared to Putin.
I can’t remember all the exact Bible verses, but in the New Testament, aren’t there parts that say God will discipline a Christian who remains in unrepentant, on-going sin? Isn’t there something in there about God disciplines the ones he loves, as a father might a child?
Happy blog birthday! I do sometimes read your blog, but I don’t think I’ve left comments there. I find your posts interesting.
I like that it took two SWAT team guys to wrangle the little guy from the scene – two of them. And that the pug even dared to take on the whole SWAT and a K9 twice as big as himself (or herself) in the first place.
I think parts of that book were plagiarized, too, making it even more fake.
Yep. I said much the same things as you did on a previous post when the Gothard story was first being discussed here. There are lots of married Christians, preachers and layman, who have affairs or who have other tawdry practices they dabble in.
Single adults aren’t the only ones who sexually sin at times, and some of us have actually been pretty clean in that area of life, certainly a lot cleaner than the married guys who are fooling around on their wives.
It is sad that she feels that way, and strange. My morals have remained pretty steady, even in the midst of a faith crisis where I’m not sure if I’m Christian or agnostic.
Other than my language going a little more salty, I’m not much different. I’m not going to shoot up a bunch of kids at a playground, my goodness.
I sometimes suspect that with some Christians (especially the Neo Calvinists) if they are not taking a perverse sense of pride out of declaring themselves the worst of sinners? Do they think bragging about what horrible people they are makes them sound more Pauline, godly, or humble? In my view, it makes them sound conceited in a warped way.
I remember when I was first participating on this blog (or lurking, I can’t remember) several people here raised that very point, but maybe in regards to a different person. They wondered why some Calvinist guy they used to know went in for an operation to get a heart (I think it was) problem fixed.
The person wanted to know, if Neo Calvinists believe God chooses everything that happens before we are even born, if God makes every calamity happen, and it’s all to God’s glory, isn’t going in for heart surgery, or whatever medical procedure, flipping the bird at God’s sovereignty and glory? I think the people I am summarizing here put it much better than I did, though.
That is weird, because a lot of the blurbs I see by other people on the backs of books gush about how great said book is and how masterful, insightful, and awesome the book’s author is. Some of the blurbs sound like endorsements (to me). Or, are those glowing comments on the back cover something else? I may be confusing those with what you are talking about.
For some reason, your post triggered a memory I have of a news story, from I think that late 1990s. Some movie studio or movie critic – someone connected to the movies! – got into trouble for writing one or more movie reviews, and it got leaked that they had not seen the movie, but their review was used on TV ads and print ads for the film.
If I am not mistaken, I think one incident was where a professional movie critic saw his name used below a bogus one liner on a movie poster he saw. He had never seen the movie, but this line he had never written, something like, “This is the world’s greatest movie, go see it now!!,” with his name below that was on it.
This reminds me of all the phoniness by the mega church preachers and their books they are selling and promoting.
I was trying to find you a link about that, and I came across this about another similar story,
“Sony Pays For Fake Reviews – CBS News” (from 2002).
Come to think of it, that may be one of the very stories I had in mind. Here’s more: David Manning (fictitious writer)
Congrats, Hester. I still laugh about my assumption of your age. A compliment to your material!
Yes and yes, but in context my mom wasn’t referring to ongoing unrepentant sin, just one-off slipups. Discipline also doesn’t equal it not being covered by the Atonement. Otherwise we’d be saying that Jesus died for your sins but not that one.
Sorry, but no. Certainly, if a line is cherry picked out of an otherwise critical review, that’s different, but if someone is asked the publisher or author to write something for the purpose of promoting the book and he does so with the knowledge that it will be used for that purpose, he is backing the book. Which is why it is called an endorsement, as your original post termed it.
What happens is they fall in line or join organizations that don’t treat them like second class citizens. One of the risks of working for even a nominally religiously affiliated organization are the periodic changes in doctrine and purity drives. It happens in Christian schools a lot, but also in Catholic institutions that have never applied a religious test to their employees and affiliates. The Bishop or bishops or the pope develop a case of the vapors over sex or abortion and doctors practicing medicine at the hospital are getting in trouble for practicing good medicine by referring women whose pregnancies are an imminent threat to their lives for abortions. Teachers who get pregnant out of wedlock or who use assisted reproduction technologies get fired. Employees can’t get spousal coverage on health insurance because the organization doesn’t want to cover the same sex spouses of their gay employees. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.
If only Christians could be so brave… Some of the ‘hot button’ issues we discuss come to mind.
@ burntnorton: yes.
In a word, YES.
Also in a word, YES. 🙂
IMO, aggressive complementarians and Calvinistas are the #1 reasons why churches seek to exert direct control over parachurch groups.
The Cru incident in Louisville, KY in 2012 is illustrative – but note of course that the issue was internal to Cru and not an issue of an external organization seeking direct control over the parachurch.
How these “religious leaders” can read the New Testament and cherry pick the verses that appear to not allow women to serve, but ignore the multitude of verses that allow women to serve and most of all –What was Jesus position on women?
I am barely remaining a Southern Baptist but I am sick and yes I am angry at what the men leaders have done to women in the Southern Baptist Convention–not allowing them to use their God given gifts.
I believe they would. Rafiki’s answer is good.
I am troubled at the militancy of some segments of the church to try and control “freedom of conscience.” You don’t, for example, see the Mennonites trying to exert this type of authority outside of their own sphere.
Like you, I’m not sure what church to belong to anymore.
“There is only POWER.” — Lord Voldemort
Same way they cherry-picked “Slaves, Obey Your Masters” in the pre-Civil War South.
You find the same risk in working for the Communist Party and/or joining the Activist Group du Jour. Periodic changes in The Party Line, followed by another Purge.
In the words of the Prophet Tom Lehrer:
More Pauline than Paul,
More Godly than God,
More Humble than Cee Jay Mahaney (chuckle chuckle).
Dee, please stop using technical theological jargon – it’s hard for us to understand how you really feel 🙂
I guess we need to add that to our glossary of terms. 😉 Thanks for the laugh!
Responding as an older, forever (until now) single woman, I totally agree with your post. Gothard’s behavior was/is abhorrent, whether he is single or married. The fact that it was covered up by his board and allowed to go on for so long makes it even worse. I do think it is easier to be single woman in current church culture, and it may be even easier in urban California, but I do struggle to find my fit in a local congregation. Strong, professional women with leadership skills aren’t always valued, and scrap-booking is not my idea of a good time!
We wrote about this back in 2012.
Cru's Complementarian Conundrum
It appeared to me that SBTS was trying to exert its influence over CRU via one on its seminary students (Harman) who had a key leadership role.
I was on your and your Mom’s side in that comment. 🙂 I was just trying to convey that you have some Christians who are apt to be legalistic, they think you have to work to maintain salvation, and they think teaching about God’s grace is telling Christians they can slack off.
But if my memory of the New Testament is correct, there are verses that say God doesn’t allow a Christian to remain in unrepentant sin. So, even though the NT teaches about grace, it does say (IIRC) that God still holds Christians accountable if they sin. So maybe ladies like the one your Mom was talking to can chill out about it.
Agree. I figured you weren’t actually picking on my mom. 😉
Agreed! So ironic…
The irony is that the first person to declare -and to a group of males (the disciples)- that Christ was risen was a woman.
Another thing I find interesting about that, is while the disciples were finding the news of the resurrection hard to believe, some doubted not because the news/teaching came from a woman (her gender was not an issue with them) but that people don’t arise from the dead every day. But her gender would not (ed.) have been a huge issue.
Imagine if they had been gender complementarian Southern Baptists or Neo Calvinists: they would have brushed aside the resurrection information to scold her: “How dare you, a woman, teach to us, a group of men! Go back to the kitchen and get busy baking.” The fact that Christ was risen would’ve not registered too much on their radar, I’m afraid.
That should be, “not have been…”
Okay 🙂 I couldn’t tell from your previous comment if maybe you took my comment the opposite of what it was intended. I was in agreement and trying to be supportive 🙂
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
I love you, HUG. Thanks for the laugh and the stroll down memory lane. 😀
Moxie and Heather
Recently someone was under the misperception that the Deebs have a "staff" working for them. We don't. I thought you might like to see some of the emails that we get that are a bit strange. We read every one…
Is it Biblical for Women to Lead in Politics, Military? Albert Mohler Answers
He’s grasping at straws….
My question is why would anyone even feel a need to ask this question of Mohler or anyone else for that matter. It’s like a father asking Mohler if its “biblical” for him to fix pancakes for his family on Sunday morning and doing the dishes afterward.
Never mind that Deborah served in the military and Jesus fixed breakfast for the disciples on the beach.
Mohler makes me want to puke when he asks such nonsensical questions. He is not interested in a dialogue–he thinks he just gets to dictate his beliefs to others–NOT!!
THE REQUESTED MARS HILL GAG ORDER
Just plain GAG!!! Mars Hill is a business, not a body of gathered believers.
Lucy Pevensie wrote:
Lucy, I just started reading this as well. This little book has given me the courage to do what I haven’t done in a year or so: open up my Bible and read! I am so grateful to whomever mentioned that book here in the first place.
Ah. FIC’s. Where women have no involvement but making food for the after service lunch.
“So glad I’m out of there. ”
You and me both, Hoppy. You and me both.
Mercy, Redemption, Whirlwind?
More and more, I believe De Almighty wants no part of these certain type(s) of “Banded Bros Of Neo-Orthodoxy” 501(c)3 non-profit church ministries. The only reason you can not possible leave them to reap the consequences is because of the many innocent victims they have involved; the Almighty has everything to do with them…
“Da ‘gatesO’hell’ shall not prevail…”
Umm, Ummm, Ummmm…
As a teen, I went to a Mormon church service and their equivalent of Sunday School. The class was separated by gender, interestingly enough. Anyways, they were joking beforehand about all of the things they wish people would stop saying to them because of their beliefs. One girl piped up with her favorite and sarcastically said in a voice to imitate that of a non-Mormon “Well, if you can’t have caffeine, why can you eat chocolate?!”
The room erupted into snorts and giggles and much eye-rolling.
I, of course, being the only Presbyterian in the room, smiled but thought inwardly “Um, well, why CAN y’all eat chocolate?”
All still completely unimportant compared to plagiarism or rigging sales on the part of the people who authored and published the book, burntnorton. It doesn’t matter who endorsed Real Marriage half as much as that the book’s place on the NYT bestseller list was bought and nobody spotted the issue of plagiarism until more than a year after the book was published.
It would depend if there was evidence those people/organizations knew he wasn’t the author or the fudged book sales. If Perry Noble (for example, due to a former comment) also is discovered to have bought his way onto the NYT list, then I wouldn’t be surprised if they were both in on it together. On the other hand, some of the authors may have read the book and liked it’s sexist wife-blaming advice and thought millions of others did too. Some just haven’t woken up to the 21st. Century yet.
Driscoll warned that small-town citizens should read the book sitting down. Actually, Driscoll may want to sit down and actually read some of the criticisms. I only read the first chapter (free on the net) and couldn’t imagine giving money to the book to read more. Those who finished the book thoroughly trashed it. It was horribly written, blatantly disrespectful to his wife, and full of misinformation. However, in the TGC circles, there were a few strong fanboys all bragging that they read the “sex” chapter and thought it was great.
OTH, it may be shown that Driscoll paid TGC or some commenters to promote the book. Nothing is impossible, it seems.
R we sêê’in in this proverbial Seattle juggernaut’d monster, da profane slaughter of the “Real Gospel’?
I don’t think Jael was in the military proper, but she drove a tent peg through the head of an enemy of Israel while he slept.
Indeed she did kill Israel’s enemy! And Deborah honored her heroic deed!
Jdg 5:24 “Most blessed of women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Most blessed is she of women in the tent.
How can the spouse be forced into the gag contract? I mean, if my husband was fired by a church that I attended (he isn’t a church worker, but if he was…), I’d likely have a few negative things to say when we left. I wouldn’t be under a contract and he couldn’t be held accountable for my actions, my husband can’t sign for me. Is that legal? Not in Canada, anyways. It wouldn’t wash.
“”I’m not sure we can give a definitive answer in terms of women serving in economic leadership, in cultural leadership or in political leadership… But the answer is not necessarily ‘no.'”
Well, there you have it. He’s practically become a progressive.
I’m glad that when I supervise and train men and women at my job I am not “necessarily” sinning according to Mr. Mohler.
Ooops, sorry, the previous quote was a Mohler quote from the article Daisy linked to.
I had one other thought regarding Mohler’s speech. He talks about how Margaret Thatcher was a hero to him, saying her position was “historically necessary to protect the values we hold dear.”
So, because he likes her, it’s okay? What if he disagreed with her politics? Would that change his answer? He’s totally projecting his own opinions onto the issue and moulding the bible to fit them. I don’t think he can get his head out of his own rear end long enough to form a logical argument about anything.
Victorious, you make excellent points about Deborah, and Jesus serving breakfast on the beach. And don't forget, he washed the disciples' feet, and he fed the five thousand. My question is, why would anyone need to ask Mohler if it is scriptural for a dad to make pancakes for his family in his own home. In the 1990's, it is actually hard to believe that I liked Mohler, McArthur, etc. (huge gag) Anyway, that in the Christian world we feel the need to ask our favorite evangelical conservative guru such questions is a sad commentary on our unwillingness to think for ourselves and to want Mohler, et al, to micro-manage things for us, never mind that love and spontaneity get left out. We have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy and sacrifice. We have gagged on a gnat and swallowed a camel. And my answer to the dad who would be wondering if it was Biblical to make pancakes for his family would be, do it. There are so many of us, myself among them who didn't have that because our fathers were abusive and/or incapable of loving us, and moments such as the pancake breakfast together as a family will be a memory the children will treasure as adults. I would also say that while we find much in the teachers whose writings and sermons we admire, we all ought to stop and ask ourselves why it is we need them (McArthur, Mohler, etc.) to micro-manage every area of our lives and why what we do hinges on their answers to our questions in the first place.
Mark Driscoll was supposed to speak at church today. He didn’t show. Acting like men?
Darned if I know. I bet it could be challenged in church unless the spouse was required to sign it herself. And, as you know, this blog does not like signing anything that is put out by churches.
You are correct in some respects. However, these men have known the history of Driscoll. And just like many of them continue to endorse men like CJ Mahaney, they demonstrate their utter inability to see a disaster in the making. The also endorse a man who embarrassed his wife in front of the world.
I noticed on the non-disclosure agreement that you posted as a PDF that there was only a line for the employee to sign, not also for his/her spouse — even though Point #3 in the contract does say the signer is doing so on behalf of self, spouse, heirs, assigns, etc. I would imagine that such contracts have been checked for how they are legally binding, but still, that does seem grossly inappropriate.
Then again, what is “legal” versus “ethical”/”appropriate” doesn’t always seem to matter in all that is happening.
This feels like watching an implosion in slow motion.
I’m wondering what “an attorney” (who i’ve seen post on here sometimes) thinks of the gag contract. I cannot imagine such a document would be binding for spouses and children?
Also, is it normal for an employer to stipulate that you can’t accuse them of harassment or discrimination??? Perhaps this is a normal practice I have never come across.
No More Perfect wrote:
The rules in the LDS Church have changed so much I can’t keep up. I do not understand why they can now drink Coke and Dr Pepper and not coffee or tea…..
Reading Warren Throckmorton’s post here http://tinyurl.com/lvlv7ol I am struck by the fear he describes regarding Mars Hill.
“Some who have been watching the Mars Hill saga unfold have asked me privately why few have been aware of the incredible tensions, discord and significant staff turnover at MHC. Furthermore, I have been amazed at how fearful staffers have been to discuss their experiences. I think both of these observations relate to the fear that the massive engine that MHC is will come down on individuals who have relatively few resources to defend themselves.”
I have a conviction stemming from my own experience. If you are afraid of your church or former church you may be or may have been in a cult.
Yes. I have often had the irrational fear of including too much info on here such that my former church figures out who I am. But, what are they going to do? Share my name in a members meeting? I don’t even like those people.
Glad I never signed any gag contract.
Same here. It gets old, doesn’t it?
Because Joseph Smith’s Word of Wisdom was specifically against coffee or tea under the term “hot drinks” and Coke & DP are drunk cold?
The agreement (read “contract”) can assign the rights of the spouse and heirs with respect to harm to the employee as part of the agreement. In other words, if the employee was unable to sue (disability or death), his family would be barred from suing on claims for harm to the employee. However, that would not bar the family from suing for harm to the family, excluding the employee!!!! And the agreement cannot otherwise limit that actions of any other person but the signors or the entities that they are signing on behalf of. Of course, a family is not a corporation like a church, and the employee cannot bind his family. So Mama can talk all she wants if Daddy was the employee. But I would recommend waiting until the last check has cleared the bank, plus ten days (actually clearing is longer than the clearing the bank tells you about, and they will recover from you after telling you the money is yours if it later gets returned).
Mormons have some sort of head guy (a patriarch?, can’t recall the name), who is appointed. Very Pope-like, not sure how long their tenures as “pope-mormon” last. Anyways, those guys can add or delete rules and regs. When I was back in university (I am dating myself here), mormons were supposed to have 8 children (at least) per family. It was a well known belief (and these weren’t the fundies either). After a while, I never heard of that stipulation mentioned. Mormon families are now often portrayed as having 2 or 3 kids. Someone explained that their new “pope-mormon” didn’t enforce it? or rewrote the rules regarding that. I am sure the coke/coffee thing is similar. Once all caffeine was forbidden, now only tea and coffee are, for no better reason than that head dude said so.
Or a train wreck in slow-mo.
Or a car crash in slow-mo.
Cue “Warm Leatherette” by Grace Jones.
@ An Attorney:
It is even worse than that – the former employee’s spouses can’t say anything negative about the church leaders. Imagine getting booted from a church and feeling like you aren’t legally allowed to say anything about it to anyone, years later!
Yeah, I suspected they were overstepping their legal reach in the contract.
The “you can’t say anything negative about us” clause, sounds similar to former Mars Hill people writing years later of their time at Mars Hill. It is as if they fear that having any negative feelings while speaking against someone will somehow invalidate what they are saying. As if it is a sin or some form of bondage. The funny thing is, Jesus wasn’t too concerned that the Pharisees or money changers ticked him off and he reacted. He didn’t go running into the dessert and fast for 3 days to get rid of his angry feelings before he told them off. Honestly, do the Mars Hill Christians even read their Bibles anymore?
This appears to be the 3rd comment from this person in the last few days. All of which were non sequiturs of a similar nature. We’re just letting them fade away behind the scenes.
We anywhere from less than 10 to more than 40 moderated comments per day. Most are just obvious SPAM but some require some extra reading to just make sure they aren’t esoteric replies.
Perhaps someone having Swanson nightmares?
I’ve read quite a bit of Al Mohler in my time, though less recently. I’ve generally found him thoughful, and many of his articles imo are something you can get your spiritual teeth into.
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I find it interesting for all of Mohler’s prowess, he stands by CJ Mahaney and has not shown much interest in pedophilia and the SBC. So his spiritual side does not seem to move him to show compassion to the abused.
And I always find him to be mostly sound and fury, signifying nothing (minus the fury in the most literal sense, give his carefully cultivated dispassionate tone). When one unpacks his words and rhetoric and attempts to engage his actual argument, I usually find very little “there” there. His recent “answer” was extremely wordy, but he didn’t actually say anything. Unless his intended answer was “I don’t know.” Which would have been a perfectly respectable answer. If he’d actually said those words. Theologians and lawyers (I’m the latter) tend to spill a lot of words not answering the question. Good ones struggle against this tendency effectively. Bad or mediocre ones aren’t successful. Then there are ones who use obfuscation to their advantage. I don’t know or care which Mohler is. I only know what the result is.
Val, ah, that explains a lot! Thanks for that information.
My father used to say “Only a lawyer can talk for three hours and say absolutely nothing.” Looks like it’s not just lawyers.
Too busy gushing over Pastor Bee Jay’s Real Marriage…
Well, over at Slacktivist someone claimed “Fetuses of the Damned” (Left Behind reference) would make a great name for a punk band.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
It is because the so called hot drinks are bad..( brewing also plays a part)…but get a Mormon a cup of hot cocoa and they’ll drink it all day….as said above, it is because the hierarchy has determined the coffee and tea is bad for you…..BTW: on sort of LDS note, Pilot Truck Stops which are Owned by a Mormon family has a ” House Blend” coffee that is worth a try….;)
A thoughtful post on the temporality of Mars Hill situation from Wendy Alsup, that Bill K. alerted me to:
I would never ever want to make light of a failure to address the serious problems that are dealt here so often.
That said, it is nice not to get too bogged down in all the serious treatment awarded to celebrity pastors, whether they seek it or not.
I’m afraid I got a bit confused, I am only a simple soul – the pastor I actually meant whose sermons you can really get your teeth into was Rev. Al Molar. Sorry about that. 🙂
If you want the superficial, 9 second TV soundbite, Mohler’s not your guy.
It’s also a thing with New Frontiers, Terry Virgo talked of putting all parachurch ministries under the authority of the “local church”. What I discovered in time was that the normal definition of local church, the one that would occur to most of us, which would be “the local place where I have fellowship” or maybe “the whole body of Christians in my local area, regardless of what particular ‘church’ they attended”, was most decidedly not the definition used by an authoritarian group, they typically mean “us–the true valid church, that has the right in time to subsume everything faith-based in the area, to bleed off (eventually all) believers from other congregations, to oversee and control anything that calls itself Christian and put it under the rightful authority of our elders.” I never put 2 & 2 together until after I’d left that that was exactly what they meant.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:My father used to say “Only a lawyer can talk for three hours and say absolutely nothing.” Looks like it’s not just lawyers.
My students might argue I can talk for 16 weeks and “say absolutely nothing”; my children would confirm this unequivocally.
Mohler is terribly biased against adult singleness. He does not have a biblical view of celibacy or singlehood.
Someone I knew very well almost became a Mormon. He later became Christian and chose to belong to the Baptist denomination. I asked why.
He said the Mormons would say they were against caffeine but he noticed they would sit around in their meetings or in social events drinking Caffeine based drinks, such as soda. I think he said some of the Mormons he met smoked cigarettes too, which was a turn off for him, as he did not feel it matched the rest of their views.
But the Baptist guy he knew more or less consistently lived out what he believed the Bible taught.
I found that interesting, and it was a lesson. Some people can and will be hindered from accepting Christ based upon how they see people who claim his name behave. Maybe that should not be so (I feel people should look to Christ alone and not look to how Christians act), but as I’ve been burned by other Christians a few years ago during a time of great need, I understand it more now.
If you say you are a Christian but you are not sincerely living out the faith, and you lack compassion and love (but are in ‘condemn’ mode all the time), that drives people away from Christ.
I wonder what Mormons would think if they knew they lost at least one potential convert over this caffeine business, over the perceived hypocrisy of it?
Molar, not Mohler? With a name like Molar, he should’ve become a dentist. 😆 Dr Molar, DDS
No, Mohler’s not my guy because his erudition consists of copious name and quote dropping, with analysis that is either superficial or nonsensical. He’s not my guy because his arguments have gaping holes and are usually based on faulty, unexamined premises that he consistently fails to defend or acknowledge. He’s not my guy because he consistently stands with the oppressors against the oppressed, punches down when he should be calling out his fellow leaders, and consigns women to second class status unless, like Thatcher, a particular woman’s elevation is necessary to promote his agenda. He also strikes me aa a preening, condescending snob comfortably ensconced in his bubble, but that’s normal for academic prima donnas who reach the pinnacle of their careers so young.
As is most of the Evangelical Circus.
Shoot, I meant to reply to Seneca.
Yep, he punches down. Women, singles, and homosexuals – all fair game. Falwell gets a glowing obit. Mahaney gets praise and support.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I agree totally, it’s just that some are more outspoken against singles than others, or, due to their fame, they get a broader platform from which their prejudices against adults singles gets a wider hearing. Some may be a little worse than others.
I think some Christians who harbor negative attitudes about older singles either don’t realize they are doing it, or some of their comments are sincerely meant to be helpful to singles, but out of ignorance (not maliciousness), they don’t realize their views/comments can hurt.
Someone like Mohler should know better, though, being a big wig. From himself and a few other famous religious types, I pick up a personal dislike, suspicion, or hatred against adult singles. With Mohler and like-minded the bias seems more intentional, less out of ignorance, IMO.
Mohler likes to extol marriage by trashing singleness / adult singles themselves. I’ve seen some of his articles about the topic, and he thinks supporting marriage means talking smack against singleness and adult singlehood.
“He laughed about the dead bodies under the Mars Hill bus until he became one…”
My take on Mohler is that he is ENCOURAGING young men in particular to not wait. He was accusing the women of putting off marriage also but found it, it wasn’t them. The gals said, “It’s not us.” It was the guys. So My take; he was never against singleness, he was against unnecessary waiting.
He’d like to see Christian singles give more thought to marriage in their early 20s.
@ Seneca “j” Griggs:
Why? Is it his business when people get married?
Wendy is getting pushback in the comments. “Yes, He hates sin, but loves sinners” (Fiscal) “unity” “peace” “forgiveness” “grace upon grace”……. I tried reading the comments three times and can’t even quite compute– my mind translates them automatically into “Gossip” blah blah “Slander” blah blah (even those words aren’t used).
I’ve never read the Book of Mormon but I know tea and coffee are in their hymnal as no-nos. In one of the Sunday School-equivalent hymns I believe.
@ Seneca “j” Griggs:
No, he does not take a high view of adult singleness, which is one reason he pushes for people to marry soon / fast / young. As I said, he has a few blog pages where his attempt to support marriage is to trash singleness and make singleness sound worse than leprosy
Good point. Some of the people in the Bible did not get married until age 40 or older.
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
And post script here: that sort of thing does nothing to help the single ladies 30, 40 years old and older who’d like to marry.
What are Mohler and other Southern Baptists doing to help singles who are over 30 who would like to marry? Shaming / Blaming them for being single, or saying they should have married at 20 something, (as he has done) is not helping them.
Mohler would probably be your loyal friend too if you would donate a couple hundred thousand bucks to his cemetery, or is it seminary?
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
And exactly how much waiting is “unnecessary”? Does Mohler define an “unnecessary” period of waiting, or “unnecessary” reasons for waiting?
@ Serving Kids in Japan:
Yeah. I guess Jesus and Paul didn’t get that memo.
I would personally beware of being too critical of Mohler on issues like this. I remember reading some Mohler, where he was lamenting the fact that the baby-boomer generation, now coming up for retirement, had produced 20% couples who had never had children, despite being the most affluent generation yet.
Now you could (mis)understand this as Mohler claiming having children is compulsory, but I took him to be criticising the increasing tendency amongst those most able to decide not to have children (“it’s a lifestyle choice”) and put material things ahead of this, and not grow up enough to take on adult responsibilities.
His comments on singleness may mean no more than young men need to take on married responsibilities rather than remaining adolescent until they are 40 or so. This is certainly the case amongst a minority in Europe these days. It’s only Mohler’s opinion, perhaps based on trends he has seen whilst pastoring, so you can take it with the proverbial pinch of salt if you want to!
It’s admirable that Dever has had more formal academic training than Driscoll (who has had very little, it seems). In fact, I wish more pastors would take the time to do academic preparation before jumping into ministry.
That having been said, we all know that Jesus didn’t consider training and credentials to be a sure fire indicator of righteousness or adherence to the truth (whether in orthodoxy or orthopraxy).
Also, on a practical level, a Christian’s academic training is only beneficial insofar as said Christian holds fast to the faith entrusted once for all to the saints. (I’m thinking of a guy like Bart Ehrman, who has a quite impeccable evangelical and secular CV, but left the faith).
My main issues with Dever and 9 Marks are that (a) they advocate a polity model that is much too open to abuses, and (b) they discourage professional mental health care in favor of nouthetic counseling.
imo this is backward thinking. Marriage will be disastrous for anyone who isn’t mature enough to face the responsibilities. Mature first…then marry (or not)when you’ve demonstrated you can handle responsibility .
@ Ken: wow. I don’t even know where to start, except to say that equating childlessness with materialism and selfishness is grossly unfair and likely only applies to a very small percentage of those w/o kids. That larger figure includes couples with infertility problems, couples who might not feel that they are suited to being parents – knowing how many unwanted, uncared-for, abused kids there are in this world, it sickens me when people from within a certain circle of so-called xtians feel *so* free to pass judgment on people they don’t know and likely wouldn’t listen to if they did.
There are also people who struggle economically and know that if they had kids, they probably wouldn’t be able to support them. How that can possible = “selfishness” is beyond my comprehension.
@ Victorious: exactly. Of course, Mohler is carefully skirting around the wreckage here, deliberately ignoring the high price many people who end up marrying too early have paid and will pay – disastrous marriages, painful divorces, spousal abuse and more.
And then they are condemned when any of these awful situations occurs.
Regarding singleness, the world is a better place since Florence Nightingale turned down an advantageous marriage proposal in her teens and instead followed her calling to nurse.
To be fair to Mohler, he had in mind a generation who had never had it so good, and yet chose unparalleled material wealth over family life. I have certainly encountered this attitude amongst secular Europeans.
I’m very glad of the advice given by a couple (grinning) in a church I was in that if you wait until you are sure you can afford children, you will never have them. I also remember the cold clammy fear that came over me for about 60 seconds when she said she was expecting! It is a life-long commitment, and you can’t send them back.
If I had an axe to grind on this, it is the pretending amongst those who do not have children that the real reason is they want to go through life enjoying wealth and a career, and not having demands made upon their time and energy by others, in this case children. It’s a variation on the loving self thing, and a healthy society should not see this as something positive. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.
And this is what I meant about unexamined and poorly or un-defended premises. There is simply no basis on which to claim that people who choose not to have children are more selfish than people who have them. And the assumption that marriage and child rearing are the defining featulres of responsible adulthood is idiotic. My husband and I were responsible, independent adults with careers that contributed to our community before we married and before we had kids. Frankly, I was able to do more for my community before I became a mother of young children.
Baby boomers had fewer children because they had unprecedented ability to control their fertility and unprecedented prosperity. Greater wralth is historically associated with smaller family size and it turns out that most people don’t want large families. It also turns out that, when given tje option of early marriage to someone they barely know and establishing financial independence by getting an education and career, most women choose the latter. We’re not more selfish than previous generations; we just have more choices.
No, none of that is what I was talking about, really. Mohler is anti singles and anti singlehood.
And so what if people do, in fact, choose to refrain from marriage for reasons Mohler considers “selfish,” such as chasing after a big house, more education, or what have you? It’s none of his business the personal life choices others want to make when it comes to stuff like marriage.
You have women like me who did not choose to forgo marriage for money or career or a big house, we just never met the right guy, and there are no single guys my age at churches – people like Mohler assume, rudely assume, that women like me deliberately put off marriage.
Many church members are guilty of this thinking, too. Instead of complaining that I’m single, why don’t people like this help me pair up with a man my age – but churches don’t want to actually help adult singles get married, they prefer to flap their gums at the supposed horribleness of people being single over age 30. They want to complain but not actually do anything to help singles over 30. (Mohler falls in that category.)
Mohler does things like writes a blog page going on about how much better married life is for people, and he was down right ecstatic in one post that supposedly, studies show that singles die sooner than marrieds (please see articles by Bella DePaulo at Psychology Today site that debunk these sorts of “studies.”)
The guy (Mohler) seemed happy to report that studies say that singles supposedly die sooner than marrieds, have more health issues, etc- as a single gal, that turned my stomach he was taking delight in that stuff (even though DePaulo debunked it all).
Mohler paints adult singleness in an awful light, as being inferior to married life. If you want to defend marriage, that’s all well and good, but defending marriage should not be done at the expense of singleness, which is Mohler’s standard operating procedure. The Bible supports both marriage and singleness, not just marriage.
The Bible does not teach that married life is better or healthier for people, or that singles die sooner, and so forth. The Bible is actually pretty keen on singleness (see 1 Corinthians 7).
If churches did their jobs right, they would be the family to adult singles in church that the Bible talks about (see Matthew 12:46-50).
The church family is supposed to fulfill Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 for adult singles via Matthew 12:46-50, but many guys like Mohler (and entire churches and denominatios) instead teach that the “nuclear family” (ie, mom married to dad with a kid) should receive the lion’s share of attention and funding from the church.
Adult singles ministries are frequently under-funded in favor of youth programs. Married couples act as though adult singles have cooties or are Martians they cannot relate to, so they are shunned in many a church.
Also see: Is Singleness a Sin? by
Camerin Courtney (where she discusses anti singles comments and attitudes by Mohler)
Whether people are single due to choice or circumstance, or childless due to choice or circumstance, is fine with God. But people like Mohler behave as though God only accepts “married with kids” couples, and that singleness / childlessness is “God’s second best” for people, which is not true.
The New Testament does not teach that being single or childless is inferior or selfish; those are views that come from social conservatives, not the Bible. I am a social conservative, but I have come to realize in years past, Christian social conservatives have turned parenting and marriage into idols.
P.S. Some of the people in the Bible did not marry until age 40 or older, such as Moses. Some people did not have children until age 90, such as Sarah and Abraham. The Bible does not give a strict age limit or time frame for things such as marriage and parenting.
I would also add to that the reverse example: people who do marry young, but then divorce, and also, people who have children but then they neglect or abuse them. Which you did kind of mention in passing, but I wanted to focus on that. I never hear the pro-family Christian groups contend with that.
Some Christians make you sound awful and selfish if you don’t have kids, but you have people who do have children, but they ignore the child, or abuse the child.
There are married people who still behave in immature or selfish fashion after they marry. Marriage and parenthood do not necessarily mature a person or make them responsible.
I had wanted to marry and I was neither strongly for or against having a baby, but I’m old school: you 1. marry first, 2. then have sex, and 3. then make a baby.
I have to get to base #1 first (and obviously 2) before 3 can happen.
The Mohlers of the world don’t want to assist me with 1, they just want to chastize me and shame me for not making #3 happen, and for not accomplishing point 1 (and I tried. I did dating sites and everything).
And Sarah having a baby at 90?
Anyway, that’s pretty insensitive advice to the woman who wanted a child, but who believes you should – in this order –
1. marry first 2. have sex 3. make a baby
Some women (with traditional values) are unable to make point “1” happen due to a lack of single, Christian males in churches and society.
Even a lot of Christian single men these days expect sex prior to marriage (they say as much on their dating site profiles), and a woman who is sticking to her guns on ‘no sex’ prior to marriage can’t get a date (this phenomenon has been reported on in Christian news sites in the last few months).
And you need to date before you can get married. Most of us in American culture are not into “arranged marriages.”
You can hold whatever opinion you want to, but at the same time, it’s none of your business what other people choose to do or not do in regards to personal life decisions such as marriage and having children.
Also, you keep ignoring one point I raised: women such as me who wanted marriage and to have children, but it did not happen.
We prayed. We abstained from sex. We trusted God to send us a partner. We signed up for dating sites. We attended church and “served others.”
Still, we find ourselves single past 30, 40, and older. We did not choose to put money or job before marriage and having a kid. This is a group that is being shamed and blamed, when not being neglected, by evangelicals and Southern Baptists.
I have to agree with Daisy here. It’s none of your stinkin’ business how soon couples marry, or when or whether they have children. I can’t see how procreation is divinely commanded to anyone, and I cannot imagine God demanding any unwilling couple to have babies. So where does Mohler get off trying to do that? I don’t owe it to anyone to bring kids into this world.
I’m a man, I’m 40 and I’m still single and childless. Are you calling me an “adolescent”, or is Mohler? I don’t need that kind of insult from anyone, least of all someone who doesn’t know a thing about me.
How insulting, Ken! Really? You know exactly what Mohler was thinking?
I’m not single and I’m insulted by what you wrote about single people!
I guess I’ll assume the only reason you married is because you wanted to have sex without being in sin. Maybe the reason you had kids was to have someone who will love you and take care of you when you’re old. And, you’re not any less selfish or more righteous because you are married and have children.
Why haven’t you answered any of these single brothers and sisters?
What a bunch of assumptions you made and hurt you may have caused.
This is a general reply to everyone re: Mohler, taking your points in order.
i) I said what Mohler may have meant, no more that that.
ii) I haven’t addressed single people, rather and specifically those who are well off yet choose childlessness in favour of material wealth and/or deliberately avoid taking on adult responsibilities. It’s a generalisation where I think Mohler has a point, but it’s only an opinion and you don’t have to agree with it. Overall I think it is a sad choice to make.
iii) Third sentence is pure speculation. And wrong to boot!
iv) I haven’t been addressing issue of singleness, and therefore haven’t said anything deprecating those who are single nor anything that could cause hurt. My sister is single, not I think through choice, so I certainly wouldn’t want to insult anyone who is single nor am I unaware of how sensitive this can be for some.
There are indeed assumptions in what I said, but I still think on balance it is legitimate to criticise a society with a section in it who won’t grow up. Yet it’s not as though I have no understanding of just what responsibility can mean and have never baulked at it.
Aside from this generality, I haven’t made it my business who does what, I have no particular desire to do that or sit in judgement of individuals. Marriage is the norm, children are the norm, but individuals may have good reasons for not marrying and having children.
I’ve a picture of a family wedding taken in 1905 (I wasn’t present!) and believe me my ancestors were poor, though not destitute. What on earth would they make of today’s generation?
Have you never encountered the eternal adolescent? Those still doing in their late 30’s and early 40’s what they were doing as teenagers (drink, drugs, money, pleasure, sex, vacations and foreign travel, but few responsibilities).
As a general comment, for a blog that rightly wants to dissect what is going on in the Christian scene today, some comments contain a bit too much speculation or read into comments things that are not there. I think that’s a pity, as there might be some who very badly need to see through a current fad or pastor who might take from the comments that the articles here are similarly prone to making assumptions, and can therefore safely be ignored.
I think people are trying to figure out what these leaders mean when they say things.And if those of us who are Christians are confused about the supposedly clear pronouncements of Christian leaders, then how do you think those outside of our rarefied circles will see it.
I have a different perspective. I spent a few years in my early nursing career doing child neglect and abuse followup. I can say, without a doubt, that you do not want people who don’t want children to have children. I have personally witnessed the long term repercussions of that.
The “grow up and have kids” talk sounds really nice and all but there is far more to have children than getting pregnant and delivering the child. There are many who, for many reasons, do not feel comfortable in raising a child. Perhaps they too were neglected, abused. Perhaps they do not have the psychological stamina to do so.
I know some people who did not have children and have given their lives in the service of others. Others are just not cut out for parenting. And we must be very cautious about judging who is an eternal adolescent.
@ Ken: you seem to have something against those well-off, childless couples that has *nothing* to do with them per se.
@ Daisy: you’re right: they never talk about abuse/neglect, let alone the physical and emotional toll of multiple pregnancies.
And yet they deplore government spending on behalf of neglected/abused kids.
You really need to answer everyone else, not me.
“I guess I’ll assume the only reason you married is because you wanted to have sex without being in sin. Maybe the reason you had kids was to have someone who will love you and take care of you when you’re old. And, you’re not any less selfish or more righteous because you are married and have children.”
is sarcasm. But it addresses your thinking about wealthy couples who do not have children. Unless you ask each individual couple why they chose that, you don’t know why they chose it and its presumptuous for anyone to think they know.
And if you are applying anything (you deem) spiritual to an unbeliever, that’s foolishness.
There are MANY abused people in the world who have been tainted by sin and have no desire to bring children into this world. (sarcasm begin) I guess we will just throw stones at them? (sarcasm end) It would be better to reserve judgement and befriend them, walk beside them in their pain, maybe?
It’s odd how some people read you the wrong way, but the “some” seem to come to the same conclusion. I’m trying to figure this out.
To whom are you referring here, though, are you referring to men (and/or ladies) who are married but not having kids?
Are you referring to men (and/or ladies) who are still not married at 40 years of age?
There are married men who are 30 or 40 or older (and they are fathers), who do things such as:
1. blow off the wife and kids to go golfing every other day,
2. attend sporting events,
3. they blow off college fund money meant for their kids to buy a shiny new mid life crisis sports car or motorcycle, and
4. watch NFL and drink beer every weekend, instead of spending quality time with the wife
There’s plenty of selfishness, immaturity, etc, going on among a lot of married with children couples.
It’s an absolute fantasy among evangelicals and Baptists that marriage/parenting “grows people up” and “matures them.” It does no such thing.
Look at Mark Driscoll and Furtick and all these other married preacher guys who have three- to- five kids apiece: they are very selfish and immature.
There’s a ton of unmarried parents out there who dump their kids on their mom (the child’s grandparent) to raise.
I am related to someone who is in this very situation, his 20 year old step son fathered a kid out of wedlock, the mom of the baby got tired of the baby, so the baby was dumped on granny and grandpa (my relative).
My relative who is taking care of that kid – despite being married – is no more mature or responsible than the 20 YO step son who fathered the baby.
My relative gets into financial troubles repeatedly. He gives my family’s phone number to bill collectors so we get calls from bill collectors weekly, etc.
Nowhere in any of that did being married or having babies make anyone less selfish, more responsible, etc.
Having a baby does not make someone grow up, neither does marriage.
Even the Bible does not present either one as “the norm.”
Marrying and having a child may have been the cultural preference of the ancient Jews in the Old Testament, but God does not set up marrying and baby making as the norm, and certainly not by the time of Jesus (Jesus taught that the family of God precedes one’s flesh and blood family).
Also, being single is the norm now in the USA. Close to half of adults in the USA are single now.
The only American women having babies now, the biggest percentage, are having them out of wedlock, and the married ones are not having babies, for whatever reason.
U.S. birth rate drops as more women say ‘no’ to motherhood
Christians need to deal with the reality of life as people are living it, instead of lecturing people how they wish it could or should be, or assuming their life choice is based on immaturity or selfishness.
Lecturing me that I’m single / childless because I’m immature or selfish or whatever does nothing to actually help me get married and have a kid of my own. It’s stunning how many Christians like Al Mohler don’t comprehend this.
P.S. I meant to link to an article that talked about married women in particular skipping having children, like this:
More wives in U.S. are not having children, study finds
BTW, should I marry now (or in the next few years), I’m getting to the age where I probably won’t be able, physically, to have a baby (or not easily). And that’s not my fault. I had wanted to marry earlier, but never met the right person.
🙂 It’s the crass materialism often hidden behind more noble sounding ideas that I don’t like. I don’t think I could spell it out more clearly, it’s those who CHOOSE this DELIBERATELY to retain their personal autonomy etc. I have in mind. Behind this is a society that tends to regard children as a burden rather than a blessing, quiverful or not, and that avoids commitment at all costs. And I know they can be a blessèd nuisance as well and turn your beautiful home into a tip!
But this does seem to have garnered a lot of replies dealing with what I didn’t say, nor implied! So
I didn’t say there may not be genuine reasons for not marrying or having children for some people
I don’t think family life of itself automatically leads to greater maturity or responsibility
There is no question some are not fit to be parents (my sister’s teaching experience could furnish many examples of this)
Dee makes a good point that children should be wanted (I very much agree with this), but this is a different issue. I’ve homed in on a particular issue as to why some people don’t want them.
I wonder if anyone who takes on this kind of commitment every feels up to it – I certainly didn’t. But shouldn’t the church be precisely the place where this kind of thing can be dealt with by loving, down to earth, I’ll give you a hand, stop worrying about it we’ve all made that mistake type people?
@ Ken: I did reply to that, though, stating that the kind of people you’re referring to probably make up a *very* small subset of that 20%.
And that’s your opinion only. It’s none of your business why people do not want to have children.
The Bible does not command people to marry or have kids, not in the New Testament.
People choosing to forgo kids to have more money, leisure time, or whatever is just how they choose to spend their time/money, doesn’t make them selfish or parents any more self-less.
INEVSTIGATION – Charlotte Magazine, 03/31/2014
Steven Furtick, Chunks Corbet, and disgraced ex-mayor