The SBC, Tom Ascol, the Founders, and the Conservative Baptist Network Question the Need for Sex Offenders Database. Then There Was Jonathan Elwing Who Also Agreed With Them…

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If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. –C. S. Lewis


I will get to all of the emails from folks wanting to discuss their stories of abuse. It will take me a couple of weeks to catch up. I’m sorry.


We will go back to regular programming but will update Gateway as soon as more happens. There are so many child molesters out there, and we try to be one of the many voices crying out in the evangelical wilderness—special thanks to Jerome, who seems to know about everything.


A review of the Conservative Baptist Network, Tom Ascol, and the Founders. How do they view sexual abuse reform in the SBC?

For those new to the conversation, the Southern Baptist Convention has stalled in its effort to create a sex abuse database of pastors in the SBC who have been tried and convicted or credibly accused of child sex abuse. For the newbie, did you know that some of the Executive Committee of the SBC (the workhorse of the denomination) kept a secret list of pastors who had abused children? Just in case the reader hasn’t heard, the Houston Chronicle investigated and found over 300 pastors had abused over 300 kids in Texas alone!

Within the SBC are two groups that are opposed to creating such a database. According to Church Leaders in 14 New Charges Brought Against SBC Pastor in Child Sex Abuse Material Case (we’ll discuss this in a minute):

Notably, both the CBN and Ascol have expressed suspicion about proposed sexual abuse reforms in the SBC, questioning the use of resources and the effectiveness of the proposed reforms. They have also raised alarm bells about false accusations and disputed the application of the term “credibly accused.”

The Conservative Baptist Network is made up of SBC members who believe that the SBC is tilting liberal. They are still Southern Baptists.

The Conservative Baptist Network is a partnership of conservative Christians and churches working together to fulfill the Great Commission and influence culture with a biblical worldview.

The Founders, who are more Calvinist in their approach, also believe there is a drift in the SBC and want to call them back to authority and polity. This will protect the vulnerable.

No church that is comprised of sinners is perfect, which is to say that there is no perfect church. Yet, Jesus has given us clear instructions to deal with sin in a church. If biblical church polity and authority were better appreciated and exercised, many of the scandalous sins and crimes that have plagued churches over the last ten years would have been far better handled than they were.

When church membership is taken seriously and both formative and corrective discipline are implemented carefully there can still be sinful things (even egregiously sinful and sometimes criminal) things done in a congregation. But when such sins and/or crimes occur, both the victims and perpetrators will be better loved and cared for than would otherwise be the case.

It is my opinion that the SBC is far from a liberal institution. These two groups believe they will change the SBC and, in so doing, have no need for sexual abuse reform because their polity and purity will make such abuse unthinkable.

One of their own, Jonathan Elwing, vigorously agrees with them. He doesn’t want a database because it will be the end of the SBC.

Church Leaders reported:

in the past, Elwing himself has spoken out against the creation of the database, saying in a February 2023 social media post that it would “be the end of the SBC.”

Yikes! The end of the SBC, or did he mean to say the end of Jonathan Elwing? You see, Elwing was hiding a problem while associating with the “true conservatives.”

Then, Jonathan Elwing, pastor of Palm View First Baptist Church in Palmetto, Florida, was arrested for possession of child sex abuse images.

According to The Christian Post’s Baptist pastor arrested for buying child pornography resigns:

Elwing was arrested by detectives in the sheriff’s office’s Internet Crimes Against Children division after receiving information that the pastor used cryptocurrency to purchase the images online, according to ABC 7.

Cryptocurrency? Did he think it couldn’t be traced? The church allowed him to resign. Once again, I plead to all reading this: “Fire them and excommunicate them.”  They made the point that they did a background check. Folks, remember that over 90% of sex offenders have not been arrested. That means their names will not turn up in the background report.

What is the age of the kids in “pictures” on his cell phone?

First, I wouldn’t be surprised if the church paid the cell phone bill. Many churches do this. Sadly according to News Channel 8: Palmetto church in shock after pastor arrested on child porn charges

His arrest affidavit said the children depicted in the images ranged in age from 4-12 years of age.

Let me make something clear for those of you tuning in for the first time. Child porn is sexual abuse. Some 4-year-old child was trafficked and posed to attract those like Elwing, who get their hots watching these little kids unrobed and put into sexual situations. How does a man, watching many of those little kids crying and in pain, get off on things like this? The answer is simple. These men like to watch this stuff. They have a paraphilia. This is not normal! A simple “go up front and get the demon out in church” ain’t gonna cut it, folks. They need to go to prison, and they require intense psychiatric intervention. These men are dangerous.

Not everyone is tempted by child porn. If you are, get help immediately.

The church leader is wrong when he said

“Everybody is tempted and sometimes we give into that temptation and now we have to deal with the aftermath of it,” Bianco said.

No, everyone is not tempted to look at 4-year-old kids getting abused for sexual satisfaction. If anyone thinks they are tempted, get help. This sort of statement downplays the genuine harm of child pornography in our society.

The authorities suspected they would find more after the initial arrest.

From News Channel 8:

Authorities said the investigation is still ongoing.

“We have to continue this investigation as far as we can to make sure that there are not other crimes that have been committed,” Warren said. “We are hoping that there are not any victims that we don’t know about, but that is why we all always encourage people. If there was something that happened that was misconduct that we need to know about, not to hesitate. It is tough, but they have to come and call us and our detectives will look into it.”

And they did: 14 more charges and counting.

According to Church Leaders: 14 New Charges Brought Against SBC Pastor in Child Sex Abuse Material Case.

The new charges include six counts of possession of child pornography, six counts of use of a child in a sexual performance, and two counts of sexual battery on a person less than 12 years old—which is a capital offense.

Elwing had previously been charged with four counts of possession of child pornography, bringing the total number of charges against him to 18.

Folks, this isn’t just looking at some pictures. Children have been harmed and this man enjoyed it.

Finally

This comment is directed at the SBC CBN, Tom Ascol, and the Founders: No matter how careful you are with your church polity and authority, there will be child abusers with you always. They go where there are children. They are charismatic and speak your language. Elwing claimed to believe in authority, polity, and every other “ity” word one can dream up. There are abusers among us, no matter our theology. We must expose them. Elders must keep an eye on their pastors, and pastors need to keep an eye on church leaders. There needs to be a database. These abusers will travel in church circles. Everyone needs to grow up and watch for the snakes in our midst. Background checks must be done, but in most cases, the abuser has yet to be discovered. It is not the fault of the church if the abuser shows up. It is the fault in the theology of the church if we don’t believe there could be evil in our midst.


Comments

The SBC, Tom Ascol, the Founders, and the Conservative Baptist Network Question the Need for Sex Offenders Database. Then There Was Jonathan Elwing Who Also Agreed With Them… — 120 Comments

  1. This is really about public safety.
    It is why we have police, courts and prisons. ANY church, or church leader that thinks he/she can handle it “internally” needs to be thrown out…. Just like we do not allow, or at least not “suppose” to allow commercial pilots with substance abuse problems, we should not allow “spiritual leaders” with a hint of pedo instincts.. among other illegal tendencies….
    it is just that simple…

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  2. I fear the SBC will never make the changes necessary to become a credible, Bible-faithful, ethical and trustworthy Christian organization.

    Example. There has been no mention by the large Lubbock Area Baptist Association in its newsletter or in any public statement, or by area churches or pastors, of the sexual, financial or theological scandals that inundate the SBC. Not even an acknowledgement.

    In fact, it appears there is more interest in burying or censoring information. A copy of Enemies from Within the Church, for example, shared with deacons at one Baptist church was taken and not returned. (Lest the information be shared?) There is no mention of the investigative report published in the Houston Chronicle. The investigative report and movie deserves to be viewed at every church and openly discussed by discerning memberships.

    Several Lubbock churches have become veritable mega-church John MacArthur cults, with nary a mention of the continued financial, ethical and errant theological controversies that have plagued his Grace Ministries and non ECFA-accredited Masters University.

    For the past week, the local news has reported on the Lubbock youth pastor indicted for sexually assaulting two children over the span of three years. You would think a local story that appalling would be addressed.

    The churches’ response? …. Crickets.

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  3. From the main article up-top:
    “For the newbie, did you know that some of the Executive Committee of the SBC (the workhorse of the denomination) kept a secret list of pastors who had abused children?”

    Last I heard, it’s a FELONY to conceal a crime.
    Valid question:
    How does the SBC get away with this?

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  4. Jonathan Elwing was Vice Moderator of the local Southern Baptist Association:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20240622155353/https://sbamanatee.com/about-us/associational-leadership

    [Internet Archive because since the weekend his name was scrubbed from the Leadership page]

    You can see that with him on the roster of leaders of the Association, was Sam Rainer. He the is son and business partner of ex-President of Lifeway Thom Rainer.

    https://theascentleader.org/thom-sam-rainer/

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  5. Yes, Jonathan Elwing had his church on Tom Ascol’s ‘Founders Friendly’ list:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20240622120507/https://church.founders.org/church/palm-view-first-baptist/

    “Palm View First Baptist…Pastor Name: Jonathan Elwing”

    [Internet Archive, since the page on Ascol’s ‘Founders’ website was scrubbed after the arrest, now it’s “404, OOPS! THAT PAGE CAN’T BE FOUND”]

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  6. Why can’t an independent group or person put together a database and share it publicly?

    There was just a case in Texas where a former Youth Pastor, Luke Cummingham, from Lubbock, had transferred from a Granbury church where there may had been potential victims. Granbury said they notified the police and the Lubbock Church, but Lubbock said they didn’t know anything about it. Want to molest kids? Become a Youth Pastor!

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  7. Yes, Jonathan Elwing had been a Youth Pastor at other churches, also was a church youth camp director. His church has a private Christian school. And he’s been a foster parent!

    Timothy Pigg of the Conservative Baptist Network of Southern Baptists posted this announcement:

    https://www.conservativebaptistnetwork.com/post/note-from-network-director

    “Tonight, I learned that Jonathan Elwing from Palm View Baptist Church has been arrested on four counts of possession of [CSA] images…Jonathan was part of our Florida State Chapter leadership. Upon learning of this news, he was immediately removed from the Network. I ask that you pray for the Palm View Baptist Church and Jonathan’s family. By His grace, Dr. Timothy Pigg”

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  8. Elwing’s Conservative Baptist Network bio:

    Internet Archive because they’ve yanked the page offline

    https://web.archive.org/web/20231207194724/https://conservativebaptistnetwork.com/florida/

    “FLORIDA STATE LEADERSHIP…Jonathan Elwing senior pastor Palm View First Baptist Church Palmetto, FL…Jonathan Elwing serves at Palm View First Baptist in Palmetto as senior pastor and is committed to the preaching and teaching of the inerrant Word of God. Having served several churches over the past 21 years of gospel ministry, he has a heart to serve and encourage other pastors. A graduate of Liberty University, Elwing also serves Florida Baptist Disaster Relief and the North American Mission Board as a Disaster Relief Chaplain. He and his wife…have 3 children, and are state licensed foster parents.”

    Chaplain with the North American Mission Board!

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  9. “If biblical church polity and authority were better appreciated and exercised”

    Authority, huh?

    What an unsurprising sentence.

    With these sorts of fake “Christian” leaders, it’s always about having the power to boss other people around.

    They don’t even bother to conceal their lust for power over others.

    Notice how they manipulatively hide behind the word “biblical”, with the intention of implying that anyone who disagrees with them is not “biblical.”

    Nonsense of course. If anyone is unbiblical, it’s these tin-pot dictator pastors.

    With regard to their use of the word “polity”, etc:

    They cloak their power-hungry desires in intellectual-sounding verbiage, presumably in the hope that all the little people will say “wow, that sounds really smart and impressive”, and submit instead of questioning the motives of these manipulative charlatans.

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  10. “These two groups believe they will change the SBC and, in so doing, have no need for sexual abuse reform because their polity and purity will make such abuse unthinkable.”

    Do you think they really believe that, or do they just want to have themselves in power and don’t care what the outcome is?

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  11. AF,

    “Like Gateway, the MALE Leadership of the SBC is disgusting.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    yes.

    and the presumption of thinking God ordains discrimination against and subjugation of females is disgusting.
    .
    .
    but i’m simply tired of male leaders. especially christian ones.

    i perused some content from the book “The 48 Laws Of Power” by someone named Robert Greene (“the definitive manual for anyone interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.”)

    one law mentioned that people get tired of someone in the limelight (thus the need to constantly adapt if not reinvent yourself)

    aside from the foolishness of homogeneity & insularity, especially in leading people / in organizations where people are the product,

    i’m plainly sick of the full frontal assault of exclusively men’s faces, men’s voices, men’s perspective, men’s approach in church and as the public face of my religion in representing me.
    .
    .
    i like men. i love men. you just don’t inherently represent me or how i see things. nor could you possibly.

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  12. Jonathan Elwing posing with disgraced ‘church consultant’ Mark MacDonald in 2022:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20220422124420/https://twitter.com/markmac1023/status/1517484254757855232

    In 2019, Bob Jones University alumnus Mark MacDonald, no relation to James MacDonald, was elected Vice President of the SBC’s International Mission Board by trustees. After just two weeks, he was let go when IMB found out about “a past failure, following which he had undergone restoration with his church”:

    https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/updated-imb-to-continue-focus-on-communication-marketing/

    MacDonald promptly shifted to independent work as a ‘church consultant’, which he has been doing ever since. (He had been employed by the Florida Baptist Convention before going to IMB).

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  13. AF,

    At this point, we know that there was a database the lawyer for the Executive Committee was keeping privately. That information has been released to the public and is no longer a secret.

    I think the top argument for an official database is so churches searching for pastors can use it as a step in their background checking process. Personally, I’m unsure it would work effectively. We’ve seen enough times that churches who know about crimes pastors committed still hire them and ignore their past crimes.

    I think the best argument for making one is that the EC promised they would with their Caring Well campaign. They haven’t fulfilled a lot of promises they made for that. It was empty words trying to distract people for a little while longer.

    But all this is why I am no longer and will never be a Southern Baptist again. Their integrity has been in question in so many ways that nobody should trust them.

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  14. Jerome: “a past failure, following which he had undergone restoration with his church”:

    “Past Failure(TM)” as in “Live Boy or Dead Woman”?

    MacDonald promptly shifted to independent work as a ‘church consultant’, which he has been doing ever since. (He had been employed by the Florida Baptist Convention before going to IMB).

    Just like some Government Official taking retirement as a Lobbyist/Consultant.

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  15. Jerome: Jonathan Elwing posing with disgraced ‘church consultant’ Mark MacDonald

    Birds of a feather flock together.

    Too many SBC pastors have too much time on their hands. I’ve seen young NeoCal church planters tweeting their lives away at the local coffee shop … too crazy busy to visit the sick, pray for folks in nursing homes, call members to see if they need anything, preach funerals, etc.

    “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” (Proverbs 16:27)

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  16. ishy: Their integrity has been in question in so many ways that nobody should trust them.

    But here’s the deal … I think most Southern Baptist pewsitters wouldn’t trust these leaders either ‘if’ they only knew what went on in SBC ivory towers … but since they don’t, they continue to bankroll them. SBC has 47,000 churches; most congregations have been kept in the dark on SBC shenanigans in the highest places. So the beat goes on and the gravy train keeps moving. I dare say that if you stopped the average Southern Baptist in the parking lot after church and unloaded this stuff on them, they would look at you like raccoons caught in car headlights.

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  17. Perhaps a civil class lawsuit against the church by members who want all of their tithe returned from the day discovery-and-cover-up occurred?

    I support a new suite of laws which strips organizations of their 501c3 status if it can be forensically proven that a known pedophile was a) Not reported out to law enforcement, and b) fired immediately.

    It ends, when law enforcement intervenes.

    As a note – many little girls are raped by their own fathers (girls ages 7-12) within a specific genre of incest porn. The evil is unspeakable but must be spoken about.

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  18. Jerome: Besides being all atwitter about his ‘concern’ about talk of an SBC database of abusers, @jonathanelwing in his last tweet on June 3 was pushing for 9Marksist Mike Law’s amendment to the SBC Constitution (against women pastors).

    No doubt, a faithful New Calvinist … put them women in their place, while doing god-awful things on the internet. The American church is far too easy for these perverts to hide … all the while fooling their congregations … “I can’t believe it! He sure could preach!”, etc.

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  19. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    As someone with a journalism background I will snapshot things of interest and place them in a file for future use. Too many things are quickly scrubbed from the internet. The classic example is a terror attack on U.S. soil. Unless you search for the digital footprint within nanoseconds of the attack, all social media platforms used by the perpetrator are scrubbed. Always back up files with image scans, please.

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  20. ishy: But all this is why I am no longer and will never be a Southern Baptist again. Their integrity has been in question in so many ways that nobody should trust them.

    C’mon over to Lutheranism.
    There’s two Synods to choose from, LCMS (conservative), and ELCA (liberal).
    I’m in the liberal (ELCA) one.
    No alpha-male strongman in the pulpit, and no agenda.
    Just old liturgy.
    Coffee and donuts with great people afterwards.

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  21. from the quoted section by the Founders

    “But when such sins and/or crimes occur, both the victims and perpetrators will be better loved and cared for than would otherwise be the case.”

    And the evidence for this would be what exactly? What is their definition of “better loved and cared for?” How is justice defined and sought? What is the proposed process? What are the credentials and professional training of those involved? How will power differentials between victims and perpetrators be managed to protect those who lack power? And what is the line of accountability to the legal process?

    “Authority and polity” (did Jesus uses those phrases?) are part of the power that they seek. In contrast, Jesus modeled humility and compassion.

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  22. ishy:
    Muff Potter,

    I grew up Lutheran, but there’s only a Wisconsin synod church where I live, and they’ve gotten increasingly cultic since the pandemic, from what people tell me.

    From what I understand is that LCWS (Wisconsin) is even more hardcore than LCMS. Think of IFB church versus a conservative SBC church like Wade’s old church in Oklahoma.

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  23. What if a name ends up on a list who was suspected but not arrested, or charged and found innocent? Could they sue for employment discrimination?
    I was in a church where we had the serial adulterer pastor (who only preyed on adults) and a youth pastor who abused kids on his soccer team. I found out years later that one protected the other. There were statues of limitations back in the 90s in my state that made it difficult to prosecute the soccer coach since the one reporting victim was in college when he finally told his therapist, and the statute of limitations had passed. The perpetrator has also since died. But,I could see people insisting that, since they hadn’t been prosecuted and convicted, they couldn’t be put on anybody’s list.

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  24. Ed. Note:I still remember our dinner together so many years ago.

    I am a member of an SBC-affiliated church and have been involved in exposing some of these cases since as early as 2006, though I am sure there were many before then. I have never harbored hatred in my life, but that is beginning to change as these individuals, motivated by political gain, inflict further harm on those who have suffered rape within our churches. They act as enablers, and I believe more will be revealed with additional arrests. I do hope for the dissolution of the SBC if this is their approach or lack thereof in addressing this heinous crime that has persisted in churches. My anger is so profound that I can no longer bear to read or listen to them.

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  25. Linn: I was in a church where we had the serial adulterer pastor (who only preyed on adults) and a youth pastor who abused kids on his soccer team. I found out years later that one protected the other.

    There’s probably more of that in the American church than we would believe … dudebros covering for each other … elders defending and protecting bad-boy pastors … victims silenced by manipulation and intimidation … letters of reference for abusers being passed to other churches. God help us! God continue to expose wickedness in the pulpit!

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  26. Susan,

    Well, they did use the word “crimes”. So (in my dreams, I know….):
    Instead of screaming “forgive” to victims, I can almost see them smuggling communion bread and wine into federal pens so the convicts can have communion services!

    In reality, I believe they nefariously mean that the will protect the perps…… hire lawyers for the ones that get caught….. ya know, business as usual.

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  27. in the past, Elwing himself has spoken out against the creation of the database, saying in a February 2023 social media post that it would “be the end of the SBC.”

    “the end of the SBC”…. Ha!
    This leads me to assume that some of these guys believe that standing back and allowing abuse to happen, and then protecting sexual abusers is part of the sanctified secret core identity of the male controlled SBC.
    (I fear that what I just said is true.)

    It must be secret, because I was a member of an SBC church for 40 years, and I never knew.

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  28. Jerome: “Tonight, I learned that Jonathan Elwing from Palm View Baptist Church has been arrested on four counts of possession of [CSA] images…Jonathan was part of our Florida State Chapter leadership. Upon learning of this news, he was immediately removed from the Network. I ask that you pray for the Palm View Baptist Church and Jonathan’s family. By His grace, Dr. Timothy Pigg”

    It is striking how rarely there is a thought for the actual *victims*! The primary victims are not his family (unless the kids were his actual victims) and not the church. The primary victims were the *children* whose lives are forever changed.

    Yes, any innocent family members need prayer, and yes, the congregation will be in shock, and yes, they need prayer, too. But to not make actual victims the first priority in the appeals for prayer is incomprehensible.

    Instead, the concern is first for the perp and his family, next the other leaders and the congregation, and maybe …only maybe… a word for the victims in there somewhere. Ironically, if the victims were centered, everything would fall into place. The victims would be cared for, the community would be protected, the perp would get the kind of consequences they need, and churches could learn and become safer places.

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  29. Debbie Kaufman: I do hope for the dissolution of the SBC if this is their approach or lack thereof in addressing this heinous crime that has persisted in churches.

    Debbie, I was a Southern Baptist for over 70 years (I’m a “Done” now … done with SBC but not done with Jesus). Perhaps I’m being naive, nostalgic, or nuts, but I really think that SBC was a better place for most of those years, that most church leaders had their spiritual heads screwed on straight. However, it now appears that SBC is done but hasn’t quit yet.

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  30. Background checks do not prevent abuse. I supported, affirmed and participated with the SBC for over a decade, and I feel dirty. It makes me physically ill that this man was speaking from a tip top leadership position about preventing abuse of children while feasting on the abuse of children. The audacity of trying to block a database that he himself belongs on. These perpetrators and anyone that enables them are criminals and an abomination. Excellent journalistic work WBW, thankful for your courage to refuse to submit to or be silent about corruption. Here’s to the next reformation, hopefully the last!

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  31. Ah, Tom Ascol, the father of all the lies young Calvinist pastors are taught to tell their non-Calvinist congregations in “The quiet revolution”. It seems that they don’t believe in “the truth shall set you free”.

    It fits. There’s this nice photograph of Mohler and Ascol across a table, definitely not looking like benevolent followers of Christ, more like leaders of opposing $groups¹ each thinking how best to infringe on the other’s turf as much as possible.
    https://friendsofjustice.blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/mohler-ascol.png

    ¹I’m not going to name the type of $groups here and leave that to the reader’s imagination.

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  32. Joel Beeke’s Presbyterian microdenomination has a congregation meeting at Elwing’s church on Sunday afternoons:

    https://heritagereformed.com/locations/florida-reformed-fellowship/

    “Bradenton Reformed Fellowship will continue to meet during the winter season and we would warmly invite all travelers to the surrounding Bradenton area to join us for worship. Our place of worship has been changed to Palm View Baptist church, 415 49th St E. Palmetto, FL 34221 about 5 miles north of Bradenton. We encourage you to come for both services and we will be having fellowship over a small luncheon between services. Services will be at 12 noon and 2:30pm”

    Joel Beeke is the featured speaker at Tom Ascol’s ‘Family Life’ Founders Conference next month. https://founders.org/familylife/

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  33. sd: Background checks do not prevent abuse.

    Boundaries prevent abuse.

    Parents establish boundaries around and for their children. This is love, aka sound parenting.

    Churches should be doing the same. This would be love and healthy church engagement.

    Where a breach of boundaries occurs, public records then prevent FURTHER abuse. This is where the database kicks in.

    Where there are LE and DOJ records, the damage is done. Public records can and are meant to prevent MORE damage.

    Churches are way behind, in the Dark Ages on this. Churches are dangerous places for the vulnerable.

    The SBC Paul Pressler Paige Patterson Leadership conspiracy and policy machine speaks volumes to the danger and evil of churches. The Spotlight exposure of LE, the DOJ, politicians, business, and church leaders revealed a similar machine. It’s all organized and orchestrated.

    The evil machines keep operating until courage intervenes.

    In the Robert Morris case, victim witness-with-intel Cindy told Wade and Rachelle, who passed along Dee Parson’s name, who published the story on TWW, her blog.

    RM has built up a machine around his desire for money and vice. Decades later comes the intervention.

    Churches are way behind, in the Dark Ages, on addressing the plundering of the vulnerable within their communities.

    There are myths that keep the machine going, such as: the Good Ole Days and My Preacher is a Good Guy, and Most Preachers are Good Guys ‘cuz I’ve been around for decades so “I know”. Guess what, it’s not about “you”, particularly if you are of the Ruling Demographic (white male). The Good Ole Days of Good Ole Boys is a Myth. The intel coming out now goes back decades with leadership brohood looking the other way every time a victim tried to warn. There’s lots of dirt under the church rugs. If the leader guy wasn’t doing dirty, he was certainly covering up dirt for his buds and for the Org. Good Ole Boys.

    Jesus’s Communion event was at a table, only men present. No altar, no podium, no women.

    Is church Communion today around a table with women present at the table, not under the table? That would be a start to better intel in churches, with hopefully improved boundaries, less damage control, but more damage prevention.

    Inclusivity, boundaries, wisely listening, honoring good intel, public records, databases, and working with LE, the DOJ, and academic researchers… would all contribute to bringing church out of the Dark Ages.

    Light and bright Spotlights are the key. It takes humility to admit being wrong about church and church leaders; it takes courage to step forward out of the myth and masses.

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  34. Jerome: Joel Beeke is the featured speaker at Tom Ascol’s ‘Family Life’ Founders Conference next month.

    “Much has been said throughout the centuries about what it means to be female. Men have said most of it. Woman have been labeled the weaker sex, the second sex, the subordinate sex, and the devil’s gateway. The church fathers had much to say about women.”

    Quote from Dr. Diane Langberg. She goes on with quotes from notable Church Fathers trashing women. The Good Ole Days with the Good Ole Boys just keeps on giving, to the Grand Orgs, the Great Machines of misogyny and other vices.

    Where are the Great Machines or Grand Orgs of virtue? Virtue comes forward to Jesus, joining the great company of Jesus, one voice, one soul, one person, at a time.

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  35. Most men are not abusers, but most abusers are men.

    In at least one global culture I know of, the community’s children are always in the presence of and/or in view of an adult female. This helps prevent child abuse.

    SBC male leaders just enshrined the marginalization of female church members.

    It can only get worse.

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  36. Ava Aaronson,

    Our family came away from the SBC church system two years ago. Turns out curating our life around church life to protect children from the horrible evils of the world was our mistake as parents as we are now recovering from abuse that went on right before our eyes but we were blind to see it, refused to believe it could happen. In leaving we have lost friends, family, an entire community really. It has been the hardest thing I have ever walked through, and I’ve been through kind of a lot. No dysfunction has compared to church dysfunction. I have an unquenchable fire in my bones for justice and accepting there will be no justice for so many is devastating. Thank you for the thoughtful response, I do agree.

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  37. Max,

    So true Max. One of my long term friends is at a church that was taken over by the neo-calvinists The church was even highlighted here on TWW as a model takeover by a MacArthur disciple. Nearly ten years later my friend was surprised to learn the church had joined the SBC and was just as surprised to discover women were no longer allowed to even read scripture from the pulpit. She just never paid attention. How this can be I have no idea. I saw it from week one when the new pastor showed up.
    It is truly sad peoples inability to recognize what’s happening right in front of them.

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  38. nmgirl: I know Gateway is located in a wealthy area but not every pew-peon is rich. Why would anyone continually give money to a man with a reported $100 million net worth?

    He taught them that they would be cursed if they didn’t bring in their tithe to the Gateway “storehouse” … that you can’t be blessed unless you tithe; that you’re under a curse. Like most prosperity preachers, he cherry-picked a few Bible verses to manipulate pewsitters into bankrolling his “blessed life.”

    Here’s a glimpse at what he taught:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP0uFa4tj58

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  39. elastigirl:
    AF,

    “Like Gateway, the MALE Leadership of the SBC is disgusting.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    yes.

    and the presumption of thinking God ordains discrimination against and subjugation of females is disgusting.
    .
    .

    I fully concur with this, and I am male.

    I get the feeling that a LOT of the modern dudebro “Christian” leaders enjoy bossing around women and pompously lording it over their wives (and daughters, and female parishioners).

    The same seems to apply to many (most?) Neo-Calvinist men in general.

    They are wannabe tin-pot dictators, even if the “empire” they tyrannize consists only of their own family.

    A lot of the “Christian” leaders these days could be accurately described as “male supremacists.”

    Which explains why these “Christian” leaders also fanatically support other supremacist ideologies such as zionism. Robert Morris and Mike Bickle come to mind.

    Instead of lusting after power and control over others, the male leadership of modern Christianity should remember Jesus’ Example of being a Servant Leader who was very humble and owned only the clothes he wore. Jesus even humbled Himself so much that He washed His disciples’ feet.

    A big contrast from the modern televangelists and megachurch pastors who fly around in private jets, live in huge mansions, wear designer suits, and are constantly hawking their latest “bestselling” book.

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  40. ishy: Which means that they don’t really believe what they preach. They use religion as a tool to reinforce their power and financial stability while telling people to fall in line for “God”.

    Precisely. This especially applies to Calvinism, which in my view is simply a power structure with a religious veneer.

    I can imagine the Calvinists sitting around centuries ago trying to decide how to control others.

    “Should we create a big club?”

    “Nah, everyone would leave when we start bossing them around.”

    “What about a corporation?”

    “No, everyone would quit due to how we will treat them.”

    “What about a government?”

    “Problematic, the people would rebel and overthrow us.”

    “Well, how about a religion then? If we get people to believe that God says we are the bosses, then everyone will submit.”

    “You’re a genius, let’s do it!”

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  41. Commenter23: Precisely.This especially applies to Calvinism, which in my view is simply a power structure with a religious veneer.

    I can imagine the Calvinists sitting around centuries ago trying to decide how to control others.

    “Should we create a big club?”

    “Nah, everyone would leave when we start bossing them around.”

    “What about a corporation?”

    “No, everyone would quit due to how we will treat them.”

    “What about a government?”

    “Problematic, the people would rebel and overthrow us.”

    “Well, how about a religion then?If we get people to believe that God says we are the bosses, then everyone will submit.”

    “You’re a genius, let’s do it!”

    To clarify my views (and in case anyone in wondering), I am a Christian and I strongly believe in Jesus Christ, but I also believe that the modern “Christian” church in America has become largely power-hungry, heretical, and corrupt.

    I therefore tend to distrust earthly “Christian” power structures, while still trusting fully in Jesus Christ alone.

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  42. “These two groups believe they will change the SBC and, in so doing, have no need for sexual abuse reform because their polity and purity will make such abuse unthinkable”

    Horse pucky. The SBC has had about 20 years to figure out how to address sex abuse internally. Ask Christa Brown how that’s going.

    Fox guarding henhouse, to chicken: No, really, this time will be different *licks lips*

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  43. nmgirl:
    Max,

    And that goes right back to oral roberts. Remember 700 ft jesus?

    There was a novelty song about that which never made it online. Parody of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” called “You Give God a Bad Name”. Only part of it I remember is:

    “Your son Oral Junior
    Wants to be rich like you —
    Is he gonna see
    a 900-foot Jesus too?”

    And don’t forget the Oral Roberts Deathwatch, where Oral barricaded himself in his Prayer Tower claiming that if you didn’t send enough money, “God Would Call Me Home(TM)”. Doonesbury had a field day with that one, treating it like a hostage/ransom situation — “Day 23 of the Oral Roberts Deathwatch — God just issued a new list of Demands!” “Day 31 — God demands still more money or Oral gets offed!”

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  44. ishy: They use religion as a tool to reinforce their power and financial stability while telling people to fall in line for “God”.

    “Most cults are started so the cult leader can (a) get rich, (b) get laid, or (c) both.”
    — my old Dungeonmaster

    “Money for nuthin’, and the chicks for free!”
    — Dire Straits, 1985

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  45. Commenter23,

    ““Well, how about a religion then?If we get people to believe that God says we are the bosses, then everyone will submit.”

    “I also believe that the modern “Christian” church in America has become largely power-hungry, heretical, and corrupt.

    I therefore tend to distrust earthly “Christian” power structures, while still trusting fully in Jesus Christ alone.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    yes, me, too.

    i observe many excellent human beings wearing the pastor with good intentions, having no clue how manipulative, cruel, and deceptive they are, clueless on their double standards.

    i marvel how these despicable things & more have become sanctified and standard operating procedure in the christian leadership industry.

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  46. Headless Unicorn Guy: Isn’t Evil the side most obsessed with Purity?>/b>


    Purity is a good thing. God tells us in the Bible to try our best to be sexually pure, and to avoid impure thoughts, and to be pure in heart and spirit, for instance.

    We should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    We should avoid the temptation to become nihilistic, the temptation to stop caring about traditional Christian values.

    Just because the corrupt corporate Christianity Inc charlatans claim to care about purity, doesn’t mean that purity is a bad thing.

    They claim to care about women and children too, and of course we see how dishonest and hypocritical most of the ambitious corporate pastors are.

    But we shouldn’t allow their hypocrisy to make us jaded or cause us to stop caring about the things that matter.

    God says that purity is a good thing.

    While we are forgiven by Jesus when we become impure, we should try our best to remain pure.

    Paul mentions the importance of purity in Philippians 4:4-8.

    A few other verses that emphasize the importance of purity are (from a quick google search) Hebrews 13:4, James 1:27, 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Timothy 5:22, Matthew 5:8, and Psalms 51:10.

    God says that purity is a good thing.

    We shouldn’t be dismissive of the importance of purity just because the sanctimonious hypocritical pastors claim to be the arbiters of purity.

    The corporate Christianity Inc pastors are pharisaical hypocrites.

    We shouldn’t let their hypocrisy and bad behavior cause us to turn against the things that God says are good.

    The pharisee-like pastors don’t have a monopoly on purity nor a monopoly on the other good things that God created.

    These good things belong to all Christians. God created concepts such as purity for everyone.

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  47. Cynthia W.,

    The information was provided to me by a trusted person who lived in that culture for many years, and it was provided to me in confidence. So I will not name the culture publicly out of respect for that person. Needless to say, it is not a patriarchal Western culture.
    As to your last two questions: I wrote that this practice “helps prevent” child sex abuse. It is not an absolute. Of course, sadly, there are exceptions.

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  48. Cynthia W.: do they genuinely think that women can’t abuse children or that men can’t abuse children in the presence of a woman?

    My original post was referring to child SEXUAL abuse specifically. Here are references:
    > 90% of rapes and sexual assaults are perpetrated by one offender. http://www.rainn.org
    > In 2021, the US Sentencing Commission reported that 93.6% of sexual abuse offenders were men. http://www.ussc.gov
    > An estimated 80-90% of [CSA] offenders are male. http://www.raace.org
    > In 88% of the sexual abuse claims that CPS substantiates or finds supporting evidence of, the perpetrator is male. http://www.rainn.org

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  49. Eyewitness: It is striking how rarely there is a thought for the actual *victims*! The primary victims are not his family (unless the kids were his actual victims) and not the church. The primary victims were the *children* whose lives are forever changed.

    Yes, any innocent family members need prayer, and yes, the congregation will be in shock, and yes, they need prayer, too. But to not make actual victims the first priority in the appeals for prayer is incomprehensible.

    Instead, the concern is first for the perp and his family, next the other leaders and the congregation, and maybe …only maybe… a word for the victims in there somewhere. Ironically, if the victims were centered, everything would fall into place. The victims would be cared for, the community would be protected, the perp would get the kind of consequences they need, and churches could learn and become safer places.

    Very well said!

    The victims should be the primary concern. That is what Jesus wants!

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  50. Commenter23: The victims should be the primary concern.

    Indeed! You will find no examples in the New Testament of a church rallying to the side of abusers, restoring pastors who failed morally, protecting and concealing the sins of church leaders, passing bad-boys through the ranks. Ministering to victims should always be the objective of a Christian people.

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  51. Max: Indeed!You will find no examples in the New Testament of a church rallying to the side of abusers, restoring pastors who failed morally, protecting and concealing the sins of church leaders, passing bad-boys through the ranks.Ministering to victims should always be the objective of a Christian people.

    I see from the NT epistles is that the sins of elders are to be publicly called out as a warning to others. It says nothing about the sins of non-elders being called out in public.

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  52. Max: … while preaching God’s Word. I doubt that he will get a standing ovation at the State penitentiary; even the most hardened criminals don’t like crimes against children and hypocritical preachers.

    Being a CHO-MO means this guy will have a good chance of being shanked to death as well as the sisters (aka Shawshank Redemption) making him their plaything.

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  53. Commenter23,

    “Purity is a good thing. God tells us in the Bible to try our best to be sexually pure, and to avoid impure thoughts, and to be pure in heart and spirit, for instance…

    We should avoid the temptation to become nihilistic, the temptation to stop caring about traditional Christian values.

    Just because the corrupt corporate Christianity Inc charlatans claim to care about purity, doesn’t mean that purity is a bad thing…

    But we shouldn’t allow their hypocrisy to make us jaded or cause us to stop caring about the things that matter.
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    no real disagreement. but some thoughts in response.

    christian purity is a moving target.

    whenever i’ve entered a new and different christian environment, i always get uncomfortable & petty feedback that i’m doing things wrong (things that were no issue in my previous christian environment).

    for example, in the last place I found out that I shouldn’t wear tank tops even in 100 degree plus heat, i shouldn’t use sarcastic humor, and i should always wait until the man/men initiate the transition in any activity. (among many other shoulds and shouldn’ts)

    these things i was innocently doing were considered expressions of lack of pure thoughts, heart and spirit.

    the so-called more pure way of doing things was dumb, impractical, and ensured that things would be done poorly with poor results.

    quite frankly, having to change so much so as not to be looked down on depending on the christian cultural outpost is exhausting, frustrating, & insulting.

    christian purity is something christians consider a distinctive that sets them apart from the world (outsiders, the out-group). like an elitist trademark.

    however, i’ve noticed it’s what people whom christians belittle and disparage as ‘the world’ are already doing.

    they’re just not preoccupied with it — it’s normal for them.

    it’s normal for them to be kind, generous, honest and truthful, have integrity…

    i’ve said many times that my atheist, agnostic, muslim, buddhist, and hindu friends and family have stellar character & integrity without really trying, superior to most christians i’ve known.

    i wrestle with many of the truth claims that christian culture generates in marketing and presenting its brand.

    because too many of them can’t be justified.

    (i don’t put Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection in this category. i have faith for that.

    i just don’t have faith for the littany of rules christian culture has been stacking up for many years. and i have zero faith, let alone respect, for petty moving goalposts)

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  54. I can’t help feeling that the protestant/evangelical community (for want of a better description) have not properly pruned/cleaned our ideas on sin and redemption. By any realistic usage of the words “total” and “depravity”, totally depraved sinners are slightly cartoonish, pantomime-villain figures, and if everyone’s a sinner, then nobody is really a sinner. For all the prevalence of variations on the notion that you, personally, are so filthy, and God so loathes the very fact of your being born, that He would need to create hell to punish you even were there no other humans to punish, I’m not sure how many people really believe that. “Sin” has become little more than a ceremonial affliction, from which you can buy diplomatic immunity by praying a sinner’s prayer. And, most likely, giving money to some wealthy religious figure.

    That being the case, you certainly don’t have to bear fruit in keeping with redemption. You can spend the rest of your life hiding behind we’re-all-sinners and behave as badly as you want to towards others, especially when they’re of little standing in the “redeemed” (but equally all sinful) community. After all, it’s only God who hates your sin, and He’s invisible.

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  55. Commenter23: Which explains why these “Christian” leaders also fanatically support other supremacist ideologies such as zionism. Robert Morris and Mike Bickle come to mind.

    Christian Zionism (AKA Anti-Semitic Zionism) has its own unique dynamic.
    All having to do with End Times Prophecy.
    Goes like this:

    1) Israel is In The Land, Fulfilling Prophecy and becoming the End Times Countdown Clock/Tripwire for Armageddon. (tick tick tick tick tick…)

    2) So to further fulfill Prophecy, Israel Can Do No Wrong; every act of theirs is a Fulfillment. (tick tick tick tick tick…)

    3) And this will trigger Armageddon and the Seven-Year Checklist (“It’s Prophesied! It’s Prophesied!”) where God gets to Pour Out His Wrath upon all those Sinners. AFTER beaming up his Saints (guess who?) into an angel-catered Superbowl Suite to watch it all as the Ultimate Spectator Sport.

    4) Including the destruction of those Christ-Killing Jews; now that the Tribulation and Armageddon is underway, God doesn’t need them any more.

    5) And then God’s TRUE Supremacists (guess who?) are given their Entitlement.

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  56. Dear Lord, it’s even worse than I realized. He himself was abusing a toddler in some of the images.
    God is cleaning house.
    Expose them all.
    The American church needs to rethink everything. No more pulpiteers, no more prosperity gospel, no more propping up schmucks just because they’re good on stage, no more doctrine without life. Time for humility, repentance, and Jesus.

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  57. Headless Unicorn Guy: Isn’t that the Heresy of Clericalism?

    Even my church (RCC), the first to go into that trip, found it to be a dead end.

    That’s only because they were not smart enough to do it. “We will succeed this time where others have failed.” Same excuse for the continuing attempts to implement various shades of Communism, Marxism, Central Planning, and Socialism.

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  58. Tammy Swofford,

    Unfortunately, per labor law, if an employee turns in a resignation, the employer MUST accept it, even if the employer had intentions to fire him/her.

    The employer, however, is not obligated to accept the effective date of a resignation. If the employee gives the customary “two weeks’ notice”, the employer can make the resignation effective immediately and have the employee removed from the facility.

    That’s what happened with Morris; he gave his resignation notice effective immediately. The elders could not say “no, we’re firing you instead”.

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  59. Jeffrey Chalmers: This is really about public safety.

    Robert Morris clearly demonstrates that, as with Ravi Zacharias, Bill Hybels, Jer-Beck Falwells, Tullian Tchividjian, IHOP Bickle, et al, we do not know our “Christian” leaders. Add Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler to the list, and many more. We simply do not know these men who stand elevated above and before us each week as the only voice in the room, and then collect their paychecks from us, their employers. We have no idea.

    We might as well be living in one of those authoritarian countries that deny freedom of speech while they collect taxes and govern with a cloak of secrecy (and NDAs).

    In “Why Nations Fail” by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, they document that a Hierarchy of an Elite cloaked in secrecy is a recipe for failure.

    The Elite may be getting anything they want from their constituency, including $$$ in millions, women, wives, sons, and daughters for their pleasure, but the institution that supports that Elite will fail.

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  60. Mark R: That’s what happened with Morris; he gave his resignation notice effective immediately. The elders could not say “no, we’re firing you instead”.

    I suppose that is what happened to a lot of bad-boy “pastors” who left ministries abruptly … the elders allowed them to resign, instead of firing them on the spot. Problem is they drifted on to infect other churches.

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  61. elastigirl: what if the church said “we guarantee or your money back” you will have a “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over it will fall into your lap”?

    And who will get to decide “what” is good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over?

    If it’s John Piper, then the answer will be cancer is!

    It’s all a red herring because the leaders will get the final say.

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  62. Bridget,

    how legally binding is a spoken money-back guarantee for something as vague as good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over it will fall into your lap?

    if they’re going to guarantee something vague, then it seems to me my standard is as valid as theirs.

    i wonder – if people came together and took them at their word, and kept at it, what would happen.

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