Chapel Hill Bible Church Is Hosting the 9Marks Startup, Trinity Baptist Church. Welcome to the Hotel California for the Evangelical Set.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

“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 doorI had to find the passage backTo the place I was before“Relax, ” said the night man“We are programmed to receiveYou can check out any time you likeBut 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.


Comments

Chapel Hill Bible Church Is Hosting the 9Marks Startup, Trinity Baptist Church. Welcome to the Hotel California for the Evangelical Set. — 80 Comments

  1. I have the impression that within Reformed thinking, Jesus’ “where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name” saying is understood to refer to 2 or more authorized officers of a local congregation, i.e. ordained elders. It is to the elders that the administration of the sacraments is entrusted.

    So it seems to me that, even within MD’s vision of ‘how to do church’, it would be valid to have a gathering of ‘2 or 3’ ordained elders around a shut-in or hospitalized member to administer Communion. It is tempting to suspect that under the language of ‘it’s not a proper gathering’, there might be other concerns, such as the inefficiency and labor-intensiveness of such small-scale forms of ministry.

    It also seems to me that having elders ‘go out’ to serve sufferers is a beautiful analogy to and illustration of traditional incarnational/kenotic theology. It’s a way in which they can imitate Christ.

    We’ve come a long way (baby) from Jerusalem.

    Perhaps it’s another way in which, if Prof. McKnight is right, Paul might not recognize present-day christianity.

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  2. “These are not your daddy’s Presbyterians.” (Dee)

    That’s a good point that needs to be repeated over and over. I have worshiped alongside classical “Old” Calvinists. I found them to be civil in their discourse and respectful of other expressions of faith. These “New” Calvinists are a totally different beast. And beast they have proven to be, moving in stealth and deception to takeover unsuspecting churches with their one true gospel (to them Calvinism = Gospel).

    These new reformers are rebellious and militant, authoritarian and tyrannical, manipulative and domineering … as they wreak havoc on the American church with their aberrant belief and practice. Yep, they are not your daddy’s Presbyterians. Buyer beware! … 9Marks is oppressive … “Love” is not one of their marks for a healthy church. Healthy means “We will control the spiritual daylights out of you!”

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  3. “Prior to the last decade, this church is aligned with different organizations like the Willow Creek Association …”

    I’m not sure I would have brought that up, Mr. Thomas. Willow Creek churches have been whatever-it-takes, flow with the culture, seeker-friendly … they don’t talk a lot about Jesus. Their founder, Bill Hybels, got a little too friendly with some of the seekers and is now out of the ministry business.

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  4. “If 9Marx gets ahold of the Bible Church, I predict some will be wounded.” (Dee)

    A prophecy surely to unfold. If you don’t believe that, talk to any of the multitude who have been wounded by 9Marxism and New Calvinism belief and practice. There are numerous posts on TWW with their stories.

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  5. Samuel Conner: Paul might not recognize present-day christianity

    He sure the heck wouldn’t appreciate the distortion of his words by the New Calvinists! Nor the emphasis of a twisted version his epistles over the words of Jesus (the NeoCals preach from Paul, not the Gospels). No, Paul wouldn’t recognize what the new reformation has done to the gospel, which is not ‘the’ Gospel at all.

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  6. Am I understanding correctly? An established church is hosting a “church plant”? Why on earth would they do that? “We’re insufficiently reformed in our doctrine, therefore we’re going to ‘host’ a church who IS sufficiently calvinistic.” That is crazy on it’s face. CHBC should simply hand over the keys and title deed to their building right now. In the end, there would be many, many fewer lives disrupted.

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  7. Believer,

    I believe Jay Thomas admires the New Calvinist leaders. There is a reason CHBC joined The Gospel Coalition immediately after Thomas arrived. Now, the church gets to devolve into 9Marx, and those guys have rules upon rules, some of which you don’t know are rules until you break one.

    I cannot stress enough the importance of looking for kind and loving pastors who know your name, care for you, and give you time to breathe. Who don’t jump on the latest theological trend and eschew authoritarianism. This is what caused us to join our church.

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  8. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): their version of “Biblical leadership” is a dictatorship made up of power hungry, controlling, holier than thou

    It’s a sick thing to watch a bunch of NeoCal-indoctrinated 20-30 year old “pastors”, with an “elder” team of same age, running roughshod over God’s people. They certainly have a passion for their movement and elite leaders, but it is a misplaced passion. When they finally figure out they have been used to advance the kingdom of men, rather than the Kingdom of God, they leave the movement confused and disillusioned. They may never try church again.

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  9. Believer: Am I understanding correctly? An established church is hosting a “church plant”? Why on earth would they do that? “We’re insufficiently reformed in our doctrine, therefore we’re going to ‘host’ a church who IS sufficiently calvinistic.” That is crazy on it’s face. CHBC should simply hand over the keys and title deed to their building right now. In the end, there would be many, many fewer lives disrupted.

    Wondering the same. Why the church plant?

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  10. CHBC isn’t confessionally reformed inasmuch as requiring people agree to things like the Westminster Confession or etc. to be a member.

    Well, at least they didn’t use to. If 9 marks takes over, I guess maybe they will.

    I do know that a while back there was an instagram spoof put out by chbc showing each staff member portrayed as a famous theologian or pastor of the past. Jay Thomas was portrayed as John Calvin.

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  11. “Can’t have communion for a sick person in the hospital, the church isn’t gathered” -Mark Dever

    “If two or three gather in my name, I am with them” -Jesus

    Person in hospital + person visiting = 2. If that’s good enough for Jesus, who does this Mark guy think he is, and is he going to need medical attention to get the stick outta there?

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  12. CMT: who does this Mark guy think he is,

    God?

    Authoritarianism is authority gone too far, as in Caiaphas calling for the execution of Jesus.

    Church folk need to beware of obsession with authority, of any man or human.

    Is the Reformed or Neo-Cal movement, the sweep of Caiaphas-ism through our churches?

    Will this movement eventuate in the execution of all Jesus followers just as Caiaphas executed Jesus?

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  13. Ava Aaronson: Will this movement eventuate in the execution of all Jesus followers just as Caiaphas executed Jesus?

    This is a movement of men-followers, not Jesus-followers. Jesus has effectively been silenced from their message. They preach a lot about “God”, but hardly a word about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They talk more about living and dead reformed icons than they do Jesus … Calvin, Piper and Dever are worshiped. Christ has no authority or influence in New Calvinist churches; mere men are on the throne. Their congregations are populated with folks who have been indoctrinated to believe that the essence of Christianity is in doctrinal propositions about grace rather than a direct experience of Grace. An encounter with the living Christ is not preached or experienced. It’s a religion of dry jots and tittles, rather than joy in the Lord.

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  14. Max: Christ has no authority or influence in New Calvinist churches; mere men are on the throne.

    From Deuteronomy 18:

    “Moses said,

    “And the Lord said to me, ‘Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it. But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.'”

    Uffdah, Oy vey, Blimey, Oh my stars! God is real. Let’s get real.

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  15. dee: the church gets to devolve into 9Marx, and those guys have rules upon rules, some of which you don’t know are rules until you break one.

    “Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” from Mark 1

    So here we have it: Authority (Jesus, the Son of God) versus authoritarianism (the other guys, who happened to be religious leaders).

    Church, beware.

    BTW, then Jesus went to heal people and cast out demons. More authority devoid of authoritarianism:

    “All were amazed and asked one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.’ His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.”

    We use the Bible as the plumb line or measure or template, in this case, for what is authority vs authoritarianism.

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  16. Ava Aaronson: “if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die” (Deuteronomy 18)

    “Not many [of you] should become teachers [serving in an official teaching capacity], my brothers and sisters, for you know that we [who are teachers] will be judged by a higher standard [because we have assumed greater accountability and more condemnation if we teach incorrectly]” (James 3:1 AMP)

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  17. Believer: Am I understanding correctly? An established church is hosting a “church plant”? Why on earth would they do that? “We’re insufficiently reformed in our doctrine, therefore we’re going to ‘host’ a church who IS sufficiently calvinistic.” That is crazy on it’s face. CHBC should simply hand over the keys and title deed to their building right now. In the end, there would be many, many fewer lives disrupted.

    Although there could be a merger in the making, another possible explanation is that CHBC (Chapel Hill Bible Church) is partnering with CHBC (Capitol Hill Baptist Church) and likely a network of other Neocalvinist churches in the area to plant a new church.

    Don’t know whether or not this is significant, since the church calendar says it is not “comprehensive,” but the event is not on the church calendar. It could be a one-time meeting which then rotates to other locations in the area. But since it’s not on the calendar, it’s impossible to tell.

    The church website used to have a page which listed their church plants, though it seems to have been taken down, but it has partnered in church planting in the past.

    In church plants done since Jay Thomas became pastor, Chapel Hill Bible Church partnered with other churches in planting Christ Central in Durham. And I believe there was also an attempt to partner with another church (maybe Summit?) in Asheville, NC that didn’t last.

    Chapel Hill Bible Church has also recently sponsored one of their own pastors in the formation of a church where he would be the pastor. This was done because that man was perceived to have a call to plant a new church.

    Partnering with other churches to plant new churches is a good thing in theory. If churches want to band together to reach new people in relatively unchurched areas, that is a good thing, but then you’d not expect the socio-economic status of an unchurched area to matter.

    I disagree with the “9 Marks” as to what constitutes a healthy church since their 9 Marks do not align with what is emphasized in the New Testament, but the other major problem I see are the target locations where these Neocalvinist churches & organizations choose to plant. Rather than using the combined resources of their church planting network to plant churches in areas with few churches regardless of the socioeconomic status of the community, it appears that they target locations that are wealthy and already have many faithful churches. Because church attendance in the US has become so consumer-oriented, what these church plants often do is not reach new people with the Gospel message, but instead suck people out of other churches for new and shiny programs.

    Chapel Hill checks those boxes. It is a very wealthy university town with many churches, including including 4 already affiliated with 9 Marks in Chapel Hill or Carrboro and another 5 in nearby Durham. (For those outside the area, the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are adjacent and share a school system.)

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  18. Oops. I was wrong about the ‘partnering.” The church plant’s official website is Trinitybc dot church. It lists The Pillar Network, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and NC Baptists as partners.
    So could Chapel Hill Bible Church just be offering meeting space? Offering meeting space would also have the advantage of being able to rub shoulders with the big boys from 9 Marks and getting closer to the inner circle. Networking is important, ya know.

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  19. Eyewitness: Because church attendance in the US has become so consumer-oriented, what these church plants often do is not reach new people with the Gospel message

    These folks don’t reach anyone with ‘the’ Gospel message! They attempt to reach people with reformed theology … they plant Calvinist churches, not Gospel churches … to them, Calvinism = Gospel … the Great Commission is not their mission.

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  20. Ava Aaronson: But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak … he shall die.’”

    This got quoted all the time on Christianese AM airwaves in Greater Los Angeles the Monday after the date for the 1984 Olympics Earthquake Prophecy passed without California sinking into the sea. I had my Walkman (hey, it was the Eighties) tuned to Rich Buhler’s talk show on KBRT as it unfolded:

    The 1984 Olympic Earthquake Scare began when a Pastor/Prophet of a Megachurch in Poway (NE corner of Greater San Diego) announced a Prophetic Vision from God of God Smiting California (for the usual reasons) by a Great Earthquake when “All The Eyes of The World are on Los Angeles” for the 1984 Olympics. This Prophecy was very detailed in its descriptions of total destruction, including a Tsunami smashing the San Diego coastline, running up Mission Valley all the way to the stadium on I-5 a couple km inland.

    (The latter was very plausible, as the underwater landforms around Mission Bay WOULD concentrate an incoming tsunami up Mission Valley. However, a large Tsunami coming from that direction would require a vertical fault movement or subsurface landslide off the coast and all California earthquake faults in that area are well inland.)

    The Friday before the last possible date for the Big One (that weekend), things were really hopping on KBRT’s phone-in lines. Including one guy who got past the screeners on false pretenses and launched into a Hellfire-and-Damnation REPENT WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME ALtar Call before Rumor Rich cut him off, one lady who claimed Earthquakes come during The Full Moon and You Know What Tomorrow; Rich’s reply was “I could tell it was a full moon from the kind of calls we’re getting”, and several others either following the Prophet of Poway or clearly afraid of what was going to happen. Rich’s tag-line signoff that Friday was “Call me back on Monday and we can talk about what happened.”

    Or didn’t happen. No earthquake, no SoCal in ruins and flames, no tsunami going over downtown San Diego and up Mission Valley. Monday afternoon, Rich Buhler signed on KBRT as usual: “Talk from the Heart, You’re On The Air!”

    Well, nobody who called in Friday called in Monday, even though Rich directed the screener to pass them through. Instead, ALL the phone-ins he got were “DEUTERONOMY 18! DEUTERONOMY 18! DEUTERONOMY 18!”, specifically the Verse quoted above. Rich tried to contact the Mega in Poway to interview the Megapastor Prophet for comment, but all he got was that Pastor Prophet and his family had to suddenly leave town and could not be reached.

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  21. Ava Aaronson: Eyewitness: appears that they target locations that are wealthy and already have many faithful churches. Because church attendance in the US has become so consumer-oriented

    $$$

    “Why do you rob banks?”
    “Because That’s Where The Money Is.”

    And to paraphrase Mario Puzo, one guy in a Megapulpit can steal more than a hundred guys with guns.

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  22. Max: “Not many [of you] should become teachers [serving in an official teaching capacity], my brothers and sisters, for you know that we [who are teachers] will be judged by a higher standard [because we have assumed greater accountability and more condemnation if we teach incorrectly]” (James 3:1 AMP)

    Wish I had that comeback line handy when “Emmayche” (my mentor in Catholicism at the time) kept high-pressuring me to become a Priest some time around 1990. All because I never married (which to him PROVED God had Called me to the Priesthood). In retrospect, the guy was really into Clericalism.

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  23. Believer: Am I understanding correctly? An established church is hosting a “church plant”? Why on earth would they do that?

    According to the only OT Star Trek novel I liked (Final Reflection by John M Ford), the Klingon word for Empire is “Structure Which Must Always Expand”.

    Growth for the Sake of Growth alone – The Philosophy of the Cancer Cell.

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  24. Ava Aaronson:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    AKA Biblical Histrionics. A category of dysfunction reserved for a certain type of off-the-rails “christians”.

    All I know is the 1984 Olympics Earthquake scare was one wild ride.
    I came to trust “Rumor Rich” on such matters. He was a talk-show host on Christian radio who did NOT fall for every Prophecy or Vision or Pin-the-Tail-on-The-Antichrist that came along (and there were a lot of them coming along at that time). Instead, he’d trace the rumor down and find it was either an urban legend or a hoax. Very level-headed guy, even if he did fall for the Satanic Ritual Abuse Recovered Memories shtick which was also going around at that time. (But then with McMartin Pre-School in the news with “new revelations” every day, EVERYBODY was falling for that one.)

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  25. Max: Their modus operandi is stealth and deception.

    Let us pray.

    Holy Father in Heaven, in Jesus’ name and by the power of His blood sacrificed for us, and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, “we fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid, that shall not be known.” In Jesus’ name, let the truth be known. Amen.

    Praying from Matt. 10.26.​

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  26. dee:
    Eyewitness,

    From what I have been told, the Bible Church has increased costs due to falling contributions. A number of churches in similar circumstances are considering a little congregational blending. Color me suspicious.

    This isn’t unusual in our city. A lot of mainstream Protestants are sharing space. Lutheran, Anglican, United.

    In this case, aging congregations can no longer afford the buildings anymore.

    But evangelicals can’t be smug either, most ‘new’ churches meet our of rented space and I don’t think the “megas” are increasing membership either. My wife’s church is claiming they’re $160 000 short this year.

    Seems like more people are staying home and saving 10%. Once the reinforcement stops the deprogramming gets easier.

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  27. Ava Aaronson: Are there any Evangelicals or Charismatics or Protestants that take a vow of poverty, like, for example, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Franciscans?

    “One of the scribes came up to Jesus and said to him, “Master, I will follow you wherever you go.” … “Foxes have earths, birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere that he can call his own,” replied Jesus.” (Matthew 8:19-20)

    Thousands followed Jesus, but the first mega-pastor had no wealth.

    “And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3)

    The 1st century church didn’t have silver and gold, but had the power to say “Rise up and walk!” … the 21st century church has lots of silver and gold, but can’t say “Rise up and walk!”… who needs the power of God when you have the wealth of men?

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  28. Max: Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3)

    Q: When is Evangelism and/or church planting NOT a ploy for pastor/org revenue streams?

    A: In the NT: Jesus, His disciples, the Acts churches.

    The book of Acts is so named as a lot was going on there: amazing acts of God. However, none were paid for with the money of men.

    As followers of Jesus, we need to connect the dots. Moreover, where there lacks transparency, there is nothing to do with the God of truth.

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  29. Please allow me, as the inventor of “9Marx”, to repeat a comment I made a couple years ago. The greatest 9Marx ™ commandment — Heb 13:17.
    The second is like unto it— Heb 10:25
    Again I can’t recommend enough the interview Leeman did with Dever and Schmucker about how they cleaned up the CHBC membership rolls. https://www.9marks.org/conversations/episode-149-on-cleaning-the-membership-rolls-part-1-with-matt-schmucker/ It illustrates how everything they do and teach about “membership” and “discipline” flows necessarily from their (mis)understanding and (mis)prioritizing these 2 verses,
    One tidbit— they asked everyone in the “membership” rolls to sign a statement of faith, and later a “covenant”. Some people did both, and they STILL excommunicated them due to failure to “attend”.

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  30. Ariel: Headless Unicorn Guy: Pin-the-Tail-on-The-Antichrist

    I just picked myself up off the floor from laughing at this comment. Thanks HUG, I needed that!

    It’s funny because it’s true.

    “A lot of Christians are far more interested in The Antichrist than they are in Christ.”
    — J Vernon Magee

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  31. dee: I cannot stress enough the importance of looking for kind and loving pastors who know your name, care for you, and give you time to breathe. Who don’t jump on the latest theological trend and eschew authoritarianism. This is what caused us to join our church.

    I’m in the ELCA (version) of Lutheranism, and I hear ya’.
    Liturgy, a tame homily, and then Communion is the focus, not some alpha-dude in the pulpit.
    Coffee and donuts afterwards with great people.

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  32. dee: I cannot stress enough the importance of looking for kind and loving pastors who know your name, care for you

    If you have a “pastor” who doesn’t, he’s not a pastor in the truest sense of the word. If all he does is pop in for a Sunday morning sermon and does not minister to the congregation for the rest of the week, you need to find another title for him. If he doesn’t visit members when they are sick, pray for those in nursing homes, marry and bury … if he just tweets his life away with the dudebros at the coffee shop … if he doesn’t equip the saints to do the work of the ministry, to fulfill the Great Commission together … if he’s not kind and loving … he’s not a pastor … find one somewhere else.

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  33. Ava Aaronson: As followers of Jesus, we need to connect the dots.

    And if the dots don’t come full circle back to Jesus, we got off on a sidetrack somewhere. One of these days, perhaps some Christian leader with a powerful enough voice will come to their spiritual senses and stop this church train we are on, revisit what church is and what church isn’t, and lead the masses out of all the confusion that religion has caused.

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  34. Muff Potter: I like listening to Magee.
    He has a firm handle on reality, and no agenda.

    You know he died back in 1988. I remember it announced on KBRT.

    If I were listening today, I know there’d be some stuff in his pre-podcast podcasts I’d argue with him about (mostly because he’ wa Dispy and I’m definitely NOT), but to this day when my church uses “How Firm a Foundation” as their Processional (opening hymn), I always expect the voice-over “Through the Bible, with Dr J Venon Magee” to break in after about 10-15 seconds.

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  35. someone who knows a few things: none of the 9 marks include the word “LOVE”

    The New Calvinists (aka the New Fundamentalists) have forgotten the most fundamental thing of all … to love as Christ has loved us.

    “As children copy their fathers you, as God’s children, are to copy Him. Live your lives in love — the same sort of love which Christ gives us and which He perfectly expressed when He gave himself up for us in sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 AMP)

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  36. “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.”

    Old school Luderan here..

    This is absolutely true, that’s the “pastor” in pastoral care

    Just saw this last week. That’s what a pastor is supposed to do, minister to the sick, dying, disabled and elderly in declining cognitive conditon. This is the untrendy side of “ministry”. No one is going to watch webcasts of a pastor praying with dementia patients… Maybe because it’s… So unworldly. I don’t know

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