“Man is not what he thinks he is; he is what he hides.” ―
Special thanks to the pastor I met today, who is “one of the good guys.”
I think this is a first. I would suggest someone at Chapel Hill Bible Church consider a similar action. In August 2022, I wrote the following post. The Foursquare Denomination Has Been Hiding the GRACE Report for 1 1/2 Years. Looks Like the Leaders Are Afraid of Something. I recommend reading that post if you are unfamiliar with the Foursquare denomination. In the post, I referenced an informative Christianity Today article: Foursquare Abuse Response Ignites Fight over Transparency, which was subtitled: “An investigation found a “culture of unchecked power” at a Virginia college. Denominational leadership has declined to speak about it publicly.”
The denomination deep-sixed the GRACE report.
I doubt many of you would be surprised by this. Due to the many complaints regarding the alleged abusive behavior, which encompassed bullying and harassment, Foursquare hired GRACE to investigate the accusations.
The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel has suspended a safeguarding team that was working with students who accused a former college president of manipulation, bullying, and harassment.
Members of the team—along with Foursquare ministers and former students at the affiliated school in Christiansburg, Virginia—were raising questions about how the Pentecostal denomination handled a third-party investigation into the allegations. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) found that Mike Larkin, president of Ignite Life Pacific University, misused his authority and that Foursquare failed to set up adequate structures of oversight and accountability.
But at the denomination’s national convention in June, ministers demanded to know why they hadn’t heard any specifics about GRACE’s report. They criticized board members for not taking abuse seriously enough and voted to recommend the 11-member safeguarding team be given more power and freedom from board interference. In late July, the board informed the team their work would be put on pause.
Mike Larkin, the president of Ignite Life Pacific University, was at the center of the allegations of abuse.
He would eventually step down but would deny the accusations. He claimed it was just “locker room humor.” Allow me to a degree for a minute. When some pastors at my former Baptist church were told by the parents of a young man who saw inappropriate behavior on the part of Dou Goodrich, who would eventually be arrested, they blew off the young teens report, saying something to the effect that it was just “locker room humor.” One year later, Goodrich was found to have horrifically sexually abuse a group of young teens from the church. Dee’s rule: When one hears the excuse of “locker room humor’ one can assume that abusive sexual and/or bullying behavior is occurring. Guess what Larkin’s excuse was?
Later, when interviewed by GRACE, however, he said he had taken more than his fair share of responsibility.
“If I’m the scapegoat in this, I’m the scapegoat in this and I accept it,” he told investigators. “Locker room talk. It wasn’t vulgar. It was never vulgar. And I’ll tell you something else too: It was never sexual.”
Just like Chapel Hill Bible Church, the members were fed drips and drabs by those who have read the actual report.
GRACE interviewed 28 people over the course of several months and submitted a 29-page report to the Foursquare board. Investigators concluded that Larkin abused his authority and “at minimum … crossed professional boundaries as a pastor.” The board reviewed the report and voted that it agreed with the findings in January 2021. Larkin’s credentials were revoked, and the board approved a draft of a public statement about the investigation.
The statement, obtained by CT, said there was an “unhealthy leadership culture” at Ignite, which “commonly exhibited toxicity, emotional misconduct, verbal aggression, and sexual harassment.” The board took responsibility for a lack of oversight and announced the formation of the safeguarding team, which would be led by Paul Kuzma and include Heidi and Jim Cooper.
The Foursquare leaders were adept at playing games with the safeguarding team, sounding a bit like the SBC in their actions.
In open session, the convention body passed a motion recommending the board empower the safeguarding team to operate without board or staff interference. It passed overwhelmingly, people in attendance said. It was not binding, however. The convention can only make recommendations to the board.
The following month, the 11 members of the safeguarding team were notified that their work would be “paused,” with roles and makeup of the team reevaluated. Foursquare then announced that a new board task force would be overseeing the denomination’s “journey toward health, free of leadership abuse.”
According to the denomination’s spokesman, the move to reevaluate and reorganize the safeguarding team was in keeping with the “spirit of the motion” passed at the convention, despite the clause about interference.
The leaders made a show of repentance and then claimed the folks should note their concern for the abused.
Leadership has, according to Abare, made abuse a high priority in the past few years. The church’s concern for victims should be apparent.
When I wrote the original post, I was taken aback by the leadership’s response. They pulled a DARVO, in my opinion. In other words, if one doesn’t see their concern in spite of a questionable response, one must be a nitwit since their concern is apparent.
The alleged original GRACE Foursquare Executive Summary: Independent Investigation of The Foursquare Church
This was given to me by an individual who was involved with Foursquare. I hope this will lead to more transparency on the part of the Foursquare Church.
GRACE Executive Summary
Foursquare (Heidi) Investigative Findings (1)
This is an opportunity for folks to read through a report that has allegedly not been released to the membership by or denomination since 2021. I wonder why they chose not to divulge it.
Some findings include the following:
- Emotional misconduct
- Physical misconduct
- Sexual misconduct
- The abuse of power and authority by Mr. Larkin, including economic, verbal, and educational power
- Misconduct in the form of sexual harassment and the crossing of professional boundaries
My heart goes out to the victims. I am willing to post stories of the victims if they contact me at email@example.com
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this summary. Now that you have read it, why do you think Foursquare decided to delay its release? I am thankful that I was able to publish it here to help those who have been waiting for its contents.
-The abuse of power and authority by Mr. Larkin, including economic, verbal, and educational power
-Misconduct in the form of sexual harassment and the crossing of professional boundaries
But besides these, anything really significant?
Speaking of Virginia schools, still waiting on word of the result of the “thorough investigation” that was reportedly to take place at Liberty University:
From September 26, 2020:
‘President’s Viewpoint — In a time of transition, the mission remains unchanged‘
“Some have voiced concerns that Prevo had worked too closely with Jerry Falwell Jr. in the past to lead Liberty University well today, but it’s clear he’s his own man, and his first priority is to honor God. One of the leading forensic teams in the world has been retained by the Board of Trustees to conduct a thorough investigation into university operations during Falwell Jr.’s tenure as president. Prevo is ready for it.”
“ TO THE EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY:
“You might not know me. You might only know the name of Liberty University, and what you’ve seen in the news has saddened you. It’s broken any trust you may have had in a big Christian institution like ours.
“It’s easy to make assumptions when you’re looking in from the outside. But what’s been in the spotlight is not who we really are.
“I’ve believed in the mission and vision of this school for decades, but as I’ve gotten to know the faculty, staff, and students who are here right now, who make up the Liberty community today, I want you to know they are extraordinary. They serve one another. They pray for one another. They love the Lord Jesus Christ, and they love each other. They are the church of today becoming the church of tomorrow. And it’s such a privilege to know them.“
“So please don’t let your assumptions about Liberty University expand to include them — they don’t deserve it.“
What is written appears to point to thoroughly addressing actions that the writer indicates may have broken trust, specifically in the evangelical community looking in from the outside.
Where are any hints, words, reports, findings, conclusions, follow up actions, stakeholder discussions, etc. two years after this claim that the Board of Trustees retained “one of the leading forensic teams in the world” in order “to conduct a thorough investigation into university operations during Falwell Jr.’s tenure as president”? Why don’t we start with the name of this leading forensics team, or is that too hard?
Perhaps part of the answer is elsewhere in the article:
“Recent events involving Liberty’s fourth president, Jerry Falwell Jr., have broken trust for most in Liberty University, and some question Liberty’s commitment to its nearly 50-year mission of Training Champions for Christ.
“Prevo acknowledges their frustration. Then he shifts the focus.“
Might some be apt to contend that what was done by someone — who just about a month before had chaired the Board of Trustees and thus known and worked with the person in question — has seemed to largely amount to letting people talk for a while, letting the talk die down, letting time pass, and shifting the focus? I’m open to be persuaded otherwise, but the radio silence seems deafening — that, and what might look like further flares of a prairie fire.
Some weeks ago I asked for prayer over a situation where a self-confessed and convicted child molestor is head deacon at a church I was once a part of. That is the bottom line. God wanted me to address it and let me know years in advance. The situation went longer than what I expected for dealing with it. The meeting was only the start. But it has now become clear that nothing will be done about it. That is no surprise to me or I would imagine to anyone else here.
The good news in this, I suppose, is that this church is dying. They have old Sunday School rooms that are empty because there is no children. The church shrinks with funerals. Their head pastor retired last year. The stucco on their buildings is falling off with the paint. There is a cactus growing on top of an awning 8 feet in the air. All things I just saw. Decay in the midst of the richest town in the whole state. This church is headed quickly towards bankruptcy. And thank God for that! At least there are no children there to be at risk.
After an interim pastor explained that the Word of God does not apply because of gifting of the man on the public sex offender list, not character, he proceeded to start to lecture me about my unchurched status. Such a common spirit these days. The arrogance of it all. Instead of acknowledging that he is part of the problem, make it about the messenger.
While I would never say that I am done with church as Jesus does have one even though it is tiny and hard to find, I am certainly done with what we have built here in America. I would complain about a lack of respect but that goes with the territory. I realize that it is because the real Jesus gets no respect either. Sometimes sadly even here…
Reading through the testimony of Reported Victim 1 reminded me of something I think came from Jimmy Hinton. He said (my paraphrase) that perpetrators are constantly testing boundaries to see how far they can get with “inappropriate” behavior. That seemed a really good description of grooming.
Bottom of page 7 of the report, Mike Larkin’s response to allegations sexual harassment of Reported Victim 1… he considered her a friend with with whom he could “laugh and kind of tease around,” “never vulgar” and “never sexual.”
Huh. Sound familiar?
Matt Chandler in August 2022 took a leave of absence because of “frequent and familiar” DMs that were not sexual or romantic but were “unguarded and unwise.” (https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/august/matt-chandler-village-church-online-inappropriate-leave.html)
At first I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Matt Chandler that he was dealing with burnout or some such. But now I’m jumping back into the jaded-and-skeptical camp.
** “If I’m the scapegoat in this, I’m the scapegoat in this and I accept it,” he told investigators. “Locker room talk. It wasn’t vulgar. It was never vulgar. And I’ll tell you something else too: It was never sexual.” **
Full disclosure: I am not a man, and I am not an athlete. However, my understanding from the comments of people who are both is that “locker room talk” is typically of a different nature from “dinner table with your mother talk” or “in the line at the Post Office talk.”
If Mr. Larkin’s “locker room talk” was not vulgar or sexual, what was it? Racist? Conspiracy to commit crimes? Insider real estate deals with the county?
AKA “Locker room talk”. Start with the talk, move on to action. Predation. Grooming. Violation. Destroying lives. Then lie about it – “locker room” talk.
I just got a weird error message saying what I just tried to post was spam. Never seen it before. And what I wrote was not.
The systems we have in place for such are not perfect. (See ChatGPT.) We deal with things as they come up. If your comment gets held for a reason we will see it at some point and then a human will make a decision.
There are a few cases where WordPress will decide you’re trying to impersonate someone and just refuse the comment. That we have no control over.
Try floating, dumpster fire…
What really “gets me”, is that I would not be able to teach there because I believe in a old earth…. so, I try to be honest/consitent with physics, and I am excluded, yet they behave like this….
Just like good old Ravi Z T, he lied through his teeth for decades about his “credentials” and even though people blew the whistle, he was able to continue on.. all the while running, effectively, a sex business and frequenting massage palors in Thailand..
The Evangelical Indstrial Complex is so morally compromised, I do not believe much of anything they say…
But he’s winning souls to Christ!!!!
Or is he?
These days, do you expect anything else from CHRISTIANS(TM)?
Especially high-ranking CHRISTIANS(TM) in positions of POWER?
That’s what Mike Warnke’s fanboys hit back with when Warnke was exposed as a total Fraud.
Saving Souls (NOT people) justifies anything.
Souls (NOT people) — the currency of Heaven, nothing more. Just like money, the more you have the higher your rank.
That’s because you’re thinking with the Flesh(TM), NOT The Spirit(TM).
Isaiah 55:8, remember.
In other college news, a name that has surfaced here a time or two is getting national headlines along with his university:
“Cedarville University President Thomas White shared five short video clips of the revival at his school Tuesday night. “Tonight a large number of students gathered again to pray, read Scripture, testimonies, and to worship Jesus for about two hours! We had 2 more students saved tonight. Tomorrow night we are sending our students out to other Universities to share the Gospel,” he wrote. “Keep praying for wisdom and a genuine movement of the Lord! The last video is from students who stayed around to keep worshipping. They were still there when I left about 11 pm!”
“In an email to the Cedarville faculty and staff earlier this week, White wrote, “We are so thankful for how God is working on our campus in recent days.” The university’s president explained it all began on Monday during Cedarville’s morning campus chapel service while he led the students in studying Psalm 86 in the Bible’s Old Testament. White then described what happened next.
“I planned for us to pray as an application of David crying out to God and then sing a song before continuing with the sermon. During that song, the first person to come to the altar to pray was a faculty member. He was followed by students, one after another. As I walked back up to the stage, I knew the sermon was over and God was moving,” he said.
“”Before long, the altar was packed, with students down some of the aisles. We stayed even after the time for chapel had ended. We don’t do this very often because we value the important work that takes place in classrooms across campus at 11 a.m., but as I looked down at students with tears of repentance dripping from their cheeks while other students put arms around them to pray, I knew we needed to stay. God was doing something special.”
On Tuesday morning in chapel, when the speaker gave the invitation for students to “come to the altar and lay down any idols preventing them from moving closer to God,” and many responded to the gospel call, according to White. Students, staff and faculty agreed to meet together that evening.
“White said Tuesday evening’s service began at a slower pace. “We prayed through the Lord’s prayer. We sang one song, heard a few testimonies, and prayed through the Beatitudes. In the first thirty minutes, I think we only sang that one song. I expected students might leave with less music, but not only did they stay, the numbers grew,” he said. “At the beginning of our next song, I saw a young lady with tears streaming down her cheeks come to the altar on my left. Then another in the middle and another to the right came. I’m not a charismatic, but I felt the presence of the Lord in the room. It was palpable.”
“”Some students continued to linger, praying and singing. I noticed a young lady with a beaming smile waiting to talk to me. Her first words were, ‘I was saved tonight.’ That makes four reported professions of faith this week. Praise God!” White continued.
Instead of having chapel on Wednesday night, Cedarville students who were called to do so, took the gospel message to share at other colleges and universities.”
Agree. They could teach Alex Murdaugh a thing or two about prevarication.
I haven’t watched or listened to anything on a revival at Cedarville, but I’m skeptical. IMO, if a true revival were taking place White would not have let all the faculty know he was the guy leading the service.
Tell us you don’t accept it without saying you don’t accept it.
The stories in the GRACE report are heartbreaking.
Thank you for posting this Dee, so that the community at TWW can bear witness to the harm dealt to so many.
To those harmed at Foursquare or ignite: We, members of other parts of the Body of Christ have now read your testimony. We know it cost you to even tell it and we want to honor you for coming forward. We hear you. We believe you. We grieve for you. We are heartbroken at your suffering, heartbroken that your relationship with God has been so badly damaged. It would be better for those who did this to you to have a millstone tied around their neck and be cast into the sea.
As Foursquare leadership has revealed, Mr.Larkin isn’t the only one making themself worthy of a millstone. Abusers cannot operate alone in an organization. Brad Sargent/Futurist Guy (who used to post here frequently) has a good diagram and description of how people at various parts of the organization become part of the abuser’s abuse. https://futuristguy.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/pyramid-of-abuse-c-2021-brad-sargent-v2.pdf
Abusers, who the Bible refers to variously as shepherds who feed themselves, wolves, vipers, Pharisees, teachers of the law, whitewashed tombs, blind…prefer the darkness. But their salvation is to come to the light, along with their enablers.
The truth does not hurt the name of Christ, but covering the truth bears false witness to the Gospel.
To the one with the courage to bring this all to the light with the report, thank you.
And to Dee, who has courageously brought multiple victims’ stories to light, thank you.
Seeing patterns helps other people who were victimized in other parts of the church understand their own experience better and contributes to healing.
We will craft and curate your Soul ™ from 10 % (t&c).
As in dumpster, or precision railroading?
Mr J, thank you for believing we would be capable of prayer. I’m glad my Glory Be’s helped. Their subconscious will repeat this to them some day.
Modest virtue signalling.
Thx. Well stated.
Church revival would be indicated by:
-no predation in churches. Not covered up. Not tolerated. Not denied. Not excused.
-all preachers and teachers addressing predation instead of participating in predation.
-all past predation in churches exposed with the fruits of repentance expected. Set the expectation. Luke 19
1-10, Luke 3.8, Acts 3.8.
IMHO, nothing less than this is church revival.
Perhaps Jeff Anderson and Associates would agree. They’ve made enough $$$ from prosecuting church predators.
There’s a revival at Asbury University in Kentucky. He’s trying to bring it to Cedarville. I’m just going to quote from “Mean Girls”: “Stop trying to make fetch happen.”
I will also note that this revival has been going on 10 days and there are already grifters, hangers-on and others going to Wilmore, KY and upsetting the neighbors. I am generally familiar with two large revivals (Brownsville, Lakeland) that had various deleterious effects and why yes, I am cynical about this. Especially after I learned that Francis Chan, Rick Warren and people from the International House of Prayer-Kansas City were going to show up in Kentucky for a side event on February 23 to ignite revival in colleges and universities across the country.
Again, I will quote “Mean Girls”: “Stop trying to make fetch happen.” Or, Gamaliel in the book of Acts (chapter 5), if you’re not into movies:
I believe it is a diversion from the on-campus stabbing and arrest last week, recent Title IX unresolved issues on campus, a planned protest, a president who hasn’t been on campus for awhile (vacation) …lots of strangeness going on at Cedarville. The president needs to go.
I followed the link to Dee’s previous article on Foursquare (recommend) and then the link to in that article on Hagar’s voice where Heidi tells her story. https://hagarsvoice.buzzsprout.com/1979877/10632428
Also posted on that blog is a timeline. After the GRACE report, according to the timeline, there was a lot of promise-making/promise breaking about a public statement from Foursquare. Here is the final entry:
March 31, 2022-
We receive a letter from the Board of Directors answering our questions
from our letter to the Board. It communicated answers that seemed like
gaslighting. They communicated that the public statement that was
approved and set to go out was “no longer appropriate”, they
communicated “making public statements about leadership conduct is
not how Foursquare disciplines its ministers..”, and that “publically
making a statement about specific people or situations is not the way
forward for Foursquare.”
I guess 1 Tim 5:20 is not the way Foursquare responds to a leader like Mr. Larkin.
As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.
Oh and he got a $99,000 severance. (And appears to be threatening to sue.)
In her letter to their congregation, she says this, which could be written to the leaders of nearly every church where abuse has been uncovered:
“Silence is abuse that causes trauma in of itself. To have the power to speak and reveal darkness into the light, yet to stay silent, is abuse. It has silenced all the voices that have been abused. By choosing to not go public, you are saying that we care
more about threats and protection of the institution then we care about people.”
Again, Dee, thank you for this site so that the very predictable patterns can be revealed of these organizations that call themselves churches but which act like worldly organizations.
Very much agreed.
I could not help but notice a significant argument on the last thread regarding a certain very hot button political issue dividing the country at the moment. All I am going to say is to remind those who call themselves Christians about something God once said, “Your ways are not my ways, and your thoughts are not my thoughts.” There is a certain humility in recognizing this and in the arguments on social media I do not see much humility on either side.
So I could tell you my opinion on a matter like this, but my opinion is not going to matter at all at the very end. Neither is yours if God is real and He actually said what I just quoted. And if what I have foreseen along with some other people near me then these hot button political topics that are currently just wars of words will eventually change to an actual war with violence that might just come to a street near you. I think Jesus once said, “Blessed are the peace makers?” If I am right then you might want to take these words to heart, if you respect the Bible. If not, you may still find life in the future safer to not get so worked up over these things on social media. Politically based violence comes in cycles and it is not hard to see that it has currently been on the rise. And everyone can see where the current outrage is. Yet our politics is not Jesus’ politics. Never has been and until His kingdom is fully here it will not be. Food for thought, I hope…
So often you post these messages about how God is going to smite everybody if we don’t all repent—in a country where people do indeed have freedom of religion, and where Christians invent new moral panics every week about movies, music, books, cell phones, garments, hair, you name it.
Remember Hurricane Katrina? The old joke is rooted in tragedy: it drowned the poor neighborhoods and left the French Quarter alone. Instead of worrying so much about other folks’ sinnnnnnn, maybe we Christians should take care of the poor, as the Bible clearly asks and orders us to do.
As to revival, last night one of our regional news channels reported one that is breaking out in their town. Based on some symbols they showed inside the building my guess is Church of the Nazarene, but I could be wrong. The testimonies were interesting. I will paraphrase, but be aware it was late at night and I could have misheard.
It sounded like some of the younger teens heard about Asbury and wanted a similar revival to break out in their church. At that point I would call it seeking religious porn, as it sounds like they expected just to run to the altar and pray, and have Jesus love on them. Big emotional high, no deeper.
That wasn’t what it sounds like they experienced. Some seemed to settle at that level, but most told that as they sought solitude, not the altar, to pray, they experienced the deep conviction that God alone defines sin and right and wrong. That was followed by the deep conviction that they could not cling to their own personal sins and experience the Presence of Christ. After a time of struggle most found repentance and then they did experience quite a time of struggle followed by sweet peace and a solid “knowing” they had been in the presence of Christ.
Only time will tell, but many did testify to knowing that in the coming days and weeks they have to walk away from some actions, and even some friends that will try to draw them back into those actions.
Sounded good, praying that it is the real deal revival.
Pastor-perpetrators should know that eventually “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). While you may dodge the strong arm of the Law for a season, you can’t outrun the strong arm of the Lord.
“I would suggest someone at Chapel Hill Bible Church consider a similar action.”
Personally, I wonder if a copy exists at this point anywhere outside of GRACE’s computer system.
Consider the conditions under which officers of the church, along with a few hand-picked others, were allowed to read a 64 page report. Everyone who read it had to read it on the church campus. As I understand it, their copy had their name on it. Supervised reading rooms were set up, so no one was left alone with their copy. People were not allowed to take photos. Any notes they made to themselves as they read (post-its were provided) had to be left attached to their copy. No notes were allowed out of the room. (How many human beings could accurately remember a 64 page document filled with stories of mistreatment?)
So, ask yourself: Do any paper reports even exist? Likely only one person received an electronic copy (maybe a couple more.) Do you think that was saved or deleted?
Remember the minimized “apology” Jay Thomas gave in response to the church’s summary of the GRACE executive summary? (GRACE calls their reports “executive summaries.”) His apology was part of a videotaped service and that part of the service was quite obviously cut from the video shortly after it was streamed. Enter Keystone Cops. CHBC neglected the fact that the service had also been streamed for the college ministry, which was posted separately. CHBConfidential found that copy and linked it on Twitter. But since people could anticipate the cover-up, it was copied. A few hours after the link was posted, the video was taken down. But meanwhile, the Roys Report had also obtained a copy.
What are the chances that a man at that top of that organization who is that scared of the Light, who is that concerned about hiding the truth about himself, will have left evidence around to be “leaked?”
If he ever leaves the pulpit, which he should because he has utterly disqualified himself, he might have a future in guarding some company’s trade secrets.
Yes. And you would think a faithless shepherd would read a passage like Ezekiel 34 and rush to repent before facing the Real Shepherd in the judgment. And everyone around him would be imploring him to repent fully and to step down from a position which is such an obvious temptation to him.
But instead, they circle the wagons and become faithless shepherds themselves. Their actions call into question whether they believe any of it. People notice that they don’t act as if they, the leaders, believe the Gospel or believe they are subject to His commands. Then the leaders wonder why people are leaving the church and why faith itself is declining. Look at description after description of what happened to people’s faith in this heartbreaking report from Foursquare.
This is exactly the case with the Dones and Nones we know.
I am afraid that Jesperson’s hatred and bigotry is showing also.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
It is not one or the other, but both. In our country things are not near as dire for the poor as it was in the 1st Century. But there is just as much sin around as ever. Considering that the most real place I have ever been was in a cell in hell meant for a false believer, I know what my message has to be. I am all for helping those who are poor and in distress. I never said anything contrary to that…
So being a jerk online is Christian? I do not think so. Wow the judgment based on absolutely no knowledge of who I am or what I have done…
Whoa! One sure way to shut revival down is for Francis Chan, Rick Warren, and Mike Bickle to show up! What an odd team.
Mr. Jesperson: a false believer
Typically, one in high church authority.
Can you explain what you think His kingdom is meantime? (Meaning to elicit from you.)
If Bickle was sincere early on, his organisational ideas may since have shown what side his bread is buttered.
Can those who disagree with those two statements elucidate for the benefit of intelligent believers including non-commenting readers. (Meaning to elicit from you.)
Name-calling on the blog? The prior verse is good too: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless.” – James 1:26
People are more than political pejoratives coming from either the far right or the far left.
Strange that anyone doubts the need for repentance. See Acts 3:19 or Acts 17:30. All of us, every last one of us, is called to repentance. And we don’t get to set the standard as to what is and isn’t sin.
Might be a good time for the church to reread “Hell’s Best Kept Secret.”
Cultural Christianity abounds, the real deal, not so much.
I think TWW is dedicated to redress for victims, and prevention of abuse. For those to happen the perps and our churches as a whole have to repent. Repentance is a whole lot more than just admitting our sin, but it has to start there.
I left this comment on the last post. I may need to close comments if kindness does not ensue.
“I think the discussion has gone a bit too far. It is imperative for all to realize that there are conservative Christians and progressive agnostics who come here. There are some lines drawn on both sides. If one wishes to learn the thinking of those who disagree with them, then one should be understanding and kind if still not convinced.
Please stop the trajectory of this discussion now and return to the reason for the post. I don’t want to shut down to comments.
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. Reflect on it. It’s convicting.”
Michael in UK,
I don’t want to inflame this discussion any further, so I will make a general comment.
The topic of this blog posting is a specific situation. Sin and crime are real things. In my opinion, people do learn about repentance by reflecting on specific examples. We all need to ask, “Is this happening in my church? How would I respond if tempted? How would I react as a witness or victim? Should I take any action now?”
Hypothetical: Embezzlement in a church is not related to women buying tight yoga pants and therefore bringing the wrath of God down on a pluralistic nation. If that’s confusing, it’s because comments about God smiting us tend to make it harder to understand problems in the world around us.
Dee, I hope my comment above is acceptable. Your comment appeared when I posted mine.
Well, he was sincerely wrong about the Kansas City Prophets he hung out with. Bob Jones and Paul Cain fell from ministry due to moral failure not befitting of a prophet.
Love the pic up-top!
A jar full of Milky-Way stars.
So far as I know, the answer is no.
We file our way into the sanctuary, follow along with the Liturgy (Lutheran), listen to a very short homily, take Communion, have coffee and donuts with great people, and that’s it, end of story.
I can assure all readers that if there was the slightest inkling of sex-abuse involving kids and teens, the first to know about it would be the cops.
Dee–agree with you about Ash Wednesday. Our LCMS pastor will stress during the entire time of Lent the need for all of us to find repentance for our sins, no exceptions. Most of the studies will revolve around the Confession and Absolution.
Sarah (aka Wild Honey),
From CT’s report, Larkin was “a Los Angeles cop who became a charismatic minister in the 1980s”. The rest of the report reads like the behavior of a cop who exploits intimation tactics for his own goals.
You are both calling for a refocussing on more supplication, as I read it. “God smote” was a metaphor because there were and always have been meteorites (like the other day in both our countries). It’s uncanny how “up there” has acquired less mystique since aeroplanes.
Thus God will ask us (if we didn’t) why we didn’t beseech that the hearts of our religious leaders will stay pure – then they’ll see God – that good angels will jog the elbows of our politicians and that harvests won’t fail. Or why we hadn’t implored that our fellow believers would stay courageous.
Or why fashion was followed, in diminishing prayer in recent years, instead of setting a new one ourselves. The real leaders are supposed to include children, invalids etc. I loved it when W P Young in his video says “should parents submit to their children – absolutely!” (Submit meant keep talking, because Romans wouldn’t talk.) Superstitious leaders discredited spiritual gifts, providence, etc.
The only firm things Scripture says about the kingdom of God / heaven / household (economy) of God is how to trade with each other in the talents to build up others’ integrity.
And Mr J responded predictably, citing his Private Revelations – specifically his Guided Tour of Hell. Which he has never gone into detail.
All of this begs the question: Does God have any reason to exist other than to SMITE SMITE SMITE?
Because that was what I got from Jack Chick, Hal Lindsay, Christians for Nuclear War, etc.
And what you still hear from a lot of the churches scrutinized on this blog and others.
It’s a form of Over-Spiritualization.
Everything becomes so Spiritual that Reality is Left Behind.
Sometimes this hardens into abstract Theology, sometimes it just goes off the deep end.