“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.” ― Dieter F. Uchtdorf link
[Update] Before I get into today's topic, let me update you on the home front. Last Wednesday, my mother in law was seen at Duke and was determined to be in end stage cancer. She is becoming confused and very weak. I have learned much in caring for her and will share my thoughts in the future. Please forgive me for not answering emails and phone calls. I will get to them whenever I have a moment.
Now you have a reason to be a proud TWW reader.
My husband has become interested in our genealogy. I am proud to announce to our readers that you are reading a blog endorsed by a descendent of none other than Jonathan Edwards. Edwards oldest daughter, Sarah, married into the Parsons clan. I was so excited that I asked on Twitter if this familial tie will cause The Gospel™ Coalition to unblock me!
Does your pastor love you?
Always pause when you read pastors, theologians and wannabes who use words like *love.* Ask the question, "What does he mean by *love?* Never assume a writer means the same thing you mean. For me, love is a very important component of my faith. It was the realization that the God of the universe loved me and wanted to be in relationship with me that turned my heart to Him. .
Recently, I have been noticing a number of articles posted by groups like Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition and 9 Marks that put a different spin on the word *love.* It seems to be going the way of words like *gospel* and *biblical.* In other words, love does not necessarily mean what you think it means.
Recently TGC posted DOES YOUR PASTOR LOVE YOU? by Erik Raymond. This post demonstrates an interesting spin on the word *love.*
Who is Erik Raymond?
It is often helpful to read the bios of authors. I also like to visit the website of any church with which a pastor is affiliated. It is amazing the number of clues one can discover about the theological bent of the writer.
Erik is the senior pastor at Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. Remember, in certain circles, a senior pastor is considered the key authority and visionary of the church.
Pastoral ministry became the clear priority for Erik after graduating from Grace University in 2002. He served as a pastoral-intern and later as an Assistant Pastor at Omaha Bible Church from 2002-2010 before leading the church planting efforts for Emmaus. Along with other like minded area pastors, Erik began The Omaha Gospel Network which later became The Omaha Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This network strives to promote gospel-centered ministry in the region.
Since he started the Omaha Gospel Network, one can be quite sure that he buys into mindset of The Gospel Coalition which stresses the need for discipline for the membership along with an hierarchical authority of pastors and elders.
Emmaus Bible Church membership agreement
I always read through the statement of faith, beliefs, visions etc. Often, it is within membership agreements that I find the most information on the thinking of the church leadership. This particular membership agreement does not alert the members that they are signing a legal document. Whether or not it is stated, this agreement is a legally binding agreement (with lots of loopholes but that is for another post.) In case you don't believe me, read our post Proof That It’s Not a Membership Covenant™ But a Legally Binding Document
Here is a link to Emmaus' membership agreement.
I will aim therefore, with the aid of the Holy Spirit and in response to the gospel of Christ, to walk together in Christian love, to be submissive to the leadership of the Elders, to strive for the advancement of the ministry of this church–even to the laying down of my life in the service to Christ–to promote its growth in the gospel; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully, sacrificially, and regularly of my income as God has graciously blessed me. In view of the glory of Christ and the purity of the church, I will aim to serve Christ and one another heartily, according to my gifts and talents. I expect and trust that if I am persistent in sin that this body of believers at Emmaus Bible Church will hold me accountable with loving reproof, instruction and exhortation to help keep me faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. If ever I continue without true repentance, I implore this body to seek my spiritual restoration by following Jesus’ plan for purity in his church as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20.
I moreover resolve that if the Lord moves me from this church that I do so in a manner consistent with biblical love, communication, truth and the good of Christ’s body, including notifying and requesting counsel from EBC leadership, and further, to unite with a church where I can carry out the principles and spirit of this agreement.”
Let's look at some of the expectations of members that stressed in this agreement:
- Be submissive to the elder.
- Lay down your life for the ministry of this church.
- Sustain the discipline of the church.
- Give sacrificially.
- Be disciplined for undefined persistent sin which could mean anything.
- Get counsel from the leaders if one plans on leaving the church for any reason. This means you have little to no freedom of conscience since they can reject your reasoning.
Please note that there is no reciprocity in this agreement. In other words, the members are to do all of these things but there is little on the part of what the leaders should do for the members. I would never recommend signing this legal document without counsel from an attorney. I can assure you that the church leadership has done so on their part. Personally I would never sign such an agreement.
So, before I even read the post by Raymond, I already had a hunch that I was dealing with an authoritarian leadership which is willing to discipline any undefined *persistent sin.* For example, he could go after you for *questioning authority.* There is nothing in the agreement to prevent it.
Where is the love?
How is pastoral love defined/demonstrated in Raymond's post Does Your Pastor Love You?
1. He feeds the flock (the church) the Word of God.
Please note that only the sheep are called out for making bad decisions. The shepherd protects them. However, what happens when the shepherd makes bad decisions?
There are threats on the outside from wolves and threats on the inside because of bad decisions by the sheep. In both cases the shepherd is to be actively engaged in the thoughtful care of the sheep.
2. The shepherd's loving ministry of the word consists of doctrinal teaching.
The pastor who loves Jesus and the flock is to preach the Word. He is to herald, proclaim, announce, declare the Word of God.
Assuming that this pastor is a Calvinist, this means that the doctrinal teaching that demonstrates his love is Calvinism.
What is the content of this loving ministry? It is to be doctrinal preaching. Doctrinal preaching is preaching that endeavors to teach theological truth.
Here is how you know your pastor loves you. He rebukes you.
I am not so much here talking about the preacher’s style or mannerisms but the content of his sermon.
- Does your pastor give you the Word of God?
- Does he reprove you?
- Rebuke you?
- Exhort you?
- Is this done patiently?
- Is it done doctrinally?
- If so, you have reason to believe that your pastor loves you.
Pastor Ed Stetzer doesn't do funerals or hospital visits but preaches. Is this love?
Ed Stetzer who oversaw a failed church plant wrote a post a couple of years ago. He took on the job of a bi-vocational pastor in order to *reach* 48,000 unchurched people. We wrote about this in Ed Stetzer and the Four Fence Posts that Define His Ministry. Let's take a look at his view of his role as senior pastor.
That's all fine and good, but Stetzer has stipulated what he will and will not do in a series of articles recently published by Christianity Today. Here are "Four Fence Posts" that Stetzer believes will lead to a healthy ministry:
- Recognize your role in the church
- Pursue personal health
- Guard your flock even from other Christians
- Know your boundaries
Stetzer goes on to explain his approach to ministry this way:
"When you establish these four fence posts – recognizing your role in the church, pursuing personal health, guarding your flock, and knowing what you can and cannot do – you will enable and encourage growth in yourself and your church. Without these four, you will more than likely experience ministry burn out and hinder the development of those under your care and the church as a whole."
He then describes more specifically what he will and will not do:
"At Grace Church, there are three things and ONLY three things that I do: I meet with the staff/apprentices, I preach about 70% of the time, and I lead a small group in my home.
One of the benefits this boundary has brought to our church is that we are very clearly not a pastor-centered church. I'm very upfront with my role to my church. I explain I can't do funerals, visits, phone calls, or meetings. This leaves the door wide open for our congregation to see areas of leadership where they are needed, and to respond accordingly."
Ed Stetzer is speaking as it he is merely a talking head. How can anyone consider themselves to be loving pastors if they don't do funerals, visit the poor and hurting or return phone calls to those who are seeking or in pain? It is the day to day contact, the hugs, the arm around a parents shoulder who has lost a child that makes a difference. Jesus touched people, like lepers, physically. He cried for his friend who died. He held and loved on children and waded into the crowds, allowing th masses to touch him.
There is no question that I believe in good, expositional preaching. Except for Ed Young Jr. every preacher in each church I attended, including the one with the pedophile situation, were doctrinally sound. However, not all of those pastors were loving. The ones, like Pete Briscoe, who were loving left an indelible mark on my life. The one who treated us so poorly over the pedophile situation left me cold. He could preach the Bible but when push came to shove, he couldn't live it under pressure.
I fear that the word *love* now means doctrinal preaching, church discipline, and controlling the comings and goings of people. There is precious little discussion of loving the person, merely talking at them and controlling them. This is not the God and the faith that I envisioned when I came to Christ at the age of 17. I still believe in that loving God these many years later and believe that most people want to hear more about that God than the God who cannot wait to smack us down for each and every little sin.
To those who are depressed, dismayed, let down or tired, let me assure that there is a God who loves you dearly and does not view you as a worm, worthy only of His wrath. Too many arrogant seminarians today are preaching discipline while drunk on their own authority. Don't go to their churches. Instead, find a church in which the pastor wants to get to know you, who smiles when he sees you and liberally gives out hugs. Find a pastor who will return your phone call and would be delighted to eat lunch with you. Run from the church in which a pastor hides in his study and only hangs out with a select few.
And when you find such a pastor and church, please let all of us know.
For those pastors who are "oh so lovingly" preaching doctrine, take a clue from CS Lewis.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Celebrty Endorsement: This blog post is heartily endorsed by William J Parsons, a direct descendent of Jonathan Edwards! Sola Amare!
Eric Raymond is also the main bad guy on the 80s cartoon JEM.
Unrelated to the topic, but I now blame TGC for making me think of Glamor, glitter, Fashion, and Fame.
Got to throw this up here!
The Church of the Canyons is a hardcore Calvinist church in Santa Clarita, California. The Senior Pastor is from what became today’s Phoenix Seminary. All the other pastors came from John MacArthur’s The Masters College or Seminary. This is a church that holds Al Mohler and Tim Challies in high esteem. It had a high view of sovereignty until the State of California wanted to build a high speed railroad through the Church of the Canyons. This looks at what happened and explores the view did this church sin when they resisted the Lord’s will?
You know. my violently abusive mother used to tell me that she only beat me because she ‘loved’ me and wanted me to know how bad I was….so that I could repent and learn to ‘be good’.
The pure unbounded grace and love of the Saviour did work miracles however….but only after a long time.
Run away from anyone who equates love with ‘discipline”….
the Holy Spirit does not beat us with the truth; He gently whispers in our hearts in love and affection and tenderness.
Beware a pastor who does not do the same thing.
The Ed Stetzer models absolutely baffle me. CT is generally good (although after the Bethel, Saeed, and Perry Noble articles I’m starting to wonder), but every time Stetzer talks about leadership or church trends I feel like I’m being told to ignore the reality I see in front of me and trust the statisticians instead.
The Lead Pastor thing just seems too foreign — at least if you define it in this way where all of the actual pastoring goes to other people while one guy just lectures. I understand if you can’t do it All every day (Deacons, etc can certainly visit the sick on behalf of the church), but a church where the Lead Pastor just meets with the cogs and speaks from on high isn’t a church — it’s a scene from Office Space.
Thank you Dee for your ministry here, along with Deb.
Praying for your mother-in-law at the end of her life and in her final days.
May she be comforted. May your husband and family be comforted.
You have a sweet family, down to your sweet Pugs.
If I were there, I’d swing by to help, or pray, or mow the lawn, or whatever you folks need.
But from California…I’m praying.
Love and hugs.
Dave (Eagle) wrote:
Ahh yes, the cult. The Stepford-ish, non-thinkers. Spouting rhetoric all the time. No critical thinking skills. Lacking love. My ex-pastor got his degrees from there. His *Ph.D.* (cough) is from a diploma mill in Missouri.
The most unloving people.
JMac’s teachings came back to bite him. The first person that my arrogant, abusive, ex-pastor excommunicated/shunned was a godly doctor who is a personal friend of JMac’s.
Doctor has been a faithful and loving husband for nearly 50 years, loving father to grown children, spent his own money on buying resources for the church lending library (books/DVDs — high quality stuff).
The good doctor invited AND PAID for my (ex) pastor to join the doctor and John MacArthur on a trip to North Carolina to meet the Rev. Billy Graham at his log cabin home. (That was a few years ago.)
The doctor was thanked by the pastors/elders’ vicious excommunication and shunning of him before hundreds of church members – employees of Google, Apple, Yahoo, Lockheed, Stanford undergraduate and graduate students to name a few – all told to never speak to him again, and he isn’t one of us.
The senior pastor told us – hundreds of us – that the pastors/elders “had worked with [the doctor] for a long time” to no avail. So very dramatic and manipulative. Gasp. Sob. Such an ordeal to – ‘work’ with someone by screaming and yelling and threatening them in person. Like a visit from the MOB.
The senior pastor told us to ‘pray for [doctor’s wife].” She told me when I interviewed her that she’d ALWAYS hated the senior pastor, the elders, the church, thought something was terribly wrong with the whole place, and she REPEATEDLY warned her husband that they shouldn’t go to that church. She told me that she hopes the whole church implodes and what an evil place it is.
The senior pastor conveniently omitted that touching part of his tale of woe.
The pastors/elders think it’s a tough job to beat up the flock. As we out here in California say, “Would you like a little cheese with your whine?”
@ Dave (Eagle):
David/Eagle the train buff, Only you could figure out how to link trains with abusive churches!
Setzer is not a pastor. He’s just a guest speaker, with all of the perks of a pastor.
It seems to me that so many churches are slowly becoming cult-like environments –
Isolation: the worldly world is dangerous; we’ll keep you safe if you stick with our church family!
Authority: we have all of the answers; we’ll keep you on the straight and narrow.
Love: No matter how much it hurts us, we will love you when we have to hurt you to help you.
I think it might be time to get a refresh course on recognizing cults because each church seems to become on in it’s own little way.
My cult leader, Chuck O’Neal, used the word love all the time. You better believe it is a trendy Calvinist word, especially used with the word, rebuke = lovingly rebuke. Love to them means to set you straight according to their Calvinist beliefs, because any other belief other than theirs is wrong.
Here is how it works. You go to their church and say you are a Christian. They absolutely do not believe you are a Christian, because they haven’t put you through their doctrinal test. They will view you with an air of suspicion until you convince them you are on the same Calvinist page. If you are not, they lovingly correct or rebuke you. If you don’t change your beliefs, you will probably have to repent for your stubborn unteachable heart.
Calvinism is their god, not Jesus.
It seems like every time I happen across an especially bonkers article on The Gospel Coalition/Gnostic Corporation, it’s Erik Raymond. Here’s one:
And there is absolutely, positively, no humble man who chooses a hairstyle like that. Dee could tell you that I should know.
When I read up on mormonresignation.com for tips on leaving my church that was in the process of going gospel™-centered (thanks to Deebs for linking that resource), it mentioned that the meetings that Mormon leaders hold to discuss dissenting members are called “courts of love”.
Preaching is demonstrating love? I think not, so I took the quick approach and compared Erik Raymond’s missive on love with the one Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;”
Erik may be able to preach in the tongues of angels, but his definition is not of love. He sounds more of a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Julie Anne Smith wrote:
Ditto for ex-church. Excommunications and shunnings for any signs of intelligent life.
Critical thinking skills…can’t have that! Threats in meetings and by phone. Demands for obedience. Seeing people that were sweet saints ‘read out before all’. Salem Witch Trials II. I had to look up excommunication and shunning when it happened to me. I landed on the blog by the Petrys, Joyful Exiles, about their experience at Mars Hill Church in Seattle with Mark Driscoll. Paul Petry (godly pastor/elder, Ivy-League educated attorney) was ordered to be fired, excommunicated and shunned for opposing Mark Driscoll’s un-Biblical consolidation of power. Ditto for anyone else that opposed Driscoll.
The whole Petry family was shunned. And without income. Friends had to help them.
Thank goodness for their blog. It got me to The Wartburg Watch and to Spiritual Sounding Board. These dear people have saved my sanity and made me realize that I wasn’t alone.
Just a story about love, not the Neo-Calvinist variety. And this is why I parted company with my un-loving ex-church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley.
At my former NeoCalvinist/9Marks/John MacArthur-ite church many people espoused a hatred for gays. They had vile speech, and were proud of it.
I can’t do that because of my job, I have to uphold anti discrimination laws, and because a boss (who is a wonderful, talented professional) is gay.
On a deeper level, I couldn’t abide by the lack of love. In these groups people also proudly shun gay relatives. John MacArthur recommends this.
As a Christian, I can’t.
Years ago, in December a few weeks before Christmas, some friends called to say that their young neighbor in the countryside in their town by a river had been taken by paramedics to my city’s emergency room. He was dying of AIDS.
It was the middle of the night, a pouring rain storm, I was in bed, cozy and warm.
And God insisted that I go visit this young man in the middle of the night. I had never done anything like that before, or with an AIDS patient (which on my own strength would have frightened me). But the Lord was insistent. “Go!”
So I got dressed, got a teddy bear and some Christmas candy together (early Christmas gifts from others). I called a little old lady friend Catherine, 100 years old, Catholic, a retired social worker and a lovely, warm, kind person who could melt anyone’s heart. I asked her if she wanted to come with me. I told her the Lord insisted I go, and I was going. It would be nice to have company, but I understood if she wanted to sleep.
She said she wanted to come. She got out of bed and got dressed as well.
I went to a 24-hour supermarket and bought a small table top Christmas tree, with little decorations on it, some sports magazines, entertainment magazines, and some snacks.
My elderly friend and I went to the hospital. I told the nurse at the ER that, “Sean’s [the young man who was so sick] Christmas Angels have arrived.”
He was so stunned when my little old lady friend and I walked in with gifts to see him. I introduced us. He was so terribly weak. And he hugged us. I got him a Pepsi and fed it to with him a straw. Sean kept hugging Catherine, 100 years old. She stroked his hair.
He kept saying, “This is the best Christmas I’ve ever had in my entire life.” He was in his mid 20’s. His mother had died when he was a child. His family that remained was very dysfunctional and they had disowned him. They lived back East in Massachusetts.
The little room for indigent patients was nothing spectacular to look at. Old large discolored white tiles on the floor. No art work on the walls. Old, tired sink near by.
It was 3am and it was pouring rain outside.
But I could feel the presence of God and the angels in that room. I could feel them.
I thought when I went to give Sean some Pepsi or a hug or whatever that I would bump into an invisible visitor. That room was physically ugly but it was so beautiful because it glowed from the presence of God!
Sean said to me, “If you ever need anything, call on me and I’ll be there.” I smiled and I thought to myself, “What is a guy with AIDS who is this weak going to do for me. He couldn’t even lift a box if I moved.” I smiled and nodded. Sean repeated it, “If you ever need anything call on me and I’ll be there.” I nodded and said, “If I ever need anything I’ll call on you and you’ll be there.” He smiled weakly and said, ” Yes.”
I went, or so I thought, to minister to a young man named Sean dying of AIDS that night.
I thought that was what God wanted me to do.
Instead something entirely different took place: I was ministered to. It was glorious.
I told Sean I would see him a few hours later that day, bring him some Mickey Mouse socks from the mall to keep his feet warm. He said he’d like that.
When I called the hospital in the morning to ask about Sean, the nurse said, “Oh you’re the lady who was here with the 100-year old lady visiting Sean. Sean passed away peacefully this morning at about 6:30 a.m.”
“When you did this for the least among Me, you did it for Me.” That is what my Lord would have me do. The Royal Law of Love.
From the article you linked he says: “We must see that such discontentment questions God’s wisdom, goodness, and power.” Actually I question the wisdom, goodness, and power of Mr. Raymond
@ Julie Anne Smith:
My YELP review of my ex-church – NeoCalvinist/9Marxist/John MacArthur-ite/Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood promoting – Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley (California).
A hot mess.
mY YELP review of my ex-church, Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley (California).
TELP previously took down other reviews that included child safety issues/Megan’s List sex offender (without naming him). Pastors/elders gave their friend the felon carte blanche access to all children because he said a few words about Jesus. This thinking explains why it’s the No. 1 reason that churches get sued.
“It was very disturbing to be a member of this church and to see the level of mistreatment shown by the GBF pastors/elders to adult Christians, an iron-fisted authoritarian control over adult Christians’ lives and demands for “obedience.” There were excommunications and shunnings ordered of dear Christians for any independent thought.
Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley is one of the growing number of authoritarian, NeoCalvinist churches spreading across the U.S. and it’s not *Biblical*.
*Heavy Shepherding. GBFpractices the 1970’s heavy-Shepherding movement’s un-Biblical control of Christians’ lives by the pastors/elders. The Florida founders repented for its abuses and un-Biblicalness. The GBF leaders have not repented and the damage is growing in the lives at GBF. GBFcopies the model of Mark Dever’s (Capitol Hill Baptist, Washington, D.C.) 9Marks organization. It is a heavily criticized model, including by conservatives, who have said that there is only ONE Biblical mark of a healthy church: Love. The other 9Marks are un-Biblical and it’s the Heavy Shepherding Movement all over again.
*Membership Covenants. Members are told to sign them because they’re *Biblical* and back to a Biblical basic. In point of fact they aren’t Biblical and are used to exert authoritarian control over members’ lives. Jesus required people to sign how many pages to follow Him? Correct answer: 0 pages.
*Congregational vote. GBF wants your money but doesn’t believe in a true Biblical church honoring the Holy Spirit’s work in Christians lives and giftedness. It is more authoritarian control exerted by a few yes-men over the Body of Christ, hobbling the power of the Holy Spirit to truly work. I will never go to a church again that is run like GBF. I will never give money to one again.
*Women. GBF pastors/elders promote Complementarian/Patriarchy doctrine that women are to “obey” and to “submit” and be 2nd class citizens. At GBF they live under the old Covenant and not the new one in Christ. GBF pastors espouse the Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood which teaches a Semi-Arian Heresy by Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem called the Eternal [a lie] Subordination of the Son to justify the subordination of women. It is untrue and is trinatarian heresy. GBF has put this man-made doctrine on par with The Gospel. If you reject Comp you reject The Gospel. Nonsense. Read: Wartburg Watch blog for more info.
*Teaching. GBFSV does not permit Godly women to teach the Word of God. They base this on the writing of the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote Timothy about one woman — original text in Greek said “the woman” — teaching one man error. Paul wanted her to learn correctly first. The issue wasn’t her being a woman, the issue was error – and that would be true if it was a man in error. Manipulative anti-woman Bible translators conveniently changed the text to something Paul never said.
*Nouthetic Counseling. GBF leaders believe that Bible is sufficient counsel for everything. They have no training and licensing, do not follow Cal. law, and frequently cross over the line into the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine (a crime in California that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony). This bogus form of non-counseling comes from the un-trained Jay Adams and his books. It is malpractice. Examples of the GBF pastors/elders doing this: not getting an older woman alcoholic to the care of a physician to supervise her treatment and spending months with members discussing “gossip” and drawing pictures on the blackboard. In the end this woman, her adult children, and church members were harmed.
Additionally, the GBFSV pastors/elders held me responsible for the genetically inherited brain disorder – Dyslexia – of a woman church member who refuses medical care. She can’t remember entire events and accuses other people like me of lying. Dyslexia isn’t just a reading problem but a memory problem.
Excommunications/Shunnings/Stalking. A godly woman left GBF for a saner church and was harassed by church members on the orders of the GBF pastors/elders. A godly doctor was excommunicated for dissenting in private. I was excommunicated because the GBF pastors/elders blamed me for someone’s memory problems. A bizarre church!!!
*Credentials. Snr pstr’s *Ph.D*. is from a MO. diploma mill.
GETTING OUT: Don’t tell them. Send a certified/return receipt letter & resign, no details. Call 911 and contact an attorney if they bother you. Read: Wartburg Watch blog for details.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Women – call domestic violence shelters/support groups for help getting out. Call 9-1-1. Read: A Cry For Justice blog by pastor/cop.
BOOK: Churches That Abuse, Dr. Ron Enroth (FREE online).
SEARCH TERMS: Spiritual Abuse, Membership Covenants, Authoritarianism, NeoCalvinism, Homeschoolers Anonymous, Wartburg Watch, Spiritual Sounding Board.
I learned that I know more than I thought I did & I will never listen to authoritarian men again!”
No time to read the blog post tonight, but I glanced at it and saw what you wrote about your mother. Praying for her and those who love her, and for strength, peace and comfort for you and yours.
They are redefining “love” the same way they redefined “grace”. In a comment to one of last week’s blog posts, someone mentioned the Doctrines of Grace, I think in a positive way, and I wanted to comment on their comment, but I’m sure that conversation has already passed me by.
Anyhow, Doctrines of Grace don’t mean what they sound like. Maybe that is worth a blog post in itself.
I’m still trying to deprogram myself and figure out the difference between grace and the Doctrines of Grace. I was steeped in it for a couple of decades and I get confused sometimes.
Bill M wrote:
That very passage helped break me from holding to this very error (“love”=”correcting bad theology”).
Velour, thank you for sharing that beautiful Christmas story of love and obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If you had waited until morning, perhaps when the downpour had ceased, it would have been too late. All three of you would have missed out. Amazing.
Best. Story. Ever. I love you, Velour!
I’m so sorry to here your personal update Dee. I wish your family all the best.
Dee, I’m sorry you are going through a time of trial right now, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
At the same time, you manage another excellent blog post that touches on the heart of the issues in the church today.
I think that growth is probably another word that means something different to them than it does to me. I think that to them “growth” means more butts in seats, more money in the plate, bigger buildings.
I had a wonderful pastor years ago who was always concerned with the *spiritual growth* of his flock. He truly enjoyed getting to know and spending time with each person. He’d ask ‘what is the Lord teaching you lately?’ or ‘what have you been reading in the word?’ and then listen with interest, he felt that when we discussed the word of God together as believers, that we are figuratively ‘breaking the bread’ of fellowship. He was a gem, there are very few out there like him.
The pastor of the last church disaster I attended made it clear he didn’t do any kind of visitation. He only seemed to hob knob with a select few. He didn’t even use the church office.
Thank you, Velour, that really touched my heart.
It’s kind of like being in an institution instead of a family.
Longtime lurker, first time poster. TWW helped me realize I was involved with a toxic situation in one of the campus ministries at my alma mater several years ago. It’s thanks to TWW and other watchdog blogs that I was able to realize what was happening to me and get out. So a big thank you for that.
Dee, I’ll be praying for your mother in law.
Anyway, on to the topic at hand:
I always wondered why my mother refused to officially become a member of the church we attended during my teenage years. We were basically members in everything but name – if the church doors were open, we were there. I was heavily involved in the youth group, my siblings and I volunteered for VBS during the summer, etc. So why not just make it official?
I can see now, after reading posts like this, that she may have been on to something. I never saw the contents of the membership agreement, but perhaps there was something about it that gave her reason to pause.
I think our church was okay overall, but who knows what was going on that I didn’t know about. Maybe I should ask her about it now that it’s been years since we last attended that church.
I think at the very least, she probably didn’t like that we had to agree/sign something to become members – wasn’t our attendance and involvement enough?
The older I get, and the more I hear about covenant agreements and membership contracts and the like, the more I agree with her.
And yes, this movement really likes to redefine words so that you think they mean one thing when they really mean something else, something only the Ones In The Know will fully understand. Why all the need for equivocation? And of all the words in the English language, it’s really a shame they picked the word love to give their secondary secret meaning :/ it’s a word that holds such power, but I guess they want to use it for precisely that reason – to wield power over other people.
Dee – praying for you and your family. Such a difficult time of life, with so many demands. I pray you have some times to pause and rest as you’re able.
@Dee … Sending up prayers and sending virtual hugs.
I find that passage a good correction for a number of issues. How do you know someone is practicing love? Well there it is in black and white.
That’s ‘love’, Velour.
This is NOT love: ” I explain I can’t do funerals, visits, phone calls, or meetings. This leaves the door wide open for our congregation to see areas of leadership where they are needed, and to respond accordingly.”
I don’t understand the thinking that says ‘I can’t do funerals’, when he means ‘I’m above that’ ….. to bury the dead in the sacred way of the Church is a holy thing, with all the beauty and mercy of committing the loved one into the arms of God until we see them again. ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection’
and this is NOT love: “I can’t do …. visits”. For the sick and the dying, to come and pray with them is a holy thing, a biblical thing, and it brings with it the gift of peace to the one who is ill/dying and to those loved ones in the room who long for those prayers also. What can he be THINKING ?
i don’t understand. How did it go so wrong for these neo-Cals?
They need to return to the things of God: the Christian burial of the dead and the blessing of the sick in the Name of Christ . . . these are the things of God. God meets us at the times of our lives when we are entering the ‘valley of the shadow’ and He does not abandon us there ….. but our MINISTER?????
Will SOMEONE who cares and who that man respects PLEASE reach out and set him on the Good Way again????
It’s not just an absence of ‘love’, it’s almost like a kind of spiritual death that a MINISTER would not visit the weary sheep and stand witness to The Risen Lord, at the burial of a dear Christian who loved Him. I don’t understand. It’s so sad.
Have you ever had a manager who came in and the first thing they told you was they did NOT have an open door policy? Generally a bad sign. I see this ‘keep me away from the peasants so I can do my holy work’ attitude as a very bad sign.
[Update] Before I get into today’s topic, let me update you on the home front. Last Wednesday, my mother in law was seen at Duke and was determined to be in end stage cancer. She is becoming confused and very weak. I have learned much in caring for her and will share my thoughts in the future. Please forgive me for not answering emails and phone calls. I will get to them whenever I have a moment.
Take care of yourself, Dee. Many of us are praying for you and your mom.
Dee-thank you for sharing life with us–prayers and our best to you and your family in this time.
One thing that must not be overlooked (Julie put it well when she referred to her cult leader) is that we, at least since the Walter Martin days, box cultic behavior into a purely doctrinal stance (for the most part). It is important that we begin to look at leadership patterns that fit a cultic pattern–and call them out even if the so-called doctrine of the system is ‘correct’. The redefinition of words, the exclusivity or stated superiority of these church systems in the eyes of the leadership, the automatic assigning of sinful motives to anyone who questions them, the behavioral immunity from gentle, loving behavior that leadership assumes (because they are the chosen ones). This is cultic behavior through and through–more damaging, I think, because their rightness of doctrine overrules or causes us to let down our discernment shields. We let them into our lives, naively and trustingly, and end up with the ‘gospel’ used as a weapon against us, rather than the good news lifting us up.
It takes years to recover…
I’m think you can ask many a LGBT person how they word “love” has been redefined by the church. This is not a new trend 🙁
It’s something I’ve been wary of for a LONG time, being on the receiving end of “love” as a person getting a divorce.
I know love sometimes hurts. I know sometimes I do things that in the short term hurt my children but in the long term prove to be loving. But love doesn’t *harm*, and it seems to often that the church harms people in the name of love (and then blames them for being harmed).
Dee, please feel free to edit my 8:02 post in any way you see fit so that it is acceptable for the site.
Dee-thank you for sharing life with us–prayers and our best to you and your family in this time.
One thing that must not be overlooked (Julie put it well when she referred to her cult leader) is that we, at least since the Walter Martin days, box cultic behavior into a purely doctrinal stance (for the most part). It is important that we begin to look at leadership patterns that fit a cultic pattern–and call them out even if the so-called doctrine of the system is ‘correct’. The redefinition of words, the exclusivity or stated superiority of these church systems in the eyes of the leadership, the automatic assigning of sinful motives to anyone who questions them, the behavioral immunity from gentle, loving behavior that leadership assumes (because they are the chosen ones). This is cultic behavior through and through–more damaging, I think, because their rightness of doctrine overrules or causes us to let down our discernment shields. We let them into our lives, naively and trustingly, and end up with the ‘gospel’ becoming painful to us, rather than the good news lifting us up.
It takes years to recover…
“I am proud to announce to our readers that you are reading a blog endorsed by a descendent of none other than Jonathan Edwards. Edwards oldest daughter, Sarah, married into the Parsons clan.”
On a branch of my mother’s family tree, we are descended from Mary Fish, the daughter of John Alden who came over on the Mayflower. Elsewhere in mom’s genealogy, if I remember correctly, is the sister of Jonathan Edward’s wife. Both my grandmas were into genealogy big time. 😀
“Along with other like minded area pastors, Erik began The Omaha Gospel Network which later became The Omaha Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This network strives to promote gospel-centered ministry in the region.”
Uh oh. Almost sounds like TGC are imitating Acts 29 in becoming their own de facto denomination.
May your MIL leave with grace, and a smile on her face.
May you and your family always feel her love and treasure the memories that she leaves behind.
“I explain I can’t do funerals, visits, phone calls, or meetings.”
This is one of the weirdest things I have ever read a pastor say. I had never before heard of a pastor that didn’t do funerals, except for the megapastors. Does he aspire to be one?
A prayer for Dee’s mother-in-law at this time:
‘God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing…’
(from the Anglican choral tradition)
I know this post is not on Complementarianationism, but it is parallel to it in this way.
Egals often ask Comps to produce the chapter and verse where God/Jesus/Paul/Whoever is instructing husbands to lead their wives. No Comp has been able to do that. That verse exists nowhere in the Scriptures.
So in frustration some Egals have said things like, “Nowhere does scripture instruct husbands to lead their wives. It does instruct them to love their wives, however. Perhaps you mistook the word ‘love’ for ‘lead’. The are both four letter words that start with ‘l’. This must be what is confusing them.”
Now, reading Christine’s comment, I’m thinking, yes this is where they are confusing themselves and others. They are redefining the word ‘love’ in terms of ‘lead’ership. Love has to do with authority, pyramid structure, and nothing to do with laying down their lives for the sheep.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I hope Setzer’s sheeples show the same dignity and respect towards him and his family that he shows toward them.
Reprove – scold
Rebuke – scold
Exhort – urge
So, a pastor shows his love for his congregation by scolding them, and then urging them on by scolding them some more?
Yeah, baby. That kind of attitude would really fill me with some kind of spirit, but that spirit surely wouldn’t be holy.
You are in our prayers, Dee. I know this is difficult.
Dee – my prayers are with your family. We lost my mother-in-law last August. She was 96 yrs old. Her death was a celebration of her life and a homecoming to her Savior, who she served all her life.
I don’t think these so called ministers know the meaning of the word Love. If they did, then they would practice it. They would be the first to respond to a call of help from soneone. The first to visit the person at home or in a hospital. They would be the minister that the hospital would call on when a Man of God was needed. THey would be known in their community for their love for God and mankind. They would preach the funeral of the lowest of lowliest of mankind. They would be no respecter of persons. I haven’t seen that happen in a long time with a lot of pastors. They are all too concerned with their public image. I could care less of what the public thinks or doesn’t think of you. But what does God think of you? That’s the most important question. Are you living the life that Christ wants you to live. If more ministers lived their lives this way, then things would change.
And I am proud to announce that I had ancestors. Enough said about that because even the Mormons could not find some of them.
Some of us did have their DNA profile done for population group probabilities of origin but the profile did not match either the language associations of some of the ancestors names or some of the family oral history. Hmmm. None the less it did confirm that we do have DNA which is consistent with our contention that we did have ancestors, so that is a start right there.
Cousin of Eutychus wrote:
Your comment hits on most of the main tactics of “totalist thought reform” in organizations and societies that seek to exercise total control over their members. And our trusting natures and desire to please God creates a particular susceptibility to thought leaders who play the God-theology-submission cards.
If you haven’t read it already, I’d highly recommend Robert Jay Lifton’s book, *Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China.* It’s the classic research work on “sociological cults.” He studies the Cultural Revolution, which shows that a “cult” don’t even have to have religious dogma attached — it can still seek to exert total control of its people.
Hey Dee. You and your family are in my prayers. Hugs for all of you!
I have always wondered how that sort of thing would match up with family history. Which is mostly some scots who got on a boat, plus an irish lady who got on a boat, plus maybe some people who never got on a boat but were here already. And a smattering of other possibilities.
Okrapod…LOL. I’m in the same boat with my dad’s paternal family tree past the 1830 census. I’d love to know whether his people came directly from Scotland or did a stint in Northern Ireland, but early state/colonial records can be spotty. But hey, at least I’ll never claim to be 1/whateverth Cherokee, or something like that. 😛
Thanks for the laugh. Those in my family who have researched our genealogy have come to different conclusions based, I presume, on choosing between different assumptions. I think, however, they are in agreement that we do have ancestors.
My Dear Wormwood,
I refer you to my previous epistle on Semantics; specifically, the redefinition of words into their “diabolical meanings”.
Your Ravenously Affectionate Uncle,
Isn’t that how a verbally-abusive parent shows their Love(TM) for the kids they abuse?
“Ours is a High and Lonely Destiny, Digory.”
“MINE is a High and Lonely Destiny…”
My writing partner’s mother died over the weekend. (This is the burned-out preacher writing partner.) I think she was somewhere in her Eighties. I got an email notification and funeral announcement over the weekend:
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Praying for your writing partner and his family, H.U.G. Please give him our condolences.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Thanks for letting us know. Praying.
Erik Raymond’s article and Ed Stetzer’s Fence Posts suggest that love and care for the congregation are best conducted at the 30,000 foot level. I guess they can perform one-anothering without actual contact with their congregation.
Beautifully said, Nancy2.
Bill M wrote:
If the particular preaching is the proper outworking of the gift(s) of the Spirit through the one preaching – then it surely is an act of love (1 Corinthians 12-14).
To Velour on Tuesday, July 26th,
Praises be to our LORD Jesus, the Christ. I so praise our Father for you and the truth you shared in your comment. That thread will be sewn into my thoughts for the rest of my day as you deeply touched my soul. This is Jesus, His Ekklesia, His called out ones, listening to His voice and doing His ministering through the power of God, the Holy Spirit.
“When He (Jesus) had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and resumed His place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your LORD and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have don to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater that his master; nor is he who is greater than he who sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:12-17
This is deeply, so deeply humbling….God be with you and your sister in Christ, Velour. Alleluia!
FW Rez wrote:
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
I am so sorry to hear about this.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
@ FW Rez:
It appears that one of our ancestors took off for Canada when the Revolutionary War started. Looks like we had the original American draft dodger.
Dee – Praying for strength, rest and peace for you and your family.
HUG – I’m sorry to hear about your writing partner’s loss. Praying for peace as well during a time that can be stressful.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
If I speak in the tongues[e] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
–I think the issue is one of attitude. IS his attitude of love? Is his rejection of any interaction with the body love or biblical? Can the head say to the hand, I have no need of you, do not contact me on the telephone and I will not be present at your funeral?
I hope you all know that I have been having a good laugh about this. Considering the love affair that young Calvinists are having with Edwards, I thought this was aa bit funny considering my theological proclivities.
That was beautiful. Thank you.
He has gotten out of the whole pastor thing. he is now the head of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton. Its probably for the best given his unique views on being a pastor.
Scrolling down on this page to see the guy’s haircut, I noticed that TGC17 in Indy would have the theme “No Other Gospel.” It sounds like they are continuing to redefine “the Gospel” as Calvinism, and themselves as it’s guardian and messengers.
By the way, thanks for the prayers on my job situation. I’ve already got a couple of freelance jobs lined up, which is probably the direction I should take.
Dee, praying for peace, for your MIL and you.
Cousin of Eutychus wrote:
@ Cousin of Eutychus:
Why? I loved it.
We are related…sort of. But TGC will still not let me comment!
Jeff S wrote:
Thank you, Tree. That night was amazing. God was leaning on me and He wasn’t taking “No” for an answer.
That is a major red flag. A former church that I attended had a pastor who now runs for his office and locks himself in there.
You are the best.
@ Former CLCer:
I’m a shepherd who only does three things: play in the stream of water, gaze at the stars at night, hang out with the other shepherds. There are lots of other people in the village to take care of the stinky sheep.
Ha ha. This 1/128 ( that would be 0.78%) Cherokee is blonde headed, light green eyed, and light skinned! I only know about the Cherokee part because historical records state that my ggg-grandmother was buried on the outside of the cemetery (3 miles from my house) because she was a half-breed. Research showed that she was 1/4 Cherokee. She was also a cousin to the Robertson County, TN Bells, of Bell Witch fame. So, I have wondered if that might have some bearing on the refusal to bury her inside of the cemetery.
Okrapod ~ in many instances, surnames a a difficult trace. On one limb of my family tree, the spelling of the surname has changed 3 times since arriving in America because of local dialects and literacy levels: Reiger > Reager > Rager. If it hadn’t been for oral stories passed down through the generations and the well kept Palatine ship records and extensive research done by distant kin, I would have hit a dead end right here in what is now Todd County. I have some very distant cousins in neighboring Logan County who still spell the name “Reager”.
Awesome comment. Let us know what her answer is if you decide to ask her.
Wow! That’s all I can say. I wish you lived near me.
Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
I love you too, Catholic Gate-Crasher.
And we love Him because He first loved us. And He does this AWESOME things. It wasn’t me that night, it was Him taking care of Sean, the young man dying of AIDS.
Best laugh today!
Now that is one great suggestion. I have already put it into draft form.
I wish I did too, Miss Dee. I would just show up quietly and do whatever needed to be done, including take out the trash. Really. Anything. I wish I were close.
I love you – we all love you – so terribly much. You’re still in nursing, including with “patients” here who have been wounded. God bless you, dear lady.
Bill M wrote:
You are thinking critically and sinning by questioning. 🙂
Whenever the pewpeons are discontented it is the fault of the pewpeons. Whenever the pastors are discontented it is the fault of the pewpeons. I detect a pattern.
Come on Gram3. Use some flowery, Piperesque speechee words to make that sound like a good thing!
Thank you, Siteseer. It is our wonderful Lord at work. That night was because of Him, not because of me. His tender care for a lonely young man, Sean, rejected and abandoned, dying of AIDS.
Jeff S wrote:
Also love does not use other people and then blame them for not being useful enough. I think that some pastors view the pewpeons as resource units to supply funds and admiration and enough fame to climb the ladder at Gospel, Inc.
Former CLCer wrote:
Thank you, Former CLCer. Our Lord is beautiful and He makes beautiful things happen even in the darkest of times! “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
My Scottish last name changed spellings. The official family history said it was to ‘americanize’ it, but my grandfather said it was because there was another branch they didn’t want to be associated with so they changed the spelling! That one’s more fun, so I’ll stick with it.
It’s Orwell all the time with these people. You cannot trust even the most basic words out of their mouths.
Thank you, sweet sister in Christ. Our Lord just moves in the most beautiful ways.
The Lord ministered to me that night in that little, funky hospital room where Sean was dying of AIDS. It was…magical.
@ Jamie Carter:
I will go a step further and say I have come to the conclusion many Seminaries and such are actually teaching “Thought Reform” characteristics as the only proper way for pastors to organize and operate the church. These young pastors don’t know any different. They were taught it is biblical. That is scary enough but when you add in youth and inexperience, it is a complete disaster. It is like handing whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. Guys like Setzer, Mohler, etc make bank and fame off this system. How could they ever give that up?
Brad, I agree with what you say. But this “total thought reform” connection with religious “thought leaders” ……… Isn’t that the exact opposite of the example set by all of the prophets, as well as Jesus and the apostles?
Being a Berean is now a sin subject to church discipline.
And that is exactly the mentality.
Amen, Sister Karen!
I too am humbled by our Lord Jesus, the Christ. He is an AWESOME God and it was amazing the way He tenderly took care of Sean, the young man dying of AIDS that night. Poor. Shunned. Without family. Without friends. And God said, “GO!” to me and I went. I’ve never done anything like that before, and the Lord wasn’t taking “No” for an answer from me. He just — powerfully — leaned on me. I couldn’t resist Him if I tried.
A light-hearted moment on my way to being functionally excommunicated was in a meeting I had with the active elders (I had been an elder for ~7 years, stepping down 2 years before this meeting). I made a comment to them based on observations that they had an authoritarian bent to their elder dynamic (I was trying to be winsome and show deference, so I was very moderate in tone and word choice). Two of the five elders in the room came up out of their chairs, shouting “We are not authoritarian”. It was the only amusing moment in the 2+ hour meeting in which they shared their heart of love with me (mostly consisting of perjoratives in a matrix of anger and contempt).
I smiled on the inside (I always try to find humor in doom) thinking that if you have to shout that you are not authoritarian, you probably are. Looking back on that moment it probably would have been more helpful to them had I had a less winsome response. I wish I had offered up the laughter the moment merited–today, I would just tell them winsomely to pound sand, and leave. This moment took place early in the meeting.
There is such difficulty in penetrating a leadership dynamic that is self-referential. Their responses to my questions were that they were in unity, and that they had run their decisions and behavioral choices by their denominational leader–and that he was fine with it. Outside voices are needed–a choice to ignore outside input (i.e. I don’t take phone calls), is a sure sign that a disasterous elder or leader dynamic is on the rise.
A funny Fraser episode was when the brothers thought they descended from Russian aristocracy but found out they descended from peasants and thieves. :o)
Oops. I should have read all the comments first! I do think thought reform has been institutionalized in many seminaries.
I think it was ‘blessing’ … the nurse told you that Sean died peacefully in the early morning
what a gift to give a dying person . . . what a wonderful example for the poor minister who was ‘above visiting the sick/dying’ (and they say women can’t preach the Gospel?)
Your example should be required reading in the rehabilitation of these poor neo-Cal pastors-in-training ……
God IS present at the deathbed of believers and these ‘self’-important pastors are missing out of so much of that holy encounter
They all claim that.
This has been an issue for public schools here in getting principals out of their offices. It is so much easier not to interact and get to know people.
Welcome to commenting, Sarah! We’re glad to have you here.
In talking to Christians who used to go to my ex-NeoCalvinist/9Marks/John MacArthur-ite church – extremely authoritarian and abusive – it was interesting to me the number of Christians who received some kind of warning to not join the church.
There was one family, that like your family, was involved in all of the activities and they were “all in”, save membership. The wife wanted to join, to formalize it. Her husband received a warning from the Holy Spirit, “No.” They left. She’d also been warned by her uncle, a long-time Christian, who was extremely concerned by the NeoCalvinist church plant that had no outside authority.
Other Christians received similar warnings from family and friends: don’t join.
Some Christian visitors got up and left during the church service, never to return again. We thought that they “couldn’t hear the Truth” being preached so forcefully. I wish I had been like them — got up and walked out the first time, didn’t stay. Good for them!
But since that didn’t happen to me, and I saw Christians terribly treated, lied about, abused by the pastors/elders, and excommunicated and shunned, I was one of them — God, I think, is using me to help other people who have been harmed.
And I thank all of those Christians (and tell them to thank their family and friends) who said, “Don’t join Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley [California].” Because if they’d had joined they would have been told to never speak to me again and to shun me when the abusive church leaders excommunicated and shunned me, lied about me ‘before all’.
Christians who didn’t join ministered to me. Thank God.
Here is what Mr Raymond said when interviewed by Omaha.com when he bought out a Presbyterian church.
“We practice cutting-edge, 16th-century Reformation theology,” quipped Pastor Erik Raymond, 36. “We’re very old-fashioned, but we try to do it in a fresh way — engaging, compassionate and authentic.”
You can find more interesting facts here
That + Beard = Christian Hipster.
Maybe “pastoring” was too much work for him?
I doubt that those hard-hearted, unloving, NeoCalvinist pastors can be reformed by reading about my story of when my 100 year old friend Catherine and I visited Sean, the young man dying of AIDS, alone, shunned, destitute, without family and friends.
These are men (and many women too) who pride themselves on their lack of love, their knowledge of Bible verses, being so holier-than-thou. It may take a “Damascus Road” experience for them – like the Apostle Paul – on his way to do violence, blinded, humbled and confronted by the Lord Himself. Changed by the Lord Himself.
These “pastors” – like the ones at my ex-church – feel it’s their *right* to bully, control, threaten, and openly lie about people — including dear Christians in their midst. Even conservative Christians. Senior citizens. These NeoCal pastors believe these are their *rights* and you are *wrong* and they will *punish you*. And you will *obey* them, and *submit* to them. And you’re not one of The Elect if you don’t.
Pride goeth before a fall, and what a fall they are going to have.
Praying for you and your family. May peace and grace reign in everyone during this time. Experiencing the decline and soon to be passing of a friend due to liver failure. It is difficult.
I went and read the bio and it could be more influence. He was hired for his “expertise”, right?
Perhaps there could be a pastors’ conference on how to do the One-Anothers without actually interacting with any sheep?
The pastor-congregation relationship should start like the wife-husband (note to Tim Fall: see the uncommon word order?), parent-child relationship or any other person-person relationship for a Christian: modeling Christ by practicing the one another statements. This cannot be done from the confines of the study or framework of the pulpit.
I saw a beautiful example this past year where the very busy pastor of our large congregation (closer to half a mega than a mega) reached out quietly to someone who could best be described as one of “the least of these”. Funny how much closer I listen to him on Sundays now.
Does he even know what the practice of theology actually looked like in the 1500s? I pray he is not actually practicing that theology.
FW Rez wrote:
I suspect many of these pastors have decided that their ‘body’ is not the church, but other pastors.
Lure of the Inner Ring.
@ FW Rez:
“Erik Raymond’s article and Ed Stetzer’s Fence Posts suggest that love and care for the congregation are best conducted at the 30,000 foot level. I guess they can perform one-anothering without actual contact with their congregation.”
reminds me of dystopian movies i’ve seen lately. The one at the top seems pleasant, benign. Their pleasant image is broadcast to the citizens, with a positive message.
They easily make decisions based on some ideology with no concept (or at least no concern) for the layers of impact it has on the citizens. So far removed, sequestered and sheltered.
That has to wait until AFTER the Takeover.
You can’t make a Perfect Reformed Christian Nation omelet without cracking a LOT of eggs.
on refusing to visit the sick,
my VERY Catholic godmother, of blessed memory, dearly loved Pat Robertson (go figure) as she loved ALL of the telly preachers, regardless of denomination. (I never got this.)
She collected bottles and cans and sold them and donated the money to those ministries. She did this for love.
And one day, she saw some cans on the side of a highway, and stopped her car and got out to collect them …. and she was hit by another driver
she suffered in hospital for many weeks in hospital in Norfolk VA and was never able to walk after that accident
I thought about it. And then I called Pat Robertson’s Organization in Va. Beach and asked if they could send someone to the hospital to pray with her, that it would have meant a lot to her.
I won’t go into the ‘response’, but it was quick, and terse, and in my opinion, brutal. They ‘didn’t do’ that kind of thing, I was told.
I never told Eleanor about calling them, or what they replied, because it would have been a sin to hurt the feelings of a little lamb like my godmother . . . kind of like that saying from Harper Lee ‘it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’, such was her radiant innocence
Sadness for me? Beyond words. I miss her now. So much.
I prefer to use the term, as I posted yesterday, “franchise”. These *pastors* (cough) go to so many of these money-making-rackets/cult-training-grounds (aka *seminaries*) as franchisees-in-training, like opening up your own 7-11.
No, oh no. Customers. Cash-paying customers.
Cousin of Eutychus wrote:
The Collective and the Commissar, Comrades.
Unity = The Collective
Denomination Leader = Commissar of The Party
Merlin? You around? We need a casting of Curse of Babel!
In other words he practices the Salem Witch Trials, Version II.
Cousin of Eutychus wrote:
This really came back to bite me when I was involved with that Heavy Shepherding group in the Seventies. There were a LOT of Christianese Cult Watch groups and Beware of Cults books in Jesus Junk stores — ALL of which defined “Cult(TM)” ENTIRELY by Theology, going over Doctrine under electron microscopes for any subatomic whiff of heresy. And these Not-a-Cults had the exact same Theology as the Cult-Sniffers (Jack Chick plus Hal Lindsay), so the Cult-Sniffers always gave them a Not-a-Cult rating (while ragging on the usual suspects plus the Catholics). And these Not-a-Cult Leaders and 20-year-old Elders would use that clean bill of health as a further weapon to beat down their people — PROOF that They Were the Real True Christianity and YOU were the Hardened Apostate to be Church Disciplined(TM) for your Hardness of Heart and SIN SIN SIN.
From the OP:
In reading the Emmaus’ Membership
AgreementContract, it strikes me that not only is the ‘persistent sin’ not defined but neither is the ‘true repentance’ (or acts thereof) nor the time length required for demonstration of said repentance.
This raises the thought: if one’s non-specific sin is determined to be of a financial nature (i.e., gambling, etc.), there is nothing in the agreement prohibiting the leaders of Emmanuel from determining that one’s act of repentance is to double, triple (or whatever tuple appeals to them at the time, most likely based on said individuals income) one’s tithe for five (randomly selected length) years.
I understand the inherent trust we want to have in our spiritual leaders, but why would anyone sign such an agreement?
That is exactly it. Well said.
A RIGHTEOUS Mass Movement can do without a God, but always has a Devil.
Not only a Devil, but WITCHES everywhere, hiding among Us the Righteous.
WITCHES to be smelled-out and burned.
If one *really* wants to be radical and not just hipster, then one gets one’s beard dyed. Hair too, for that matter.
I worked at a seminary as an administrative assistant, and one of the students got a job as the receptionist at an up-scale hair cutting salon. This was also a hair design school, so they needed “hair models” on a regular basis. Voila! Sem-hair-nary — a match made in missional heaven!
Well, old guys going bald need hair cuts too, you know, so I signed up. And as a semi-cyberpunk myself, I was game for cutting-edge looks, so one of the hair design school students did a three-part hair dye experiment: medium brown on the “wings” (there was but a mosquito runway left atop), dark brown on the back, and a large Charlie Brown zig-zag over the neck. It was the zigzag that was the most experimental. First, bleach white. Wait. Then, color with cobalt blue. Wait. Finally, over-color with neon magenta. Wait. Rinse rinse rinse, dry dry dry, and I was done!
It was quite something, all that coloration, with a copperish rinse transforming my grey and crystalline white full beard that the hair design student had trimmed.
It turned into rather a grand spectacle a few days later, when, during the prep period for a professional meeting at the seminary, I happened to step in between the laptop projector unit and the huge portable screen. The PowerPoint had gotten messed up and so Windows was projecting its infamous “blue screen of death” onto the screen. As I turned, everyone found out that a bleached-and-dyed cobalt-magenta zig-zag glows in blue light just like under “black light.”
It was a mythic moment, complete with sitting ovation from those present.
And, to tie it in with the topic of the post, maybe real love includes submitting to the learning experiments of hair design students instead of dictating what they do.
P.S. Hope you weren’t drinking coffee while reading this. I can’t be responsible for what may have happened if the coffee … uhh … went in a different trajectory.
Just like “Hooliganism” under the Russian penal code — so vaguely-defined as to mean anything Those in Power say it is.
The most busy pastor I ever knew was Lee Roberson. Dr. Roberson came to the Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1942. He was in his mid thirties, I believe. Highland Park was a bedroom community a couple of miles from downtown.
Dr. Roberson had trained at the Cincinnati conservatory of music, had been a singer on WSM radio, but eventually went into full time ministry. He pastored at Germantown Baptist in Memphis, First Baptist Greenbrier, TN, and First Baptist in Fairhope, AL, and served as a state evangelist for the Alabama convention.
When he came to Highland Park in 1942, he was greeted by approximately 150 people. After becoming pastor, he began to write every address within a 5 mile radius of the church regularly.
He preached 3 times a week – Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. He had a radio program every morning at 8:00 a.m. from the mid forties until the late 1990s.
After being at the church for a couple of years, the church began to Baptize over 1000 people a year on a regular basis.
The church planted over 50 “chapels”, or small churches in the mountainous and rural areas around the Chattanooga valley.
The church started a college to train pastors that could lead these chapels.
The college eventually became the second largest liberal arts college in Tennessee, behind only Vanderbilt University.
The church also founded “Camp Joy” which every child within a 100 mile radius of Chattanooga probably attended at some point, often with the cost underwritten by the church.
He also probably wrote 2 dozen books.
Most importantly, he and his wife raised 3 children.
Unfortunately, poor succession planning, a descent into fundamentalist legalism and other matters took the church and school in a downward direction over time.
My point in bringing this up is to compare Dr. Roberson with some of the leaders today with regard to weddings, funerals, visitation etc.
With all of the schedule that I just outlined, as busy as he was, Dr. Roberson still conducted funerals. Often 5 to 10 a week in his later years. He still presided at weddings. And he still made hospital visits, and visits for evangelism, and to see shut-ins.
He was so busy that early in his ministry in Chattanooga, he learned that he had to be ready constantly to conduct a funeral or visit a hospital.
This caused him to adopt a wardrobe that consisted of 1 outfit – a double breasted blue suit, with a white shirt and a blue tie. He wore that outfit everyday for probably 45 years of ministry.
He was not perfect by any means.
But I bring him up to contrast that with all he had on his schedule – daily radio show, preaching 3 times a week, leading a college, etc., he never gave up the responsibilities of ministering to the sick, conducting funerals and weddings, and all of the other things that we associate with pastors.
For his day, he was known as an excellent speaker. In addition to his regular speaking duties, he was asked to speak all of the time at various meetings, evangelist meetings etc.
He could have become only a talking head. But he did not go in that direction.
It is ashamed that too many younger preachers nowadays want to go in that direction.
They are missing some of the greatest joys of pastoral ministry.
I thought I recognised the name so after a bit of searching on the Wayback machine I realised that I had met Mr Raymond a.k.a. The Irish Calvinist. In 2007 he wrote a piece complaining that too many pastors picked a text and preached systematic theology from it rather than doing expository preaching.
He said this:- Expository preaching is simply taking the biblical text and explaining the authorial intent while providing faithful and loving teaching and admonishment. We may say a lot of other things about the amount of text to be chosen, the tone of the preacher, and other things, but suffice it to say, in its simplest form, expository preaching is heralding what God has said in the text and heralding it in such a way that people understand and apply it to their lives to the glory of God.
Sadly what too often happens is a guy will walk up to the pulpit, open up the Bible and read a passage and then launch into a systematic theology or a counseling lesson. Now we give most of these guys a free pass because they are essentially reformed and their theology is right. We end up with good life application because their theology is biblical. However, they have not preached the text. I do not understand the passage better than when he walked up to the pulpit. I remember sitting in an auditorium and hearing a man make true biblical application, it was God exalting and man humbling; however, it was not in the text that he read. The text was a launching point to talk about what he wanted to talk about. I came away wondering how this text related to the rest of the book, what it taught me about God, my sin and how I needed to change. He did not preach expositionally.
Some may say, “Hey, you are being too narrow and hard on this guy. The question is were you edififed.” To this I would say, yes I was. But, this was a conference for pastors, and thousands of men just seen something modeled and called “expository preaching” that was not “expository preaching” and more than likely they will go and do the same type of thing in their congregations.
Why is this a problem? Well at the end of the day you are not teaching the Bible but instead you are teaching theology. What is the difference? The Bible shapes our theology and must always come first. When the preacher gives a tip of the hat to the text and then launches into something else he is not teaching his people to read, understand, and apply the Bible. Furthermore, if you take a text (which is the means that God uses to change us -2 Tim. 3.16-17) and you do not give its meaning do you really have the text at all? Do you really have its power? What are you giving your people? Your theology or the Bible, the power? This is much more than a preference issue, it actually strikes at the core of God’s design for the ministry of the word.
Let me tweak this a bit further. What is the difference between what this guy does (in my example above) and the uber-liberal female Methodist preacher-ette who reads John 3.16 and then tells you that we should not go to war because God loves the world? The only difference is that her theology is jacked up and the other guy is solid. So we give the Calvinist a free pass because he passes the test of orthodoxy? I would argue that there is little, if any, difference homiletically between the two. You cannot be a liberal and preach expositionally, it is impossible.
Men need to preach the word, not about the word but the word (2 Tim. 4.2). If we are going to keep having conferences that are supposed to center on expository preaching and speak about the need for expository preaching then the men need to preach expositionally or give some type of disclaimer so that folks don’t get confused and the term doesn’t get redefined and lost in our excitement about our “movement” and our contemporary Calvinist super-heroes.”
Fast forward a few years to last week and in the TGC post “Does Your Pastor Love You?” he says “What is the content of this loving ministry? It is to be doctrinal preaching. Doctrinal preaching is preaching that endeavors to teach theological truth. I know that doctrine has fallen on hard times in our age, but it is nonetheless a hallmark of the ministry of the Word.”
Oops! He must have forgotten the dangers of preaching theology rather than exposition!
I like his beard, by the way. Is it a symbol of a good expository preacher?
The Wayback reference is here
(January 3rd entry)
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
Giggle! A “halo” effect? I set my cup of hot coffee down before I got to that part. God is good ~ He protected my iPad.
Don’t forget ink & metal — tats like a Yakuza and piercings like a Cenobite.
And earlobe-stretches the size of soup-can lids.
Just like all the other radical hipsters.
Cast out of the Body and Eternal Hell is quite a motivator.
“BEGONE FROM ME, YE CURSED, INTO EVERLASTING FIRE! JOIN THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS!”
— Great White Throne God in all the Jack Chick tracts
are EXCELLENT points about what is wrong with so much preaching I’ve heard over the years!
“BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY! THERE’S NO INTELLIGENT LIFE HERE!”
My great grandfather deserted the Kaiser Bill’s army before WW1 and came over here and settled in the MidWest. Is my dislike for kings from nature or nurture?
Good point, yet if someone relies on preaching for their expression of love they will have a terribly difficult time developing as a mature adult.
I liked FW Rez comment that it is love from 30,000 feet. You can drop bombs but don’t see the devastation in people’s lives.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Is “radical hipster” an oxymoron?
Maybe I’m waiting til I’m 70 for some of that stuff. Hipsters will claim I’m just echoing the trends. Radicals won’t care what hipsters say.
I happened upon your website while looking for a good on-line Bible study for my daughter who is currrently living in France. She was talking about doing a study using systematic theology because so many people seem to be hung up on certain aspects of their theologies. I advised her of the shortcomings of systematic theology, warned her against the false doctrines of Calvinism and cautioned her about any legalistic teaching because these always set up an ungodly hierarchy within the church. I have done a lot of study on cults and have found that the ideologies that make a church a cult are pervasive throughout Christendom, causing so many Christians to be in bondage, and so many so-called Christians to be lost in their own theologies. God doesn’t care what you know about Him; He only asks if you know His Beloved Son. He doesn’t care how truthful your doctrine is, He wants to know if you know His Son who is the Truth. God is not going to force you to accept His gift of grace, His Only Begotten who died in your place, because His nature is Love, not force. A true Christian has the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is He who teaches us, enables us and empowers us to properly test the spirits to see whether they are of God. Satan prides himself on his doctrines (of demons); he exults in hierarchies; he delights in bondage; he is legalistic, capricious, punishing and a prolific writer who has penned many more works that are contained in our canonized Scriptures. Bad doctrine and bad behavior are always found together. Truth and Love are inseparable. Why? Because God IS Love and Jesus IS the Truth. It really shouldn’t be that difficult to discern which camp the pastor and his church are in.
Visiting the Sick and Burying the Dead — two of the Corporeal Works of Mercy.
Tee heeee. News channel 5 out of Nashville, TN have been running Kia commercials featuring a bearded car dealer. The photo of Raymond reminds me of the dealer. Maybe he just needs to shave his head and start selling cars.
I’ll give my answer, since I signed one and later learned that they were simply a tool of authoritarian control by the pastors/elders — to be used capriciously.
1. I was told it was *Biblical*.
2. It was filled with Scripture verses and looked harmless.
3. On the surface it seemed plausible, fine. What could possibly go wrong?
4.I was told it was to get us back to *Biblical basics that had been lost*.
5. I was told it was a form of ‘care’ and that if we were in ‘distress’ that the pastors/elders ‘cared’ enough about us to ‘discipline us’.
6. I was told that they would ‘counsel us’.
7.I was told that they believed that they “believed the Bible was sufficient counsel for all problems” and would “counsel us Biblically”.
8. I was told that we were all in this together.
9. I was told that they couldn’t recognize us as ‘one of theirs’ if we didn’t sign the Membership Covenant.
10. I was told that they would ‘give an account to God for our souls’ and how terribly important it was.
OK, now that I’ve had my tour-of-duty of an abusive, authoritarian, NeoCalvinist church complete with excommunications and shunnings of any dissent (not gross immorality), any critical thinking skills, my eyes are wide open and here’s what I’ve learned. (I too was excommunicated and shunned, lied about, threatened and bullied by the pastors/elders, as happened to other dear Christians.)
Truths I learned the hard way:
1. “Biblical” = do it our [pastors/elders] way. Don’t question. Don’t think. Don’t be a Berean.
2. Scripture verses in the Membership Covenant were used like a sedative, to calm you down, hoodwink you in to signing. Manipulate you. Like a Venus Flytrap with its promise of sweetness to trap, kill, and eat insects who are foolish enough to ‘take the bait’ and enter.
3. What could go wrong? Plenty. We signed our lives away and didn’t know it. No congregational vote. No respect for the priesthood of all believers. No equality among believers. A class system.
4. How many pages did Jesus require that people sign to follow Him? Correct answer: 0 pages. That’s getting back to “Biblical basics”, I’ve since learned.
5. Step out of line, make your own decisions and you are invited to ‘meetings’ in which the pastors/elders ‘care’ about you to scream, yell, threaten, ridicule, bully and lie about you. You are treated to HOURS of meetings and listening to their dumb, stupid, pathetic, insufferable advice to get you to conform. Idiot men – who know far less than many people (including me) – see themselves as all knowing and powerful, as all wise.
They should really put a cork in it (their mouthes). They know far less than they claim.
Their superiority complexes were shameful. I’ve had more training, classes, and experience than them and can do a better job, have more insight than them. They had NOTHING to offer.
Sorry to say, but that’s the truth.
6. Counsel. This is that Jay Adams’ Nouthetic Counseling nonsense. No training. Basically malpractice. Pastors/elders who never went to school for a professional education and training in serious subjects [alcoholism, child abuse, mental health issues, sexual abuse issues] toss trite Scripture verses at serious problems and get it wrong, wrong, wrong.
The pastors/elders spent months with church members in meetings about an older problem woman church member. Her real problem – alcoholism – they never addressed. Their *Biblical* answer was to draw pictures on the blackboard about *gossip* and to make some people go and apologize to her for problems she actually caused. She should have been under the care of a physician who got her in to treatment.
7. Biblical counseling/Nouthetic Counseling is NOT enough for serious medical and behavioral problems. For serious issues dealing with trauma. The pastors/elders even blamed me for the genetically inherited brain disorder – Dyslexia – and memory problems that go with it of a woman church member. She was medically diagnosed with this as a child, can’t work, gets a monthly disability check from the Social Security Administration (which she had to medically qualify for by doctors who diagnosed her condition), she believes Jesus could heal her and refuses all medical care and special disability groups for her memory problems. They can help her, she just refuses to do it. When she can’t remember entire events, she accused people like me of lying — and told church members and pastors/elders this. It was totally untrue. I was blamed for someone’s genetically inherited brain disorder!!!
8. All in this together. Nonsense. There were 3 or more sets of rules. One set of rules for the pastors/elders who were exempt, one set of rules for their inner circle and friends who got a pass on the rules, and another set of rules for the people in the pews like me.
9. It was embarrassing to me as Christian to be a member of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley [California]. They follow the 9Marks/Mark Dever/heavy-Shepherding tactics from the 1970’s whose Florida founders repented. These 9Marxists pride themselves on being rude, snotty, immature, unloving, classless, tacky, and having NO manners. The pastors/elders were actually say from the pulpit that they couldn’t possibly know that you were one of theirs/flock if you didn’t sign the Membership Covenant. They’d even say that people couldn’t attend the church (which as Nick from Scotland who posts here said is a good thing). My cheeks would turn scarlet at the rudeness of it all. The immaturity.
Ok, people found the directions to church, checked the time, got dressed and ready…and you’re such snot-nosed brats you can’t welcome them? Showing up and sitting down…isn’t enough? They aren’t welcome? For the love of God and all that is holy, what kind of *Christian* are you? Such an embarrassment. Rude, rude, rude. Mark Dever/9Marxist prides himself on being rude, immature, and childish too, devoid of good manners and common decency. He insists that because the early church was growing that they were taking attendance, had membership covenants. Ohhh puhhlllsssseee. Step down, Mark Dever. You aren’t a real pastor. Just a Pharisee.
10. “The give an account for your souls” line was used at my ex-church the way “Biblical” was used — to gain compliance, without thinking, without accountability on their parts.
And this meant they were to mold us into Stepford children, totally compliant. Their picture of us and we were to ‘obey’ and ‘submit’.
As for me, I went in with the best of intentions. I wanted to be at a small church where I could know other Christians, be known, grow as a Christian, hear the Word of God taught.
I was naive. I didn’t realize it was NeoCalvinism, authoritarianism, legalism, Comp heresy and obey and submit stuff.
My sister says she’s glad that I finally stood my ground with them and that they kicked me out for it. She thought I might never leave and feared that there would come a day that I would not speak to her again. She did not like the person I was becoming around them. How sad is that? Some *witness* for Jesus.
Bill M wrote:
Yep. We used to say this all the time in relation to how some organizations operated.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Please pass along the heartfelt sympathy and prayer for comfort from those at TWW.
Again the church is poorly served by those who call themselves pastors and scholars.
People who heard Jesus likening himself to a good shepherd would have immediately understood what the analogy meant.
The Shepherd’s job was to know where the water and good grazing places were. The Shepherd’s job was to protect the sheep from predators. The Shepherd’s job was to look for the lost sheep. The Shepherd’s job was to provide a calming presence in the midst of thunder, lightening, and danger. Most of all the Shepherd was ceremonially unclean because he lived WITH the sheep, not apart from them.
In my experience, most pastors today are just the opposite. They hold themselves apart from the congregation by sharing little of themselves. They expect the sheep to protect them, while eating the fruits of the sheep’s labor. They don’t lead the sheep but bully the sheep into going where the pastor wants to go. Then when it turns out the grass is dry and there’s no water, the Shepherd abandons the flock and finds another.
@dee- praying for your family.
That is a fantastic story. I’m sure your hair was fab!
Interesting. I recently learned that my tribe, the Menominees of Northeast Central Wisconsin had an infusion of Serbian genes during the great logging boom after the Civil War. Europe at that time was in the grip of a severe depression, so many young guys (Germans too) got on boats and headed to America where there was work.
Great comment and amen!
Your comment immediately reminded me of 1 John 2:
26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
Bill M wrote:
Love bombing? :o)
Kimberly Rock-Shelton wrote:
I did not know that until now. Thank you.
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That means that you and I are cousins! LOL
So what if you or anybody is first. Ignorant way to start a conversation on a blog.
Raymond did the “most dangerous guy at your church” post that was lampooned here, too:
Please pay us TWWer marathoners no mind. It’s an inside joke at this blog. It’s been done for ages. We even award people fake medals for this ‘sport’. Gold, Silver, Bronze. A recent 10th placer wanted (humorously) recognition. I awarded her the medal: Vanadium, since it is the 10th metal list on the Periodic Table of Elements.
Running the Good Race where we’re all winners,
“However, he is dangerous because of the reason you would not think, he is unteachable.”
That description sounds like the pastor!
I did “glow in the dark.”
Brad, you have this effect on me on a weekly basis. I wish I could have been a bug on the wall. Too funny! (PS – I took your advise and saved my keyboard fo sho.)
Julie Anne Smith wrote:
A loving rebuke: ” well, that wasn’t the smartest thing you’ve ever done. Let me dry your tears and we’ll go get ice cream.”
Kimberly Rock-Shelton wrote:
I doubt today’s church is anything like what was described in the Bible or what Jesus even would think would be a church. It is nothing but a political/ business organization. It is all about power and control. I seriously doubt the average pastor today really cares about the pew-sitter other than how much they put in the offering plate. Why people go to church is a mystery….and more and more people see it as I do…..Why go? What am I actually getting out of this? Abuse….and paying for that abuse? I’ll just stop going…there’s enough problems in my life without one more, and this one in an attempt to control your soul?
After Bill’s comment about who is first and Velour’s explanation of our little game, I got curious and went up to see who actually was first this time.
Somehow I missed this comment and wanted to appreciate it here by quoting it.
It is on par with Velour’s Christmas story. Coming from different angles, both are a testimonies on how to be a Christian in spite of abusive, authoritarian, religious zealots rather than because of them.
Muff Potter wrote:
One oral legend says that the Cherokees came from the Great Lakes area and may have had tribal connections to the Algonquins!
One branch for me: a Scottsman married a Cherokee (ca 1690). Their son married the daughter of an Irishman. Then there are the Swiss-Germans and the Black Irish (Viking-Irish mix). I’m a mutt.
We’re all cousins! Just ask Gramp Noah!
This weekend I read a Tweet from Ed Stetzer where he Tweeted how great it would be if someone were to buy him some first edition of an older religious book. It sounded quite expensive. He was called out publicly on it prior to deleting the Tweet. He’s among the highest paid clerics in the world, yet he abuses his God based platform to cyberbeg. Gateway pastors do this all the time. And it works. People trying to get closer to God will buy all kinds of stuff for pastors. I’m guessing Stetzer will get that first edition.
To me, this proves that Ed Stetzer is a taker not a giver. His “love” is defined by what he won’t do for his flock/students. The bigger problem is that he is teaching and role modeling this to pastors all over the country. Ed and his wealthier big name peers may have a large staff to handle the little people so their pastoral neglect may not be felt as acutely. Not all pastors have that luxury. Delegating pastoral care to inexperienced laypeople is a terrible idea. Not everyone is going to get a Velour in their hospital room. They may end up with a non-empathetic, judgmental volunteer saying hurtful things that end up causing harm to the patient at their most vulnerable moment and drive them away from God forever.
Robert Morris’ most popular session at his pastors’ conferences is the session where he tells the pastors that they need to take more time off and not engage in pastoral duties that involve personally caring for your sheep. The thousands of pastors attending that session applaud wildly, laugh hysterically and can’t eat it up fast enough. It’s sickening.
We can all get great sermons via podcast or echurch. When the pastors stop pastoring and caring for their flock, what is the point of going to church? Frankly, the point would be to support an inflated 501(c)3 with your tithes so that your “pastor” can take more time off to hang out with the likes of Stetzer and Morris so they can feel self-important and above all those menial, meaningless tasks involving caring for their flock.
People like Stetzer and Morris teach this garbage in order to justify their own lack of compassion and involvement with their flock. Ironically, they are raising up a new generation of pastors who will end up tanking their entire industry. Churches are expensive and when they lose their basic humanity and stop reaching out to their fellow man they lose their purpose. People will hang out for a while for the entertainment. But over time, when a church loses their meaning they will ultimately lose their attendance. Great job Ed. I hope you enjoy your expensive book here on earth.
Especially Robert Morris’s church, where you just watch the sermon on tv. Which is really weird by the way (have been dragged to Gateway before).
Part of the answer is the social club aspect of it. Part of me thinks that’s the point of church anyway, to fellowship with other Christians, but I don’t know why you have to be making the pastor rich as Croesus to do it.
Too many Preists, expecting people to bring them burnt offerings!
You could even order sundaes. The frozen dessert of choice for TWWers is “Sacred Cow Sundae” (Gram3’s TM).
I’m sure it has a shortbread cookie on top, cut in the shape of a cow and decorated with frosting and sprinkles!
I’m about to try to make Scottish shortbread again, and I’m quite tempted to make it in the shape of a cow now!
Please do! We need some for the launching of our official TWW frozen dessert:
Sacred Cow Sundaes.
Quoting Big Ed:
But Ed’s not being entirely truthful here. He may have done just those 3 things for the church he claimed to pastor, but that’s not all Ed was doing!
He was (according to Wiki):
a PROLIFIC author.
a well-known conference leader,
a well-known seminar leader.
a contributing editor for Christianity today.
a columnist for Outreach magazine.
a frequently cited and interviewed in national news outlets, like CNN & USA Today.
the Executive Editor of The Gospel Project.
the Executive Editor of Facts & Trends Magazine.
Can’t be a ‘pastor-centered’ church when the church has no pastor.
“I explain I can’t”.
No. You explain why you WON’T. Or why you DON’T.
These misnamed ‘pastor’ guys take themselves so very seriously.
In their pomposity, they are actually equating themselves with the apostles as referenced in Acts, when they instructed people to choose deacons from among themselves so that they did not abandon teaching the word of God to wait tables.
So, Pastor Guys think they’re doing what they have the right to do – cut out all that extraneous stuff having to do with the messiness and time consumption of caring for sheep – and just concentrate (at least 70% of Sundays!) on preaching.
The apostles were PREACHING EVERY DAY.
“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”
And why was the apostles’ time so important?
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”
Because for a few short years, THEY ALONE had heard with their ears, seen with their eyes, touched with their hands the Word of life, which they now proclaimed continuously.
Ed wasn’t a pastor, he was a hireling.
Here is the history of shortbread,with a recipe thrown in.
I’m having a similar issue with The Christian Post. Last week The CP printed an article where they featured Mark Driscoll giving advice to Christians. Mark was opining on whether playing video games was harmful or not. In the article, which was basically a recap of Driscoll’s vlog post on the topic, Driscoll admits that he does not play video games and knows nothing about the industry. Then MD goes on to to tell everyone what to do anyway. So it is not an informed opinion at all.
I suppose the article may be attributed to laziness, but getting an advice article over 500 words long published, seems to have puffed Driscoll up, as he decided to go after “young men” bloggers (sorry ladies – you don’t count) and post some other judgmental Tweets this weekend.
This CP article made no reference to his fall or his being disqualified as a pastor. Indeed, it legitimized MD as a pastor worthy of sharing and having his Christian advice followed and served to return him to a world-wide platform. Now that article is being recirculated all over the globe despite it having no value relevant to the topic, due to MD having no experience in this arena. BTW MD’s advice ironically centered around “listening to your conscience” and judging whether “behavior is appropriate or inappropriate”. Maybe he’ll get a regular CP column and give bus driving tips out next. http://www.christianpost.com/news/mark-driscoll-3-things-christians-must-consider-before-playing-video-games-166822/
Sadly, The CP could have easily contacted any one of thousands of pastors who do game and/or understand the gaming world. But they didn’t. Instead they featured a vile man who is disqualified from ministry and promoted him as a legitimate pastor whose advice was worthy of consideration in a top Christian publication read around the world.
Publications like Christianity Today and The Christian Post are currently facing a double threat. Print media is dying off and the church in America is dying off. When they promote people like Mark Driscoll as valid pastors with worthy advice they ensure that they will lose legitimate readership. People who listen to false teachers are not big readers. If they were, they could discern the false teaching more easily. Who will be left to read their Mark Driscoll advice columns?
Thanks! I actually already have a recipe from my trip to Edinburgh, but the last time I made it it didn’t turn out. I am interested in trying again because I think I know what I did wrong.
I like the explanation of why it was a ‘biscuit’, because the thing I read yesterday wasn’t as detailed.
Maybe this week I will shortbread and scotch in honor of Nick!
If you make Scottish shortbread in the shape of cows, please post your recipe the top of the page under the Interesting tab, Cooking tab.
And if you can take a picture and post a link to the final product there…that would be AMOOZING!
I will type up and post a recipe for you over on the Interesting tab, Cooking tab a wee bit later.
But he’s a CELEBRITY(TM)!
Make that HEAD APOSTLE (chuckle chuckle)…
“If you encounter any preacher who claims the title of “Apostle” or “Prophet”, RUN!”
— my writing partner (the burned-out preacher)
Well, they already DO treat their sheeple as Human Sacrifices…
I agree with you. A big part of a church is the fellowship with other members. But at some point when you need a pastor it’s a big deal when you cannot get to one after years and years of supporting the church. At Gateway, the lower end pastors have to serve one week a year on pastoral duty. So if you or your child, spouse or parent is dying of cancer, there is a different pastor on duty each week. Gateway knows that people don’t want to relive the whole story each week with a new guy so they just give up. It stinks. But it makes the pastors high-paid recreation time so much more enjoyable. They are trying to export that model to churches everywhere.
And you are right on the “social club” aspect. Some of these megas are nothing more than social clubs/country clubs with staggering country club “dues”. People go to these places to drink the coffee, order their burgers at the cafes, enjoy the “rockin’ awesome worship music” and listen to a 34 minute stand-up routine with the occasional reference to Jesus. It’s what makes them alluring in the beginning. It’s also what makes them so difficult to leave. You end up creating a social circle that is centered all around that “church”. Places like Gateway indoctrinate you that they are your “home” and your “real family”. They even give out t-shirts with these messages on them. It helps push out your biological family, your outside friends and co-workers. If you leave, you will be all alone and they know it and design it that way. It’s cultic, not church-like.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Gateway’s new term is “Chelebrity” meaning Church Celebrity. I think it’s supposed to be better than a regular celebrity. They don’t think there is anything wrong with that term either.
No, they were molding you into domestic animals — a couple attack/guard dogs and the rest meat animals for slaughter.
There is a lot of that going around…The first one I knew was a hireling was SBC. The second was PCA. The first church had a somewhat happy ending. The second not so much. But the PASTORS and ELDERS did OK for themselves.
I think it’s pretty funny that many of these guys will preach on John 10:10 so that they can talk all about God wanting them to live abundantly, but somehow they never quite make it to the hireling part.
I saw this sort of thing all the time. Poor little wealthy mega church pastor makes a comment in passing from the stage that he would love to see _*** city someday or his car needs new tires. People would trip all over themselves to make sure these things happened for him. then he feigns shock at how generous people are to him. Which only encourages it more. It has the stink of indulgences on it.
And the Gateway tactic/mind-control is also used by smaller churches like my ex-church, the NeoCalvinist/9Marks/John MacArthur-ite church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. They keep you busy — all of the time, running to and from church activities, scream at you if you don’t attend Bible studies, you create an entire social structure at church, and family and those with differences are placed further and further away from your life. It is very unhealthy and it is meant to be.
The whole thing started to wear on my last raw nerve: authoritarianism, no respect for the priesthood of all believers, no congregational vote, arrogant/puffed up pastors/elders who said if you asked anything, questioned – “You are bringing an accusation against an elder without cause” [what, pray tell, do they have to hide?], no respect for women [I’m one], no women teaching and using the gifts that God gave us in the New Covenant.
Adding on Comp doctrine and that women are to obey and submit…they’d literally tell us that to our faces, I felt like I’d been hijacked and dumped into a Dark Ages country some where far, far, far away from the United States.
The endless segregation of men and women, including in social activities, based on Comp.
So many other problems. My family and friends are glad I’m out of that nut case church. They said they didn’t like who I was becoming.
No time – stars always have scheduled a gig to do in another town and then another town ……
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Or one who says, “You shall not bring an accusation against an elder without cause”, because you asked a question, used critical thinking skills, questioned anything.
Run, if they tell you to “obey your elders” and the manipulative “we will have to give an account for your souls” (carte blanche access to abuse people).
Add in the activities for kids/teens like sports and social. the state of the art gyms with walking paths and racquetball courts. I referred to it as a One-Stop shopping for a social life.
Once you are enmeshed in a small group (can be 300 people!) You are less likely to leave and also because your kids love it there.
Welcome, and brava Mama! Good job of discernment and guiding your daughter.
You are spot on in your assessment of this. I wish I’d had a mother like you to warn me of the dangers.
It is spreading like wild fire – NeoCalvinism – and it is authoritarian, cultic, and dangerous.
And if you’re single, you’ve got a nice little dating circle/drinking partners.
Anyone read SGM wikileaks? This was a constant accusation between staffers and CJ!
Yes, drones. Knocked out with “smoke” (Spiritual Carbon Monoxide Poisoning as I call it).
Ordorless, tasteless, and deadly.
But I just wasn’t a doormat with the word “welcome” written on me or wall-to-wall-carpeting, and that ticked off the pastors/elders. Too bad.
When they hurt and lied about dear Christian men and women before all of us – hundreds of us (they even ‘took out’ a godly doctor in his 70s, married for nearly 50 years, faithful, loving husband, loving father to grown children, personal friend of John MacArthur’s) I thought, “Uhh ohh. If they took a doctor…they’ll do it to anyone.”
Ha! And I seriously was not copying you Lydia. I just thought her post was so good I didn’t bother to read on before I “blessed” it. As you well know, all it takes to know that no one has the corner on systemic theology is to read a few of the big wig authors who completely contradict each other.
SEBTS female seminary student here who has been a little more than disturbed about the robotic and cult-like hyper authoritarianism movement in conservative evangelical churches which I essentially see as a reincarnation or resurgence of the similarities and skeleton and heart of the Shepherding Movememt. (I am devestated and likewise saddened and bothered by a host of many other things including misogyny and commercialization of God and the social dynamics of celebrity culture and on and on, etc.) I have been thinking about these hijacking and redefinition of terms and the often times creepy way relationships are fragmented in the church because of them, and I think some of it has to do with a low view of the sacraments as an instigator or revelator(or maybe both together) part of the problem. This low view then translates and reinforces itself into low view of people and derivative, false associations with God and God’s abilities and function amongst the church body. To skip a bunch of logical points for the sake of brevity, essentially a low view of sacraments is a low view of the Trinity and the three persons of the Trinity and their abilities. So the redefinition and lack of love is both because and sign of a low view of Christ and his function and ethics that come from it, and most obviously, often, a low or constricted (sometimes completely absent) view of the Holy Spirit. I believe that membership covenants are the poor man’s sacraments, a symptom of a man-attempted and not God-attempted church, a further deviation away from what and who God is in himself in three persons for us, and how those sacraments act as tellers of God’s identities and our’s, what love is and what love looks like.
The outward and inner signs of transformative grace and love show themselves in the form of sacraments, not membership covenants. Therefore embership covenants are borrowed, poor man’s versions of love and grace, a de-sacramentalization of the church. They are an outward sign of misapplied grace and love (which leads to arbitrary and confusing carrying out of those words in church ethics and relationships). I believe they are a sign of a regressed church. (By the way I may get in trouble for saying this publicly from some people if they happen to see it, see: female SEBTS student).
For example, baptism is our signature and expression to God and others (and self) of our identity in Christ, the document of such practice is sealed by the Holy Spirit. Baptism is my public proclamation and signature. I act as a document forged together with other documents (other Christians) each of us sealed individually and communally together by the Holy Spirit for Christ. No man-made and man-ruled membership covenant needed to be signed, therefore. God already provided the means and terms for our signatures and the preservation of them. We are called only to interpret and examine God’s covenant provisions, not implement this practice ourselves.
The Eucharist is our weekly preacher and prophet, and the weekly commitment we externally participate as a recommitment and re-examination of our identities in Christ and the Triune God. It is the enactor of church discipline, we are separated from the table (God’s table, not man’s table, for not living in love with God’s ethics, not man’s ethics, men and women can only can come and interpret and discern ethics together.) As bread and body the Eucharist acts as a stand in for Christ. A testament to his resurrection and ascension, that he is “not here” but alive, still mediating. Therefore, no man made church membership covenant needed because our mediator is represented each week in the Eucharist and is an outward sign of the individual and communal health of God. We are always either moving closer to the table (God in Christ) and bringing others with us, or we are moving further away, likewise prohibiting and taking others away with us. The Eucharist is our outward observance of church discipline and bodily health, not a man-made and man-ruled (often arbitrary) even if filled with Scruptire legal document. A catechism and statements of belief, both needed and helpful for our church bodies, is not the same as a membership covenant. One serves to represent and discern, the other seeks to function as a control of sorts.
Essentially, I see these membership covenants and term re-defining and term confusion as an act of de-sacramentalization, where the church is moving from the legalities and covenants of God and his implementations of them in his natural law and theology, and importantly Scriptural and incarnational and Spirit given ways, represented in his legal forms….and moving it into the legal forms and church courts of man. This is why you see confusion of terms and redefining and cult-like behavior coming from what seems like biblical language and explanations. Love isn’t quite love, the gospel doesn’t quite look like the gospel, everything feels a bit off-centered and misappropriated. I could go on forever on this and qualify a lot more.
“It is not enough for you to obey Big Brother, 6079 Smith W. You must LOVE Big Brother.”
Especially if it’s a Mega with on-site Amusement Park and Pony Rides (actually reported).
“There will come a time when men will go mad. And they will lay hands on the sane among them, saying “You are not like Us! You must be Mad!'”
— one of the Desert Fathers
“When Coin in Pastor’s Coffer Rings…”
I remember a time when Baptist churches and Bible Churches like Erik’s did not have anything like a membership contract. So, I am not sure what Erik thinks this adds to building the church. However, it is trendy, so there’s that. ISTM that modeling Christ-like service to the body is really what a “pastor” should do. Teaching primarily doctrine is different from indoctrination how? What does he even mean by “doctrine?” I assume he means the party line.
“PSI-CORPS IS MOTHER.
PSI-CORPS IS FATHER.”
Not TV — TELESCREEN!
“See His Face! Hear His Voice!”
Jeff S wrote:
My parents disciplined me when I needed it, and it hurt at the time, but I never ultimately doubted their love for me. But as someone for whom the current conservative evangelical obsession with sexuality hits close to home, the same dynamic does not seem to be in play. The vitriol that is lobbed at us LGBT folk in the name of “love” feels mean-spirited, hateful, and contemptuous. One of the places that this is obvious is when people refuse to accept any facts that contradict their preciously held misconceptions that reinforce their mistaken belief that we, their enemy, people under the LGBT umbrella, are the worst sort of people in every way. So yes, sadly, some of us have been all too well acquainted with this form of “love” for a while already.
Dee, my thoughts and prayers are with you and you family during this time. God grant you all peace.
Per you post, interesting discovering our ancestry. I recently discovered I’m descended from Oliver Cromwell. Not thrilled, but as he was a Puritan, will that get me any cred with the Calvinistas?
As to love…my former church cult (Faith Heights Church in Grand Junction, CO if anyone’s interested) talked a lot about love from the pulpit, it was all about “loving people.” Behind the scenes, it was all about “if you love you brothers and sisters, you will forgive and overlook any wrongs.” There were even self-appointed ‘love police’ who would correct you if you said anything they perceived to not be walking in love. It got exhausting. And it created an atmosphere where leaders could walk all over you and you had to overlook it because Love.
I have posted another update on yhe open discussion thread. Thank you.
the Church has much repenting to do in how it has treated people who are LBGT
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
How long until someone builds an ark park?
Oh, wait, uh… Ok, then…
How long until someone builds an ark park within a megachurch campus? 😮
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
“the soul from purgatory springs”
– Pastor Tetzel, the Indulgence Guy 🙂
The NT talks about pruning the vine for it to be more fruitful, but the way these guys have it it’s all pruning & nothing else. Too much pruning kills things, & they bear no fruit.
Emily Honeycutt wrote:
Since these churches kicked the Holy Spirit to the curb, the pastors/elders have replaced themselves in the place of the Holy Spirit.
We aren’t a priesthood of believers guided by the Holy Spirit. We are now in servitude to pastors/elders and the Membership Covenant/Legal Contract is to make us all *obey* and *submit* to what they tell and guide us to do.
It’s not of God. And that’s why it’s blowing up.
These authoritarian, abusive NeoCalvinists don’t *prune* they spray the vineyard with Napalm (aka Agent Orange).
Completely agree, Josh, and I’m straight.
I couldn’t abide by the many ex-church leaders and members who buffed and shined their hatred of gays. They were relentless in their attacks on gays. And here’s what I noticed: They used gays to digress from the church leaders/members’ own incredibly messed up lives and the work they refused to do on themselves.
They didn’t just have ‘a log’ in their own eye, they had an entire forest.
They also seem to confuse ‘pruning the vines’ with ‘fleecing the sheep’. They are a confused bunch.
Spot on, brother Roebuck.
Although, I don’t think they’re a *confused bunch*. I think they know precisely what they are doing. It’s about money and power for them.
The strange story of one church…
At the church I attended where the pastor came in to co-opt, he did not reveal his plans right away. He began by preaching messages of grace, acceptance and love. It created a very accepting and loving group. People, some of them refugees from bad church experiences, came in and began to heal and blossom. The church was growing every week. People in the congregation reached out to help others in need. It was a great place! For awhile.
I guess when he thought things were ripe, he began to unveil the real plan. The teachings became controlling and manipulative. He became abusive, using sinful tactics to silence questions and force his will. The whole atmosphere changed. People began to leave, especially older believers. He said that was okay, those weren’t “his people” anyway. He was unreasonable and incapable of hearing any other perspective, and in a short time, the church imploded.
I often wonder at how blind he was, to not see the difference between the first situation and the second.
I think they practice reverse weeding- get rid of the real crop and fill the vineyard with weeds. They’re easier to grow and don’t require any care!
I know. I was just trying to show a little Christian Luv(TM). 🙂
@ Emily Honeycutt:
Very interesting comment! I can certainly understand where you are coming from. Due to my age, most likely, I have another view. The SBC I grew up in Is absolutely nothing like what we see today. The pastor was more employee than leader and the members ran the church. The closest thing to a celebrity pastor was Billy Graham and further down on the food chain perhaps the guy on TV on Sunday morning. But back then there were only five or six channels.
I see this problem as much bigger than just doctrinal. It is cultural.
Yet, I keep meeting more and more people in their late 30s+ that are going liturgical. They seem to like the calm and are attracted to an older tradition that just seems quieter and less in your face. They also don’t have many celebrity pastors. I can relate In some ways. I miss the old tradition of just having a good old fashioned hymn sing. But few know them anymore. We sing them so much we knew all the words of all for stanzas.
Historically, I view the sacraments as more political than doctrinal. Could there be anything worse to a peasant than to have Grace withheld from them as a means of shame or punishment?
It looks like ‘joy’ is absent from the neo-Cal version of ‘love’; which alerts us that the Holy Spirit ‘has left the building’.
the neo-Cal desire for dominion cannot be a reflection of ‘love’ because ‘it was not this way from the beginning’ (St. Matthew 19) and the legal trappings of their ‘membership contracts’ reek of mistrust and penalties for infractions of their many arbitrary ‘rules’ ….. where is ‘love’ found in that hard-heartedness?
what a difference between the love that Our Lord had for which He gave His life for our sake,
as opposed to the mega-preacher stating that he had no time to bury the dead or visit the sick
even Our Lord visited the sick
In the Kingdom of Our Lord, ‘love’ casts out fear.
Believe me, after reading some of the accounts of terrible abuse and suffering presented by victims here at TWW, I must conclude that in the neo-Cal world, ‘FEAR CASTS OUT LOVE’
He was love bombing, most likely. My guess is he thought he had enough yes men in place to launch his real agenda.
This is me, pretty much. I tired of hearing about the pastors kids and listening to songs that were pretty weak, lyrically and musically. I missed the hymns.
I’ve got a verse. Don’t call an evil man good and a good man evil.
It is truly sad that pastors do not seem to realize the negative effect they can have on a church. It is as if they have never considered this aspect of their ministry.
Would be great if people could start shape-note hymn singing as an activity for members of the Church who love to sing
I think these hymns are SO SPECIAL, and they come from the spirit and the heart of the faith and are not some weak attempt to ‘entertain’
“On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye, To Canaan’s fair and happy land Where my possessions lie. Oh the transporting, rapturous scene That rises to my sight! Sweet fields arrayed in living green, And rivers of delight. There gen’rous fruits that never fail, On trees immortal grow; There rocks and hills and brooks, and vales, With milk and honey flow. All o’er those wide, extended plains Shines one eternal day!
There God the Son forever reigns, And scatters night away.”
BEAUTIFUL! no band needed, all contribute, and you can hear these singers’ joy four blocks away!
Emily Honeycutt wrote:
Hello from another former female SEBTS student!
I think you may have a point here about the Baptist church in general. I feel like that by being so resistant to church history, that they’ve gone too far in making everything in the church ordinary, including God, Jesus’ incarnation, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
However, I think this movement in particular has only one reason for inception, and that is a group of men who want power. A few of us have talked here before about how these men would probably not be as well regarded as pastors, so they went to seminaries and NAMB/IMB to be theologians and denominational administrators.
But, the primary focus of Baptist services on the sermon makes this real easy for them, because Baptists have already made “lead” pastor-titled teachers the most important part of worship.
I’ve been really struggling with myself over whether to stay a Baptist in maybe a CBF church or to just go to a non-evangelical denomination where there’s more a sense of awe of God.
We still sing those songs out here in the boonies: Heavenly Highway Hymns and Hyms of Inspiration. Living in Caanan Now, When We All Get to Heaven, In the Sweet Forever, He’ll Hold to My Hand, How Beautiful Heaven Must Be ……….
A few years ago, we had a pastor who would occasionally have the whole church do nothing but sing hymns at Sunday night service. His favorite was That Good Old Gospel Ship.
My favorite: He’ll Pilot Me.
Good point. I think that sacraments as they are given by God are multi-dimensional in purpose, including doctrinal and message speaking/revelatory of Scripture and reality, and in their ideal form, pure and meant to be a joy and beauty for God’s people. This is often not the case, however! lol. So I agree, that they can be used wrongly due to political and cultural influences as church history not so subtly reminds us. I agree that culture and politics of geographical persuasion or time in history, and a combination of both, can abuse the sacraments. How we use the sacraments for or against God, others, and ourselves is a testament (not the only testament) of a community and how we care for others. I see church membership contracts as an attempt to offer what baptism and the Eucharist already offers to us and has been assigned by God. So it is a move away from the sacraments, essentially, even if the contract mentions the sacraments. Step one, I think, is to re-examine and discern what God was trying to employ in the sacraments and get back to them. However, this alone does not guard against political or cultural induced abuse or control. But it is a step that needs to be taken, as I see church membership contracts as unneccesary, even if they are well intentioned at times, it does not produce the kind of ethics and love sacraments *rightly* help with in the church. Now, rightly is a very complex issue and takes a lot of discernment and discussion, and sacraments are signs, and are ultimately at risk for abuse or misappropriation themselves.
For instance, a well known ill of Catholicism in the past was liturgy in languages the common people could not understand, meant and only shared with the elite and away from the “peasants”, women, commoners, etc. You may not have church membership contracts, but this misappropriation of church acts denied God and the benefits of God and community to people not in the spiritual elite. So, sacraments and the way we orient ourselves to God is not merely dependent and helped on the use of sacraments, but further depends on the character and posture of the elders and deacons and people of the church, the priesthood of all believers. Sacraments and church life still depend on good and godly character, fruits of the Spirit, in the believers of that local context. Just as a membership contract can abuse, a person in a non-membership contract church could certainly be spiritually abused for simply disagreeing or having a valid concern or sneezing the wrong way by suddenly being barred from the Lord’s Supper, etc. and excommunicated, burnt at the stake, etc. See: many examples of church history. So I should say and clarify that I don’t think sacraments are the answer and that’s where it stops, but I believe that membership contracts are trying to do what God has already made possible in the sacraments, essentially, we don’t need a church contract when we have baptism and the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit and Scripture (and common sense and wisdom) amongst us guiding our path. This is all ultimately dependent and contingent, however, upon good and godly character in the church helping to discern and orient ourselves to the Triune God.
I admittedly have a more high church view of sacraments (moreso the Eucharist) than most Baptists! A lot of people I know have, as you said, started being drawn to more liturgy driven ideals, and most of them like myself have been exposed to spiritual abuse. Though the church I am attending now does not do Eucharist every week (and none that I have ever attended consistently have!) 🙂
Quoting Raymond from the OP:
Love? Compare with the following:
See, I am ready to come to you a third time, and I will not be a burden, because I am not seeking your possessions, but you yourselves. For children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. And for the sake of your souls, I will most gladly spend my money and myself. If I love you more, will you love me less?
We cared so deeply that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our own lives as well. That is how beloved you have become to us.
By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
There’s actually a group that does this in my city, and they have singings a few times a year. Unfortunately, they always seem to fall on days when I have something else big going on. They aren’t affiliated with a church, which is interesting, so I’ve heard people come from all different churches.
🙂 What a wonderful tradition.
The Gaithers: He’ll Pilot Me.
Makes me cry, and I’m not a crybaby.
Before my illness damage my vocal cords, I was a deep alto. I still love to make a joyful noise. People may not like it so much, but I think God does.
If any of you check this out, take a listen to Home of the Soul while you’re there. Beautiful, soothing.
‘people come from all different churches’
reminds me of this from the Didache:
“As this broken bread was scattered over the hills
and then, when gathered, became one mass,
so may Thy Church be gathered
from the ends of the earth into Thy Kingdom.”
we cannot predict or restrict where the Holy Spirit goes and within the Body of Christ, we have ever-new evidence of His Presence among us and with us ….. the seamless robe 🙂
Okay. I forgot. Tied for favorite: Sweet Beulah Land.
They’ve been messing with “Love”TM for a while. My former father-in-law who was a member of Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church professed love for me while sending an email entitled “Divorce” to myself and his daughter with full knowledge that our marriage was vulnerable. In my opinion, it is their way of punching you verbally and covering themselves (“He’s an idiot, bless his little soul” sort of idea).
My post describing that exchange is found here:
Bless you for wanting to ‘lift up your heart’ in this way ….
My own dear father, of blessed memory, loved to sing at mass, but he was tone deaf and loud and I admit with great shame that sometimes I was less than happy to hear his efforts;
but, Dear God, I wished I could hear him now. Just once more.
We don’t know what we have until it’s gone, and then we know we were in the presence of a goodness that not even being off-key could mar. I miss my Pop. And his singing. So much.
I know. My mom’s aunt ……. Ha ha, we could hear her, in her garden, belting out “It’s Shoutin’ Time in Heaven” a half a mile away. She’s gone, but I can still hear her. She could carry a tune. She sang still with that strong Kentucky Appalachian mountain twang.
It was only a matter of time. Fundamentalists have been doing this for years. I remember a pastor at a church i was forced to attend growing up told a story about a shepherd who found a lost sheep and brought it back to camp and broke its legs so it wander off again, because he “loved it so much.” Apparently mister shepherd hadn’t grasped the concept of fencing. Of course, it is a rank lie – most sheep will die of shock or infection if they break a leg. And of course, only a sociopath could interpret intentionally damaging a sheep as “love”.
Point two for pondering: the rhetoric coming out of TGC is so obvious, and so self-serving – how is anyone fooled by it? Thoughts?
NANCY TWO, you just go ahead and sing, dear
as Dr. Seuss once said:
“Those Who Mind Don’t Matter, and Those Who Matter Don’t Mind”
Ishy and Velour,
I think there is a problem of people simply wanting power, and helping professions attract personality disordered or abusive personalities. The more free churches and those who do not formally ordain in terms of government would have a hard time implementing this, but I think personality and psychological testing would be helpful in preventing this. Of course, this would require adherence to a lot (not all) of psychology being a form of natural revelation and discovery of humans as a gift from God as a way to discern ourselves and others. I notice that in SBC circles, for instance, there is minimal to no understanding of personality disorders and abusive characteristics, people seem to be generally uninformed or naive about it. This is sometimes due to the fact that you often have to be exposed to it yourself in a traumatic way before you recognize this reality, so people just don’t know or understand. But, it could also be for many other reasons, distrust of psychology, conflicting views of sin, wrong views of sin, minimization or leveling of sins, confusing talents or speaking abilities for high character, etc.
But, there are also other reasons that people go about things, and some of them are well meaning or on track but wrongly associated. I don’t think a lot of people in high control groups necessarily are out for power or are trying to hurt others, but because they may think this is what God wants, or they may be receiving some benefit to it. It can get complicated to discern what draws us or why people do what they do.
People I know that fall into the latter category have gotten caught up in some of these movements, across different denominations and groups, from charismatic to Neo-Calvinism and all over, their personalities started changing. They become more sarcastic, mean-natured, controlling, less confident but an aura of arrogance, more deferential, or they become more sad, more deferential, anxious, depressed…sometimes an interesting mix of the two.
Looking at the fruit and the causes and the whys and the complexities of people for getting involved in different groups and theologies and movements is really complex and confusing at times!
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
I know this pastor is human, but he sounds like he has no human feelings for others. IMO someone like this should never be involved in ministry–they will only hurt people.
@ Emily Honeycutt:
Emily, your comments give me hope! Are you studying for ministry at SEBTS?
Emily Honeycutt wrote:
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
It reminds me of the umpteen times I’ve heard people say something like this:
“Just as it would be unloving for Bobby’s father not to tell him not to touch a stove and not to stick metal into the electric sockets and watch his toddler get hurt; so it is unloving for us not to tell Robert (a full-grown adult) that his sin is atrocious and he will go to Hell if he doesn’t change his ways.”
It’s as if they view all people as children, and only pastors / elders / deacons are ‘adult’ enough to discipline / correct / reproof their children so that they help them grow. Most are taught to highly value the correction they received in their childhood from their parents and since church leaders must be spiritual parents then spiritual correction must be to help them live more godly lives.
Emily Honeycutt wrote:
Many at TWW have either been in churches taken over by Calvinista pastors, such as Velour, or have been studying them for many years (me). They might want people to think they really believe what they say, but they’ve fudged enough to show some pretty clear cracks.
It doesn’t take too long to see that they are driven by a small group of men who have rapidly, and very strategically, acquired power and leadership positions, and then give their friends and minions the rest of the positions. They have quite clearly amassed power and are trying to force, via legal contracts, the rest of the SBC into positions of subordination.
They sue people outside their movement with no compunction, but refuse to allow their subordinates an inch of free thought. There can only be one reason for this, and that is because they know if people start questioning them, they will see the enormous holes in their system. Everything they do borders on cultic, and much of cult research has shown that cult leaders cultivate their their power.
Dee and others of TWW have been tracking these things for a number of years now. I think it might help to read back at all of the information they’ve acquired.
My favorite of the old Gospel standards is Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.
It has been featured in three Hollywood films:
The Human Comedy ~ 1943, Night of the Hunter ~ 1955, and the Coen Bros. 2010 remake of True Grit.
I had no clue what NeoCalvinism was and I landed in a small, local church (new church plant) that seemed ‘nice’ but turned out to be authoritarian, legalist, 9Marxist, John MacArthur-ite.
So my church wasn’t in the take-over category, I was just naive to the dangers of NeoCalvinism.
In my state (California) and in my county (Santa Clara/Silicon Valley) the pastors/elders think they can control everyone’s life via the Membership Covenant and that people will ‘obey’ and ‘submit’ to their pastors/elders in all things. Ditto for wives submitting to their husbands, including in NOT protecting their children from dangerous people.
And my (ex) pastors/elders’ bogus claims to authority are highly illegal in California and they can be arrested and prosecuted for crimes such as: Criminal Conspiracy [telling someone to violate the law], Aiding & Abetting [assisting in some way with a criminal act], Accessory After The Fact [covering up for a criminal act], Obstruction of Justice, Intimidating a Witness, Stalking, Criminal Harassment, and the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine [Nouthetic Counseling/Biblical Counseling].
The pastors/elders’ think that their ‘authority’ is all encompassing and that they are exempt from our criminal laws. They aren’t. Neither are wives/mothers who ‘obey’ their husbands and the pastors/elders. In California, the district attorney can go sailing down your back for your criminal conduct as a mother if you don’t protect your children, a mother can land in jail or state prison, and can get a “strike” if she’s convicted of a felony (like child endangerment). That means if she gets a 2nd conviction the sentencing is DOUBLE the punishment of what it would normally be. And if she gets a 3rd strike — it’s 25 years to life in prison.
Do these seminaries – like John MacArthur’s The Master’s Seminary – have ANY licensed California attorneys teaching seminarians about the limits of these Membership Covenants/Contracts, telling people to ‘obey’ and ‘submit’ to you in all things as a leader, and any one with an iota of legal knowledge teaching about these criminal dangers?
Why isn’t The Master’s Seminary teaching seminarians that the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine is a crime in California, that can be punished by jail or prison time?
Muff Potter wrote:
Tellin’ my age, but I’ve heard it on an episode or two of Gunsmoke, too.
Thanks for your response. For clarification, I myself have been studying this for years as well, experientially by observation, and academically thinking and studying through these things, but also have been spiritually abused, etc. have experience with other abusive systems outside of the church. Also, speak with people (friends to people I seem to providentially meet) who have likewise experienced it as well. I definitely empathize.
When I say that there are various reasons and complications and getting involved in different theologies and groups, etc. I meant that as a general, catch all neutral statement. I don’t mean that dismissively as to say there are not clear signs of bad or abusive behavior and leaders (and sometimes followers) who are disordered in their actions and treatment of others. Sometimes even followers or people with less power have evil or ego driven intent in partaking in high control groups, etc. When I say a lot of people who are in the second category I don’t think that to mean most or some sort of definitive statement on numbers, just that a lot of people I happen to know were confused or well intentioned or (as Velour points out) from abusive backgrounds and thought it was normal, etc. and had less evil intent or whatever in getting caught up in different groups. I don’t see those people necessarily as out to control others or with evil intent, if that makes sense. But what was concerning is the personality changes that occurred with some of them once they got further in.
**Also, I should say my above posts are not meant to be all inclusive statements on abuse or all my thoughts on the matter. I am only posting pieces or side thoughts. Particularly my views on the sacraments was just a side observation and wondering about how membership contracts are functioning in the larger picture of things from that standpoint, etc. That small picture was not intended to encapsulate the full picture or speak for all of its components, nor meant to dismiss the issue of people with bad intentions and dysfunction, etc. as if sacraments are the real problem – not true. It’s people (and our misuse and abuse of what God has given us, people to sacraments to everything, etc.)
When one of em’ gets their patootie sued off and they’re facing a substantial payout, maybe they’ll catch on?
There are singinings in most of the United States, along with several European countries (and Australia):
Singings are open to, and welcoming of, people from all backgrounds. Many singers in the South are from a Baptist background, but otherwise come from a range of Christian, Jewish, non-Abrahamic, or non-religious backgrounds. Personally, I found more community and wisdom in my shape-note singing community than the Calvinistic church that I once attended.
The quintessential spine-tingling shape-note video
Muff Potter wrote:
Or facing criminal prosecution.
My ex-pastors/elders are in trouble.
I bought a subscription to ancestry.com in order to fill my not-so-free-time. I have found many of my ancestors who came from France to Canada, which is cool. Some came to work for the military and had their passage paid for. Unfortunately, the further back you go, the more confusion there is with spellings of names and such, so currently I have a few ancestors with more than one spouse, but I don’t believe we have polygamy in our family. It’s either a mistake or there were deaths or divorces. Fun to research, though.
I have been off and on studying there for seven years, and am not sure if I will return or not due to various external factors. Some if it is that I have also have been in a Baptist crisis for a long time, as well, and am trying to reconcile things and work out beliefs, etc and where I belong and where I can function. The women in ministry is the top concern and has caused me a lot of confusion and pain and back and forth (understatement). I am concerned about the loss of soul freedom and liberty of conscience in Southern Baptist circles, what I love about being a Baptist!, and these membership contracts for instance, seem to obviously oppose that, from my view, and the hyper-authoritarian and control going on not just in SBC circles but even all over.
I am actually using my real first and last name and am nervous! lol
In ministry, I am inclined toward more academic oriented ministry or professions, but am not sure if it will pan out because I have had quite the ordeal even getting this far and had to take many breaks. Further, it is such a long process to go that route and financially difficult. I do enjoy university ministry in general.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
I’m guessing someone has already said this, but when you are inside the bubble of groupthink, confirmation bias kicks in and you see what you expect to see and what you want to see. You interpret what you read positively if it comes from inside your bubble and reject it if it comes from outside your bubble. Generic “you” intended.
Emily Honeycutt wrote:
Me too!I miss it.
I was a bit concerned about you using your name but also think it is quite brave. I pray you find your place in the Body. It needs people with your thinking and communication abilities.
Emily Honeycutt wrote:
Yes, and it’s not just the SBC. It’s MacArthur’s churches and also any church which follows Jay Adams’ thinking. People with very serious mental problems are given Scripture assignments which makes as much sense as assigning Scripture for a broken bone or cancer.
I agree with your assessment of disordered people seeking control over others. That’s why I call the Calvinista theology and other control-freak theology “Cluster B Theology. And I also agree with you that the longer someone stays in that kind of groupthink, the more hardened they become. Some of us are trying to soften up after being in it, but it takes time.
Emily Honeycutt wrote:
I don’t understand exactly what you mean by a low view of the sacraments. Baptists don’t believe in sacraments but rather in ordinances which are memorial and not efficacious in any way, which I’m sure you know only too well. BTW, I have always wondered about what the problem in Corinth was if communion is only memorial. But I digress…
I think it is a mistake to say that someone has a low view of sacraments when they see things differently. A pedo could say to a credo that the credo has a low view of baptism. Or vice versa. They are talking about two different things, actually, though it has the same name.
My sympathies to you as a female at SEBTS. May the Lord bless your study there.
Smacking my forehead. Thanks for reminding me of what I forgot to say in my last comment to Emily. I agree totally that the Holy Spirit has been evicted from certain parts of the church. As someone pointed out (Nick?) the Holy Spirit is like the wind and cannot be controlled.
And apologies to you for not thanking you for your uplifting story.
I remember a statement that I used to hear as a child – “God’s Word will not go out in vain”. I was told this meant that no matter if the preacher was an aetheist or didn’t believe what he preached, that still if the word of God was being preached, and that good would come out of it. I have held onto that thought for years. But I don’t think these so called preachers, or whatever title they are going by, actually preach the Word of God. It’s more like the Word according to Driscoll, Mahaney, Piper, Morrison, etc.
My favorite all time hymn of the church is “How Great Thou Art”. It was actually sung at my wedding, which I am forever thankful for. I also love “Sheltered in the Arms of God’. My dad used to sing solos a lot in church and he sang the old hymns of the church. They still minister to me.
Ancestory buffs here, I have a quite extensive family tree. On my dad’s side we go back to the Harper’s Ferry and supposedly President John Q. Adams. Plus my maiden name changed spelling once it came to the United States via Germany. My spelling is the one most unused. On my maternal side, I can state a U.S. vice president. All this has made me who I am. First and foremost a child of the most High. I am his and he is mine. That’s what matters most.
I often hear certain street preachers (cough::CON::cough::Miano::cough) say that they are showing people that they love them because they are preaching truth. Problem is that they don’t even come close to being an example of showing the love that is spoken of in the Bible. They have their own version of love.
Sheesh Bill, a belligerent way to join one
FWIW, I know one family who have been lifelong conservative Presbyterians, and they are Dones because their church has changed so much. For sure, there are not as many good options for conservative Baptists who are not Calvinista as there used to be.
You’ve provided a whole new visual for “Love Bombing”. In a way it is similar, superficial with little real connection.
Jamie Carter wrote:
Oh, yes. I had an out-of-body experience with a pup trying to tell (not teach) me and Gramp3 some theology. Said pup was well indoctrinated but had not learned life’s hard lessons because he had not yet had time to be faced with the hard lessons that come with real life. If it were not so sad, it would have been hilarious. His conclusion and the conclusion of his superiors up the food chain is that we were unteachable. And he was certainly correct that we were not receptive to his pontifications and proclamations. The cherry on top is that he did not once so much as open a Bible or quote a verse!
Muff Potter wrote:
MacArthur’s church was sued decades ago due to a young man committing suicide after receiving nouthetic counseling, IIRC. I believe the church prevailed, but do not remember the details. Perhaps the legal climate has changed.
@ Bill M:
Lol! But remember, the first will be last. :o)
The writer, Kevin Don Porter, didn’t want to hear what I had to say. His defense was that Christian Post had written about Driscoll negatively in the past (but his article didn’t mention those articles). I also noted Driscoll isn’t a megachurch pastor, and I know for a fact (because I’m out there every Sunday) that Driscoll pulls in less than 400 bodies a week. After a couple more exchanges, including Porter chiding me for not attending church (I DO attend church, I’m just outside on the sidewalk), Porter blocked me, as well as one of our blogmistresses.
Christian Post is absolutely not interested in hearing anything from the people it is puffing up. That’s because Driscoll is still good for lots and lots of >clicks<. I ended up adding Driscoll to my Google News so it will pull new articles about him because I really am curious to see how many "Christian" sites are puffing Driscoll.
Annnnnd….I just went and checked and yes, CP is promoting Driscoll AGAIN today, with an article "Mark Driscoll: 3 Christian Perspectives on Drinking Alcohol and Which One Is Wrong". I just tweeted at CP itself since the "author" of this "article," Stoyan Zaimov, does not have a Twitter account. And I'm REALLY wondering if this isn't perhaps "advertorial" (a portmanteau of "advertising" and "editorial," which is very controversial in journalism).
They refuse to hear the truth. God will hold them accountable!!
“Ed Stetzer doesn’t do funerals or hospital visits but preaches. Is this love?”
SBC church planters in my area will not visit sick folks in hospitals or nursing homes. But you can find them tweeting their lives away in coffee shops. Is this love? NO!
But, if the shekinah cloud of glory can leave the temple, the a Holy Spirit can leave a church.
They are clueless as to what a minister is and does. They are loveless.
Dee, you now have a reason to get one of those cool “Jonathan Edwards Is My Homeboy” t-shirts!
Bill M wrote:
This sort of love is not demonstrated in New Calvinist ranks.
“Grace” flows directly from Heaven through Christ. It is the free and unmerited favor of God which brings spiritual life, as manifested in the salvation of sinners.
“Doctrines of Grace” flow from the teachings and traditions of men. It is law, not life … a system which has proven to be binding and not conducive to freedom in Christ.
The word Grace seems to be in a lot of churches names today. I often wonder how much biblical grace is shown in these churches.
“And I saw the river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven
and the name of that river was suffering:
and I saw a boat which carries souls across the river
and the name of that boat was Love.”
(Saint John of the Cross)
OK, I’ll finally announce it here since I have become rather fond of TWW and its readers …. I am a descendant of Noah!
It is said in my Church that God provides, in abundance,
the mercy and grace without which we can do nothing of everlasting importance.
Julie Anne, over at Spiritual Sounding Board, has pointed this out.
That was true of her ex-church, cultic and abusive, and is certainly true of my ex-church, Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley (California).
“Grace” is really Authoritarianism.
“Biblical” means “follow the Authoritarians with blind obedience”.
Yes, there has been an explosion of “Grace” this and that churches; it’s a way of letting the reformed community know they are on board with the new reformation. It’s a sign to other reformers, like carrying an ESV bible. For the first time in my life, the spiritual hackles on the back of my neck go up when I hear “grace” mentioned.
I’m a descendant of Jael.
I will be having a super-sized portrait of this ancestor hung on my living room wall,
as seen on Tim Fall’s blog and drawn by Rachel Stone’s father (bless him):
thank you kindly. it was … “unique.”
I intend to continue hair explorations, and am already working on The Wedge Ledge[TM] as my new look for when I turn 65. Think of it as a mega-mohawk from ear to ear. (Once the hair atop has completely stopped, this shan’t be so difficult to achieve.) Will let it grow out at least 8 or 9 inches, lacquer well, add some subflooring, and then use The Wedge Ledge[TM] as a platform for mini-action figures. Kind of create my own dioramas. I find the Barista[R] action figure particularly charming, and perhaps can work that into the mix for The Inaugural DioramaDrama.
P.S. When the time comes, I’ll be sure to post contest rules for those who want to submit construction plans for a Guest Dramarama
Amen! Folks this line is good enough to stick on your refrigerator! The American church has grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit – the Trinity itself has been relegated to the back pew. We are doing church without God in many places. We need to flush most of the stuff that is going on in our churches, humble ourselves, pray, repent, and seek God’s face … or else.
Yes, the legal climate is changing here in California.
The California Medical Board is really coming down hard on the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine, a crime in California which can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, in this highly-regulated profession (medicine).
With the spread of the whackery of Nouthethic Counseling (taught by Jay Adams and his untrained books and carried on at schools like John MacArthur’s The Master’s College and The Master’s Seminary), and spreading like wildfire among these NeoCalvinist churches,
they are using the *Bible is sufficient counsel* to diagnosis and treat serious medical problems — and blowing it!
I had to file with the State of California against my former pastors/elders, who repeatedly engaged this and actually had the temerity to blame me for a woman church member’s genetically inherited brain disorder – Dyslexia – and its attendant memory problems. Dyslexia isn’t just a reading problem, but a memory problem (that involves short-term memory problems, working memory problems, auditory memory problems and a host of other memory problems).
A woman church member with it, who can’t work and gets a monthly disability check from the Social Security Administration (and her disability was medically diagnosed to qualify for that), has spent decades refusing to go get special medical care and be in special groups for her disability.
She couldn’t remember entire events and accused other people like me of lying, telling church members and pastors/elders that I was for instance “a liar” and the “truth about me would come out”. She inflamed everyone and the pastors/elders said that I was in “sin”.
The pastors/elders nonetheless lied to hundreds of people about me and completely destroyed my reputation. And none of it was true.
And you can see now why my state so tightly regulates the practice of medicine and punishes the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine as an actual crime.
Welcome for the reminder about the Holy Spirit.
And thank you for your kind words about my Christmas story, ministering at the Lord’s insistence to a young man named Sean dying of AIDS at a local hospital in the middle of the night.
At my ex-NeoCalvinist church where many of them were fond of buffing and shining their hatred of various people (pastors/elders and many but not all church members) I kept coming back to that night in my story and my mind and how I couldn’t hate people the way that NeoCalvinist church demanded. That the Lord ordered me to go see Sean that rainy night: “Go!” I actually didn’t have a choice, Gram3. The Lord was leaning on me and He gave me no choice to disobey Him in the matter. No out. Not even my own human fears.
And the “advice” that the “Bible is sufficient counsel” for all problems is given to church members by pastors/elders who are usually wearing prescription eyeglasses for their vision problems! Why didn’t they treat their vision problems with a few Scripture verses and call it ‘cured’. Why wear glasses?
My ex-pastors failed to get an older woman alcoholic to a physician for medical care and spent months with church members in useless meetings drawing pictures about “gossip” on a chalkboard and going over Scripture verses. They harmed the alcoholic church member, her adult children (she was a widow), and church members. The real issue – alcoholism – and a physician supervising her treatment for it was NEVER dealt with.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
People take their judgements from others. A few may recognize it as nonsense but they collectively stay silent and the rest either think they are the only ones and also stay silent or most who are unable to see and will continue to have their world view further twisted. If one person laughed out loud, followed by a few more, the rest would join in.
The next week the few who broke ranks first would be missing and order would be restored once more.
Well, howdy cuz!
Jael is one of my heroines from the Bible. Ellen Ripley and Clarice Starling are two more from literature and the silver screen.
Brought me to tears. @ Velour:
Thank you for your kind post, Tracey.
You know, besides being Sean’s “best Christmas” in his entire life, I think it was mine too.
Muff Potter wrote:
I just love that Jael cartoon in the “Precious Moments” style that Rachel Stone’s dad did, as seen on Tim Fall’s blog.
BEFORE ANYONE CAN THINK OF BLAMING US!”
— South Park, the movie
“Elvis has just left the building, and so has the Holy Spirit. We now return to your regularly-scheduled Righteousness.”
Muff, Nancy, I’m not sure Night of the Hunter is actually that good an endorsement for the hymn. In that movie it’s sung by a serial killer pretending to be a preacher to groom his prey. (Hmmmm… maybe not that far off-subject…)
Doc had the right word: “Only a SOCIOPATH…”
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
I have heard that story, too, and I *despise* it. I agree it is sociopathic, no shepherd would do this. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.
I keep pondering this, myself. A few things I’ve come up with- some of these have applied to me at some times in my spiritual walk-
1. They are from dysfunctional families and it feels normal to them
2. They are young and naive. They make assumptions, such as assuming the pastor, elders, leaders and “Christian” writers are as sincere as they are. They don’t notice the requirements of the covenant are one-sided, as an example.
3. They want very much to please God but have not learned enough on their own yet as to how to go about that, so are vulnerable to those who will gladly co-opt that desire for themselves, to use it to their own ends.
I rock out to the Mississippi Mass Choir. “Having You There”…different…and awesome.
It was older, African-American Christian women who carried The Gospel to me, a white woman. They reached into my life, called me “baby”, fed me fried chicken (I’m in Northern California), greens, potato salad, and sweet potato pie (“Have another piece of pie, baby”). Those women melted my heart.
They took me to black store-front churches and I was like a duckling and imprinted on their music.
@ Christiane & Nancy2:
I think she is the prettiest woman alive – Mama Mosie Burks with the Mississippi Mass Choir
“When I Rose This Morning”. A rockin’, Grammy award-winning choir that I have seen in person!
What a night!
Take off your shoes, move the furniture, and dance!
Oh but James McDonald has the answer to that! We need to make a lot of noise and move our arms and legs a lot during ‘worship’ to get the Holy Spirit to stick around for church!
Sorry for the sarcasm. The last church I went decided to follow “the Vertical Church” – none of the elders saw any problems with it…
4. They are biblically illiterate.
Regarding the shepherds being discussed, a commentary from the pen of the Naked Pastor:
Me, too. Grace is not grace anymore. Sigh.
That was a big hit when I showed it around the office.
BTW, I looked over the website of your former church, their resources page reads as a veritable who’s who of nefarious organizations discussed here. I also note that at least half the elders are staff, this inverts the accountability and put way too much power in the hands of the the pastor. The preface to their statement of faith gives me the shivers and don’t get me started on their membership covenant.
I do wonder.
It seems highly unprofessional to block people who point out issues with a story, but I’m not on twitter- do other publications do this?
I thought the same thing the first time I saw it. After awhile it grew on me and now I smile when I see it. It is a light hearted game and a way of expressing delight that there is an excellent new post to read.
Bill M wrote:
I am hoping that when I am ready to post my story here in the near future, which I am writing, that Deb could (since Dee is taking care of her dying mother-in-law and other sick relatives) evaluate the church structure of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley:
structure, membership covenant, etc.
The senior pastor chose his own personal friends — even having them move in from out of state – as ‘yes-men’/elders.
Or perhaps you could draft an article and send it to Deb about what you see wrong with it.
Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood blocks any of us who have had the temerity to ask a question about what they’re talking about, define their terms. Men and women have been blocked. I was blocked by them after asking precisely 1 question.
Bill M wrote:
This is a slower one, but try it. You’ll love it!
Wow, Nancy2. Thank you. What a talented child and an amazing voice. Chills ran up and down my body.
9 year old Brazillian boy singing it, so some of the words are a bit difficult to understand, but WOW!
I think I need to get a framed copy and put it in the Girls in Action classroom at church!
Have you seen this beautiful black Gospel song “If It Had Not Been” sung by Lynda Randle (with the Gaithers), Andrae Crouch on the piano. It was written by Dr. Margaret Douroux.
The songwriter, the singer, and the pianist are all pastors’ children.
I think you should have t-shirts made and bookmarkers.
Reminds me, I should probably carry it in the online store for Pound Sand Ministries (TM).
What in the world happened between these two posts of his? I found more to like in the first one.
Yes, indeed. I cannot imagine calling himslef a “minister” when he clearly refuses to minister…..
“He Will Remember Me” at the Gospel Legends, Billy Preston on the organ.
Someone is killin’ it with the soprano voice somewhere in that room!
“Highway to Heaven” at the Gospel Legends. Awesome Black Gospel singer.
Terrific piano player and Billy Preston on the organ!
I’ll be back on the thread topic tomorrow! This was too much fun trading good songs with Nancy2.
Oh my goodness. I would have gone to visit her.
What heartless people.
Yes, the way our pastor described it (in private), with a smug smirk, is that he “knew how to do church.” He’d heard it all in seminary, and he was well-prepared to head off any Bereans at the pass. He kept a file where he saved things he found that he might be able to use to discredit church members. Oh, he knew it all… except how to humbly follow God and feed his sheep.
An attorney I know, from France who works in California, has repeatedly said that when he came to America that if he wanted to get rich he’d have opened a church.
Yes, bookmarks with those tasselly things hanging down 🙂
Very true. Some of them are young and haven’t had time to get to know the Bible that well, but others “are in need of milk when they ought to be teachers of the word.”
Yes. And phone covers for our i-phones. And key chains. And book covers.
Some of them are being fed arsenic by these *pa$tor$/elder$*.
Emily Honeycutt wrote:
Have you considered coming on over here to the Methodists?
I have. Are they sane?
Did you get an email from Dee about Shauna’s (screen name “Marquis”) son Billy’s sizes for the clothing for him for high school?
Please advise. Shauna’s email needs to get to you.
Jael licsense plates!
Oh Baby, they need hammers and tent stakes!
I LOVE her !
‘joy’ is a signature sign of the Presence of the Holy Spirit
well, when a woman is forced to live unable to stand up to her full height as a human person in this world, after a while, she just might WANT to join the ‘Daughters of Jael’
comes a time when the human spirit will come into its own if nothing more than to stand tall in praise of its Creator, and on that day, the ‘headship’ that suppressed it has lost to something infinitely primal within the human soul: we are told to CHOOSE LIFE by our Creator, so that we may live and our daughters and sons may live
If the Creator of human kind has given us freedom to choose, who are these men who would tell us we have no such authority to live also in dignity as human persons?????
Like the priest that turned away my friend in crisis when he was a very young man.
I’m putting it on the list!
Are you speaking of Mama Mosie Burks and the Missisippi Mass Choir?
Indeed she is!
Spot on, sister Nancy2.
Just chilling. Have people no souls?
I think we are. (Mind you, there is the occasional oddball in the lot, but they tend to meander off in search of stranger pastures).
There was a beautiful story a while back about a lady in Arkansas who ministered to a bunch of young men with aids whose families had turned their backs on them…
Do they have women pastors, adult Sunday School teachers, elders, deacons, etc?
Do they have a congregational vote?
Do they believe in medical care as well as counsel from someone at church (who is actually trained and not running their mouth like the ship of fools I had to deal with at my ex-NeolCalvinist church)?
Methodists don’t strike me as the ‘obey’ and ‘submit’ type, like the Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood shoved down our throats/Comp doctrine at my ex-church.
Any other important things I’ve missed you’d like to share?
What is the Methodist view of Calvinism?
This caught my attention as it seems the terms “lead pastor” and “senior pastor” are being used as the catch all – be all title in tons of baptist churches, and not just neo cal ones. It is why I don’t trust the multi-site movement (which are only slightly worse than mega churches) because there is NO WAY for a pastor to be involved with his flock. He only preaches and then “shepherds” his campus pastors and they are supposed to individually shepherd the leaders in their individual campuses who in turn lead those underneath them. Is this new movement for multi-site the new MLM?
I do believe, though, this is how new pastors are being trained for the most part and I’m pretty sick at this discovery. I was aghast to read “how to’s” for pastors accepting a new “call” (how come it is ALWAYS a bigger paycheck and bigger church with better facilities that is involved in the “call”?). One pastor wrote an article telling his experience with a deacon who was upset at his leaving and the pastor wrote the article to show he was NOT the former church’s “friend,” he was their “pastor.” Wow.
If posting the article is allowed, I can provide a link.
That seems reasonable to me. In my most recent former church, there are many people there who are honestly and diligently serving in the power of the Holy Spirit (as much as I can tell.) But that isn’t because of what the leadership is pushing. It’s in spite of it.
As an old guy, I don’t have a problem with form as long as there is some substance to it. On occasion, this fuddy-duddy reserved Southern Baptist has actually raised my hands and jumped with joy during worship … when I sensed that God was on the property, rather than some manufactured attempt to put Him there. Mega-church has discovered that if you build it like they want it, they will come … it’s a matter of finding out which way they want to go and then get out in front to lead them.
waking up wrote:
Go for it. The rest of post links to relevant articles all of the time.
They can’t exist with Piety and Righteousness.
I must say this now before I go out to cut the grass. The humidity is awful, and it quickly gets into the 90s, and I am a little old woman and if I do not live through it, well goodbye and it has been good hearing what you all have to say. This statement is not said in jest entirely since all the facts are correct.
But before I go I want to say, in reference to some various ideas that have been presented here, more or less.
I spent my entire professional life of some half a century in a ‘caring’ profession and to my knowledge I have no diagnosable personality disorder nor do I crave to manage other people’s lives.
My faith journey took me from a non-sacramental way of thinking to a sacramental way of thinking, and the ideas associated with that journey were already developing in the long ago decades when I was SBC and then FWB. My faith journey took my from the ideas of how one relates to God as basically confined to scripture to being a continuationist / semi-charismatic in my ideas about and experience of the Holy Spirit. The rather disturbing event that brought about that latter change of ideas was while I was an SBC young adult ‘missions volunteer’ in training. I see these two changes in my thinking as having some relatedness.
Here is the point: To my knowledge and in my experience it is a mistake to think that just because some person may be a Baptist or Methodist or whatever they necessarily toe the doctrinal line with whatever group they affiliate with. A lot of people make that mistake. The think ‘oh, you are a whichever then you certainly believe whatever’ and this may well not be accurate.
An archbishop in a city in South America used to take a bus and travel to the outskirts of the city to serve the poor. He baptized them, he tended the sick, he ate with them, he celebrated the Eucharist with them. He was a beloved member of their community. He belongs to a larger community now, but he is still going out to the outskirts to be ‘with’ them what needs ministry.
Some people are geared to be shepherds. Others have no time for it. I think it must be a condition of the heart to want to pastor others in need. If your heart’s not in it, maybe its better to ‘move on and move up’ like poor Ed Stetzer, who didn’t understand because maybe he didn’t know any better.
Wow! wonderful woman! a woman with the heart and mind of Our Lord Himself
Isn’t there a neighbor, including a junior high aged child or a teen, who could help you do this?
I am praying for you right now! We love you, dear friend.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use cartoons …. what an awesome graphic
I asked my mother about it. Turns out my parents decided that since they are already Christians, they don’t need to join an official church organization to be members of the Church universal. Instead, they attend whatever church they feel God calls them to and invest their time, serve, attend, give to the church’s ministries, etc. in that way.
I’m glad to hear it wasn’t anything weird with my former church. That’s a relief.
After hearing about all the church covenant membership agreement stuff here, I can definitely see where my parents are coming from. Not to say that I think official church membership is a bad thing, just that it’s something that needs careful consideration and discernment.@ dee:
Yes, thanks for posting that beautiful article about Miss Ruth. God bless her. She was doing the Lord’s work.
Regarding the title of this blog “now they are messing with love”, Dave Hunt wrote a book several years ago when the New Calvinist movement began to raise its head. The title of that book says it all “What Love Is This? Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God.” TWW and other watchblogs continue to report on New Calvinism’s misrepresentation of God’s character. Control, manipulation, and intimidation are not spiritual gifts. What love is this?!
Hi Velour! Thank you for the warm welcome, it means a lot.
As it turns out, it sounds like my old church was okay, my parents have just decided to attend whatever church they feel God is calling them to go to and don’t feel the need to officially become members. They faithfully attend their current church and are very involved with the ministries there.
That is interesting, that so many people were warned not to go to your former church. I’m glad so many people were able to steer clear, but I’m sorry that you had to go through the abuse they heaped on you. Thank you for everything you do to help others in similar situations.
I invited a couple of friends to the campus ministry I mentioned earlier. Their less than enthusiastic reactions should have warned me that something was up – of course I realized later on and got out, but I wish I had figured it out sooner.
I wasn’t excommunicated or anything like that after leaving, in fact I left in a way that was very subtle and hardly noticed. But within a couple of months only a few people in that campus ministry made an effort to still be friends with me, even though I’d been heavily involved for over two years (quite a good chunk of my time in college). And now I don’t really talk to anyone I knew in that group anymore. I told them I still wanted to be friends with them, but one by one we fell out of touch.
It wasn’t really fair of me, but I still felt like they only gave me the time of day because we were in the same campus ministry, and once I wasn’t a part of The System anymore, they no longer has any use for me. I don’t think they meant anything bad by it, and in a way it was a natural progression (I wasn’t seeing them regularly anymore), but still, feeling forgotten/abandoned is not a nice feeling.
In the end it was probably for the best – it helped me make a cleaner break from the situation – but it still hurt.
waking up wrote:
Yep, they want you to know that they are the man! “Lead pastor” appears to be the title of choice among the New Calvinists, even among the 20-30 year old YRRs who have no experience leading! You know you are in trouble when you visit a church if the man on stage is a “lead pastor” carrying an ESV Bible!
We value having you here. I’m glad that you made a subtle escape from your campus ministry. Yes, the loss of friends hurts.
I hear you, about investing so much of your time and life with people, and poof — no more contact with them any more.
I think what happened to you will also happen to the young people at my ex-church who were part of the church’s/cult’s campus ministry at Stanford University with undergraduate and graduate students. Getting out will cost you friendships — most likely all of them.
You have a good head on shoulders, and that’s obvious. Your parents seem the same and that’s wonderful that they are so discerning.
Yes, people can go to the top of the page here under the Intersting tab, the Books tab
and find that book and some others.
(Please note that I also copied and stashed some good quotes over there about Comp
and other issues.)
Love in the diabolical meaning, My Dear Wormwood.
Serah, you will find that most commenters on TWW have directly been impacted by aberrant pulpits and pews which are not Christlike in their treatment of those who opt to leave their ministries. I personally was blind-sided by a New Calvinist work in my area. I think most who read this blog would agree that, as painful as the experience was, it opened our eyes to the ails of certain movements and leaders … making us able to speak with personal knowledge to warn others. As you note, at the of the day “it was probably for the best.” God has a way of “working all things together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Hang in there … God loves you!! We appreciate the insight you have offered from your experience.
You have to be talking about Pope Francis.
“Writing for a penny a word is stupid. If you want to make a million dollars, START YOUR OWN RELIGION!”
— L Ron Hubbard, a year or two before he founded Scientology
Ok. Here is the link… I mean Jesus is my friend. But some pastors are above all that…
DOES NOUTHETIC COUNSELING PROVIDE A SHEILD FOR NPD’s IN AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH
There seems to be a close association between the authoritarianism that has been rising in recent years in the evangelical community and the adoption of Nouthetic Counseling. In addition to local churches using Nouthetic methods, many seminaries have abandoned long standing programs leading to state licensed counselors for the “Biblical Counseling” approach. At the same time, there has been much speculation that many authoritarian pastors and leaders are blessed with the non-spiritual gift of NPD. Could it be that there is a hidden agenda behind the proliferation of Nouthetic counseling? By adopting the Nouthetic approach, these leaders put themselves out of scope of the discipline that would correctly label them as NPD.
Notice who were the nastiest towards what she was doing.
I’m so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. It must be so hard for you and your family. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, and address our comments. My prayers are with you.
Rather than a draft dodger, your ancestor might have been a loyalist (a United Empire Loyalist, as we called them in Canada). That is to say, someone who wanted to remain loyal to Britain, and moved to Canada in order to do so. Do you know what his feelings were towards the Crown?
FW Rez wrote:
That’s entirely possible.
My ex-pastor (the chronic liar/bully) recently sent out an email to church members saying that I was mentally ill, that all of the law enforcement agencies in the area had said that (had they really? all of them? whom said that?) and that I was texting members (I have never texted any church members), calling church members (another outright lie as I’ve never called any church members), and emailing church members (you know the answer to this one — another LIE! — and I’ve done no such thing).
Then he used the big, bad word in the email that I was “gossiping” about them.
And being the drama queen that he (and the pastors/elders are)…that they are (sob)
under “persecution” and to pray for them.
I had contacted a Christian school where my church rented a gym for a sports camp and warned them about the church’s policy about Megan’s List sex offenders — giving them access to children, without telling all parents and the owners of facilities. If a child is the victim of a crime on the property, the owner can be sued (i.e. school). It can also harm their reputation.
Parents also also being lied to – both church members and non-church members – who entrust their children to the church for the 5-day basketball camp. What parent in their right mind would hand over their child(ren) to a church knowing that a sex offender who is sexually attracted to children and was convicted for child porn can show up at any time, because the pastors/elders “said so”, he’s their friend, and he said a few words about Jesus.
The pastors/elders are facing arrest and prosecution and that is entirely their fault in California (my state). Their conduct is criminal conduct in California.
Trust your feelings on this one. So many replace their relationship with Jesus and with each other with a devotion to their institution. When you no longer share that same devotion to the institution, even though still a devoted follower of Jesus and lover of people, you are of no use. If anything, your continued presence is a reminder the institution is unnecessary if not destructive.
I hope your future relationships are based on real love and not your utility to the system as you aptly name it.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
What a touching article? How can you as a Christian abandon your own children?
Thank you, it really means a lot to hear you say that.
Yes, it’s painful to realize the people you thought would always have your back suddenly aren’t there for you anymore. Mentors, friends – all gone. I got involved in a new community the last few months I attended the campus ministry I mentioned, but the loss of friends still hurt.
At least I didn’t lose my entire support network, but it was hard for me to open up to the new group after that, and I only really did to a couple of people.
I hope the young people at your former church and its campus ministry get out of their situation too, before it wrecks havoc on their faith.
I feel like the college years are a time when people are especially vulnerable to spiritual abuse – they’re still figuring out their faith and how to make it their own. If the very people they trust to guide them in matters of faith betray that trust, how are they supposed to feel? What does that do to their faith, to how they relate to God?
Your old church and the Neo Calvinists, complementarians, etc. are all targeting young people. What’s going to happen when enough of them have had it with the system they’re promoting? When enough people have been chewed up and spit out?
I for one want nothing to do with a group that treats me like a second class citizen because of my gender.
I think that if it happens, the young women will probably revolt first, and then maybe the young men will follow.
The other women my age who bought into comp did so because they thought that’s what God wants. That’s all they’d ever heard. I struggled with it myself before finally deciding against it. It’s really cruel, to use someone’s desire to please God in such a twisted way.
The older I get, the more I realize how much wisdom my parents have to offer. Several years ago my father said something about how the Trinity for some Christian groups is the Father, the Son, and the Bible. How very right he was.
Bill M wrote:
Amen Bill! Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. It’s all about relationship, not religion. The institution we call church is OK if it is leading the lost to Christ, discipling them in the Word (not the teachings of men), equipping them to do the work of the ministry, and then turning them loose on the Great Commission. In God’s eyes that is “mega”, whether it be a small or large gathering of God’s people! Any thing less than that is doing church without God.
Your father was a wise man, indeed. Since he made that statement, the New Calvinist movement has been out and about to subordinate the Son after relegating the Holy Spirit to the back row. Their trinity is “God”, the Bible, and feeble human interpretation of both.
waking up wrote:
He as a “pastor” couldn’t be a friend, but Jesus, as THE SAVIOR could?
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Quoting from the article you linked:
Can’t be? Paul managed to have friends…
“The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.
“I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.”
He didn’t really say that out loud, did he?
Well, isn’t he just too special?
Acts reveals how often Paul spoke to the hoi poloi about what God was calling him to do. An *apostle* didn’t think it too much for the congregations he spoke to – but Mr. Pastor is just so much higher above his congregation, than the Apostle Paul was…
FW Rez wrote:
Of course there’s a hidden agenda! If you go outside the church to find answers, you will challenge all that carefully implemented brainwashing!
I do think there’s value in being very careful who you choose as a counselor. I know people who went to secular counseling who ended up changing in very dramatic ways, and not for the better. I think you can find Christian counselors who believe God can help you, but don’t discount secular counseling methods, either.
Thank you for your comment, and for the reminder that God loves me. It’s such a simple but powerful truth.
I think I was able to make a noneventful exit from that ministry because of what I’d seen on TWW. I’d heard about what had happened to other people, and I didn’t want it happening to me. I feel like a coward sometimes for not ever really confronting the leadership of the ministry about how I felt, and I feel like they probably would have at least listened to what I had to say. I should have tried. But the last thing I wanted at that time was even the possibility of a conflict. I just wanted to get out with my faith intact.
I’ve lurked here for several years now, and I’ve really enjoyed reading the comments by the posters here. Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom. You all have helped me and have no doubt helped countless others.
I’ve used Cloud and Townsend’s counseling resources on a number of occasions. I find their books on setting boundaries especially helpful in my life. They have a video section where they answer lots of questions.
That is a great clarification, thank you. When I needed to find a counselor to help someone in my family, I insisted on a licensed Christian counselor. Unfortunately, SBC seminaries will no longer be preparing counselors this way.
The part about what Ruth did was beautiful. Obviously the families were awful.
I think this is the real reason we have more trouble making friends as an adult. Too many painful experiences behind us.
For all of the times that I judged people (harshly) for “not knowing better” and “not going to church”, for being “slackers”, now that I’ve gone through a horrific church experience/spiritual abuse — I now “get it”. I get why people are leery of churches
and church people. Churches can be quite dangerous for adults and children alike.
I don’t think that many of the marriages at my ex-church will survive the Comp teaching, including the younger couples. I think they are nice people, had a fighting chance. But with the Comp nonsense shoved down their throats and hobbling their marriages…I just don’t think that’s possible.
Comp teaching churches now have the highest divorce rate in the nation (Barna study) and record amounts of domestic violence, incest, and sexual abuse (non-relatives). The teaching – that women and girls are garbage – has gotten them treated like garbage.
I’m glad you’re out. I’m glad I’m out.
My sister said that she’s glad that my ex-church kicked me out, that she’s glad that I stood my ground with them. She said that she was very worried about the type of person I’d become around them, someone she didn’t like, that friends said same about me. They were all worried about me being in that cult (it’s not a church). She said that she worried that if I stayed there would come a day when I would no longer speak to her again. That the things I now question about them, I would have never questioned before.
But somewhere within me a little flame get burning, including of anger, at all of the injustices and lies that I saw heaped upon my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
And I just thought, ‘No. No, I’m not going to go along with this. No, I’m not going to respect this.’
I can relate to this, myself, but having hard understanding how sacraments fit.
It is too hot to mow! Now I will be on pins and needles until you comment as I check in and out. In meetings today.
Bill M wrote:
Hi Bill M., thanks for your comment. You nailed exactly what bothered me about the whole thing – true or not, fair of me or not, I felt like they cared more about the ministry than they cared about me. I thought that if I made it clear that I was just leaving that particular ministry but still wanted to be friends with them, that we wouldn’t necessarily grow apart. Unfortunately, that’s not how things worked out.
Thankfully, I do have friends that are there for me, regardless of where I am or what church I’m involved in. Their support means the world to me.
Papa Chuck (the founder of Calvary Chapel) was quite fond of this old chestnut, as were his lieutenants back in their good old days. I remember a gifted young woman in her last year of seminary (ELCA Lutheran) who demolished this cruel myth in a guest homily. She was like a prophetess taking a hammer to Chemosh. Nary a dry eye in the place.
You would have just gotten mowed over, in my opinion. I’m glad you made your escape.
Being in one of these abusive ministries/cults/*churches* I think is like being in a domestic violence relationship. The violence escalates when the batterer knows you’re leaving, you challenge them. Planning a safe exit must be done with great care.
Here’s my YELP review of my ex-church, Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley (California). I nutshelled what I learned here and on other blogs for those wanting to get out and trying to deprogram from all of the abusive, un-Biblical practices.
Muff Potter wrote:
The crazy thing about that article is that the guy didn’t want to be friends with someone when he was leaving! He wasn’t even going to be this guys pastor anymore!!
Are these people human? They seem so so cold.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
I’m talking about someone who has a shepherd’s heart, and now has a much larger flock to tend, yes. But someone who now gets ‘accused’ of grand-standing when he does the things of ministry; and he bears this criticism patiently, because he knows he WAS a member of a little community on the outskirts of Buenos Aires for many years, and he was still one of them long after the Church decided he was ‘more’ than that and began ‘elevating’ his titles.
This man still wanders in disguise out of the Vatican and meets people where they are. You can move a real shepherd to a palatial residence, but if it is IN HIS NATURE to go out and seek and serve the ones who need Christ, then there’s no force that can prevent him from his true calling.
This was heartless. There are no excuses for sending someone away unaided who has come for help, especially someone in distress. As the way of grace has no boundaries in the Body of Christ, so there will be those who choose to reject the mercy to others that grace demands of them ….. what happened to that young man, Lydia? Did he find help?
How do you know he wanders in disguise unless it is reported? That is a bit confusing. And are you suggesting right and wrong is a matter of a nature we are born with and cannot (or does not) develop?
I actually know of a Christian psychologist who is aware of the limits of her expertise, and she has a Ph.D./PhD (do not want to offend anyone so I’m also going to put the period after the close parenthesis). She is able to bring a Christian POV but also to realize the benefits of research into human behavior and possible ways of promoting change. She refers out when she sees she is out of her depth in a particular area, like medication and even certain therapies and conditions.
I think the root of the nouthetic fad is that certain people think they have priestly ability that they do not have, and they view the Bible as a handbook and verses as magically curative. Naturally, they would never say that. It’s even worse if they are lacking in real life experience. For people who need real help as well as the people affected by their disorders, that is a needless tragedy.
He ended up pretty high on the food chain at Treasury in DC. Has been a done all his life. Comes from an extremely dysfunctional family with a dark childhood. I am thinking maybe God could have been protecting him considering the types of kids that were Targeted for grooming.
It’s increasingly clear that the percentage of ministers that don’t need to be there is larger than those truly called to the office of pastor (across all religious groups).
In my state – California – the practice of medicine is a profession that is highly regulated. The Unauthorized Practice of Medicine is a crime that can result in jail or prison time upon conviction. No harm needs to have occurred. Just violations of CA law.
If these pastors/elders want to be doctors, then they should go to medical school, do a residency, take exams, and apply for and pass with the State of CA to be licensed physicians.
I think the lot of these Nouthethic pastors/elders belong in jail/prison and I have no sympathy for their quackery and arrogance.
He goes out without his ‘pope clothes’ LOL …. and he has been known to bring people who need food and showers back to the Vatican. They can’t control him, Lydia … he’s a force of nature.
But Our Lord knows that once, as a young man, your friend went to the Church for help, and the door was closed to him. The thing is that Our Lord KNOWS the truth of what happened to many, many ‘nones’ and ‘dones’, and He is not one to shut the door to helping them in the world to come.
I don’t understand this portion of your comment. Can you clarify, please. Thanks
I’m trying to get these directed to LYDIA, and I don’t know what happened ….. YIKES.
LYDIA: MY LAST COMMENT WAS TO YOU.
FW Rez wrote:
That is because they do not believe in secular counseling. They really only want to support biblical counseling which is dangerous as those counselors are not trained appropriately to deal with the situations that might walk through the door. An unlicensed (state licensing) biblical counselor will do more harm than good in most situations.
This attitude doesn’t come fully formed out of a vacuum.
Firstly I will pray for your mother in law. I hope she recovers.
I agree with the article, but the section on being critical to Erik Raymond’s article is very short and not descriptive enough. I think a reader will not really understand your point. I have read it and will give my 2 cents. Hope this helps you edit it later. =)
1) John 21:15
Jesus here was saying that Peter need to feed his sheeps. And his sheeps are young Christians. Feeding is actions of love and includes everything. Teaching the word of God is only ONE PART of them. Feeding includes food, water and any other thing they need. A leader cannot see a homeless man, go teach him about God, and then go away. The leader should feed the homeless man. That is true love. The same goes for a church member that needs help moving a heavy book case. Or a church member with a broken car and he cannot afford to fix it.
Erik said “There are many ways that a pastor can show his love for Christ and his church, but none is more prominent then the ministry of the Word.”
He was very wrong. The GREATEST commandment is not to teach the word of God. The GREATEST commandment is to ACT out of love. There needs to be actual action of WASHING THE FEET of the least of these, not just speaking and teaching. Empty words means nothing.
Now in a church of 1000+ members, of course it is not possible for the pastor to physically be there to help each member of all their problems. And it is impossible for the pastor to know each member personally at that deep of a level. But even then, it is STILL that pastor’s responsibility to help each member. How? He should be setting up a culture of LOVE and HELP in his church, so other members will be there to help the suffering members. And that his church members will go out and feed the poor and the least of these. And that no one in his church will feel along and helpless, because they are all plugged into small groups that knew them personally very well.
If the pastor truly have love, he would have acted out of love to help both believers and non-believers. That pastor WON’T JUST TEACH and call it a day. True love has no limits.
2) John 21:16
Jesus said here to tend his sheeps. This do indeed mean leading his sheeps. The difficult part is, of course, how to NOT lead the sheeps astray. There are cases where the church needs protection from the pastor and elders himself. Because all pastors and elders are also sinners. In fact they are attacked by Satan even more.
If the pastor has true love, he would set up a system to PROTECT his sheeps from ABUSE from both HIMSELF and from ELDERS. Even if the pastor or elder himself is loving and good, how can his GUARANTEE the people that come AFTER him will be as loving and good as he is? He would not leave an opening in his system for evil men and women to abuse his sheeps.
3) Erik said “Does your pastor give you the Word of God? Does he reprove you? Rebuke you? Exhort you? Is this done patiently? Is it done doctrinally? If so, you have reason to believe that your pastor loves you.”
When it comes to the issues of rebuking, there are two extreme camps on this and they are both wrong. But I will list them:
i) Love everyone. Sins are not even sins anymore.
If we go this route, we lost the truth. And if God’s truth, what he said was right and wrong, cannot be trusted then we cannot trust the judgement of God neither.
Also we ignore the harm that person is doing to God’s honour, harm to his neighbor and harm to himself. If we just let that person harm like that, we are not really loving him/her.
ii) Hate, discipline and excommunicate all sinners.
If we go this route we must hate, discipline and excommunicate EVERY SINGLE CHRISTIAN! Everyone is a sinner. Must everyone stop sinning before they come to church? Of course not.
And there are many opposing point of views. For example young earth vs old earth. Now it is perfect alright for a pastor to have an opinion, say young earth. But is it really his authority to ENFORCE his OPINION on his members? That anyone that believe in old earth deserves discipline and excommunication?
Same goes for other OPINIONS like the need to throw away certain CDs & DVDs and donate at least $500 or whatever) a month. These are all opinions that the bible wasn’t clear about. In fact Jesus was against the oppressive temple model for making the poor women donate her final 2 mites (Mark 12:44). Instead shouldn’t the temple of God, out of love, donate to that poor women so she will have food to eat that day? And donating, even being a martyr, without love in the heart was pointless anyways (1 Corinthian 13:3).
Must we bite and devour each other over OPINIONS until the church is destroyed? (Galatian5:15) Where is the love in that?
So what is love?
True love is in the middle of the above. It do not forsake truth just to remain popular. It does not say nothing when someone harm the honour of God, harm neighbor and harm himself. But at the same time love, even when it is correct, is not abusive and oppressive. The goal must never be to humiliate and embarrass the person, but to restore out of love. Love leaves plenty of room for patience and gentleness. Love in authority do not aim to rule over its subjects, but instead use its power and influence to serve those below them.
And love knows the difference between the actual and clear word of God, and the unclear verses and opinions of humans. When in doubt and only an opinion (not 100% certain truth) can be formed, love chooses to ERROR on the side of love, grace and mercy. (Yes I just said that.)
I asked you how you knew that for a fact.
You ignored that and continue to pontificate on his disguised greatness. I am around people all the time who do the same with Reformed doctrines, gurus like Al Mohler and John Piper, etc. Its the same stuff, different tribes one is trying to rehab instead of victims of both.
It would be really great to hear such about Jesus sometimes instead of doctrines and gurus.
Many of questioned “What is the ideal church?” And I have read a lot of very complicate answers. To me the ideal church is very simple. The ideal church fulfill the Greatest Commandant and the Great Commission.
If a church ever loses its first love for God and its first love for neighbor, the two so closely related that Jesus himself refused to separate the two, it is no longer a church for God. It has been led astray in the greatest way, because it has failed the Greatest Commandant. You can tell a good tree by the good fruit it produces, and a bad tree by the bad fruit it produces. No one can see the heart on the outside. But you can have a very good guess on the heart by that person’s actions. Whoever claims that they love God but hates his brother is a liar. For if he cannot love his brother who he can see, how can he love God who he cannot even see? (1 John 4:20)
When an alcoholic walks in the church, he feels loved. When a homeless man walks in, he feels loved. When a prostitute walks in, she feels loved. There are plenty of food, water and help for these people.
When a multi-million walks in, he feels loved and he no longer needs to chase after the wind. And he finally find people that is not after his money or is jealous of him.
When someone loses their job, they are supported heavily by the church. And he remembers that God loves him.
When someone sins, no one judges him in a prideful way. Instead the church moans heavily for him. He truly feel loved by the church, in their patience and gentleness toward him. In fact even as he was struggling with his sins, the church welcome him even more. It is the sick who needs a doctor. (Mark 2:17)
On can feel uncomfortable with oats and greens, and one can debate grits, but sheeps? Really? Sheeps? or are you being sarcastic?
“his sheeps are young Christians”
So we older Christians are what? Left alone, out in the cold?
BTW I am not totally against discipline and excommunication. But I am saying that these MUST be very carefully applied. So carefully that they almost never needed to happen. Only the most extreme cases would call for them.
I have commended on this post here, under the same name CHIPS. Feel free to read my opinion on Discipline, Excommunication, Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthian 5.
Lydia, I’m not sure what this means. Can you be a bit more specific please?
Too frequently, when leaders implement membership contracts then discipline becomes their go-to tool. Just like for the guy who only has a hammer everything looks like a nail, every perceived sin seems an opportunity to escalate to the discipline process.
Firstly everyone in church should be plugged into a small group. So they can get the help they need.
Older Christians should be helping the pastor to feed and lead other young Christians. In a church of 1000+, how can the pastor do everything?
I am not saying here that Old Christians doesn’t need any feeding and leading. Even the most veteran Christian needs helps in their darkest times. And there are plenty of old Christians that is still Spiritual infants. But I am talking in general terms.
If all old Christians in the church is still needs feeding and leading, then the pastor has been doing a bad job over the years. A pastor should be training and raising up elders, so they can also teach and train others. Else what happens when the pastor suddenly dies? Or he leaves? Does the church also die once he is gone? Google up Marks Hill Church in Seattle.
And there are many cases were the older Christians are wrong and the younger Christians are right. Paul rebuked Peter, for example. And Paul was totally right. As we know under the New Calvinist system they would never have allowed Paul to rebuke Peter.
All in all the pastor should train up elders to feed, lead and teach other members in small groups or Sunday Schools. Elders should let their actions earned them respect, instead of relying purely on the authority of the office. There must be room in the system for the likes of Paul (a young Christian) to rebuke the likes of Peter (an old Christian). All of the above must be done in true love for one another. Love for neighbor must never fail and take priority over all Christian lives and activity. Because if a person do not his brother, he cannot love God.
Someone might trick the whole world. He might donate and volunteer on the outside. But if in his heart there is no love, God sees the truth.
I would say that out of the majority of churches the minority of churches would have 1000 or more active members.
It is the work of the devil that these words have been morphed to mean something different from what they *really* mean. That goes for: gospel, salvation, faith, Word of God, love, worship, liturgy, pastor, church, ad so on.
It’s so awful because people think they have heard the gospel, and finding it repulsive (as is the false gospel!), they reject it, as well as any further hearing of it. They have been burned and abused by men who call themselves “pastors” when they are wolves and devourers who set up “churches” which institutionalize the false teaching and abusive actions. So people think they have had a pastor and gone to church, and (rightly) reject it…and it destroys the rightful place of true pastors, of true churches… It is the devil’s best work.
I’m former SBC and while it would be nice to find an “ideal” church, sometimes I would settle for a REAL church.
Let me explain some background for that statement. Please don’t flame me, as I know the little SBC church of my childhood may not be orthodox enough for today’s crop, but here goes:
We were monotheists. Plain and simple, we worshipped, taught about, preached about, sang about, and prayed to Jesus. We believed His I AM statements taught Jesus was Jehovah. Even His name in Hebrew was “Jehovah who saves.” We believed in One God (and yep, knew the Shema)who had shown Himself to mankind as Jehovah in the OT, Jesus in the NT. The OT pointed forward to Jesus and the Holy Spirit points back to Him. We believed that in the OT not all outward Jews were really Jews, but only those with faith in that One God. And today that only those with faith in Jesus as Lord (meaning God) for forgiveness and salvation were saved.
We were probably only one taco short of being a Oneness Pentecostal combo plate in that respect.
And then some what I know now was Replacement Theology folks came in. One day I was called on to close church in prayer and was rebuked afterward for praying to Jesus, since we are TRINITARIANS. A few years later Dispensationalists took over, and we moved away. I agreed with them regarding simple free grace, just not the end times stuff.
But we worshipped Jesus, sought to obey Him, and were ALL equals.
Jesus was LORD at that little Baptist church, not the pastor. Which we didn’t have anyway, we had preachers.
I’m in another denom now where Jesus is still Head, and life is good. But I would love to find an SBC church that is still Christian. Old habits die hard.
I’m not saying we were right, or asking anyone to agree with the teaching in that little church. Just saying our one deacon was right when he said the Replacement folks would sooner or later demote Jesus from full Godhood.
He is fully God, or He is not God. That deacon was right, imho.
Praying peace, comfort, and in God’s timing an easy passing into Glory for Dee’s mom in law.
Nope, not now and not ever. Been there and done that. Not a chance. Those ‘groups’ can be a vehicle for everybody getting into everybody else’s business whether people want their business gotten into or not. There are other ways of dealing with the ‘get help’ issue, like one church here in this town has a special person on staff whose job this is. Time was when people could go to one of the deacons for help and it would be channeled through the deacon board. This keeps the gossipers out of the circuit, and it keeps from embarrassing the person who needs help, and it minimizes the number of people in the church who find an avenue for their ‘spiritual gift’ of trying to tell everybody what to do. One church here tried to force people to do this by arbitrarily assigning everybody to some group only to have a mass revolt on their hands-only a couple of the groups even survived, and those had problems.
Now, if people want to have special interest groups, like a ‘moms’ group or something, and they have the option to join or not, that may work. But you said ‘should’ and ‘everyone’ and ‘plugged in’, and that is a whole different ball game. People can get really hurt that way.
I can see how this would backfire on a Church. If someone is getting into the business of someone else, and digs up dirt and spreads it (for ‘the glory of God’ or whatever they call it);
then the VICTIM is not going to want to continue coming to that Church (I know, the deal may be that they have ‘signed a legal contract’).
If anything, Church members would want to protect the dignity of one another, and that calls for respecting their privacy. Upholding the dignity of others seems to be something neo-Cal folk might want to focus on, as we all need to work on it from time to time.
What really is obvious:
1. neo-Cal invasion of marital privacy seems horrifically damaging to the healthy union of spouses
2. the corrosive and destructive public ‘shaming’ of people who haven’t ‘cooperated with leadership’ (whatever that means), as in a teenager being ridiculed for not ‘confessing his sins’ to his assigned ‘small group’ at Church camp (good on him that he refused that intrusion)
so much seems destructive . . . . at first, only directed at victims, but eventually the whole community will be affected negatively, if only through the dynamics of ‘witch-hunt’ psychology which once encouraged among a group by its leaders, can lead to some fairly injurious behaviors
Reading through this, it’s apparent that “love” means exactly what they’re doing already: making sure the spotlight is properly focused on them as they preach at you their idiosyncratic doctrine, demanding an unbiblical brand of submission, insisting upon your sacrificial giving, and abusing any who dare question their authority to impose any of the above. Must be nice, being able to define love as exactly what you’re already doing, what you lust to do. I guess nice for a “season”, to use one of their nauseating shibboleths, until the reckoning one day comes for them.
Julie Anne Smith wrote:
And yet, when another Christian, a person who has the Holy Spirit as well, a co-heir, a priest of the New Covenant just like them (assuming they know Jesus at all), one also with discernment given by the Holy Spirit, one to whom John said “You are not in need of teachers…for the Spirit teaches you everything”, attempts to rebuke them for their sin or errors, do they listen or care or change one scintilla? Or for the most part, do these types thereafter seek to destroy the messenger?
Julie Anne Smith wrote:
Fine, then they and I are even, I feel the same way about most of them.
Law Prof wrote:
My ex-pastor, the one with the $299 *Ph.D.* (cough) from that Missouri diploma mill,
recently sent out an email about me to hundreds of church members. You’ll never, ever, ever guess what he said.
He said that I was – brace yourself for a shocker – “mentally ill”, that all of the police departments had said this about me and the sheriff’s [remember how hurt he was that I had discovered that he brought his friend the felon on Megan’s List to church, gave him carte blanche access to children, and told no one]. Do you suppose that ALL of the police departments gathered together to say this?
Oh, he then went on a tirade about how I was “gossiping”. He really should make up his mind. How can a “mentally ill” person possibly be responsible for their actions? Why wouldn’t you care to get a person medical care? If his claims are true, that all of the police departments have said this about me, then why wouldn’t he be even more concerned.
Then there is tirade about that I was “gossiping”. How can a mentally ill person “gossip”, against him and the elders?
Then — brace yourself — he and the pastors/elders are “under persecution” and that they need to be “prayed for.”
My ex-pastor told members that I was in “Step 3 of the discipline process” [they banned me from church property a few years ago after the chairman of the elder board threw a hissy fit that I refused to apologize to them for telling me that I was *destined for Hell* for discussing the safety of children in light of their felonious friend]. How can I possibly be a member of a church I was banned from? They told the pastor of the Seventh Day Adventists, who rents the Sunnyvale, CA, church to my ex-church that I was banned 2 years ago. They also banned a doctor in his 70’s and did the same thing to him.]
I have inside sources at church that send the emails to me. I promptly sent it to the district attorney, all of the police departments, internal affairs’ units within them, the large newspaper, the Seventh Day Adventists who rent to them, and the womens’ groups that do domestic violence and other issues in our county in Silicon Valley, California.
My YELP review of my former church:
Sorry to hear, but not surprised. Hang in there!
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
Thank you, Dr. F.
My ex-pastor is an inveterate liar. A job he claimed that he had as on on-staff pastor at John MacArthur’s church, JMac said was a lie and that he was only “a volunteer” like scores of other volunteers.
My ex-pastor told us stories about “defending The Gospel before hostile liberals” at a state college in Southern California while he was “taking classes to become a teacher.”
I decided to vet that story as well, since so many people have accused my ex-pastor of lying (including many former church members). I couldn’t find a teaching credential for my ex-pastor on the State of California’s Teacher Credentialing website. I called the office. That started two supervisors on a trek to vet his lies. They told me – emphatically – that California had NEVER credentialed anyone with his name to teach.
He said his friend the felon was coming off Megan’s List. The California Attorney General’s Office which maintains it said that was “a lie” and “all lies”.
Just lie after lie after lie.
Goodness only knows what he’s doing. I wouldn’t be surprised – nor would anyone else – to find out that he’s committing criminal acts.
Former members described these screaming sessions in which they were invited to meetings and literally screamed at by him, like a Mark Driscoll kind of meltdown.
Lie upon lie upon lie. Abuse upon abuse upon abuse.
Attorneys across the nation are now writing about my ex-church and their claims to members’ lives, to get them to ‘obey’ and ‘submit’ to the pastors/elders ‘in all things’. Every single attorney has been writing, “Cult!” And they’ve all said how bizarre it is and that NO these pastors/elders have no legal rights to make the claims that they’ve been making. (Many of their demands are criminals acts in California.)
These things have a way of blowing up in peoples’ faces, sociopaths eventually find a way to braid the rope with which they are ultimately hanged. Why? Because as cunning as they may seem, they are pathologically incapable of understanding their actions in light of the larger picture and the long term and eventually, they are tripped up and exposed. Time and truth go hand-in-hand.
Law Prof wrote:
Yes. My ex-pastor seems to be on a macrame spree!
It didn’t help his cause that he just harmed the reputation of the Sheriff’s Department and numerous police departments before the district attorney, the major newspaper, and the women’s/domestic violence groups in my county (Santa Clara County, CA/Silicon Valley). The womens’ groups are very well-funded and highly proficient.
Then of course he’s blowing it and dragging the Seventh Day Adventists in to it, and my ex-church rents from them.
The SDA’s aren’t NeoCalvinists and I think are shocked at what has gone on. Plus the SDA’s have a good grasp on child safety, domestic violence, and loads of required training for their employees.
So we’re supposed to have a relationship with him but we can’t talk to him? Bizarre.
Bill M wrote:
Why is prayer to Jesus considered ‘wrong’ in some Churches?
I have a half dozen similar friends that have stood the test of time and trial. They are worth their weight in gold.
I went to an ideal church for a few years as a young Christian. I’ve not been able to find another since, searching high and low. I’ve found plenty of heartaches, though. I finally had to be done for the sake of my well-being.
The idea of building churches into huge, impersonal institutions and then relying on ‘small groups’ for people to have their needs met is one way to do church. It’s not one that I, personally, feel at home with or enjoy.
I have my own group of believing friends, though I don’t call it a ‘small group’. I don’t need a church for that.
This is just my personal feeling but I think when a church gets that big it’s time to divide and let more people practice their gifts in a more personal atmosphere.
I’ve heard this, also. The reason I was given is that the Lord gave us the example of how we are to pray in the Lord’s Prayer and he prayed to the Father. Secondly, in several places in the Bible Jesus said to make our requests to the Father in his name, and the Father would grant our requests. So, of course, some people will always see things as a formula to follow and rules to go by.
A very compelling story that presents a striking alternative to the counterfeits, it is the real thing and an awesome story of love and courage.
The words of Jesus:
John 14:14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Gosh darn legalists. Again, getting completely hung up on one or two verses while ignoring anything that doesn’t go along with their narrow interpretation.
Ack. Franklin Graham and James Dobson. These are 2 men that give me a headache. Who appointed them as spokesmen for Christianity. Sigh…
Muff Potter wrote:
I would have liked to hear that!
My husband and I, after all of our church experiences, have a saying- when it comes to pastors, there is no way you are going to bring up any objection or perspective to them that is new to them or that they are unprepared for. Our experience is that they’ve decided early on what they were going to believe and do and how they would deal with other viewpoints. I think you did the best thing, it’s painful any way you do it but at least you spared yourself some part of it.
They’re everywhere! The nit-pickers.
And then we have this promise- “we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” Romans 8:26
He knows our heart.
You know, there was this one Austrian cult leader with a funny little mustache who used exactly that shtick…
you know the ‘leadership’ of your old Church sounds dangerous . . . did you ever worry about your own personal safety?
It was very brave of you to stand up to these evil people and to work to inform the police and others about the leader and his paedophile buddy. These sound like real criminals. You may have saved some children from dreadful abuse, Velour. Very brave work!
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
you know there is also a funny-looking guy with a silly blond hairpiece running for demogogue, I mean president. I can imagine his being given the nuclear codes and his yelling would change from ‘You’re FIRED’ TO ‘you’re FRIED’
Screaming, ranting, temper tantrum-throwing demagogues: they all have one thing in common: destruction
I have taken precautions. I moved.
You have lived through a nightmare. God keep you safe.
Remember the TV Tropes page “People’s Republic of Tyranny”?
Where the more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is?
This is just the Christianese version.
Suffice it to say we have bad choices this year. A few months ago the proprietors asked us to ditch affairs of state and such comments invite a tit for tat response so it is best to just not bring it up.
The thing is we can’t just assume that love isn’t there. Because if love is there, having a small group that really love and care about you is great.
BUt yeah I agree that it shouldn’t be a law that everyone joins a small group. And anyone in a small group should be free to 1) Not share secrets. 2) Leave at any time.
Christians cannot live alone. Christian life is meant to be shared with others. Christians are meant to love one another. However there are always wolves in sheep skins in every church. There is always that prideful guy. Or a jealous guy. etc. When Christians interact, there will always be abuses of power and conflicts.
That’s why I had been telling everyone I talk to that churches really need to go back to the BASICS and focus on love. I mean yeah knowledge is important. And it is interesting to debate about old earth vs new earth, etc. However if a church focus so much on knowledge and forget about love, the church has losts its main purpose. And it become just like the pharasees.
Drill love into the church members’ heads. Make sure they don’t forget about love. And with love comes kindness, patience, mercy and many other things. Then go teach them about deeper knowledges. BUt always return to remind them to love again. Love is the basic core of Christianity, because Jesus loved us. And love is always more important to other deeper knowledges.
If a church is filled with love for GOd and neighbour, especially the least of these, I say it is a successful church.
LOL these people are nuts. So then both Paul and Ananias were wrong to speak to Jesus directly in Acts 9? And they forgot that Jesus is 100% the Lord our God. Ananias said the Lord is Jesus.
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Last year I went to professional counselor for the first time in my life for PTSD. The first thing I told her was that I did not want to know what her religious or non-religious belief system was because did not want that knowledge to change how I was going to communicate with her.
I told her that I was having PTSD after running into my high school boyfriend who raped me nearly 40 years ago. I told her that 15 years later I had become close with God and had good Christian counsel and I had forgiven him. Wacky Christianity had contributed to the initial trauma however. What she helped me to understand was that my physical chemistry needed help to put that era of trauma back into its proper timeline in my life. I still feel some PTSD when I pass my rapist’s businesses in town, but that secular counselling has kept me from the substance abuse I was about to fall back into to make the PTSD stop. I do not believe my therapist is a Christian, but she was respectful of my beliefs.
Look at the different ways the same book can make money!
All done in love by the pastor.
@ Bill M:
some choices are more deadly than others ….. I would hope that people who are Christian will always ‘Choose Life’ that they and their children may live
it has never been more important to remember that the privilege of ‘choice’ also comes with a responsibility . . . a burden of immense importance: what we do will affect the lives of those who are dependent on our wisdom or lack thereof
‘affairs of state’ …. I can leave those behind easily . . . but demagogues, whether they be husbands, or head preachers, or those who would be ‘king’ . . . they all want to ‘rule’, and we are not as Christians OR as Americans wanting to be ruled by men who lord it over others with tones of self-importance and with threats and with the engendering of hatred and fearfulness
we have one Lord, and our ‘leaders’ serve instead of rule so I am regretting of any statements here that would be offensive to the Deebs and detract from ‘mission’ and create ‘tit for tat’ responses. But I do see a connection between all spoiled demagogues, this: they cannot operate in this world without hurting others, without victims, without toadies, and without those who will come down hard on the brave people who stand up to these bullies and try to protect and defend innocents from harm
I salute Velour’s bravery. And I DO KNOW that in this world, there is ONLY one ‘enemy’ and he seeks our destruction through his minions who are pride-filled and display out-of-control destructiveness . . . the ancient enemy, yes
“and what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born” (Yeats)
I see ‘connections’ in all destructive demagogues that lead back to the ancient enemy of mankind . I suppose I had drawn a circle too wide when I included the one who now stalks those nuclear codes. I will restrain my comments, but I cannot for the life of us all, make that circle smaller, though I wish I could. My dear God, I wish I could.
I do confess that I am a nit-picker, if establishing boundaries and balance is picking nits, about the question of to whom to pray. We seem in christianity to have people who pray to the Father, pray to the Son, petition/ invite the Holy Spirit, and petition Mary and the Saints for favors. And we ask other people to pray for us without putting any restrictions as to how or to whom the other people pray on our behalf. I have heard discussions and explanations back and forth about all of this, but in the final analysis where to draw boundaries seems to be an individual decision and seems to depend on how the individual understands each of these actions. Personally, I am not too comfortable with too much individuality on this topic, but that is not the point of what I am about to say.
I heard a rabbi on you tube say to a christian interviewer regarding this issue that did not Jesus tell us to pray to the Father, so why do we not do it? Why do we neglect the Father? Hmmm. He brought up the issue of neglect. Good question, since I have asked why the apparent massive petitioning of Mary and the Saints to the apparent relative neglect of the Trinity, or so it seems. I am thinking that one must carefully consider to whom, that would be to whom all (or not) one prays, because there is a tendency to neglect Whomever one does not pray to. People develop favorites.
In John 16: 25-28 Jesus talks about how to pray when He has returned to the Father. That would be now, in our day. He does seem to be saying that we should ask the Father in His (Jesus’) name, and He does emphasize the point in saying that the Father himself loves us, precisely because we love Jesus. Now, for the professional nit pickers one might say that He stopped short of saying that this is the only way to pray, and indeed that is so. I have no plans to take this passage any further than it actually goes.
My point is that we must not neglect the Father-that seems quite clear to me. And it is clear that praying to the Father is what Jesus said we should do when He was no longer with us in the Flesh. Pray to the Father in the Name of Jesus on the basis that the Father loves us since we have loved Jesus. So, we need to do that. Exclusively? Perhaps not-to each his own nit to pick.
PTSD is a familiar foe in my family. So sorry to hear of these incidences that have caused you such trauma. It sounds like you are getting some good help.
TWW is a great resource for those recovering from “Wacky Christianity” as there are far too many stories to be told such as yours.Thanks for having the courage to share.
I like to think that, in praying ‘In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’,
we are recognizing that we have been invited in to share the life of the Holy Trinity through Our Lord Christ, Who assumed our humanity, and Who puts our feet on The Good Way
I have wondered WHERE it came from that people felt that Our Lord was not to be the ‘lens’ through which sacred Scripture was to be interpreted;
WHERE it came from that Our Lord’s position as God the Son was reduced to the pitiful ESS doctrine of the neo-Cals;
WHERE it surfaced that there are many Christian people who feel that Our Lord’s words and actions in the sacred Scriptures do not take precedence over the words and actions of all others in Scripture . . . even though He IS God the Son, Who speaks and acts in the very Person of God in the sacred Scriptures;
and finally it is still difficult to comprehend what I am told about the ‘reasoning’ of why we cannot pray to Our Lord, the Giver of Life, directly as ‘God’ when we are told by St. Paul of our Christian calling to ‘bend the knee’ before the Lord of the Cosmos, the Kyrios, our new king.
I think it has something to do with not understanding the ‘humility’ of God. That we are asked to see this characteristic in Our Lord who is the clearest revelation we have of ‘Who God Is’, as we humans came out from the OT picture of a ‘God of Wrath’.
The contrast is too much for some . . . they cannot reconcile the One who washes the feet of His disciples with the One who calms the storm with a word;
or the One who sets His face towards Jerusalem to be crucified with the One from which power flowed out when the woman dared to touch the hem of His robe
we never could understand, could we ???
and for some, to pray to the Man of Sorrows directly is too great a leap of faith to take at this time, and I find it sad, but I know that He understands more than any of us our human need to reach into His wounds and look into His eyes before we CAN say ‘My Lord and My God’.
All is grace. And all shall be well.
That’s one way to think of it. We say the lords prayer every week in church, so I don’t feel the father is neglected. I think I grew up praying ‘in jesus name’ which seems to be fairly biblical.
And now I’m sort of reminded of Talladega night! (Dear Lord Baby Jesus, lying there in your…your little ghost manger, lookin’ at your Baby Einstein developmental…videos, learnin’ ’bout shapes and colors…)
Matt Chandler seems to have everything figured out for all the women on earth.
“In Session 7, Matt explains that women struggle with disordered desires as a consequence of the fall. These desires are evidenced in a woman’s battle with perfectionism and comparison.”
What brainwashing, and under the guise of promoting the gospel.
Like the Gospel(TM) Gitterali boys have some kinda room to talk.
Besides, would we “girls” be more holy if we ran around in ratty clothes, with no make-up, dirty faces, and bed-head hair?
Just. Ugh. That guy.
If we did, they would surely complain!
Also, comparison has what to do with the fall, exactly???
Glad to see you back from mowing. Yep. Small groups have become a danger to be aware of and navigate carefully. However, this “getting into your personal business” stuff is every where. My daughter is taking master vocal classes at a camp this week. It was packaged and marketed as a master vocal camp. She came home furious yesterday because two hours of their day was regulated to a small group with a life coach in which the life coach expected the teens to share their deep dark fears and aspirations with the group under the guise of visioning their future. I won’t bore you with the details but needless to say the life coach did not think very highly of any teen in the small group who would not share openly. This is really no different than what kids have experienced in church youth group.
Yes exactly. I never expected to end up in this situation – I’ve been a Christian for a long time, I had grown up going to church, I had listened to the pastors and all of the articles who told people they needed to go to church and agreed with them. It never crossed my mind that I would end up in my current more or less churchless state. Now I’m a lot more compassionate towards other people who are Nones or Dones. I understand where they’re coming from a lot better now. I still feel nervous when I step inside a church.
I sometimes wonder too what comp doctrine will do to marriages long term, especially for the people my age who believed it going into their marriages. I worry about it, to be honest. Hopefully most of them are comp in name only.
I’m glad you got out too. And it’s good to hear your sister was so concerned about you. She cared more about you than that “church” ever did. I’m glad for her sake too that you got out of such a toxic environment.
John 14 strongly suggests that the Lord encourages us to pray to Him -“If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. John himself at the end of the book of Revelation prayed “Even so come Lord Jesus” Stephen prayed “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” when he was being martyred. Paul prayed to Jesus after he was blinded on the road to Damascus. Ananias asked the Lord what to do. So there are plenty of reasons to pray to the Lord Jesus, as well as to the Father, and dare I say, to the Holy Spirit as well.
This reminds me of our youth group in the late seventies when the wife of a deacon tried to introduce person-centred therapy into our Friday night games night. Sit in a circle, talk about yourself, reveal your innermost thoughts and fears, listen to the criticism of others, break down into tears, receive affirmation and feel better. She did it once and then she was shown the door and we got back to our games. Horrible manipulation and dangerous.
The Gospel Coalition is a Calvinistic gnostic cult 501(c)3 organization. They derive their religious doctrine from John Calvin’s five hundred year old book: “The Institutes Of The Christian Religion” (ICR) which he used in his attempt to over-throw the RCC. This document (ICR) is based upon the works of fourth century theologian Augustine. Augustine was a known gnostic.
John Calvin’s theological religious system is based upon fear and distrust, as opposed to love and trust. We can see this outworking, for example, by their community discipline process and legally binding membership agreements.
I not see God as seen in the OT as a ‘God of Wrath’ and I am not really conversant as to where people got that idea. That has not been taught in any church where I have been, nor do I see that Jesus thought that. Nor do I see how we can reasonably say the the God of the OT was a god of wrath, but the god who is revealed in Jesus is not a god of wrath while at the same time saying that it is all the same God and while listening to Jesus say ‘the Father and I are One’.
But I do know that people have thought that and/or seen that in scripture. So I listened, again on youtube, to Amy-Jill Levine who is an Orthodox Jew who teaches both OT and NT at Vanderbilt. She says that the Jews see grace and mercy in the OT. They do not see this picture of God that some Christians seem to see. They had healers also, she says, in discussing Jesus as healer. I see also that there is forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration in the OT. There is preaching to the gentiles in the OT. There is the option of conversion to God in the OT. Does God also get angry and run out of patience from time to time in the OT? He does.
So what about the NT? That also brings up the question as to whether the ‘wrath of God’ is in fact a part of God’s thinking and how that may or may not play into theories of the atonement, but when we ask that question we cross the boundaries of OT and NT on the question of wrath since the crucifixion and resurrection are NT. Why did God demand satisfaction for the sins of man, if that theory of the atonement is valid? Could He not forgive without that? Apparently not. Why did Jesus clearly teach that people can deny and defy God if they choose to, but that they will not enjoy the end results of that, if the God of the NT is all mercy in the absence of justice? Why would Jesus submit to the will of the Father in Gethsemane if there was any other way? How is that any different between the OT and the NT, if God Himself does not change but only that we see further revelation of the same God?
In other words, I do not see this alleged difference between God and God as it were. I do think that God’s revelation of Himself is progressive, but I just do not see the vast differences between the OT God and the NT God that some see. It looks to me like one and only one narrative, of which we are a part.
I hear you. There was a move around my neck of the woods several years back that had people on pins and needles about how they prayed or how they referred to Jesus Christ. All this stuff can be very subtle and hard to pinpoint. Such as the Bible study materials and referencing God or Jesus Christ. (Usually there is more Paul and gurus)
Some of it came from the Bruce Ware faction that was literally teaching to NOT pray to Jesus Christ. He did say, however, it was understandable people had been taught to pray in Jesus’ name but not necessary. How does one respond to that? But this is the same Bruce Ware who was promoting ESS at the same time. Jesus did say right in the middle of the Incarnation, “I and the Father are One”. What did that mean?
I would always think of people like Cornelius and Lydia when this came up and how faithful God is to those who are seriously seeking Him.
As one of my favorite bloggers says of that movement: They give me solutions to problems I did not have and answers to questions I did not ask. :o)
I read your review of your old church – wow. I have no words. It sounds truly awful. I’m glad you got out.
There was a chance they might have reacted strongly if I had made it more clear I was leaving. But to be honest, I don’t think I was important enough in their eyes to warrant a reaction like that. That’s another reason why I left – after over two years of involvement, and a year and a half of involvement in the church that often partnered with them (which also had its issues, and which I also left), I still didn’t feel like I belonged. And I was very involved, too – I was on the leadership team for the church’s college ministry, and I attended the extra optional meetings for the the campus ministry. I was also involved with Bible studies/small groups, I went on one of their mission trips, etc. I just never broke into the Inner Ring.
Eventually I got fed up with feeling like an eternal outsider. There shouldn’t even be an Inner Ring – we should all feel welcome where other Christians have gathered. The exclusivity, along with all of the highly concerning doctrine (almost completely Neo-Cal and comp – not sure if any other sides were even presented) and pushy, pyramid scheme-esque evangelism practices made me throw in the towel and leave for good.
That is a good point, and that is why I have not said ‘exclusively’ but only that what Jesus himself said must be practiced and not neglected.
There is stuff in scripture like that in which one thing seems to be said at one place and something else practiced at another. For example, compare what Jesus said about divorce and what Paul said about it. Compare what Jesus said about celibacy and what Paul said about it. Compare what Jesus said about call no man ‘father’ and the fact that Paul called himself Timothy’s father in the faith. If one goes too far down that road it can get disturbing, but neither can these things be ignored.
Bit of a stretch Sopwith. The Reformation had been underway for quite a while before the Institutes appeared. The Institutes were written initially as a ” compendium of the doctrines of the Christian religion and as a confession offered to a persecuting King (Francis) in behalf of the author’s fellow believers”.
I think I was also afraid of that happening. I didn’t want to hear about how comp and other doctrines that make me sick to my stomach are actually right and I’m just resisting God’s good truth if I disagree.
Come to think of it, every now and then the leaders of the campus ministry would address people’s concerns every now and then by bringing the concerns up in front of the whole group and then saying why things were the way they were and why they weren’t going to change.
For example, the way we did evangelism really made a lot of people uncomfortable (myself included). It entailed going up to random strangers on campus, pulling a bait and switch on them so they didn’t realize you were going to talk to them about God, and then whipping out the Four Spiritual Laws (if you made it that far). Attendance would be noticeably lower if people knew it was evangelism night. Critiques of the way the ministry did evangelism were dealt with by basically saying “this is what we believe (that this form of evangelism is necessary), and if you don’t agree, go elsewhere.” When I brought up my concerns in a on-on-one setting, someone basically questioned my obedience to God. Needless to say, I eventually flat out refused to participate.
About praying ‘in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost/ Spirit’. At my church we utilize that concept, and we cross ourselves which is basically the same thing, and when we do I also participate. For me, God is one, and the persons of the Trinity are One, and so in one sense to differentiate the persons of the Trinity when the issue comes to prayer seems redundant. However, if Jesus brought up the subject I can’t ignore it. Neither can I ignore that no prohibitive commandment was given in relation to this issue, and so no prohibitive conclusions should be drawn.
Now that is also a good point, the subjective need or not to ask this or that question. I had a difficult relationship with my father and found it almost impossible to pray to God as Father without having some really negative feelings about God, transferring feelings about my father to the Father. In disciplining myself to do what Jesus said and pray to the Father, (I am not saying this is an exclusive commandment), when I seriously wanted some short cut around that, I was forced to do battle with myself and to my own ultimate advantage to do so. So, yes, the same thing may be an issue for one person and not for another.
And let us not forget that the use of the word Lord can be either in the singular sense like in the Kyrie or in a singular/plural sense as in another word for the Trinity, which I think is what people actually do a lot of the time regardless of whether or not of whether there is some theological approval of that thought.
That is one part of the view. Another is the Genevan leaders were concerned that the Catholic Church was making inroads back into Geneva. They had already sent Calvin away once. But the problem in keeping Catholicism out was a very typical problem in the era of a theo- political state church? People needed a replacement theological system to follow and Calvin had one. That is one reason why he was given so much power the second time around.
I decided some time ago that anyone who said “This is the only way to do something” either don’t know very much about that topic to begin with, or they have a controlling personality. There are always lots of ways to do something, and different people are going to do well with different methods.
And I think there are a lot of people that pretend like they know a lot, but really haven’t studied the topic very much at all. You’ll find they tend to sound like they are on repeat.
It should be clear to all by now that the organization should more aptly be named “The Calvinist Coalition.”
Great point! There is no doubt that New Calvinists put way too much emphasis on “God” at the expense of Jesus. They call themselves Christ-Followers, but don’t talk much about Him.
FW Rez wrote:
Ha! Well done, young Padawan.
I think I’ve heard prayers done all sorts of ways. I don’t feel any are right or wrong. Maybe it’s like calling someone…you call the person you need to speak to at that moment. You call on the aspect of god you need at that moment, father son or spirit. Or you call on all, using lord. You speak to the lord, in Jesus name. I don’t think any are wrong.
With the help of the magistrate, Calvin attempted to establish a Christian utopia in Geneva by force. All theological dissenters who entered the gates were expelled from the city, imprisoned, tortured, or executed. New Calvinists may exercise lesser authority (Praise God!), but they are still out and about to control Christendom. And as TWW commenters testify by personal experience, it ain’t utopia to be associated with them!
This made me think of another situation that is interesting to consider when we are speaking of prayer. Some extended family members were involved in humanitarian aid in Afghanistan shortly after Kabul was secured. During their time there they noticed that it was somewhat acceptable to use the generic “God” word in prayer in certain situations but there would be problems if Jesus Christ were mentioned. Jesus is, however, known in some folk Islam groups there as a good prophet but even that had become problematic when the Taliban took over.
Ironically the problem of prayer became a real one when they were attempting to set up rudimentary clinics for women and children who had been bitten by the sandflies. Not only did they have to bribe the tribal chief or elder but often found themselves in situations where they were invited to participate in prayers as a sort of deal making ritual.
Anyone who wants to play this game is doing you a favor, they’re letting you know that they’re so warped that you should not even associate with them. Unless the Lord gives you a specific mission to Pharisees, have nothing to do with them, and if you think He’s given you that particular calling, you’d better be sure, because the only way He treated the vast majority of them as He walked among us was with public rebukes.
Dee, I find it inexplicable that someone would take the title “Pastor” but not the pastoral duties that go with it. No hospital or home visits for the infirm? This is basic Pastoral Ministry 101. Perhaps it would be better to give those leaders another title, like Chief Preacher. It would be more accurate to do so.
As for covenants, no thanks. Jesus did not say we are to covenant with each other. Rather, he made a way for us to have a lasting covenant directly with God. (The Problem with Church Membership Covenants – bad doctrine hurts God’s people.)
Amen! As I’ve said before, if you read Paul first (his epistles), you might read Jesus wrong … but if you read Jesus first (the Gospels), the writings of Paul come into perspective. For New Calvinists listening in, the best therapeutic recovery from reformed indoctrination is to shut out the teachings of Calvinist icons for a season and read/re-read the words in red.
Teaching Elder. That’s what they call them in presby land, I think. But they somehow still manage to do hospital visits and funerals…
Amen!! And this should be published on their social media pages and the church website for all to see: “I want you to know that I am not a pastor and have no aspirations to be one. I will not pray with you during your dark struggles; I will not visit you when you are sick; I will not preach your funeral when you die. I am not your pastor. I will preach to you only, even though I am not really called to do so, because I don’t love you as I ought.”
Yes, they are truly evil men at that ex-church. They, as you’ve probably read my posts, excommunicated and ordered to be shunned a godly doctor in his 70’s on some trumped up charge. Many people secretly taped that on their phones. And many families and individuals left the church shortly after that.
The senior pastor (manipulatively) told us to “pray for the doctor’s wife”. The doctor’s wife, when I interviewed her, told me a completely different story – of course! She said that she’d always hated the senior pastor, the elders, the church, thought something was terribly wrong with the whole place, thought many of the members were emotionally unhealthy, and she warned her husband that they should not go to this church!
My ex-pastor NEVER told us what the doctor’s wife really thought!
Law Prof wrote:
Yes, Matt. In Karen Hinckley’s case, it was *her* disordered desire to divorce her pedophile husband. That’s why the ELDERS at The Village wanted to “push her under” their care. Because Karen’s desires are disordered. Seriously, that is the moral logic that these spiritual and moral “leaders” follow.
In the mega church world they were often referred to as the “teaching pastor”. Which is a bit humorous when one considers the metaphor.
Problem I have with this “pastor” thing is there seems to be no clear description of one in the entire NT, and the word only shows up once in the singular in the entire NT, Eph 4. So frankly, the office that has been created of general CEO, head teacher, one who visits the elderly and ill and shut ins, one who gets paid and takes a title and does all these things, that position does not exist in the NT. So the whole thing’s a crock, the only thing we can compare “pastor” to is our made up social construct of pastor–but that’s not a NT position. Does. Not. Exist.
She just wanted her husband to be perfect!! You know, how non-pedophiles are perfect. Silly woman.
They do not think a man’s desire to rule over his wife is disordered, even though it is actually in the text.
Bruce Ware disagrees with you because Authority and ESS. Or ERAS or whatever the new favorite descriptor is.
I think you are right, though. It’s not as if one Person gets jealous when someone prays to the other Persons. Very strange to say we should only pray to one Person.
Law Prof wrote:
It’s clear from comments on this blog, that “LifeGroups” in New Calvinist ranks are a way to indoctrinate church members in reformed theology, as well as keep an eye out for potential dissenters. The “lead pastor” hand-picks small group leaders with these goals in mind. Good Lord … the New Calvinists have even given home Bible studies a bad name!!
Chandler calls female members of his church “our girls”, noting that they love being subordinated. For an enlightening lesson on “Calvinism and Sexual Complmentarity”, check out John Piper’s interview with Matt Chandler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKEpVzHnUw0
Thank you so much for this convo about the state of the church and its destructive teachings.
Your comment made me think of the parallels with their view of marriage. Maybe someone has already said this 500 comments ago, but ISTM that their view of a husband’s “role” roughly parallels their view of a pastor’s “role.” They give lip service to the servant part of Servant-Leader, but practically speaking, it is all about giving directives which only flow one way. The wife’s “role” is to be a support and help and joy to her husband, and that sounds a lot like the way they see the “role” of the congregation. They do not seem to want a real give-and-take relationship that is mutual in any respect.
Here is the problem, especially for teens as my daughter has related from youth group and the secular life coach from yesterday.
All of it is couched in “love” and “caring” terminology/platitudes. Teens fall quicker for this but adults have a tendency to do the same, too, when church or Christianity is involved.
These are sweet, nice people leading these efforts! How mean does it look to not go along even if one does not dare disagree publicly? Very. Not a team player. Arrogant. Etc.
Thing is, we would never sign up for a small group that advertises what it is actually doing.
Yes, but, you see they are only really concerned about what is in the actual text when it supports the grander Narrative. Interpretive methods and citing the actual text is optional as is consistency and any attempt at sound reasoning. It really is all about the Narrative of Authority Structures and Hierarchy.
That is modus operandi in SBC-YRR church plants in my area, where 20-30 year old “lead pastors” and their hand-picked 20-30 year old “elders” avoid personal contact with the membership. The only ministry to the flock, if you can call it that, is done at the small group level by leaders who spy for dissenters. Their recipe for doing church doesn’t have an ounce of Christian love in it.
Surely you jest. I think I’m about a 3 half-birthdays ahead of you.
That is amazing, if that really was their mindset; but it does seem as if there was more hand-wringing and discipline directed at her “disordered desires” than at her husband’s, who’s desires were for sex with children! Perhaps the most disordered desired of the whole lot of them were the desires of Chandler and company to lord it over others.
Spot on, Max.
My ex-NeoCalvinist *pastor* (with his $299 *Ph.D.* from a Missouri diploma mill as I’ve since discovered) SCREAMED at me for not attending a week night Bible study and what was my excuse? Me, staring him down: “I am at work and commuting. I’m not home in time.”
Law Prof wrote:
In an authoritarian church which is elder-ruled, there are no congregational meetings allowed which could be a platform for such rebukes. And you only get one shot at standing in church to proclaim:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness … You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matthew 23).
Was Jesus speaking in love when He said this? Yes. Warnings are the best way to love people who are desperately off-track. It is the sort of tough love needed to challenge the ails of New Calvinism.
And anyone who disagrees with Matt Chandler is what? “A narcissistic zero”. Isn’t that called projection in psychology?
“If you didn’t have a job, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
— reply to similar situation in a D&D gaming group
Party Cells, Comrade.
With one member of each Party Cell being a Commissar or Hero Informant to the Commissars.
Law Prof wrote:
But he has a (male organ ed.) (just like Pastor and Elders), so that is that.
I go back far enough to remember when Lutheran pastors still wore the cassock on high holy days. One such pastor by the name of Sorensen went on foot across town in a blizzard (the city snowplows could not keep the streets clear) to be with an old saint in her last hours in hospital. Men like Sorensen are the real McCoy, few and far between, in any era past or present.
Fore fence posts….. if only Hudson Taylor or George Muller applied that idea … What are these wolves thinking? Better yet, what is Gods church thinking when we give these wolves time space and money?
At my former church they accepted someone from the denomination who openly said he wasn’t going to do those pastoral duties, that was even more inexplicable. In two or three years I don’t think he has visited someone dying more than once and meeting with the family before a funeral is delegated to someone else for the heavy lifting. I do not know why they put up with it.
“In Session 4, we see how man’s struggle with sin manifests itself in two ways: selfish passivity and selfish aggression.” Matt Chandler
I think sin manifests in many ways in men and women alike.
These Bible studies they put together are atrocious, all to make a dime as Lowlandseer pointed out. These studies do more harm than good.
True. You get no socially acceptable platform for rebuke of a leader in most churches, because those who give themselves the title “pastor” (whatever it actually means, again, who knows, the NT is largely silent on the point) tend quite often to work in a milieu where the only opportunity for rebuke of any sort is in a closed and private meeting of elders in an inner room of the church to which no one in the church is invited, save that inner circle, and any sort of elder-led rebuke of the pastor is quite often likely to result in disaster for the elder (have personally experienced that one twice as an elder). So for the most part, there’s no hope of doing it without severe repercussions; you’re right, only “one shot”. Jesus always seemed to be taking that one shot, however; same for Paul, Peter, John, James. There’s generally no socially or church institutionally-acceptable means of telling leaders just exactly what they are, especially if they’re an ugly monster in a monstrous system, but Jesus guaranteed us that we’d be persecuted, and the greatest persecution invariably seems to come from the church, and now, just as in His day, the place that calls itself “church” is in large part false.
I don’t even know what “narcissistic zero” means, it’s an asinine term, makes no sense A narcissist is one who loves the spotlight and calls attention to themselves, who thinks that others are of no consequence, who thinks only of themselves. Chandler said that in the context of one who’d written some private criticism of his leadership, as I recall, it didn’t at all seem like the actions of a narcissist, maybe a coward unwilling to stick their name on something, not a narcissist. It was quite ironic to think of one like Chandler up there in the spotlight so clear, all eyes upon him each week, daring to call another a narcissist. Yep, projection sounds just about right.
Law Prof wrote:
Agreed … “Touch not my anointed” is not applicable in such cases, so let the rebuke fly! I don’t sense much, if any, anointing in New Calvinist ranks (their leaders are more annoying, than anointed). As you note “just as in His day, the place that calls itself ‘church’ is in large part false.”
Law Prof wrote:
Given what Matt Chandler and his elders did to the wife (who annulled her marriage to her husband who deceived her in to marrying and did’t tell her that he was attracted to children, had illegal pictures of them, and professed to having unlawfully touched children) and the whole sic ’em — 6,000 church members — on this poor woman who’d already been through enough, I can see why anybody who criticizes King Chandler does so anonymously. I don’t see it as cowardice, rather as a smart move.
I tried to watch it, but after about two minutes, I could no longer stand the smugness between the two. Years ago, my former pastor brought in a whole series by Matt Chandler and we endured them complete with worksheets. I remember at the time that something seems so “off” with Matt and I could not pinpoint it. I also remember being bored out of my mind because it was so boring and fluffy.
waking up wrote:
I don’t watch anything with John Piper anymore, either. Twenty years ago I sat in Bethlehem Baptist and heard him preach, watched him in person at a large public event, and for a time was part of a ministry in Mpls that met once a week at Beth Bap. He seems to be one of the most revoltingly smug individuals I have ever seen or heard in my life, the polar opposite of Christlike.
Would rather share a beer with an atheist in a strip club than spend five seconds in the presence of Mr. Piper.
Have never seen anything with Matt Chandler. I can read his words, read about his actions, that’s enough.
Law Prof wrote:
In the video linked above, you can watch them both and it is sort of comical because I think Chandler is trying to outsmug Piper. I actually have no idea what point he is trying to make, and I don’t think he does either, but hey, he’s smug!
And if anyone needs to have a good laugh, I just found this and yes, it is satire, but man….I cracked up.
Law Prof wrote:
Laugh of the day!
Great observation! It’s not limited to Neo-Cals. The giant megas do this to. Back in 2008 Larry Osborne (who is one of only three elders over Mark Driscoll’s new church) wrote the wildly popular book “Sticky Church”. He is the man who coined the term “Velcro Bars” for the love bombing guest centers used in such churches.
From the back cover of Sticky Church: “In Sticky Church, author and pastor Larry Osborne makes the case that closing the back door of your church is even more important than opening the front door wider. He offers a time-tested strategy for doing so: sermon-based small groups that dig deeper into the weekend message and tightly velcro members to the ministry. It’s a strategy that enabled Osborne’s congregation to grow from a handful of people to one of the larger churches in the nation―without any marketing or special programming. Sticky Church tells the inspiring story of North Coast Church’s phenomenal growth and offers practical tips for launching your own sermon-based small group ministry. Topics include: Why stickiness is so important Why most of our discipleship models don’t work very well. Why small groups always make a church more honest and transparent. What makes groups grow deeper and stickier over time. Sticky Church is an ideal book for church leaders who want to start or retool their small group ministry―and velcro their congregation to the Bible and each other.
Notice that Sticky Church wants to “tightly velcro members to the MINISTRY” not to the Lord. And notice that the Bible study isn’t Bible study it is review of the head pastor’s weekly sermon. The small group meeting serves as a de facto fan club for the head pastor not Jesus.
This book is one of the “new bibles” for seeker friendly, growth modeled church pastors. The foucs of the program is to worship the head pastor not Jesus, and it does out any dissenters. I have been to these groups. Beyond not tolerating dissent, they also do not tolerate questions. Questioners/dissenters are constructively terminated. The remaining group members are further indoctrinated into the cult.
Here is a sample study guide for one of these groups http://cf.gatewaypeople.com/prod/s3fs-public/session/documents/Don't%20Rob%20God_Discussion%20Guide.pdf The small group reviews the bad theology/bad doctrine as though it were biblical truth. The members are given loads of positive reinforcement for going along with this. These groups are extremely effective at reinforcing false teaching as truth.
waking up wrote:
I fast-forwarded to the comp part – couldn’t listen to it all. But, MC is saying that he only teaches/preaches to the men. And “our girls” love it? Oh yeah, I’ll beat down the doors every Sunday morning to listen to someone tell me that it was God’s original intent for women to be the bottom of the food chain and we don’t matter, never did!
That was Ware’s line at Denton Bible Church. If a guy is passive or aggressive, then it is his wife’s fault because she is not being sufficiently submissive.
Seems to me a reasonable person cannot argue that this kind of thinking is at the core of their theology because more than one of the Glitterati teach it as a core principle.
Law Prof wrote:
Well, if you decide to do that, you may bump into New Calvinists there! Some of them have no problem abusing Christian liberty to stretch moral boundaries.
I went to a gateway lifegroup once too! Happily, we did not discuss tithing.
I think the girl actually chucked whatever we were supposed to do that particular week.
I would say ‘seriously?’ except I know you are serious.
Because everything for these guys is all. about. men. Everything a woman does is all. about. men.
When they put up that false dichotomy of reaction…do they really not think there is any middle ground or do they just think the only other option is ‘woman shuts up and does whatever a man tells her’?
….a reasonable person cannot argue that this kind of thinking is ***not*** at the core…
In my opinion, Bruce Ware should have been in extremely good psychotherapy years ago to deal with his anger toward women.
Bruce Ware prides himself on the fact that women are ‘derivative images’ and not made in the ‘image of God’. Bruce Ware’s mother is a derivative image of God, who carried Bruce Ware who was ‘born in the image of God’ unlike his own mother, and raised him. And something must have happened in the Ware Family for him to be this angry. A normal mother with a spine would have NEVER stood for an ingrate, sass-filled son like Bruce Ware.
John Piper also seems to have problems with women and men, going back to his own parents. Apparently his father was a pastor who was gone a lot on the road.
Better for that to happen than for Law Prof to meet Mrs. Law Prof on the way out of said (strictly hypothetical, I’m sure) strip club. Just a wild guess based on my experience with the Calvinista pups.
So I went back and watched more of the video. MC really is incoherent discussing his love affair with Calvanism. I found that it was better if I just put the video on CC and read the subtitles (some were pretty awesome) and then watched his hands doing all those gestures. I kept thinking maybe he had worked as a magician at one time with all of those hand motions, and I expected like a bouquet of plastic flowers to appear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKEpVzHnUw0
False dichotomies are what they do. Biblical Womanhood or….Feminism. Do What We Say or….Rebellious.
I think it would be fun to take a highlighter set and do a markup on RBMW with each logical fallacy or eisegetical statement having its own color.
There was a time when they would have said “our Negroes” with the same aplomb.
waking up wrote:
When he said ‘well obviously 5 points’ I thought of my current pastor, who referred to tulip as ‘bumper sticker theology’. Heh.
You would run out of space to write.
Last one. Finally, there is a cure for “Hyper Calvinism” http://babylonbee.com/news/fda-approves-ritalin-treat-hyper-calvinism/
waking up wrote:
Lol! So true!
Wow, that would be worthy of an article for The Wartburg Watch. You should email Deb, since Dee is busy with her extremely fragile, sick mother-in-law.
I’d love to see such an article and I’m sure others would too.
You are right. It took me a while to catch on to the concept of what they were doing at mega churches. They were actually conflating Jesus Christ with the church. Those are one and the same in that world. It is easy enough to see how this works really well. The constant focus was on getting more and more people in while keeping the ones that were there. There is constant flux.
People fell into two different categories. The churched and the unchurched. That was their language. The reality of the situation is that they were siphoning off the churched from other churches. But the message was, ‘you are now in church so you are OK with Jesus Christ’. The entire time they seem to be trying to convince the churched people that they siphoned off from other churches that they were part of something big because there were so many unchurched people there, too. Mega churches are filled with Baptists, Catholics, Methodists and such so it is a pretty easy sell.
Then we have the other scenario with the groups that claim the Bible is one and the same as Jesus Christ.
I should have used both terms sacrament and ordinance, as you are correct many Baptists or typical memorial view people don’t like to use the term sacrament for what is implied about beliefs surrounding Eucharist, etc from the word meaning itself. I qualify it as, and was thinking in my head and didn’t make clear enough, of simply having a low view of what God has already provided for us to sustain our communities regardless of which views you hold to. Nothing to do with memorial to trans, etc. So simply, I think church contracts are man attempted (thus a sign of control) as trying to replace or minimize the good means God has already provided to help us in our communities. From sacraments – oridinances to the Holy Spirit and priesthood of all believers and qualifications for character in leaders in the community, and so on in other provisions. In short, we don’t need to sign papers because we already sign with our baptism, etc. (And I think that can be true regardless of your view of baptism, pedo or credo, salvific in itself or a representation of salvation, etc. etc.) Hopefully that makes more sense.
That was confusing of me, also because there is the use of the neutral descriptions (though people can use it in a condescending or derogatory way) of low church and high church to simply describe how a church service functions in their execution of liturgy, doctrine, and such. Where typically, for example, Catholic = high church, typical non-denominational or Baptist churches – low church environment.
I believe three fourths if the men who “teach” this are just mimicking what they have heard and have not studied the subject in Scripture for themselves. And this is no excuse for doing it!