Homeschoolers Anonymous and Training up Children the Homeschool Movement Way

Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
 Proverbs 22:6

You see that verse?  Probably every homeschool parent heard that verse too many times to count throughout their homeschooling years.  It was engrained in us.  We did not want our children to depart from “the way they should go” and the solution was to “train” our children.  At least that’s what they told us.

Ever since my spiritual abuse journey, I have been trying to figure out what led our family to that spiritually abusive church and pastor who sued us in an attempt to discover who our primary influencers were over the years. I found that the most influential people in the last couple of decades have been leaders in the homeschool movement who had a spiritual agenda, not necessarily an educational agenda. We have been taught so strongly to “train our children” and some of us did that quite well. We created little obedient and compliant robot children who were polite, respected authority and looked really good in church all lined up in a pew. People always commended us on our beautiful large family.

These influencers not only taught us how to parent, but taught us what they thought was very important:  large families, courtship, modesty and purity, fathers as spiritual heads/priest of the home, mothers as hard-working submissive wives, preparing wholesome meals from homegrown gardens, grinding wheat to make whole grain breads.  The boys were taught how to be boys, play like boys, work like boys, helping their fathers in projects around the house.  Daughters learned traditional homemaking skills that would last them a lifetime when they got married and started families of their own, because that was their ultimate lot in life.  Yes, in many homeschooling families, daughters were discouraged and even forbidden from going to college for any higher level education, they were to stay at home serving dad and their family while they waited to be courted by a young man approved by their father.  True to the homeschooling culture, I did own a denim jumper or two, and I sewed matching jumpers for my daughters who were 7 years apart in age.  My five boys may thank me that they never had matching homeschool uniforms like khaki slacks and polo shirts, but they did manage to always match by having jeans with holes in the knees.

Not only did we raise good obedient children, we invested in our children and pushed them towards educational excellence.  We made sure they were well-versed on the popular homeschool-movement agendas which we adopted as our own:  they knew how to debate creation vs evolution, they were politically involved in their communities, worked on political campaigns, participated in speech and debate classes and competitions, attended worldview conferences, and went on missions trips.  In my family, our kids knew how to evangelize the “right way,” how to defend their faith, and knew the tenants of 5-pt Calvinism inside and out.  Homeschooled students were good students, usually testing years ahead of their peers.  They were accomplished in music, sports, volunteered at Crisis Pregnancy Centers, lobbying at the capital for homeschooling rights, etc.  What more could we ask for?

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hsing

Homeschool books from the Smith family library

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What many are finding out is that those brilliant robots, when released to the real world, start questioning where they came from, what they believed, where they are going. This is a normal response for young adults. But I’ve seeing a disturbing trend especially among young adults who were raised in this kind of environment. Many of these “trained” adult kids are now venturing 180 degrees in the opposite direction, perhaps in response to the controlled environment in which they were raised, some suffering a host of problems similar to what spiritual abuse victims experience that I deal with so often: mental health issues, addiction issues, etc. There is a lot of heartache among this group.

I feel very responsible for buying into this garbage.  I will continue to speak out against disturbing aspects of the homeschool movement on my blog.  It takes a lot of emotional energy to work up one of these posts because it means I have to admit my failure.  Of course my blog will also continue to be a platform for these precious young adults.  I believe in a way that some of us parents were cult leaders in our families. We were fed an agenda by those home school leaders. We believed it. We saw their perfect families and wanted to emulate what we saw and expected that kind of obedience and educational excellence from our children.  We trained them alright.

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Not too long ago, I was asked if I would like to partner with others in a new blog called Homeschool Anonymous.  I was thrilled to be asked because I have attempted to use my blog as a Spiritual Sounding Board to the abuses that I’ve noticed in the homeschooling movement.  Most of the participants in the Homeschool Anonymous blog are former homeschool students, and two of us have been (or currently are) homeschool moms. Interestingly, you will notice that many of the blog participants no longer connect with their Christian heritage. I think conservative homeschoolers will find this shocking. In fact I admit that I am afraid to post about this on my private Facebook page because I have easily 300+ homeschooling friends/moms who might be pretty upset if I mention this big homeschooling secret:  some of our adult kids have departed from the way in which we trained them.

I have long ditched my homeschool mom uniform, the denim jumper.  I refuse to go to state-run Christian homeschooling conferences whose conference leaders get to hand-select vendors and speakers based on their approved religious agenda.  So as I continue to teach our last two kiddos at home, those destructive religious-agenda influences play no part in our homeschooling anymore.

So yes, I am partnering with R.L. Stollar who is an amazing individual and new friend who was completely homeschooled and put together this group.  I have so much respect for what he is doing to help his peers walk through their homeschool journeys and the aftermath or perhaps fallout. I hope Homeschool Anonymous reaches many former homeschooled students and parents and that our collective voices will be heard and considered. It’s never too late, right?  Oh my, parenting is a humbling journey – so, so humbling.

406 comments on “Homeschoolers Anonymous and Training up Children the Homeschool Movement Way

  1. Interested Party — I loved your whole comment up at the 1:35 a.m. mark. That was beautiful, and I agree with your assessment of JA’s Great Work whole-heartedly. Your Jewish perspective is very interesting to me as well.

    Hester — Your remark at 4:35 a.m. about the importance of gaining the trust of the suffering was spot-on. People can’t see Jesus except through us. Until those who’ve been abused know that they can trust some of Christ’s people, they’ll probably never come around to trusting Him.

    For all his experience and expertise, I wonder whether R.D. has ever suffered the kind of abuse discussed here.

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  2. Serving in Japan said:

    For all his experience and expertise, I wonder whether R.D. has ever suffered the kind of abuse discussed here.

    That’s a good question, Serving. I’ve run into quite a lot of people similar to R.D. and when asked, none of them had ever experienced the kind of abuse we talk about here.

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  3. Julie Anne said:

    “That’s a good question, Serving. I’ve run into quite a lot of people similar to R.D. and when asked, none of them had ever experienced the kind of abuse we talk about here.”

    The one-other possibility is that they have suffered this same kind of abuse and consider it as having “paid their dues”. I say this because because I can’t help but feel that the thrust behind R.D.s negative assessment of blogs like these is that they upset the Status Quo. Abuse goes in cycles – it is passed on. Interns who suffered the worst affects of sleep-deprivation in their early careers may become the worst task masters as teaching physicians and “share the love” with interns and nursing and tech staff alike, but especially interns. And we’ve all met the person or perhaps people, who talk about their abuse like it was experienced by somebody else, detached. “…but look at me. *I* turned out all right…”.

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  4. Just a side note but I think its germane to the discussion. Its all too easy to get caught up in – or force – doctrinal disputes and discussions when they’re unimportant. I’m actually dubious as to just how much R.D.’s “4-point Calvinism” really plays into the Pastor he is or his obvious passion that focus should be pulled away from the victims of Spiritual Abuse and placed on “Christ” as I seriously doubt that it would sway his opinion whether these blogs were as “Christ-Centered” as he feels they should be or not. There’s something else going on there.

    Most of you are already aware that the way a Pastor might expect his flock to live their lives and raise their families, doesn’t necessarily equate to the way He or She feels they should live their own, at least behind closed doors.

    Consider also who you might drive away from this blog because the comments they read signal that its a hostile environment. “All (or most) Catholics believe this way or that way”. You’d be surprised at how many American Catholics couldn’t care less about Vatican Authority or the authority of their diocese. Their love for their God, their Savior and most importantly, for their “brethren” is as genuine as any other Christian. If a Calvinist’s doctrine persuades them to abuse their family – that’s a problem. If not, who cares? Its sad to watch Christians play the, “Who’s a real Christian” game just like Jews, especially in Jerusalem, play the, “Who’s the real Jew” game. Its technically illegal to arrest a Jew for exercising their religious beliefs in Israel, but I can tell you that the police in Jerusalem can be persuaded to arrest women at the Western Wall for holding their own services. If the very best answer you can give in a religious debate is, “because if you don’t believe like me your soul is in peril”, offering proof-texts to support your doctrine – you just lost the argument. Does it really matter if a Mormon wears special underpants? What kind of person are they? Do they grieve for the abused we read about here? Do they care enough to offer a post in support of them? We should really take heed that those who aren’t against us, are for us. Julie Anne had to drill into my head that she is trying to offer a “safe” environment here – my predilection when reading stories of abuse was to slam those who participated in it even as they confessed and tried to work out *why” they’d participated in it – asking someone, “What the heck were you thinking???” isn’t really very helpful and I’ve come to understand that.

    Ok. Rant-mode off.

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  5. Interested Party,

    @11:38 on 3/20/13, I asked RD what Doctrine he embraced and @ 12:01 he graciously disclosed. I jumped into the discussion 1/2 way into this posting after reading one or two of RD’s responses and had a hunch RD was leaning toward Calvinism. (High Point but not 5 Point or Hyper)

    He is part of the New Hampshire Baptist Confession which has some Reformed Leanings.

    RD may not have had to witness the kind of Doctrinal Indifference that goes on in Hyper Theological Churches that aggressively instills your life surrounding Doctrine. RD’s 4 Point Calvinism isn’t considered as Hyper. RD may have been a little aggressive but at least he included wanting Christ to be Central.

    When I attempted to ask my own former Pastor questions about the “Methodology” or Style of Preaching, he described it as “Truth” while being purposely Stealth about surrounding his messages within the perimeters of TULIP.

    When I attempted to investigate further he retaliated against me and my wife. (verbally bullied her)

    The strict guideline of God wanting us to be Holy and be Sinless while a Hyper Theological Pastor force feeds his Doctrine which may include practicing “Election Theology” or more focused on a “Law Centered” Ministry and minimally focused on a Christ Center.

    If your struggle with embracing a Hyper Calvinist Doctrine and his Preaching Style or if you have serious Doctrinal Indifference or if you simply can’t surround you life around him, you will be rebuked by him.
    He will focus strictly on your weakness (which we all have) as a way to distract you from focusing on his Stealth Doctrine and his Preaching Style.

    I’m sure much of the abuse (outside of Preachers breaking the Law) is when there is serious Doctrinal Indifference.

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  6. scared

    You write…
    “but there is a part of me that is still scared,
    I expect someone to jump down my throat for talking about what I experienced.
    Kinda what I sensed was happening here earlier in this thread.”

    Well, that sounds like *wisdom and discernment* to me – NOT fear. 😉

    Seems ALL things “Do” work together for good. There is even a benefit with meeting these ugly imposters along our journey and the “Spiritual Abuse” we encounter from “The Religious Leaders” in “Todays Religious System.”

    The Bible did warn me about – False Apostles – Many False Profits – False Teachers – False Christs – False anointed ones – False Brethren – Wolves – Dogs – Swine – But, did I believe God? – Nooooooooo!!! – Did I ask Jesus if He wanted me submitting to these guys? – Nooooooooo!!! – Did I ask Jesus if He wanted these guys to be my leaders? – Nooooooooo!!! – I just went along with the crowd thinking these guys were who they said they were.

    Hopefully, I’ve learned my lessons.

    Ps 118:8-9
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

    Jer 17:5
    Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…

    Me thinks, the benefit in the “Spiritual Abuse” is our “Spiritual Discernment” becomes activated, and we start to pay attention to these guys who say they are “Elder/Overseers” and “God Ordained Authority.” And when they do NOT measure up – We NO longer have to bow down to their “Titles/Positions” that are NOT in the Bible. We NO longer have to remain silent. We can speak out. – Like you did…

    You certainly have a voice – I liked this very accurate comment a lot – Well said…
    —————-
    scared

    MARCH 21, 2013 @ 8:24 AM

    R.D. You scare me. I have recently discovered this safe place with safe & merciful people but it seems you use the bible as a sword to cut at Julie Anne’s heart.

    ——————

    And – scared or not – You stepped up – Accurately discerning what was going on…

    And Spoke up – And had Julie Anne’s back. 🙂

    Yup – Sounds like *wisdom and discernment* to me.

    Thank you Jesus…

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  7. Scared –

    I understand where you’re coming from when you say that “a part of you is still scared.” When believers tell those who are abused that all they need to do is forgive, I call b.s. Forgiveness can happen, but people don’t forget. I agree with A.Amos Love. Your forgetting is a part of being wise and discerning.

    I’ve only commented a couple times on this thread. Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming. Thank goodness for the time stamp!

    After following this along, I had a recollection yesterday afternoon of the preacher at our last church yelling at all of us during a sermon for not liking what he was preaching on. He was speaking in very graphic details of David sleeping with Bathsheba. Our children were in the service because there was no Sunday school that night. I guess he caught the looks on all of the parents faces as he went into detail. He then went on a rant about how we weren’t to question his preaching since the Bible says that he was God’s anointed. To this day I wish I would have stood up and walked out, but I sat there, like everyone else, because we all knew that going against this guy would bring his wrath upon you. We left the church shortly after that Sunday. The church only made it another year or two before it dissolved.

    I say all of this because while time has gone and I can forgive this guy for being an ass, I still have memories that will pop up from time to time. Honestly, it always makes me think, “I wish I would have.” Instead, I have tried to turn those thoughts into, “Next time I will….” I’m trying to use the memories to help me stand up for myself and for others.

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  8. Kathi,

    My former Stealth Hyper-Calvinistic Pastor would partly agree with your assertion.

    When I sent a letter of apology to my former Pastor 18 months into his tenure “for Struggling and Judging your Methology, even though I don’t understand it” he rejected my apology, still unwilling to disclose his Hyper Doctrine.

    He actually taught behind the pulpit that “he needs to watch somebody’s actions before he would forgive them”.

    Another words I had to humble myself and become a Calvinist in order to be forgiven and he was teaching his unforgiveness garbage to the congregation while deceiving me and the rest of the church.

    Jesus in Matt 18:22 clearly stated “forgive 70 times 7”. Jesus clearly expects me to forgive my Former Pastor whether or not my former Pastor would forgive me for not becoming a Calvinist or become a willing follower of him.

    The fact that this is it still very fresh in my mind and the fact that I struggle to make it less personal, the fact that he split the church and ruined freindships and the fact that I’m holding onto my own “Forgive, but don’t Forget” attitude, is a concern, because I wonder if I have truly forgiven my former Pastor.

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  9. Mark,

    My own tendency has been to focus on doctrinal differences. I am grateful to you for your insight regarding the dangers of doctrinal indifference. Doctrine is and always has been a great minefield. I, at least, will have doctrinal differences with, probably, every church, every pastor, every Christian. This has been the case since at least the summer of 2002 when I embrace a prayer minister’s prayer to the effect that I would be able to, basically, take the Bible at face value, unfiltered by theology. For me, the issue is not so much whether I have identified doctrinal differences as it is whether the difference will matter within the context of a particular fellowship. I recall that a previous post makes the point that, in a healthy church, doctrinal differences will not matter. I heartily agree, at least with regard to the garden variety kinds of differences that tend to distinguish one truly Christian group from another truly Christian group (I will not be aligning myself, for example, with a group or minister that denies the resurrection).

    Your most recent post explores the problems you encountered with a pastor when you began to inquire about his, apparently stealth, doctrinal positions. Regarding your former pastor you observe, “If you struggle with embracing a Hyper Calvinist Doctrine and his Preaching Style or if you have serious Doctrinal Indifference or if you simply can’t surround your life around him, you will be rebuked by him.” I would suggest that the part where you say “. . . if you simply can’t surround you life around him, you will be rebuked by him,” is particularly spot on. It may be that the pastor’s characterological immaturity was the real source of difficulty. Maybe your doctrinal differences were simply the presenting issue, something of a flash point. Maybe the real issue was that the pastor, in his immaturity, felt like you were challenging him as a person rather than questioning his doctrine and methods. If I am correct in this assessment, then if it hadn’t been a doctrinal question, it would have been something else, like maybe a difference of opinion on a cultural issue.

    There are a couple of recent posts at libertyforcaptives.com on codependency issues within cults and unhealthy religious groups. The observations there relating to controlling ministers, and how they became that way, are particularly germane to the whole question as to how and why some pastors become controlling to the point of demanding unquestioned allegiance. I would say it like this: If a child grows up in an environment where shame, guilt and fear are used to control, they form the unrecognized perception (which is true enough), that love and affirmation have to be earned. When they inevitably fail in their attempts to perform to the necessary standard, or when they are inevitably told that they have failed, the conclusion they reach is not so much that their performance is inadequate as that they are themselves bad and unworthy. The resulting engrained assumptions and habits of thought carry over into adult life. If their actions, beliefs, opinions, etc. are challenged, or even questioned, they don’t see it as a challenge or questioning of the actions, beliefs, opinions, etc. themselves. They see it as a statement that they are a bad person. And there is an explosion.

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  10. A. Amos Love: Yup – Sounds like *wisdom and discernment* to me, not FEAR.

    O- wow- I never thought of it that way. Thank-You!!

    I appreciate all you had to say btw…

    I could blather on & on about how I was shamed into submission when being so called counseled by my X pastor. I will make this quick: Shame sank it teeth into me starting in my childhood, I wasn’t in a religious home, but there was Abuse. Then the good Shepard Jesus found me, I had never tasted Love like His, it is one of my sweetest memories. Got into a church that reinforced shame- I was a late convert at 28 years old and had a colorful past to say the least, I was shamed for trying to tell my story, shamed for not trusting in the sufficiency of the scriptures and taking a anti depressant for depression & anxiety, shamed for asking questions… whew. So, I carry a lot of shame, when I spoke up here I expected to be shamed into silence again, but here is A.Amos.Love possibly aka Christ with skin affirming the tenderness of the Jesus I want to know…

    The memory of Jesus when He first came to me is probably what helped me not turn my back totally on Him when I went AWOL from the church. I am very messy, but methinks Jesus knew exactly what He was getting when HE first loved me, and it has taking me thirty years of following Him to be able to believe what I just said… Bless you…

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  11. Kathi- I am with you on “I wish I would have” O, me too. Why I sat in those pews for fourteen years boggles my mind. I wish I would have stood up during a sermon rant and said Stop, Enough of this, you are berating God’s beloved… In my dreams, I am not that brave, but my heart can dream right!

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  12. Gary W

    I think you are right. I addressed a post directly above your note to me, to Kathi detailing a concern about my former Pastor’s stand on unforgiveness.
    (and my unwillingness to become one of his followers and ultimately allow myself to be indoctrinated into converting to Hyper-Calvinism)

    I also detailed my own concern if I have truly forgiven my former Pastor.

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  13. One thing that we all should understand is that forgiveness is a very tough word to understand when one tries to put it into action. It isn’t easy to forgive. I am not talking as one who needs to forgive, but as one who needs forgiveness. I see that type of forgiveness as Matthew 18, where I wish to reconcile with the person or people that I sinned against. I am trying to put my self in the shoes of others who I have sinned against. More than not, forgiveness requires prerequisites of a healing process. Matthew 18 discusses forgiveness, but it, too has a prerequisite where the person who sinned is repentant.

    But how do you forgive a person who is not repentant? It is difficult. Stephen, in Acts, while he was being stoned to death, not only forgave, but asked God to not hold it against his murderers. How was he so strong to be able to do that?

    I am not going to speak as an expert at forgiveness, but I have heard, and understand that forgiving someone releases the power of the anger, hurt, pain, that someone has over people who sinned against us, giving all of that anger, hurt, resentment to God. Sometimes, however, we want to hold on to that anger, and hurt, and pain for a while. But, is that healthy? God does want us to be free from the yoke of bondage of those who wish to keep us in bondage.

    But this I do know. Putting a guilt trip on those who are not ready to forgive is wrong. The decision to forgive is between you and God, when you are ready.

    If a leader demands that you forgive the person that sinned against you, putting a guilt trip on you if you are not ready to forgive, that is wrong. It is between you and God alone.

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  14. chapened24,

    Forgiveness is personal and you are right we can’t guilt people into forgiving. A repentant heart is a prerequisite for someone who is truly sorry.

    I just can’t get out of my mind Luke 23:34 when Christ was being tortured to death and Jesus blurted “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing”

    Maybe what Christ is teaching me is, I shouldn’t wait or decide on my own when I think that person has a repentant heart to forgive them, as a prerequisite.
    (whether I think they are sincerely sorry or even if they continue to sin against me)

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  15. Mark,

    At the risk of causing you to feel I am bombarding you with my opinions, but in response to your post of 9:18 a.m., please allow me to suggest that Jesus only taught us to forgive. I am fairly certain that there is nothing in Scripture that requires us to “forgive and forget.” While repression and related phenomena can occur in cases of trauma, or even stress, we ordinarily just do not have the ability to simply forget what somebody has done to us. We can by the grace of God forgive them in the sense of ceasing to wish retaliatory ill on them. Even this is difficult. I find that I often cannot simply set aside vengeful desires. It seems to help if I will set myself to pray for the offender to be blessed. One thing is sure. As a former pastor of mine pointed out, if I choose to walk in unforgiveness, it is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

    As to any sense of guilt about our responses to wrongs done, people who know more about these things than I do point out that it is O.K., even necessary, to forgive ourselves. For more on this, and the topic of forgiveness generally, a book I recommend is: Turning from Guilt, Bitterness and Resentment Towards a Life of Wholeness and Peace by John Loren Sandford, Paula Sandford and Lee Bowman. The book is available on Amazon for $10.25. If you are interested in reading the book but happen not to be able to afford it, I suggest that you send an email to Julie Anne to this effect. She has my email address, and I expect she will be wiling to help coordinate the necessary arrangements so that I could purchase the book for you.

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  16. I’ve been re-reading this thread and I can’t believe how many wonderful points there are here – enough to springboard off into other posts for a month! You all are good!!

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  17. A. Amos Love March 23, 2013 @ 10:03 AM “Would you like the “Shame” to go away?”

    Yes, of course. How? I am all ears. Well, until 2:00 est. Then I wont be back till late at night. So, no hurry, but very curious to hear what you have to say.

    (At one point I thought I had slayed that dragon)

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  18. Mark,
    For they know not what they do was the prerequisite to what Jesus said. Had they known, they would not have crucified Christ Jesus (Acts). There was a reason that they did not know, and that was because it was hidden from them to know.

    The purpose of Christ was to get to that cross. Peter thought that he was defending Jesus when he cut off the ear of the soldier. In essence, it was Satan that didn’t want Jesus to get to that cross. But Jesus was going to get to that cross, not because of the Jews accusing him of blasphemy, but because of God wanting to reconcile the world to him. Jesus is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

    For they know not what they do.

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  19. Gary W. I found a hidden gem of yours that I had missed in this thread. Working on a post right now. (I will be happy to connect behind the scenes, if needed – you are so kind!)

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  20. Gary W
    chapened24
    Julie Anne,

    There is a lot to meditate here and yes Gary I will look into the book by John Loren Sandford. I have to admit I don’t read very many books which I think is a weakness.

    Julie Anne I think your situation may be similar to mine. Maybe the difference is you started a blog to discover the truth and I investigated web sites to find out the truth. In my case I had to reference my former Pastor’s sermons and actions on the internet to piece things together, among other things. (which include prayer)

    On of the things I have to keep in mind is, I have to believe most Pastor’s don’t embrace an abusive interpretation of scriptures. (which may include some who openly profess to being low Point Calvinist)

    Being suspicious and raising awareness of a Hyper-Theological movement is less personal and probably a safer and less judgemental approach. (I always seem to go back and suggest “know the Doctrine of the Pastor and the Church you attend”)

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  21. chapened24,

    I don’t have the capacity as Christ did to have the kind of understanding whether or not the ones that sinned against him should be forgiven.

    Maybe most who have sinned against me “know not what they are doing” but because I’m not Jesus I don’t have the gift of making the determination who should be forgiven and who shouldn’t, eveytime somebody sin’s against me.

    My former Hyper-Theological heavily embraced prerequisite Theology behind the pulpit, I really think like you suggested forgiveness is a personal matter.

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  22. chapmaned24,

    I am rather out of my league here, and there may be some question as to whether forgiveness is the appropriate word to apply to what I am suggesting. However, it seems to me that, even if the offending party is not repentant, we need to let go of the desire to be the instrument of our own vengeance. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 ESV). Even here, it seems to me that we need to leave it to God’s discretion whether and by what means to avenge. My responsibility is to pray for the offender’s good. So far as I as the offended party am concerned, it isn’t so much a matter of whether the other person is or is not let off the hook. It is a question of whether I am going to allow bitterness, resentment, anger and so on eat away at me mentally, spiritually, and even physically. It is also a matter of whether I am willing to suffer with my Lord who desires that the offender should receive the same forgiving grace the He has extended to me.

    To the extent reconciliation may be encompassed within the concept of forgiveness then, yes, it will require that the offender be repentant. “If possible, SO FAR AS IT DEPENDS ON YOU, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18 ESV, emphasis added). I also believe that the call to forgive does not in and of itself require that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to the offender. If the the offender is not truly repentant, if they have not actually changed their behavior, there can be no reconciliation, and we are not required to place or maintain ourselves in a position where the offender can continue to hurt us. That is just enabling their sin.

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  23. Mark – I started the blog to discuss the abuses that I saw in my former church. I’m pretty sure I did not have much of an understanding of the differences in doctrine, so my primary emphasis was not doctrine, but abuse patterns that I observed. I knew that because I connected with personal stories of spiritual abuse, that others would connect with mine. That is exactly what happened. At first the blog participants were primarily former members. Word spread and I gained family members of current members reading (and still do), current pastors/church leaders of former members, and then people who searched “spiritual abuse” and found the blog that way. And then my story went viral in the media . . . . LOL

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  24. scared

    I’d like to send you something that has helped me.

    A PDF called…

    “Love Is Rising”
    “Tending the Garden of God The Garden of Love”

    We’re made in the image and likeness of God and – God is Love.
    We’re also made from the dust of the earth – and – are expected to bare fruit.

    Give a little lee-way here – but – Dust and fruit – sounds like a Garden to me.

    What If “you” are “The Garden of God The Garden of Love?”

    Julie Anne also has a copy.

    Email me and I’ll send it off to you.

    love101faith@me.com

    Like

  25. @scared – The only thing I could add, having read the discussion between Mark and Gary, is that whereas I can imagine Jesus the Sage having a discussion with someone over the Law, he never struck me as anyone who would have wasted his time with “doctrine” and doctrinal disputes. What these pastors Mark and Gary were discussing spew sounds uncomfortably like the sort of incomprehensible twaddle discussed on recovering Scientologist blogs. Additionally, if a churchman or rabbi were to be insulting or rude or in anyway try to bully my wife, he would apologize or be invited to the parking lot so I could introduce him to my 5-point knuckle doctrine(tm). And to think these same pastors spend as much time as they do, ridiculing Roman Catholic doctrine. Pot, meet Kettle, or, a tree is known by the fruit it bears.

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  26. Julie Anne,

    I think the comparison I imagined was that you weren’t going to be indoctrinated or become a disciple of a hyper-theological movement. In the mean time you posed as a Doctrinal Challenge asking questions to the ones who embraced a different Doctrine than you could ever imagine, not understanding where they were coming from.
    (I know there were other things involved in your situation)

    While your site was progressing, you later discovered they were Calvinist after you endured the abuse.

    I also discovered that my former Pastor was a 5 Point or Hyper-Calvinist after I endured the abuse. I made that discovery about 6 months, before your site went viral(through prayer God guided me to the internet to help me discover partially my former Pastor’s Doctrine)

    If I didn’t read some of your postings specificately about you getting rebuked after you were “asking questions” I would never have asked you about Calvinism.

    I guess, I see some similarities that revolve around the type of “Methodologies” both our former Pastor’s embraced. (and even then, their Doctrines may not be completely the same)

    Like

  27. I should have included Gary with my last comment to Mark. I figured that I would bring up forgiveness, mostly due to the demands coming from the leaders, throwing guilt trips. But all in all, it’s between you and God alone.

    Like

  28. chapened24,

    Ed, were you referring to my 10:56 a.m. posting about forgiveness? There is an accumulation of comments that is developing here.

    Foregiveness is personal, but like Gary suggested it can be like poison if we don’t practice it.

    Like

  29. Mark,
    But why is it poison? Because it is unhealthy to hold on to the anger, resentment, and hurt. When we wish to hold on to the anger, and hurt, it is unhealthy. Releasing it takes the yoke off of us. Holding on to the anger/hurt/resentment is the result of not forgiving, showing that the person who sinned against us has power over us. Forgiving releases that power.

    As I have heard it said, forgiveness isn’t necessarily for the forgiven, it is for the forgiver, releasing it to God, letting God deal with it in order to heal you.

    Like

  30. Mark said:

    I think the comparison I imagined was that you weren’t going to be indoctrinated or become a disciple of a hyper-theological movement. In the mean time you posed as a Doctrinal Challenge asking questions to the ones who embraced a different Doctrine than you could ever imagine, not understanding where they were coming from.
    (I know there were other things involved in your situation)

    I want to make sure I am understanding you, Mark. It seems the crux of your comments is that our pastors (mine and yours) were on a different doctrinal base than we were on, but we did not know it at the time we were there. Is that correct?

    And then it seems you are saying that not understanding our pastors’ doctrinal beliefs caused something – – and this is what I’m unclear on. Caused confusion?? Caused abuse?

    Even if a pastor has a different doctrinal belief, there still is no excuse for abuse.

    I understand what you are saying – – that if we had fully understood our pastors’ doctrinal beliefs, we most likely would not have agreed with it and walked away long before, so by walking away, that would have prevented abuse. But having that knowledge does not protect those sheep who don’t have that knowledge. In fact, that seems to give pastors a free ticket to abuse others.

    The bottom line is pastors should not abuse. The Bible has higher standards for pastors/teachers. I don’t care what kind of doctrinal belief system a pastor has, there still is no justification for treating people poorly because they do not agree with what someone else believes.

    Like

  31. IP cuts it to the chase here – lol:

    Additionally, if a churchman or rabbi were to be insulting or rude or in anyway try to bully my wife, he would apologize or be invited to the parking lot so I could introduce him to my 5-point knuckle doctrine(™).

    IP makes it sound so simple. Why are we allowing pastors to get away with treating people so rudely? I know Mark keeps bringing it back to doctrine, but being a bully is being a bully, no matter what doctrine. We need to deal with the bully part and quit dancing around the freakin’ doctrine. I don’t care what doctrine it is, if a person is exercising his authority in a way that bullies, he needs to be dealt with.

    Like

  32. Julie Anne,
    I am not sure, but I think that the point that Mark is getting at, is that the root cause of the abuse is in the doctrines. I, myself, have “stealthy” use the word “obedience” time and time again to show that the word “obedience” is pointing to a set of rules and regulations that are doctrinally based, and the end result is abuse.

    I think that is where Mark is coming from. The root cause of abuse is in the doctrines. I think.

    Like

  33. Wow. Such a long and varied thread.

    As I’ve made my way through this, Judah’s quote from Ghandi came to mind long before Julie Anne mentioned it. Another one also came to mind, one that I’m directing toward R.D.

    “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”

    ~St. Francis of Assisi

    In nutshell, this is where Julie Anne’s heart is regarding these HKs. For them to hear the Gospel in words, they first have to see it in action.

    Like

  34. @Ed: I’d like to offer that the root cause of abuse is the need on the part of the abuser to control, up to and including causing a normally non-abusive person to participate. Rather, those individuals create doctrine to justify their behavior and draw similar personalities into their movement. Look at our rape culture and the “doctrine” that the victim bears part of the responsibility for “allowing” herself to be raped – the “doctrine” of the rape apologist. The victim is properly “slut-shamed” into “repentance”.

    Like

  35. @Ed: I would add that many of us are taught that particular doctrine in the locker room, at home and, most horribly, in church and at synagogue.

    Like

  36. Julie Anne,

    The crux is we were becoming a Doctrinal Challenge. We went weren’t going to indoctrinated in a Methodology we didn’t understand, in my case I later understood had I gone along I would’ve been a disciple of John Calvin, but rather Christ.

    The Abuse me and my wife (who has a gentle spirit) absorbed was a abusive interpretation of scripture that caught us off guard.

    The only thing she did through the whole ordeal was offer 1 John 1:9 after a lengthy 3 month study on Sin that had no redemption language. The Pastor didn’t like her contribution and she spent 10 minutes over the telephone with him offering about 6 apologies in the process. (I’m not sure if that is worthy of a 5 Point knuckle sandwich)

    I think you are correct in that if we had been prepared we would’ve left the church sooner. I also would explain that I’m not a 5 Point Calvinist, which I in fact later disclosed to the Elders of the Church when I realized he was a Calvinist.

    Some of the Elders and Attendee’s asked me why I stopped coming and I suggested that I wasn’t a Calvinist, I also encouraged them if they embraced Calvinism then they should keep going to that church. Of course they looked into the Doctrine and the rest was history. (at first they were more puzzled by his Stealth behavior)

    These Pastors are programed to be aggressive defenders of their Doctrine. I’m not at all suggesting we give these guys a free pass for being a “bully” in defense of their force feeding their Stealth 5 Point Doctrine down our throats.

    Hyper Theological Seminaries are teaching these guys to be aggressive defenders of Calvinism. You pluck them one at a time which is nessecary or figure out a way to get to the source. Some of these Hyper Theological Preachers are taught to expect strife when they teach their Hyper Theological Methodology and have been instilled that they will be martyrs when strife occurs.

    You can raise awareness or outreach anyway you choose to current and potentially future victims of Spiritual Abuse.

    Although, if there was equal emphasis to understand the existance of Doctrinal Indifference there would be less Spiritual Abuse, shrinking the number of future victims.

    All I know, when I recognize the kind of input of a person like RD blogging in, I want to know where he is coming from, what Doctrine he Embraces before I go any further into the discussion.

    Other bloggers may choose to go a different route with RD, I don’t think it is my place to discredit their approach.

    Like

  37. Mark,
    I understand where you are coming from. I read the process of how to be stealth from the Horse’s mouth, so to speak (The Calvinist Baptist Web Site), converting normal Christians to Calvinists without them knowing it.

    Like

  38. @Interested Party,
    I hear what you are saying. But there is a source of any root cause. I am in pain because I have a tooth ache isn’t the root cause of the tooth ache. It is the root cause of the pain. But why do I have a tooth ache? In other words, it goes much deeper than that.

    The people who preach any form of Calvinism really do believe from their heart that they are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are controlling because they really do think that this is what the gospel teaches them to be.

    Like

  39. chapened24,

    It seems simple if you know it’s out there and complicated if you don’t. Unfortunately I have taken an over cautious approach to Preachers. (The same approach I use on RD, where I actually interview his Doctrine before going further into a dialogue with him)

    Like

  40. You guys – LOL – I’m laughing here because Mark says that Ed pretty much gets where Mark is coming from. Ed said the root cause is in the doctrine, but when I read Mark’s comment, I”m not seeing that. Mark says we are causing the problem by challenging the doctrine. They (abusive pastors) are aggressively defending it when we challenge them. So where is the abuse in the doctrine? From what I see from Mark, the abuse occurs when they defend the doctrine so aggressively, but it’s not really about the doctrine.

    And as a side note, I also got thrown off on Mark’s comment that they are taught that they will endure strife and need to be martyrs. If they were being true martyrs and enduring strife, they would not be abusing, right?

    ::::::ja is confuzzled:::::::

    My interpretation of things is there is a faulty doctrine to begin with. Men place their beloved Doctrine above God – – this doctrine is man-made interpretation – it’s not perfect. They are saying that it is perfect, the right way, the only way. I believe abuse happens when you challenge their doctrine OR their methods. A lot of what we challenged was methods – – – methods are not doctrinal.

    Another easy way is this: most pastors/abusers are narcissists. This doesn’t have to do with doctrine whatsoever but a complete love of self, everything revolves around self, relationships are based on self. Self is incapable of having a moral compass, incapable of looking at the sins in their own life and project them all onto others.

    ok – – have at it guys 🙂

    Like

  41. chapened24,

    I guess it doesn’t do any good if you put a crown on a tooth that needs a root canal without first draining the tooth.

    If the abused don’t understand why they were abused, they will be vulnerable for more additional abuse somewhere else.

    So yeah educate the abused and go after the source to prevent future abuse.

    My former Hyper-Theological Preacher went a little further, he suggested in his 2nd or 3rd Sermon that “he didn’t see enough evidence of a saved church because it lacked the kind of pursecution and suffering in the congregation, to be saved”. (Probably some kind of Calvinistic “Election Theology” tactic)

    I didn’t know we were suppose to openly wear our suffering and persecution on our sleeves. (we certainly weren’t a fiscally wealthy church)

    Like

  42. @Julie Anne: Occam’s Razor. The simplest explanation can be shown to be the most correct and in this case, you’re right on the money. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus spoke to his followers in simple parables and used simple and easily understood language to get his message across. It is covetous men and women who invent doctrine to keep him obscure and require preachers and priests to “reveal” his “true” message.

    Like

  43. Julie Anne,

    These Preachers are being indoctrinated to Preach a certain way. The abuse is not isolated.

    Calvinist Seminaries are whipping out a lot of 5 Pointers and they are calling themselves, New Calvinist, Reformed, New Reformed and they will more than likely come up with a few more titles.

    Many Leaders in the SBC are debating with the Hyper-Theologians, some of those Theologians are pasted on a collage of faces on one of your previous blogs.

    Like

  44. @Mark: I do appreciate that you’re giving good warning that should be heeded. This kind of preaching style and bag of tricks is going to be very enticing to the would-be preacher who dreams of…conquest. And certainly many of the organizations these blogs expose have been shown to be rooted in this sort of doctrine.

    Like

  45. Julie Anne,
    The authoritarian mindset is based on the doctrines of Calvinism. John Calvin is the root cause.

    It is first important to do what A. Amos Love did when he threw all of the babies out with all of the bathwater, and begin again, afresh, before you can actually see the major difference. Just saying that if the pastor was not abusive is not the answer, until you see why he is abusive. He is abusive because he thinks that Calvin told him to be authoritarian.

    Yes, there are abuses of various sorts in many different denominations, etc. But the root cause for probably at least 80% on this blog and others is Calvinism.

    But there are some die hard Calvinists who will still wish to remain in Calvinism no matter how much they are abused, because they only put the blame on the leaders, rather than finding the source of why the leaders abusive. Well, Calvin is the source, IMO.

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  46. Mark, I need to be conservative, as I have to take into account the non-Calvinists who post on this blog, as it is for ALL people who have experienced spiritual abuse, and there are a number of non-Calvinists that post here. This blog is for everyone, and we need to keep that in mind, and the source for some may not be the same source for others. The spiritual abuse that I witnessed was not Calvinist, but a works based salvation, totally unrelated to Calvinism.

    Like

  47. What do you have to say about those who are 5-pt or 4-pt, Ed, who do not adopt that type of mentality? I think Craig would identify as Reformed. I haven’t seen an ounce of anything resembling abuse from our friend. I could name others that I know personally. I definitely see the pattern among hyper-Calvinists and they are the ones who staunchly defend their peers (CJ Mahaney) despite scores and scores of witnesses.

    Like

  48. That is a good question, Julie Anne. But I think it is more important as an individual to find out if Calvin is right or wrong in any of his points. In my study, I don’t buy off on any points. I am a zero point Calvinist, that is to say, I am not a Calvinist, because I don’t buy off on anything that he taught. He was fresh out of Catholicism, and he is going to be the expert at Christianity when he espouses the same person as the Catholics did, i.e. Augustine? There is some critical individual study that needs to take place. If we are to search the scriptures daily to see if those things are so (meaning to dissect scripture ourselves, as individuals), then that means that we are not to believe everything a preacher preaches until we verify it for ourselves. And, again, there are many foreign words that are used within Calvinism that I am just not familiar with as a Christian, i.e. hyper. My brother was hyper when we were growing up, and he had to take pills to settle him down.

    I guess my point in that is this, which point is subtracted to make one a 4 point, or a 3 point, or 2 point, or one point.

    Last I recall, Christianity didn’t have any points.

    What must I do to be saved? The answer is simple. No points.

    Like

  49. chapened24,

    I had indicated to my former Pastor that after hearing the way he presented his interpretation of scripture and the method in which he deliver it, I thought he grew up Catholic.

    I have also read a lot of testimonies on the web from former 5 Point Calvinist that ended up refuting all 5 Points of Calvinism.

    When somebody suggest that they are 1 or 2 Point Calvinist I find it odd, it seems to me if they refute any part of Calvinism, can they be a true Calvinist.

    Like

  50. Mark,
    I am finding in my research that the less than 5 pointers attempt to distance themselves away from Calvin, in the same manner as the 7th Day Adventists attempt to distance themselves away from Ellen G. White. Yet both teach the person of whom they are attempting to distance themselves from. Very odd, because how can you distance yourself away from your founding father (or mother in the case of Ellen G. White), while calling yourself by the name of your founding father/mother? Very odd.

    Like

  51. Exactly, and what did God say thru the mouth of Paul?

    Galatians 1:8-9 (KJV)
    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

    and

    2 Corinthians 11:1, 4 (NIVr)
    I hope you will put up with a little of my foolish bragging. But you are already doing that. Suppose someone comes to you and preaches about a Jesus different from the Jesus we preached about. Or suppose you receive a spirit different from the one you received before. Or suppose you receive a message of good news different from the one you accepted earlier. You put up with those kinds of things easily enough.

    Preaching another Jesus and another gospel is a curse, and, IMO, the worst spiritual abuse known. And when you bring your children up in this kind of “obedient” fear based religion on this different Jesus and different gospel, it is spiritual abuse.

    Like

  52. In 2 Corinthians 11:17-20, look at the following:
    17 When I brag about myself like this, I’m not talking the way the Lord would. I’m talking like a fool. Many are bragging the way the people of the world do. So I will brag like that too. You are so wise! You gladly put up with fools! In fact, you even put up with anyone who makes you a slave or uses you. You put up with those who take advantage of you. You put up with those who claim to be better than you. You put up with those who slap you in the face.

    Like

  53. chapmaed24,

    The amount of turmoil that is building in the SBC over their inability to deal with the many dialects within the Calvinist School and how they are indoctrinating different churches with different versions with different interpretation of scriptures with different aggressive styles depending which Calvinist Seminary they come from, do you think there is confusion?

    Imagine having an Arminian like Adrian Rogers (who does in fact believe you can’t lose your salvation, once you are saved) being the Pastor of your church and all of a sudden a 5 Point Calvinist Albert Mohler steps in as your Pastor, do you think the congregation will see a noticeable difference in Biblical interpretation and Methodology that will at times be contradictory to Adrian Rogers?

    SBC has got some problems.

    I prefer Adrian Rogers and actually watch him usually every week.

    Like

  54. Well, there goes another one of those STRANGE words again related to Calvinism, which is their arch enemy the Armenian. I never knew that word until studying Calvinism, which means that the word Armenian is not in the Christian vocabulary in mainstream Christendom.

    But it seems that there are only two alternatives for the Calvinist. You are either Calvinist, or you are Armenian. Well, I hate to inform the Calvinist, but I am neither Calvinist, or Armenian. Whatever happened to the word, Christian? There were first called Christian in Antioch. Christian essentially means, Lives in Christ. I don’t live in Calvin, or whoever Armenia is. I live in Christ.

    But, I do believe in once saved always saved. However, my reasoning for it is much different than the Calvinists explanation of it. Much different. Adrian Rodgers is no longer with us, if I am not mistaken. I think he died a few years ago.

    Like

  55. chapmaned24,

    You have heard the same thing I have in that “if you not a Calvinist then you are Arminian and you must believe you can lose your salvation”

    I don’t profess to be a Arminian even though I do like watching Adrian Rodgers and yes he did pass away a few years ago.

    Whats wrong with professing to be a born-again Christian with no labels attached to it?

    Like

  56. Ed – That’s funny because when I learned there was Arminian and Calvinism, I thought “why?” But I have found many things that people debate to be such a colossal waste of time: pre-trib/post-trib, literal 7-day creation, etc. If these things have been debated for centuries why do we think we will get it resolved or even need to get it resolved now?

    Like

  57. Julie Anne,

    Yes, you have a point (get it, point? LOL. Just kidding). Seriously though, for me and many others, those debates are so minor. But some will say that if you don’t believe in those things that you aren’t saved. That is where I interject. If they are making their belief system in those areas a salvation issue, then there is a problem in their doctrines. What must I do to be saved. The answer is a simple one sentence answer. But debates are fun, if both sides agree to be friends after it is over. We see thru a glass darkly. We will never fully understand anything until we die. But salvation is something that we are supposed to understand. It’s so freaking simple. And our obedience is to the law of faith. So simple. We are to love our neighbor as our self. So simple. Why do the crazies want to make it so freaking difficult? That is my issue with the spiritual abuse.

    Like

  58. chapmaned24,

    So simple, but churches are splitting, friends that were friends are not longer friends causing blogs like this to erupt, that will hopefully raise the needed awareness that Doctrinal Indifference is destroying trust and in some cases lives.

    Like

  59. Ed said:

    But salvation is something that we are supposed to understand. It’s so freaking simple. And our obedience is to the law of faith. So simple. We are to love our neighbor as our self. So simple. Why do the crazies want to make it so freaking difficult? That is my issue with the spiritual abuse.

    Thank you! That’s all it is. Nothing more. Amen. Now can we be done with this craziness?

    Like

  60. So, Mark – – how about you and Ed come up with a definition for Doctrinal Indifference and I’ll post it in the Resource area under definitions? I have a hunch we’ll be referring to this term again and again.

    Like

  61. Well, I am for the night. I am thinking of watching that evil big screen television, and covet some popcorn. I might steal an M & M or two, and worship a Pepsi.

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  62. Julie Anne,

    I’ll have to sleep on it, pretty complicated. Even the Seasoned Biblical Christian Intellects are battling the Calvinist and their Stealth Abusive Methodology.

    Like

  63. (Trigger alert – a short description of child abuse ahead for purposes of example)

    For your consideration while we await a new blog topic. 😉

    My wife came from the Pentacostals. The abuse that masqueraded as child rearing was awful. Just stating this as an example of two opposing “doctrines” that produce the same results – families torn asunder, bitterness, and the eventual “leaving the fold” that permanently separates children from their repressive parents, spouses from repressive spouses. The other aspect of the Pentacostal churches my wife spent so much time in during her youth in Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, was the extreme racism.

    When wives have to trade “home recipes” for hiding abuse, especially when your girls aren’t allowed to wear pants, like beating the crap out of them until their legs are bleeding then making them soak in hot water and the application of various salves and creams so school authorities don’t get “wise”, all the while telling themselves that its ok because they’re “living apart from the World”, I have to wonder about the various “doctrine” that has been a point of discussion here as those who have suffered under it were “indoctrinated” so to speak from such a young age.

    I’ve read the NT thoroughly and am familiar with a wide variety of English translations as well as Martin Luther’s German. I value knowledge and critical thinking skills. I’m well versed in Textual Criticism, the history of early Christianity and the use of exegesis and hermeneutics in translating text from ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek (OT & NT) into modern languages. All of these doctrines and all of these movements – people become so, well…”indoctrinated” that they can no longer comprehend a biblical text for themselves without the “prejudice” of the doctrine they’ve been raised with – everything they read is colored and tempered by the doctrine they’ve been taught. If you’re familiar with the Koine Greek of the NT manuscript material – you know that its very simply written. I mentioned earlier that Jesus spoke in simple language and used simple but incredibly well-constructed parables to teach his disciples. The language of Paul and the other Epistle writers present their own challenges.

    Studying for example, the genesis of the early “proto-catholic” sects through the later periods of the Roman and Byzantine empires and the development of “Roman” Catholic doctrines, the various splits and “heresies” and the development of social order through the Middle Ages, the Age of “Kings” and then the beginnings of humanistic thinking with the coming of the Renaissance – when you examine Roman Catholic (not to mention the Greek and Russian Orthodox, Coptic, Anglican and various other offshoots), you begin to see all the theological groundwork that began to frame the era of the Reformation and so-called “new” doctrine that in so many cases, was a re-hash of older doctrines My own perspective, for what its worth, is that theologians, often in the service of their rich “protectors”, developed “new” doctrine that otherwise accomplished the same old thing: Keeping the masses in line and docile while keeping the focus off the excesses and sin off the privileged classes. I’m not suggesting that the development of “new” doctrine was entirely to this end and certainly much of it was designed to bring people closer to their God, but human frailty often sacrifices the common good for the needs of established authority. But its endlessly fascinating to see the relatively simple theology of the early Christian movement develop into such modern excess. And who among these “reformers” and developers of differing doctrines doesn’t claim that *their” doctrine and their’s alone, re-establishes the Christian Church?

    In my typical long-winded fashion, here’s what I’m asking: How do you accomplish the task of teaching people so indoctrinated by a particular “movement” to step back and re-examine what they’ve read and comprehended in a very particular way without infusing your own “doctrine” into that lesson? You can’t. I suppose all you can do is establish thesis statements, such as asking that person to re-examine the doctrine of man’s authority over women, especially considering the extremes of these modern Patriarchal and “Quiverfull” movements by way of example, and prod that person in a new and novel interpretation of what *you* believe scripture to say on the subject, based on your own doctrinal influences and other life-experiences and wisdom. You also have to be extremely honest and let them find the answer for themselves – even if the results are not what you had hoped them to be. It’s too easy to say, “God will guide them”. I’m quite certain the Calvinists Mark, Gary and Ed have been discussing have no doubt that God guided them to the “truth” of their doctrine. Its also too pat an answer to blame “Satan” and in any event, you’re not going to win many adults over to your way of thinking by implying that Satan is influencing their thinking and I honestly believe that’s why R.D.’s attempts at “reasoning” with us failed so spectacularly.

    We got “nowhere” with R.D. He was not persuaded by our wide variety of attempts to reason with him and similarly, we were not persuaded by him. Through their own experience, we’ve seen so many people subjected to Spiritual Abuse “wake up” and realize what’s happened to them. Where do you go from there? By the time they come to that realization, its seems they’ve pretty much “had it” with “doctrine” which in fact, was R.D.’s point and the root of his hostility toward blogs such as these.

    And then there’s another aspect: A guy I worked with in Columbus, OH for many years left the Catholic Church and adopted his wife’s church and faith as his own and became very involved in the laity, especially its music ministry. His parents were extremely supportive of him and expressed pleasure that he’d come to find God on his own terms and they still enjoy a great relationship. What I found interesting, is that when we were discussing his church, his wife and kids, the question came up about the kids future and if he’d be as supportive as his own parents should one or both of his kids (now 9 and 11) were to some day leave their church. I was floored by his answer. No, he wouldn’t be. He and his wife were teaching and raising their children in the “true” Christian faith. If they left, he actually said he’d have to “shun” them. “Shunning” in his church apparently is a big deal. Wow. My point here is that I’m injecting another aspect into the discussion: How do you change the hearts and minds of those who are raised by a particular doctrine and cannot entertain the idea of disrespecting their parents and other family members by leaving? We see that same theme over and over again on these blogs by those who’s “awakening” means being abandoned by family.

    I can only say I’m grateful that my own parents, despite many other problems with our relationship, at least gave me that same “freedom” to make my own choices later in life. If “doctrine” is so important that you’d disown your own children because of it – shouldn’t *that* be the red flag that alerts you that something’s inherently false about it?

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  64. Ed Chapmen – Mark – Gary W – Interested Party – Julie Anne

    Wow – I Just finished reading your last “46” comments since leaving yesterday.

    Yes – I counted them. 😉

    Thanks for a really great conversation – Forgiveness – Doctrine – Abuse

    Good stuff – It has been a joy listening in.

    —————-

    How is it then, brethren? when ye come together,
    every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine,
    hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.
    Let all things be done unto edifying.
    1Co 14:26 KJV

    Like

  65. Julie Anne – I’m not as “up” on the topic of your choral activity as I should be. Do you sing solo with the group as well? Just curious.

    Like

  66. IP – I am an accompanist with the local public high school. I volunteer daily and “adopt” one class (usually a class in which one of my kids attends), putting on my “choir mom” hat. This month I also worked with 8 students who were working on solos/duets to be judged to determine if they go to state competition. It’s fun to be a part of that to hear what they first sounded like and then play for them as they are being judged.

    At church, I fill in from time to time on the piano/singing/choir. I haven’t done any solo work at this church yet, but my involvement has been limited due to a kid who has weekend sports tournaments. I hope to be joining the wonderful choral group in the area when said kid is done with sports this summer. I was asked to be on their board recently and was with that group at a VIP reception last night when I referred to “shindig.”

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  67. Ed Chapmen – Mark – Gary W – Interested Party – Julie Anne

    ja – Sounded to me like R.D. could be related to Fred Butler. LOL – Are they twins?
    Didn’t you say they both comment on SharperIron.com?

    And I do have an opinion about some of the roots of “Spiritual Abuse.” – Do ya think?

    Here are some thoughts and questions about “Pastor/Leaders who Abuse.”

    Do they just NOT get it?
    That how they speak and condemn folks is “Spiritual Abuse?”
    The way the “Exercise Authority like the gentiles” is “Spiritual Abuse?”
    The way they “Lord it over God’s heritage” is “Spiritual Abuse?”
    And scare folks like “Scared?” And me?

    Are they just deceived?
    And when you’re deceived you do NOT know you’re deceived. (Ask me how I know.)
    I’ve been deceived by the best of them – Or the worst of them – depends…
    I’ve even deceived my self – Oy Vey!!! 😉

    Are they just stuck in their “Traditions” that make void “The Word of God?”
    Mark 7:13 KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
    Mark 7:13 ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    Mark 7:13 NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

    Has God purposely “Hardened their Hearts?”
    So “they” can NOT set us free? And give us the liberty, the freedom to follow Jesus for ourselves? Kinda like God did with Pharaoh while bringing the 10 plagues to show “HIS POWER” before setting His People free from Egypt? (Egypt? = Todays Religious System?)

    And when we’re out of “The System” we wind up in the wilderness. NO leaks, NO onions. All we have to depend upon is God for direction. All we have to do is follow the Cloud by day and the Fire at night. Everyone in the wilderness is looking at God and moves when he moves, where he moves.

    They are NOT following other humans – They ALL follow God.
    They need NO human to tell them the direction – They ALL follow God.

    My sheep – hear My voice – and – follow Me. John 10:27… Jesus speaking.

    Why would someone want to be a “Pastor?” A “Leader?”
    When Jesus says there is “ONE” Shepherd? – John 10:16.
    And, NOT one of His Disciples in the Bible has the “Title” Shepherd?
    When Jesus says there is “ONE” Leader – Jesus?
    And Jesus instructed His Disciples NOT to be called “Leader?” Mat 23:10 NASB

    And – In my experience with “Pastor/Leaders” and having been Ordained…

    No matter how loving… eventually…
    No matter how humble… eventually…
    No matter how much a servant… eventually…

    “Pastor/Leaders” will “exercise authority” and “lord it over” God’s precious sheep.
    I did – Ouch 😦 And – That’s always the beginning of “Spiritual Abuse.”

    “Pastor/Leaders” = exercise authority = lord it over = abuse = always

    I’m in agreement with His Disciples who ALL called themselves “Servants.”
    I’m in agreement with King David – The Lord is my Shepherd…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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  68. @Amos – I think you’ll appreciate this:

    “Those whose religious security is rooted in a literal Bible do not want that security disturbed. They are not happy when facts challenge their biblical understanding or when nuances in the text are introduced or when they are forced to deal with either contradictions or changing insights. The Bible, as they understand it, shares in the permanence and certainty of God, convinces them that they are right, and justifies the enormous fear and even negativity that lie so close to the surface in fundamentalistic religion. For biblical literalists, there is always an enemy to be defeated in mortal combat.” – Bishop John Shelby Spong

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  69. What Spong says above applies to all of the Abrahamic faiths, as all of us have our fundamentalists and literalists. In Judaism, “changing insight” and biblical research and discovery such as the Dead Sea Scroll and “Essene” material as well as making Torah relavent in the modern era is what drove the Conservative and Reform movements in the past two-hundred years. Curiously, the lines between the Conservative and Reform movements are being slowly erased due to the prevalence and popularity of “contemporary” Reform over the older, “classical” Reform. We share Rabbis (our Reform synagogue in Columbus, Temple Israel, installed a Conservative Rabbi a few years ago) and more than a few predict that the two movements will join “officially” at some future date. But still, we are “2nd class citizens” to the *minority* religious authority who otherwise set policy in Israel.

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  70. Julie Anne,

    I was looking back at a statement I made to you about why you started this blog. I realize my statement was inaccurate. I know that you started your blog as a result of abuse.

    Maybe what I should’ve suggested was that it was the Internet that helped reveal to you that your Pastor was a Calvinist. I do however think we endured abuse partly as a result of our former Pastors abusive High Point Calvinistic Doctrine that complimented their abusive Methodologies. (I was also naive)

    It was more than likely you discovered your former Pastor was a Calvinist after you started this blog and after you left your church while enduring some shunning from members of your former church.

    I discovered my Pastor embraced Hyper Theology long after I quit attending, while enduring shunning from members of the church. (Thanks to the Father for guiding me to the Net)

    I quit attending in December 2010, a year into his tenure. From June 2011 thru September 2011 is when the height of the shunning was peaking. I was averaging less than 2 hours sleep a night for 4 months. (I was a wreck)

    There was no other church in town other than the Russian Orthodox Church whose members I got along with a lot better than the church I was attending after my former Pastor arrived.

    The shunning and my meditating on the words of my former Pastor’s sermons, which I believe and rightfully concluded, that he placed greater emphasis on his a Style or Method rather than the Message itself,

    The Message was still filled with an abusive 5 Point Doctrine that only exacerbated his abusive Methodology that he was indoctrinated from Calvinist Seminary to practice.
    (it is hard not keeping it personal, knowing much of this garbage comes from Calvinist Seminaries)

    During that 4 month period of insomnia, I finally gave it to God. It was through prayer that the Father guided to me to keep surfing the internet and finally in October 2011, after only about a week of giving the problem to God, he opened my eyes about my Pastor’s Stealth Doctrine.

    I was also able to reflect and remember that the kind of questions I was asking caused my former Pastor to retaliate against me while he was magnifying the problem to a couple of members of the church that he befriended, who were in fact over-looking or not paying attention to his abusive interpretation of scriptures.

    My former Pastor for 12 months, had opportunity after opportunity to disclose his Doctrine with every question I was asking and for every question I asked, he dug-in deeper into his fox-hole ready to defend his “Covertness” and rebuke or attack my character.

    I was in fact a Doctrinal Challenge to my former 5 Point Hyper Theological Pastor asking the kind of questions that would eventually reveal his true Stealth Doctrine.

    I didn’t invent the word “Stealth” or Covert Calvinist” as I have been on other blogs from Baptist Leaders who use those words while describing this practice as deceitful. .

    Even though the abuse got personal, I was more puzzled why the abuse was happening and the way that is was happening. (I was a member in this church for over 20 years) To me I was more consumed by looking for Motive or Root or Source of this abusive Methodology.

    If God didn’t direct me to find this Motive I don’t think I would never have discovered that my Pastor was embracing an abusive 5 Point Doctrine and Methodology that he was indoctrinated to practice.

    If I didn’t discover this 5 Point Doctrine existed, I would be more vulnerable for future abuse.

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  71. Regarding Interested Party’s post of 7:50 a.m., and A. Amos Love’s post of 10:27: It is certainly my experience that, while the laity may be receptive to looking at the Bible alone, without reference to doctrinal tradition, the “ordained” can’t even understand what I am saying when I point out that there may be ways of reading the Text other than in the manner sanctioned by their dogmatically defended traditions masquerading as doctrine.

    As one example, I was (naively?) surprised to discover that one preacher couldn’t even see the point I was making when I suggested that maybe, just maybe, Jesus was saying in Matthew 24 that, of the 2 in the field and of the 2 grinding at the mill, it was the unGodly person who would be taken. Never mind that Jesus’ went to some lengths to say that the taking of one from each pair would be as in the days of Noah when the flood came and swept the unGodly away. Well, I wasn’t really expecting the preacher to accept the point I was making. I don’t expect everybody who may happen to read this post to agree with the point I was making. However, to this day, maybe a couple of years later, I am surprised that the preacher couldn’t even understand the point I was making. (And please, I am NOT, wanting to open up a discussion on the rapture–I’m simply giving an example of how the “ordained” can be seemingly blind.)

    So often the authority of the Bible is subordinated to the doctrinal traditions of men. In one particularly egregious example a preacher, perhaps unwittingly, but very specifically, equated doctrine with Scripture. The denominational regional Superintendent (where do these titles come from?) was the guest preacher one Sunday morning. He made the statement that the Bible says (not “teaches” but “says”) that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. Well, this was news to me. The Superintendent lost me for the rest of his sermon while I searched the electronic Bible on my smartphone to try to find where such a thing is said by the Bible. Some may be laughing that I even needed to make the search. The three John(athan)s (Calvin, Edwards and Piper) may say that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us, but the Bible says it is FAITH that is imputed or counted to us as righteousness. See, generally, Romans 4:3-24. Well, the Superintendent could have been more cautious, but it gets worse. When I discussed all of this with the regular preacher, he took the position that it was perfectly legitimate to say the the Bible itself says that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. He saw no need to distinguish what the the Bible actually says from what it is understood to mean. For this preacher (who remains a good friend of mine, by the way), doctrine was equated with Scripture to the point he couldn’t see the need to distinguish the one from the other.

    Maybe I will continue to have some success with Friends by asking questions and encouraging them to go directly to Scripture for answers. I confess that I have pretty much given up on the “ordained.”

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  72. Interested Party

    Sorry – I’m NOT a friend of the Bishop.

    Read a little about him – Read a little of what He thinks about Jesus – and the Bible. And how inaccurate the Bible is.

    http://johnshelbyspong.com/sample-essays/jesus/

    He calls himself a retired Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Newark. IMO – That info alone is enough to dis-qualify his scholarship from being anyone who can speak about Jesus or the Bible. I have a little history with the Episcopal Church. One of the many denominations I left because, they did NOT believe in a “Literal Bible.” I watched them making up stuff NOT in the Bible. It’s one thing to dis-agree about what the Bible says. How do you dis-agree when it’s just a “Tradition” that leads people to trust and depend on “Mere Fallible Humans?” And NOT trust and depend on Jesus?

    My security is in Jesus Christ, The creator of ALL things…

    It might be too simple for some – but – I believe, if Jesus, who wants to be my friend, lived in that flesh without sin, can speak this glorious Cosmos, with all the planets and stars, into existence, knows the number of hairs upon my head, cares about me enough to die for me and cleanse me from all my sin, and is willing to take up residence in my heart which is kinda smelly like His being born in a filthy manger…

    If this God? Can come out of the Spirit Realm and take on human flesh…
    Be born of a virgin, be crucified, and raise Himself from the dead…
    If this God? Can do all that?

    Then Jesus, “The Word of God” can have a book written – Just the way he wants.
    Thank you Jesus. 😉

    I might NOT understand it all – I just figure it’s on a “Need to know” basis.

    And the longer I walk with Him – the less I “need to know.”

    And the more I want to “Know Him.” Jesus My Friend.

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  73. @Amos – my apologies, I appear to have misinterpreted what you’d said earlier even though I’m an admirer of his.

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  74. Gary W

    This has been my experience as well…
    “the “ordained” can’t even understand what I am saying when I point out that there may be ways of reading the Text other than in the manner sanctioned by their dogmatically defended traditions masquerading as doctrine.”

    And I agree – As in the days of Noah – The bad guys were taken away. 😉

    Here’s one for ya – Who are “The Lost? I mean – In the Bible, Who are “The Lost?”

    LOL… 😉 😉 😉
    “The denominational regional Superintendent (where do these titles come from?)”

    Titles – Titles – Everywhere – Except in the Bible. 🙂

    Senior Pastor – Lead Pastor – Teaching Pastor – Associate Pastor – Youth Pastor – Reverend – Holy Reverend – Most Holy Reverend – Vicar – Prelate – Canon – Holy Father – Arch-Deacon – Cardinal – Pope – and the list goes on, and on, and on, and…

    Here is the best – Or the worst – depends… 😉

    Chief Executive Apostle – Yeah, that’s right – saw it with my own eyes. 🙂
    “(where do these titles come from?)”

    And the Bible says this about “Titles.” Go figure…

    Job 32:21-22 KJV
    Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person,
    neither let me give *flattering titles* unto man.
    For I know not to give *flattering titles;*
    in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

    Jesus humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation… Phil 2:7-8
    And these guys take bigger and grander sounding “Titles.”

    Me too – “I confess that I have pretty much given up on the “ordained.”

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

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  75. Interested Party

    You write…
    “I appear to have misinterpreted what you’d said earlier”

    Can you be a little more specific – maybe I can be a little more clear.

    Thanks

    Like

  76. Mark said:

    It was more than likely you discovered your former Pastor was a Calvinist after you started this blog and after you left your church while enduring some shunning from members of your former church.

    Truth be told, Mark, I wasn’t looking for a doctrinal label when I started the blog – I was just looking at patterns I saw as a result of abuse.

    I am fairly certain that my brain works differently than yours. I live with an engineer husband and when I say, there’s a problem with ________, he figures out why there is a problem, immediately wants to fix the problem, and can articulate the steps needed to get there.

    All I know is that when I read SGMSurvivor.com blog, I thought I was reading about BGBC and kept looking at the top of the screen to see if it said “BGBC”. It floored me that there was another church that was so similar to mine. The end result of abuse was the same at SGM and BGBC: people left confused, trampled down, questioning their faith, with little joy and grace in their lives (they would deny this when they were there, but admitted it after they left). SGM is identified as Neo-Calvinist, so I assume that is the leaning of my former church more than just plain Calvinism. I don’t know where the line between plain Calvinism and Neo-Calvinism is. All I know is when I see similar patterns of broken-down spiritual lives, I know there is a problem somewhere.

    I was in fact a Doctrinal Challenge to my former 5 Point Hyper Theological Pastor asking the kind of questions that would eventually reveal his true Stealth Doctrine.

    This is a fascinating topic I’d like to explore more. Thank you for continuing to bring it up. I’m hoping others who might have similar experiences will pipe in so we can discuss it further.

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  77. It seems to me the fundamentalists insist on taking Scripture literally only when it fits their agendas and doctrinal traditions. Here are some Scriptures I’m fairly certain are not taken literally by any of the numerous fundamentalists I have known:

    Romans 5:18: Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for ALL men.

    1 Corinthians 15:22: For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive.

    Romans 3:22b-24: For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Note that, not only have all sinned, but also ALL are justified)

    Titus 2:11: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for ALL people.

    Romans 11:32: For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on ALL.

    2 Corinthians 5:18: All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the WORLD to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

    Ephesians 4:5: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of ALL, who is over all and through ALL and in ALL.

    I believe all verses are from ESV, though, because I have copied from a preexisting document, I can’t be sure. Emphasis is mine.

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  78. Julie Anne,

    I’m not suggesting you were looking for a Doctrinal label. (I know your focus is addressing abuse) Discovering that your former Pastor was a Calvinist may or may not be that important to you,

    I think if you did discover that your Pastor was a Calvinist on your blog, it was by accident. In other words I understand you weren’t purposely trying to discover your Pastor’s Doctrine when you started this blog.

    In my case, it’s blogs like yours and addressing abuse, that help me discover abuse is a big problem and that motivated me to relentlessly pursue the source of where the abuse began.

    I do think that Doctrinal Indifference does create strife, maybe that wasn’t the case for you, like I’m made to believe, for which I apologize for making that assumption.

    For me, I knew my Pastor was holding back on something. he knew I was trying to figure it out. If I hadn’t figured it out I would’ve been vulnerable to more abuse.

    I’m sure there are many who have endured abuse not understanding they were being led by a 5 Point Hyper-Theologian and that was part of the reason why they were struggling with their Methodology.

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  79. No need to apologize, Mark – we’re just trying to get better understanding of each other. I do want to again make a distinction. I see your comment referring to solely “Calvinists.” Based on the same end result of spiritual abuse I have seen in so many other neo-reformed churches, I think that my former church went beyond basic Calvinism into that “neo” or “hyper” realm.

    I’m not a fan of a lot of what I see in Calvinist circles; however, I cannot say that all who label themselves as Calvinist are abusers, evil, etc. I want to be careful to make that distinction. I mentioned Craig earlier. Another friend of mine is reformed Pastor Jeff Crippen (blogger at Cry for Justice blog). I do not see him crossing the lines to abuse. He is a kind and gentle soul speaking out loudly against abuse.

    Gary: Those passages are so good and beautiful. Thank you.

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  80. Gary,
    You mentioned a lot of verses emphasizing the word “all”. It definitely might help to get yourself back to a KJV Bible with a Strong’s concordance, and you will see a definite difference in context. The reason for the KJV, you might ask? We may not fully understand 1611 European English, but it was a much purer English than last century, or even this century. And, it helps when doing word studies, too. In other words, there are words and phrases that match words and phrases in the KJV that you will not find in any other English translation. I only use other translations for easy to read, but I revert back to the KJV when I want to get serious about study.

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  81. Julie Anne,

    I am focused only on avoiding Hyper-Theologians, who call themselves Reformed, New Reformed, New Calvinist who are stealth or openly disclose their doctrine but practice an Abusive Method as way to defend their abusive interpretation of scripture..

    I am aware there are Preachers that lean Calvinist and do not embrace or practice an Abusive Hyper-Theology. I have friends that have “Reformed” leanings as well. (I do think those leanings are questionable, but I choose not to interfere)

    I think even being a low point Calvinist it is somewhat risky, especially if they embrace the part of Calvinism that emphasizes “Election Theology”. or they pick and choose to embrace certain parts of TULIP and refute other parts of TULIP.

    What happens if we purposely pick and choose certain parts of the Bible, to believe?

    A low point Calvinist refuting parts of TULIP (which is the basis for the Calvinistic Doctrine) would have to be in the eyes of the Hyper-Calvinist refuting parts of the Bible.

    Some of us who don’t reference and refute the need to rely on any part of TULIP consider most Hyper-Calvinist of embracing a reckless interpretation and refuting certain parts scriptures.

    I’m sure the Hyper Theologian feel the same toward some of us if we refute any part of TULIP as refuting Scriptures. In my case I choose to avoid even looking at TULIP.which is essentially the Calvinist handbook. My handbook is the Bible

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  82. chapmaned24,

    Thank you for referring me back to KJV, especially since died in the wool fundamentalists may well insist upon using KJV and no other translation. Keeping in mind that my purpose in presenting these passages is solely to demonstrate that there are Biblical Texts that the fundamentalists will likely refuse to take literally, here are the verses in KJV:

    Romans 5:18: Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life.

    1 Corinthians 15:22: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.

    Romans 3:22b-24: for there is no difference: For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

    Titus 2:11: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL men,

    Romans 11:32: For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon ALL.

    2 Corinthians 5:18-19: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the WORLD unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

    Ephesians 4:5-6: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through ALL, and in you ALL.

    Again, of course, emphasis is mine. The passages were copied from http://www.kingjamesbible.org. I have looked at the Greek texts, and in every instance where I have emphasized the word ALL, the Greek word for all (pas, in various forms as appropriate according to usage) actually appears; it is not simply inferred-and-inserted as sometimes happens with some words in the various English translations. With the exception of Titus 2:11 and, possibly, Ephesians 4:5-6, it appears the fundamentalists are left to squirm. Where Ephesians 4:6 is concerned, and as far as I can tell, the Greek text to which the KJV translators had access did in fact end “in you (humin) all,” indicating the possibility of a limited application as to the included “all.” The modern reconstructions of the Greek text omit this appearance of “you.” If current scholarship is correct, the fundamentalists still have to squirm at the notion of reading the Ephesians passage literally.

    Once again, I present these verse for the limited purpose of making the point that the fundamentalists will be hard pressed to take every verse in the Bible literally. They will make exceptions where their agendas and idolatrously held doctrines require. In my view these verses absolutely should not be read as indicating that everybody will die and go to heaven, no matter what. As to how the verses should be read, well, that already has been fodder for more than one book.

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  83. To anybody who may have been offended by the reference to idolatrously held doctrines in my previous post, I apologize. While I believe doctrine can and does become an idol, not everybody who subscribes to a literal reading of Scripture is an idolator. I myself attempt to take Scripture at face value, which is only subtly different than taking it literally, I was over the top.

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  84. Pingback: Spiritual Abuse: A Case Study | Spiritual Sounding Board

  85. Gary, thank you for taking the time to look up those KJV scriptures and also the Greek root words identifying “all.” I once did a Precepts Bible study of Colossians and was blown away at how Christ is our All – so many cross-references in scripture. I appreciate your contributions.

    Amos: you said:

    a – Sounded to me like R.D. could be related to Fred Butler. LOL – Are they twins?
    Didn’t you say they both comment on SharperIron.com?

    I have a hunch that R.D. found me from there. I sometimes post there and often bang my head on the wall when I do, however. I originally found Fred’s blog article cross-posted there and that’s how we originally connected. I don’t think he frequents there very often.

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  86. @Amos – I think I misinterpreted your overall disdain for “false preachers” (my words) and equated it it to Gary W’s feelings regarding biblical literalists.

    Spong’s association with the Episcopal Church shouldn’t disqualify him from being considered a formidable Biblical Scholar. But he is also a theologian, and that is why his opinions are more scrutinized (and even condemned) more so than the mere opinions of a “Bible Scholar”. Let me explain this.

    I have a love affair with Bible Scholars, Jewish and Christian alike. I truly respect and admire these folks and I find Christian Biblical Scholarship and Textual Criticism endlessly fascinating. Bible Scholars are the Maytag Repairmen of the theological world insofar as it is, a “lonely” life. Whether they are Roman or Anglo-Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist – they all speak the same language. They read the same journals, participate in the same research. They even contribute to one another’s commentaries and concordances. They are “tolerated” as somewhat useful, somewhat necessary by theologians – provided that they don’t broadcast what they know to to broad an audience. They are intimately familiar with the manuscript evidence in all of its classification and sub-classification glory, they understand its languages and the pitfalls of translation, transliteration, exegesis and hermeneutics and how the “thought-forms” of a particular people and language heavily influence how an ancient language *should* be rendered into a modern language, as opposed to how exegetics and theologians demand it be translated. If you are a Biblical Scholar and want to remain employed, don’t want your research grants and such to disappear, you learn to work in the background and not bring too much attention to yourself. Jewish Biblical Scholars don’t have quite the same trouble unless they are working with the Dead Sea Scroll material. The work of the original scholars of the Dead Sea Scroll project, led by the very antisemitic Catholic priest, Roland DeVaux, is perhaps one of the most contentious stories you will ever read, worthy of a mini-series or motion picture, but I digress.

    Getting back to the world of Christian Biblical Scholarship…back in the mid 1960s, the Catholic Church, of all institutions, permitted the publication of the Jerome Biblical Commentary. Its contributors were both Catholic and Protestant. Now, there’s nothing in the Jerome Biblical Commentary that you won’t find published elsewhere in journals and other university research. Nothing you won’t find in the very fine work by the Southern Methodists in their various works regarding the history of early Christianity, textual criticism, the history of the compilation of the Old and New Testaments, and so forth. All of it was based on known, accredited research that was read and shared by Catholics and Protestants alike and it gets the occasional update when new information becomes available. That wasn’t the problem.

    The problem was that unlike other published research and commentary that largely gets overlooked by the reading public, the Jerome Biblical Commentary got *read*. It became very popular (or very UN-popular). Like most Biblical Scholarship, it contradicts popularly held beliefs and re-affirms others. It could be said that it refutes all that the Catholic Church itself holds as doctrine an dogma which is incredible since the Catholic Church itself published it. It could also be said that it refutes *most* of what theologians of all stripes hold as their particular doctrine and dogma while there again, re-affirming quite a bit as well. It lays bare the discipline of Biblical Scholarship for all to see in reasonably accessible language.

    I don’t know why RC church allowed it to be published. Perhaps they felt it was just one more scholarly work that would sit collecting dust in some library or bookstore, I don’t know. But it got read. Boy, did it get read. Oh boy oh boy oh boy did it get read. Look up “Jerome Biblical Commentary” and prepare for Holy War. Even Catholics get in the game to try to refute its research on their own blogs. Fundamentalists detest it.

    So Spong is both Scholar and Theologian and therein lies the problem. He states theological, doctrinal and dogmatic opinion armed with Biblical Scholarship and that is an incredibly unenviable position to find one’s self in. If I were to choose that path as my profession, I’d invest in body armor and keep my Will updated…

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