Regarding this picture: I think the SBC could say the same thing about women who have led in the SBC churches. Also, see the movie Hidden Figures since there are many hidden women running SBC churches.
“Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.” Ismail Haniyeh
Women should not be allowed to be music ministers.
A couple of days ago, I read an article at Baptist News Global by Mark Wingfield: Now there’s a movement to bar women as worship leaders in churches.
On Feb. 27, Dale Partridge, president of Relearn.org and founder of Reformation Seminary, tweeted this:
The Bible: “Women should not take authority over men in the church.”
Churches: “Let’s have a woman worship leader!”
The truth is, a church learns much of its doctrine by what it sings, and if a woman can direct the church in worship, she certainly has authority over the men.
That tweet garnered 80,000 views in less than 24 hours and drew a long string of comments, including those agreeing with Partridge and those skewering him. Some said they would go even further than keeping women from leading singing.
Partridge runs Relearn.org and founded Reformation Seminary. The seminary is a highly conservative Calvinist seminary dedicated to planting house churches. After looking at both websites, I felt relieved, knowing that they are not highly influential.
This got me wondering about the SBC, which is influenced by highly conservative groups like the Founders and CBMW and by ardent Reformed folks like Al Mohler. Given that they had just expelled five churches with female lead/teaching pastors (including one church that wasn’t even a current SBC church.) I wondered what was next on their agenda.
There is a movement that all SBC churches with women designated as pastors of any kind should be expelled.
The Baptist Standard posted this post from Religion News Service: Southern Baptists’ long disagreement about women. I have been reading that there is a movement afoot for the SBC to throw out churches that have women designated as pastors of any kind, not just women lead pastors or teaching pastors. This June, a proposal to do just that will be presented at the annual SBC convention.
Delegates to the June meeting, known as messengers, may also debate a potential constitutional amendment to officially bar churches that “affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind.”
Virginia Baptist pastor Mike Law proposed the constitutional amendment last year, but the SBC Executive Committee has yet to decide whether to let it move forward. Any changes to the SBC’s constitution would have to be passed two years in a row.
Law, pastor of Arlington Baptist Church, said several SBC churches close to his congregation have women pastors. That prompted him to write to the Executive Committee last May, seeking clarification about the SBC’s rules.
His email also had a personal side. Arlington Baptist Church, where Law began serving in 2014, had at least two women pastors in its past. Having women as pastors, he believed, put the church at odds with the SBC’s doctrine.
“Thankfully, the saints at Arlington Baptist have returned to faithfulness on this issue, and unity with Southern Baptists,
And this guy is serious. He’s making a list; you can be sure he’s checking more than twice. So I would venture to guess this list undercounts the actual number quite.
Law also put together a list of 170 women pastors serving at SBC churches. That list includes 51 women who are senior pastors, 20 associate pastors, 47 children’s pastors, 12 elders, 11 worship pastors and 35 “other” pastors.
I wonder if he is including any African American churches which have long been known to have women leading in their churches. Think about those optics, Pastor Law.
William Thornton wrote the most helpful post on the matter: Is the Executive Committee or SBC in the annual session capable of handling mass expulsions?
He makes some excellent points in this post, and I recommend that everyone read it. He raises the question about the possibility of needing “mass expulsions” if the SBC continues down this road.
We started with racism, which evidently cannot be found in any SBC church sufficient to trigger an expulsion. We continued with mishandling sex abuse which we’re led to believe is a huge problem that will be ameliorated by the independent and very expensive database, managed by a division of the Madison Avenue, New York lawyer firm, Guidepost Solutions LLC. You know, the firm mistrusted by a considerable segment of Southern Baptists. And lurking everywhere are anatomically incorrect SBC clergy, women pastors. What’s an ecclesiastical body to do? Worry a lot, I think.
…Those who eat and sleep SBC stuff know that there is a site that has compiled hundreds of the offending females and their churches: female senior pastors, female co-pastors, music pastors, student pastors, teaching pastors, elders, etc. etc. etc
Think about this for a minute. What if Guidepost Solutions, an organization that some Baptists suspect, comes up with a long, long list of churches that have not handled abuse correctly? For example, I know of one off the top of my head—Steve Bradley, one of Jules Woodson’s pastors, who still refuses to speak with her. Given the Houston Chronicle report, we could be in for hundreds of credible reports. Add to that list the many females in SBC churches who have the title of pastor, which I suspect is quite a bit longer than Pastor Law thinks. How many of those women are in African American churches? Then, complaints could arise about racism in churches.
How many of you think the tiny Executive Committee can research, decide and vote to oust that many folks?
Could throwing out churches become addictive?
William Thornton thinks it might be. He thinks a halt should be called on ousting churches until a review of the Baptist Faith and Message is accomplished. I happen to think it’s a darn good idea.
It may be that the EC expelling churches, or the SBC in annual session expelling churches, is the crack cocaine of destructive ecclesiology – one gets addicted to it because it feels good.
“Out with the wayward brethren and sistren!”
One hopes for a more cooperative spirit and a more irenic attitude.
We should hunger and thirst after righteousness, not indignation. We’d be a better convention for it.
Bottom line: No, neither the EC nor the SBC in annual session is capable of handling mass expulsions. We should find a way not to go down that road. If you want purity, get a water filter.
If you want purity, get a water filter. Darn right, Willliam.
The SBC leadership is so hypocritical.
I feel for the SBC laity. A lot of good people in that category being led by power-hungry narcissists.
“Regarding this picture: I think the SBC could say the same thing about women who have led in the SBC churches. Also, see the movie Hidden Figures since there are many hidden women running SBC churches.”
IMHO, this goes way beyond and was way before the SBC – many hidden women getting stuff done in churches, including leadership.
Gladys Aylward, rejected by the Mission Board.
People in charge who crush the work of God by the Holy Spirit in others: we cannot envy them, not now and not in Eternity. Not a good place to be.
This is very disheartening. It seems the cause of women is going backwards. I feel very bad for my granddaughters. However, whenever the true church faces persecution, it always seems to be strengthened, so perhaps I should be encouraged.
I wonder if there’ll be a split from the SBC, much in the same way Lutheranism did a split, LCMS and ELCA.
Muff Potter, I was wondering the same thing. Furthermore, with the stories coming out about NAMB and the ongoing DOJ investigation, you have to wonder what is going to happen to the SBC as the ship hits the sand.
Different structure among Baptist so most churches are free to leave.
Also the ELCA was made by three groups combining in 1987/88 with the smallest group being one that left the LCMS in 1976. The other two groups in turn were made up of mergers (mostly as the multiple Lutheran denominations that were created by immigrants from different European countries and initially speaking different languages combined).
Note the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship already exists and create by churches less than happy with the SBC’s conservatism. Some still may have dual affiliation.
The thought occurs, taking off one’s glasses to blur out the details, that historically, Protestantism has moved into its future through separations.
Perhaps it’s just a normal part of the historical process. That is not to minimize the responsibility of key actors in the current episode of group splintering, but perhaps it sets the thing in context.
Why is it that the SBC hides behind the autonomy of their independent churches when choosing not to intervene in abuse situations but snaps into action by expelling churches that have women in positions of “authority”? I’m pretty sure God cares more about addressing sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse more than women pastors. Their evil hypocrisy and lack of repentance makes me shudder for their souls.
“I have been reading that there is a movement afoot for the SBC to throw out churches that have women designated as pastors of any kind, not just women lead pastors or teaching pastors. This June, a proposal to do just that will be presented at the annual SBC convention.“
Yeah. The big debate is going to be over how short to make the leashes on women.
Some believe a woman should be able to do everything a pastor can do except preach from the pulpit, but she cannot hold the title “pastor”.
Others believe a woman should not hold a position that gives her any authority in the church, especially over men…… and that could include adolescent boys…(Kinda funny, but when I was kitchen director, I had authority over the men who helped in the kitchen on “big event” special occasions.)
I wish the women would all just walk out. The men can contract part time day care services, catering services, and cleaning services and they’ll never miss us ———- except for maybe the sopranos and the altos in the choir……… and the money.
Sand hell, it’s gonna’ be jagged submerged rock reef.
Yes, Lutheran and Baptist are vastly different cultures.
I may not be either one of those things that sink the ship. That boat has had a slow leak for some forty years, and instead of bailing water out of the boat they’ve been bailing water into the boat.
Claim “PERSECUTION!!!!!!!”, what else?
doublethink, comrades, doublethink.
Just like Calvary Chapel.
A la “The Strike at Putney.”
What just came to mind is when GM got sued for not doing a recall on some other sedans in the mid 2000s that would reportedly wear the two back tires from the inside and obviously cause issues. (They had reportedly done a recall for the police editions of those models and Instituted like a $700 fix, but not for the overall cars sold.)
By the time they got to trial, it was after GM had gotten their bailout. The company then reportedly essentially argued IIRC that the case had no merit because now, they were a different company than the one under which the issue had occurred.
One might wonder if amidst all of these denominational fissures and reshapes, some in the SBC might be putting in their action plans ways to distance themselves from future actions. It might be part of the tool kit for some of them to reshape enough times to create enough distance for legal protection purposes. Some others might just be trying to consolidate power the old fashioned way, seeking to secure ideological and political power that way.
Whichever is employed, isn’t it telling how often financial and control priorities often seem to be the most consistent ones prioritized?
It has been said, “when a person shows you who he really is, believe him.”
Perhaps that could be generalized to something like, “when a group shows you what it really values, believe them.”
Well, according to Psalm 2, God laughs at and mocks pompous leaders.
In Psalm 1, we are warned NOT to mock. But God sure does engage in mockery in Ps. 2.
Maybe in the same vein of “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord,” so follows God mocks but we are warned to refrain from sitting in the seat of mockers.
Mockery – God’s deal.
Vengeance – God’s deal.
Anger – God’s deal, but we are invited to participate with God on this. (We are also warned about anger, not so much to refrain from, but to be careful with. Apparently, it is good for us to share with God anger on the things that anger Him.)
This seems to follow in Jesus’ life. Jesus became angry but He neither mocked nor took vengeance. Jesus rose above. We follow Jesus.
“Why is it that the SBC hides behind the autonomy of their independent churches when choosing not to intervene in abuse situations but snaps into action by expelling churches that have women in positions of “authority”?”
cuz it’s fun? (like a 3-year old who goes around pinching people)
for the ringleaders to invent ways to look busy, purposeful, & to make a name for themselves?
to direct attention away from what they don’t want people to be watching?
to wake up & stir up conservative sentiment?
to rally the conservative troops to grab their pitchforks and come out for upcoming events of greater political consequence?
it’s all just so lovely…
“The men can contract part time day care services, catering services, and cleaning services and they’ll never miss us”
they’ll miss the idea of women. but not the reality of women.
Always I pray that women and children will not go down with the SBC’s sinking ship of misogyny — that they come out of that unregenerate cancer on the body of Christ! There are other churches far better than SBC even in the U.S. with its politicized version of Christianity in the 21st century. (Maybe more of a challenge in the deep south where there’s usually only a SBC church and a Methodist church that acts virtually S. Baptist in every little town. There the women may need the Holy Spirit’s courage and inspiration of collective action to go on strike until the men realize their churches will fail without women.)
Exemplary of SBC alternatives, recently outside the deep south I attended an AoG service in a 100,000-population city where a woman explicitly called “pastor” from the main stage preached an excellent sermon based on John 7 and God’s will — plus modern worship songs were blended with some of the classic favorites from the S. Baptist hymnal of my youth. It was lovely (and unusual in the U.S.) to have the service focus on humanity and God spiritually, thus entirely apolitical without taking either a secular neoliberal or neoconservative side. Very satisfying! AoG like SBC tends to have potlucks and congregational social involvement, and I didn’t notice any praying in tongues, so maybe it’s a place former S. Baptists who aren’t bigots against women can go without encountering neolib DEI-type secular lingo at church.
Not that SBC is the only unregenerate entity harming the body of Christ; cue Revelation to see how long missing the mark of the gospel has been going on, in that only 2 of 7 churches featured for commentary were exempted from God’s call to repent, leaving 5 others for censure, e.g.,
(1) [church at Ephesus] “you have abandoned the love you had at first…repent, and do the works you did at first.” (Rev. 2:4,5);
(2) [church at Pergamum] “…you have some…[who have] put a stumbling block before the people of Israel, so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practice fornication. …Repent then.” (Rev. 2:14,16);
(3) [church at Thyatira] “…I [Jesus Christ through the Spirit] am throwing [them] into great distress, unless they repent [of ‘the deep things of Satan,’ fornication, adultery and eating food sacrificed to idols].” (Rev. 2:21-24);
(4) [church at Sardis] “…you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God…repent.” (Rev. 3:1-3); and
(5) [church at Laodicea] “I know your works…because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth…You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. …Be earnest, therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:14,16,17,19).
There’s obviously a reason none of the S. Baptist male preachers covered any part of Revelation from the pulpit or in bible study when I was still in SBC churches! So glad to have moved on. Hallelujah!
to complete the thought above (here,), it might be that a common thread between “intolerance of female participation in leadership” and “comparative tolerance of misuses and abuses of power by leadership over the led” is that both might be an expression of high value placed on “hierarchical power relations”.
‘We started with racism, which evidently cannot be found in any SBC church sufficient to trigger an expulsion.’
I find that hard to believe. A church which has a widespread problem with covering up abuse and there hasn’t been a massive outcry,won’t treat people as people in other areas of life.
But I don’t really think the denigration and depersonification of women is unique to SBC or any church, or indeed just about women. If I lived in the US and was a woman, gay, Black, trans, common law married etc etc, I’d be very frightened at this point.
“If I lived in the US and was a woman, gay, Black, trans, common law married etc etc, I’d be very frightened at this point.”
so, assuming you live outside the US, you see America as frighteningly hostile to these people groups?
and you do think racism can, in fact, be “found in SBC churches sufficient to trigger an expulsion”?
(not sure if i have a hole punched out of my reading comprehension abilities today…)
“Only half of U.S. pastors are “very satisfied” in their current vocation and two-thirds feel less confident about their ministry calling than they did when they began to pastor a church.
That’s according to a newly released survey by Barna Group, a leading research firm that specializes in evangelical and religion trends. “The number of pastors who feel burnt out, lonely or unwell is growing,” the firm stated in research released on Wednesday.
In 2015, 72% of pastors reported being “very satisfied” with their current job. By last fall, only 52% of pastors had the same response—a decline of 20 points.” – https://julieroys.com/barna-survey-pastors-confidence-ministry-calling-sharply-declined/
I love to point out a fact: look up all five of these towns that God issued these threats against. You will not only not find the churches, you will not find the towns either. They were all eventually destroyed by invading armies and were never rebuilt. We really need to take God’s warnings seriously!
For all their posturing about not following ‘Biblical’ gender roles and how it’s ruining the ‘Church’, I think that deep down inside, those guys are scared you-know-whatless of women.
I wondered the same thing given that the U.S. is one of the most free Nations on Earth, where you (generic you) can do whatever floats your boat (within reason).
Here’s insight to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s position on female pastors and elders. https://www.christianpost.com/news/lcms-guidelines-on-women-leadership-complete.html
And here’s a website advocating for the ordination of women in the LCMS:
“On Feb. 27, Dale Partridge, president of Relearn.org and founder of Reformation Seminary, tweeted this:
The Bible: “Women should not take authority over men in the church.”
Churches: “Let’s have a woman worship leader!”
The truth is, a church learns much of its doctrine by what it sings, and if a woman can direct the church in worship, she certainly has authority over the men.”
Wish this was a fringe thing but it’s probably more widespread than we think.
A church I know well (it’s been featured on TWW under an assumed name) did away with women worship leaders about 10 years ago when a disciple of John MacArthur and graduate of Al Mohlers seminary remade the church in his neo-Calvinist image. He gave the same argument- women should not have authority over men.
Wonderful talented women left the church. Families I had respected stayed and said nothing. Incredibly disappointing all the way around.
It’s really hard to watch loving, vital Christian communities ripped apart and decimated by these modern day Pharisees.
it’s so very transparent.
and astounding cruelty & ignorance.
they’re like the most extreme caricature of Victorian male entitlement in a period piece. if there weren’t devastating consequences for others it would be laughable.
and like you say, this is not America, but some of its very worst.
Southern baptists started using the Bible to openly discuss “women’s roles” around 1880, about 15 years after the end of the Civil War, when slavery became illegal. Seems like these men have to have domination over some large group of people, one way or another.
Short answer: yes and yes.
More nuanced answer: I know it’s not the whole population of the US but I do find it very frightening. The gun thing as well. When I was a kid I fantasized about living in the US (I live in the UK and what I mainly find frightening here is the government) but honestly, now wouldn’t even visit.
I just find it bizarre that any private citizen would feel the need to arm themselves – they don’t need to in a developed country where the citizenry should be protected by the armed forces and police.
As for the racism I’m not in a position to say that it is there: I’ve never met a Southern Baptist and the Baptist Union here has a different history. But I’ll promise you that when a bunch of people aren’t up in arms when child abuse is happening among them, you can guarantee there’ll be other ways those people don’t respect and value personhood.
Apologies if this is more frank than you wanted.
As sick as it is, it sure seems like that’s the case. SBC’s patriarchy moved from oppressing a race to oppressing a gender.
And on another front … In many communities there is a First Baptist church and a Second Baptist church. The prominent and powerful go to “First” … the blue-collar and down & outers go to “Second”. Thus, there is also an oppression of class.
Galatians 3:28 makes it clear … “Gone is the distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female — you are all one in Christ Jesus.” There is to be no oppression, no distinction, no separation, no subordination in the Body of Christ in regard to race, class or gender.
Decades ago, my family joined “First” Baptist in a Midwestern town shortly after we moved to the area (even though we weren’t prominent or powerful). It was a factory-town. One of the prominent members was Vice President at a large industrial facility. The church was perched on a hill overlooking the city and its factories. After church one day, I was talking to the VP on the porch, gazing over the city. He expressed his concern that only a few of the blue-collar workers he managed came to “his” church and what could be done about that. My reply “Well, sir, all you have to do is roll up your sleeves, love them, and invite them to church.” He stared silently at me, began to cry, and walked slowly to his car. He couldn’t do it, so we did. My wife and I worked through the community to attract a sizable group of those factory workers to church. We started a new Sunday School class to teach and disciple them, several came to Christ.
I don’t know why it’s so darn difficult for some Southern Baptists to love their neighbor as themselves and embrace race, class and gender without distinction.
“The only goal of Power is POWER. And POWER consists of inflicting maximum suffering upon the Powerless.”
— George Orwell, Nienteen Eighty-Four
Whether you make long prayers and devotions in justification or not.
However; GOD HATH SAID! IS the ultimate Cosmic-level justification.
Okhrana becomes ChEKA which becomes OGPU which becomes NKVD which becomes KGB which becomes FSB…
They may be the first thrown overboard to lighten the ship fr the Sacred Testosterone.
When GOD Himself hath entitled you to Hold the Whip in His Name…
Even back then, Southern Baptist pastor W.T. Ussery challenged the prejudice against women preachers.
Straight from the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, an article from 1890 by W.T. Ussery in The Baptist & Reflector:
Page 2, title: “Our Christian Women: How Can their Power and Influence Be Utilized in Christian Work?”
Middle of column 3, Ussery writes:
“…But there is yet another, yea, the most exalted work for Christian women. I mean the preaching of the gospel…”
He gives plenty of Biblical support.
It is a must read. Published in the Tennessee Baptist paper 133 years ago!
Bio of W.T. Ussery: https://maurybaptist.org/william-thomas-ussery
I didn’t realize they (LCMS hierarchy) have set up almost their own inquisition of sorts.
I left the LCMS years ago and am now happily ensconced in an ELCA congregation.
And it’s not just white Southern men, you’ll find the same men in every ethnic and racial group on the planet.
It’s gotta’ be an inherited gene that drives control freakery.
Quakers were challenging those opposed to women preaching back in 1666 (Margaret Fell later Fox) for instance “Women’s Speaking Justified, Proved, and Allowed of by the Scriptures” (written while she was in prison).
“…And thus the Lord Jesus hath manifested himself and his Power, without respect of Persons, and so let all mouths be stopt that would limit him, whose Power and Spirit is infinite, that is pouring it upon all flesh.
And thus much in answer to these two Scriptures [the verses used to forbid women], which have been such a stumbling block, that the ministers of Darkness have made such a mountain of; But the Lord is removing all this, and taking it out of the way.”
“It’s gotta’ be an inherited gene that drives control freakery.
Napoleon Complex/little man syndrome is no respecter of physical stature.
Awesome comment. As usua you are full of information. 🙂
Well the article was written back in 2004. Note also
Another voice of less reactionary LCMS might be
The Daystar Journal. Infrequent postings https://thedaystarjournal.com/category/2022/
Thank you for this analysis and reminder.
1. Ephesus (Rev 2:1–7): labored hard and not fainted and separating from the wicked BUT forsaking its first love (2:4)
2. Smyrna (Rev 2:8–11): tribulation and poverty (the anawim); will suffer persecution (2:10)
3. Pergamum (Rev 2:12–17): where ‘Satan’s seat’ is; repent of allowing false teachers (2:16)
4. Thyatira (Rev 2:18–29): has charity, whose “latter works are greater than the former”; tolerates teachings of a false prophetess (2:20)
5. Sardis (Rev 3:1–6): admonished for – in contrast to good reputation – being dead; cautioned to fortify itself and return to God through repentance (3:2–3)
6. Philadelphia (Rev 3:7–13): steadfast in faith, keeping God’s word and enduring patiently (3:10)
7. Laodicea, near Denizli (see Laodicean Church) (Rev 3:14–22): lukewarm, insipid (3:16)
1. Ephesus: Founded 10th century BC; Abandoned 15th century.
2. Smyrna since about 1930 is called now İzmir, population today is about 3M.
3. Pergamum: Condition Ruined in 1300’s. Now: public land.
4. Thyatira: (city of guilds including dyers such as Lydia), now Turkish city of Akhisar: home to a Christian community from the apostolic period until 1922, when the Orthodox Christian population was deported.
5. Sardis: Founded & Settled 1500 BC; major city 600 BC; Abandoned around 1402 AD.
6. Philadelphia: Alaşehir, in Antiquity and Middle Ages known as Philadelphia (“city of him who loves his brother”), is a town and district of Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey, population today of about 100,000.
7. Laodicea: founded 261-253 BC; An earthquake in 60AD initially destroyed Laodicea but wealthy survivors rebuilt it. The city was completely destroyed during the invasions of the Turks and Mongols in the 13th century.
IMHO, James captures the Ark of survival for our day, whatever comes our way: keep ourselves faithful to God and clean from the world in the most simple and concrete ways; and care for needy widows and orphans, again in the most simple and concrete ways – needs.
What happened to these churches seems to reflect this, too. This is not rocket science. God is not complicated nor costly.
Their power position among men (people) supersedes their power position of a life filled with the Holy Spirit of God like Jesus. Jesus was humble, lowly, without means or title among men. Who goes there? Not the Evangelicals. No way. Not in their theology, culture, or lifestyles.
Former President Jimmy Carter agrees:
“Why I believe the mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse.”
Carter gives 3 unexpected reasons why the mistreatment of women and girls is global. The final reason he gives? ‘In general, men don’t give a damn.'”
1. The increased violence in our society falls primarily on women & girls.
2. Religions (all or most) support the mistreatment of women.
3. [Most] men don’t “give a damn”.
All 3 of these also explain why the church does not address the mistreatment of women:
1. Polite Society church does not address our increased societal violence. Carter quotes a statistic that 75% of violence/murder against women is done by the father or brother or uncle or partner. Polite Society churches NEVER addresses this.
2. Theobros write the mistreatment of women or silencing of women directly into their theology.
3. Men in general “don’t give a damn”. Men by-and-large are not the monsters. But in their empowered societal position, men do not address the mistreatment of women by the brohood of fellow men.
Wait a minute here. Am I missing some sarcasm Ava? Because I can’t understand how cities being razed over a thousand years after John the Revelator and everyone he wrote to was dead would be evidence of a divine judgement against the churches of Revelation. There were a few rather messy wars going on in that period of history, involving the destruction of many other cities of no particular notoriety. What did those folks’ ancestors do to warrant God siccing the Ottomans on them a millennium or so later?
Webster definition of “Evangelical”: “of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels”
I suppose that makes me an Evangelical. Now, if we could just get the group called “Evangelicals” to truly live out the Christian gospel as it is presented in the four Gospels. But, in the end, it boils out to how the individual lives, not the institution, when it comes to authentic Christianity. Jesus came to save and work through individuals, not institutions. The institution we call church is OK if it is winning souls for Christ, equipping them with Truth, and mobilizing them to fulfill the Great Commission.
IMHO, God doesn’t sic anyone on anyone.
However, I do believe, as in Hebrews 11, the faith life brings God’s blessings, maybe not even in this life, but then the next.
I take to heart myself personally to be circumspect about my own life in looking at these cities back then and now.
However, as you indicate, not everyone is touched in the same way.
I have no argument. A heart touch is for self reflection, not a soapbox.
Apologies for how my sharing did not communicate well. Especially in light of the fact that every time there’s even just a natural disaster, a preacher rails about the affected community’s so-called shortcomings. Fear mongering.
Mayhap God should come out and say:
Quit blaming me for all the stupid wars and horrors you inflict youselves through your own insanity.
Fair enough. That kind of thing doesn’t do it for me at all but as you say everybody sees things a bit differently. Personally, I have no patience with anything that suggests the fear mongering you describe. Sorry to have misinterpreted you.
i.e. “GAWD HATH SAID! REBELLION IS AS THE SIN OF WITCHCRAFT!”
Naah. These days they’re too busy LARPing The Turner Diaries and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Max, while I tend to agree with your summary, I refuse to call myself a “Evangelical” as is has come to be defined/practied in modern good old USA, I would add this:
When asked which commandment is greatest, he responds (in Matthew 22:37): “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”
As we continue to read hear on TWW, and just see play out in front of us, it really seems that so much of “Evangelicalism” does not “get it”…
instead it is focused on the “man rules” and “man followers”…
“Why should I stop that when you are perfectly capable of stopping it yourselves?” – God
— David Hopkins, Jack (dark online webcomic)
Or it could be a Darwin Award Intelliegence Test like my old DM told me about Anarchist’s Cookbook telling you how to make all these explosives and poisons but NOT including the needed safety precautions for them.
Headless Unicorn Guy,
…you inflict on yourselves…
Jesus warned believers not to forsake the commandments of God for the teachings and traditions of mere men. Teachings and traditions appear to be winning in the American church. IMHO, there are more “man followers” than Christ-followers. The counterfeit has largely replaced the genuine.
Further irony… we all know that so many of these “man leaders” like to cite Paul.. but all of the stuff Paul wrote, the most impactfully to me is Paul emphasizing the character of Christ, and how we should follow that example..
I think this gets back to one of your many points, Max… pew peons need to read the scriptures for themselves…
It’s the only way to test the teachings you are under for Truth. The Bereans were considered of more noble character than others because they examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was true! Paul!!
“… they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11)
Oh, you’ve really outdone yourself today. Granted, I’m just doing a Google search, but here are my super amateur findings.
– Ephesus. “The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263. Although it was afterwards rebuilt, its importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. In 614, it was partially destroyed by an earthquake.” —Wikipedia
– Pergamum “was ruled by the Byzantines until it passed into Ottoman hands early in the 14th century.” —Britannica
– Thyatira. “The city was home to a Christian community from the apostolic period. The community continued until 1922, when the Orthodox Christian population was deported.” —Wikipedia
– Sardis. “It was obliterated in 1402 by the Mongol Timur (Tamerlane).” —Britannica
– Laodicea. “One of the most powerful earthquakes struck in 27 BCE, during the reign of Emperor Augustus. In 60 CE, another earthquake completely destroyed Laodicea.”
Do you really worship a god who sits up in heaven and yells, “Don’t make me come down there”? If so, your god is lacking motivation and/or caffeine.
Good thought. Agree.
You did your homework and discovered what I did. The removing of the lightsticks promised if they did not repent took a long time: from the 13th – 15th centuries, but the result was total destruction of the towns. All five. And I do not understand the liberal viewpoints that completely ignore:
1) The entire Old Testament, including: The Flood, The Judges, The Assyrian Nightmare, the Babylonian Nightmare.
2) The Roman Nightmare Jesus was born under, brutal treatment of God’s People.
3) Even more telling Jesus’ own words regarding end times events.
4) The book of Revelation.
You have to ignore a lot to get to a point where the Fear of the Lord is something that you think no one should have. To quote Jesus, “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear the One who, after you have been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!”
And yet they’ll make the claim that they’re not ‘man rules’, but rules fully backed up by Scripture.
That’s the God you get from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, Jack Chick’s “This Was Your Life”, and The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay. A God of Wrath on a hair trigger, who hates your guts and can’t wait to return and Destroy the World and All In It.
In my life I’ve had to deal with someone who was a lot of Rage on a hair trigger, never knowing what would set them off this time. Not someone you want to have power over you.
Jesus loves me how much? Not a whole lot apparently…
I’m genuinely struggling to understand God’s role in the “Roman nightmare.” Are we to believe that God used the Roman Empire to punish God’s people, including God’s son?
Sure, call the Roman Empire evil, but maybe let’s not say that God used the Roman Empire as a weapon.
I don’t think any of it is “god” and not because of unbelief.
Even when I was a Christian, my god wasn’t a vengeful psychopath.
I looked at it this way, faith is there to help through the hard times. Those hard times aren’t a punishment, whatever is the cause.
Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars…or something like that.
In Christianity, death is not the end. What’s suffered here will not be suffered there.
I can’t explain suffering or why good people suffer, but they do. My good friend died of cancer, he was Lutheran. He was a man of deep faith who bore his illness without complaining. Did he like being sick? No. Did he feel he was being smited? No. Was he at peace when he died? Yes.
Why the journey is so difficult, we may never know but Christianity is supposed to focus on the destination.
IMHO, God allows stuff to happen, that God doesn’t cause. He just may not intervene. Consequences. There is human free will. Moreover, we live in a world that at times is dangerous, maybe even deadly, for everyone, no matter how saintly they live.
Thank you for the thoughtful response.
I didn’t have the honor of knowing your friend, but it sounds like he found both a hope for eternity as well as reconciliation with his gradual decline. That to me is faith.
It’s good he did not feel that God was smiting him. Some churches do blame people for their cancer.
Mr J, try telling the segregationists, who think they are saved already (and not assured), to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (that means infer in order to believe).
I know churches where that is a permitted disease but blame wouldbe parishioners for suffering any other conditions.
St Paul affirmed the Unknown God. But Fundamental mongers didn’t build on the observations of the sociologist Schleiermacher (of late the Durkheimist / Gramscian totalitarians simply weaponise Girard’s scapegoat version).
Any account against a world backdrop is always saying simply, this is what the planet is like. The real God is a foreseer.
In Rev the series of cups, trumpets etc are probably contemporaneous with each other and the coloured horses allude indirectly to degrees of true sacrificial spirit among believers.
The judgment which is also in Obadiah verses 10-16 is against bad religious powerful leaders who plunder minds and trash all gifts (and is not against ordinary christians or agnostics).
Whoever came up with that one is full-o’-poo-poo.
During the Cold War, radio preachers were claiming God Shall Use The Nuclear Missiles of the Soviet Union to punish America for Its SINS.
With the Russo-Ukranian War, North Korea, and the general level of Crazy thee days, I expect a revival of that.
Does God have a reason to exist other than to PUNISH PUNISH PUNISH?