What is the difference between the Mafia and the government? One of them is organized. link
Quick TWW tutorial: I want to teach you how to talk *Godfather style. What you need to do is to practice saying:
with this sort of inflection.
Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner: accused of racketeering.
You cannot make this stuff up. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports Ex-members, in suit, charge Mark Driscoll with "pattern of racketeering" at Mars Hill Church. We always knew that Driscoll had a racket going. It appears that some former members and deacons agree with us.
Four former deacons and members at Mars Hill Church sued on Monday, asserting that ex-senior pastor Mark Driscoll and general manager Sutton Turner engaged in a "pattern of racketeering" at the defunct Seattle-based mega-church.
In order to get you into the mood for this post, here is the theme song from The Godfather. Perhaps you could play it quietly in the background while you read, preferably sipping a lovely Italian Chianti. The more Chianti you drink, the more you will convince yourself that you sound like The Godfather.
Racketeering at Mars Hill as defined in The Rico Act.
The RICO (Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act) suit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle describes a pattern of activity under which "a deadly toxin was injected into the MHC body, ending in complete destruction of the church."
As one example, the suit contends that Mars Hill raised $2.3 million for an international missions project, of which only $120,000 "was actually sent overseas."
The Rico Act is defined in Wikipedia
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them in doing, closing a perceived loophole that allowed a person who instructed someone else to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually commit the crime personally.
The penalties are stiff if it is proven. Besides monetary damages, the racketeer can be put in prison and be forced to give up all ill-gotten gains. Continuing with the Wikipedia post.
Under RICO, a person who has committed "at least two acts of racketeering activity" drawn from a list of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering if such acts are related in one of four specified ways to an "enterprise". Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity."
Both the criminal and civil components allow the recovery of treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).
Yes, that means Mickey the Mouse and King Bus Driver could be forced to pay back everything gained in the alleged *racket.* And they could be in treble trouble (I could not resist.)
Organized crime and RICO
Originally, this act was developed in order to prosecute organized crime. Hence, the Godfather references strewn through this post. Once again, Wikipedia states
Although its primary intent was to deal with organized crime, Blakey said that Congress never intended it to merely apply to the Mob. He once told Time, "We don't want one set of rules for people whose collars are blue or whose names end in vowels, and another set for those whose collars are white and have Ivy League diplomas."
Initially, prosecutors were skeptical of using RICO, mainly because it was unproven. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, federal prosecutors utilized the law to bring charges against several Mafia figures. The first major success was the Mafia Commission Trial, which resulted in several top leaders of New York City's Five Families getting what amounted to life sentences. By the turn of the century, RICO cases resulted in virtually all of the top leaders of the New York Mafia being sent to prison.
Examples of alleged racketeering at Mars Hill associated with Driscoll/Turner
The Seattle Post Intelligencer outlines three specific items amongst the many mentioned in the suit. None of these will comes as a surprise to any of our long time readers.
The suit focuses on a number of controversial Mars Hill financial dealings, including:
The Book Deal: Mars Hill contracted with a firm called ResultSource, Inc., a California marketing company, to get Driscoll's book Real Marriage onto The New York Times bestseller list. The use of church resources, under a contract signed by Turner, included a $25,000 fee and purchase of at least 11,000 books valued at around $210,000 using multiple payment methods. The contract outlined tactics to outsmart systems put in place by The New York Times to safeguard its bestseller lists. It said: "Note: The largest obstacle to the reporting system is the tracking of credit cards.RSI uses over 1,000 different payment types (credit cards, gift cards, etc)." The Driscoll book spent a week on the NYT bestseller list.
Mars Hill Global: The fund was promoted as "church planting" in Ethiopia and India, but money allegedly went into general operations. A famous Mars Hill internal memo stated: "For a relatively low cost (e.g. $10K a month) supporting a few missionaries and benevolence projects would serve to deflect criticism, increase goodwill and create opportunities to influence and learn from other ministries." The lawsuit contends the global fund was taking in $300,000 a month by May of 2014. Nearly $2.3 million was donated to the fund between July of 2012 and July, 2013. "However, disbursements from that fund were not reported, nor have they ever been made public." The lawsuit continues: "Though disbursements from global fund are not reported, it appears from the information that is in the 2013 annual report that only $120,000 (5 percent) of the $2.3 million raised for international missions was actually sent overseas."
The Jesus Festival: Mars Hill set out to raise $2 million, over and above its normal budget, for projects including an "evangelistic, outdoor reach" called the Jesus Festival to be held at Marymoor Park in August of 2014. "We've got something brand-new and super cool," Driscoll said in a Dec. 1, 2013 sermon. "We'll pick a nice day, be outside, We're going to have bouncy houses for kids, lots of fund stuff. We're also going to do baptisms, and preaching, and music at Marymoor Park." "Guess what? HE DID IT! (God). We've received $2,991,852 above our budget by Dec 31," said a church announcement on Jan. 13, 2014. On May 13, however, a quiet post by Mars Hill Sammamish announced that the Jesus Festival had been "postponed for a future time" and that "an event of this scale is too expensive at this time."
"The Jesus Festival was canceled, and MHC has never provided information about the amount received, if any, by the global Fund," the lawsuit contends..
Alleged organized crime at Mars Hill
The Think Progress website wrote an article Mark Driscoll, The ‘Rush Limbaugh Of Evangelicalism,’ Is Being Sued For Racketeering which also outlined Mickey the Mouse's troubles.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, four former deacons of Driscoll’s onetime church filed suit against the pastor on Monday, accusing him and another church official of engaging in a “pattern of racketeering” while heading up Mars Hill Church, a once thriving Seattle-based congregation. According to the lawsuit, Driscoll, who Forbes declared in 2014 to be “one of the nation’s most prominent and celebrated pastors,” repeatedly raised funds for projects without spending the money as intended, including an instance in which the plaintiffs claim he raised $2.3 million for an international missions project but only spent $120,000 of it abroad.
“[Driscoll and church general manager Sutton Turner] engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity so deeply embedded, pervasive and continuous, that it was effectively institutionalized as a business practice, thereby corrupting the very mission Plaintiffs and other donors believed they were supporting,” the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court, reads. The lawsuit also noted that Driscoll regularly solicited such funds during his sermons.
The Mouse's former activities are starting to be noticed by the Phoenix media
As you know, The Mouse is launching his new church, The Trinity Church, in Phoenix. Apparently the local media is starting to sit up and take notice of thee lawsuit. According to Dr Warren "The Professor" Throckmorton, Phoenix Public Radio, is featuring the recent antics of The Mouse. I predict he will be a gold mine of fascinating stories for the years to come. There were days that the Deebs would wake up and not have a story to write. We would then check the news for CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll and viola! Post written without breaking a sweat.
The Trinity Church is in its early stages of development. All it has is a website, some online supporters and a video message from founder Mark Driscoll and his wife.
Driscoll’s previous venture became a megachurch, which is a protestant congregation with at least 2,000 members. At its height, the now-disbanded Mars Hill Church in Seattle had an average weekly attendance of more than 12,000 people, spread across several different campuses.
Mars Hill fell apart when Driscoll resigned following allegations of emotional abuse and mismanagement of church funds. He now faces a lawsuit from former Mars Hill members.
As an aside, look at who Driscoll calls wise counsel. Robert Morris! This is the dude who said that Paul was under the influence of demons. I bet demon trials will be the rule of the day at Trinity Church. That will be a post in and of itself.
ECFA named as a Co-Conspirator
As if it couldn't get any crazier, ECFA has been named as a co-conspirator!
You know ECFA. The group that is supposed to guarantee that Christian organizations do not look like La Cosa Nostra. Well…the Christian Post reports that ECFA Named as Co-Conspirator in Lawsuit Against Mark Driscoll, Ex Mars Hill Chief Elder.
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, an accreditation organization for many leading Christian nonprofits, has been accused of helping former Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll, and his chief elder, Sutton Turner, engage in fraud and racketeering concerning donor contributions.
ECFA issued a statement in which they denied everything and accused the plaintiffs of "not understanding accreditation." Yep, *blame the victims* is alive and well with this group.
the ECFA issued a statement to CP noting that the individuals bringing the lawsuit "have no direct knowledge of the ECFA's accreditation process" and are "wrong" about the ECFA's involvement with Mars Hill Church.
"Neither ECFA nor any of its employees are named as parties in a private lawsuit that has been brought against the leader of a formerly accredited ministry," said ECFA, which highlighted that it was not sued but was instead listed as a co-conspirator. "It also appears that the individuals bringing the lawsuit have no direct knowledge of ECFA's accreditation process and have the facts wrong regarding our involvement with the ministry in question."
"ECFA is committed to enhancing trust in Christ-centered churches and ministries, accrediting these organizations based on our Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. Additional details about our accrediting process can be found at ECFA.org," it added.
The plaintiffs strike back and accuse ECFA of rubber stamping Mars Hill's practices.
"As a result of ECFA's ringing endorsement and declaration that MHC met the highest standards of financial ethics, faithfulness, and accountability, the Jacobsens, Kildeas, and thousands of other donors continued to be deceived, making donations to MHC they would never have made if ECFA had disclosed RICO defendants' wrongdoing, rather than making a 'a powerful statement' that MHC 'acts responsibly and honors its commitment to accountability,'" charges the complaint.
The ECFA it alleges, despite Mars Hill Church's "habitual pattern of racketeering activity," kept rubber stamping the church with its trusted seal until the church was run to the ground in 2014.
"At all times relevant hereto, from September 2012 forward, ECFA accredited MHC in spite of RICO defendants' ongoing and habitual pattern of racketeering activity involving RSI, the Global Fund, Campus Fund, and the Jesus Festival," the complaint charges.
"ECFA's accreditation of churches is, at best, a rubber stamp. In view of RICO defendants' fraudulent conduct detailed herein, it is inconceivable that ECFA would have accredited MHC and held it out to the public as meeting 'the highest standards of financial ethics, faithfulness, and accountability,'" it adds.
Seminary Presidents, Professors and TGC Council Members were the cheerleaders for Mark Driscoll.
In 2009, when we started this blog, we were critical of Mark Driscoll. And boy did we ever get hammered. Our local seminary, SEBTS and professors were quite supportive of Driscoll. We were told, point blank, that something was wrong with the two of us since we were down on Driscoll when so many seminary leaders supported him. We were called, get this, prudes for being concerned with the *trajectory (a really cool Calvinista term)* of his lectures on college campuses which often brought up the gospel™ subjects of anal sex and pole dancing.
It is my opinion that these professors and leaders were secretly delighted with Driscoll's garbage because they thought it made them appear cool. What it really made them appear is uninformed and biblically weird. As time has gone on, it is patently obvious that we two women knew more than many seminary professors, leaders, celebrity Calvinista pastors and good old boys looking for an excuse to indulge in porno jokes.
Mark Driscoll has embarrassed the Christian community. It is now clear that many seminary professors don't understand the Gospel as much as two middle aged women without seminary training. It is the Driscoll fiasco that has convinced the two of us that seminary training does not prepare these men (since women are rarely listened to) to accurately spot a loose canon or was that cannon?
Enjoy the Mafia references, gospel™ leaders. You egged him on.
Dee "Cute Shoes" Parsons
Deb "Pretty Face" Martin
“It is now clear that many seminary professors don’t understand the Gospel as much as two middle aged women without seminary training.”
Maybe that’s the key to clear thinking and perspective.
Great theme. Tragic story.
You are sadly right about the porn jokes. I used to listen to a local Calvinist radio show. Man, one of the pastors just could not go an entire show (30 min) without talking about porn or sex. What is it with these people and sex? They are so obsessed with it, or at least the porn side of it. :/ And, yes, Driscoll is an embarrassment. Why do people still listen to him? I am so confused.
Perhaps now the potato will be too hot to handle for those endorsing an unrepentant comeback by the potty-mouth preacher.
Driscoll’s legacy. An army of YRR-Driscollites have been released on the American church.
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Remember when Mark Driscoll was scheduled to speak at a Song of Solomon event at a certain church in our area, and it suddenly got
postponedcanceled, probably because one of our posts on Driscoll was distributed to a Sunday School class? We were newbies to blogging – it was during May of 2009 and Driscoll was supposed to speak in early June.
Interestingly, he still came to our area the weekend that SOS conference was supposed to take place to speak at Advance 2009. Here is the line-up of speakers at that event:
Mark Driscoll: What is the Church?
Tyler Jones: The decline of the Church
Bryan Chapell: Communicating the gospel through preaching
Matt Chandler: Preaching to the dechurched
Ed Stetzer: Church, Kingdom and Mission
JD Greear: Revitalising the Church
Eric Mason: The credibility of the Church
Mark Driscoll: Idolatry in Ministry
John Piper: Let the nations be glad Pt1
Danny Akin: Marks of a healthy church
John Piper: Let the nations be glad Pt
BTW, we never got a thank you from those church leaders for helping them make the right decision to cancel Mark Driscoll's Song of Solomon event.
Nah, this is Real Honest to Goodness Persecution ™ – as much as you’ll see in America – which is clearly evidence that he’s being used mightily by the Lord.
It will be interesting to see if a racketeering charge will enhance Driscoll’s resume.
For those who fall into Driscoll’s orbit this time, I may not be able to gather up much sympathy. It is the old “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”.
That whole lineup makes me cringe!
Maybe because he reinforces the message that his followers are special, are chosen? He definitely appeals to the male with insecurities. Why are people attracted to the outrageousness? Because it appeals to our reality TV-minded society where everything must be extreme and outrageous (election anyone?)? I just don’t know. Normal people will never understand Driscoll.
Speaking of potatoes, I suspect many of Driscoll’s problems trace all the way back to a late night in the spring of 1990 — his call to the ministry.
‘I knelt down by an Idaho river and prayed. It was at that time that I quite unexpectedly received my call. God told me, “Mark, I have called you out from among many to lead men.”‘
I would love to know– did God speak quietly to his heart, through someone else prophetically, or in an audible voice?
So from the getgo, a few short months AFTER he decided on a career as a church-planter, and fewer short months after his struggles with the Gospel disappeared, it was all about leading men.
If you wish to delve into the entire story regarding not just Mark Driscoll but also the shenanigans at Gateway, with Robert Morris and with others of this ilk, be sure to read the comments on all the recent posts re: Driscoll over at Warren Throckmorton. My jaw broke when it hit the floor again and again. Unbelievable, the shamelessness.
An former member of Mars Hill Church posted the article from Warren Throckmorton on a Calvinist Facebook site. She received all kinds of flack for doing it. One person told her to repent for her unforgiving and bloodthirsty attitude toward MD. One person told her that it is sin for ex-members to take this matter to the secular courts because it is an issue that should be handled within the church. I could go on but the way this former member was treated by a number of commenters on that Calvinist site was appalling. all because she was glad MD and Sutton would be exposed for their greed – and so that others could be warned to stay away from MD’s new “church”.
Come to think of it, where are is all the outrage from former supporters of MD? Like the ones on that list that were scheduled to speak at Driscoll’s Song of Solomon conference? I knew years ago that man was bad news, just by reading his views on sex and women. And of course his vulgarity. I couldn’t believe back then that he had so many supporters. And it always came down to one thing, “Mark Driscoll preaches the gospel.” Yep, I heard that over and over again. Calvinistas would admit MD was vulgar, immature, out of control at times with his authority, had some strange views on sex… but they could look the other way because he preached the gospel. This goes to the heart of the problem with Neo-Calvinism. It doesn’t matter HOW one lives, only if one possess the correct doctrine.
Looking at that list that Deb posted. Mark Driscoll preached on "Idolatry in Ministry." This is just laughable. The man idolized himself and wanted others to idolize him. LAUGHABLE LAUGHABLE LAUGHABLE!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
After his take on Song of Solomon, to me he will always be “Deep Throat Driscoll”.
Purity of Ideology, Comrades.
The defensive NeoCalvinists seem to miss the point of Scripture: Jesus flipped over tables for the money scams that were being pulled in the Lord’s House and on the Lord’s people.
When I was excommunicated/shunned from my John MacArthur-ite/9Marks church in Silicon Valley (California) in 2014, over standing my ground with my abusive, authoritarian pastors/elders who were defending their friend a Megan’s List sex offender at our church, I stumbled on the Mars Hill debacle. I did a search for the term “excommunication” and the first website I found was that of former Mars Hill members, the Petrys. He was a pastor-elder/attorney (Ivy League grad) and fired and ordered to be excommunicated from Mars Hill when he opposed the consolidation of power that Mark Driscoll wanted. Paul Petry said it was un-Biblical. Their family was shunned.
Their blog, Joyful Exiles, was my first insight into this HATEFUL practice, a modern day Salem Witch Trials II.
Here is the website for the ex-Mars Hill leaders who made amends to Mr. Petry and Mr. Meyer, another elder who was fired/shunned.
(Somebody should get screen shots of that website, just in case…given the litigation that is going to take place in federal court by ex-Mars Hill members.)
Mark Driscoll, by the way, has NEVER made amends to the Petrys, the Meyers, or other people that he was abusive to and harmed at Mars Hill.
The Petrys website states that as of last month. No amends – ever – from Mark Driscoll. No surprise.
“Mark Driscoll and Christian Rape Culture.”
Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction to the Scottish Sermon in which Driscoll pushed his view on oral sex in the Song of Solomon. What is telling is that before preaching, he gave the audience 3 options on what he would preach according to how they voted by a show of hands. First option: “God’s Heart for your City and God’s future plan in the upcoming season for your church from Jeremiah 29.” Or Second option: “Jesus as God: ten reasons why as Christians we believe and know that Jesus Christ is the only God.” Or Third option: “Sexuality and the most exciting parts of the book of Song of Solomon.” Well…we know which option the church overwhelmingly voted for. How did so few in the Calvinist camp not see through this charlatan?
ISTM that the old distinction between the church invisible (the body of Christ) and the church visible (the various institutions) is becoming more important by the day. There may be places where they intersect, but these intersections seem to become smaller and smaller.
The church visible in America is becoming more and more like the RCC pre-reformation: only interested in political (worldly) influence and power, money and the “good life”, not as defined by the gospel.
I’ll tell you the difference between the monk Tetzel whose selling of indulgences all over Germany prompted Luther to write his 95 theses, and Robert Morris and his ilk: At least Tetzel contributed to the building of St. Peter’s in Rome, and other pieces of architecture and art of great beauty. Robert “your money is cursed if you don’t tithe” Morris will leave a legacy of gaudy buildings, bad sermons, and luxury retreats for the “pastoral team” as well as money for his family.
The proliferation of fraudsters, hucksters, shysters or whatever you call them in the American church visible is a direct consequence of said church’s thirst for money and influence. You could also see Driscoll, Morris, Osteen and their like as God’s judgment for said money-grabbing and influence-peddling.
I have a feeling that the church visible is LOST, LOST, LOST, and that things will become a lot worse before a new church can start out of the remnant of the church invisible, without the money and the influence, but with what Jesus said about neighbours as their priority.
The fact that so many people who call themselves evangelicals run after D.Trump, a man so contrary to the teaching of the gospel in his lifestyle, his personal history, his attitudes and behaviour that he makes Dricoll look like a good boy, only reinforces my impression.
I am not sure that ECFA intends to be irrelevant, but they are. They whine because the accusers don’t have direct knowledge of their accreditation process, but in reality, ECFA doesn’t understand its own brand and what the public wants from them.
They are supposed to tell us what ministries to trust financially, instead they merely tell us which ones have filed their paperwork completely and on time.
Next I expect organizations like Christian Research Institute to be named as co-conspirators. Mars Hill met the majority of qualifications to be listed as a cult by Ron Enroth’s criteria, yet counter-cult evangelical ministries didn’t sound the alarm. Out of touch.
A bunch of bloggers had to do the work that the public expected from these so-called watchdogs.
“It is now clear that many seminary professors don’t understand the Gospel as much as two middle aged women without seminary training.”
In truth, the ‘mighty male circular fan club’ has grown some ugly visible horns from an overdose of pride and testosterone. And their over-ripe man-made ‘gospel’ smells of misogyny and greed.
Power to the Deebs!
All these guys get away with such unethical behavior because they convince people that God requires them to be in a church. Then they claim to have God’s authority to impose their wills upon the people. I invite you to read http://wayneharmon.org/2016/02/29/the-absurdity-of-church/ . There is no one who stands between the believer and God!
Yep! When all else fails, play the “persecution” card!
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
For clarification, the only person (to my knowledge) who was speaking at the Song of Solomon conference at the local church was Mark Driscoll.
The line-up of speakers I posted spoke at an event called Advance (as in 'advance the gospel'). That event was held here in Raleigh in June 2009.
This was when Dee and I were just getting going with our blog. It's been a long, hard journey, and the stories coming out from the Neo-Cal crowd keep getting worse and worse. Wake up folks!
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Driscoll was the one dishing our real honest to goodness persecution at Mars Hill! Ask the MH elders who tried to call him into account and who were subsequently excommunicated and shunned.
Bill M wrote:
Driscoll will again play the victim, who has been falsely accused. He will be embraced and restored by his followers. He appeals to a segment of Christendom who don’t want their preachers holy … who look and act just like them, always wallowing in the mud and never getting victory over sin.
A funny post but with a serious message.
Mars Hill could happen to any church. And many churches already have the infrastructure in place to allow it to happen. Pastor’s who chair the board of directors and hire their own progeny as pastors – that’s the governance at the church I used to attend. Combine that with a reticence to criticize other “Christians” plus a real indoctrination to always follow leadership, plus a fundamental belief in biblical inerrancy (which is anti-intellectual, anti-science and to be blunt anti-democratic), boom you have churches ripe for takeover.
And these aren’t dumb people, they are educated, smart, sincere folks but they don’t really look beyond the Sunday service to see what’s going on. Before they know it, they’re behind the “Calvin Curtain”, locked into a controlling Hotel Calvinfornia that they can check out but never really leave.
I’ve read in some forums that while they don’t agree fully, some Christians find a lot to admire there (!). Based on my research, Neo-Calvinism does not negotiate, if you’re not with them then you are out. They have no interest in you being part of their organization. You’re not one of the “elect”. The only goal is to subjugate, raise the wall and turn your church into bunker.
I thought all evangelicals were the same, they’re not but when the media reports on Neo-Cal antics that is what the world sees, secular society does not differentiate and when we read, when we see, we will stay away. If you don’t reclaim your religion – it will be a long war of attrition, with more Shauna and Billys, more Karen Hinckleys, more Mars Hills and (at least in North America/Western Europe) a marginalized bunker Christianity that will slide into irrelevance.
Interesting article I found:http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/faith/eight-reasons-for-empty-pews-370357571.html
FWIW, here’s some additional background from research I posted in 2014, with info on links added in square brackets. Some of this takes on a whole new dimension in light of the RICO lawsuit and naming of co-conspirators.
In September 2012, Mars Hill Church became an accredited member of ECFA, and they noted that “Mars Hill is the third fastest-growing and 28th largest church in the United States.” This gives some idea of the attention ECFA has given Mars Hill. ECFA also states elsewhere that “21 of the 100 largest churches in the U.S are accredited by ECFA,” and advertises that Mars Hill is one of these (ECFA: Enhancing Trust for Churches, page 32). Their 3rd Quarter 2013 Focus on Nonprofit Accountability newsletter (page 8), features Mars Hill Church and a quote from Mark Driscoll because they became ECFA’s milestone 1,700th member:
[NOTE: ECFA HAS REMOVED SOURCES FOR LINKS #1, 2, AND 3 FROM PUBLIC ACCESS.]
Although apparently ECFA has commented on the unethical nature of the Mars Hill/Real Marriage contract with ResultSource, Inc., it doesn’t seem there’s been any other notice or censure or action made public about scrutiny of Mars Hill by ECFA. And, as of September 15, 2014, that same quote from Mark Driscoll appears elsewhere on the ECFA website, such as “Read what others are saying about ECFA.”
In 2014, Mars Hill Church Executive Pastor Sutton Turner is noted in the acknowledgements section as one of only 10 members of the ECFA’s 1st Annual Church Stewardship Survey Advisory Panel. The attention given to Mars Hill is understandable. However, has it also put ECFA into a conflict of interest when it comes to potential “policing” of a member who pays to belong to this certification network?
[Update: The quote is now gone. According to an article by Rob Thain Smith posted December 27, 2014, The ECFA has purged their web-site of Mark Driscoll, but still certifies the integrity of Mars Hill Church. See also the ECFA category tag for more from Musings From Under the Bus site.]
[THE REST OF THE LINKS WORK. MOST ARE TO OTHER SITES THAN ECFA. LINK #6 IS PARTICULARLY INTERESTING IN LIGHT OF THE RICO SUIT, WHICH NAMES JOHN SUTTON TURNER AS ONE OF THE TWO DEFENDANTS.]
The above information was published on the following page of my case study on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill:
It concludes with this:
Indeed … that appears to be the tactic:
Mark Driscoll has a degree in communications, whereby we’d expect he understands the importance of words and using them carefully and specifically. I found it odd that he said, “I’m certain that the most recent examples are without any merit.” Does he find that earlier examples of allegations ARE WITH MERIT? But the “praying for my enemies” part was no surprise at all.
I don’t believe this is the domain of Calvinists but religious social conservatives in general. Someone did a study: the states with the most traffic to porn sites, including gay porn are states where fundamentalism and Mormonism and conservative Evangelicalism are the dominant religions. The US states where a woman is most like to Google the question, ” is my husband Gay? ” are located in the Deep South. Also there is more divorce in the South than secular Massachusetts. Don’t understand the why’s? An actual psychologist might have an answer, including the reason for Driscolls eccentricity about sex?
No U.S. court, state or federal, will touch, not with any length of pole, anything having to do with decisions on religious dogma. This is one of the first things we learned in constitutional law class–there are just some cases courts can’t touch due to the Constitution, and one of them is courts deciding what religious dogma is. This is why the RICO case against Driscoll is very careful to concentrate on secular bad acts. This is why you don’t hear of cases over those church covenant contracts–because no judge wants to be in the position of having to interpret a religious covenant.
No, the only judgment against groups like Christian Research Institute will come in the court of public opinion. And that’s really the way it should be.
If nothing else, he does indeed have the gift of gab.
Thanks for this link, Darlene.
Somehow I missed it because of personal busyness.
I dreamed about Mark Driscoll last night. I dreamed I went to the property he decided to have his church at and told him flatly that I would be out front every time the church was open. (Now I have NOT decided I would do that, because that’s a serious commitment of time, to hit every church service–and it might look obsessive. So it’s funny in my dream I would say that.) And he said, “You can’t be in here (indicating the church)” and I said, “That’s right, I’ll be over there, on the public sidewalk.”
Anyway, in light of the lawsuit this week, I did come up with a sign for the first time I go out there and it is going to say, “WHERE’S THE MONEY, MARK?” It’s short, sweet, and to the point.
I’m also putting together a small half-page flyer to give to people who ask, which will give a link to the lawsuit, Warren Throckmorton’s blog, and a couple of other blogs like Joyful Exiles and Musings from Under the Bus, since these are personal experiences with Mark and Mars Hill. I think these are quite enough to give observers a good picture of Mark Driscoll without having to delve into his doctrine, which was defended by so many as so, so orthodox for so long.
You should also include the clip of Driscoll laughing as he talks about running over people that are on the Mars Hill bus! Punching leaders that do not follow him….. Definely Mafia like behavior!
Perhaps because not all the corruption is limited to the leadership?
I believe the MD abuse will continue at the new church. So there will be pickets outside his church much sooner. People have been warned and those that haven’t heede the warnings may have an eye opener.
Something I don’t understand is that these mega church preachers and ministries support an ideology that includes financial accountability in the secular realm, yet they are great at wasteful spending or illegal pork within their organizations. Seems like there is an inconsistency in this part of their ideology.
I also believe the abuse will continue.
However, how soon those pickets show up depends on how much more slick and careful he is. It will be interesting to watch and see how diligent he has become to keep up his facade of being older and wise now, after the purification of fire he’s gone through.
Transforming himself to appear as an Angel of Light…
So do successful con men.
GAWD’s Speshul Pets Can Do No Wrong.
(1) I have had severe reservations about the EFCA. I’m glad they are getting the negative publicity – the practices at Mars Hill wouldn’t pass Accounting 101, let alone accreditation for financial accountability!
(2) Racketeering? Probably. Stealing? Probably. Horribly unethical and downright foolish? Yep.
(3) Thanks for bringing up the gospel glitterati. The continuing lack of anything remotely resembling prudence from that group is disturbing. I believe firmly that T$C et. al. have revealed themselves to be untrustworthy; this is just more proof to that thesis.
Wrong. Medically speaking, increased aggression and posturing among males is associated with low testosterone. Bazinga.
‘We even lie about lying’ by Mark Driscoll. http://markdriscoll.org/we-even-lie-about-our-lying/
@ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
Sure. Anyone who feels a need to demonstrate their manliness as much as Driscoll must have some pretty deep insecurities in that department. You don’t need to flaunt something you are confident in.
Same goes for the professional world: those who brag the most are either pretty immature or have some real lack of knowledge to hide. The best professionals are often those who do not say a lot but get the job done.
When did you notice they had gone missing? You are a rare bird if you follow ECFA. Can I ask why?
interview with the Mars Hill former members who filed the RICO lawsuit:
People suing megachurch leader Mark Driscoll: ‘He’s a fraud’ http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2016/03/05/people-suing-megachurch-leader-mark-driscoll-hes-fraud/81357116/
Dave A A wrote:
Thanks for this bit of history. I have a new axiom, if someone claims they have a call from God to lead, they don’t, He calls us to serve. The claim of a “call to lead from God” is either a lie or they are deluded as to the source.
True, but I was speaking of a medical fact. High T levels in men result in reduced aggression and a more stabile psyche*. As well, the historic cultural ideal for men was a GENTLEman. Males like Driscoll have historically been considered boors. Not sure what the draw was. Something about “finally – permission to be an @$$hole – because my idol pastor is too!”
*Naturally produced. Artificially raising T levels through the use of steroids results in significant hormonal imbalance, including an increase in estrogen, which almost always results in moodiness, aggression, suicidal tendencies, and sometimes rage.
nathan priddis wrote:
A couple of background things about ECFA and Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill, and then about my occasional visits to ECFA’s website.
I invested a lot of time in 2014 to gathering data and putting together a case study on Mars Hill, and finished it pretty much before 2015, when I switched over to a case study diagnosing the Emergent/Progressive movement. (Both Mark Driscoll and some of the celebrities from Emergent/Progressive go back to the mid-1990s and the “emerging church movement,” which I was a part of. So, that is my initial connection and I have watched and written about this larger movement for 20 years now.)
With ECFA and Mars Hill, I did a lot of screen shots and downloads in August 2014, as due-diligence documentation for my case study. Then I found out a few months later (see link #7 in my long comment above) that ECFA had apparently been purging Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll info and endorsement quotes from their site. So, I wasn’t the one who noticed it — the Musings From Under the Bus bloggers did.
I’ve only checked in on ECFA periodically since August 2014, simply because they keep cropping up in the various situations and lawsuits. For instance, the lawsuit against Bill Gothard/Institute in Basic Life Principles — IBLP is a member of ECFA and so there are some financial stats there. (Did you know IBLP lists $71 million in assets? That is a significant piece of research information when there is a civil suit at hand …)
And then there has been the Gospel for Asia debacle, where (IIRC) GFA is apparently the second largest “evangelical” mission agency — and ECFA decertified it, removed it from membership for gross failure in following financial and governance standards.
So, ECFA did something right with GFA, but investigation questions remain about the timing and whether something *public* could have/should have been done earlier, as former employees and other whistleblowers had been sounding the alarms for quite a while.
Which leads to the other issue: ECFA is a “certification” agency for evangelical non-profits. And if we cannot fully trust their process being comprehensive, fair, and timely — and appropriate warning information or decertification being made public — then what is the point? That is at issue in the Mark Driscoll/Sutton Turner RICO lawsuit. The plaintiffs contend that Mars Hill Church remained a member in good standing during all the many questions being raised about its organizational practices. So, if the ECFA says Mars Hill was okay, donors had no worries about their funds being used for what Mars Hill solicited them for, right?
Frankly, I don’t know that ECFA has given us sufficient reason to trust their systems. Some other metrics are needed other than an organization submitting paperwork and paying fees — especially when the IRS has been loathe to pursue deep investigations of religious non-profits since about 2009. So, once in a while I go to ECFA’s standards section for a research question on some technical point because one of the long-term projects I’m working on is a set of profiles on what constitutes a “trustworthy” versus “toxic” organizational system, along with specific indicators that can be measured qualitatively.
So, there’s the scoop.
Is there any wonder why most of would never ever consider giving a dime of any of these mega churches? i surely wouldn’t. I’ll gladly help out others in need, but not something like Driscoll and his churches or any other like it.
1. These guys are either nerds and felt left out of being able to do off-color material in high school.
2. They were the ” cool” kids in high school and they are just continuing the off-color stuff they used in high school.
3. S*x sells and they know it.
I do not think you really know what kind of idiots they have teaching now in SBC seminaries.
The definition of a cult according to many of these Neo-Calvinists is a church that doesn’t conform to Reformed/Calvinist doctrine. Most don’t even consider the social psychology and group dynamics that define a cult. Behavior modification, mind control, peer pressure – these and more are real identifiers of a cult which the Neo-Cals disregard.
Under the MArs hill bus:
how to keep elders in line:
Another godfather quote: “to the fishes”….
Now it has a double-meaning.
That’s why I think the RICO should be expanded to include many more.
BTW – I’ve no idea where to look this up sorry, but was RICO used on any of the big financial players post 2008 GFC? (I’m fresh from watching “The Big Short”). If not, I don’t know why they’d get a free pass, and Mars Hill wouldn’t, unless the documentation is more transparent and there’s more whistleblowers?
Fwiw, Driscoll was raised in the RCC. In his “memoir,” he spent a fair few words demeaning his parish priest as a gay alcoholic in a dress, and suchlike.
As for LGBT people in the South, it’s a mighty conservative part of the country, compared with some other regions, and from what I understand, there are a lot more closed folks there than in many other places. It’s not easy for anyone, from anywhere, to say that they’re not straight, but I can see how it’s much harder in the South, as church is still such a part of society in ways that are not necessarily true in other parts of the country. (At least, church-*going* is tied to social networks and social status in a way that’s no longer true in many other places…)
(views image at top of post)
(adopts Marlon Brando voice)
(Whispers huskily, “I would kill for that car.”)
Just jumping right in here, I have not yet finished reading the above article, but has Mark Discol not heard of the Christian camps/festivals called Soul Survivor? Oh yes, hang it, that’s a British Christian ‘thing’, run by weaklings in dresses preaching to grannies!!
Which was to say (my original comment, that I believe you may be commenting about), maybe the key to clear thinking and perspective is to be a middle aged woman without seminary training.
BTW, it is jaw-dropping why the seminarians neglect to take up some of these issues and causes involving real people, their real lives, real churches, real faith or not-faith.
Jesus seemed to deal with real people daily. John 13:35 Love one another.
That should be Discolouration, no!!!what no, sorry, gosh auto correct, Mark Dricoll.
Ecfa to me is nothing but a joke.I don’t trust this organization any farther than I could through them.
Here is an interesting piece on that subject.
If i read that correctly they say that more people are getting married in the south and some are young and poor and poorly educated and those are risk factors for divorce. The article seems to be saying that more people are delaying marriage in the north, dating more people and the article gives an illustration of one woman who shacked up while waiting for the right one to come along.
Personally I see some real problems either way.
He’ll probably want to beat them up.
But the professors are male, so to the SBC, that’s all that counts.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
Google the news that came out this past week about about um, something, um, of Hitler’s.
Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:
This sermon by the bad-boy, potty-mouth was designed to send a message to the Mars Hill elders. Shortly afterward, a couple were dismissed (I’m not sure if they had broken noses):
Sue these people. Expose every vile aspect of them as an act of justice. Prove to these self entitled people they aren’t the elect in earthly realm, nor are they in the heavenlies. Send an arrow across the bow for these Elmer Gantry’s and their umbrella ECFA. More may be a coming after Mark Driscoll.
Thanks for pointing out that Driscoll at one time was involved in that earlier movement of aberrant theology with Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Don Miller, etc. Yes, before the potty-mouth was resurgent, he was emergent … he is now submergent, but floating back to the top. But God …
Yep, this is the lie that New Calvinist leaders have planted in the minds of a great multitude of folks in their 20s-40s. Al Mohler sells Reformed/Calvinist doctrine this way: “Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going to end up basically being Reformed … if they are going to preach and teach the truth.”
The New Calvinist movement is all about restoring the true gospel that the rest of Christendom has lost. Any ministry not of Reformed belief and practice is preaching/teaching heresy. The new reformers believe they are the only keepers of Truth. Such arrogance!
As someone pointed out awhile back, these NeoCalvinist churches don’t contain very many older Christians (including senior citizens) who have been around and can see through it.
The NeoCals’ teachings – Patriarchy (a Semi-Arian Heresy), Authoritarianism, Membership Covenants (which only serve the authoritarian power structure), changes in church polity (from congregational votes to elder-rule by a ruling elite), excommunications and shunnings (for any kind of thinking) – have caused Christians to throw up their hands in disgust and leave the institutional church.
Record numbers of The Dones.
The Southern Baptists lost a whopping 200,000 members last year (conservatives, seniors, women) who simply aren’t going to put up with it any more. (Southern Baptists have the highest divorce rate in the nation, higher than atheists, according to a Barna study.)
Al Mohler, Mark Dever (Capitol Hill Baptist in Washington, D.C./founder of 9Marks of an [un]Healthy Church, Paige Patterson (Pres of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) refuse to see that they are responsible for an epic failure. Sane Christians have gotten in their lifeboats and are furiously rowing away from this mess.
nathan priddis wrote:
LOL – – that’s kind of the response I had when Brad gave me stats on my own blog!!! Don’t get me wrong, I was fascinated, but wondered why???? Now I understand why and he’s a dear friend 🙂
That’s a bit of a stretch in logic there, Al.
Hey Wartburgers, guess what? Grace City Church in Wenatchee, Wa. an Acts 29, Calvinist church had Mark Driscoll as a guest preacher on February 21 of this year – due to the regular pastor being sick. Out of all the people they could ask, they asked M.D. The title of his sermon: “Becoming a Godly Man.” The topic: Headship. Listen if you are able.
Nate Sparks addresses the matter of Grace City Church allowing Mark Driscoll to be the guest speaker at their church.
I keep reading how vulgar and potty mouth Driscoll is. Even from the pulpit. This disgusts me. I have no use for people like that. If I ever heard bad language coming from the mouth of a so called pastor or preacher during a church service, I would get up and walk out. If I was mad enough I might even loudly call him out right then.
When 990s were put online, charity navigator became a great source for non profit ministries. But that did not know include churches which are exempt.
However, ECFA often gave these “ministries” the high approval when they were started by current pastors on the side and paying large salaries to not only themselves but family members. These guys have been the Masters of double dipping and using church platform to build their brand. Some big disappointments were Chuck Swindoll and RC Sproul and their family members.
Nowadays, pastors are smarter and running their personal ministry through the church where you don’t have to report such things. All you need are yes men elders and a congregation that does not ask questions, gives money and buys stuff while adoring you from the pew.
Would that include the huge migration of Northerners in the 70s and 80’s?
This was my position, too. I would compare what I saw on charity navigator 990 (officers and their salaries in conjunction with income of non profit) with what ECFA rated and wondered what their “normal”_ was. And anothed problem, ECFA stays in business from fees paid by the very people they are rating.
On a tangent (but within the spirit of TWW community, I think) – has anybody heard from OldJohnJ lately? Unless I’m overlooking something lately, he doesn’t seem to’ve commented for a bit.
(I would be happy, at this point, to be made to look silly by OJJ himself pointing out the dozen comments he left this morning…)
“O Come Let Us Adore Him,
O Come Let Us Adore Him,
O COME LET US ADORE HIIIIM…”
So are my turds when I take a dump.
“Jeesus loves Me
This I know;
I’m a BOY
That’s how it rolls;
To ME Belong!
They are WEAK!
AND I! AM! STRONG!
(I Am STRONG! I Have a PENIS! SEE? SEE? SEE? BOYZ RULE, GURLZ DROOL!)”
Or order his Armorbearers to Beat Them Up.
The toughest-talking guys are usually the most extreme physical cowards when it comes to their precious bod.
@ Nick Bulbeck:
Over the years I have been reading TWW, Old JJ has been an intermittent commenter. When he contributes an article he is around for the duration of comments, otherwise he is quieter.
nathan priddis wrote:
Brad/Futurist Guy seems to monitor EVERYTHING.
Like Twilight Sparkle in mid-crackup:
Or “Mr Universe” in Serenity, sitting in his one-man space station monitoring the entire Cortex of the Verse.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Frighteningly enough, it seems that I am currently monitoring how I am being monitored for monitoring. How did we get to meta-monitoring when all I meant to do was monitoring what I meant to?
See, you can never have too many conversation with Mr Coffee … or is that often have too many?
“There were days that the Deebs would wake up and not have a story to write. We would then check the news for CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll and viola! Post written without breaking a sweat.”
“Viola” reminds me of the meme that refers to something like: That word doesn’t meant what you think it means.
Did you mean instrument as in ‘violin’ or flower as in pansy?
Maybe you had “viola” on your mind when you said “treble trouble.”
>”What is the range of a Viola?
As far as you can kick it.”
>”Why is viola called “bratsche” in Germany?
Because that’s the sound it makes when you sit down on it.”
>”What’s another name for viola auditions?
Scratch lottery. ”
((And since we are on the porno subject:
>”What is the difference between a violist and a prostitute?
A prostitute knows more than two positions.
Prostitutes have a better sense of rhythm.” ))
>”Did you hear about the violist who played in tune?
Neither did I.”
I think you meant “voila” which reminds me of the song: “Whoomp: There it is!!”
Or as I have heard some folks in Alabama spell it: wa-la!
Love you Deebs ! Keep up the good work of cleaning up / identifying the litter / dead bodies under the bus(es) !!
Even worse, you do not know who the seminarians are….I taught high school and see who are now preachers….good grief! I know there are not that many that have had Paulian, ” Road to Damascus” conversions….
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
I’ve been busy for months and I haven’t been able to keep up with the comments for months. Has Gram3 been around? She’s an incredible lady and has been a real encouragement to me.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
That’s about 20% more information than I needed.
So- somewhat related to the post, I had never actually heard the Song of Solomon sermon- still haven’t. But I went on over to the you tubes and looked it up.
I saw some comments had been somewhat recently made, and perused out of curiosity.
Ladies and gentleman, for at least one person following this here you tube channel, MD does not go FAR ENOUGH.
I’m…stymied. Take a look at the comments of Isabelle M.
I ask you- what the fudge??
I guess if I posted the link that would help.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
I think you’ve hit upon something there. Explains a lot about Trump’s draw as well.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
BEFORE he met his sticky end… He did get a very cool gravestone though (just finished rewatching Firefly and Serenity).
I believe she is taking a break? But Dee was going to check with her that all is ok, as quite a few people have been enquiring after the gramsters, myself included.
Yes, and I still mourn Wash. *sigh*
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
That’s not an exaggeration!
Sopy seems to be MIA too.
Yup. Biblical manhood = loving, emotional, affectionate relationships towards male celebrities they only know from the other side of a computer screen.
But honestly, the SBC has been lurching toward fundamentalism for thirty years now. These kinds of numbers are a good thing.
“Come to think of it, where are is all the outrage from former supporters of MD? … I knew years ago that man was bad news, just by reading his views on sex and women. And of course his vulgarity. I couldn’t believe back then that he had so many supporters. And it always came down to one thing, “Mark Driscoll preaches the gospel.” Yep, I heard that over and over again. Calvinistas would admit MD was vulgar, immature, out of control at times with his authority, had some strange views on sex… but they could look the other way because he preached the gospel. … It doesn’t matter HOW one lives, only if one possess the correct doctrine.”
seems to me such silly people have turned off all other senses other than eyes forward reading Paul in black on white. decisions are passed through the Paul grid as the sole arbiter, and because of Philippians 1,
“…The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely… What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice”
…they are bound to their idiotic measly, passive, spineless, gutless, milk toast response.
if only Paul had had the prescience to follow this up with,
“but look, guys, these are simply my thoughts and opinions. Law? you think this is some new kind of law? good grief, I have food poisoning right now, my thoughts are only half-baked.
but, now that I think about it, yes, I forgot to add ‘except when people are hurt’. I hope it goes without saying that in that case, Christ is most definitely not being preached.
You see, there are a number of things that go without saying concerning my thoughts in my letters, and I am relying on your common sense to kick in. And on your understanding that I am NOT instituting any new law.”
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
This evokes metaphors of the Titanic I commonly hear. But instead of re-arranging deck chairs, they fight over the executive suite.
Thanks for the heads up about our beloved Gram3. I hope she and Gramps3 are ok.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
Indeed! It’s a very good thing that Southern Baptist members are voting with their feet and wallets and are leaving the denomination en masse over these bizarre, oppressive, authoritarian NeoCal teachings that have been espoused for the last thirty years.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
That’s about 40% more information than I needed. (to borrow and inflate Nick’s line)
However, you paint a vivid picture. Within New Calvinism, the big chunks do indeed float to the top.
I went to Hillsong’s newest franchise in the USA today and my head hurts. It.was.so.LOUD. I went because someone asked me to gather some data, and the trip was successful in that regard, but I have absolutely no desire to go there again. And it’s not because I don’t like loud music. My favorite genre is metal. But this was so noisy that when a friend of mine called me during the preaching, the ring from my phone was drowned out by the sound of the speaker.
EEUUWW!! Gross! You guys are gross!(even if it was funny) GAH!! What is it with men and their potty humor?!!
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
No, I haven’t commented much lately but I am alive, well and follow TWW regularly. I do not have any first hand experience with the abusive side of churchianity. Christianity by definition can’t be abusive. The Deebs posts and the many first hand testimonies about abuse received have been an education to say the least. I prefer not to comment except on subjects that I have some experience or knowledge.
Nick replying to your comment directed to me about the sodium D line: Yes, I know it is actually two emission lines separated by 0.6 nm seemed to be a little arcane to mention for even the open discussion forum.
“The Scum also Rises”
— Hunter S Thompson
And utter contempt for the RL people physically around them.
Sounds a lot like Perfect Porn Star Syndrome, where the Fantasy image is SO Perfect that Reality is Skubalon in comparison. (According to one of my contacts, a lot of Goddess Religions were viciously Patriarchal for just this reason; the Goddess represented a Cosmic “Perfect Porn Star” (probably literally when you consider the Sacraments of a Fertility religion) compared to which RL women were as dung.)
Or something a little higher up the Speed Spectrum…
I can’t remember who first came up with that little gem, but it was somewhere on either this blog or Spiritual Sounding Board.
I repent nancyjane … talking about New Calvinism brings the worse out of me.
You’re forgiven!! But it was getting a tad too driscollish there!! I know you have better role models–you too, HUG! At times you are like an annoying little brother!!
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
I’ve also noticed Gram3 hasn’t commented here at TWW for quite awhile. I really enjoyed her participation here.
Yeah, I wanted to see how it felt to behave like a Driscollite just for a moment. I didn’t like it. I won’t do it again!
(semi-sarcasm font on) On behalf of my whole country I wish to solidly apologise. And for Rupert Murdoch. It’s all his fault, all of it. Super Tuesday noise has got nuffin on Hillsong (ps didn’t you know earplugs are de rigeur?) I’m sure there must be a good quote somewhere, ‘the louder the music, the …….’
And……you lost me right there. But glad you’re around OldJohnJ !
Not since early November, I miss her too.
The New 21st Way To Worship in Evangelicalism!
I’d rather listen to The Who’s Live at Leeds any day of the week and six ways to Sunday. At least those lads knew how to make noise enjoyable.
That way the music and the preaching drown out any other clear thought that you might have.
The best way to make it easy for people to accept what you’re saying: make it difficult for them to think about it.
You mean like that old Texas saying, “the higher the hair, the closer to God?”
Seriously, though, I have earplugs. A whole box of them. At home. In a drawer. And I did think longingly of them during the service.
To be perfectly honest, I thought the sermon would be generally acceptable in an Evangelical church of lesser volume. (Probably not among the young, restless and reformed, however.) The pastor took his text from John 3:1-10. He talked about being born again, e made it clear we”re all sinners in need of God’s grace via Jesus’ death on the cross. He did issue a call to come to Jesus and led the congregation through a prayer. That said, I did think (and this could be me because I’m sensitive to this) he played up the temporal benefits of following Jesus as far as having help in straightening out one’s life, and there was a twinge of prosperity gospel (a feeling that Jesus can help you overcome anything, without any mention that following Jesus is not always a bed of roses). But it as pretty darn orthdox. Just very, very LOUD.
There was an article in Medical Daily last year entitled: “Torture Methods With Sound: How Pure Noise Can Be Used To Break You Psychologically”, an excerpt: “…your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down, and your will is broken…”
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
“Not in the face! Not in the FACE!!!“
“Stretch”? That’s a freakin’ leap across the Grand Canyon.
I applaud your sense of restraint, Patricia. 😉
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Playing right into Screwtape’s hands…
“Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.”
— C.S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters”
Hey folks, I just watched Natalie Greenfield’s video posted on her blog as well as the Truth About Moscow blog. She spoke to a class at U.of Idaho about her experiences. I highly recommend it. (Almost can’t wait for DW’s next blog post…)
Law Prof wrote:
I have read that prisoners were tortured at Guantanamo Bay with country music. Lyrics about a grandma getting run over by a pickup truck driven by a good ole boy with a hound dog in the passenger seat would drive anybody crazy!
SBC-YRR church plants in my area have several things in common … loud bands being one. It appears that in order to be successful, you need a band with loud drums and whiny electric guitars with hoochie-coochie singers swaying to the beat. Picking the right “praise and worship” leader is more important than the choice of preacher if you are going to draw a crowd. Of course, these churches aren’t worried about not attracting old folks with such gimmicks … they are after 20s-40s, young professionals with money in their pockets & a fondness for loud music.
The thing is, I love loud music. I love getting into my car and cranking up the volume. I’ve blown out speakers. But this was just too loud. And I have to wonder if it’s that the music itself isn’t melodious or even very good.
It was just so loud. I can’t even get over that.
Triumph of the (guy at the podium’s) Will, Gustav von Osterreich.
Like a Nuremberg Rally (or Charlie Chaplin’s parody of it at the beginning and endig of The Great Dictator), everything is intended to draw you to the guy at the podium and predispose you to believe everything he says.
Or like the Symps and Parasymps of the Heirarchy’s church organs in Fritz Leiber’s Gather, Darkness!, using tones and progressions to trigger maximum receptiveness and credibility in the brains of the listeners.
And didn’t Screwtape wax ecstatic about Noise Noise Noise?
Anything like THIS without the Ponies?
“IT’S ALL RAZZLE DAZZLE!
IT’S ALL GLITZ AND GLAM!
IT’S ALL RAZZLE DAZZLE!
I’M JUST A SPECTACLE!”
And I thought waterboarding was bad.
I want to thank an anonymous reader who alerted me to antisemitic comments by Mark S. He was banned as of yesterday afternoon. I suppose the only good thing that can come out of this is to be aware that there are people in the church who have ugly beliefs about other people.
I am quite friendly with a Chicago Rabbi who posts on Twitter. I have been blessed to know a Hasidic Jewish woman in our community and my husband has the most delightful Jewish patients who he loves beyond the typical doctor/patient relationship.
Again, I am so sorry of the mess this weekend.
I am planning on posting that video over here after I deal with a few more posts on Shauna, domestic violence, etc.
Is this an alias for Bob J, since “Mark” was also going off about Masons and MacArthur? There’s definitely some stuff going on in Western Christianity that’s not right (e.g., New Calvinism), but some folks play the conspiracy card to the extreme.
Like somebody said up-thread dee, it ain’t yer’ fault.
Serving Kids In Japan wrote:
Muff Potter wrote:
No, not at all!
Was that necessary? Would you be offended at the same said about Hillary? Both sides have serious issues that have not been dealt with.
@ Law Prof:
Mega churches are well aware of the psychology of and emotional responses to music, lighting, drama, humor, etc.
I know this is off-topic for this particular post, but since we’ve discussed complementarianism and domestic abuse in the past, I just wanted to throw this out for you all. Theologian Ruth Tucker has a new book out on her abuse situation and discusses complementarianism.
“…during the service.” Ahem, don’t you mean Christian rock concert?
I saw Natalie’s video last night. She has grown into a strong, wise woman.
Over the weekend my daughter performed Al Shlisha D’varim. It is: On three things the world stands: Torah, Service and loving deeds.
Christianity made a big mistake early on when it dismissed it’s Jewish roots and Jesus as a Jew. I will never understand the “Christian” hatred of Judaism.
I skimmed her comments under the video. Sounds like a real sexist kook. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same guy from the “Gender biblical roles for women” blog writing under a female name.
As was the Heirarchy in Fritz Leiber’s novel Gather, Darkness!
And there’s a TED talk somewhere on YouTube where the guy starts his lecture with “for the next twenty minutes, I’m going to tell you absolutely nothing” and continues with examples (as speech patter) of every manipulative trick using psychology and emotional response to make Nothing sound like Absolute Truth.
Until he comes back under another common-first-name-and-last-initial.
Serving Kids In Japan wrote:
And Chesterton ended one of his shorter poems with:
“The little lanes and houses where
I learned with little labor
Just how to Love My Fellow Man
And hate my next-door neighbor.”
You can thank Constantine and the post Nicene Fathers for much of Christianity’s anti-Semitism. Fast forward and the pendulum swings to its other extreme with hard-right fundagelicals claiming that God will curse you if you dare speak out against the Israeli seizure of Palestinian olive groves which have been in their possession for a thousand years.
Glad to hear this (on all counts) and sorry to disturb you!
The double nature of sodium’s D-line is indeed a fact in which very few people are likely to be interested. I mentioned it for completeness because, when borrowing an illustration from the natural world, I hate not being completely accurate. (I don’t want to feel like a professional evangelist.)
@ Muff Potter:
Anti-Judaism and anti-semitism in the church started during the ante-Nicene era. Later, John Chrysostom preached a series of anti-Judaic sermons that explicitly identified synagogues as the haunts of demons and devild (and other seriously nasty claims). That he is still revered by the EO and the RCC … well, i am confounded and deeply saddened by it all. (In that neither group has ever disavowed both those sermons plus his more misogynistic statements.)
@ Muff Potter:
Many of those contemporary groups who claim to support Israel know pretty much zero about its history and politics, and i doubt many of the adherents have actually gotten to know any Jewish people, either here or sbroad, let alone any Palestineans!
Muff Potter wrote:
Have you seen the 2008 film “Lemon Tree”? A similar premise. Recently saw “The Wanted 18” – I think it’d be up your alley. It’s a unique production and opened my eyes to the local dynamics in play during the first intifada. Politics aside, I love the region from a physical geography perspective, I find it beautiful country. Sigh.
The Most Excellent Way to Lead
Last week, Driscoll was a keynote speaker at Perry Noble’s “The Most Excellent Way to Lead” Conference, which featured such other notables as Steven Furtick and Dave Ramsey.
Could GBTC put further comments containing links to the watch/wakes web site into some sort of purgatory?
Amazing! Truly amazing! This guy is bullet-proof!
Every church should have Messianic Jews worshiping with them. Their perspectives add so much to New Testament passages pertaining to the symbolism of Jewish traditions and culture, as it relates to the teachings of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The early church included many Jews who came to Christ, the Messiah. Jesus was a Jew.
I think you might like Amy_Jill Levine’s book The Misunderstood Jew. She is Orthodox (Jewish), but teaches NT studies at the Vanderbilt U. divinity school.
There’s a thing here about your wording: the only people in the earliest church who “converted” were gentiles. What we call Christianity began as a Jewish sect. I think we tend to read the NT through modern, gentile goggles, when in reality, it is deeply Jewish. “Coming to Christ” was not part of their vocabulary – they came to believe that Jesus was Messiah, but that is not the same thing.
Dr. Levine also has a book on the parables, Short Stories by Jesus, that you might like a lot.
As for having messianic Jews in a congregation, let me gently suggest this: get to know some Jewish people, period. Go to an actual Jewish Seder or two, not a church Seder, which are not the same things at all. Learn about Judaism, enjoy the parallels and insights. Keep in mind that the xtian church has relentlessly persecuted Jewish people for most of its existence. We (including myself) need to keep Paul’s illustration of the cultivated olive tree with grafted-in branches in mind, I think.
Amy-Jill Levine, that is…
Should add “deeply *first century* Jewish” re. the NT texts.
Our current vocabulary (church, whether it’s high church Protestant or Catholic or evangelical) would be foreign to the writers of the NT, for the most part. The concepts, even. Most of our theology was worked out as a way of understanding the things the NT talks about, not as the main course (so to speak).
One of my favorite things to read, per this, is the late Reynolds Price’s translation of the Gospel of Mark. He taught English lit at UNC-Chapel Hill, and he did a course on NT translation and reading the narratives without all of our cultural and religious overlays. The original edition of his translation of Mark (plus supplementary material) was titled A Palpable God, but I think the book has a new title now. Either way, you should be able to locate it on either Amazon.com (used) or Abebooks.com
“Amazing! Truly amazing! This guy is bullet-proof!”
no, he’s not. he’s merely being embraced by fellow ecclesiastical pond scum, a scuzzy symbiotic relationship. it’s an embarrassment.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
Southern Baptists I will always like — but it is the old convention. Neo calvinistics look negatively on E Y Mullins. I think he was our (Southern Baptists and those who left the Convention) greatest theologian . E Y Mullins espoused democratization of religion in his Axioms of Religion, I don’t believe Mullin’s detractors like democracy. Not really.
I know many Christian groups through the ages have hated Jews and blamed Jews for various things, but I’ve been lucky enough to have come from two groups that didn’t do this. The Methodist church I grew up in wasn’t anti-Jew in any way, neither was the PCA church I went to in high school.
Quote from Mullins’s Axioms of Religion:
“What shall be said of regeneration? Is the doctrine of regenerated church-membership the sufficient statement of the Baptist view? It is a view peculiar to Baptists, and far-reaching in its significance. And yet it is conceivable that the doctrine of a regenerated church-membership might co-exist alongside of a priestly or an episcopal system of church government. The fundamental statement should be at the same time duly inclusive and exclusive, and regeneration alone comes short.
Democracy and the priesthood of all believers, again, have been urged as the fundamental Baptist view. Unquestionably they are of vital importance and grow directly out of our fundamental position. But they are corollaries to a prior truth. They are not original but derived.”
Wow-she sounds amazing.
Roger that numes. I used to be a Calvary Chapel bobble-head way back in the day, so I know well what you’re saying. As you’re probably aware, in those kinds of circles there’s no such thing as nuance, compromise, or even the slightest deviation from party ideology. It’s all done with smoke and mirrors under the aegis of a ‘biblical world view’.
Thanks for the film recommendations. I’m gonna’ give both of em’ a look see.
Speaking of Dave Ramsey, I was just reading yesterday about a ruling the Dept of Labor wants to put into effect, whereby financial speakers/entertainers would have to function as fiduciaries (put the clients’ best interests first) when they advise individuals as part of their shows. Ramsey came out firmly against this, starting a bit of a twitter war. He says it isn’t necessary and that it will cut off the middle class from getting financial advice. I’m not a financial person so maybe someone else can explain this to me- I am confused because it seems like he is saying that if he is forced to only give advice that holds him to his client’s best interest, he won’t be able to give advice?
I’m glad you put “Christian” in quotes there. There shouldn’t be any hatred in the heart of a believer towards Judaism.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
He did indeed, HUG. The relevant passage:
“Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile – Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise… The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end.”
A little more on Dave Ramsey:
“So people who are looking for a financial planner — who want to educate themselves and do what they can — what would you say to them?
“You ask whether someone has a fiduciary duty to you. If they don’t, find somebody else. Fiduciary duty, as you know, means ‘act in someone’s best interest.'”
This to say, these people are birds of a feather. They have all figured out how to make a killing from “the faithful” and are living very well on their spoils. The money changers are in the temple. Sure, it’s “The Most Excellent Way to Lead”- for the benefit of the leaders!
Yep, speakers at the conference are living well. Steven Furtick resides in a $1.7 million 16,000 sq. ft. mansion in North Carolina. Dave Ramsey’s new home in Tennessee looks like a castle – the home and land are valued at $4.9 million. And I’m sure Driscoll has used his Mars Hill booty to find a nice place in Phoenix. They are definitely riding the New Calvinist wave to the bank! Their YRRD followers need to wake up and smell the coffee (YRRD = young, restless, reformed, and deceived). Jesus, who demonstrated the most excellent way to lead, said “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to sleep.”
I wish I could ask my ex-NeoCalvinist church for a refund. And the church before that too. Scams.
Back in the heyday of Hal Lindsay, Israel was nothing more than the trigger for Armageddon (tick tick tick tick tick…). Israel was Back in the Land, Fulfilling such-and-such End Timr Prophecy (tick tick tick tick tick…). And once they’ve served their Prophetic Role (tick tick tick tick tick) Turbo-Jesus will destroy them for their rejection.
And the Palestinians were just Antichrist’s Orc Horde, along with the Russian Army and the 200-million-man Chinese Army from the East (It’s in Revelation!) With the Second Russian Revolution, nowadays Islam has become THE Orc Horde.
Not Israelis, not Palestinians, not you, not me. Just more pieces on the End Time Prophecy game board.
@ Muff Potter:
And the other side like Arafat who died a billionaire. The Palestinians used as political footballs by their own. There is plenty of corruption to go around.
Well, the ideas were institutionalized as doctrine. It is hard to discuss. Just bringing it up you will be accused of touting Left Behind, Rapture, etc. I don’t buy into any of that at all. But I don’t think God “replaced” them with us, either.
The Reformation was also very anti semetic. As NT Wright has said, every generation needs to seek the “historical” Jesus. I will add that might have kept the Lutherans from pledging allegiance to a certain regime a few hundred years later. Bonhoeffer understood this.
That’s the true-true Lyds. The big rats always get away with it because they can. They can cuz’ we let em’.
Which video are you talking about, Daisy?
I suppose the same could be said about Martin Luther’s diatribe against the Jews – and the Lutheran Church has yet to disavow and speak out against his views. I would say that on both counts, there are people within these churches – Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran – who have rejected these beliefs. But on an official level – that is quite a different thing. Although there have been popes who have reached out and apologized to the Jewish people publicly for the horrific treatment they received at the hands of RCC. Along this line, I don’t think the Presbyterian Church in the United States has made a public apology to African Americans for supporting the institution of slavery. Oh, then we have the various church fathers, religious leaders of just about all Christian denominations over the course of the past 2,000 years that have said deplorable things about women. As of yet, many churches have not come out publicly and disavowed these men’s views on women.
Yeah, there’s a lot of guilt – and I mean that in the truest sense – to go around. History bears witness that the Christian landscape has been cluttered with some very ugly beliefs and practices.
No surprise. Somewhere up thread I posted a link that addressed that matter of one Mark Driscoll preaching at an Acts 29, Calvinist church – Grace City Church of Wanatchee, Washington to be exact. It was on Nate Spark’s blog. Here is the link
meant to say “addressed *the* matter
Yepper. And he is somehow how able to enter the preaching circuit of Calvinist, Emergent and Word Faith churches. That guy could talk people into buying real estate in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!
Isn’t that a sign of the “chameleon” sub-type of con artist?
Which is why I have never understood appeals to church history or even orthodoxy.
He should become a real estate agent and leave Christianity leadership alone 😉
Yep, his Mars Hill and Acts 29 ministries failed, but he still walked out with a nice severance package. He’s a long way from the Atlantic Ocean, but church offerings purchased some nice real estate for him in the Phoenix sun. The American church is missing it altogether … instead of rallying behind humble servants of God, we promote pride and charisma … and in the case of Driscoll, unrepentant comebacks by potty-mouths.
I should have said, Driscoll failed in Acts 29 leadership. The Acts 29 network is still successfully planting churches … I mean, planting theology.
Ew…yeah, I actually listened to that video recently. I would have walked out of that place for embarrassment alone.
J. D. Greer is a candidate for president of the SBC this year.
It just keeps getting worse!
I suspect that there will also be pre convention meetings on the topic of Neo Calvinism by “tradionalist” faction and possibly some fireworks on convention floor , I hope. At least it will show some lack of apathy. I don’t hold much hope because looking at the Southern Baptist Today blog, the YRR faction just talks down to and bullies those who don’t agree with their take over agenda. It is time for a denominational split with some degree of separation. I shouldn’t care because I really am an outsider, but I do care. If what happened up North in the early part of the 20 th century is any indication, it will be a slow group of denominational splits. What happens in the SBC is like a bellwether for what happens far past its 16 million minus 200000 members.
I do care, being a member of n SBC affiliated church. I’m having enough trouble accepting things as is now. If Greear wins, which I strongly suspect he will, I will have to withdraw my membership. YRR will have almost absolute control of the SBC.
He is the anointed successor. The voting is a joke. Who attends the convention these days? Most are ministry staffers of the 5or6 thou attending. The days of 30,000 lay people attending and voting are were over a decade ago.
This is a convention who elected Jared Moore as 2nd VP with about 300 votes. The whole thing is a farce of epic proportions.
If Greear wins, it is a sure sign that the New Calvinists are clearly in solid control of the largest Protestant denomination in America! With barely a whimper from the apathetic non-Calvinist millions in the pew, New Calvinists have steadily gained leadership of most SBC entities (seminaries, mission agencies, publishing house). Attendance at the annual SBC meeting, where officers are elected, used to number 20,000-30,000 messengers (voting members) from across America … in recent years, that has fallen to around 5,000 – the YRR are showing up in great numbers to vote, while traditional non-Calvinist messengers are opting not to attend. The YRR army has good generals and a battlefield strategy to take over the SBC. Sad to see a once great evangelistic force fall, after being an SBC member for over 60 years.
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I am not so sure that the ‘apathetic non-Calvinist millions’ are quite all that non-Calvinist or for that matter quite all that apathetic. At some point one has to ask why these people are going with the flow. Assuming that there are most likely several reasons among that group I am thinking that one huge and prevailing reason has to be that they do not actually think that anything is all that wrong. Lots of them may not even know how to spell ‘theology’ and lots more may be in some serious agreement with some of what is going on but willing to overlook the rest.
I am thinking that Calvin is not nearly as important to people as the social/ political stances and the Me Tarzan/ You Jane approach and the ideas of a closed community which can feel like an ark of safety in a world out of control.
If you read Quiet Revolution by Ernest Reisinger it would become more clear. This became the ingrained playbook. If there had been an honest declaration of pushing Calvinism, things would most likely have been different.
The argument the YRR used on blogs was that the pew sitters were too ignorant to know what questions to ask them. My response is that they are too trusting of titles and the seminaries they paid for. They did not know they needed to ask such questions. And it takes a while to figure out your new pastor has a different definition of grace than you do.
I think there is something to this, too.
You know there is another aspect of this a friend pointed out to me. She has a very simple faith and was hoodwinked for a while during what she now sees as a slow and methodical brainwash. She is no dummy with a master’s degree in her field.
She said they were busy working 50 hours a week, raising two kids and taking care of an elderly parent. She did not know she needed to study the fine points of different theological systems to recognize what was being taught.
It finally dawned on her after a year or so of sermons focused on being broken all the time. And a lack of quoting Jesus Christ OR mention of the Holy Spirit. It was, for her, more about what was missing. As she said, there was no balance.
She started googling names dropped in sermons for more understanding. She had rarely heard of Calvin outside of college history class.
People buying real estate may be operating with a little more discernment than the church scene.
“Today the SBC, TOMORROW THE WORLD!”?
Exactly. And the New Calvinists took advantage of that trust to come in like a flood. Additionally, the average Southern Baptist ain’t what they used to be (from my 60 year association with them). Once called a “People of the Word”, I find that very few these days have a discipline to pray and study the Word as they ought. Thus, they have little or no discernment to spot aberrant theology when it comes in the camp … easy pickins’ for New Calvinism.
Written in 2012, but even more true today.
Mark, there were flags going up in various corners of SBC as early as 2000 about the New Calvinist strategy to take over the denomination. Unfortunately, the majority of trusting Southern Baptists still have their heads in the sand and believe, as the opening line in the link you provide: “There is no attempt to Calvinize the SBC.”
New Calvinists have moved beyond backroom plotting to in-your-face now with their aggressive rebellion. For the millions of non-Calvinists to deny that Calvinization is occurring is to be either uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant. Al Mohler probably wakes up every morning with a smile on his face at how easy this has been.
It sure does seem a very different place from the SBC where I was baptized in 1985. We went to a picnic put on by a local SCB last year (about as close as we’ll get to a church nowdays), were invited by friends who were formerly in that abusive neocalvinist church I’ve spoken about frequently on TWW, the one that eventually imploded. Anyway, the games were there, the food was great, all the activity was fine–but it felt creepy, was a very different sort of crowd from the one I remembered. They old guard ran things for the most part at my SBC church 30 years ago, and while they were all squares, no one was a big mouth or unduly vain or full of self. People were peers, the pastor wasn’t on a pedestal. At this place, they seemed to be just a bit too trendy, though maybe that wasn’t even it. The whole business just seemed off, not quite right. When we got home I found the church webpage and it was quite slick, went to the leader’s page and a bunch of young to middle-aged guys, facial hair, cool looks, hipsters. They each had a section where they listed their most influential people “John Piper, John Piper, John Piper, John Piper”. Ah, that’s why it felt off, not quite right.
P.S. Can’t imagine Brother Dewey or Sister Amy from 1980s First Southern Baptist having a bio page with a slick website and listing their heroes even if they had the net back then.
Law Prof wrote:
Oh yeah, the young reformers like to drop names! If you follow Twitter accounts for New Calvinist “pastors”, you will note them re-tweeting the words of their idols (Piper Points, Mohler Moments, Driscoll Drivel, etc.). It’s their way of subliminally communicating “I’m part of the movement, y’all” … although it’s not as subliminal as they think (I’m an old guy & I’m onto their tricks). Brother Dewey and Sister Amy probably didn’t care who they impressed … that’s why you felt more comfortable in their ministry. They were most likely ministering to folks, rather than spiking their hair and tweeting their lives away!
Brother Dewey and Sister Amy were being genuine. YRR churches will attract those that are into status? Traditionally Baptists were a church of the common folk, not the elite. Also how can individuals by human agency be true to the great commission if they are ostentatious. Well perhaps some of these YRR don’t believe in being true to the great commission because human agency isn’t involved and it is all predestined?
YRR feel their mission is to harvest the “elect”, not reach the lost … and that is the Great Omission, rather than the Great Commission.
A word about “predestination”. As I read Scripture (the text within the context), I see that Christians are called to a character and purpose that is not promoted in YRR ranks:
Chosen to be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4-5).
Predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
Thus, the destiny of believers (the elect) is to be Christlike. Just because you think you are among the chosen few, does not give you the freedom to abuse Christian liberties. We are called and predestined to live to a higher standard than is exhibited by most “church” members, especially in New Calvinist ranks. We are called to a purpose that should be demonstrated by our character.