“Contract law is essentially a defensive scorched-earth battleground where the constant question is, “if my business partner was possessed by a brain-eating monster from beyond spacetime tomorrow, what is the worst thing they could do to me?” ― Charles Stross.
I knew that 9Marx was coming to town and realized it might be helpful for the good people of Chapel Hill Bible Church to hear the other side of the story. As a reminder, my husband and I were ten-year members of CHBC who left early on, right after Jay Thomas and Eric McKiddie were starting as a duo. We left due to our concern for the practice of faith and theology by the new lead team. We are now members of a conservative Lutheran church.
Here is what I have heard.
- Chapel Hill Bible Church will host this church plant from 9Marks, affectionately known as 9Marx.
- Bobby Jamieson is an associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, the home of Mark Dever, and writes books for the organization. He is a true believer.
- I understand that Chapel Hill Bible Church members have diligently studied 9Marks-produced media.
- I believe there is a close tie between The Gospel Coalition and 9Marks, both NeoCalvinist or New Reformed groups. These are not your daddy’s Presbyterians.
- In 15 years of writing on abuse in churches, 9Marks is the one name that gets the most mentioned when it comes to spiritual and systems abuse.
- Is it possible that Trinity Baptist Church might merge with Chapel Hill Bible Church in the future? They have 9Marks money, and the Bible Church has great digs near the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.
- Trinity Baptist Church will be part of the Southern Baptist Convention in keeping with 9Marks history. So, if a merger happens, the Bible Church will become part of the SBC, but members will be told that it is only for “cooperative” endeavors like missions. If this happens, don’t believe them. The church will be SBC if it gives money to the SBC. This sort of thing appears to be part of the deceptive practices that I have observed.
Things you should know or that you might wish to have known.
The Gospel Coalition and 9Marks (aka 9Marx) are Reformed organizations, better known as NeoCalvinists. CHBC is, in my opinion, a NeoCalvinist-aligned church.
Jay Thomas said. the following in a meeting:
Now our presence on the Gospel Coalition directory and in 9marks directory That is true. Now those organizations hold to the aforementioned values and we believe it was helpful for us to be a non denominational church to be identified with broader movement so that people looking for certain values in a church could find us. OK. I also checked with Colin Hanson of the Gospel Coalition just to see —to be in this directory-are we necessarily saying we’re strictly, you know, confessionally reformed, and he said absolutely not. We’re-the broad set of values that are seen in our statement of faith and the articles and the books that we publish and it’s up to the church to decide how strictly they adhere to a confessional statement. So also know that this is nothing new. Prior to the last decade, this church is aligned with different organizations like the Willow Creek Association and Youth Specialties. Um, so leadership along the years have found it helpful to, to be aligned with certain organizations that they thought were missionally important or theologically reflective of the church.
Collin said that? He knows better. Well, the Foundation Documents of The Gospel Coalition states:
We are a fellowship of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures
I would be shocked if anyone could find one of the players in 9Marks who was not super seriously Reformed, given the history of Mark Dever.
Serious church membership is marked by a member signing a covenant; even 9Marks agrees this is a legal document. You can read the linked post by the same name.
If you have signed one of these legal documents, known as church covenants, you have done so to prevent the church from getting sued for unjust application of church discipline. If your church is pushing church membership, ask yourself a question. “Who does this benefit? Me or the church?” They tell you it is for your good. But why must you sign this church contract (a better word than a covenant) instead of attending church regularly, donating money, volunteering, etc? This is the only way a church can discipline you when you get out of line without possibly attracting a lawsuit. In other words, they are an authoritarian, top-down hierarchy that views the members as the ones to be controlled. They plan to make sure you are following their road to sanctification. If you are not, they might impose church discipline.
Come on. Aren’t they nice pastors who only want to care about me? Ummm, haven’t you heard of retroactive church discipline? I think 9Marx invented this form of punishment.
Let’s look at the well-known story of Todd Wilhelm, who writes with me. He worked in the aviation industry in Dubai and was a member of John Folmar’s 9Marks church, UCCDubai, now known as the Evangelical Church of Dubai. John Folmar is a close friend of Mark Dever. Tod was asked to move into a deacon position in the church, in which he would oversee the sales of books in the bookstore. Todd, being well-read as well as being an advocate for the abused, was appalled to see books by CJ Mahaney in the store. Dever has been a close friend of Mahaney and has never spoken publicly against what happened in Sovereign Grace or Mahaney’s role in the child abuse coverup scandal.
Todd said he would not sell the books and decided to leave the church. That’s it. He just wanted out. He began looking for another church, but they wanted him to find a church with which they approved right away. he wanted to take his time, not wishing to make another mistake in his church choice. He then heard that he was placed on the “member care list,” a 9Marx euphemism for church discipline. He tried for months to get off the list, but his name was regularly read out loud to the church. It’s the righteous application of Matthew 18, after all, or is it? 9Marx refuses to speak about it even though Todd is willing to sign a notarized letter asking them to tell TWW their side. No go. It’s probably too embarrassing, and I’ll let you guess for whom.
Why are they called the Hotel California of the evangelical set as well as 9Marx?
Surely you know these words from The Eagles’ Hotel California?
Last thing I rememberI was running for the door I had to find the passage back To the place I was before “Relax, ” said the night man “We are programmed to receive You can check out any time you like But you can never leave!”
Their churches are infamous for punishing people who do not leave under their rigid terms. It’s a control thing. They believe they are responsible for you and insist on applying their demanding standards to the unsuspecting church members. Members need them to hold them accountable for their lives because members are unable to live a high-standard, 9Marx sort of Christian life without them being in control. They are also well aware of many who use the term 9Marx. Spend some time doing your research. It’s easy to find a lot of information on the problems with this organization.
Mark Dever will not give communion to people in hospice or nursing homes. He says it is “unbiblical.”
As a former member of the Bible Church and now a conservative Lutheran, I find this restriction an example of the overly exacting standards of 9Marx. Lutherans take communion very seriously due to their belief in the presence of Jesus Christ in communion. The pastors go to the homes of the disabled, visit the very old in nursing homes, those dying in hospice, and those undergoing treatment in hospitals. They give communion to those folks who are encouraged and comforted by this. Dever says that he will not give communion unless the church is gathered (I guess he has some sort of heavenly-inspired quorum count. Is it 70? 100? 119? or 2 or more?) Anyway, it’s just tough luck if you are too sick.
This is an example of their 9Marxist standards. They have a “rules you must follow” book. Members must check each rule off so they and their top-down leaders know they are on their way to sanctification, 9Marks style. Just remember, it is their rule book, not necessarily what is explicitly stated in the Bible. For Todd’s UCCD, the rule was that he must sell CJ Mahaney books, no matter his righteous objection towards doing so.
Here is an example of how they interpret Acts 2:41.
Here’s another example from that same post.
Did you know that the misinterpretation of Matthew 18 has caused so much unnecessary pain?
Read the linked post, but here is a quote.
Does Matthew 18 actually say to have big, exciting (yet oh.so.serious.) meeting and tell it to every last person in the church?
One of the stupidest decisions made by Matt Chandler(ed.a proponent of 9Marks) and his lieutenants in the Karen Hinkley situation (which could have resulted in a very serious lawsuit) was to send a letter to the intimate group of 6,000 (!) members of The Village Church informing them that Karen Hinkley was in sin and under church discipline. I even phoned an elder at The Village Church that I used to know when I lived in Dallas and asked him “What were you thinking???!!” He refused to answer because, well, you know, *confidentiality,* *pray,*… yada, yada, yada.
Folks, do you really think that this sort of action is what Jesus was discussing in Matthew 18? I presume that it is if you believe church discipline is meant to chase a person as far away from the church as possible. Do you really think that this is “restoring a person gently?”
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul was upset because the entire church thought that the dude having sex with his father’s wife was actually being kind of cool. That guy had to be thrown out, and the entire church needed to hear about it because they were actually *in bed* with the situation. (I couldn’t resist.)
Sadly, UCC Dubai leadership actually thought it was an excellent idea to tell the entire church that Todd Wilhelm needed to be on the *care* list. For those of you reading this who think – “There are two sides to that one” – it is crucial for you to know that Todd Wilhelm agreed to sign a statement allowing the church to release ALL information surrounding his *discipline.* As expected, UCCD leadership refused. Matt Chandler tried the same thing with Amy Smith and me, telling us via Twitter that we didn’t know the *whole* story. We let him know we had all of the texts, emails and church letters…
There is nothing in Matthew 18 that indicates it is against Scripture to tell just a few members of the church who are actually involved and truly care about the individual being disciplined, instead of telling the entire church. Yeah, like 6,000 members getting emails was what Jesus had in mind. In fact, if all 6,000 church members really cared about a *sinning* member, they should have been the first to approach said member at the start of the Matthew 18 process, since all 6,000 of them were truly invested in the situation…
Finally, an offer to help:
If 9Marx gets ahold of the Bible Church, I predict some will be wounded. Please get in touch with us if we can help you if you have signed one of those abusive “covenants’ when you decide to leave. We have some advice on how to get out of a church that is holding on to you for dear life. Here is one permanent post at TWW that might be of help. This is one of our most requested posts. Ask yourself why.
Below are the posts I linked to in the article, along with one more of what happened to a church when it went “9Marx.” If you wish to read all of TWW’s articles on 9Marks, here is a link.
- 9 Marks Finally Admits Membership *Covenants” Are Legal Documents. We Told You So! Caveat Emptor
- Hotel California Churches (Think 9Marks) Want to Control Members Even When They Leave.
- People Are Being Retroactively Disciplined In 9 Marks Churches Due to Egotistical, Authority-Driven Pastors
- The 9Marx Interpretation of Acts 2:41
- Are 9Marks and Church Discipline Advocates Misinterpreting Matthew 18 and Causing Unnecessary Pain?
- 9 Marks and The Gospel Coalition Apparently Continue to Ignore the Abuse in Their Midst
- First Baptist Church Sapulpa Celebrates Christmas By Embracing 9 Marks and Cancelling the Membership of the Elderly and Those Who Don’t Give Money
- Mark Dever/9Marks View on Communion: Too Bad, So Sad for Those Disabled, in Hospice, and Nursing Homes.
- Don’t Be a 9Marxist!