Chris Conlee Joins the Troubled Pastors’ Conga Line, Joining Bethel Cleveland Where He Will Assist in Raising the Dead and Making Sure Jesus Gets His Full Reward

The Frozen Wild Dnieper River: Curling snow drifts are magnified by the terrain around the 1,400 mile Dnieper River, flowing from Russia to the Black Sea in this image from the International Space Station on Feb. 9th, 2017. ISS/NASA

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say. Martin Luther


Chris Conlee, formerly a co-pastor with Andy Savage, is now an Executive Pastor at Bethel Cleveland which has some fascinating beliefs.

This afternoon I heard from Jules Woodson about this development. Here are tweets outlining what’s happening.

As you may know, Conlee was BFFs with Andy Savage. He also reportedly knew about Savage’s molestation of Jules Woodson but decided that it was no longer a big deal. Thankfully, he would learn that it was a big deal as he watched the implosion of Highpoint Church. After spending some time at the International House of Prayer, he returned to Highpoint and was eventually canned.

You might find this post on The international House of Prayer helpful in order to understand Chris Conlee’s new gig at Bethel Cleveland. I would not be surprised if there was a link between these two organizations.

It’s important to remember that Highpoint Memphis was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention until a short time after the brouhaha occurred. It is absolutely fascinating to me when a person easily jumps from one style and doctrine of belief into another. Read The International House of Prayer: Will Highpoint Church Jump Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire? to see what I’m talking about.

Conlee attended IHOP on at least two occasions, claiming he received prophesies about his ministry which would be highly successful. If I remember correctly, he got one prophecy from a 4 year old girl. You have got to read my posts

Bethel Cleveland: Spiritual gifts on steroids.

I knew that Conlee was going to ditch typical evangelical practices during that time of upheaval. And so he has. After losing his job at Highpoint, he finally found a group that would take him on

Steve and Cindy Witt lead this group of churches. It appears that Conlee will work directly for the Witts as the Executive Pastor.

Under the vision and beliefs section of Bethel this caught my eye and caused me to explore their beliefs and practices more closely.

Click on their ministries button at the top of the page and you will see some of the ministries that focus on the supernatural.

Prophetic Ministry: You need special training link

Healing: You must be also trained to do this link

Freedom: You need to be trained here as well link

And then there is the undefined but important SOZO: Surely you know what that is…link

I hope you noticed that this church also has a Prayer House which leads me to believe it is also a quasi IHOP.

BSSM/Supernatural Ministry School link

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry Cleveland is designed to help you Encounter God, Know your Identity and Live the Gospel. We are an approved BSSM-Redding program and are committed to the truth that God loves humanity, gave himself for us and through his Holy Spirit, has given the power to restore individuals and nations to wholeness.

BSSM-Cleveland is comprised of 3 unique nine-month programs that build upon each other. They are designed to equip you with the core values of the Kingdom, and to go deeper into a lifestyle of walking in the power of God. Students will gain revelation and impartation from local and international speakers along with curriculum from BSSM-Redding.

They claim to bring individuals and NATIONS into spiritual wholeness.

Conlee has hit the big time. He is going to be helping nations-not some stupid church like Hihgpoiint Memphis which fired him.

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) is committed to the truth that God loves people, gave Himself for them, and has given His Church supernatural power to bring individuals and nations into wholeness.

You, too, can be trained to “release heaven on earth.”

There is a 3 year (9 months) of supernatural school in which one can learn how to heal the nations, etc. It costs $2,600 for the first two years and only $800 for the final year. Once they have completed a certain amount of training, students will be released to travel.

Pro tip: When you see words like *you will be released* you can be sure you have left the SBC.

Students will learn to “walk in the power of the Holy Spirit whenever they go.”  They will received *freedom and deliverance training.”

Not only that, but one might even raise the dead!

One thing is certain, Conlee has left the SBC for more fertile pastures. Where else can you go where you will walk always in the Holy Spirit whilst healing the sick, raising the dead and making sure that Jesus gets his full reward.

Some of you are wondering where you’ve heard the name *Bethel.* You have…think about it.

Doesn’t this sound like that scary church in Redding California that was trying to raise a little girl from the dead?  Well, you are right!!! Trust your instincts. It was presented here at TWW: Bethel Church of Redding CA Tried to Raise a Little Girl From the Dead. Guess What Didn’t Happen.

The Washington Post reported the story in After a toddler’s death, a church has tried for days to resurrect her — with prayer

Bill Johnson, a senior leader of the church, said in a video that there was a biblical precedent for believing in resurrection. In addition to Jesus raising the dead, Johnson said that Jesus commanded his disciples to do the same.

“The reason Jesus raised the dead is because not everyone dies in God’s timing, and Jesus could tell,” Johnson said. “And he would interrupt that funeral, he would interrupt that process that some would just call the sovereignty of God.”

Bethel Cleveland has an affiliations page and guess what?

Did you catch that? They are one of only few official™ Bethel Churches worldwide! Yep, Chris Conlee has left Memphis and gone on to the big time as an executive pastor of one of the few churches in the world that is allowed to affiliate with the mothership in Redding which is now internationally known for crappy theology.

Never fear, dear readers. I shall be reporting on all of the dead coming to life in Cleveland now that Conlee is there to lend his charismatic personality to the church. However, I sure hope the people of Bethel Cleveland hold his feet to the fire to report to law enforcement any pastor who confesses to having a mutual organic moment with a high school student.

 


Comments

Chris Conlee Joins the Troubled Pastors’ Conga Line, Joining Bethel Cleveland Where He Will Assist in Raising the Dead and Making Sure Jesus Gets His Full Reward — 140 Comments

  1. Hoo boy. I hope they have instruction on how to test these “prophecies” and “manifestations.” (“Test all things. Hold fast to that which is good.” 1 Thess. 5:21) I am not anti-charismatic. But, having been in the charismatic/pentecostal movement for years, I am convinced that the Spirit of God does not move at the drop of a hat nor operate on our time-tables. The Holy Spirit moves when HE wants to (John 3) and gifts operate by the sovereignty of the Spirit. Too often, the Word of God– the scripture– is not primary nor central. Spiritual experiences are the focus. Dangerous. It’s a funny thing. In 1 Corinthians 14:29, the apostle discusses prophetic utterances and exhorts the hearers to judge what is said! Sad to say, many charismatics do not emphasize this.

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  2. Yup, Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, and now Chris Conlee. Bethel sure knows how to pick them.

    Some things to dig into with Bethel (some of it relates to Conlee, Savage, and that dumpster fire of a reaction to the assault on Jules):

    – IHOP and Bethel have similar roots and share a number of “prophets” from the 80s in Kansas City. the most infamous, Bob Jones (no relation to the school) was found to have told women to undress in front of him because he was a prophet. Both IHOP and Bethel’s leader venerated him well past his death into recent years. Bethel’s lead pastor Bill Johnson has spoken at IHOP and vice versa. There’s are some differences, but frankly they are very similar in their practices and beliefs.

    – Also, Todd Bentley. He’s the one who was punch people in the gut at revivals while carrying on an affair. Bethel’s pastors were supporting him and his “restoration” for years after it was public knowledge of the nonsense going on. To date Bethel pastors have never apologized for believing him to be a prophet or healer.

    – Check out Sozo’s Ministry page on the Bethel Redding. It is a wild, dangerous, and deeply unprofessional form of counseling. Too much to go into here, but read up on the “Father Ladder” stuff and just imagine if someone was dealing with sexual abuse and went into this expecting actual counseling.

    Bethel has enough red flags that anyone in a serious church should think twice about singing their music — and they have a ton of it in churches every week. The recent trend of disgraced pastors joining fringe charismatic churches continues.

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  3. DavidP: IHOP and Bethel have similar roots and share a number of “prophets” from the 80s in Kansas City. the most infamous, Bob Jones (no relation to the school) was found to have told women to undress in front of him because he was a prophet. Both IHOP and Bethel’s leader venerated him well past his death into recent years. Bethel’s lead pastor Bill Johnson has spoken at IHOP and vice versa. There’s are some differences, but frankly they are very similar in their practices and beliefs.

    As recently as THIS WEEK the late Bob Jones (yes, the aforementioned prophet who told women to undress in front of him) was being lauded for his prophetic abilitys. Beginning on Sunday night after the Superb Owl [yeah, I like to have fun with this], I saw this all over Twitter:

    ‘BOB JONES TOLD ΜΕ AT LEAST 10 TIMES “WHEN THE CHIEFS WIN THE SUPER BOWL YOU WILL KNOW THAT REVIVAL IS ABOUT TO COME. GOD IS RAISING UP HIS APO STOLIC CHIEFS.”‘

    (quoted as in original-I don’t put things in all caps)

    The person who is saying this is cellphone prophet Shawn Bolz, who has been at Bethel Redding and who does cold readings at his meetings, while he’s holding his cellphone in his hand. It does not matter to Shawn Bolz that Bob Jones had women stand in their underwear before him when he prophesied to them–oh no–what matters is this “prophecy.”

    My concern with Bethel Redding and that bunch is they are definitely into grabbing hold of (local) political power. Redding is getting pretty fractiously divided between Bethel Church, the BSSM, and associated ministries and businesses, and the non-Bethelites. One of the complaints I’ve heard on the regular is the presence of Bethel Redding and the BSSM have completely distorted the housing and rental markets in Redding, which are already tight due to the loss of housing stock in the Carr Fire in 2028. The poor are being pushed out by rents that are very high for California in general, not just rural northern California. There are frequent accusations that landlords are only renting to the Bethel market (which is, btw, discriminatory and against the law). The previous (until late last year) mayor of Redding, Julie Winter, attracted a lot of negative attention when she proposed taking the homeless and basically locking them up until they got their lives straightened out .

    https://www.redding.com/story/news/local/2019/12/04/redding-homeless-idea-spurs-council-backlash-julie-personal/2590678001/

    Winter is still on the city council and is an elder at Bethel Redding. So that’s the mothership–Cleveland had better watch out, Bethel has as part of its DNA taking over the city for Jesus and they have some authoritarian ideas that wouldn’t be out of place in a town being run by, say, Scientology.

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  4. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Yeah, I saw that Bob Jones “prophecy” online as well — he was known for his word salad prophecies. Reportedly they were so incoherent that he once had an “English Interpreter of English” who followed him around trying to make sense of what he was talking about. That he is still so respected in these circles is a sign of deep problems and/or denial.

    And yes, the obsession with the takeover of government in order to bring about the kingdom of God is quite upsetting. I know the “7 Mountain Mandate” is a thing in these circles, ergo buying up all of the property and getting your people into office is a sign of bringing Heaven to earth.

    My bigger fear is that Redding would turn into one giant Heritage USA after a few scandals…

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  5. Oh, another thing I heard about BSSM in Redding is that they basically turn loose their students on Redding in general to go out and ask the locals if they could pray over them and heal them. You know, to practice on them. It’s called “treasure hunting.” There have been complaints about people being accosted in supermarkets and other venues by BSSM students looking for people to pray and prophesy over.

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  6. Bethel Church is just ripping off Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page’s symbol: ZoSo

    Just can’t stomach anymore of this “destiny/fulfillment/wholeness/deliverance” teaching…none of which is promised to the believer on this side of heaven. It’s all man-centric teachings.

    Bethel Redding is also, I believe, the place where “gold dust from heaven” allegedly fell during worship services.

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  7. And believe it or not, Steve Witt, the pastor of Bethel, was part of the defunct SGM ministries church in Cleveland many years ago when it was PDI. It is all a tangled web of dysfunction. The leader of IHOP Cleveland was also a part of the defunct SGM church.

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  8. “It is absolutely fascinating to me when a person easily jumps from one style and doctrine of belief into another.” (Dee)

    For example: Mark Driscoll … from Catholic, to emergent church, to New Calvinist, to Charismatic Calvinist. The potty-mouth preacher from Seattle has been all over the map! These folks have to keep reinventing themselves to float with theological shifts in the culture, keep their followers entertained with the new & improved, and/or stay one step ahead of the axe.

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  9. DavidP: IHOP and Bethel have similar roots and share a number of “prophets” from the 80s in Kansas City. the most infamous, Bob Jones (no relation to the school) was found to have told women to undress in front of him because he was a prophet.

    Ahhh … the Kansas City Prophets. Don’t forget Paul Cain who “struggled” with homosexuality and alcoholism while “prophesying.” These groups only prosper because the average American churchgoer, particularly in charismatic ranks, is a gullible soul. On the other hand, charismatics are at least open to the ministry of the Holy Spirit … which mainline denominations (e.g., Southern Baptists) have grieved, quenched, and relegated to the back pew. The SBC is a non-prophet organization.

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  10. Re: “ BSSM-Cleveland is comprised of 3 unique nine-month programs that build upon each other. They are designed to equip you with the core values of the Kingdom, and to go deeper into a lifestyle of walking in the power of God.”

    So, how does Conley qualify for Executive Pastor since he could not yet have completed the 27 months of BSSM training, and even more months with the other “gifts” training? Smh

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  11. Megan:
    The CEO for Acts29 was just removed for abuse allegations!Matt Chandler released the news.Hmmmm.

    I’ve been following this.Acts 29 has a long history of authoritarian leaders. I have a theory. This time,Mr. leader out abused even the authoritarian nut jobs The fact that Chandler ditched him means he upset Chandler as well. I will try to get more info and write on this.

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  12. DavidP: – Also, Todd Bentley. He’s the one who was punch people in the gut at revivals while carrying on an affair.

    Don’t forget “on orders from his Pet Angel, Emma”.
    With Shaking Stacy as his warmup act.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daQxcgGBiJI

    “I didn’t see the Holy Spirit. I didn’t see any demonic spirits. I SAW A CON MAN WORKING AN AUDIENCE.”
    — my writing partner (the burned-out preacher) viewing clips of the Lakeland Revival

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  13. DavidP: Yeah, I saw that Bob Jones “prophecy” online as well — he was known for his word salad prophecies.

    Predecessor of The Pious Piper on Twitter?
    (“WOW DADDY WOW!”)

    Though Prophesying to women that God Saith to undress and stand before His Prophet —
    That’s pretty slick.
    Sick but Slick.

    But then, you expect anything different from a MoG these days?

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  14. When you believe are “walking in the Spirit” it’s so easy to become spiritually smug. There’s no room for humility or compassion, or re-examining your theology – ’cause if you’re not right about any of it, it all comes crashing down.

    This is nothing new; it’s just easier to magnify the craziness in the Internet age. Lord, have mercy on us.

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  15. Megan:
    dee,

    Chandler fired 2 people all at one time when they came to talk to him about corrupt leadership.I laughed out loud because … well, because isn’t that just like Matt Chandler?

    If I could get some confirmation of this incident by a first party or close friend of such, I would love to post this. Matt Chandler, King of clean steak, has quite a history.

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  16. They are excited and encouraged to join this revival movement, build into God’s people and see God’s work flourish.

    I guess personally apologizing to someone you have wronged is not very exciting and is not classified as God’s work?

    And yet, I think it is actually the very essence of God’s work.

    In the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a holy life and minister supernaturally. The baptism of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:4-8 and 2:4 is poured out on believers that they might have God’s power to be His witnesses.

    The victorious redemptive work of Christ on the cross provides freedom from the power of the enemy-sin, lies, sickness and torment.

    It seems to me that if this indwelling of the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to enable someone to minister supernaturally, it would certainly enable a man to personally go to a woman he has wronged and make a decent apology? Where is this power over sin and lies that is spoken of here?

    What a bunch of pretentious nonsense and grand illusions.

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  17. Long-time-former-SGMer: Steve Witt, the pastor of Bethel, was part of the defunct SGM ministries church in Cleveland many years ago when it was PDI. It is all a tangled web of dysfunction.

    [pdf] https://thegodtest.squarespace.com/s/Rice-Broocks-Dissertation-download.pdf

    Larry Tomczak talking about their very first church plant, in Cleveland, Ohio:

    page 127 (138 of pdf)

    “I was identifying with the ministry of Paul…we as a local church and as leaders were…reaching that place and who was going to be the one…Everybody thought, well Larry it’s you. Let’s send you forth and let’s see if we could multiply our so-called, like flagship church in DC area and do it a second place, and that would be in Cleveland. We did it”

    page 135 (146 in pdf):

    “I had an epiphany experience while jogging in Cleveland on a kind of fact-finding trip, and I felt the Lord gave me this nudge…that it would be ok to entrust the leadership to CJ and go forth with a team, I did not go alone just with my wife and children, I took a team with me to plant a church…in Cleveland.”

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  18. page 130 (141 of pdf)

    “there were two young men who were Assembly of God graduates from a bible school. A man named STEVE WITT, and Bob Cohen, both of whom I have contact with to this day who visited me in the DC area, saw the church emerging, and said desperately, ‘Help us. We feel that we want to see a New Testament church established in the Cleveland area. We just don’t know what we’re doing.’ So I took a few trips with some fellow leaders…realized that God was calling me to take this next step of faith. So over the course of about six months we got the team ready and I took about, I’d say about 10 others with me”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_Grace_Churches#Church_planting

    “the PDI/SGM church planting method of founding new churches: a pastor leads a group of members to relocate to a different city…The first church planting team was sent out to Cleveland, Ohio”

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  19. “It is absolutely fascinating to me when a person easily jumps from one style and doctrine of belief into another.” (Dee)

    Max: For example: Mark Driscoll … from Catholic, to emergent church, to New Calvinist, to Charismatic Calvinist. The potty-mouth preacher from Seattle has been all over the map! These folks have to keep reinventing themselves to float with theological shifts in the culture, keep their followers entertained with the new & improved, and/or stay one step ahead of the axe.

    And how about CJ Mahaney, Newspaper archives from the 1970s-1980s have him as:

    • a “Roman Catholic youth leader”
    • “a Lay Evangelist in the Roman Catholic Church”
    • a Jesus People “teacher and rap leader”
    • “Bible Teacher from T.A.G. Ministries”
    • teacher at “Take and Give a transdenominational ministry”
    • in prophetic ministry
    • elder of Gathering of Believers
    • one of “a plurality of responsible brethren providing personal care for God’s children at ‘Gathering of Believers’ in Washington, D.C.”

    For some years it was ‘People of Destiny International’ — Mahaney was hyping the ‘Toronto Blessing’ in the 1990s, then at the turn of the century he hopped onto the New Calvinism bandwagon and rebranded as ‘Sovereign Grace’. The 2010s had him fleeing to Louisville and turning Southern Baptist…

    What’s next?

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  20. raswhiting,

    It’s possible because Conlee was recommended directly by the big dogs in Redding. Bill Johnson is the head honcho out there, and it was his son, Eric, who gave Conlee’s name to Steve Witt. In fact, he said they wish they had been able to hire Conlee for the Redding campus but had a hiring freeze or something.

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  21. dee,

    It’s in the Christianity Today expose. And in fact, it was 5 people total, not two. The 3 paragraphs that talk about the incident starts by saying 2 people, and then ends with 5. Not sure if there is a typo or not. It’s a shame Christian employers don’t treat their employees with enough respect to not retaliate against them. That’s what Chandler did – retaliate against those 5 staff members. It’s a real shame.

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  22. dee,

    Here’s the few paragraphs that talk about it:

    Two former Acts 29 staff members told CT they spoke up about Timmis’s overbearing leadership five years ago, in his first year as executive director.

    According to a copy of a 2015 letter sent to Acts 29 president Chandler and obtained by CT, five staff members based in the Dallas area described their new leader as “bullying,” “lacking humility,” “developing a culture of fear,” and “overly controlling beyond the bounds of Acts 29,” with examples spanning 19 pages.

    During a meeting with Chandler and two board members to discuss the letter, all five were fired and asked to sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of their severance packages. They were shocked.

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  23. Megan: The CEO for Acts29 was just removed for abuse allegations! Matt Chandler released the news. Hmmmm.

    Not surprising. The cheap grace message of New Calvinism borders on antinomianism, in which some of these folks evidently believe that they have been released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law. Acts29 has had a history of bad-boy leaders: Mark Driscoll, Founder & President, booted for “ungodly and disqualifying behavior” … Darrin Patrick, Vice President, ousted for “pastoral misconduct and a historical pattern of sin” … and now CEO Steve Timmis removed “amid accusations of abusive leadership.” And of course, there is Matt Chandler, current President of Acts29 …

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  24. Max: The cheap grace message of New Calvinism…

    I know what you mean, but this can be fine-tuned a bit. The average price of grace is cheap. If you’re a professional religious motivational speaker, it’s more or less free. If you’re a typical straight male, it’s cheap. If you’re a gay homosexual, it’s very expensive indeed. And if you’re a target of violent domestic abuse, it will cost you everything.

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  25. Doo-Wop Coke Fan,

    I agree with you on this one. From my years in the same part of the church and my time scoping out the “Prophetic Movement” from the inside there is so much fake that has been added on top with no discernment. The lack of discernment is an anti-spiritual gift that infects not only “Bethel” but many other wings and flavors of Christian practices. The lack of what is real I have found all throughout the many different flavors, from one extreme to the others and everything in between. There are many places for men who are, according to the scriptures, fully disqualified to set up shop again in order to find new victims to prey upon. There is a universal preyer movement out there which Jesus is certainly not a part of.

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  26. Reading through the extracts posted by Jerome about the “imitating Paul” aspirations of the precursors of SGM, the thought occurs that “sheep stealing” from established churches could be justified as in the mold of Paul’s approach of going into synagogues and trying to recruit Jews and God-fearing Gentiles into the congregations that he was founding in various cities. I don’t know if this connection was actually made, but it seems plausible.

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  27. SiteSeer: I guess personally apologizing to someone you have wronged is not very exciting and is not classified as God’s work?
    And yet, I think it is actually the very essence of God’s work.

    I agree with your statement, “And yet, I think it is actually the very essence of God’s work.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/12/sorry-no-apologies/600742/

    “If you think of empathy as an inconvenience, it becomes easy to see remorselessness as an act of resistance.”

    “In some ways it’s understandable, this widespread apology aversion. The America of the current moment is heated and hasty, and an apology can be easily weaponized. “There is less kindness in public life, more shaming, and an absence of leadership at the top that models accountability,” the psychologist Harriet Lerner, the author of Why Won’t You Apologize?, told me.”

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  28. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: s recently as THIS WEEK the late Bob Jones (yes, the aforementioned prophet who told women to undress in front of him) was being lauded for his prophetic abilitys. Beginning on Sunday night after the Superb Owl [yeah, I like to have fun with this], I saw this all over Twitter:

    ‘BOB JONES TOLD ΜΕ AT LEAST 10 TIMES “WHEN THE CHIEFS WIN THE SUPER BOWL YOU WILL KNOW THAT REVIVAL IS ABOUT TO COME. GOD IS RAISING UP HIS APO STOLIC CHIEFS.”‘

    I am tired of this chant about “revival” 20-30 years these people have been saying this and they always cast it in their image- thousands of people in stadiums with men like them at the center preaching and “healing”. Todd Bentley style. Bethel rock band style.

    They are speaking from the vain imaginations of their hearts. Revival has already begun and they don’t see it….

    Since roughly the turn of the century God has been pouring out his spirit around the world through multiplying discipleship movements. In the past 20 years an estimated 75 million new people (not transfers from one church to another) have become disciples of Jesus from Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and other backgrounds. This is real. I know dozens of people who train people in these networks of new believers. Key point: there are NO superstars in these movements, just ordinary disciples who make disciples. No buildings,no property, no stages, no book sales; most of the new disciples are poor and meet in homes.

    Miracles? God is doing them, but not through anyone on a stage. Just last week a brother from a country I can’t name (for security reasons) shared with us in a regional meeting how a mob from a mosque attacked and killed a man who had turned to Jesus- after the mob had buried him in a shallow grave God himself (key point) raised the man from the dead and sent him back to the mosque to testify. Most of the community turned to Jesus. The superstar in that story is the Almighty who raised the dead without the help of any “man of God” and turned the community to himself.

    We don’t need the Chiefs to win some game in order to kick off “revival”. It’s already happening.

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  29. Fisher: God has been pouring out his spirit around the world … there are NO superstars in these movements, just ordinary disciples who make disciples. No buildings,no property, no stages, no book sales … Miracles? God is doing them, but not through anyone on a stage

    Amen and Amen!! No charisma, no gift of gab, no gimmicks needed.

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  30. Fisher,

    “In the past 20 years an estimated 75 million new people (not transfers from one church to another) have become disciples of Jesus from Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and other backgrounds. This is real. I know dozens of people who train people in these networks of new believers. Key point: there are NO superstars in these movements, just ordinary disciples who make disciples. No buildings,no property, no stages, no book sales; most of the new disciples are poor and meet in homes.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    this is refreshing to hear.

    although i’ve heard so many trumped-up claims over the years in christianland… i’m sorry for how that sounded– do you know how this calculation has been made and by whom?

    i admire the people you describe, quietly going about things. are they part of an organization?

    ‘networks of new believers’ — sounds like these networks are organized — do they have official names?

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  31. Samuel Conner,

    ““sheep stealing” from established churches could be justified as in the mold of Paul’s approach of going into synagogues and trying to recruit Jews and God-fearing Gentiles into the congregations that he was founding in various cities.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    good grief… seems to me evangeliworld is becoming a religion that evangelizes people away from the “wrong” church into their own one-&-true “right” church.

    i was floored. the church i grew up in (garden variety, good, basic) hired a new pastor in the last few years. It’s been many, many years since i’ve attended, but with a cursory glance i noticed a few things:

    *it is now listed on The Gospel Coalition of churches

    *overnight, a fortune in perfectly good bibles were replaced with brand new ESV bibles

    *they heavily promote the idea that “doctrine matters”

    *the name of the church is now hyphenated: “XX XX Church — A Gospel Church

    A Gospel Church. so ridiculously pompous.

    as if no other church in town has ever had a clue about the gospel. but finally, this new pastor has arrived and at last, The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned

    gimme a break

    gawwwwd, in my own prayer group (which i started), i’m being ‘evangelized’ by a newcomer because my thoughts on debatable things don’t line up with hers. she seems to be deeply concerned about me.

    (we’ve always been a very open, open-minded, very eclectic group — keeping the main thing the main thing. she brings a new streak which makes me uneasy. nevertheless we all become good friends.)

    she goes to a similar doctrine-centric church — which i observe (and now experience) as “can we get any more narrow in what we call biblical?”

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  32. I took my then-adolescent son and his best friend to Bethel Church in Redding, CA for some type of spiritual awakening weekend about 10 years ago. I recall being impressed by the gentleness and eagerness of the large crowd of young people and also by Bill Johnson’s teaching, although it was heavy with practicing the spiritual gifts of prophecy to strangers.I realize now how unsound ascribing the first thought that jumps into your head to Jesus’ leading. Last week I learned that Johnson, Quillala (music guy) and other leaders at Bethel are supporters of (ed: removed name of politician)which surprised and disappointed me. I don’t consider this a political statement, but a spiritual one. If a religious leader cannot fact-check their news source (a 5-minute task, max, usually), they are not equipped to teach an ancient text. If they are aware of the humanitarian transgressions we have perpetrated over the last three years but can justify it by any means, then this: “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” Proverb 17:15

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  33. Max,

    “Chandler’s interview with John Piper a few years ago provided a very shallow testimony about going into the ministry. An opportunist, with a touch of charisma and a gift of gab … not very deep spiritually.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    oh, was this the one where they’re seemingly casually talking somewhere, like leaning up against a kitchen counter, and he’s wearing a leather jacket?

    one of those “let’s make it look totally impromptu, off-the-cuff even though it’s entirely scripted, down to ‘hmmmmmm, what should i wear today? i have a shoot and I really want to make a fashion statement.'”

    [another] gawwwwwwwwwd… what a sight to behold. the veneer of false modesty-for-Jesus, the pulsating vain self-importance.

    (totally reminded me of being near a spiffily-dressed man wearing a TON of cologne– a choking cloud radiating out several yards.)

    i only watched a few minutes of the ‘interview’ until i couldn’t take any more.

    my toes are still curled backwards.

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  34. Muff Potter,

    “Remember the good old days when beautiful women who could sing still left sex appeal to the imagination?”
    ++++++++++

    just not good TV, i guess. i mean, the level of on-screen visual stimulation served up to people just keeps getting pushed more and more.

    kind of like, the tallest building in the world is always being constructed. (they must be researching all the tallest-building-in-the-world projects around the globe to make sure they’re ahead. i guess in the end, if necessary, they just make the final spire a few inches taller than the competition)

    but, there’s a cycle to these things. Target is reinventing itself in a minimalist way. and look at The Apple store. A white void.

    maybe it will translate to on-screen presentation. and popular music performance.

    really, over-produced & sensationalized is just boring. “saying” less is so much more interesting. and says so much more.

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  35. Fisher: Just last week a brother from a country I can’t name (for security reasons) shared with us in a regional meeting how a mob from a mosque attacked and killed a man who had turned to Jesus- after the mob had buried him in a shallow grave God himself (key point) raised the man from the dead and sent him back to the mosque to testify. Most of the community turned to Jesus.

    Most of us here have read about the Dead Raising Team from Bethel.

    If people were being resurrected, it would, in fact, be in the news, with names and photos and plausible accounts. I am beyond skeptical of any resurrection tale that comes with no dates, countries, video, etc., etc.

    If the conversion of one Christian was that offensive to the mob, why did the same mob not go after the whole community? Why are miracles being shared only in a regional meeting?

    I believe in miracles, as well as some scintilla of evidence, instead of built-in reasons why the facts cannot be shared.

    Jesus offered evidence to Thomas the Doubter. We deserve evidence too.

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  36. Friend: Most of us here have read about the Dead Raising Team from Bethel.

    If people were being resurrected, it would, in fact, be in the news, with names and photos and plausible accounts. I am beyond skeptical of any resurrection tale that comes with no dates, countries, video, etc., etc.

    I still remember this guy I know (former Assemblies of God preacher, now Methodist padtor) telling me about how his aunt had moved to Redding to be on a Dead Raising Team. I was stunned.

    Another thing I have so wanted to attempt to reproduce is the rumored “gold dust” events. I don’t think actual gold dust would float like the video I’ve seen. Maybe culinary gold dust flakes might float. Maybe crumpled gold leaf transfer (used in gilding). You can tell I’ve thought about this for a while.

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  37. Friend,

    I try to tread lightly on this topic because of the possibility of injuring the faith of those whose view of the present applicability of many New Testament promises is less pessimistic than mine.

    At the risk of giving offense …

    I am uneasy about groups like IHOP and the church movements they are influencing (I think that C&MA, which was my church “home” for 20 years, has IHOP influences, for example). The prayer theology seems disconnected from both the NT and present experience. Jesus promised the apostles that whatever they asked “in My name” would be done for them. We plainly are not able to do this in the present day. The explanation for this incapacity is unclear, but presumably is one of

    a) that promise was to the apostles themselves and was not inherited by subsequent generations of believers or church leaders

    b) whatever “in My name” means, the understanding of how to do this was not communicated by the apostles to their successors and no-one since has rediscovered it

    c) something else has gone wrong in the churches that somehow interferes with this “promise”

    =====

    Where does that leave us re: “prayer”?

    One might throw up one’s hands and abandon “prayer” altogether.

    I think we should see ourselves as substantially in the situation of OT believers, for whom prayer was, among other things, a way of committing their work into the hands of God in the hope that He would establish it.

    The first chapter of the book of Nehemiah illustrates this. I apologize to those who have seen this before here at TWW or elsewhere, but it seems highly relevant to the present question of the meaning of prayer in the churches.

    When Nehemiah learned from his countrymen of the disheartening condition of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, he was deeply grieved and wanted to help in some way. He devoted himself to prayer and fasting for a number of months. He does not seem to have prayed for some kind of miracle to resolve the problem. It appears (at least from the outcome) that his prayer agenda was focused on the question of “what could I do to help resolve this problem that grieves me so?”

    The “answer” to his prayers, if you want to call it that, was not a miracle but a plan to repair the situation ; a plan that would call for his own costly self-giving, his departure from a place of high honor and “descent” into difficult circumstances and years of tiresome labor with difficult and ungrateful people.

    It appears that Nehemiah’s prayers did not change the circumstance that troubled him, and they did not move God to change the circumstances; rather, they changed Nehemiah and moved him to get involved, as God’s instrument, in repairing the situation through entirely non-miraculous means.

    I think that this is a much better model for our thinking about “prayer” in the present time. We can certainly ask God for “beyond natural possibilities” outcomes, but we should not expect Him to work without our own costly self-giving to involve ourselves in the solutions to the problems that hold our attention.

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  38. Samuel Conner: I try to tread lightly on this topic because of the possibility of injuring the faith of those whose view of the present applicability of many New Testament promises is less pessimistic than mine.

    Your whole reply is gracious and wonderful. Prayer does change me, and once in awhile I have experienced things that I consider miraculous.

    Regarding “injuring the faith,” though, I believe that we need to apply critical thinking to everything we hear, even rumors of miracles. Perhaps especially rumors of miracles.

    It does not strengthen my faith to read that some man somewhere has recently been resurrected, but the details must be kept secret.

    When I was a teen, our youth group ministers used to show movies about Satanists who were taking the lives of Christians in the US, just for being Christians.

    We all “strengthened our faith” by taking this information at face value. We learned two things: 1) we had to be the best possible Christians, and 2) evil people somehow find the best possible Christians and end their lives. Movie nights scared the heck out of us, as intended.

    Nobody raised a hand and asked, “So, did you ever call the police about all these dead Christians?”

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  39. Samuel Conner: Nehemiah’s prayers did not change the circumstance that troubled him, and they did not move God to change the circumstances; rather, they changed Nehemiah and moved him to get involved, as God’s instrument, in repairing the situation through entirely non-miraculous means.

    We underestimate the power of prayer … particularly the power to change US.

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  40. Max: We underestimate the power of prayer … particularly the power to change US.

    Yes indeed. It goes a good bit deeper than saying, “If you won’t grant my wish, at least make me not care.” A good session of prayer takes me about 45 minutes, and it does slowly transform me in ways that other things do not (counseling, talking to a friend, talking to myself…). Change is slow, though, like turning a ship.

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  41. dee: I’ve been following this.Acts 29 has a long history of authoritarian leaders. I have a theory. This time,Mr. leader out abused even the authoritarian nut jobs The fact that Chandler ditched him means he upset Chandler as well. I will try to get more info and write on this.

    Just saw this news. My husband and I are sitting with our respective devices reading quotes from the CT article aloud to each other. This echos so much of our experience at an A29 church. The church had a network consultant come and conduct a ton of interviews and do an assessment at some point, and despite hearing people say “we don’t feel connected” and “it’s a cold church” and “we’re burnt out and tired,” he told the congregation that the church was basically healthy. About a year later, the church was on the brink of financial insolvency, which came as a complete “surprise” to the pastors. “Sound doctrine” was most definitely not a barometer for sub-Christian behaviors at that church, either.

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  42. Wild Honey,

    ““Sound doctrine” was most definitely not a barometer for sub-Christian behaviors at that church, either.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    are you disillusioned with the emphasis on “doctrine” like I am?

    (actually, disillusioned is to soft a word)

    doctrine doctrine doctrine

    meanwhile, all kinds of toxicity, cruelty, manipulation, half truths, corruption, etc. are going on.

    and since when did doctrine have anything to do with kindness & strong character?

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  43. Wild Honey: “we don’t feel connected” and “it’s a cold church” and “we’re burnt out and tired,”

    To which the New Calvinists respond “But we have “sound doctrine!” Where else are you going to go?!” “We alone possess the one true gospel” baloney eventually sounds like noisy gongs and clanging cymbals to those who sit under it for very long … there is a scarcity of love in such places, evidence that the new reformers aren’t keepers of the one true gospel at all.

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  44. Hi Janet
    I really liked your comment. However, I had to make a small edit. You are new to TWW and may not know that I do not encourage or allow political statements. I removed the name of the politician in your comment. If this is not acceptable to you let me know and I will deleted the entire comment and then you could rewrite it. I have many reasons for doing this, not the least of which is I get in enough trouble with what I do. I have decided not to add one more item that will cause controversy. Abuse is my hill to die on.

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  45. elastigirl: are you disillusioned with the emphasis on “doctrine” like I am?

    I’d describe my own POV slightly differently. I love doctrine, oddly enough. But I hate, with a passion, the lie-by-false-antithesis that has so gripped the minds of so many believers. That is, there are only two possibilities:
    1) Fashion doctrine into an idol, and call on it, saying, “You are our god! Save us!”
    2) Reject doctrine and be a Liberal Theologian.

    With apologies for sharing something I’ve quoted before, one of my favourite aphorisms goes thus:
    Where DOCTRINE is paramount, rules matter more than people and believers will hurt people to protect the rules. Where LOVE is paramount, people matter more than rules and believers will break the rules to help people.

    While [generic] you can love more than one friend/sibling/child/etc, you can only serve one master.

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  46. NickBulbeck: Reject doctrine and be a Liberal Theologian.

    Which really means actually having discussions with possibilities of answers beyond the ones prescribed. Coming to a different conclusion should not be referred to as ‘rejecting’ doctrine entirely.

    All they seem to want you to do is mindlessly parrot the ‘correct’ answers and scriptures back at them. How boring.

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  47. Nick Bulbeck,

    So I was raised/trained, to toe a VERY conservative/specific doctrine.. experienced most/many of the negatives that TWW talks about with respect to doctrine rules are PARAMOUNT..
    Then, I started to learn “outside the bubble”…. the most quantitative “enlightenment” came from physics …. laws of physics are just that, LAWS, and math is math… put those two together, and you get irrefutable evidence the Universe is old, OR, G$d is playing tricks on us….
    So, then I experienced all the “negative” (dare I say abuse) for not holding the fundy “doctrine rules”, when I just wanted to be honest with what I had learned….

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  48. Looking through the comments here about miracles and some of them come across like a very bad John MacArthur sermon. I think the problem arises from the tendency here towards a myopic focus here on corrupt, lying human beings. Liars get their pride puffed up by being able to be so convincing that some people will believe the most extreme and outrageous things that they create in their own head. So many stories of miracles, and certainly resurrections from the dead being the most extreme, are simply not true in any way at all. If all your focus is on man, as if God does not actually exist, then that is all you can ever see.

    However, if you put equal time into focusing on God then you start to see how His power is close to infinite in comparison with men who are less than ants to Him. If you meditate on how “His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts” then you realize that He does not jump through hoops for us. He does not have to give us “scientific” proof or satisfy any other of our requirements. He can do whatever miracle He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants. He can let whomever He wants to witness it. Jesus praised those who had faith in God, not those who were cynics about Him.

    I would say then that concentrating too much on the liars eclipses your view of the Son. Let God be God and let man be man. The comments that go so far as to essentially label God’s supernatural power as dead and Him so powerless that He cannot work whatever He wants through whomever He chooses are outrageously out of bounds. At that point your problem ceases to be with lying man but with God Himself. And to me the fact that liars try to copy miracles only points as evidence that they are real. Cheap imitations exist only because there is something valuable and real that has reason and purpose.

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  49. Lea,

    Et tu Muff?
    Yeah, what can I say?
    In my own defense, I will say this:

    Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m anything but a prude, in fact I’d probably get ejected from many Christian fellowships for my views on human sexuality (for example, like William Blake I believe in free love). Having said that, I stand on my previous comment that the half-time festivities were appropriate for a floor-show in a Bordello, not national TV.

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  50. Lea: All they seem to want you to do is mindlessly parrot the ‘correct’ answers and scriptures back at them. How boring.

    A perfect and timely example is this repost from Tim Challies’ blog this morning:
    https://www.challies.com/resources/quiz-doctrine-salvation/
    The title of it is “A Quiz on the Doctrine of Salvation.” The questions of course are all Calvinistic. I was disappointed with my results. I scored 69, which is much higher than I had hoped. I might need rehab…

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  51. Lea,

    If that was helpful, thanks be to God.

    A more compact way of thinking about this that I have found helpful is to distinguish, as we commonly do, between “ordinary” and “extra-ordinary” modes of God’s working. This is completely uncontroversial when applied to something like “how the material world operates under God’s governance.” We call the “ordinary” mode of God’s governance of the world “natural law” or “physics”; the occasional surprising departures from this we call “miracles.”

    I think that it is probably valid to distinguish between an “ordinary” and “extra-ordinary” mode of God’s working in or in response to our prayers. The extraordinary mode is what we see in Jesus’ promise to the apostles in the Johannine supper discourse, that whatever they asked the Father “in Jesus’ name” would be done for them. I personally suspect that many of Jesus’ mighty works were in fact wrought through “extraordinary mode” prayer, inasmuch as the Father always heard Jesus (Jn 11:41; the entire section on Lazarus’ restoration to life looks like the author may have understood this to have been wrought by the Father at Jesus’ request)

    What we see in the beginning of the book of Nehemiah could be called “ordinary” mode prayer.

    In my experience of church teaching on prayer, the ordinary mode is basically overlooked and the extraordinary mode is portrayed as the NT “standard” for present practice. I suspect that this is unhelpful. It certainly is discouraging to people who have been taught that the “extraordinary” mode should be their expectation of how God will respond, and who are left to wonder “what is wrong with me” when the expectation is not fulfilled.

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  52. elastigirl: and since when did doctrine have anything to do with kindness & strong character?

    I rarely make book recommendations (usually they’re a dime-o’-dozen), but the one I’m currently reading deserves mention:

    Here All Along By Sarah Hurwitz — It’s about a Jewish woman in her journey from atheism to agnosticism and then to her own brand of ‘faith’ by rediscovering Judaism and what it means to her in her own life. I’m about midway through it, and I’m struck by how many of the things we say here at TWW are her thoughts also.

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  53. Ken F (aka Tweed): A perfect and timely example is this repost from Tim Challies’ blog this morning:
    https://www.challies.com/resources/quiz-doctrine-salvation/
    The title of it is “A Quiz on the Doctrine of Salvation.” The questions of course are all Calvinistic. I was disappointed with my results.I scored 69, which is much higher than I had hoped. I might need rehab…

    84% and I’m not sure how I feel about that. OTOH, I am a good test taker and knew what the question was asking, which may not have been my beliefs, so…

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  54. Max: Not surprising. The cheap grace message of New Calvinism borders on antinomianism, in which some of these folks evidently believe that they have been released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law.

    “Morals are for men, Not… GODS…”
    — Second original Star Trek pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

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  55. Jeffrey Chalmers: So, then I experienced all the “negative” (dare I say abuse) for not holding the fundy “doctrine rules”, when I just wanted to be honest with what I had learned….

    The Rabbi from Tarsus defined faith as “the substance of things hoped for”, NOT denial of any and all evidence that doesn’t match up 110% with pre-existing belief and expectations.

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  56. Ken F (aka Tweed): Nothing empowers women more than showing a lot of skin, making overtly sexual gestures, and pole-dancing. Or not.

    Totally agreed and it makes sense (their primal power is real and formidable).
    Not in the lofty ethereals of old bearded dead men, but in the real nitty-gritty of the here and now.
    Songwriter and lyricist Rupert Holmes put it this way:

    So, in conclusion, it’s an optical illusion
    If you think that we’re the weaker race
    Men got the muscle, but the ladies got the hustle
    And the truth is staring in your face
    The mother bear stalks, and the queen of the hawks
    Is the one who brings home the bread.
    The lion that is regal, and the bald headed eagle
    Need a woman just to keep them fed…

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  57. Mr. Jesperson: The comments that go so far as to essentially label God’s supernatural power as dead and Him so powerless that He cannot work whatever He wants through whomever He chooses are outrageously out of bounds. At that point your problem ceases to be with lying man but with God Himself.

    So what do you say about Thomas the Doubter?

    What is God going to do to me for daring to say I don’t believe one particular story that lacks a name, date, and place?

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  58. elastigirl:
    Wild Honey,

    ““Sound doctrine” was most definitely not a barometer for sub-Christian behaviors at that church, either.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    are you disillusioned with the emphasis on “doctrine” like I am?

    (actually, disillusioned is to soft a word)

    doctrine doctrine doctrine

    meanwhile, all kinds of toxicity, cruelty, manipulation, half truths, corruption, etc. are going on.

    and since when did doctrine have anything to do with kindness & strong character?

    I think doctine has a place, but I’m going to paraphrase Paul: “If I have doctrine, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.”

    A gong gets your attention when used in appropriate contexts. I like a gong when used in a good percussion group, for example. But if it’s beat on day in and day out with no breaks or balance, it becomes either annoying or white noise that gets tuned out.

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  59. Nick Bulbeck: Thanks for taking one for the team there, Ken: I really don’t want to read through that quiz at all!

    Still, it is quite disturbing to find that I might be nearly 70% in agreement with Challies on this topic. I think it best for me to avoid his other doctrine tests. “If you can’t stand the answer, don’t ask the question.”

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  60. OK, so I did the stupid quiz. I got 24%, partly because there were some answers I couldn’t bring myself to choose even though I probably knew they were what the calvinismists believed, others where I failed to read the questions properly, and a few where apparently (and counterintuitively) the calvinismists believe the same things as I do.

    I was trying for 0%.

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  61. Muff Potter: half-time shows at football games and call it ‘talent’…

    Muff, this is extremely uncool. I’m pretty sure the 43 YO Shakira and the 50 YO JLo knew what they were doing and they looked very good doing it. I’d kill to be that athetic. And if you are worried about scantily clad women, you should have spoken up decades ago when the Dallas Cowboys started the trend of minimally dressed “cheerleaders.”

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  62. Max: Love isn’t the first word that pops into mind when describing the character of New Calvinists

    Well, they do talk a lot about love, but not in the same way that normal people do. This is a perfect example, if you can stomach reading it to the end:
    https://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Mar/26/if-our-loved-ones-are-hell-wont-spoil-heaven/.
    I won’t pull any quotes from it because it is still the dinner hour in many parts.

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  63. Lea,

    Here’s what bothers me about the whole thing. Pole dancing is an actual sport now, for exercise. The first pole dancers were men (look up the history). Cirque Soleil has pole acts. Anyone go there? I see women in less clothes at the beach any day of the week. Has anyone seen Olympic women’s volleyball? Less clothes on those women jumping all over. Has anyone seen Olympic men’s swimming speedos? Way less clothing than we saw at the halftime show.
    Yet, I never hear anyone complain about these outfits and movements.

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  64. Daisy: SBC Recalls ‘Year of Waking Up’ Since Abuse Investigation
    https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/february/sbc-waking-up-houston-chronicle-abuse-investigation.html

    “Advocates and journalists have faithfully filled the role of helping us to see things we can’t unsee.” (J.D. Greear, SBC Greear)

    I wonder if Mr. Greear considers Christian bloggers as “advocates”? Watchblogs, like TWW, have sounded the alarm on abuse for years while being accused of gossiping by SBC leaders. The series of articles in the Houston Chronicle forced the SBC to listen to what they were ignoring in the blogosphere. The watchblogs play an important role in the Body of Christ; church leaders need to pay more attention to the cries of the watchmen on the wall.

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  65. Max: “Advocates and journalists have faithfully filled the role of helping us to see things we can’t unsee.” (J.D. Greear, SBC Greear)

    I wonder if Mr. Greear considers Christian bloggers as “advocates”?Watchblogs, like TWW, have sounded the alarm on abuse for years while being accused of gossiping by SBC leaders.The series of articles in the Houston Chronicle forced the SBC to listen to what they were ignoring in the blogosphere.The watchblogs play an important role in the Body of Christ; church leaders need to pay more attention to the cries of the watchmen on the wall.

    The Bible has example after example of the human powers that be listening to those who message suits them.

    (And the ‘waking up’ headline is so par for the course.)

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  66. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Muff, this is extremely uncool.

    I’m cool with that, yeah, there are times when I rub people’s fur the wrong way, cut Muff some slack, he’s just an old dude who’s set in his ways, but I do apologize for any offense taken.

    Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: And if you are worried about scantily clad women, you should have spoken up decades ago when the Dallas Cowboys started the trend of minimally dressed “cheerleaders.”

    No worries here, I’ll be the first to admit that I love the sights and sounds of a good Burlesque show, the racier the better, I think our only real disagreement here is on the venue.

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  67. Mr. Jesperson: The comments that go so far as to essentially label God’s supernatural power as dead and Him so powerless that He cannot work whatever He wants through whomever He chooses are outrageously out of bounds.

    I think you are mistaken to assume that it is a matter of God being “powerless” or “dead” if we fail to be convinced that God is raising people from the dead, far away, in secret. I’ve been hearing these kind of stories for the past 40 years and have yet to see any reality or fruit from them.

    For me it is an acceptance of the reality that God is not choosing to do these things in the world at this time and a respect of his choice. Even if you believe the Bible accounts of miracles to be entirely accurate historically, you must admit that true miracles in the Bible were never an everyday or common occurrence, nor were we meant to rely on them happening.

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  68. Bridget: Yet, I never hear anyone complain about these outfits and movements.

    Agreed. I’ve gone to so many dance recitals and this stuff is honestly fine? I feel like people saw a pole and lost their minds. I’d much rather watch this nonstop fantastic dancing than adam levine take off his shirt again and mill around the stage singing about having moves like jagger. Meh.

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  69. JDV: The Bible has example after example of the human powers that be listening to those who message suits them.

    “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions” (Isaiah 30:10).

    The Christian Industrial Complex is cluttered with icons who flatter each other, but who ignore warnings from those who see their motives and agenda for what they really are.

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  70. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: the rumored “gold dust” events

    I recently watched a video in which a young woman who was kicked out of the Bethel ministry school in Redding talked to the interviewer about her experiences.

    Of course anybody can go on Youtube and say anything at all. With that stipulation, she said that one time some of the “gold dust” landed on her, and she took it to a business in town that appraised and bought gold items and the like.

    They analyzed it and pronounced it glitter from a party store.

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  71. SiteSeer: I think you are mistaken to assume that it is a matter of God being “powerless” or “dead” if we fail to be convinced that God is raising people from the dead, far away, in secret. I’ve been hearing these kind of stories for the past 40 years and have yet to see any reality or fruit from them.

    Reminds me of the stuff you see in supermarket tabloids — always extraordinary/paranormal, always way off on the other side of the world (or unspecified location) where you can never check on anything.

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  72. I’m as upset as you all are about Chris Conlee getting this gig.
    However, it should be noted that lots of more “mainstream” churches do healing prayer ministry. It’s not always meant to cure someone’s disease; sometimes it’s more focused on inner healing. I’ve personally benefited from it a lot.

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