United Christian Church of Dubai Pastor John Folmar Bites the Hand that Fed Him!

Dee here. A number of years ago I met Todd when he left UCCD under John Folmar which is a 9 Marks church. It was his experience that caused me to coin the term “Retroactive Church Discipline.” So, it may be presumed that I am not a fan of John Folmar. Now that I have seen him slam a church that paid him and treated him with nothing but kindness during his sabbatical. I was mad at how he treated Todd many years ago. I am mad once again as I observe the lack of character exhibited by this pastor. The rest of this post is written by Todd


I remember those happy days and often wish I could speak into the ears of the dead the gratitude which was due to them in life and so ill-returned.  –Gwyn Thomas 

John Folmar, my former pastor from the United Christian Church of Dubai, was given a six-month sabbatical beginning in January 2021. A sabbatical is generally a paid leave from a pastor’s church used for resting, recharging your battery, reading, studying a topic of interest, or even writing a book. Folmar used his sabbatical to work as interim pastor at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church in Dripping Springs, TX. He reportedly was expected to work 15-20 hours per week, but threw himself into his job, working 40 hours per week! Folmar received a salary, use of the parsonage, and a church member allowed the Folmars to use his car. Below is a clip from Folmar’s last sermon at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church – June 27, 2021.

His contract finished, Folmar rushed back to Dubai to preach at UCCD on Friday, July 2. On the first Friday of every month, UCCD also meets in the evening. They conduct church business at this meeting, voting on accepting new members and excommunicating others! Folmar advised the membership that he would be returning to the United States in August and hopes to return to Dubai after the Christmas holidays. Unknown to me is whether UCCD extended Folmar another 6 months of sabbatical leave. Sources have informed me that Folmar will be residing in Georgia for the next six months. I assume he will be looking to preach somewhere again. I wouldn’t be surprised if Folmar attempts to land a permanent senior pastor’s job somewhere and remain in the USA, but telling UCCD he plans on returning will keep his options open.

Notice in the screenshot below that Jonathan Leeman will be preaching for three weeks after Folmar departs. Folmar, Leeman, and Mark Dever are all good friends, and, need I add, good little 9Marxists. It is unusual for Leeman to preach three weeks in a row at UCCD; in fact, I can confidently say this has never before happened.  This leads me to speculate that he may be at UCCD to grease the skids for another 9Marxist to replace Folmar. If true, I would be offended if I were a member of UCCD. The 9Marxists are into autonomous elder-ruled churches, so what business would it be of Leemans/9Marx to attempt to get their next man into the pulpit of UCCD?

Now I come to the video that drove me to write this blog post. After thanking Sunset Canyon Baptist Church for their kindness and generosity in the clip above, three weeks later Folmar demonstrates a total lack of class and gratitude. He slams the church in the USA (actually two churches)  in front of his Dubai congregation for their lack of prayerfulness. Two things about that – first, it is not true. I watched many of the services online and there was never a lack of prayer. Folmar himself conducted several prayers during each service. Maybe the laity weren’t as polished or as comfortable praying publicly as Folmar, but that’s no reason to call them out. As you will see in a later video clip, Folmar was doing his best to influence the church to implement membership contracts, a statement of faith, and church discipline. Perhaps he should have backed off his efforts to implement his 9Marx doctrines and spent some time teaching the church about prayer.

 

After preaching at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church for three months Folmar figured it was time to start pushing 9Marx Doctrines on the members.  You will notice that ten years prior, Folmar had written an article in the 9Marx journal stressing to avoid alienating a congregation by pushing these very things too quickly. Six months after Folmar’s article, Brian Croft said the same thing in another 9Marx article.  Stunning behavior by the seasoned pastor, to say the least.

1. Teach on it first.
The surest way to alienate a congregation is to begin changing the culture of the church without laying out a biblical case for the change. Paul exhorted Timothy to minister with “great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). If your church existed for years without biblical membership, then it may take years to see true biblical change. – John Folmar, “Implementing Membership in an Existing Church,” 4/28/2011.

1. Wait for the right time to implement change.
The most common tactic of a zealous pastor beginning a church revitalization—which is the worst thing he could do—is to try to change everything that needs to be changed within the first year or two. Of course the church needs to change, else it would not be characterized as needing revitalization, yet change must come slowly. Trust must be built. Sheep first need to feel cared for by the shepherd before they will follow him down a new path. -Brian Croft, “Five Unexpected Lessons in Church Revitalization,” 10/28/2011.

I thought this video clip from a sermon in May was a bit hypocritical. Folmar is on a sabbatical, yet working full-time in a job where the church officials told him they only expected him to work 15-20 hours!

I will finish up with a clip that illustrates a couple of points. Folmar is always looking for churches in the USA to donate money, excuse me, partner with his church in Dubai. He plays the ridiculous game of not naming where his church is. This plays on the emotions of the American people… oooh, it’s so dangerous over there in the Middle East that you can’t give the location away.  I should mention that in the very first appearance of Folmar at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church one of the leaders introduced John, reciting a short bio on him, including the fact that he was a pastor in Dubai. Folmar had two elders from UCCD visit Sunset Canyon Baptist Church while there, and also the pastor of Grace Church of Sharjah, Anand Samuel. Each time Folmar used the occasion to encourage the church to partner with the churches in the Middle East.

I think if this blog gets viewed by members of Sunset Canyon Baptist Church they will think twice about partnering with John Folmar. In fact, they likely already have. All his sermon videos used to be on the Sunset Canyon Baptist Church website. I checked today and the videos are no longer available to the public, although some sermons are available in audio form only. Thankfully, I have been blogging long enough to know to make copies/videos of things I find interesting. Material has a way of disappearing on the internet.


Comments

United Christian Church of Dubai Pastor John Folmar Bites the Hand that Fed Him! — 90 Comments

  1. John Folmar should pay back all the money expended upon him while he was on sabbatical. This video is just rude. Does Folmar think, in the days of the Internet, that nobody at Sunset Baptist is going to see this?

    I’m wondering if Folmar’s rant about “not enough prayer” is perhaps a response to Sunset Baptist deciding not to go along with 9Marxist teachings, such as membership contracts. It would not surprise me at all.

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  2. “I think if this blog gets viewed by members … they will think twice about partnering with … In fact, they likely already have. All his sermons’ videos used to be on the … website. I checked today and the videos are no longer available to the public, although some sermons are available in audio form only. Thankfully, I have been blogging long enough to know to make copies/videos of things I find interesting. Material has a way of disappearing on the internet.”

    Disappearing after scrutiny? Because the speakers are above reproach? Or, those who invest $$$ in supporting them are discouraged, well verboten, from the Berean approach in the NT.

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  3. Ava Aaronson: the Berean approach in the NT

    The Berean practice must not be one of the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church, according to 9 Marks men.

    Au contraire, in the NT narrative, God seems to imply that the Berean habit of scrutiny of church teaching, leaders, & practices IS a sign of a healthy church.

    “ … therefore, fear and serve the Lord in sincerity and truth; and do away with the gods which your fathers served … and serve the Lord. But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve … ; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – from Joshua 24

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  4. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Does Folmar think, in the days of the Internet, that nobody at Sunset Baptist is going to see this?

    According to @LeahRemini & @MikeRinder, some religious authorities (such as in Scientology), do not allow their followers to be on the Internet.

    For some religious groups, authority* of what to know, think, believe, speak, and how to vote, comes from the religious leadership.

    *(notably critical thinking with discernment is NOT one of the 9 Marks)

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  5. Max: sheep are getting dumber by the year

    I don’t know, Max.

    How many of us have come to the Lord, & there’s a guy up front representing God, and we fall in line, until we figure out – Epiphany – that guy does not represent God.

    We have to be mature in our faith enough to the point where we can tell the difference. Where Bait(Seeking God)-and-Switch(the Preacher Man represents God) doesn’t work on us anymore, even if then we end up out there, outside of the orgs in our locale, seeking God on our own. That’s a journey, Max.

    What was the last straw for you? How did you figure it out? Feel free to share.

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  6. “the church needs to change, else it would not be characterized as needing revitalization” (Brian Croft)

    “Revitalization” is a fancy word used by NeoCals which really means “Calvinization.” Lots of SBC traditional (non-Calvinist) churches have felt the sting of revitalization at the hands of New Calvinists. The new reformers entered their pulpits by stealth and deception (lying about their theological leaning) … to later change church governance to elder-rule, introduce reformed theology, and wrench control of the church from members who had financed it over many years.

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  7. Ava Aaronson: What was the last straw for you? How did you figure it out? Feel free to share.

    When I got tired of doing church without God and began to seek His face rather than having the pulpit do it for me. It’s amazing how clearly you can see when you remove that filter. It’s astounding how much error you can flush from your spirit when you personally pour Word into the inner man rather than trusting the teachings of mere men. Yep, we’re doing church upside down … the pulpit needs to serve (not rule) those who want to move on in God, rather than dumbing them down and stunting their growth. The sheep need to wise up to this wicked scheme.

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  8. Ava Aaronson: How many of us have come to the Lord, & there’s a guy up front representing God, and we fall in line, until we figure out – Epiphany – that guy does not represent God.

    We have to be mature in our faith enough to the point where we can tell the difference.

    Unfortunately, it takes that sort of thing to mature us in our faith. Experience is a great teacher … if you heed its instruction.

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  9. Max: Did you happen to save Ed Litton’s missing 150 sermon videos before they disappeared?

    Unfortunately, no. TBH I had never heard of the guy prior to his election as SBC President. I do, however, have all the goods on Derek W.H. Thomas. His plagiarism may make Litton blush. He wrote a commentary on Acts that P&R Publishing had to take off the shelves due to wide-spread plagiarism. He received a mere slap on the wrist for actions that would have had students at Reformed Seminary (where he is an adjunct professor) expelled if they did the same. A short time later the man was honored to say the opening prayer at the U.S. House of Representatives.

    https://thouarttheman.org/2019/04/20/derek-w-h-thomas-plagiarism-the-brand-is-fundamentally-corrupt/

    https://thouarttheman.org/2019/10/29/plagiarizer-derek-w-h-thomas-offers-opening-prayer-in-u-s-house-of-representatives/

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  10. Max: When I got tired of doing church without God and began to seek His face rather than having the pulpit do it for me. It’s amazing how clearly you can see when you remove that filter. It’s astounding how much error you can flush from your spirit when you personally pour Word into the inner man rather than trusting the teachings of mere men. Yep, we’re doing church upside down … the pulpit needs to serve (not rule) those who want to move on in God, rather than dumbing them down and stunting their growth. The sheep need to wise up to this wicked scheme.

    This is highly encouraging. Thanks for sharing. Wisdom.

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  11. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Does Folmar think, in the days of the Internet, that nobody at Sunset Baptist is going to see this?

    I don’t think Folmer or any of the others like him really care if they’re exposed on the internet.
    They have such a strangle hold of fear on the people they reign over, they know that any negative press will have only a negligible effect on their bottom line.

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  12. Muff Potter: They have such a strangle hold of fear on the people they reign over

    “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)

    Pulpits which have a “strangle hold of fear” over the pew are not operating in the Holy Spirit. Church members which fear church leaders need to head for the exit … shunning and excommunication are small prices to pay to be free in Christ and not bound by weak men.

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  13. Muff Potter: strangle hold of fear on the people

    This came up in another situation unfolding in a church/school, with comments from @BenjLesLantz who references “A Church Called Tov” by @scotmcknight and @laurambarringer:

    “What are warning signs of a toxic culture, according to Scot and Laura? 1) Narcissism and 2) Power through fear. Both of these signs are present in spades at BCS. Virtually everyone is drawn to the school because of Piper’s influence and theology.”

    [Left the last sentence in there, although not knowing Piper’s schtick, no idea about the connection. No offense, but Piper seems diminutive, a wisp of a fellow, quite seniorly & soft-spoken; the fear part does not seem apparent from over the internet.]

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  14. If your church existed for years without biblical membership, then it may take years to see true biblical change. – John Folmar, “Implementing Membership in an Existing Church,” 4/28/2011.

    So, what is “Biblical Membership”….. attending a Christian College for three years, taking their required Christian Courses, and over 50 years of attending/membership in a variety of churches, and I do not know what “ Biblical Membership” is…… I guess John Folmar has the “secret sauce”??

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  15. Ava Aaronson: What was the last straw for you? How did you figure it out? Feel free to share.

    Lying whenever they were trying to get people to do what they wanted. And they were never ashamed about lying, but just blamed others for not going along with it.

    The constant redefining of words like “Gospel” was another hint, which to me is a kind of lying, because they use those words to sound “Christian” while resetting the goalposts.

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  16. Ava Aaronson: some religious authorities (such as in Scientology), do not allow their followers to be on the Internet.

    I seem to recall that the leaders of some of the abusive churches we’ve read about have “preached” – especially when the chips started falling – that their congregants should avoid social media and especially “blogs” that might raise questions about the church leadership.

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  17. Cynthia W.: “preached” – especially when the chips started falling – that their congregants should avoid social media and especially “blogs” that might raise questions about the church leadership

    Yeah, they proclaim that Christian watchblogs are really the work of the devil. Robert Morris chastised his church members like this:

    “I’m really concerned about how much time people spend on the Internet. I’m extremely concerned about it. Extremely concerned about it; here’s one thing, just even the blogs that mention Christian leaders, and I’m one of ‘em. Praise the Lord, I’ve made the Satan, Satan’s hit list now you know, but here’s what blows me away. You wouldn’t listen to gossip, but you’ll read it.”

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  18. Cynthia W.: I have an unfortunate tendency to ask people, “What, exactly, do you mean by that?” when I hear buzzwords or stock phrases. They often get upset.

    It is wisdom to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out.” (1 John 4:1)

    So many nominal Christians are drawn into snares because they do not challenge aberrant teachings, call out questionable leaders, test the spirits. Too many churchgoers identify with their religion, its theology, its leaders and their version of truth … rather than in Christ. “Christian” is just a label to them; they have no power to know and resist the work of the enemy in their midst.

    Yep, it is wisdom to ask “What, exactly, do you mean by that?” and then compare their answers (if they give you any) with what the Word really says through personal prayer and Bible study as you seek God’s face not the teachings and traditions of men.

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  19. Cynthia W.: I have an unfortunate tendency to ask people, “What, exactly, do you mean by that?” when I hear buzzwords or stock phrases. They often get upset.

    They are trained very well on how to deflect. My experience is that they usually start questioning you on why you don’t follow God and the Bible. Or they launch into some quote by one of their leaders that doesn’t really explain anything, but they insist it does and that you should just accept that as the answer.

    I am not sure even having discussions with them is useful or effective. I just stop at “No” or “You’re wrong” and walk away and refuse to deal with them entirely. Ultimately, their goal is to put you under them by any means possible and if you refuse, they lose.

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  20. ishy: I am not sure even having discussions with them is useful or effective. I just stop at “No” or “You’re wrong” and walk away and refuse to deal with them entirely.

    I was in a church service one time when I sat amazed at the error coming from the pulpit. As I was ruminating on one particular statement by the “pastor”, a young man behind me stood up and shouted “No, that’s not right!” He was promptly exited out of the church by a couple of burly deacon-bouncers. While I may not have agreed with the young fellow’s approach to question a teaching, I sure appreciated his boldness!

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  21. Muff Potter: I don’t think Folmer or any of the others like him really care if they’re exposed on the internet.
    They have such a strangle hold of fear on the people they reign over, they know that any negative press will have only a negligible effect on their bottom line.

    And they can always spin any negative press as “PERSECUTION!!!!!!”, i.e. PROOF of their own Righteousness.

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  22. ishy: They are trained very well on how to deflect. My experience is that they usually start questioning you on why you don’t follow God and the Bible.

    Like the Gish Gallop of Bible Bullets (“VERSE! VESRE! VERSE! QUOTE! QUOTE! QUOTE!”) from a Calvary Chapel-bot.

    Max: Oh yeah, arrogance is a mean streak that runs through 21st century church leadership. God hates it.

    Not merely “arrogance” (and never underestimate the Arrogance of God’s Speshul Pets), but the obsession with Christianese One-Upmanship/Virtue Signalling.

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  23. Max: I can’t believe the pew puts up with this nonsense

    Todd, is Folmar under anyone’s authority at the church? Elders? Congregation? I find it very difficult to believe church leadership would allow Folmar to take a sabbatical where he then works full-time at another church. Who’s in charge over there?

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  24. Paul K: Todd, is Folmar under anyone’s authority at the church? Elders? Congregation? I find it very difficult to believe church leadership would allow Folmar to take a sabbatical where he then works full-time at another church. Who’s in charge over there?

    The short answer – No
    On paper they are an elder ruled church, with all elders equal. In reality Folmar is the boss, surrounded by yes men he has handpicked.

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  25. Paul K: Is it bad taste to post links to your own writing on other blogs?

    Read your post. Thx for the link. Appreciated. Well stated.

    If you’ve written it once, it’s easier just to use the link & go to the post.

    I do the same. There are some topics that appear often & a person may have already covered their response in a post on their own blog. Works for me, both reading (others) & writing (my own).

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  26. Max: The videos spew arrogance

    That was the word that came to my mind, Max. The delivery style is Respect My Authoritah. I went to this place and brought back True Facts, so don’t even wonder if I’m giving the whole story.

    I don’t want that at church. I want someone who draws me into thinking more deeply and empathetically, who can help me perceive God in a crazy life and a world gone mad. And yes, I get to choose my church or stay home.

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  27. Friend: I want someone who draws me into thinking more deeply and empathetically, who can help me perceive God in a crazy life and a world gone mad.

    That. (And not have the perception of God filtered through so many of the twisted filters that exist….kinda like replacing my eyeglasses when my prescription changes. There are days I look in awe at the deep green leaves of trees against a blue, blue sky and I am grateful for simple things like eyeglasses that allow me to see such beauty, and to see that beauty in detail.)

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  28. Muff Potter: this Earth will do just fine when she’s freed from the grip of evil men who care nothing for her well being.

    Some of them guys even pack the pews on Sunday morning and sing with gusto about what it’s like ‘up there’… never giving a rat’s a$$ what it’s like down here unless they can somehow make a profit off of it.

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  29. Todd Wilhelm,

    I don’t know that you needed to save Litton’s sermons. I appears that associates, or individuals friendly to the Founders Ministries have already done so. They posted a recent video referencing sermon material roughly a decade old. Specifically brought up was a sermon where Litton’s wife joined him onstage.

    It appears the war has started within the SBC. I say this based on Founders statements. I take them seriously, and on face value.

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  30. Paul K: Todd, is Folmar under anyone’s authority at the church? Elders? Congregation?

    How about “GAWD Alone”?

    I find it very difficult to believe church leadership would allow Folmar to take a sabbatical where he then works full-time at another church.

    Ever heard of the term “double dipping”?

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  31. Paul K:
    Cynthia W.,

    I wrote about how I don’t like that word at all!

    https://link.medium.com/aHUBYMcl3hb

    Is it bad taste to post links to your own writing on other blogs?I truly don’t know.

    Just some comments on that link…

    Why I Don’t Like the Word “Biblical”

    Same here and for the same reasons.
    Though the word I cannot stomach is SCRIPTURE(TM).
    That was THE buzzword during my time in-country.

    evangelicals tend to look toward a single Bible teacher (or a small cadre of like-minded teachers) to tell them what to believe

    In my time in-country, the Infallibale Bible Teacher was (in absentia) Hal Lindsay, whose Late Great Planet Earth was Inerrant SCRIPTURE.

    “Don’t think any further. Don’t read other opinions. We have the Bible’s authoritative teaching, and it’s dangerous to disagree.”

    On (unspoken) pain of Being Left Behind and Eternal Hell.

    The spirit of this word shows up in other phrases like, “The clear teaching of Scripture…” and “the Bible explicitly says…”,

    Like how the Bible explicitly says that the Demon Locust plague of Revelation are clearly helicopter gunships armed with chemical-weapon “tail stingers” and piloted by long-haired bearded hippies.

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  32. Muff Potter: Some of them guys even pack the pews on Sunday morning and sing with gusto about what it’s like ‘up there’…

    Because if everything is about “up there” and “the hereafter”, the only thing the here-and-now is worth is “It’s All Gonna Burn”.

    When The World Ends Tomorrow (at the latest) and It’s All Gonna Burn, don’t expect anyone to make plans or dare great things. “Future? What future?”

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  33. Max: The videos spew arrogance, typical of New Calvinist leaders.

    Never underestimate the Arrogance of God’s Speshul Pets.

    I can’t believe the pew puts up with this nonsense; I swear the sheep are getting dumber by the year.

    You mean the fresh mutton?

    “And God will never make you free
    For look who speaks for God;
    The shepherd fleeceth every sheep
    That he guideth with his rod…”
    — Leslie Fish, “No High Ground”

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  34. researcher: That. (And not have the perception of God filtered through so many of the twisted filters that exist….kinda like replacing my eyeglasses when my prescription changes. There are days I look in awe at the deep green leaves of trees against a blue, blue sky and I am grateful for simple things like eyeglasses that allow me to see such beauty, and to see that beauty in detail.)

    As someone who literally *just* got a new pair of glasses, I can relate!

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  35. Or maybe the demon attack isn’t helicopters and stingers but spikey virus?

    Maybe global warming is the burning we were warned about?

    Remember, John the Baptist was not a reincarnated nor resurrected Elijah, but he was the forerunner humans were to watch for. Maybe Jesus was not quite a literalist? Dealt in metaphors?

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  36. Cynthia W.: Earlier today, I asked a minister who referred to “BIBLICAL change” and “Kingdom results” that “bring honor to Jesus” if he would share any specific examples. We’ll see what happens.

    I (and perhaps other TWWers?) would be interested in examples the minister shares with you. (If you have the time….and if there is nothing preventing you from sharing in TWW comments.)

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  37. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Also “Gospel This and That.” They are ruining all the best words!

    As with Scientology, words are cloaked:
    for a season
    (aforementioned: Gospel, biblical, Christ-centered)
    plant a seed (donate $$$)
    touch not God’s anointed
    winsome
    surrender
    God said
    on mission
    b*tter
    slain by the HS
    unforgiving
    wayward woman
    Jezebel
    critical spirit (may be critical thinking, Berean-style)
    godly manhood, godly womanhood
    etc.

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  38. Cynthia W.,
    researcher,

    Cynthia W.: “Earlier today, I asked a minister who referred to “BIBLICAL change” and “Kingdom results” that “bring honor to Jesus” if he would share any specific examples. We’ll see what happens.”

    researcher: “I (and perhaps other TWWers?) would be interested in examples the minister shares with you.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    now the fun is really kicking in.

    yes, please share.

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  39. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    HUG is not exaggerating….. I distinctly remember locust being helicopters, et al…
    HUG, I am currently vacationing in Santa Barbara, where I lived from fall of 78- through spring 81 and attended a Christian College…. so, I am having “flashbacks” to the “Jesus freaks” culture of that time…
    …the world was filled with guns and wars, and everyone got trampled on the floor…..

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  40. That last video clip is shocking to me, because it’s SO self-centered. He’s not impressed that they serve God by showing love to the neighbors of the church, or by caring for each other, but just how much they’ve done for him!! And he thinks it funny that he drove the loaner car into the ground! Somehiw, I’m not really sure God is his true center.

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