Anyone with a Burning Desire to Go to PyroCon?

 

Thoughts about the Reformed Baptist bloggers known as the Pyromaniacs, a Pyro-Conference, and opining about the pain. At least third-degree burns don’t hurt.

 

A post by Cindy Kunsman

Pyro 1Long, long ago in internet time in a cyber place far, far away, a fellow started a blog. His name was Phil Johnson. I first heard of it through one of those evil egalitarian bloggers who first started out in apologetics ministry to Jehovah’s Witnesses. I ventured to her site one day to read her comments about what some esteem as the terrible sin of housewives and homeschoolers. Imagine! There are women out there who think that they can opine about Christian apologetics and matters of the Faith on the internet. Cheryl Schatz wrote the following description about the matter at Strive to Enter/Women in Ministry:

In this post and in his subsequent comments he makes his position plain that women are not allowed to publicly point out error of a “duly ordained pastor”.  Phil classifies many “housewives and homeschool moms” as bad discerners who are discernment divas.   These “divas” believe that God has called them into a ministry of discernment but their abilities are not in rational understanding of doctrinal truth but an ability “to use a really sharp tongue” which Phil says is counter productive and embarrassing.  Phil doesn’t seem to mind that this may offend a lot of women as he tells Friel that he is a descendent of the John Knox clan. It was John Knox who offended more than a few when he wrote the book The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in 1558.

There isn’t much content in the actual post at the Pyromaniac’s blog where the material made its debut. The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Discernment Divas does offer a video, and if you skip to about 25 minutes into it, you can hear the comment about the “Divas.” I ventured back to Phil Johnson’s blog a few times that next year, finding it all quite hyperbolic and shrill. Even on other topics, they sound snarky.  I’ve noted more than once where they essentially made up their own theological terms to sound erudite, but they seem to me to be rather silly.

The Mean Ol’ Boys Network

Years later, it seems that Phil Johnson has retired from that blog, what he refers to as a “ministry.” He’s busy and very important. He’s the director of Grace to You, the name of Pastor John MacArthur’s media company. Now I’m beginning to understand why the Pyromaniacs blog sounds so shrill and features so much screed. If you do a search for his name here, you’ll note that he was once asked to weigh in on the legal matter between Julie Anne Smith and her former pastor, Chuck O’Neal. Another Pyro favorite post here on SSB includes one concerning Todd Friel, the guy who took the phone away from a woman who was sharing the gospel with a man – because men do it better. After all, the power is in the messenger, not the message or the truth.

Non-Strange FirePyro 2

If you’ve not able to get your fill of the sparks of wisdom from the Pyromaniacs, you can now look forward to a conference.

Pyro 3

Courtesy of the Steam Tunnel

This fire will not be strange! This new conference offers pure fire and snark, directly from the Pyromaniac source itself. They’re going to be “Together Again, for the First Time.”   Sergius Martin-Georg of the Steam Tunnel Pilot blog (and SSB participant) has stated on Twitter that he will go if someone will pay his expenses. My friend Shirley Taylor in the Houston area could make it, but she won’t sit beside anyone who hasn’t signed her petition. (I doubt that anyone there will have signed her petition demanding an apology from Pyromaniac friends at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.) They may borrow the Elephant Room Conference bouncers to make sure that the fire stays pure.

We don’t even know if they will let women into the event.

Who wants to go on behalf of Spiritual Sounding Board to live blog from the conference in January 2015? You may have to wear a fake beard and pants if they won’t allow women to attend.

In the Interim

Someone who I’m sure won’t be attending the conference discussing a subject that I’m certain will not be on the agenda is Kathryn Joyce discussing the activities of the GRACE Team – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. The American Prospect just published a new article that she’s written with the cooperation of Boz Tchividjian about the rash of sex-abuse scandals that have cropped up recently in too many Christian Institutions. Boz might be welcome with the Pyromaniacs, though. He’s male and a Presbyterian.  

Thoughts, anyone?

Any masochistic volunteers out there who want to visit Houston next winter?

89 comments on “Anyone with a Burning Desire to Go to PyroCon?

  1. What the…? Is this a joke? The blog is pretty much defunct. Phil Johnson has retired all together, Frank Turk is on hiatus, and Dan Phillips only posts sporadically. Most posts these days are just reposts of one trick pony tortuous materials over and over centered around biblical inerrancy and spiritual authority.

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  2. How can you really tell what constitutes a joke with these guys and what is real when they try (or at least regularly tried) so hard to be outrageous. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. No one knows what’s serious and what just constitutes more snark.

    I mean, just the sentence “Frank Turk is on hiatus” sounds like the punchline of a joke — and I know that you’re making a legitimate observation. I find it hard to believe that anyone ever took any of them seriously in the first place.

    I think that the title of the conference, “Together Again — for the first time,” seems to be some indication that it’s a non-joke. Or that they intend to actually have a real conference. But who knows. I’m not too worried about it, one way or the other. I’m just amused by the thought of Sergius Martin-Georg, Shirley Taylor (and perhaps myself) going to heckle and rant). They make it so easy.

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  3. Just to clarify my involvement here: When I saw Pyro’s “Big Reveal” about the conference, I immediately tweeted Julie Anne to ask if she was planning to go. She told me she ‘d go if her expenses could be paid, to which I suggested we have some sort of fund-raising event in order to send her to Houston to live-Tweet the conference. I then mentioned that if JA couldn’t make it—and no one else could be found—that I would step in (it’s about a 10-hour drive). Now, in the event that it falls to me, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve heard from the fine folks at Embargo Corn Starch, who have agreed to match every dollar raised with corporate underwriting.

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  4. Maybe I’ll write to Matthew 18 Coffee to see if they’ll help to send me, but I may need them to post my bail if the Pyros would decide to have me arrested after having me bounced.

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  5. “We don’t even know if they will let women into the event.”

    Well, they will definitely “sell” women tickets. True story: Years ago, (probably about 15) John McArthur hosted a conference here that some young couples I know went to. The event was oversold so they asked the WOMEN to give up their seats for the men because the men needed to learn. The couples I knew then said it was very awkward but they got up, left their husbands in their seats and wandered around the hotel for the conference. The organizers did not refund the money as far as I know. At least the ones I know who went did not get refunded but they were too embarassed to ask, too. That is the sort of environment these guys promote.

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  6. “I think that the title of the conference, “Together Again — for the first time,” seems to be some indication that it’s a non-joke. Or that they intend to actually have a real conference.”

    I thought it was a bit of a jab to T4G. These guys have been reduced to stealing each others market niche. The movement is not dead but it is not exactly growing like it was either when you look at the $$$. There are some very disgusted with T$G after the pro CJ Mahaney statement on their facebook. They had to delete it becasue it got 100 negative comments in the first 20 min.

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  7. Lydia,

    …because the men needed to learn.

    There’s another hanging curve ball for a great joke, save that it’s so sad.

    Actually, I can think of a few jokes…

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  8. …because the men needed to learn.

    There’s another hanging curve ball for a great joke, save that it’s so sad.”

    As in, “Everyone knows that women do not sit at the feet of a Pharisee to learn”

    Hee Hee

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  9. Julie Anne,

    Is Milano now a name it and claim it type? Or is he just plagued with that much entitlement? The church(TM) owes the man of gawd(TM) a living?

    I’ve gone to more churches than not whose pastors worked a day job — and they embraced prosperity teachings.

    Do people actually send Milano money?

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  10. Gee whiz, I’ve come a long way, baby! I remember back some years ago when I first started reading blogs and actually thought these guys had something to say. It didn’t take too long to tire of their arrogant, holier-than-thou sarcasm…had enough of that in my own family to last me a lifetime … Maybe that’s why it seemed so comfortably familiar. What they need is to start taking Jesus Christ a bit more seriously and themselves a bit less so. I could go to Houston …but not for the likes of them.

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  11. I thought it was a bit of a jab to T4G.

    Further proof that I couldn’t make this stuff up. That didn’t even occur to me. So are they the TAFT? More like daft.

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  12. I used to read there in the early days. But one mention of pro John Knox and I was appalled. Are they not familiar with that old reprobate and his history? This is a man who helped plot the murder of several people, went home and wrote a sermon on why it was good they were murdered. Murder as glorifying to God. Even his church/state parishoners were disgusted that in his 50′s he married a 15 year old girl. But what could they say?

    The irony of Knox is that he was surrounded by women who were in “authority” over him. He had to get permission from Eliz 1 to even travel in England. Hee Hee.

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  13. Who DOES this? Begs on the internet for 2 grand and gives people four days to come up with it?

    I am just in disbelief. This is like the 3rd of 4th time he has asked for thousands and given people a mere few days in which to comply. It is quite unreal and the height of a delusion of grandeur.

    I cannot believe many people send him money. He can’t even get 100 followers to follow him so he can get on iheart. I imagine he does not have many followers sending him money. His wife and daughters work and all live with him. Aren’t they supporting him?

    (I do wish he would prove me wrong and publish a transparent, detailed budget and a listing of all the churches/orgs that supposedly support him and how much they send- but I don’t see that coming down the road anytime soon. After all, those who give don’t need to know what he is spending his money on, right? For all we know, he could be spending many hours at, oh, say… Starbucks, reading the Puritans and buying overpriced coffee that many of us do not allow ourselves to purchase.) UGH

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  14. “oa_tony
    5 days ago · Starbucks
    Using my hat to chum the waters in Starbucks. Hoping/praying a few fish will bite. In the meantime, reading Thomas Watson.”

    Must be nice to sit in Starbucks reading letting your hat do your evangelizing for you while the wait staff serve you.

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  15. Ah, short deadlines — a powerful weapon of influence. If you want what Milano is selling, that is.

    From Zimbardo’s notes about Cialdini’s “Weapons of Influence”:

    http://www.lucifereffect.com/guide_cialdini-f.htm

    Scarcity [Context: Competition]
    The Basics
    People assign more value to opportunities when they are less available—if there are fewer resources and less time to get them, we want it more

    Principle holds true for two reasons:
    * Things that are difficult to attain are typically more valuable – availability of item can serve as a shortcut heuristic cue to its quality
    * As things become less accessible, we lose freedoms – respond to loss of freedoms by wanting to have them more than before

    Optimizing conditions for scarcity principle:
    Value newly scarce items more than items that have been restricted all along
    Most attracted to scarce resources when we must compete with others for them – have an emotion-arousing quality that makes critical thinking difficult– as in auctions where bidders will outbid each other and pay more than item is worth rather than to yield up the scarce item

    How It’s Exploited
    Use of this principle for profit can be seen in compliance techniques as ‘limited number’ and ‘deadline’ tactics in which persuaders try to convince us that access is restricted by amount or time.
    Bush administration used a variation of this theme in justifying rush to war in Iraq: time is running out for Saddam unless we stop him now he will use his WMD against us

    Best Defense
    We should step back and assess the merits of the opportunity, the value of the item, the deal solely in terms of why we want it
    We should aim to give as objective an evaluation of its personal value, and not overvalue it simply because it is scarce– or has the appearance of being scarce.

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  16. That was very interesting Cindy~
    I just learned something today. THANKS!!! :-)

    Now it is more disturbing to me, Perhaps he is not a simpleton in thinking that people have 2 grand to throw his way in 4 days, but he is purposefully crafting his plea in a certain way.

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  17. Diane,

    If he were a 20 year old kid, what would his parents say to him? I can imagine what my would say to me, though they never had to have such a discussion with me.

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  18. The event was oversold so they asked the WOMEN to give up their seats for the men because the men needed to learn.

    Yoikes!

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  19. Julie Anne said,

    Ok, we may have a funding problem here. One of Pyro’s friends, Tony Miano aka ™ is asking for $$.

    I think FBC Jax Watchdog may have a story that tops that. He currently has this story on his blog:

    “Evangelist Jamey Ragle – Trying to Raise $10,000 So He Can Take the Summer Off and Lose Weight”

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  20. Lydia said,

    True story: Years ago, (probably about 15) John McArthur hosted a conference here that some young couples I know went to. The event was oversold so they asked the WOMEN to give up their seats for the men because the men needed to learn.

    I thought some of these guys were keen on the Titanic story, where men gave up their seats on life boats to women?

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  21. Cindy, I read the pyro blog for a short time, and remember a video the pyro gang posted a couple years ago of Frank Turk. He’d been invited to speak to a conference but couldn’t make it so he recorded a message for them to play. Then they posted it on their site saying their readers might learn from it.

    It included a very obscure part I just didn’t understand, so in a comment I asked for clarification. Frank said it was an inside joke for the conference attenders. I again asked for clarification since it seemed to go to the message itself. He declined.

    At first I couldn’t figure out why they’d say “Here’s a video that you can learn from” and then not provide necessary clarification for people who were not there. Then I got it. This was about being a clever insider, not about helping their readers grow in Christ.

    I stopped reading pyro.

    Tim

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  22. Ah yes, Phil Johnson and the Pyro gang. They are not writing much these days. They are hardcore fundamentalists who happen to be Calvinists. They worship at the feet of the John’s, Calvin and MacArthur.

    Phil and I were friends way back when. Long before blogs, I sponsored a theology discussion list and Phil was a participant. (As was one of Fred Phelps’s daughters) the list was dominated by Calvinists, myself included.

    These guys are very complementarian.

    Phillips wrote a post today about how gays can’t have a loving relationship. I drew from his methods that only real Christians can have a loving relationship. So sad that most of the world….is not Christian…and can’t have a loving relationship. :(

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  23. Bruce, you forgot the (TM) behind “real Christians.” ;)

    I’ve always been of the mind that, given what some people have suffered in life, I’m amazed that they can manage to muster enough trust to let anyone love them, let alone find emotional intimacy. When you contrast it with the cruelty that some of these guys can shovel out, I think that very few would want what they consider a “loving relationship.”

    “With love like that who needs ______(>>insert appropriate word of your choosing<<)."

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  24. Tim,

    Some people look at life as though goodness and knowledge are finite commodities. If someone gets some of the same thing that they have, in their immaturity, they feel like they’ll somehow have less. I really don’t understand this in ministers who I consider the people who should be helping people how to elucidate truth and meaning as opposed to making heaven too hard to attain.

    I don’t know about your professors, but mine in seminary would never have tolerated in class some of the nonsense I’ve read on their blog in the few times I’ve visited there. If there is anything scholarly there, it’s cloaked in so much arrogance and anger, I don’t know how anyone can find it.

    I’m glad they didn’t find you worthy of an explanation. It’s a badge of honor.

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  25. Oh, I just forgot about the person who wrote to me about a book years ago. The Pyromaniacs said that the book was an essential must-read for all Christians, so they bought a copy.

    The person found it so disturbing that if what this Leader (TM) author asserted on so many topics was true, they didn’t want to be a Christian anymore. It wasn’t a statement of sarcasm — he was thrown into a crisis of faith.

    Thanks Pyromaniacs.

    I bought a copy of the book and couldn’t read beyond a third of the way through it because I couldn’t keep up with documenting the gross errors.

    I did find a few pages devoted to me by name which I found quite amusing. It was essentially the same message as the “discernment diva” tripe with some confabulated nonsense about my part in some grand conspiracy against him. (The material he referenced had absolutely nothing to do with him, and he wasn’t even on my radar.) If I had money to burn to pay an attorney, I could force the guy to recant what is printed in that book.

    But they aren’t worth much more than a mention in a blog comment. They’re not that important, and neither am I.

    What I do wonder about concerning fellas like these, and after looking at that pic of Tony Milano sitting in a Starbucks, is how many people these characters actually do drive away from Christianity. I don’t think that I want to know. If I saw that guy sitting in a coffee shop, I’d get as far away from him as I could. And I am very much pro-life (the subject printed of on his hat in mirror script — I guess to make him more obvious).

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  26. I’m confused here. Is John McArthur a good guy or a bad guy.? Several people I know have followed his teachings for years, almost like they were gospel( uh, maybe there is the answer to my question). A very legalistic friend worked for McArthur and got fired about 2 years ago. I don’t know why.

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  27. Leslie,

    I’m confused about MacArthur, but for a different reason. I can’t figure out how anyone can get around his angry tone to even process what he says, and much of that I find cruel and elitist. When I first heard him on the radio in the ’80s, I turned it off after listening to him a few times — saying “You’ve got no grace for me or anyone else.” I think that he even looks angry. I was once told that he was the only expository teacher that the person had ever heard, so that’s why they liked him. I guess that I was blessed to have that benefit in my life, so MacArthur had no appeal.

    I’ve never seen him as a “good guy.”

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  28. Strange seeing an article about Pyro here today. This morning was the first time I have meandered over to see what Pyro was up to in say, hmmm, six months. I just giggled at their announcement of a conference. What a surprise to come here and see this article. I wouldn’t waste one cent to attend their conference. They are one of the rudest group of men I ever encountered.

    I did manage to have a few negative comments left up regarding CJ Mahaney of SGM, although Seneca did pop up in his annoying way, pestering my comments.

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  29. Cindy, A close friend highly recommended “the gospel according to Jesus” about 20-25 years ago. I read it and it didn’t strike such a chord with me as it did with her. She has based the whole rest of her Christian life on Mc Arthur’s teachings. Me, not so much. I have always been rather skeptical and cynical . Having the gift of discernment is very uncomfortable. You just KNOW something is wrong, you are just not sure what it is. My friend, who got fired from McArthur’s ministry, is a friend of 35 years. I always knew SOMETHING was off, just not sure what. I always thought thee was something wrong with me. I never quite fit in. It was very hurtful. and still is to a certain extent.

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  30. Leslie,

    This is usually how people describe what life in a cult is like. They know something is wrong, but they just can’t isolate any hard facts.

    Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
    […]
    The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

    Neo: What truth?

    Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

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  31. Cindy, so how do you deal with it? People you like and love. Their spouses who don’t have a clue? I have been avoiding them for a year because I don’t know what to say. and it hurts because these relationships go back 35+ years.

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  32. Leslie,

    You can create a safe place for them to entertain their doubts, because when they’re in their own environment (and in their own heads), they’re not allowed to doubt. Particularly with Christianity, it’s billed as a lack of faith instead of your God-given discernment kicking in.

    Now, in creating that safe place, consider that the person is going to parrot what the group told them, and they will also fend off having to think about anything to protect themselves. So you have to have thick skin and be willing to let them say some things that are offensive without getting too personally hooked. They will feel like they’re fighting to preserve their life against the unthinkable. They’ll test you to see how safe that place that you build for them really is.

    When you’ve built that for them and they are ready, you can encourage them to entertain the natural doubts that they have to suppress when in the gorup. Asking good questions about the things that don’t make sense about the theology in a winsome and curious way is probably the best thing. You nudge them to think through the elements that don’t make sense. Or get them to talk about how they feel about the discrepancies. Thinkers will go for the doctrine. People who are more feelers will be more receptive to talk about how the group treats certain people differently than others, or how in consistent they are when dealing with pragmatic problems. That’s why friends and relatives that know a person well are the best resource that one has when stuck in a high demand group. And it takes time.

    Your primary goal, within this place of trust, is reawakening their own critical thinking without coming off as adversarial. Once that starts, the group loses the magic that it holds for them, and things usually fall apart. (Some people do sell out and just bury themselves deeper into the group, unfortunately.) If only for a little while with you, you can help them reconnect with their own inner discernment, and they learn pretty quickly that lightning didn’t strike them when talking with you. They’ll feel safe enough to think about things on their own.

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  33. OT and FWIW, I’ve always wanted to be in a band called “The Monstrous Regiment of Women”.

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  34. Patrice,

    We should start one and could have a conference.

    I have experience as a performer (song, composition, and a few accompaniment instruments, some of which are renaissance style).

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  35. “JA, I am very confued with Miano. Isn’t the amount of money he has foreordained by God?”
    ;-) Yes, and he’s going to keep on harassing the rest of the world into sending him money, until he gets a personal message from his bank manager that the account is back in the black again. (That darn Starbucks will do it every time).

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  36. Thanks Cindy,

    I don’t think I am an important enough person in their lives to even engage them.. I think they wrote me off as “Not being Spiritual enough”. Even after a 35+ year relationship. I have always felt I was not good enough, spiritual enough, faithful enough, ad nauseum. My husband and I had a ministry that we did indeed Shepard the flock. Different than being the Shepard of the flock. These people saw the fruit of this ministry, so kept us on the periphery of their existence, but still acted as if we were outsiders. ( Wow, just by writing this I am beginning to see what happened). Our ministry thrived and one of the persons who I just wrote about was deposed from his powerful position 3 different times..

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  37. All I can play is flute and recorder. I can’t sing but I do growl rather well. Maybe it should be renaissance head-banger. Not sure how that would sound but hey, we could work something out…

    We’d need to buy all seven sizes of renaissance drums. Know anyone with rhythm?

    I know a young man who’s in an up&coming head-banger band particularly popular in the EU. (On the road as we speak.) “La Dispute” Maybe we could be their opening act.

    “The Monstrous Regiment of Women will be opening this tour for our favorite American band, LaDispute.” Sounds good, you think?

    And after that, we’d have a conference because we’d be sell-ebritees. Maybe call it the “Old Ladies with a Headache Conference: coming 2gether 4 the past times”.

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  38. Julie Anne plays percussion via piano. I do too, but lacking confidence, I do better following someone else who sets the rhythm. I’m the same with guitar, and both for me are rusty. I’ve stuck primarily with the folk harp and the bowed psaltry in recent years, as they didn’t seem corrupted by the cult for me. Piano definitely did.

    One thing that I’m thrilled to see in Julie Anne is that she kept singing and playing. I nearly laid down and died in grief after realizing that I’d been “the minstrel” to soften people up for Sunday morning spiritual abuse.

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  39. “I nearly laid down and died in grief after realizing that I’d been “the minstrel” to soften people up for Sunday morning spiritual abuse.”

    Ach, Cindy, I’m sorry. But listen, all good will be gathered together at the end, right? Music is good and that was yours. What came after it was not yours.

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  40. One thing that I’m thrilled to see in Julie Anne is that she kept singing and playing.

    I’m dying tonight. 2nd night in a row of 3-hr choir dress rehearsal and standing 99% of the time. One more to go before performance. I don’t drink special coffee drinks, but choral music is like my special Starbucks drink. It’s good for my soul. Choral music is God’s gift back to me. The songs we are singing are pretty amazing. The composer is in town and we will be premiering 3 of his works. Several of them are sacred music. I just love that I can be in a community choir where singing sacred music is “in.” Sorry – - slight diversion.

    Getting back to spiritual abuse topic – - – - – it was piano/singing praise music that kept me sane me during my toxic church experience. Music is so healing.

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  41. No offense but these guys are tools, they do not achieve the toolish of Doug Phillips who is a tool esquire, but they are tools. Dont believe me go read their blog, focus on the age of the Earth and just see the lack of “logic”. There was a time I was a bit impressed with their rhetoric but after a few months of reading I just started to ignore most of their rhetoric. A few times they posted some helpful posts. But when they opened up an SGM thread and then found great rejoice when the lawsuits results went against the plaintiffs. What a bunch of clowns, if the same about of evidence was offered concerning abuse to a perceived “enemy” they would have busted a gut to make sure it got out there. But their buddy was on the line so they were glad when they could post a shallow victory. That is the definition of a tool.

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  42. I almost wish that Miano would pull an Oral Roberts here and tell everyone that God will kill him if he doesn’t raise the entire amount of $$$ after a certain number of days. Maybe that would open the eyes of anyone who is actually still giving him anything.

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  43. “At first I couldn’t figure out why they’d say “Here’s a video that you can learn from” and then not provide necessary clarification for people who were not there. Then I got it. This was about being a clever insider, not about helping their readers grow in Christ”

    I read there back in the early golden days. I always found the comments most instructive. They were pretty much like you experienced, Tim. There was always a large cheerleading faction but those who asked questions were treated with a sort of sublte arrogant contempt. I think that is so normal for them they would actually claim it was “loving”.

    But one comment from Phil Johnson took the cake for me. I don’t remember which thread, which year or even the topic but his comment went something like this:

    >>If a man walked up and asked Mrs McArthur or my wife a doctrinal question they should not answer it even if they know the answer. Women should not engage in any spiritual discussions with men. They should lead the men to their husbands.

    That does not mean our wives are not smart, intelligent women,,,blah, blah, blah…<<

    Tim, We could have a field day with this one. A man has a heart attack next to you on a bus. Can you pray over him or would there be 'teaching" in the prayer.

    The point is Satan is simply delighted with Phil Johson's position. What an easy way to shut up half of the Body of Christ while elevating mere men to god-like status.

    How can anyone believe such tripe without being arrogant? It is impossible.

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  44. “I don’t think I am an important enough person in their lives to even engage them..”

    My dear Leslie. Only to them. They are most dismissive of anyone not in their cheerleading faction. That is a ghetto to stay out of if you wholeness.

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  45. Their spouses who don’t have a clue? I have been avoiding them for a year because I don’t know what to say. and it hurts because these relationships go back 35+ years.

    Leslie, Do they even know you disagree or have issues with the teaching/behavior of their gurus/movement?

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  46. I read the article. It was good. I liked that she. Connected all the dots and didn’t just zero in on one institution. I’m also thankful that she mentioned “why”, the SGM lawsuit was dismissed – which wasn’t because of lack of evidence. Also wish some of those harmed by SGM would bring civil suits against appropriate leaders.

    On another note, did anyone see what Camille Lewis posted at her blog? I wondered why she went silent after TWW article ran in February.

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  47. I don’t think I am an important enough person in their lives to even engage them.. I think they wrote me off as “Not being Spiritual enough”. Even after a 35+ year relationship. I have always felt I was not good enough, spiritual enough, faithful enough, ad nauseum.

    Leslie touched on a very important common theme that we see in many high-controlling church environments. The reality is that none of us are “good enough” and that is why we have Christ. But for some reason in these high-controlling churches, there are those who elevate themselves and their own spirituality and make others feel inferior, shaming them, questioning their salvation, cause them to doubt their salvation. This is so, so wrong. There are not different levels of spirituality, there are no special tokens you have to obtain to get to the next level, etc.

    David, the first commenter on this thread, can share stories of his experience with folks at Grace Community or Masters Seminary. I’ve received a lot of e-mails about this elitism that produces an us vs. them mentality.

    A lot of people say that MacArthur has really done good work in his explaining of passages. That may be fine and dandy. But I look at the fruit from the people he teaches. What is the fruit that I see coming out from MacArthur’s church?

    I see an attitude of spiritual arrogance. I see that women are belittled (I’ve witnessed this first-hand from key pastors).

    I see them say one thing and do another (they will call out people who are charismatics, but they are okay with a pastor (who sues 5 former members and is in church discipline and has a revoked license) attending their Shepherd’s conference. What kind of spiritual integrity is that? I see Fred Butler who wrote the most hurtful and defamatory gossip about my adult daughter I could imagine. He published an apology only after publicly confronted, and then took the apology down after two weeks. And this man is still a Bible teacher at Grace to You – John MacArthur’s site.

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  48. Sorry, my last comment was getting long, but it looks like I’m still ranting. I am annoyed by this kind of putting people down spiritually where leaders elevate themselves. I do not see this division in the Bible. I see this in John 1:

    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–

    It seems that a true shepherd would spend time telling people who they are IN CHRIST which is such a wonderful theme in Colossians, Ephesians. Instead, there seems to be constant barrage of “make sure you’re saved,” “preach yourself the gospel.” To that I want to say: how many times did Christ die and resurrect himself? One time. How many times do I have to decide to receive him? One time. If I have to remind myself and question my salvation daily, then it is a slap in the face to what Christ did for me.

    Either he died for us or He didn’t. I’m tired of pastors who try to keep us penned up in a state of sorrow, unworthiness, shame because of our sin. That’s what Christ’s ONE DEATH and resurrection did. It’s done. It is finished. For those who receive Him, WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD.

    I will not allow myself to be under the teaching of someone who keeps us from the love and grace of God and what He has done for me. Who are we in Christ? We are conquerors. We are victorious. He has done the battle.

    If you are in a church that keeps you penned up in a focus on sin, your unworthiness, your spiritual deficits, I urge you to consider leaving. This focus is NOT the focus we see in the New Testament. This kind of teaching can be very destructive spiritually.

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  49. Yep, Preach it JA.

    We are to remember the cross and LIVE out the resurrection now. We have the necessary tools. He made a way. That means one cannot be an elitist greedy deceptive minister. It does not work that way. They know this so they change the definitions to claim their way is “gods” way. Little g on purpose. That is why we are to “learn bible” from them.

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  50. Bridget, Do you think she should contact Boz and let him know since he is now investigating BJU? It goes to the idea of them being transparent, open to being investigating so they can change. If it was BJU it does not bode well for them being investigated. Boz should know how they operate.

    I always wonder why folks don’t connect dots more.

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  51. Lydia,

    It’s my understanding that GRACE is well aware of the formal and informal impediments to the investigation. They’re very much on top of the specifics, and this has not been unusual behavior on their part with critics, even before the investigation. I think that they’re connecting all the dots to be had. Now, some of that won’t end up being a formal part of the investigation report, but it certainly doesn’t look good. It was also my understanding from documents from GRACE that they were pretty savvy in the writing of the BJU contract — learning from their past experiences, particularly with ABWE.

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  52. Lydia said,

    >>If a man walked up and asked Mrs McArthur or my wife a doctrinal question they should not answer it even if they know the answer. Women should not engage in any spiritual discussions with men. They should lead the men to their husbands.

    That does not mean our wives are not smart, intelligent women,,,blah, blah, blah…<<

    Hmm. And are single women exempt from that? I’m over 40 and still haven’t married yet.

    I am really sorry to go on about this as I do on these blogs, but it’s so glaring and infuriating, when you are single and childless – most Christians, especially the gender curmudgeons (complementarians), have no inkling of such a thing as an adult woman who never marries, never has sex, and never produces any babies.

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  53. Someone above was inquiring about John MacArthur.

    I’m no MacArthur expert, this is just my impression based on bits and pieces of the guy. Based upon what I know of him, he is a mixed bag. There are some things I agree with him on and others I do not.

    I have read a page or two of his views before, and I’ve read about him on other blogs.

    If I am not mistaken or confusing him with another well known Christian personality, he has done stuff like hosted a conference (“Strange Fire” conference) a few months ago insisting that charismatic gifts are no longer in existence.

    He wrote a page that was very critical of Christian network TBN, some of the criticisms I agreed with. (It’s been over a year since I read it.)

    I think he was also mentioned in the book by Carlson, “Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded.” He does not think “real Christians” can or do get depression, or, if they do, they should not see a mental health professional or take medication – I totally disagree with him on that.

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  54. About the original topic of the blog page (sorry, I sometimes go off on tangents when reading other people’s comments and forget to address what the original topic was/is), I have visited the Pyro blog before.

    I have in the past agreed with some of their views on the Christian faith, but sometimes the tone of their blog seemed to be one of arrogance, and contempt for anyone who does not see eye to eye with them on every last topic under the sun, which is a total turn off for me.

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  55. “Hmm. And are single women exempt from that? I’m over 40 and still haven’t married yet.”

    Gee miss daisy, I even wonder if Phil Johnson knows any single women. Good question.

    My guess is that like most of their ilk, you would have to direct the asking man to your father. If the father is agnostic or dead, direct him to the pastor? Perhaps he could get an appointment with the pastor in a few weeks?

    In any event, the single woman would most likely need Phil to draw up an org chart to follow.

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  56. @lydiasellerofpurple.
    My dad is still alive but in his 70s. What’s really funny is if I were to direct a man to him with a question, my Dad would probably find it weird and ask me, “Why don’t you answer him yourself? You know more about Bible stuff than I do.”

    My dad is kind of old school sexist in some ways, but… he will give credit where it’s due.

    Through my teens and 20s, I read mountains of books about stuff like the history of the Bible – stuff about text crit, the history of the transmission of the Bible, apologetics works, etc (which my dad was aware of, he knew I was doing all this reading), and my dad used to encourage me to start attending church again to be a Sunday School teacher to pass on what I learned.

    The way these gender complementarians are, insisting the woman has to go through a male reminds me of Islam. I had to take a sociology course back in college, which included having to read several books about Muslims.

    I remember in one book, written by a woman who lived among different Muslism families for a few years, that there were a lot of rules in place where women could never do anything without a man.

    If you had to go out in public, you had to go with a man. If no husband, a son or brother had to walk with you. I don’t remember what all the other rules were, but so many things in their culture/religion requires a woman to get permission from a man, or have a man do things for her. It’s ridiculous. I see stripes of that among gender comps, who insist a woman go to a husband.

    I have seen a few times, (not often, since Christians usually IGNORE adult, single (never married), childless women), but the few times gender complementarians address women in my situation (never married adults), they say if you have no spouse, you must go to your dad, a brother, or other male relative, or a male preacher.

    I don’t have a home church. I haven’t been to church in a few years. I’m not totally a Christian any more, maybe partially. I am caught between the faith and agnosticism currently.

    But even if I were in church still, I should not have to go to a preacher to get approval for anything, that is ridiculous. I am an adult, not a five year old child who needs supervision. (Which I know that you already know, I’m ranting against their views.)

    The Bible does not teach that an un-married women needs to be under the covering of any man, or go to any male for approval. It’s not in the Bible.

    What I find very hypocritical is a lot of the Neo-Calvinists and other types of Christian gender complementarians who swear allegiance to sola scriptura make all women abide by their man-made tradition on that point.

    But anyway, I think the similarities between gender comps who insist grown women go through, or to, men for everything are no different than Muslims who believe that stuff too.

    Like

  57. Lydia, yes, they know. I have had many spirited discussion with one of the husbands. He is the one who was fired from from JM’s church. His wife, who is very sweet believes you support your husband no matter what. Even if he’s wrong.

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  58. Leslie, I ask this because I am interested for a reason. Does the man who was fired from JW’s church still support the church or the doctrine or both?

    This is one that perplexes me because I saw it quite a bit. Someone would be let go for whatever reason…usually political… and yet they still “loved” the place and took all the blame even when they were NOT to blame. It was a political power thing. In most megas I was around, staff restructuring took place almost once a year. It was unbelievable the people they went through.

    I am also very familiar with the “support your husband no matter what” types. It is amazing that two grown ups cannot have differences on doctrinal or behavioral matters or it is a sin or something? Poor thing, she will answer for that one day. Alone.

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  59. “The way these gender complementarians are, insisting the woman has to go through a male reminds me of Islam”

    Missdaisy, that is exactly what it is. Islam/comp/patriarchy have much in common foundationally. It is the worship of male gender.

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  60. Lydia, I last spoke with the wife a year ago. All she said was that he was let go and that sometimes Christians aren’t very nice to each other. Knowing him I doubt that are still at Grace Community. She said he is now tutoring homeschoolers. Their son and daughter in law are both Masters College graduates. I think I will give them a call this evening.

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  61. I just remembered two interesting things about Grace Community and John Mac. Our friend had been hired at GC. The youth group my daughter was in was going to their annual Mission to Mexico. I asked my friend to see if the the youth group could sleep in the church on their way back home. The response “Grace doesn’t do things like that. They want to keep the church perfect so it is honoring to God.”

    The wife wanted to join the choir. They refused her. They said “we only take the very best vocalists so we can give God our best.”. This was about 17 years ago

    So sad.

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  62. Leslie, those two stories are indicative of most mega churches. I heard the same things all the time. One mega had a rule if you were what they considered more than 40 lbs overweight you could not sing on stage at all. Even in a choir. No fat people on stage. That was very important to them. It was all about the image.

    Everything was crouched in terms of “giving our best to God”. And “excellence in all we do”. No, it was about brand image, brand management and control. God is not impressed but many “people” are. In fact, many people are attracted that sort of place. They feel “honored” to be a part of it. Very sad because it is so shallow.

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  63. Lydia, my friend was about 100 lbs overweight. One of the sweetest, most loving and caring people I have ever known. Not much self esteem and her husband took advantage of her. I never considered that they may have refused her because of her weight. Now I am even more mad at GCC.

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  64. Well, Phil is not exactly svelte but it is different for men in those type of churches. And it is very typical of men in Patriarchy to take advantage of women. I used to chuckle at all the comp sermons in the mega only to know quite a few couples where the wife was the main breadwinner. But she would be sitting there listening as if it all applied to her…except her paycheck.

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  65. No Real Man wants a doormat for a wife. I cherish that fact that my spouse can stand up in any religious, philosophical, or political discussion with me, and often has the better argument.

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  66. Totally off topic, but amusing. A church we were at was looking for a new pastor. The elders and wives held a dinner for the candidate. He said he had a problem with our church, because out of the seven elders only two( one was my husband) were not overweight. Needless to say he was not called. We left shortly thereafter. I still chuckle about that one.

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  67. @CindyK:

    BJU will do just about anything to shut down critics.

    Just like Scientology.

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  68. I think we should get some kind of movement going in which all participants swear off attending these conferences with the usual suspects in the limelight. Generally it is costing a person airfare, hotel, car rental, and admission fees – plus wasting even more at the book tables. Why are we doing this? Let’s all settle down and quit feeding this monster, stay at home, work with our hands, live quiet lives, read our bibles and if we have a good church, worship and fellowship and minister there. What if they gave a conference and no one came?

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  69. @JeffCrispin:

    Generally it is costing a person airfare, hotel, car rental, and admission fees – plus wasting even more at the book tables.

    The costs are analogous to attending an out-of-area F&SF con; lets use my annual cross-continent trip to AnthroCon as an example:
    Airfare — around $500 round trip.
    Hotel — over $100/night, offset by passing the hat to others sharing the room.
    Meals — figure around $20 a day per person.
    Admission fee — around $50.
    Dealer’s Room budget — between $100 and $200.

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  70. “Either he died for us or He didn’t. I’m tired of pastors who try to keep us penned up in a state of sorrow, unworthiness, shame because of our sin. That’s what Christ’s ONE DEATH and resurrection did. It’s done. It is finished. For those who receive Him, WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD.

    I will not allow myself to be under the teaching of someone who keeps us from the love and grace of God and what He has done for me. Who are we in Christ? We are conquerors. We are victorious. He has done the battle.

    If you are in a church that keeps you penned up in a focus on sin, your unworthiness, your spiritual deficits, I urge you to consider leaving. This focus is NOT the focus we see in the New Testament. This kind of teaching can be very destructive spiritually.”

    This is why I have to stay away from certain books, reformed blogs debating nomism vs. antinominianism, sanctification, the Lordship salvation controversy, etc. I find such things downright discouraging. This is an area of theology where I am almost more Lutheran than Presbyterian. I wonder how much of this goes back to the early Puritans who were well-known for an emphasis on a continual search for sin in one’s life. You can easily find it in many of the writings they left behind, along with their dreadful views of recreation, the Sabbath, holidays, and entertainment in general. They got some things right, like their work ethic and teachings on marriage and love; however I can still see why their city on a hill eventually died out.

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  71. Conferencing via podcast or live teleconferencing over the phone is very cost effective. People could do that, too. Or they could just buy a series of lectures on DVD. Part of it is the social experience.

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  72. Jeff, that is so spot on. It makes me think of II Timothy 4:3

    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

    The reformed crowd loves this verse, but the “accumulate for themselves teachers” part describes them to a tee.

    For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control,brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

    After years at JMac’s church, I read the passage above and came to realize that was me and my church was actually fostering those traits.

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