Challies Rails against Discernment Bloggers: Fear of Truth Exposed?

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Sometimes when I search for pictures, I simply type the first phrase that comes to me. Today’s phrase:  rubber meets the road and this is what popped up:

PHOTO

photo credit: T.Hoffarth via photopin cc

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Yes, skid marks.  I’m slamming on the brakes to discuss this.  Tim Challies is going off on discernment bloggers today on his most recent blog article and I posted about it in the comments of yesterday’s article.  Reader, Sergius Martin-George asked me this:

So what bothers you the most about the poor, beleaguered Mr. Challies’ apologia, JA? Do tell. Inquiring minds and all that…

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I wasn’t planning on posting this, but after Sergius’ comment, I figured I would go ahead.  To understand why I got all worked up, be sure to read the article:

In the Crosshairs of the Discernment Bloggers

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Sergius and readers, here are my rambling thoughts.  Below is one of the quotes from Tim Challies’ article  – – the “they” he is referring to is “discernment blogs”:

 They are the playground bullies of the Internet, shaking their fists and demanding your lunch money; if you give it to them you go hungry, if you don’t give it to them, you get your head shoved in a toilet. Where the Bible calls us to approach conflict with equal parts truth and love, discernment bloggers operate by lies and fear–or half-truths and fear at the very least. It is an intimidating combination if you are the one who may face their wrath.

I have a hunch that one of the blogs he is referring to is The Wartburg Watch (TWW) blog. Deb of TWW recently posted this article:

Tim Challies/Cruciform Press in our “Cross” Hairs 

Look at Tim’s recent article title:  In the Crosshairs of the Discernment Bloggers.

Is it a coincidence that the phrase “cross hairs” is in both titles   – – – especially since Wartburg Watch’s article was just a month ago?  What do you think?

Here’s another concern:

If a well-known ministry is teaching heresy and leading people to hell or systemically promoting or allowing abuse of children, I am certain we can find someone to do a real and honest investigation, to verify the facts, to talk to the people involved, and to determine if this is the case. If it is, I will join in sounding the alarm.

I have sounded the alarm to Challies about the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) fiasco.  I am certainly not the only one.  He has me blocked on Twitter because I asked him the tough questions.  Why does he not sound the alarm?

Here’s where I stand on the issue.  It does not demonstrate love by remaining silent on issues of abuse.  It is love to call for action from those in positions of authority who have a platform to do something.

Challies says that discernment bloggers are operating in fear:

The second lesson is one I am surprised I did not see before: Discernment bloggers often operate by fear. They are intimidating because of their willingness to release information and misinformation, to speculate and fabricate, to share personal details and confidential correspondence and to stretch what doesn’t quite fit.

Fear?  This is most bizarre.  No, discernment bloggers aren’t afraid to call people in authority figures to action. That’s not fear.   They are emboldened by love to action.

I need to identify one thing that is glaring so obviously at me.  Challies is talking about discernment bloggers as the mean bullies.  He spent a lot of time in his article discussing that lies or half-truths were said about him, defending his reputation.   It seems he is projecting the fear he has.  He is playing the victim card.  I’m not buying it.  Fear blocks comments.  Fear blocks Twitter accounts.  Fear shuts down communication.  Fear of what?  Fear of truth exposed?  Fear that maybe his friends and acquaintances really are those who cover up abuse in churches and leave a trail of victims?

What Dee/Deb, others, and I stand for are the victims.  Why is there so much focus on Challies himself and so little on victims, the ones who have no voice?

The role of a pastor  or church leader is to help people make decisions and discern truth, not to act like they are the Holy Spirit.  The way his blog post is written, he expects everyone to believe him at his word – to follow him blindly based on what he says, in which blogs to follow and not to follow.  Is this something he should be deciding for us?  If he thinks people are lying, then he needs to name them so that people can judge for themselves, using their own discernment and following the Holy Spirit’s leading, not the Tim Challies leading.

He calls discernment bloggers as schoolyard bullies. Can someone please hand Tim Challies a mirror?  Did he not do what he is claiming others are doing?  Which bloggers are schoolyard bullies?  We want to see.  How is he defining a discernment blog? Does he not have discernment articles? As someone mentioned in the comments, Pyromaniacs has discernment articles – are they discernment blogs?

Challies is indeed connected with Sovereign Grace Ministries as stated on his church’s affiliation page.

Here is a compilation of book reviews from The Boar’s Head Tavern blog:  Book Reviews

I know that Challies recently reviewed Josh Harris’ new book.  I saw Josh’s tweet about it and also it went through my FB newsfeed.  That’s another connection.

Tim Challies, instead of hiding behind words bashing “discernment bloggers,” really needs to come clean himself.   He has chosen to live a life in the public spotlight.  God has given him a very unique gift of having a public platform and friends and acquaintances who are church leader.  Is he using it in a way that is honoring to God and all of God’s people, including ones with no voices who have been hurt/abandoned by their own church leaders?

Challies, because of his position, shouldn’t feel threatened when people are concerned about his finances/connections/acquaintances.  His position demands transparency and open dialogue.  Tim is a pastor, very popular blogger, co-owner of a publishing company, and author.  He is a very public figure.  It doesn’t look good to have affiliations, book reviews, etc, with leaders in Sovereign Grace Ministries and pretend that there is no real problem there and there are no victims.  Enough is enough.

Tim, in his blog article, seems to come across as a victim.  He is not a victim.  Instead, in my opinion, he uses his platform to complain about how people have called him to account.  This story gets so old with me.  I know for a fact that many times when a victim sees yet another pastor fail to hear their cries, it triggers abandonment issues, questions about who God is, whether He is there for them.  It makes them question in their mind are all pastors like this?   And this, folks, is the primary reason I am frustrated – it’s about the true victims and yet Challies has turned it around to blame discernment bloggers, missing yet another opportunity to call to account abuse in church which so many discernment bloggers keep blogging about. Not only that, he is dragging his buddy pastors/church leaders alongside.  And that just makes me a little irritated.

It’s shameful.  End of rant.

Edited to add:  SGMSurvivors has added an article on this topic:  Tim Challies has No Room for Discernment Bloggers

65 comments on “Challies Rails against Discernment Bloggers: Fear of Truth Exposed?

  1. I read it. definately seems like a “woe is me whine”……honestly most bloggers are “discernment bloggers” you just “discern” the opposite that he does.

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  2. Julie Anne,

    I’m a little behind the eight ball.

    What Doctrine does Tim Challies embrace, What Doctrine is SGM?

    I’m just say’in.

    @ 9:47 a.m I ask you a question on the CMBW post..

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  3. Oh yeh they are Neo-Calvinists (or New Calvinists). These are the guys that want you to continually be kept in perpetual earthly purgatory, constantly dwelling on how wicked and bad you are even as a Christian. Get out the whips and scourge yourself especially if you are abused- the more abused you are the better you understand the suffering of Christ (or thats what they would say)!

    “If a well-known ministry is teaching heresy and leading people to hell or systemically promoting or allowing abuse of children, I am certain we can find someone to do a real and honest investigation, to verify the facts, to talk to the people involved, and to determine if this is the case. If it is, I will join in sounding the alarm.”

    Did you notice the “I am certain we can find someone to do a REAL and HONEST investigation”? WELL, WHERE IS IT- pray tell? I have not seen one of these guys get out on National tv and denounce all that is going on or demand a thorough investigation.

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  4. Julie Anne
    I did not see his church affiliation with the other gospel churches in the area, including SGM.Good find. Good for you.

    Here’s the deal. Either you are proud of your affiliations or you are not. Challies should have said “So what?” and continued on his merry way. He didn’t. So, there is a reason he decided to have his meltdown. We hit a nerve.

    I would proudly say that I am friends with Julie Anne Smith even if we haven’t yet met face to face.

    Love the skid marks at the top of your blog.

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  5. trusthimonly-Faith.

    Anybody that embraces any of Point of John Calvin’s “TULIP” is a Calvinist.

    They can call themselves, Reformed, New Reformed, Calvinist, New Calvinist, Hyper Calvinist, Neo-Calvinist 1 Point, 2 Point, 3 Point, 4 Point, 5 Point or a Reformed Calvinist they all fit inside the “Calvinist School” and thereby are Calvnist.

    I don’t see how it is possible to be “partially Calvinist” anymore than a woman can be “partially pregnant”.

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  6. I noticed that there were quite a number of people logging in ‘push back’ comments to Challies’ post. They are challenging his assumptions and questioning his motives. Good call.

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  7. I found it interesting that he doesn’t seem to deny the facts. He denies the assumptions made on the facts.

    “Because here’s the reality: So much of what they wrote about me had so little basis in reality. These bloggers misinterpreted even what is obvious, stretched what is true, assumed what is dubious, and fabricated the rest. They shared all of this with their readers as if it was based on verifiable facts, as if they were privy to details, as if it was anything more than conjecture.”

    In my experience, when someone is legitimately being slandered or lied about, the first response is to show the facts. Because contrary to what he would have us believe, facts do speak for themselves. I read both articles. And it is very clear that the first is only stating facts, the obvious conjectures are only what is taken away by the reader, not anything that is stated by the writer. He is upset by the truth that the facts infer.

    That he refuses to even site which article is bullying him is proof of that. He is simply trying to buffer himself with yes men who will agree wholeheartedly with him without knowing what is going on. Because even his yes men would probably have to second guess him if they were given the information and allowed to make their own decisions.

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  8. whew, good post, JA! I kept stopping and reading quotes from what you said to my husband.

    What really irritates me, besides the general overall whineyness of the article, was the wishy-washy lack of any evidence about these “discernment blogs.” What’s with passive-aggressively whining about someone “slandering” him??! does he not have the balls to stand up for himself?! A lot of people who are still in SGM are passing his article around as if it is supposed to be the end all answer about blogging. bleh, it makes me so frustrated.

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  9. Hm. I went to read some of the responses to his blog post when Poof! One minute I could see them, the next I could not! Did he wipe them all? If so, how cowardly!

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  10. Excellent observation, Shakes. Going along with what you said about facts, take a look at the last paragraph and see if it applies here, too:

    But I will not read any more shocking exposes built on nothing more than one side’s accusations and angry conjectures. I am not going to read about this person’s finances and that person’s leadership style. I am not going to allow people with so little integrity, with so little concern for truth and love, to violate my conscience, pollute my mind, and disrupt my love for others. And I’d encourage you to join me.

    So based on his interpretation of things – – which provide no facts, no websites for us to fact check, he wants us to avoid all “discernment blogs” that have anything negative to say about church leaders. Those of us with high controlling pastors told us how to think and acted like our Holy Spirit.

    Read that paragraph again keeping in mind the friends he has in church leadership. Is he saying: I’m not going to read about my pastor friend’s finances, my pastor friend’s leadership style. I am not going to allow people with so little integrity, with so little concern for truth and love, to violate my conscience, pollute my mind, and disrupt my love for others (pastor friends). And I’d encourage you to join me in not reading about my pastor friend’s finances, his horrific leadership style?

    Could he be saying that?

    And not to toot Dee’s horn or anything, but I know her. Victims come first for her. The discernment bloggers I know have nothing but truth and love for victims.

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  11. I was directed to Challies earlier via your tweet. The irony of reading him was that Challies was guilty of doing the very same thing he was accusing his target of doing.

    Notice how he used a foul broad-brush to paint everything contrary to him as wet with ignorance, error, fear, distortion and whatever else.

    Glad you posted on him.

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  12. JA, I think you are right on the mark. And I hate how opened ended everything is. Without giving specifics, he is causing his readers to live in fear wondering if they are reading exactly what he is talking about since he didn’t bother to point them in the right direction. But that is what a controller is always after, isn’t it?

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  13. Tim Challies refused to say what blogs he had in mind when he wrote his article and now people on his site are responding, agreeing with him, saying all sorts of negative things about certain unnamed blogs. It’s presumed one of the blogs Tim Challies is talking about is TWW. How can anyone tell what blogs these supporters are talking about? They could be talking about some truly off-the-rails blogs while others are thinking they’re talking about TWW. Tim Challis is being completely unfair to everyone including his supporters.

    And no one can even defend themselves when they haven’t been named.

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  14. That puckering out of Toronto!! (I can hear it from Washington, D.C.!) Tim is getting ready to smack his lips to CJ Mahaney’s ass again! He needs to brown nose, he needs to do nothing but ass kiss. SMG maybe you can photo shop a picture a picture on your blog of Tim Challies kissing CJ Mahaney’s ass. If that ain’t brown nosing I don’t know what is! 😛

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  15. BTW…Julie Anne..I spent last night researching the word “smack” in the library of George Mason University here in Fairfax, Virginia. I learned that smack also means to kiss loudly. As in smacking one’s lips. So maybe John Piper also meant brown nosing and doing some ass kissing to keep the Reformed Industrial Complex going. After all you don’t just get Piper…you get Chandler, Mahaney, Driscoll, etc…

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  16. You know, I think he didn’t name names for a reason. It is my opinion that he was vague this time around so he could do some more reflecting…(judging by the comments that he knew would come requesting more information…the names of the blogs, etc.,) and, upon reflecting, will decide he needs one more post to clear all this up…or two. More traffic. Lots of clicks and more attention.

    He could have covered what he wanted to say (which was nothing which gave any factual insight but only his very negative opinions) in two paragraphs.

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  17. Funny thing, Shakes, is probably very few people even know about the TWW article. How many more articles have been written? Dee said their hits went up today – probably from searching (plus, I did add a few tweets with the link to Deb’s article). Maybe others did as well.

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  18. You could be right, Diane – kind of like brooding. I find it lacking integrity and transparency. Just put the dang thing on the table and deal with it once and for all, already!

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  19. Trust said

    Get out the whips and scourge yourself especially if you are abused- the more abused you are the better you understand the suffering of Christ (or that’s what they would say)!

    So Christians are supposed to become like Shiite Muslims and whip them self each year? Maybe they should do this on their pilgrimage to Together 4 Gospel, or TGC events

    Here’s a video of Shiites doing this in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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  20. Shannon, that is a very good point! He can garner support for a reputable blog by not naming it and letting others assume he is talking about whatever they want to believe.

    JA, I did read through some comments that looked like his supporters wanted to know what was going on so they have probably done a little investigating of their own. They better be careful, if he finds out they aren’t just taking him at face value, they will get a stern, vaguely worded reprimand. 😀

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  21. I did JA. I need to shoot you an email. I’ve wanted to tweet some stuff from my Fake John Piper III account for a while but I wonder if I would get in trouble. What’s your email address?

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  22. @Eagle: That is a terrific idea, and very tempting, but ever since the Editorial Board lovingly put the kibash on my egalitarian-pleasuring-party graphic during Wilsongate last year, I’ve been a bit gunshy with the imagery. I am, however, choking of my coffee as I read the thread, so thank you for that.

    What I found most outrageous about Challies’s thread was the coddling from the fan based: “Oh, Tim, I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through — you poor boy!”

    Hey Challies: Have you given any thought to what it would be like for a truly defenseless child to be in the crosshairs of an abuser?

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  23. Wait, SMG – – egalitarian pleasure party – – – wasn’t that part of my name with the Rebel Jezebel Egalitarian Pleasure Party? Where did he say that? I must find it.

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  24. Confession- I have had a glass of red wine- I just had a little fun here, because fun is needed when I want to yell, YELL. I will repent in the morning. ( ;
    One more thing: God bless You J.A. Methinks God has her prophets doing his work here and at the TWW.

    O Challies-

    Some sheep ain’t as dumb as you’d like them to be,
    especially the wounded ones,
    they have ears to hear & eyes to see.

    Looks to me that someone got under your skin,
    by shining the light on a abusers sin.

    And it seems as clear as day,
    that you are having a temper tantrum
    and you want your way,
    and any who disagrees hit the highway.

    Well, I got some news that you are not going to like,
    these bloggers you accuse are bringing SIN into the light.
    They stand up for the wounded & expose certain leaders,
    & some of us who have been abused are their faithful readers.

    See, those of us who have been crushed by your friends
    are becoming a small army due to these bloggers honest pens.

    You can try & shut them up by scolding them with your words,
    but what you don’t understand is these blogs are a safe place for victims to be heard.

    And you just might want to take that log that is protruding out of your eye,
    before you deal with the speck in them, because they stand up for the little guy.
    Kinda like Jesus-duh.

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  25. I hesitate to judge, or for that matter criticize Challies, although I disagree with some of his theology.

    In fact, I agree with him as he is talking about “discernment blogs”. I’ll comment further in a bit but first let me say that I don’t consider this or WW to be a discernment blogs (necessarily). Maybe at times they cross the line. Maybe Challies does consider them to be, I don’t know.

    My issue is that over the last 30 or so years, Christians have turned into a bunch of bullies. “Discernment blogs” show this as often as not. Sometimes the same can be said for apologists. Got something that doesn’t quite fit the main stream? They are worse than “pecking party” (see quote #7 – http://www.shmoop.com/one-flew-over-cuckoos-nest/manipulation-quotes-3.html).

    I do believe this blog serves an important purpose so I also believe it needs to stay focused to avoid being the bully that caused the situation you found yourself in.

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  26. Joel – I always appreciate the reminder – thank you. I actually almost didn’t post this, but when I saw similar characteristics that we see in unhealthy church environments, I decided I would go ahead and post it (ie, not allowing people to have all of the information, no thinking for self, and later, shutting down comments “no-talk”). I do pay attention to constructive criticism. I am far from perfect and you better believe I can get roused up and go too far. Thanks again, Joel.

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  27. “Comments for this thread are now closed.”

    Dang, I was hoping to post my cheezy poem.

    J.A. You don’t need to be perfect, and coming from the space I am in, you didn’t get roused up, nor did you go too far, but I am coming from the place of being crushed so I am biased…

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  28. To be fair, Challies did mention in one of his responses that he has a policy of shutting down comments after 100 as he believes “not much good happens after the 100th comment”. Though I’d like to know how he knows that, seeing as he shuts comments down so early!

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  29. “They are the playground bullies of the Internet, shaking their fists and demanding your lunch money; if you give it to them you go hungry, if you don’t give it to them, you get your head shoved in a toilet. Where the Bible calls us to approach conflict with equal parts truth and love, discernment bloggers operate by lies and fear–or half-truths and fear at the very least. It is an intimidating combination if you are the one who may face their wrath”

    Hyperbole. yes, it is a whine. I have just about had it with these perfumed prince whiny “Christian” leaders.

    Just compare his words with the ACTIONS of the SGM pastors who made a 3 year old face her molester and forgive him. Or how about an SGM pastor telling a mom she should put a lock on the inside of her daughters door so her dad cannot rape her again and for the wife to give him more sex. See, problem solved.

    Compare the victims of that cult with Challies’ words above. Who are the bullies? And who are the bullies’ fellow travellors who enable men like Mahaney to be promoted as great men of God AFTER we know truth of SGM?

    Challies should look in the mirror. But then, this is really about business.

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  30. Lydia said:

    Just compare his words with the ACTIONS of the SGM pastors who made a 3 year old face her molester and forgive him. Or how about an SGM pastor telling a mom she should put a lock on the inside of her daughters door so her dad cannot rape her again and for the wife to give him more sex.

    Can I get an AMEN around here, people?!! Woohoo, that was some good preaching, Lydia!

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  31. Scared: I really like your poem. 🙂 Since his comments are ALREADY closed within one day!! (Talk about a shut out of the regular peeps opinions!) Why don’t you email it to him?

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  32. Pingback: Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: When Did “Roles” Become a Primary Doctrinal Issue? | Spiritual Sounding Board

  33. Sgmnot,

    I gave the poem a little more spotlight in today’s post because I, too, liked it. I think people are still able to comment on Challies’ Facebook page.

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  34. Something that I’ve been thinking about but haven’t had a chance to post…
    I think that Challies’ meltdown has a lot to do with the fact that the “discernment blogs” are mostly run by women. How DARE they question the Patriarchy?

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  35. Steve – – That’s funny. I was wondering today exactly how he defines discernment blogs. My blog is so diverse. I think Ken Silva’s would be called a discernment blog, but not so sure mine is. I really don’t know.

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  36. Julie Anne
    I think he defines discernment blogs as any blog that went after his poorly written “stick my head in the sand” post. Frankly, i don’t find his writing all that compelling or for that matter all that deep. Many in the TGC are just not as mature as they think they are.

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  37. Steve – I said it in the post – but if it was really going to have merit, he needed to include facts of what he was talking about. Unfortunately, there are enough fans who won’t want to fact check and will blindly follow suit.

    I can’t help but be reminded of my former pastor who had us all convinced that his church was the best church in all of Portland area (that’s why someone drove 45 minutes to be there)- – -he also had us convinced that anyone who left was obviously in sin to want to leave the best church in the area. It could never be an issue with the pastor.

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  38. JA-
    I discovered some SGM material in the back of a church I visited for a few months. Was surprised since this Pastor was a recent Grad od Masters Seminary. Any connection there that you would know about? I ask because I don’t know if there is a connection at all between John Macarthur and SGM Pastors. Thanks

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  39. Hannah – – CJ Mahaney has spoken at the Shepherds’ Conference hosted by John MacArthur’s church – it’s been a few years and I don’t think he has not been invited back. The powers that be certainly are aware of the SGM fiasco. This might be why there has been an obvious distancing as far as open invitations back at Grace Community or the Shepherds’ Conference. However, both Mahaney and MacArthur spoke at the same conference this year. Obviously MacArthur doesn’t think Mahaney’s behavior is bad enough to say that he’s not going to speak at the same event along with him.

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  40. Isn’t it ironic that someone like Tim Challies, who apparently still owns a book review web site called “Discerning Reader,” is now railing against those he denounces as “discernment bloggers?”

    Here is an excerpt from the site’s “About Us” page:

    As the number of books rolling of the presses increases, the discernment of Christians decreases. Local churches are finding it increasingly difficult (and tragically, increasingly unnecessary) to equip their people to discern good from bad, better from best.

    We would like to help.

    Discerning Reader is a site dedicated to promoting good books–books that bring honor to God. At the same time, we hope to help Christians avoid being unduly influenced by books and teachers that are not honoring to God.

    We do not seek to be harsh or judgmental. Rather, we seek only to be discerning as we compare books to the written Word of God. We let the words of authors speak for themselves and simply hold the books up to the light of Scripture. In doing so, we are building a database of reviews which we feel cast a discerning light on the books that are found in Christians homes, churches and bookstores.

    Among the authors whose books are listed as “not recommended” by Tim Challies and other reviewers: Ruth Haley Barton, John Eldredge, Max Lucado, Brennan Manning and Beth Moore.

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  41. Wow, have to say this post sickens me.

    Step back…and ask youself. When I made that post, was I obeying the commandment love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbore as yourself. And if you justify your answer by saying I love people enough to sound the alarm, try to remember that Tim Challies (despite the fact his theology is different from yours) is not only our neighbore but our brother in Christ. I read his post, and yours. Based on what I’ve read above though, not only the blog but the actual comments following the blog I would, I would say there is very little, if any 1 Cor 13, or Phil 2:1-4. CHRIST died for you. But guess what…He died for Tim too. And if our Savior saw fit to die for Him, why do you think it’s ok to speak the way you do about your brother. The fact that he did not defend the specific accusations does not appear to be an acceptance of them. You appear to be hungry to see him fall so you’ll twist anything. If he did defend them you would have said if he didn’t care and they weren’t true he wouldn’t have felt the need to defend them.

    Come on people. Stop eating up someone else’s so called discernment. Pray, ask the Lord for Wisdom while reading. How can someone with so much discernment completely miss Ephesians 4:15.

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  42. Did you pray and ask discernment before you posted this comment? Did you listen to the answer he gave you? Or when he told you to pause and not post this comment out of indignation, did you ignore him and post it anyway? Is this the only post you read, or when he prompted you to read more, did you decide to skip that part.

    Please don’t answer yes just to be right. Take a minute and ask yourself if you are following the very advice you give in your comment.

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  43. Honestly, I didn’t start out with prayer. I wouldn’t say indignant is the word, rather upset and protective of a brother. But did feel that conviction of being “quick to speak”. So stopped. Asked for wisdom and gentleness and carried on. Reading over my post I can see gentleness is lacking and I do apologize for that. The Lord is working on my tongue and it’s been a long process. So I really do repent of that.

    I hope you can read my 1st post and reflect on your writings by saying “was I really loving by writing that of a brother” rather than “that girl is judging me so I’m going to ignore her whole point”

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  44. Thank you for your honest response. I didn’t feel directly judged by your comment because I wasn’t judging; I was questioning. Love does not preclude this. His actions are being called into account, not his salvation or his person.

    As for your point, even though I am just a commenter, I feel safe in saying everyone is welcome to the discussion here. But I felt like you just wanted to shut the whole conversation down and judge us for discussing what a Christian leader openly posted instead of voicing why you think that we are incorrect in our assessment. If that were not the case, I believe you would have started your comment with “I disagree” instead of “this post sickens me.”

    I hope you will take the time to read more of this blog so you can understand why this topic was brought up. A lot of us are here because we have been in awful churches with spiritually abusive pastors. We need a safe place to question things like this so we can relearn what Godly leadership looks like. So these conversations are going to happen and they need to happen so that we can heal from the horrible experiences we have lived through.

    We don’t want these leaders to fail, we want them to grow but if no one questions them, that is not going to happen.

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  45. I get it…you’ve been hurt by leaders. Without getting into detail, so have I. And I do believe healing comes from being open about those hurts.

    Here’s my concern. And maybe this is just the way things are done on blogs, I’m not sure. But this forum of speaking about someone negatively without any one of you actually picking up the phone or sending him an email or working toward unity and reconciliation with a brother you believe has sinned is concerning (Tim mentioned he has not received any form of communication to verify these accusations). You say you want him to grow, but how will he do that when you are speaking here, directing accusations to each other and not to him. Even in accounting, the profession says we are never to critisize a fellow accountant without first coming to them and addressing our concerns. The world seems to get it. Us Christians don’t.

    The accusations don’t worry me as much. If they are true they absolutely need to be addressed. How they are being addressed, does however grieve me. Read through the new testiment and we are hit over and over with words like “unity”, “together”, “one body”, “build up”. What I see is dissention. At best gossip, at worst slander. And I am guilty too. On many levels.

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  46. My point is this. We are called to be different. When the world sees us they should know we are His disciples by the love we show to one another. Not hippie type love, but count others more significant love, laying down our lives for one another love. Paul said that he would rather he was cut off from Christ for the sake of his brothers. We were genuinely hurt by our leaders. Should we respond by throwing the same stones at them that they threw at us? Or humbly pray for them, love them, show them what it truly means to live the gospel out. I don’t know.

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  47. Again, I would encourage you to read more articles posted here. JA always tries to communicate with these leaders. She says directly in this particular post that, “He has me blocked on Twitter.” I doubt very much that she has access to his email and phone number. If she did, as you would see in other blog posts, she would have tried to contact him that way as well.

    So she came here to discuss it and guess what, it worked! Now, apparently through you asking him about it, he has heard the accusations. This blog post achieved its intended purpose. We have reached his ear. Now the question is, will he respond?

    And as for a more significant love, you are right. The world is watching. And this is a more significant love. What you want us to do is Hippie love as you term it. You just want us to love one another, man. Don’t ask questions; just be. Ask yourself how you love those people in your life who are close to you. Do you let them know when you see them struggling or just ignore them? Do you build them up by only seeing the parts that you like and pretending they are infallible?

    Because what the world sees is us blindly following a seemingly endless list of people embroiled in scandal because they refused to be held accountable.

    This is the third time I am asking you to read more than one post. Until you do that, I feel that I can’t really discuss this further. I appreciate you taking the time to have this conversation, but at this point we are starting to go in circles.

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  48. What’s missing from so many people’s comments is the centrality of the leadership issue. If a church practices one-person rule, it will experience the kinds of problems CC faces. I know of no other way to address the crisis than to suggest a new style of leadership, one that is more in keeping with the New Testament example. We have learned that the Moses Model doesn’t work. What ought to have been commonsense or scriptural knowledge has now been brought home to us by many tragic occurances, if indeed we have caught on yet. As Americans we knew that our government operates by certain procedures and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. We seemed to thinkt he church was exempt from that. But God never said that. Scripture never suggested it. It is something we assumed. Let’s get back to reality. Elders led the early church; not one elder but many. It is logical, it is practical, and most of all it is early tradition. We should keep it.

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  49. Jon, you have clearly stated your point and I am in complete agreement. A team leadership is a much more efficient way to shepherd Christ’s people in this season. There are many gifts waiting to be discovered amongst God’s people. It is just not possible for one man to do a suitable job without a team to work with. There is also the danger of pastoral burnout–and this is a measurable statistic. Just not a viable model!

    Ann, Shakes has made a good suggestion that you check out the articles on SSB in order to comprehend the content and tone of the topics and discussions here. I trust that the more that you hang around and read what others say, the more informed you will be regarding this dysfunction in the Body of Christ. I also invite you to check out my website on the topic of spiritual abuse and recovery issues. http://www.ChurchExiters.com

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