Why do I post these pictures of the universe? Because even in the darkness of what I write about, there is still beauty and the evidence of an infinitely grand and beautiful Creator. It is to point back to something extraordinary amid this sadness in the church.
As I started this post, it felt like I’d been writing about the ARC for a long time. My first post was in 2013, and, lo and behold, it mentioned Stovall Weems, the topic of today’s post. It was Dino Rizzo, Stovall Weems, and Steven Furtick: Banking on the ARC?.
If you choose to read that, you will learn that Stovall Weems was a member of Steven Furticks’ Board of Elders, but since he didn’t live in Charlotte, he served “in absentia.” You would also find out that Weems was a member of the ARC’s Board of Overseers. The ARC link no longer works so I guess they are pretending he’s out. Below I discussed his former home. Remember what an $800,000 home was like nine years ago? I also made the following observation since it appeared to me that these ARC boys live high on the hog.
Furtick made quite sure that the pastors who would approve his salary are pastors like him. That is, he wants high living pastors who are making bank on their affiliation as lead pastors in churches. For example, another committee member, Stovall Weems, lives quite well in the Jacksonville area in a house assessed at over $800,000. Here is a link to the City of Jacksonville’s Property Appraiser’s Office. Check for the listing under Charles S Weems IV.
So why is Dee going back to the past? I wanted to point out that Weems lived very well on the ARC dime. He probably got some extra dinero from serving as an “Overseer” (his term, not mine) of Steven Furtick who, in case you haven’t heard, had the most expensive home in North Carolina-even beating out former Senator John Edwards and the CEO of SAS. Good job as overseer, Weems.
PS I don’t believe he is really gone from the ARC. The ARC stops talking when they have an “episode.” I would wager to guess he is still helping run things, but I hope I’m wrong.
Stovall Weems started and built Celebration Church and then got into a heap of trouble.
According to Wikipedia:
Celebration Church was founded by Stovall and Kerri Weems and began in 1998 with 7 people and grew to 4,500 by 2004. In 2008, Celebration Church was listed at the 96th largest church in the nation with 7,000 in attendance.
In August 2011, a ceremony was held for its new location, a 7,000 square foot facility on 30 acres near 9A and Baymeadows Road. The $15 million building project will feature 3,000 seats in the arena-style sanctuary, and broadcasting and audio visual capabilities.
It appeared to bring in the bucks.
In 2018, Celebration Church’s total revenue for the year was valued at a reported $13,639,193 by the ECFA, and their total assets were valued at a reported $44,213,694.
There is little question that Celebration Church was connected with the ARC since Weems started it in 1998 and was on the Board of Overseers of the ARC in 2013.
Stovall Weems is accused of embezzlement, emotional abuse, and narcissism.
Things went south in 2018, but Dee imagines that things were problematic even before then. Did I ever tell you the one about the ARC, Prayer Force, and the belief that demons are present in places where there are no flowers?
So what happened at the Celebration? Do you mean besides some lousy theology, living extremely well, etc.? Well, sort of that and more.
Dee shakes off her yawn. These ARC boys sure know how to get into a heap of trouble, and this present brouhaha is no surprise to me. According to I-TEAM: Celebration Church releases findings of explosive investigation into founding pastor.
Things got so bad that the board of trustees hired an outside law firm to do an investigation. This report was explosive. Here is a link to the complete research. Special thanks to a friend on Twitter.
Nelson Mullins REPORT OF INVESTIGATION to CELEBRATION CHURCH OF JACKSONVILLE, INC. April 24, 2022
The following will be some of the findings of this report.
Weems had an “encounter” (as it is being called) and saw Jesus
According to I-Team: it supposedly all started with Weems’ supposed encounter with “Jesus” in 2018.
The church said things changed following a Seder service on Passover in 2018, where Stovall Weems said he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
“Witnesses to the events at the Weems residence in the days following the Encounter describe Weems as visibly shaking and sobbing. They also confirmed that Kerri Weems was distraught and overwhelmed by her husband’s behavior,” said the report. “Kerri Weems has a history of clinical depression, a topic which she openly discussed. People close with Kerri Weems stated that she expressed being suicidal as a result of the Encounter and Weems’ behavior following it. Despite repeated requests by many, the Weemses refused to take any meaningful time off after the Encounter to process the event.”
The Christian Post reported on this further:
During the service, which The Christian Post previously reported, Weems told his congregation that he met Jesus Christ on Good Friday and was surprised by His personality.
“The first thing that I was taken back with is like Jesus’ personality. This is how Jesus was when He was on the earth. I heard His voice … the cadence of His voice. I can sense His mood. I can sense His presence, like He has a personality,” Weems said at the time. “I can’t describe the closeness that I felt with Jesus. He didn’t look at me. I never saw the front of his face. He was wearing a white garment. He had brown hair.”
Apparently, he became more authoritative, and that is saying something for the very authoritative ARC crowd.
The report said over time, Weems used the encounter to justify his authority and maintain control of the church.
“If questioned, Weems would respond by saying that this direction was given to him by God through the Encounter,” said the investigative report.
The report said for months following the 2018 encounter, Weems struggled to form words or communicate effectively. It said he disengaged in business meetings with staff and cried frequently. The report said Weems began making strange comments about sweeping changes he intended for the church’s ministry.
My thoughts on this: Had not all of this other bad stuff happened, the church members would probably have blown off this “encounter” of Weems. I believe this pronouncement of an “encounter” fits within the lightweight theology seen in and around the ARC, which I’ve written about from time to time.
The Christian Post wrote Celebration Church report paints founders Stovall and Kerri Weems as abusive, mentally troubled
Weems is accused of narcissism.
“The single word used most frequently to describe Stovall Weems was ‘narcissist.’ Nearly every witness we interviewed used that specific word,” states the 22-page report produced by the Nelson Mullins law firm.
…One employee cited in the report alleged that Weems once made them drive to a liquor store to get a bottle of bourbon for his house late at night because he “did not want to be seen purchasing liquor.” Another employee claimed Weems had them buy a car and deliver it to his house, but never offered the employee transportation back to their own home.
“After the employee delivered the car as demanded, Weems told him to find his own ride home,” the report states.
Weems of accused of fraud- Is prison in the future?
According to ‘Looks like a classic fraud,’ former prosecutor says of Celebration Church report
“I think given what we read here, assuming it’s accurate, it would seem to be a foregone conclusion that the pastor is going to face criminal charges,” Fallgatter said.
The report found Weems used the church to enrich himself and broke church bylaws by making major financial decisions without the board’s approval.
The report says Weems bought a home on the Nassau River and sold it four months later to the church for a $430,000 profit and pocketed the money without board approval. The report calls it embezzlement.
…“That’s a prison time case,” Fallgatter said.
According to the Christian Post:
The Weemses allegedly reveled in the comfort of private charter flights to exotic locations, a full “house staff” and personal assistants to respond to their exacting demands. The report claims that the “Weemses’ compensation, staff, travel and expense accounts comprised approximately 10% of the Church’s total revenue.”
“Despite these privileges, the Weemses treated people who attended to them as inferior,” the report says. “In 2020, Weems drafted a document that instructed the Weemses’ assistants on how they were to keep each of the three residences so the Weemses would not be bothered during their transitions between homes. This was so the Weemses could focus on their ‘spiritual acuity’ at all times.”
Is the church insolvent? Will criminal charges be pursued?
According to the Florida Times-Union: Celebration Church hit ‘brink of insolvency,’ says report claiming fraud by founder Weems
The report said the Jacksonville minister, who was suspended by the megachurch’s trustees in January, “brought Celebration to the brink of insolvency” while coloring his leadership with arrogance, entitlement, greed and other character flaws. It said Weems also failed to follow the fiduciary duties a senior pastor like him owes to his church.
…A statement posted on the church’s website said the report’s findings would be forwarded to authorities to decide whether to file criminal charges, one of a series of steps the lawyers recommended and the trustees approved.
So what’s going on with the Weems and Celebration Church?
- Weems was put on leave in January and had since “resigned.”
- There is some concern that money given to other entities was improper and that those entities must repay those monies.
- The church plans to remove the Weems from the parsonage and sell it.
- There is some indication that he might start another church. (Don’t they all?)
- You must read about Weems’ alleged church-related purchase of $500,000 worth of digital security called TurnCoin.
Please read the entire statement by the church. It’s a doozy. Kudos to those members who did the right thing.
Weems claims he is suing the church-the church he started. This move speaks to his heart. It appears he thought the church belonged to him. He is now facing possible criminal charges. I bet this isn’t the last post we’ll write about Weems.
None of this surprises me in the least.
“Furtick made quite sure that the pastors who would approve his salary are pastors like him. That is, he wants high living pastors who are making bank on their affiliation as lead pastors in churches.”
Unfortunately, these hucksters are a dime a dozen.
“The single word used most frequently to describe Stovall Weems was ‘narcissist.’ Nearly every witness we interviewed used that specific word,” states the 22-page report produced by the Nelson Mullins law firm.”
I don’t believe you need to hire a law firm to figure that out! Show me a mega-church pastor and I’ll show you a narcissist.
There is nothing new under the sun.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing have been around for thousands of years.
I just concluded a round trip drive from my blue state home to Jacksonville, and was astonished at how big a business – and it is a business, and very big – church is in the southern reaches. We even drove through the disappointingly shabby city of Falwell’s Church where I could see for myself the bizarre cluster of real estate projects calling itself a university, which has its own TWW problems. A very big business indeed. What would Christ make of all these arbitrageurs in the temple?
Some of your contributors will have seen this already from a previous article about Hillsong.
Come and listen to a story ’bout a preacher named Jed.
Poor rural parson barely kept his family fed.
Then one day he went to Pastor’s School,
And when he returned, he was a Fundy tool.
(Gimmicks, that is. Proof texts. Lotsa rules.)
Well the next thing you know, the Mega Church looks great,
Buses everywhere throughout the Tri-State,
New Basement Bible College and Academy,
With just one man to rule so there is no anarchy.
(Dictatorship that is. Pastoral Authority. IFB heroes.)
Well, now its time to say goodbye to Jed and all his ilk.
Now that he is doing time his wife’s no more in silk.
You’re all invited to stop in on Thursday about noon
To commiserate with the former Fundy church tycoon.
(The Elm Street Embezzler. That’s what they call him now.
Property auction in two weeks. Ya’ll come bid now, ya hear!)
Dee: “Kudos to those members who did the right thing.”
Erm. Clearly this pastor did a lot of unethical and hurtful stuff. Financially and interpersonally. Not glossing over that. But wasn’t it these same members who enabled him to live so high in on the hog in the first place? They were paying their pastor’s salary knowing he had 3 homes weren’t they? The Weems’ lifestyle was soaking up 10% of the budget in a church of 7k people but nobody cared till they realized he was also stealing money? The laborer is worthy of his wages and all that but still. It seems nuts to me that people would be ok with what this guy was getting out of the church openly, even before the embezzlement was found out! Maybe I am missing something here but it just seems like there were a lot of other red flags that people must have chosen to overlook.
uhhhh … jerks don’t have encounters with Jesus … must have been the bourbon kicking in. America has some of the most gullible churchgoers on the planet to keep falling for stuff like this.
Another example of a rotten-to-the-core mega mess.
Manipulation, intimidation and domination are not spiritual gifts.
Living in a mansion, when Jesus had no place to lay His head.
And My people love it so. Both pulpit and pew stand guilty before God for “ministries” which trample the precious name of Jesus in the street.
The wolves have found it more profitable to dress in shepherd’s clothing.
He would overturn their tables and whip them.
Pulpit actors would have no stage if it weren’t for a gullible pew willing to buy tickets to the show. Mega-mania exists because of mega-maniacs in the audience who don’t have a clue about the Kingdom of God.
The church as a nonprofit* enterprise with pastors + wives + kids as beneficiaries is a model found nowhere in the NT.
1. Cut out the middleman + wife + kids.
2. Assemble as 18 gifts of the HS to the Body of Christ. Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4.
Until these two happen, we will continue to see the above scenario replay infinitesimally, without end.
The formula is: elevate the pastor “gift” above the other 17 gifts from the HS and a narcissist swimming in the toxic soup of power, vice, & $$$ will result, every single time.
Church idolatry breeds the trifecta: power, vice, $$$, for the idol, those at the top, worshipped, which is the core of this pastor dynamic thing. It is a thing. Big time in the US, in any case.
“My pastor” is codependency from the get-go. Grow up, to “My Shepherd is Jesus” and the ground at the foot of the cross is level. Then share… “my HS gift is … while his/her HS gift is pastoring. We share with each other.” Like how we run our book club: secretary, treasurer, organizer, public relations, etc. Then everybody reads the book, while doing their part.
*Lots of improprieties in nonprofits, those who work closely with nonprofits can testify. Keep a watchful eye.
But when it is an actual encounter, it changes the jerks for the better, not the worse. It takes them off the jerk path and puts then on a better path.
Thinking Saul on the Road to Damascus here.
Mega-mania is a non-prophet enterprise
The ONLY legitimate Church of the Living God … but I don’t see much movement in that direction by the institutional church in America.
You are not truly doing Church if all of the gifts given to it by God are not in operation … no gift is more important than another … they are all to work together. Much of the institutional church is willingly ignorant about this, preferring Christianity Lite and church as entertainment over the Holy enterprise it is meant to be.
And the way he treated employees ……… When I was growing up, if I had treated livestock half that badly, close family, as well as distant kin, would have taken turns at skinning my hide.
Weems is just an abusive user.
If he really did see Jesus(which I very sincerely doubt), all that encounter did was prove that Weems is beyond redemption.
In less than two weeks (Thursday, May 12) the European Southern Observatory will present new information about our Milky Way galaxy that they gathered with the Event Horizon Telescope. This is the same telescope that was used to image the supermassive black hole in the M87 galaxy in 2019. Thus the speculation is that ESO is going to announce something about our galaxy’s supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A* (pronounced Sagittarius A star, abbreviated Sgr A*). The Observatory is going to have a press conference (in person and online) at 15:00 CEST / 09:00 EDT / 06:00 PDT on May 12, and it will be streamed on YouTube and there will be an audiovisual presentation.
The speculation is the observatory and the EHT have imaged the event horizon of the Sgr A* black hole. Remember, we can’t actually see a black hole, because no light can escape, but whatever’s falling into the black hole can be imaged before it crosses the event horizon, as happened with M87’s black hole.
Here’s the press release: https://www.eso.org/public/announcements/ann22006/
I was so excited I called my ex-boyfriend, the astronomy geek, and he hadn’t heard about it yet. We’re going to find out more about our fabulous universe!
“Back when we had slavery, “overseers” were those whose job was to keep the slaves in line.”
— Alien Nation
Yeah, but it’s good to get an outsider to come in and confirm everything that’s being said. In any case, and to use astronomical terms, it feels like the Weems were a black hole that was pulling the church and its members across the event horizon and into the black hole.
Unless you’re Pentecostal/Charismatic, then it’s Speaking in Tongues.
(Somebody recently told me “That’s because Tongues is the easiest to fake.”)
To use Lewis’s terms in Preface to Screwtape Letters, it feels like the Weems were a bloated spider devouring all around them.
Anyone tried singing that to the tune of “Money for Nuthin'” by Dire Straits?
Weird Al Yankovic proved it could be done.
But these guys are well beyond Wolves, more like feral junkyard dogs.
Wolves have more class than that.
OK, I absolutely DO NOT claim to be an expert on cryptocurrency. However, one of my longtime friends from Scientology days has become a go-to cryptocurrency expert, and he’s working on his third book regarding the subject right now. It’s going to be about how the country of El Salvador set up a sovereign cryptocurrency and tried to force citizens to use it, and it’s a *bust*.
Anyway, I took a look into TurnCoin and it’s very hard to figure out what’s going on here. Apparently there was supposed to actually be a “coin” to trade, because there are charts for the coin, but no trading going on. This is not legal advice, but I’d be going after Stovall Weems directly for the money based on two things. 1) TurnCoin is not being traded anywhere and has no value. 2) Cryptocurrency, and anything related to it, are generally a horrible investment. Even if you invested in Bitcoin in the beginning, and are sitting on a bunch of BITC, it’s so difficult to cash out into real, usable currency that it can hardly be called a liquid investment.
So yeah, get the money back from Stovall, going after TurnCoin is going to be unsuccessful. Just My Personal Opinion.
When church has lost its message and moral pinnings, are we surprised when things go this badly? Or as a young pastor I used to have would say, “Why are we surprised when dead people stink?” Spiritually dead, that is.
As to Lynchburg, I love love love love it. I enjoyed getting lost in the exact part of town folks like us (lily white appearing and out of state on top of it) are not to go. My heart was lifted those trips because we got to see the black church in action, taking care of their people (and poor lost wayfaring strangers without common sense, lol.)
The physical beauty of the area is intoxicating to those of us who grew up in the desert.
And as for Liberty? I have known folks extremely blessed by it, and others not so much. It isn’t a shrine to me, nor is it Satan’s lair. What it is to me is a relic from the past, that folks are trying to prop up.
CMT on Sat Apr 30, 2022 at 07:58 AM said:
“But wasn’t it these same members who enabled him …
Maybe I am missing something here but it just seems like there were a lot of other red flags that people must have chosen to overlook.”
religious institutions lull a person’s better judgement to sleep.
professional christians impart the message that one’s own common sense and intuition are dangerous and greatly to be feared.
the God card played by a minimally skilled speaker in a group setting hypnotizes people to go along with whatever.
“Your own common sense and gut feeling are God-given. Keep your better judgement awake at church.”
this public service announcement and call for awareness is on par with seatbelts save lives, don’t drink and drive, 2nd hand smoke kills.
Muslin, fka Dee Holmes on Sat Apr 30, 2022 at 11:08 AM said:
“In less than two weeks (Thursday, May 12) the European Southern Observatory will present new information about our Milky Way galaxy that they gathered with the Event Horizon Telescope….
We’re going to find out more about our fabulous universe!”
aliens, fingers crossed.
who may be future humans time traveling back.
bring out the candle and all-night beverages to ponder the theological implications.
Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,
Maybe, (I’m not an expert either, but I’ve heard it takes a lot of energy to operate) cryptocurrency is like a black hole, substance in and nothing back out. I’m not an expert on black holes either, though, pretty superficial knowledge on both. It seems like I saw a news clip about El Salvador’s use of crypto and it was somewhat working for them, but news clip’s bottom line was the “jury” and “experience” were still out.
These jokers take up a lot of people’s energy as well as $. Punitive damages, from lucrative book selling and real estate dealing false prophets, make a lot of sense.
So, propping up a corpse.
Headless Unicorn Guy,
I just finished reading Chuck DeGroat’s book “When Narcissism Comes to Church,” so I’m thinking in that framework. He really holds up a mirror to the church and argues that it’s not just a few smooth-talking professional christian con artists. We all have narcissistic tendencies to a degree, and if we aren’t alert to that, individuals and organizations can become devoted to image over reality. Not to sin-level or blame the victims of narcissistic abusers; Weems and others like him should be held responsible for their actions. I just doubt if it’s helpful to chalk it all up to people being gullible or ignorant. We like the reflected shine to our own self-image that we get from association with “successful” people, and that can make us more willing to be had.
The Bible doesn’t. Sin level.
We could list the ways.
James 3.1 “Do not become teachers in large numbers, my brothers, since you know that we who are teachers will incur a stricter judgment.”
(The followers of evil leaders are responsible for following these predators gathering followers. However, followers are not leaders. There’s a difference. A criminal leading masses. Individuals following. Different.)
2. “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.” 2 Peter 2.1-2.
There are three types of church folks who get deceived by pulpit actors: the uninformed, the misinformed, and the willingly ignorant.
Yep … that “something’s not right about this” feeling will save you a lot of grief if you act on it quickly … get off the bus at the first stop, it’s going the wrong way … show “pastor” your behind and elbows exiting the church and keep on moving.
Amen to this… Not only does it “ lulls a better persons judgement to sleep”, “religious institutions” can belittle, shun, etc, those with better judgement…. the stories of Mars Hill elders, and others trying to raise questions, and the results prove this point…. Sigh..
Check out the “parsonage” approved by the board and purchased by the church for the Weems’ in January 2020. The report states the church will remove the Weems from the “parsonage” and sell it.
I am really impressed by that report. It does not mince words. I know Weems could conceivably start another church, but that report will make it hard to do. I wish every abusive church leader had one of those reports following them after they resigned or were fired.
Mark Driscoll seems to have been able to start another church…..
Narcissism, plagiarism, nor any other ism will hinder a failed pastor from starting another church … it’s the American way! After a short restoration period, even the worst of them make unrepentant comebacks … and My People love it so.
… as they circle their wagons to build their BFF alliance of huckster leaders.
“I’ve got a spectacle-scam, you’ve got a spectacle-scam; let us spectacle-scam together.”
Are you talking about one’s BS detector?
Yes, keep the BS detector revved up to High Alert.
Biggest mistake ever: to enter the church world with blind trust, then drink the koolaid. Major no-no.
Ava Aaronson on Sun May 01, 2022 at 10:09 AM said:
“Are you talking about one’s BS detector?
Yes, keep the BS detector revved up to High Alert.”
why, yes. But if the billboard said,
“Your own common sense and gut feeling are God-given. Make sure your bu11$h|t detector dials go up to 11 at church”,
the average christian’s mind would short circuit when they got to the word bu11$h|t and the message would be lost.
CMT on Sat Apr 30, 2022 at 03:47 PM said:
“…We all have narcissistic tendencies to a degree, and if we aren’t alert to that, individuals and organizations can become devoted to image over reality….
I just doubt if it’s helpful to chalk it all up to people being gullible or ignorant. We like the reflected shine to our own self-image that we get from association with “successful” people, and that can make us more willing to be had.”
however it works out, there’s a tractor beam at church shining out of the pastor’s (it’s a multiple choice answer), which many pastors dial up to 11.
i marvel how my religion codifies the worst character traits, personality disorders, reduced brain activity, and sheer stupidity as godly, the only legit christian, and the only true church.
yeah, that would be my thesis statement if my former pastors ever came up to me and said,
“elastigirl, please tell us! Tell us all! Why are you so bitter about church?”
(well, I can fantasize, at least)
United by “I won’t tell them about your gross sins if you won’t tell them about mine”
Scholars can correct this, but I find only 1 reference to pastor in the NT (Eph. 4.11 as 1 gift in a short list of some of the 18 spiritual gifts total given to the Body of Christ by God’s Holy Spirit. Given, not sold; Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, complete the list for 18 HS-given gifts. Notably pastor is on 1 list; prophet is on all 3 lists. However, I’ve never been in a church with a prophet.).
There is mention of deacons and elders or overseers in 1 Timothy 3.1-7. But deacon and elder and overseer are NOT in the 3 lists of HS-given gifts to the Body of Christ so these are not spiritual gifts.
Apostle, prophet, teacher, evangelist, pastor, and administration are each listed at least once on the 3 lists as HS-given gifts to the Body of Christ. These, IMHO, all give a nod to some type of responsibility of perhaps leadership (?), thus judged more severely by God with their responsibilities.
Not that they deserve payment for their gifts. A gift is given never bought. Never sold.
IMHO, where $$$ comes in is:
1. Orphans and widows (see James 1)
2. Travel expenses for those travelling in their mission in the church. (Similar to Jesus and the NT Apostles.) But NOT compensation for their gift, since that would negate the HS-given gift. (See the book of Acts, & a couple other NT references to support for expenses but no reference to a salary).
3. Collections for donating to those in the Body of Christ suffering legitimate hardship: natural disasters, regional economic failures, criminal violent victimhood, & such. (Early church in Acts.)
There is no Temple, no priesthood, no levitical obligation for the Body of Christ. See the book of Hebrews. Over, done, since Jesus’ resurrection.
As I am not a scholar of Greek, etc., I submit this open to other POV.
Saw a reference on Twitter to pastors using tithing as their personal ATM, with no surveillance, no transparency. Ouch.
In this regard, the traditional hierarchies of the mainline denominations seem superior to the rogue pastors with megas, aka tithe-to-the-pastor’s-personal-ATM (and sign covenant & NDA… shhhhh, quiet).
… and rally together, united against whistleblowers.
See Hwang & RZ, too. Donor + teacher (was that RZs title?), both hucksters, though, members of the same mob or gang, IMHO.
“ In this regard, the traditional hierarchies of the mainline denominations seem superior to the rogue pastors with megas, aka tithe-to-the-pastor’s-personal-ATM (and sign covenant & NDA… shhhhh, quiet).”
I remember when all of the Baptist pastors that I knew, or knew of, were bi-vocational. They were all one of us………. open to discussions and civil disagreements …….. disagreeing agreeably and sitting down to eat and laugh, together.
elastigirl on Sun May 01, 2022 at 01:55 PM said:
“the average christian’s mind would short circuit when they got to the word bu11$h|t and the message would be lost.”
That’s because most of them live in a make-believe never-never-land that has little if any connection to the real world and its navigable water ways (so to speak).
Nancy2(aka Kevlar) on Sun May 01, 2022 at 06:40 PM said:
“I remember when all of the Baptist pastors that I knew, or knew of, were bi-vocational. They were all one of us………. open to discussions and civil disagreements …….. disagreeing agreeably and sitting down to eat and laugh, together.
That really is Pathos.
That common human feeling and toleration of others is dying out.
It’s everywhere, not just in religious environments.
I trust God has men and women of excellent character in the Body of Christ today. Not sure what they call themselves.
Upward and onward, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
I think we also have to include, and maybe it overlaps with Max’s categories, those who are raised in shame-based families and don’t know anything different. To them, hearing a message of shame from the pulpit is familiar and normal. They’re enablers, yes, and victims are the same time.
There are millions in church congregations across America who have not been discipled in the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. They have been exposed to the teachings and traditions of men, cheap grace, aberrant theology, Christianity Lite, church as entertainment, mega-mania, pulpit actors, etc. Thus, unless they dig their own spiritual well, they fall in line with what they think church should be without knowing what it really is … a Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God on earth in the here and now.
We live in a time when each believer needs to be serious about personal Bible study and prayer and not accept every jot and tittle preached to them in the organized church as Truth without testing and trying the spirits. Of course, Christians of every generation have been challenged to do this … but there is so much deception in the church today, we need an extra measure of discipline to detect it … you only have to be a regular visitor to TWW to know that. Praise God for Christian watchblogs which inform and warn the Body of Christ.
Yes, it’s almost like Stockholm syndrome
Which is contrary, of course, to the essential message of the Gospel of Christ. “Pastors” who shame folks from the pulpit will one day themselves stand in shame before the Creator of the Universe for preaching another gospel.
Sadly, that is an appropriate analogy for what is going on in some corners of the American church. In the “real” Church, there are no captors, no victims, no betrayed trust. It breaks my heart to know that so many pulpits have used and abused the pew in various ways.
IOW… speaking of water …
– his/her delight is in the Word of the Lord, and on His Word he/she meditates day & night; he/she is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he/she does, he prospers. from Ps.1.
– There is a river whose streams make glad the City of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells with His people. from Ps. 46.
Church should be a place of spiritual refreshing in the presence of the Living God … not the exhausting experience it is for many. Instead of anointed pastors in the pulpit, we have annoying impostors in far too much of the organized church.
From Arminius’ Disputation 59 (Works Vol. 2)
“These offices are not always imposed in the same mode, nor administered by the same [rationibus] methods. For, at the commencement of the rising Christian church, they were imposed on some men immediately by God and Christ, and they were administered by those on whom they had been imposed, without binding them to certain churches; hence, also, the apostles were called “ministers,” as being the ambassadors of Christ to every creature throughout the world. To these were added the evangelists, as fellow-laborers. Afterwards [the same offices were imposed] mediately on those who were called pastors and teachers, bishops and priests, and who were placed over certain churches. The former of these [the apostles and evangelists] continued only for a season, and had no successors. The latter [pastors, &c.] will remain in perpetual succession to the end of the world, though we do not deny that, when a church is first to be collected for any one, a man may traverse the whole [terram] earth in teaching.
IX. These offices are so ordered, that one person can discharge all of them at the same time; though, if the utility of the church and the diversity of gifts so require, they can be variously distributed among different men.”
If you look at the Greek text you will see the grammatical construction ‘tous men….tous de…tous de” before each of the offices, which suggests that pastors and teachers are one office, although others disagree.
v11Καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους
Bill Mounce does a good job of explaining it here – https://www.billmounce.com/monday-with-mounce/pastors-and-teachers-and-the-article-eph-4-11
And I attach this from Charles Hodge’s Commentary on Ephesians to show that Calvin may not always have been right 🙂
“According to one interpretation we have here two distinct offices—that of pastor and that of teacher. The latter, says Calvin, “had nothing to do with discipline, nor with the administration of the sacraments, nor with admonitions or exhortations, but simply with the interpretation of Scripture.” Institutes IV, 3, 4. All this is inferred from the meaning of the word teacher. There is no evidence from Scripture that there was a set of men authorized to teach but not authorized to exhort. The thing is well nigh impossible. The one function includes the other. The man who teaches duty and the grounds of it, does at the same time admonish and exhort. It was however on the ground of this unnatural interpretation that the Westminster Directory made teachers a distinct and permanent class of jure divino officers in the church. The Puritans in New England endeavoured to reduce the theory to practice, and appointed doctors as distinct from preachers. But the attempt proved to be a failure. The two functions could not be kept separate. The whole theory rested on a false interpretation of Scripture. The absence of the article before διδασκάλους proves that the apostle intended to designate the same persons as at once pastors and teachers, The former term designates them as ἐπίσκοποι, overseers, the latter as instructors. Every pastor or bishop was required to be apt to teach. This interpretation is given by Augustin and Jerome; the latter of whom says: Non enim ait: alios autem pastores et alios magistros, sed alios pastores et magistros, ut qui pastor est, esse debeat et magister. In this interpretation the modern commentators almost without exception concur. It is true the article is at times omitted between two substantives referring to different classes, where the two constitute one order—as in Mark 15:1, μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ γραμματέων, because the elders and scribes formed one body. But in such an enumeration as that contained in this verse, τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας, the laws of the language require τοὺς δὲ διδασκάλους, had the apostle intended to distinguish the διδάσκαλοι from the ποιμένες. Pastors and teachers, therefore, must be taken as a two-fold designation of the same officers, who were at once the guides and instructors of the people.”
No offence to anyone intended….
(Bold done by me.)
That would definitely happen if the billboard quote was re-written:
“Your bu11$h|t detector is God-given. Make sure your bu11$h|t detector dials go up to 11 at church.”
Should I go to the 9:00 service instead? 😉
Stovall chased all of the mature Christians out of the church early on. He didn’t like anyone challenging him. He instead, surrounded himself with young, inexperienced, immature believers who he could manipulate. He kept them immature with his watered down, milky sermons. No depth or discipling at all. He created a following for himself instead of followers of Christ. He wouldn’t accept good counsel from anyone. When the church grew to large proportions, the money was too much for him to resist due to low character and no ethics.