SSB Sunday Gathering – November 11, 2018

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 

cedar-creek-grist-mill

-by Kathi

Scripture is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, Readings for Year 2 and may be found here.

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Psalm 34

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

1 Corinthians 14: 1 – 12

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit,especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

Matthew 20: 1 – 16

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

***
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

Photo credit: Kathi

Creative Exegesis on Social Media

 

There’s a bit of fun “exegesis” happening on Twitter.  What is exegesis?

 

Capture

It started when my East Coast gal pal blogger, Dee, posted a link to an article on John Piper:

 

And then what Tim and David added really cracked me up!

 

I copied those 2 tweets together in an image so people could be sure to read them in order, and tweeted it. And then more came in:

 

 

Capture

 

 

Spiritual Abuse: When People Ask You, “Are You Working Toward Reconciliation?”

Spiritual Abuse, What Not to Say, Jonathan Hollingsworth, Reconciliation

 

This is the second blog post referring to an article by Jonathan Hollingsworth, What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by the Church. The article resonated with a lot of people, so I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these unhelpful statements one by one here, and give people the opportunity to share their experiences.

I will be working through all six of Hollingsworth’s statements/questions of what not to say to someone who has been hurt by spiritual abuse. Last post, we covered when people say, “No Church is Perfect.”

Here is the second question of what not to say to someone harmed by spiritual abuse, followed by Jonathan Hollingsworth explaining why it is not helpful:

“Are You Working Toward Reconciliation?”

The last thing a victim of spiritual abuse needs to do is go right back into the environment that hurt them in the first place.

If someone has been attacked by a dog, would you tell them to go back and risk getting bitten again? Christians who insist on reconciliation in the face of spiritual abuse are forgetting one important thing: Abusive people can’t always be reasoned with.

Not only is it dangerous to ask a victim to make amends with their abusers, it also puts an undue burden of responsibility on the victim to come up with a solution. It’s like saying, “They’re the ones who hurt you, but now it’s your job to make it right.”

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Oh boy! I, too, had this said to me. In general, it was said by people who had never experienced spiritual abuse and who were uncomfortable with the topic or what I was feeling. They were uncomfortable knowing that I was not free from the heavy weight of spiritual abuse. They may have meant well by wanting me to be free, but in reality, there may never be reconciliation. Would God want me to restore my relationship with an abuser? I think not – unless the abuser did a 180-degree change and fully repented.

I don’t know what the deal is, but some Christians believe that you aren’t acting like a Christian if you respond with emotions that people label as negative. (For the record, I don’t think of emotions as negative or positive – they just are.) It’s like you are expected to maintain a smile on your face at all times, so expressing strong emotions like anger, sadness, grieving, etc, is not a welcomed sight. I think they believe that if you reconcile, then you can get the smile back on your face again – and everything will be hunky dory (do people still say that?) Anyway, it really isn’t that simple.

They don’t understand that spiritual abuse is a process. There are periods of sadness and anger. There is a grieving process, and it takes time, sometimes years. Some people will deal with it for the rest of their lives in one way or another, but it won’t be as paralyzing as it was in the beginning of the process.

Asking a spiritual abuse survivor if they are working toward reconciliation is not helpful. It puts the onus on the survivor. It tells the survivor to hurry along and get fixed so others can feel comfortable.

 

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Does the WASC Commission Letter Address Reports of Sexual Assault at The Master’s University?

The Master’s University, Sexual Assault, Accreditation Probation

Capture13

Credit: TMU Facebook Page

-by Kathi

Sandy asked a very good question on the last post regarding John MacArthur’s resignation as President of The Master’s University (TMU):

It doesn’t address their sexual assault cover ups, right?

As a reminder, Julie Anne covered Jane’s account of sexual assault at The Master’s University last year: Jane’s Account of Rape, Response of Master’s University to Her Claims, and a Breaking Development Confirming Details #

While the 2017 WASC Commission letter does not directly speak to specific sexual assault incidents, it does address two important areas that reference sexual assault:

Additionally, as a result of inquiry by the visiting team and panel prompted by Third Party Complaints to the Commission, the Commission is concerned about the institution’s attention to the requirements of the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). The Commission is concerned about the capacity of the institution’s leadership to operate with integrity, high performance, appropriate responsibility, and accountability. (CFRs 3.6, 3.7)

For those who are unaware of the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), here is a brief summary with links for further follow-up:

The Clery Act “is a federal statute requiring colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information. The U.S. Department of Education conducts reviews to evaluate an institution’s compliance with the Clery Act requirements.”

VAWA: “The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) amendments to the Clery Act expand the rights afforded to campus survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.”

Crime Awareness Requirements Not Met

This is not the first time the Clery Act and VAWA has been an issue for TMU. In 2015 The Department of Education cited TMU for violating compliance regulations around several areas, including the Clery Act and VAWA for calendar year 2012. TMU was fined $29,000 in 2017 for its non-compliance.

Screenshot 2018-10-30 at 9.51.18 PM

 

The 2017 WASC Commission letter addressed this problem of non-compliance.

The Commission is extremely concerned that the institution may be in violation of
required reporting responsibilities under the Clery Act, VAWA, and FERPA and that the COO, who has been assigned to handle these responsibilities, is unaware of the
requirements and processes mandated by these statutes. The institution should take
immediate steps to assure that it understands and is in compliance with the federal
requirements. (CFR 3.6, 3.8)

It is difficult to know if the Commission is raising concern due to the 2017 Department of Education letter or if there are on-going issues with the TMU staff understanding and maintaining compliance. Are the “Third Party Complaints” from the Department of Education? A review of the 2018 Student Handbook shows up-to-date information regarding the Clery Act reporting and VAWA information. Reporting policies are also included in the handbook.

A November 2, 2018 WASC visit update on TMU’s website notes that their accreditation remains in good standing. There is no mention of addressing the Commission’s concerns regarding the Clery Act and VAWA regulation compliance. WASC has yet to publish findings from the fall visit.

Rep. Matt Shea: When Politics is Fueled by Religion that Harms

Rep. Matt Shea, Biblical Basis for War, Politics, Religion, Dominionism


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I intentionally do not delve into politics much on this blog because politics is divisive and conversation can deteriorate quickly. However, today I want to mention one candidate whose religion is interfering with his politics in a way that could harm. I found about this because it is in my neck of the woods and in the news.

Some long-time readers probably remember I wrote posts about the father of the Christian homeschool movement, Rousas John Rushdoony. Rushdoony was a Christian Reconstructionist who put his religious beliefs into action in an attempt to take over all spheres of our civilization, including the government. He wanted the Old Testament laws and Ten Commandments to be the foundation of society:

Christian Reconstructionism began with Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony. In 1973 he published Institutes of Biblical Law which is 800 pages of analysis and commentary on the Ten Commandments and the Biblical “case law.” Rushdoony and the Reconstructionists, are believers that everything is based on God’s Laws as put forth in the Bible, have no love for democratic, secular, civil law (Source)

 

“The only true order is founded on Biblical Law. All law is religious in nature, and every non-Biblical law-order represents an anti-Christian religion.”

”Every law-order is a state of war against the enemies of that order, and all law is a form of warfare.”

 – R.J. Rushdoony

 

Rushdoony had quite a following of conservative Christians who adopted his ideas on homeschooling children and having large families, creating a cycle that could have continued for years and years. It worked for at least one generation, but then some serious sex abuse cases came to light (Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard), and many families abandoned the camp, thank God.

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Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Facebook photo, Rep. Matt Shea

I was reminded of Rushdoony when I read about Rep. Matt Shea of Washington state. Rep. Matt Shea is up for re-election for his sixth term in the House, but has recently been under the spotlight because of his religious ideologies using “biblical law” as justification.

So, here’s what happened. Rep. Shea sent out a four-page document entitled, Biblical Basis for War. People, this guy is running for state rep, not the governor or president, yet he is focusing on war?  His area is in NE Washington state – around Spokane, the eastern side of the state, close to Idaho. Chad Sokol of the local Spokesman-Review had this to say:

Shea – who espouses far-right conspiracy theories, mingles with militia groups, considers the United States “a Christian nation” and champions a push for a 51st state called Liberty – has said the document was merely a summary of sermon notes based on the Old Testament. But critics of Shea, including his opponent, Ted Cummings, and Republican Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, viewed the document as a literal road map for Christian domination.

“The document specifically contemplates overthrowing ‘tyranny,’ but it quickly defines a ‘tyrant’ as ‘someone who rules without God.’ Thus, it appears to call for violence against any political leader who does not share Shea’s personal religious views,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that advocates for separation of church and state, said in a statement Thursday. “By Shea’s definition, the United States, a secular democracy founded on a godless constitution, is tyrannical and meant to be overthrown.”

Take a look at the first page and one-half of the document so you can get an idea of what he has been spreading:

Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Rep. Matt Shea “Biblical Basis for War”

 

Here is a local news report.

 

I get a little concerned about people like fixating on war using their slanted religious ideologies. This seriously creeps me out, and it’s a little too close to home. I’m sending the boys outside to work on an underground shelter after they get home from their public school (yea, I ditched homeschooling and the Rushdoony way of doing things a while ago and have been sending them to the local heathens – the evil government schools).

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SSB Sunday Gathering – November 4, 2018

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

20181024_180901_HDR

-by Kathi

Scripture is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, Readings for Year 2 and may be found here.

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Psalm 8

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

1 Corinthians 12: 27 – 13: 13

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Matthew 18: 21 – 35

]Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

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May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

***
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

 

Photo credit: Kathi

Stephen Kilpatrick: While Teaching at Liberty University and Bible to Small Children, He Also Solicited Sex with a Minor

Stephen Kilpatrick, Liberty University, Bible Study Teacher, Alleged Child Sex Criminal

close up portrait of human eye

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

 

A former Liberty University professor has been charged with soliciting sex from a minor.

Steve Kilpatrick Source

Steve Kilpatrick Source

Stephen James Kilpatrick, 63, “was arrested and charged with three counts each of taking indecent liberties with a child younger than 15 years old and soliciting sex from a child younger than 15 years old.”

Richmond-Times Dispatch has reported that Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) posted a Craigslist ad as a 13-yr old girl and conversed via text and e-mail for seven months.

Gardner said the conversations were often sexually explicit and Kilpatrick was told the person he was communicating with was a 13-year-old girl in the eighth grade named “Jenny.” Kilpatrick promised sexual acts to “Jenny,” drove to where he thought she lived and told her he’d thought about her sexually while in his office, according to Gardner.

Kilpatrick was a professor of physics at LU during the time of the incident but has since been fired, his family said from the witness stand Tuesday.

Kilpatrick was actively trying to set up a meeting with the girl, Gardner said, and law enforcement officers staged such a meeting in June. When they intercepted Kilpatrick, she said he had cookies and lubrication in his car.

“He had cookies and lubrication in his car.”

 

Ok, that is so messed up, I can hardly stand it: cookies and lubrication????

The article stated that Sandra, Kilpatrick’s wife, said that her husband has “no criminal history or allegations of sexual misconduct and is a well-written man who used to work as a research scientist for the U.S. government.”

It is very common for criminals to lead double lives; they are able to manipulate and convince people they are fine, upstanding citizens, but in reality, they are deviants. Someone doesn’t turn into a pedophile overnight. But Sandra and other family members throw common sense out the window and hold on to the image they want to have of Stephen, regardless of the evidence to prove otherwise.

Here is the part that raised additional red flags for me:

The couple has been active in different churches they’ve attended and Sandra Kilpatrick said her husband would host small group meetings of church members at their home and help teach small children Bible study.

They’ve been active in different churches?  How many churches? They help teach small children Bible studies? Do these churches and parents of these children know about his recent arrest?

And then there’s this:

Kilpatrick’s friends and fellow churchgoers said Tuesday they’d be his support system if he was granted bond. When asked by Pack if his charges surprised them, they all said they were shocked.

Support him how – by trying to get him a lighter sentence? By trying to convince the judge/jury that they’ve known him for years and he’s never exhibited this behavior before?

Ugh!!!

 

 

 

Spiritual Abuse: When People Tell You, “No Church is Perfect”

Spiritual Abuse, What Not to Say, Jonathan Hollingsworth

spiritual abuse, ken garrett, cults

 

Being hurt at church is tough, and sometimes it’s a lonely journey. You may have experienced something that other congregants have not experienced. Some people may have good intentions, but say things that are not helpful, and in fact, may be hurtful. This can lead to more isolation as you don’t know who is safe to talk to. This can lead hurt people to stay away from church entirely.

One of the most confusing things about spiritual abuse is that not everyone is able to identify spiritual abuse. I remember dropping hints to people seeing if they would acknowledge my experiences or even add to them. Thankfully, many did, and I didn’t feel alone.

I posted an old article by Jonathan Hollingsworth, What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by the Church, on Twitter and the SSB Facebook page which seems to have resonated with a lot of people. I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these unhelpful statements one by one here, and give people the opportunity to share their experiences.

Remember, one of the best ways for others to learn about spiritual abuse is for them to read the personal stories of others. When people can identify with your story, and you are naming it as spiritual abuse, it opens their eyes to the reality that what they experienced could have been abusive. Some people can sit with that uncertainty for years, but it will be one person’s story that will wake them up to their spiritually abusive reality.

Here is the first bad response that many of us have heard:

“No Church Is Perfect.”

Jonathan Hollingsworth writes:

Instead of empathizing with those who have been hurt by a church, some Christians go right into defense mode.

They might argue that the victim just had a “bad experience.” Or they’ll say the church is full of imperfect people who are “only human” and make mistakes just like the rest of us.

But can we agree that these excuses only distract from the problem? No one wants to be told to “focus on all the good things the church does” when they’ve been hurt by one. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of people have been positively affected by a church or ministry. The good experiences don’t cancel out the bad ones.

When I heard this said to me, it minimized the abuse and said that I need to toughen up and put up with what I was experiencing. It’s kind of like telling a victim of domestic violence that their violent husband is not perfect, just cut him some slack. It also could imply that other churches could be worse.

Did anyone say this to you? How did you react/respond to this unhelpful response?

 

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John MacArthur Steps Down as President of The Master’s University

John MacArthur, The Master’s University, Accreditation Probation

Screenshot 2018-10-28 at 9.30.51 AM

-by Kathi

John MacArthur, Pastor at Grace Community Church and President of The Master’s University, recently announced that he is stepping down as President of The Master’s University (TMU). This will be an 18-month transition.

For 33 years, since 1985, I have had the rare and enriching privilege of serving The Master’s University and Seminary as president.

I originally signed up for 5 years, thinking I would be able — along with my pastoral ministry at Grace Community Church — to help strengthen the University and Seminary. I underestimated the hold that educating young Christians for gospel influence on the world would have on me.

Class after class, year after year, as new students arrived, I found it impossible to let go of the opportunity to educate their minds and hearts to take the Light of God’s truth into this dark world. So, I have stayed and loved every day of my service.

However, with the growth of the University and Seminary, demanding more leadership now and in the future, the time has come for me to transition to the position of Chancellor of the University and President of the Seminary.

The transition will provide for a new president for the university. This will occur over the next 18 months.

I rejoice in the 91-year impact of this institution, because of its faithfulness to the Bible, to the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and His beloved church.

I am confident of the continuing influence of these schools for the kingdom of our Lord and I look forward to continuing to serve The Master’s University and Seminary in the years ahead.

MacArthur makes this decision sound like it is simply time for new leadership due to the growth of the university. I have to question this since TMUs accreditation status is currently on probation due to issues which include the role of the President and other leadership within the institution.

During the years that I worked at Hope International University, I assisted in the process of accreditation visits. It was a rigorous process which required hours of meetings, reports, interviews, and review. If a university is functioning properly, there should be no problem with maintaining accreditation. Commissions will always provide feedback on areas that a university should address to maintain compliance.

The WASC Commission letter was very telling about how TMU is currently functioning. The letter states the issues that TMU needs to address, specifically around the office of the President:

Board Independence: The institution does not meet the WSCUC requirement for
governing board independence since many members of the Board are employed by the institution or another organization for which the president has authority.

Operational integrity: The institution’s 2017 financial audit contains a specific finding on appearance of conflicts of interest with the President’s son-in-law supervising a contract from which he benefits, as well as institutional aid that exceeds typical aid awards being awarded to friends and relatives.

Leadership: The institution is not in compliance with the requirement in CFR 3.8
regarding the Chief Executive Officer.

The Commission is expecting the University to address the following issues involving the office of the President:

The Board should immediately review the WSCUC Independent Governing Board Policy and conform its composition and actions to achieve compliance (CFRs 3.7, 3.9, and Independent Governing Board Policy)

The Board should ensure that the President and his leadership team and those in their span of control follow institutional policy in personnel decisions and require regular reporting on staff and faculty transitions and evaluations, with note of the importance of honoring the Whistleblower Act and related policy in the Employee Handbook. This should include an independent review of all faculty and staff departures over the last three years. (CFRs 1.6, 1.7, 3.2, 3.6, 3.7, 3.9)

The institution should implement practices to insure the resolution of all reported
conflicts of interest. (CFRs 3.6, 3.7)

The institution should ensure that the President (CEO) is a full-time role and that the
Board responsibly monitors compliance with this standard. (CFR 3.8).

All leaders at the director through executive level should be familiar with professional standards and practices and able to assure that the institution satisfies regulatory requirements. (CFRs 1.3, 1.6, 1.8, 3.6, 3.7)

 

These are not the only issues TMU must address. The Commission also noted lack of governmental regulation understanding, and reports of hostile work environment by faculty and staff.

MacArthur’s statement lacks addressing the issues that the WASC Commission found in regard to his position as President. I think WASC’s concerns of a hostile work environment, conflicts of interest, and MacArthur’s inability to devote full-time attention in his role as President is what led to this decision. His stepping down is one way to address at least one area of the Commission’s compliance concerns.

However, I do question if his stepping down as President will address the concerns of a hostile work environment and conflict of interest. MacArthur will be moving into a position as Chancellor of the University and President of the Seminary, thereby maintaining a position of power at TMU. When future WASC Commission visits are held at TMU, it will be interesting to see if today’s concerns are resolved or if they continue.

Tony Jones Book Update, Christian Industrial Complex, and Domestic Violence

Tony Jones, Emergent, THE NEW CHRISTIANS: DISPATCHES FROM THE EMERGENT FRONTIER, Anniversary, Christian Industrial Complex


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tony jones, emergent church, christian industrial complex,

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month in the US, and so this article is timely.

The last time I wrote about popular emergent leader, Tony Jones, was in 2015 in this article, A Spider Web of Emergent Leader Tony Jones and His Business and Christian Celebrity Supporters. I am pulling info from that article and giving a new update.

Today, Tony Jones tweeted this:

 

 

I was struck that he wrote his own foreword, and it actually cracked me up in a way because it is typical me-centered Tony Jones.

In advising authors about book forewords, The Chronicle of Higher Education has this to say:

” . . . start by enlisting a writer for the foreword, in which someone other than you—preferably a professional connection of elevated status—will lend credibility to your work by explaining its importance and legitimacy.”

And there ya go.

Perhaps this is a good time for a refresher for those who may have forgotten the Tony Jones fiasco and the celebrity Christian leaders who have yet to respond to why they supported Tony Jones and turned their backs on his now ex-wife who repeatedly reported about the domestic violence in their marriage. Here is a summary from R.L. Stollar’s excellent piece: Continue reading

Josh Harris Discontinues the Publication of ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’

Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Courtship, Dating

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Josh Harris, former senior pastor at Covenant Life Church – the flagship church of then Sovereign Grace Ministries church – has posted a statement  at his website (statement follows). After considerable thought has decided to cease publishing his very influential book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. 

I Kissed Dating Goodbye became wildly popular in Christian communities. While, Josh Harris and his family were key influencers in the Christian Homeschool Movement, this book also crossed into mainline Christian circles and gained popularity.

Josh Harris was only 21 years old when he wrote the book. He had dated before, and it didn’t end well. Amazon reviews of the book showed a mixed bag of opinions. They reminded me of the herb, cilantro; people either loved it, or strongly disliked it. Some thought it was too legalistic and not Biblical. Others thought it was a good way to remain pure before marriage without the harmful effects of baggage from broken relationships. Continue reading

Negative Google Reviews are Still Keeping People Away from My Spiritually Abusive Church 6 Years after Lawsuit

Chuck O’Neal, Beaverton Grace Bible Church, Spiritual Abuse, Negative Google Reviews, Defamation Lawsuit


 

The other day, I got a call from my good friend, Michelle, who used to attend the cult/church we attended. Her husband used to be on staff at the church (Beaverton Grace Bible Church) and was fired. That led to a big shakeup where we got to see our ex-pastor’s true colors, and we eventually left.

Fast forward a few years, I was still reeling about the spiritual devastation that many of us experienced after leaving the place. I was especially concerned about the percentage of young adults who turned their backs on Christ and were headed down dangerous paths sexually after sitting under his oppressive and legalistic teachings. It was because of this harm done to many of our families that I decided to leave a negative Google review on the church’s Google page. I did not want any more families to go through what our families had faced.

Somehow, my ex-pastor was able to talk Google into removing my negative Google reviews, so I started a blog, and within a week, I was served a subpoena. He sued me and 4 others for $500,000 in a defamation lawsuit.

After the defamation lawsuit he filed against me went viral, literally hundreds of people left negative Google reviews (some challenging him to sue them!). It was amazing to get so much support considering our church had about 100 members at the most!

Over the years since winning the lawsuit, Google has removed some of those old reviews, but others still remain.

I was thrilled when Michelle texted me this:

 

Beaverton Grace Bible Church, Chuck O'Neal, lawsuit, spiritual abuse, cult


So . . . . leaving negative Google reviews do work!  But you might get sued if you leave one. If you get sued, it will probably get dismissed in court. But I cannot guarantee that.

 

 

“Someone Offends Me Chart” is Too Black and White; Can Be Used to Control

 

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Have you seen this? It’s been spreading around on Facebook. The first time I saw it, someone shared that their pastor had sent it to her. She was livid. He was trying to control her in a personal situation. She felt she was being squelched by this. Do you see how she could feel that way?

The next few times I saw it, it was spread by people from my church.

When a church leader passes this around, you can get the message that there is really only one response: take your offenses to Jesus. It’s obvious that the other response is wrong. I’m surprised that the word gossip wasn’t included. This information being passed around by a church leader can be used to control conversation. That is an abuse of authority. It’s good to be careful when a church leader attempts to squelch conversation.

But what else is missing?

The Bible does talk about overlooking offenses:

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

But I believe this chart is too black and white. I can see overlooking small, trivial offenses. But what about chronic offenses? What about when those offenses also harm others? In those cases, I believe it is better to go directly to the offender:

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  Matthew 18:15

When Christians are able to go directly to an offender with their sins, and the offender is receptive, this is better than simply overlooking a sin. The offender now has the opportunity to change their pattern of behavior, which may have been unknown. The relationship can be strengthened when the offender realizes he/she was told this offense in love. It takes humility and transparency to get to this level of relationship. Everyone wins here.

**Update 10/10/18 2:40 pm:  A friend of mine found the original post (2 years old!) on Facebook. Apparently the author, Amy Duncan Hale, also was asked why Matthew 18 was not included as an option in the chart above. Here is her response:

Several readers have pointed out and asked why Matthew 18:15-17 was not included in my chart. The reason is that this chart was only written to remind me that my FIRST response to offense is crucial–talking to God about my hurt before talking to anyone else so HE can direct me in how to BEST respond.

 

 

Franklin Graham’s Nonprofit Charities, Samaritan Purse and Operation Christmas Child, Cancel Advertisement Account with Relevant Magazine after Quoting Graham’s Own Words

Franklin Graham, Samaritan House, Relevant Magazine

Screenshot from Graham’s Twitter Acct

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Franklin Graham’s non-profit organizations, Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, will no longer use Relevant magazine for advertising.

What was Relevant’s crime?  They printed Franklin Graham’s own words!

On September 19, 2018, Relevant magazine reported a quote from Franklin Graham which were originally said during a CBN news interview. Here are Relevant’s two paragraphs. Continue reading

Another Sad Church Story

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This story is not over yet, but I figure I better check in before people start wondering what’s happening with me. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read about my pastor and church. It’s a long story, and one I hope to tell one day, but for now, I am grieving another difficult church experience. It has wiped me out physically – probably because of all the emotions. I feel betrayed, deceived, sad, angry, confused, and who knows what else!

In this case, it is my pastor and his family who has been harmed, and in the process, many people from church also have been hurt because of how it was handled. My pastor was forced to resign from his position. He’s been in full-time ministry for 25 years and senior pastor for over 15 years.

Our elders did not communicate well with the congregation about this, and many of us were led to believe he would be back in the pulpit. I spoke with different elders each week asking tough questions. I don’t think that restoration to his pastoral position was ever part of their plan, sadly.

I’m still kind of stunned. The Sunday before last, our pastor gave his resignation. Last Sunday, the elders had an informational meeting where they shared a timeline of events and had a time for questioning. Our pastor never had an opportunity to share his side. In fact, we’ve hardly heard anything from him that didn’t include words that the elders wanted inserted. I have a problem with this. A big-time problem.

And now the question is: what next? Ugh!