SSB Sunday Gathering – May 20, 2018

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

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-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 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.”

Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.”

Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord: he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense he has become my salvation.

Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;  the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.

Acts 4: 18 – 33

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.’ Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.

John 4: 19 – 26

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

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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.

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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

Todd Friel and Biblical Sufficiency in Counseling

-by Kathi

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Todd Friel of Wretched recently had this to say about use of the Bible in counseling:

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Todd Friel’s text reads:

Whether one believes the Bible is sufficient or not is put on display in the counseling room. If the counselor uses the Bible AND anything else, he/she does not functionally believe in sufficiency.

To make it clear, Todd Friel follows up with:

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Todd Friel’s text reads:

We can use secular sources to UNDERSTAND a malady, but the Bible is our only source for helping the struggling saint. Here is an excellent article on the dangers of incorporating secular sources (we will be discussing this on Monday in detail on radio)

*Link is to Rick Thomas’s article, “Why All Other Psychologies Bow at the Foot of the Bible.”

Both Friel and Thomas are affiliated with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Counselors who practice biblical counseling believe that the Bible is sufficient and authoritative in helping people work through their problems. Biblical counselors also tend to use the route of finding the source of sin in a person’s life to deal with problems.

The role of a counselor is to help people work through emotions, trauma, and mental health issues by providing therapy and skills coaching. A good secular or faith-based counselor will respect that faith can play an important role as well as be a source of strength in a person’s healing. However, to say that the Bible alone should be the reference for treatment in the counseling setting can cause problems for the client.

A biblical counselor who fails to recognize the value of secular sources in understanding and treating clients hinders the healing process. While the Bible may offer hope and assurance, but it does not address the treatment of mental illness, domestic violence, sexual assault, trauma, addiction, chemical imbalances of the brain, eating disorders, child abuse, phobias, anxiety, depression, etc.

The brain is a beautiful and complex organ. Because of the complexity of the brain, people respond differently to counseling treatments. Counselors should be open to differing techniques when working with a client to bring about effective healing and change.

Unfortunately I have heard more negative stories about biblical counseling practices than positive stories. I would encourage anyone who does not have a positive experience with biblical counseling to seek another counselor who utilizes different treatment methods. No, you are not sinning by seeking other treatment. Yes, God will still love you.

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Todd Friel, Biblical Counseling, Sufficiency in Scripture

Discuss: What Can Men Do to Help Remove Misogyny from the Church? Inquiring Elder Wants to Know.

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I received a private message on Twitter a week or so ago from an elder at a church. He reached out to me after reading Beth Moore’s letter to Christian men. You may recall that Beth Moore, in her letter, asked men to put away misogyny and act Christ-like towards women. Here are a few key paragraphs from Beth Moore’s letter:

As a woman leader in the conservative Evangelical world, I learned early to show constant pronounced deference – not just proper respect which I was glad to show – to male leaders and, when placed in situations to serve alongside them, to do so apologetically. I issued disclaimers ad nauseam. I wore flats instead of heels when I knew I’d be serving alongside a man of shorter stature so I wouldn’t be taller than he. I’ve ridden elevators in hotels packed with fellow leaders who were serving at the same event and not been spoken to and, even more awkwardly, in the same vehicles where I was never acknowledged. I’ve been in team meetings where I was either ignored or made fun of, the latter of which I was expected to understand was all in good fun. I am a laugher. I can take jokes and make jokes. I know good fun when I’m having it and I also know when I’m being dismissed and ridiculed. I was the elephant in the room with a skirt on. I’ve been talked down to by male seminary students and held my tongue when I wanted to say, “Brother, I was getting up before dawn to pray and to pore over the Scriptures when you were still in your pull ups.”

I’m asking for your increased awareness of some of the skewed attitudes many of your sisters encounter. Many churches quick to teach submission are often slow to point out that women were also among the followers of Christ (Luke 8), that the first recorded word out of His resurrected mouth was “woman” (John 20:15) and that same woman was the first evangelist. Many churches wholly devoted to teaching the household codes are slow to also point out the numerous women with whom the Apostle Paul served and for whom he possessed obvious esteem. We are fully capable of grappling with the tension the two spectrums create and we must if we’re truly devoted to the whole counsel of God’s Word.

Finally, I’m asking that you would simply have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in your spheres of influence. I’m asking for your deliberate and clearly conveyed influence toward the imitation of Christ in His attitude and actions toward women. I’m also asking for forgiveness both from my sisters and my brothers. My acquiescence and silence made me complicit in perpetuating an atmosphere in which a damaging relational dynamic has flourished. I want to be a good sister to both genders. Every paragraph in this letter is toward that goal.

The man who contacted me told me that Beth Moore’s letter was read at their elders’ meeting. He asked me how men could practically put into place what Beth Moore was talking about. Yes!!! I will include his questions and expand them with some of my own. This is the kind of conversations we need to be having in churches.

  • There’s a challenge – especially with some cultures within church that the issue stops at the question of sexual immorality and understanding that there were other issues about how men and women relate – especially how male leaders relate were maybe not so easy to grasp for some. How can male leaders engage in healthy relationships with sisters in Christ? How can men uphold integrity for themselves and women in their day-to-day dealings with women both inside and outside the church?
  • That whole fear culture – how do we get beyond that?Is there a way to move beyond that in a healthy way?
  • How can we talk helpfully and appropriately and honestly as churches in dealing with misogyny?

photo credit: SMBCollege SMBC graduates serve as cross-cultural missionaries and ‘tent makers’ in locations around the world via photopin(license)

Lori Alexander, Advocate of Women Staying Married to Their Abusers

 

-by Kathi

deleteLori Alexander at The Transformed Wife continues to advocate that there is no room for divorce for a spouse experiencing physical abuse.

A commentor at her post, For Those Considering Divorce – Stop!, speaks about her mother’s best friend who would show up with bruises and black eyes. With valid reasoning she questions Lori about not divorcing due to physical abuse.

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Screenshot 2018-05-08 at 11.36.07 AM

Text reads:

I’m a bit torn on this issue issue (sic) while I do not like divorce and I believe you should do everything in order to avoid it there are times where I believe it is warranted. Growing up my mother’s best friend husband physically abused her and their children. There were many times where she would show up with bruises and black eyes and she in (sic) the children would stay few days until she went back home. The abuse got so bad she and the children moved away and I never saw them again. So while I believe that marriage is forever I just can’t condone marriages in which one partner is physically abusive.

Lori’s response is that physical abuse is no reason for divorce.

Screenshot 2018-05-08 at 11.36.19 AM

Text reads:

I understand your sentiment, Monique, but it’s not biblical for a woman to divorce her husband because he is physically abusing her. Yes, she needs to seek help and may even have to get the police involved, then separate for a time until he repents of his evil deeds, but there is nothing in God’s Word that says this is a reason for divorce. We must always base our opinions and actions upon the Bible and not what we feel is right.

Here is a post I have put together for women in difficult or destructive marriages:

https://thetransformedwife.com/married-to-angry-men/

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I continue to remain concerned about Lori’s hard-line approach that divorce is not an option for spouses experiencing domestic abuse. Lori repeatedly heaps on spiritual abuse as she uses the Bible to convince spouses (in this case, women) to stay in their abusive marriages.

She is correct in that literally, the Bible does not address divorce due to physical abuse. The problem is that Lori’s literal interpretation does not allow any room for growth in the word. Hebrews 4:12 tells us: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

I hope that those who experience domestic abuse and follow Lori’s teachings see the error in this message and find the help they need.

*If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need help, please email us and we will assist in finding resources in your area. Or, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support at 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.


Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Divorce, Physical Abuse

 

Paige Patterson called an abuse advocacy group “as reprehensible as sex criminals”

Paige Patterson, Sex Abuse, Southern Baptist Convention

 

Admin note:  This blog was written and submitted to Spiritual Sounding Board. The author wishes to remain anonymous. ~ja


Paige Patterson called an abuse advocacy group “as reprehensible as sex criminals”

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Did you hear about the movie Spotlight? It won Best Picture in 2015.

It’s a true story about an investigative reporting team from the Boston Globe who uncovered systematic hiding of sexual abuse and abusers in the Catholic Church. The Spotlight team accomplished their exposé, published in 2002, with the help of the organization Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

When the movie aired in 2015, many who had never before heard of SNAP now found out the heartbreaking and heroic work they’d been doing for decades.

But there’s a SNAP outreach for Baptists too, and Christa Brown, the author of the outstanding book This Little Light, was in 2008 the leader of that outreach, having recorded in that book and at www.stopbaptistpredators.com  her work of many years in calling for the Southern Baptist Convention to deal with abuse seriously and establish a database of predators so that churches would better be able to avoid filling their pulpits with them.

These efforts failed.

But this does bring us around to Paige Patterson. Continue reading

Paige Patterson Relays Story about a Teenager, Describing in His Sermon How “Built” She Was

Paige Patterson, SBC, #churchtoo, Sexist

Have you seen this yet?  This is Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, preaching. Yes, I said preaching. Would you tell me what he is preaching here? This clip is less than 2 minutes long. You cannot make this stuff up.

This is from the same man who gave the convocation at Southwestern’s J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston on January 22, 2018. (Source: Havard students exhorted to live by the Word, resist worldly temptations).

Pastors have a unique role in the lives of their congregation, Patterson said. Pastors serve others during some of life’s most significant moments: birth, salvation, marriage and death. With such an important task, pastors must guard against worldly temptations.

Then reading from Romans 13:14, Patterson concluded with a warning to “make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Patterson said the problem is not always the devil’s lies or temptations, but one’s own persistence in “making provisions for the lusts of the flesh.”

“Wherever there is heat in your heart to have something that God has not chosen to give, then it becomes lust,” Patterson said. “And God says that ought not to be true.”

::::::heavy sigh:::::

Update 5/5/18: I was notified that I wrongly interpreted Patterson in the video. As a result, the title has been changed. The previous title incorrectly stated that Patterson was objectifying the teen. I apologize for the error. -Julie Anne

Dr. Frank Page: Another Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Case?

Frank Page, Moral Failure, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Southern Baptist Convention, Paige Patterson, #MeToo

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Yesterday’s Washington Post article, In a #Metoo moment, will Southern Baptists hold powerful men accountable?, by Jonathan Merritt, discussed how Southern Baptist leaders asking if the #MeToo moment has arrived for the Southern Baptist Convention. He was primarily discussing Paige Patterson and other Southern Baptist leaders who have used their positions of authority to harm women.

I missed it until an alert reader notified me this morning. In that article, Merritt mentioned Frank Page, former chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. If you recall, just over a month ago, Dr. Frank Page announced his retirement, and then followed up with a confession that he was really stepping down due to moral failure (see Frank Page, President of SBC’s Executive Committee, Resigns and Later Discloses Moral Failure). Continue reading

Analysis: Paige Patterson’s Teachings on Domestic Violence Keep Victims in Harm’s Way

Paige Patterson, Domestic Violence, SBC, Divorce

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Over the weekend, an old recording of an interview from 2000 with Paige Patterson resurfaced, causing an uproar because of his response regarding domestic violence. Paige Patterson is a prominent Southern Baptist leader and president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).

I have been familiar with this recording for several years, but numerous attempts to address this issue have been ignored. Until now – when the world is paying attention to sexual abuse, harassment, and violence against women especially. It’s about time! Patterson caught wind of the responses and felt he was misrepresented, so he issued a statement yesterday (April 29th). As of this writing, both The Washington Post and Christianity Today have picked up the story.

I have taken a close look at the transcription from the interview and the new statement. The old statement is shown in orange font, the new statement is in purple font and indented. My editorial comments are in black. While Paige Patterson has attempted to clarify his position on domestic violence and respond to the recent firestorm, his new statement in his press release leaves me even more confused. He contradicts his original statement. The new statement sounds more like a fairy tale, rather than a factual incident. Continue reading

Paige Patterson on Domestic Violence: Audiofile Transcript and Resource Links

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On This Page:

  • Updates
  • Introductory Notes and Key Links
  • Chronological Documents, Analysis, and Commentary
  • Select Resources and Historical Sources
  • Transcript for Audiofile of “Paige Patterson (SBC) Advice to Victims of Domestic Violence”

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Updates

May 12, 2018. This bibliography grew far larger than expected, with delays in finding and posting links to earlier articles. Starting today, new items will appear at the bottom of the section for items from that date of publication, and will be marked with the date the link is added to this bibliography. For readers who just want the latest listings, search for [Link added DATE, 2018.] and fill in the date. Continue reading

Domestic Violence, Ministry, and Controversy in Conservative Christianity: A Guest Post on Historical Context and Perspective

This is a guest post by brad/futuristguy, and is cross-posted on his blog.

Although Brad Sargent is known for his more recent research writings on spiritual abuse from a systemic perspective, he has written and edited on other forms of abuse and violence since the 1980s.

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Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

Contemporary Conservative Christianity and Questions About Abuse

Contention over abuse and violence in Christian communities has heightened in the era of #metoo and #churchtoo. However, controversies over theology, advocacy, and actions have been with us for a very long time. Recently, comments on abuse made by Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, resurfaced and ignited a social media firestorm. Continue reading

Pastor Tim Bayly Pities Senator Tammy Duckworth’s Newborn Child

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-by Kathi

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Tim Bayly is the pastor at Clearnote Church in Bloomington, Indiana, and president of Clearnote Pastors College. He received his M.Div. from Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary and is the author of the book, “Daddy Tried: Overcoming the Failures of Fatherhood.” Tim writes with Joe Bayly at Warhorn – Out of Our Minds. They formerly wrote at Balyblog.

Tim Bayly has a lot of opinions, but this recent Facebook post stood out:

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Pastor Bayly’s text reads:

Not sure whom to pity more, the citizens Sen. Duckworth represents or the baby she gave birth to? But surely the baby. Duckworth’s constituents voted 4 her but the poor baby had no choice. The mother of a newborn choosing the Senate over nursing her baby is shameful, yet we celebrate it.

 

According to the CNN article in Bayly’s post:

Duckworth is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was a helicopter pilot in the Iraq War. She was the first female double amputee from the war after suffering severe combat wounds when her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down.

Senator Duckworth (D-IL) is the first active U.S. Senator to give birth while in office. Due to stringent Senate rules, she proposed a resolution to allow children under the age of one on the Senate floor. This proposal was passed unanimously and on April 19th she was wheeled on to the Senate floor with her baby daughter to cast a vote.

Senator Duckworth has opened the path for senators who are parents of infant children to continue their duties while caring for their child.

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What would cause a Christian such as Tim Bayly to shame working mothers and those who support them? There is nothing new with mothers working. Mothers work for various reasons, including the need to take care of their family. Did Tim have a conversation with Senator Duckworth where she confirmed she was choosing the Senate over her baby?

Perhaps Tim Bayly has an all-around problem with Tammy Duckworth. Let’s review her credentials: high-ranking military official, which means she ordered men. Democrat. She creates and votes on rules for our country. She is a married, working mother.

Perhaps Tim doesn’t believe that a woman should serve her country in a government position. Or, perhaps a woman can serve in a government role, but only as a single woman. But, I could see how that could cause problems too. I’m guessing she doesn’t fit Tim’s idea of a good, submissive wife and mother.

Does Tim Bayly think it is important for fathers of newborn infants to bond with their child? Why not hold new fathers to the same standard and pity these children?

For whatever reason, this Christian man decided to provide disrespectful commentary on a decorated veteran who continues to serve her country as an elected official. Not only did he disrespect her, but he disrespected millions of working women whose daily lives depend upon their jobs. I don’t think Senator Duckworth’s constituents or infant child are the ones to be pitied.

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Tim Bayly, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Working Mothers

Fred Butler, #MeToo and the Worldly Culture

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Who is Fred Butler?

I saw this tweet the other day. Long-time blog readers will recognize the name, Fred Butler, an employee of Grace to You, the radio ministry of Pastor John MacArthur. Butler’s tweet references another tweet from the @9Marks Twitter account which quotes from an article recently posted on their site. The article is about the church’s response to the #MeToo movement.

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The Problems

I have a number of problems with Fred’s tweet. Continue reading

Sovereign Grace Church Leaders Remove Wife from Women’s Small Group Leader Position after Couple Asks Questions

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Both Jeff Owens and his wife Sarah recently sent out a thread of tweets regarding a recent experience they had at their former (unidentified)  Sovereign Grace church. I think these tweets deserve a wider audience.

What you will read is not healthy at all, and people need to understand the dismissive and bullying behavior employed by Sovereign Grace church leaders when they are encouraged or questioned about having an independent investigation of the decades-old sexual abuse allegations involving many children, many churches, and the mishandling of these cases by church leaders.

Sovereign Grace leaders are still using the same tactics that we’ve heard from personal accounts for years: no one gets to question authority or criticize authority without repercussion. Folks, this is spiritual abuse. Let’s call it what it is.

I have copied the tweets below for easier reading, but if you would like to see the original tweet threads, click on the hyperlink in Jeff Owens’ tweet below, or Sarah’s link within his tweet.

In the tweet thread, there is a reference to Rachael Denhollander. If you are unfamiliar with Rachael Denhollander and her experience in exposing Sovereign Grace ministries mishandling of sex abuse cases, here’s a good article to start:  My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral. But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness.

Before we get to the tweets by Jeff and Sarah Owens, I wanted to share a section of the Sovereign Grace Local Church Polity with you. I have bolded parts pertinent to the communication by congregants to elders and leaders: Continue reading

Resource Bibliography on Willow Creek Church Situation and Bill Hybels’ Reported Misconduct

These links were initially posted on Twitter by brad/futuristguy. Tentatively, both that thread and this post will be updated with additional links as the situation unfolds.

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Thread Introduction and Twitter Handles

This thread includes statements by and about Willow Creek Church and the reported misconduct of Bill Hybels. These were posted by key individuals and organizations in the situation, and in news articles from the Chicago Tribune, which broke the story.

It also includes critical analysis from other sources — survivor bloggers primarily — also showing reactions and commentary from survivors of spiritual abuse and/or sexual abuse/harassment/violence.

Initial entries are in chronological order; more may be added as the situation unfolds. Continue reading