Spiritual Abuse, Troubling Tweets

My Twitter Conversation with a Pastor about Doctrine and Truth

*     *     *

On Sunday, I was at my daughter’s volleyball tournament and in between games, I was “twittering” with a guy.  At the time, I didn’t know who he was, nor that he was a pastor, I was merely looking at his tweets and responding.  Don’t all moms tweet with pastors on Sunday in between volleyball games?  BTW, said kid and her team qualified for Nationals.  Oh yea.

I removed his name from the conversation below because I don’t want him to be the focus, but the content.  I’m just curious to know what your thoughts are on this.  If you’ve never tweeted, it’s quite a challenge to have a decent conversation with the 140-character space allowance.

Keep in mind, a few hours earlier, I had posted Compassion with Shoes On, so this post was still heavily on my mind.  My tweets are shown next to my picture.  His are shown by the hyperlinked dates (and most likely you can see who this guy is if you click on the hyperlink).   I have to tell you that I cracked up after I saw who this guy was.  I’m mom/blogger and he’s got a bazillion initials behind his name.  How do I get myself into these things?  LOL    I think you will see this guy handled himself very nicely.  I was impressed.  He didn’t behave like other twittering pastors who shall remain nameless.  Character counts with me.  He starts off with #1 tweet:

  1. Church leaders are stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4:1-5). In other words, a leader’s doctrine matters more than his personality.

  2. But without love, that doctrine is nothing.

  3. @DefendTheSheep I wouldn’t go that far. Doctrine indeed must be shared in love, but truth is truth.

  4. If you saw doctrine w/o love, you’d know what I’m talking about. I still hold to my statement.

  5. @DefendTheSheep Truth doesn’t change regardless how it’s presented. I think you’re going a step too far. True dDoctrine is never “nothing.”

  6. Pls help me understand how you see I’m going too far. I deal w/fallout of people who are harmed bec pastor failed to love….

  7. @DefendTheSheep All I’m saying is that doctrine is still true even when it’s shared in an unloving way. It’s never “nothing” if it’s truth.

  8. I’m talking about those who focus so much on doctrine that they fail to live out love (separate from doctrine).

  9. @DefendTheSheep If they present truth accurately/biblically, then their doctrine is true even if they don’t “live out love.”

  10. But even if doctrine is true, if they fail to love, then they fail! Check out my blog at my link. Might help explain.

  11. @DefendTheSheep If an abusive pastor says, “Jesus is Lord,” is it any less truthful than a loving pastor who says the same thing?

  12. I really want to discuss this pt in particular with you but my daughter is playing Vball now. I’m going to have to wait.

  13. @DefendTheSheep Ok. I’m sure we’re closer on this than it may appear.

  14. Julie Anne SmithJulie Anne Smith@DefendTheSheep

 I am interested in understanding you. Email might be easier. Spiritualsb @ gmail

*     *     *     *     *
I never did contact him or continue the conversation later, but it’s still bugging me.  This part in particular:

If an abusive pastor says, “Jesus is Lord,” is it any less truthful than a loving pastor who says the same thing?

Do you see why I would find this statement bothersome?  I say it is less than truthful coming from an abusive pastor.  The content is true, but the behavior causes so much confusion that it smacks of fraud.  It reminded me of my former pastor who said he preached the true gospel.  He may have mentioned grace from time to time (rarely), but if grace is not there, isn’t his message wrong?  I saw the path of destruction this man left.   Some of his victims are still as confused as ever.  I guess where I’m going with this is I think actions do speak louder than words.

Okay peeps, if I am missing something, please let me know.  I can handle it.  But my brain must get this settled. What do you think?
*     *     *

165 thoughts on “My Twitter Conversation with a Pastor about Doctrine and Truth”

  1. Great comments! Words like ‘truth’ and even ‘Truth’ have different shades of meaning and even meaning depending on the context. My little caution is let’s be careful not to argue over words.

    Craig Vick ABC, DEF, GH, IJKLMN, OPQ, RS, TUV, WXYZ

    Like

  2. Wesley

    Thanks for the response…
    And I’m glad you mentioned one of the qualifications for elder/overseer. 1 Tim 3:5.

    Personally – I never met a pastor/elder/overseer who met these tough qualifications.

    I have noticed, most pastor/elder/overseers today “Ignore” or “Twist” the “Qualifications” in 1 Tim 3:1-6, and Titus 1:5-9, so they could obtain for themselves this “Title/Postion” that comes with – Power – Profit – and – Prestige.

    Just look at 1 Tim 3:4-5, that you mentioned, where this pastor/elder/overseer is…
    “One that “ruleth well” his own house,
    having his children in subjection with all gravity; (Hmmm? Got any teenagers?)
    (For if a man know NOT how “to rule” his own house,
    how shall he take care of the church of God?)”

    Now – “rule well’ his own house is Manage Well in modern versions…
    This “Rule” is – Strongs #4291 – proistemi
    Thayers has “proistemi” as…
    1- to set or place before. 1a- to set over. 1b- to be over, to superintend, preside over.
    1c- to be a protector or guardian. 1c1- to give aid. 1d- to care for, give attention to.

    So, For a pastor/elder/overseer to “Qualify” according to 1 Tm, 3:4-5…
    A pastor/elder must – Protect, Guard, Care for, Give attention to their Family, WELL.

    Then take a look at the statistics for pastor/elders/overseers and their families.
    From ministries helping hurting pastors and their familiies – There are lots of them.

    http://www.intothyword.org/articles_view.asp?articleid=36562&columnid=
    * 77% say they do “NOT” have a good marriage.
    * 70% of pastors constantly fight depression. (That’s NOT good for the family – Is it?)

    http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/
    80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession.
    80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
    …….. Many pastor’s children do not attend church now because
    …….. of what the church has done to their parents.

    With 80% of pastor spouses NOT happy with this profession? And 80% of pastors saying pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families? With their children being hurt? And 77% saying they do NOT have a good marriage?

    That shows me, as I search for – “qualified pastor/overseers” – I already know that 70% – 80% of folks who are in that position – Do NOT Qualify. – Because – They do NOT “Rule Well” their own house. The ESV has “He must manage his own household well” – And – Well – They are NOT managing WELL their families.

    Nope – 70 – 80% do NOT Protect, Guard, Care for, Give attention to, the family -WELL.
    And they do NOT qualify.

    But – will they remove themselve?
    And be a good example to the flock?

    Like

  3. craigvick,

    Good advice.

    Sometimes words do get overused and out context especially if those words have different interpretations with differing Methodologies. (even between Pastors who profess the Gospel)

    The word “Truth” is being used a little too “liberally” and “aggressively” when it is based on personal interpretation or preference of how they want to present the Gospel.

    “Truth” is a powerful word when referring to scriptures. And if people want to add “Truth” in the conversation to support their Methodology, they should be prepared to back it up.

    I don’t ever want to minimalize the meaning of the word “Truth” when referring to the Gospel.

    Like

  4. Julie, I know he did not bring up your gender or authority, but I am simply interjecting a broader context here. The love vs. truth debate is seldom productive. It gets mired in circular logic and ad hominems which I have no stomach for.

    What I find interesting is the dismissiveness toward love coupled with the collective fixation on authority. So a pastor without love should be held in higher esteem than someone without authority. We have truly lost our marbles.

    Like

  5. Wesley

    Thanks for the response…
    And I’m glad you mentioned one of the qualifications for elder/overseer. 1 Tim 3:5.

    Personally – I never met a pastor/elder/overseer who met these tough qualifications.

    I have noticed, most pastor/elder/overseers today “Ignore” or “Twist” the “Qualifications” in 1 Tim 3:1-6, and Titus 1:5-9, so they could obtain for themselves this “Title/Postion” that comes with – Power – Profit – and – Prestige.

    Just look at 1 Tim 3:4-5, that you mentioned, where this pastor/elder/overseer is…
    “One that “ruleth well” his own house,
    having his children in subjection with all gravity; (Hmmm? Got any teenagers?)
    (For if a man know NOT how “to rule” his own house,
    how shall he take care of the church of God?)”

    Now – “rule well’ his own house is Manage Well in modern versions…
    This “Rule” is – Strongs #4291 – proistemi
    Thayers has “proistemi” as…
    1- to set or place before. 1a- to set over. 1b- to be over, to superintend, preside over.
    1c- to be a protector or guardian. 1c1- to give aid. 1d- to care for, give attention to.

    So, For a pastor/elder/overseer to “Qualify” according to 1 Tm, 3:4-5…
    A pastor/elder must – Protect, Guard, Care for, Give attention to their Family, WELL.

    Then take a look at the statistics for pastor/elders/overseers and their families.
    From ministries helping hurting pastors and their familiies – There are lots of them.

    http://www.intothyword.org/articles_view.asp?articleid=36562&columnid=
    * 77% say they do “NOT” have a good marriage.
    * 70% of pastors constantly fight depression. (That’s NOT good for the family – Is it?)

    Wow – 77% do NOT have a good marriage – 70% constantly fight depression.
    Hmmm? 77% do NOT qualify – Yes? 77% do NOT manage WELL their family…

    Like

  6. Wesley

    this is serious business – Yes?

    http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/
    80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession.
    80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
    …….. Many pastor’s children do not attend church now because
    …….. of what the church has done to their parents.

    With 80% of pastor spouses NOT happy with this profession? And 80% of pastors saying pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families? With their children being hurt? And 77% saying they do NOT have a good marriage?

    That shows me, as I search for – “qualified pastor/overseers” – I already know that 70% – 80% of folks who are in that position – Do NOT Qualify. – Because – They do NOT “Rule Well” their own house. The ESV has “He must manage his own household well” – And – Well – They are NOT managing WELL their families.

    Nope – 70 – 80% do NOT Protect, Guard, Care for, Give attention to, the family -WELL.
    And they do NOT qualify.

    But – will they remove themselve?
    And be a good example to the flock?

    Like

  7. @AAL, You are right that many are involved in the ministry of pastor that are not qualified but that does not negate the need for and the fact that the ministry is a necessary part of God’s churches. I also think that people who do not want those in the ministry of pastor to think of themselves as better than others should be careful to not load them with an expectation of perfection instead of an expectation of constant growth through the ministry of the rest of the church to them.

    Like

  8. Thanks Gary for the link. What a read. But it really would not make a difference if it mentioned the word love 20 or 200 times because the whole concept of “love” has been redefined to mean beating the people over the head with truth. That is “biblical love.” Authoritarianism is the greatest expression of love.

    Like

  9. JoeJoe – Wesley

    Yes JoeJoe – You did say it well…
    You sounded like me before I left – leadership – and “The Abusive Religious System.”
    Today – I see “Titles” become “Idols” and a way of controlling those in the pews.
    How come – NOT one Disciple had the “Title” pastor? What did they know?

    But – If you’re correct – and some Today are called to be a pastor/elder/overseer???

    Don’t cha think they should meet ALL the “Qualifications” in 1 Tim 3 and Titus?
    Which ones can we “Ignore?” Which ones are NOT important?
    With just one qualification we disqualify 75%-80%. 1 Tim 3”4-5.

    Does anyone care about these qualifications? Do congregations? Do Pastor/Elders?

    Titus 1:5-8 KJV – says it nicely.
    5 …ordain elders in every city…
    6 If any be *blameless,* the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop “must be” *blameless,* as the steward of God; not self willed,
    not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
    8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;

    1 – For a bishop (overseer) “must be” *blameless.*

    That *must be* is the same Greek word as: …You *must be* born again. John 3:7.
    *Must Be* – Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
    *Must Be* – Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.
    Seems to be a small word – but very important. Yes? Is – Blameless – important?

    1 – Blameless – Strongs #410 anegkletos – unaccused, irreproachable, blameless.
    Blameless – Thayers – that cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused.
    Blameless – Dictionary – Without fault, innocent, guiltless, not meriting censure.

    1 Tim 3:2 ASV – The bishop therefore must be without reproach…
    1 Tim 3:2 NIV – Now the overseer must be above reproach…
    1 Tim 3:2 NLT – For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against.

    How many “pastor/elder/overseers” who honestly examine themselves,
    seriously considering this one **qualification,** (*Must Be* **Blameless,**)
    can see themselves as **Blameless,** without fault, above reproach,
    and thus qualify to be a “pastor/elder/overseer?”

    And if you can see yourself as **blameless:** Is that pride?
    And no longer without fault? Oy Vey! 😉

    Aren’t ALL the requirements important? Which one’s can we ignore?

    When you believe the lie you start to die.

    Like

  10. Wesley

    You write…
    “I also think that people who do not want those in the ministry of pastor to think of themselves as better than others should be careful to not load them with an expectation of perfection”

    Hmmm? “not load them with an expectation of perfection”

    Well – What is the prescribed expectation? For pastor/elder/overseer?
    Should they ALL meet ALL the qualifications in 1 tim 3 and Titus?
    If NOT? Why NOT?

    One recommendation for those looking to heal from “Spiritual Abuse”.
    Is to check out those who say they are – God Ordained Authority – Pastor/Elders.

    Every believer has this right – to check out the pastor/elder/overseer. 😉

    And we beseech you, brethren, **to know them** (Know – to perceive, notice, discern,)
    which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
    1 Thess 5:12 KJV

    Every believer is responsible *to know* –
    If your pastors/leaders/elders – Qualify…. To be an elder/overseer.”

    I had to learn this the hard way. Many years and many tears.

    “Pastors that Abuse” want you to “Pay – Pray – Stay – and – Obey”
    And speak a lot about – God Ordained Authority – and often mis-use Heb 13:17.
    But don’t spend a lot of time with, or “Ignore,” or “twist,” other verses.

    Before trusting a “Mere Fallible Human” who claims “Special Authority from God”
    I now recommend ALL wounded folks to observe, and to ask them face to face…

    Ask them – Are ALL the “pastor/leader/overseers” “here” living examples of…
    1 – NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?” 1 Pet 5:3 KJV
    2 – Lowliness of mind? Phil 2:3 KJV
    3 – Esteeming others “better” than themselves? Phil 2:3 KJV
    4 – Submitting “One to Another?” Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    5 – Prefering others before themselves? Rom 12:10 KJV
    6 – Being clothed with humility? 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    7 – NOT “execising authority” like the Gentiles?” Mark 10:42-43.

    And, at this meeting, let them know it will be awhile before you decide.

    You want to see how these folks act under pressure, when you dis-agree with them.
    Will they still “Watch for your soul” as they are required to do under Heb 13;17,
    If you ever dis-agree with them?

    And you’ll need some time to see if they are really humble servants…
    Esteeming others “better” than themselves…
    And – Submitting “One to Another…

    And that might take some time…

    And – If these pastor/elder/overseer do NOT like you asking these questions…

    Run, Run for your life. 😉

    And if you’re affraid to ask – Well – run for your life… 😉

    Like

  11. @AAL The ministry of pastor/elder/bishop (or whatever you want to call the ministry) is for today from all appearances in the Scripture. The people gifted for this ministry are no more perfect than the people gifted in any other area. They are imperfect people as Peter the elder would attest to. God has chosen to use others in the churches to perfect and mature those in pastoral ministry just has He has chosen to use them to perfect and mature those not in pastoral ministry. To invalidate everyone’s effort to minister to us in the pastoral ministry area because they may possibly be abusive or imperfect in some area is unjust and stops God from ministering to us through His chosen instrumentality of people.

    Your last post seems to indicate that you would be okay if I classified every European-American as a racist until they proved they were not because I have met some who are. I don’t think that is a just way to treat other believers simply because God desires to use them in the area of pastoral ministry. I think you would have a different take if a person in pastoral ministry were to use the same reasoning and methodology concerning your salvation. Some how I think that you would want to know “Who does he thinks he is that I have to prove to him that I am a believer?”

    Like

  12. @Eric, I would agree with that with some reservations.. However, I do think that Scripture teaches that if a brother does something offensive we are to bring it to his attention, then with witnesses, and then before the church. We can’t forget that these people are no more than Christians gifted for a particular ministry. Besides the word “abuse” is used so broadly that I think the world would have to be qualified before I could give a complete endorsement.

    Like

  13. @Wesley: So you’re basically saying that you’ll give an abusive pastor a free pass if it suits you. Sorry, but I’m a bit more realistic than that. The burden of proof is on them to prove that they’re “gifted” and deserve the authority they’ve abused. And I don’t trust the use of Mt. 18 for church discipline, it’s been abused far too often by fraudulent pastors.

    Like

  14. David said:

    “But it really would not make a difference if it mentioned the word love 20 or 200 times because the whole concept of “love” has been redefined to mean beating the people over the head with truth. That is “biblical love.” Authoritarianism is the greatest expression of love.”

    I had a hard time watching that video, David. It is exactly the same reasoning CON would use when evangelizing. It was as if he looked forward to a conflict to correct someone’s thinking. If someone argued or challenged him, then the response would be, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” There is a biblical response to everything whether positive or negative. They plow ahead in a very authoritarian fashion. We had “free” car washes. What they didn’t tell you at the free car wash was that you would hear the gospel message whether you wanted to or not. In fact, your car was pinned in between cars and you were basically held hostage to listen to their message. Friendship evangelism never worked and was too soft.

    I need to stop before I get worked up.

    Like

  15. Jeff S
    @8:57 a.m.

    Great passages! I agree Doctrine is important.

    Isn’t Love an important part of Doctrine?

    I noticed that Jesus didn’t isolate his rebuke or guidance to only the sinner and tax collector but to the Scribes, Pharisees and the Hypocrits.

    As a matter of fact the sinner and tax collector were held in religious bondage by the Pharisees who were in fact embracing an abusive form of theology that lacked love. In the passages you shared Jesus isolated more rebuke to the Religious Leaders.

    Great Passages!

    Like

  16. I’ve been away from my computer for a little while.

    @Amos

    From your comments it sounds like you once belonged to an abusive church where the pastor was authoritarian and controling, abusing his position. That truly is sad and tragic, and I am glad it sounds as if you are no longer in that church.

    It seems to me that in your comments you are making broad generalizations and have an automatic distrust for anybody who calls himself “pastor” however. You are also seeming to apply your own arbitrary standards as to what exactly qualifies a person to be pastor. Yes, you are quoting the qualifications in Titus, but you are applying your own standards as to what exactly that looks like. I see this as lacking in the same grace you would expect for a pastor to show you. Pastors are human. They will sin, they will make mistakes. How do they handle themselves when they do sin or are confronted with their sin though? Do they show humility and repent? Are they seeking to improve their marriage? If so, I think they deserve our grace.

    Certainly, I believe that there are some things that would automatically disqualify a person from pastorship (at least for a time). If a pastor were to be caught in an affair or emezzaling from the church for example, I would think that they should immediately step down. Even still, if they show repentence and humility and that God has truly worked in their lives to change them, after a time he could still restore them to pastorship. We live in a sinful world. God has no choice but to use sinful people.

    Like

  17. My fatigue is immense today so I don’t have the capacity to read through the comments. I apologize if this has been said already, but I wanted to answer this question, “If an abusive pastor says, “Jesus is Lord,” is it any less truthful than a loving pastor who says the same thing?”

    I think the entire point is being missed. It is not less truthful coming from an abusive pastor; it is less believable. As Christians, we are not responsible for what is and is not truth. We are responsible for helping others realize that truth. The message comes from God, the delivery comes from us. And if that delivery is harmful, it harms the message of the truth.

    Again, I apologize if this has already been covered.

    Like

  18. @Mark

    “Isn’t Love an important part of Doctrine?”
    Is- it is the core of doctrine, I believe.

    “I noticed that Jesus didn’t isolate his rebuke or guidance to only the sinner and tax collector but to the Scribes, Pharisees and the Hypocrits.”

    In fact, if you pay careful attention Jesus ONLY rebukes the religious leaders. When does he ever rebuke the sinners? The harshest the sinners get it “go and sin no more”.

    Like

  19. “it is less believable”

    This was a point I was hoping to come on here and make- but in fact it IS less truthful coming from an abusive pastor. How much of communication is the words we say? There are studies that show how much we communicate with other body parts. If you say “Jesus is Lord” with a sneer you are communicating a completely different truth than if you say “Jesus is Lord” full of reverence and honor.

    Any person who does not act in accordance with the truthful words he speaks is denying the truth. It makes a mockery of the truth and it would be better to not speak at all.

    Like

  20. Jeff S. said: When does he ever rebuke the sinners? The harshest the sinners get it “go and sin no more”.

    Hmm, wow, Jeff – – I’m thinking of all of the evangelism classes we had at our old church – week after week we had evangelism class for 2 hours each Sunday- – they were all about openly rebuking sinners, telling them to repent, etc. The pastor and sometimes others did open air preaching saying these kinds of things. They would go door to door telling people to repent, confronting them with the sin in their life, etc. You have given me much to think about. I just really want to be done with all of this “processing.” When will it ever end? Ugh!

    Like

  21. Jeff S

    I recognized Christ isolated most of his rebukes toward the Religious Leaders. I did mention Christ offering guidance within the same sentence.

    I was making a point but I guess not a very good one.

    Most of the abusive Pastors (leaders) spend much of their time doing heavy rebuking, defending their Methodologies which by appearence is lacking Love, while holding their Congregations in Doctrinal bondage. (kind of like what the Pharisee’s did to the sinner)

    Like

  22. QUOTE:
    Julie Anne
    APRIL 25, 2013 @ 4:23 PM
    Eric – What comment (timestamp) are you referring to when you discuss Wesley giving pastors a free pass?
    ________

    Thanks JA. Sorry if I gave that impression though I don’t know which comment gave that impression. I believe people in pastoral ministry should be held accountable to engage in ministry in a Christlike and God-honoring manner like anyone in any other ministry. The problem is not that they make mistakes but the problem arises when their mistakes or sins are pointed out and they assume some mythical higher ground instead of making the correction.

    I also have to stick with my statement that abuse must be quantified. For instance today I was relating how if I am shopping with my wife and I like a tie that she really doesn’t like she will say something like, “You can wear that if you are going to dress as a clown”. The guys were shocked and thought that was extremely harsh but I have no problem with it. It is just simply my wife’s normal tacky (her choice of terms instead of tactless) way of doing things and I love that along with the rest of her while someone else may see that as abusive.

    I simply believe that because being selected by God for pastoral ministry doesn’t make you any better Christian than anyone else those in that position should be shown the same grace and given the same opportunity to repent and conform to Christ as any other Christian. They should also be treated as a heathen and publican if they refuse to repent as Matthew 18 teaches. I do not believe that someone’s abuse/neglect of a biblical directive gives us license to do the same.

    Great post JoeJoe.

    Like

  23. @JA

    Exactly- after my own situation with the church I spent time going through the Gospels just paying attention to who Jesus rebuked and who he was kind to. It put things in a whole new light for me.

    Tim Keller has this great quote, and I LOVE it (the whole sermon is fantastic, but this is the best bit):

    “The moralistic grid divides the world into the good people and the bad people. The good are in and the bad are out. And the relativistic grid divides the world into the open-minded people and the bigots. The open-minded people are in and the bigots are out. But the Gospel divides the world into the humble and the proud. It says the humble are in and the proud are out.”

    Like

  24. Jeff S. – My former pastor had issues with Keller and so I have blown him off for years because of him. Now I gotta brain to think for myself. haha I really like that quote. Thank you.

    Like

  25. Julie Anne,

    I could have pasted the whole article for David Cho. I think he hit it out of the ballpark.

    From David Cho:
    “Here ‘s the bottom line: You are known for what you are known for.”

    “I have never met outside the Evangelical community, anyone who views conservative Christians as the champions of love. Have you?”

    “Just hours away from facing the gruesome death on the cross, Jesus huddled together with his disciples and delivered his final message. See it for yourself, and don’t let me contaminate you with my interpretation of it.”

    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

    By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
    – John 13:34-35

    “Here ‘s the bottom line: You are known for what you are known for.”

    Like

  26. David Cho asked:“I have never met outside the Evangelical community, anyone who views conservative Christians as the champions of love. Have you?”

    No. When I finally got out of the christian ghetto, shut my trap about sin, opened my ears to what non-christians had to say about Christians I was ashamed because I was guilty as charged. The damage of some, not all Christians, is heart breaking, Christians have terrible reputations, and some are a stumbling block to many many hearts. Champions of hate is what I am hearing from my crew…) :

    Like

  27. JA- I haven’t read everything by Tim Keller, but what I HAVE read really impresses me. He does get some flack from folks on the highly patriarchal side because, even though he’s a complementarian, he has Deaconesses preach in his church. He also gets accused of preaching a “social justice” Gospel (he does say there is a social component to the Gospel) which highly evangelical folks don’t like.

    I HIGHLY recommend his book “Generous Justice”. I think you will find much to appreciate in it. He doesn’t talk about abuse, but he does talk about the need to do “justice” for the oppressed. Mainly he’s talking about poverty in the book, but I think all the arguments he makes can be applied to any person who is living in a state of opression- and that includes abuse victims.

    Like

  28. Gail said:

    No. When I finally got out of the christian ghetto, shut my trap about sin, opened my ears to what non-christians had to say about Christians I was ashamed because I was guilty as charged. The damage of some, not all Christians, is heart breaking, Christians have terrible reputations, and some are a stumbling block to many many hearts. Champions of hate is what I am hearing from my crew…) :

    I know, David’s words ring so true to me, too. The interesting thing is that when you tell these people about their reputation, they counter it with the verse I quoted above: “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” And this particular passage is used as a green light to continue their what I consider to be unloving behavior.

    Like

  29. I think it is sad but probably true. Very few people I’ve heard have considered conservative Christians as being loving. I do want to say though, that I think there are Christians and Christian churches out there that genuinely do try to show real love and grace toward others, while still not compromising their biblical beliefs.

    In my opinion, I feel that my current church is genuinely trying to do that. We give out turkey meals at thanksgiving. We have a “Christmas Mall” every year for the poor in our community to come pick out gifts for the children (completely free). We have a ministry partnership with other local churches of various denominations to reach the poor, both physically by cooking meals and spiritually by have church services where they are. We are in the process of putting together a food and clothing pantry. We are trying to obtain a building where we can offer tutoring and mentoring to kids and students, and free counseling to any who want it. We encourage church members to be a part of one of the numerous life groups we have (these aren’t necessarily bible studies), and if you don’t feel like you fit with the group you are in, you are welcome to change. We periodically will hand out random act of kindness cards. These are anonymous cards with some amount of money enclosed to help with some financial burder (I’ve been a recipient of one, and it was a real blessing).

    I’m not saying all of these things to try to make my church “look good”, but because I think some churches need good examples of what it means to love others, and I truly believe my church is currently trying to do that. Christ not only looked out for the spiritual needs of others, he met them at their level, meeting the needs that they felt were important. When a person doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from, our they’re worried about where they will sleep next, those things will take precadence in their minds over anything else you might have to say. We need to care for others in all of these ways.

    Like

  30. Jeff S: What does this mean?

    He also gets accused of preaching a “social justice” Gospel (he does say there is a social component to the Gospel) which highly evangelical folks don’t like.

    I’m not sure if I’m familiar with “social justice gospel”. Or maybe I am familiar with it by another term. Or maybe my brain hasn’t awakened this morning 😉

    Like

  31. Yes, the Bible says “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing. . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:18a, ESV). However, Jesus says “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, ESV). Jesus laid down his life on the cross. The word/message of the cross IS love. I wish to be careful here, but it may well be that some (many?) of those who use the Corinthians 1:18 passage as a pretext for acting in unloving ways are, in fact, perishing. That they would redefine the meaning of love is simply a red flag warning of their great danger. A good tree does not produce bad fruit. Matthew 12:33. Hateful conduct is NEVER the fruit of love. Unfortunately, if my assessment is correct, it is likely also correct that those who are so perishing will be among the most difficult to evangelize.

    Like

  32. JoeJoe,

    It didn’t enter my mind that your church feeds the poor to look good. What I got out of it was your church is attempting to be obedient to God’s word. I also see compassion.

    It is humbling to go into a poor person’s home to bring food, not only for me but also for the person on the receiving end as well. Personally for me I would be rather be discreet, which doesn’t always happen.

    The need is there, but I think at times it is an embarrassment for some people on the receiving end to see my face, in public in a small town setting. But we still have to remain obedient.
    And to some of the scrooges of the world being a “do-good-er” is a act of weakness and being frivolous.

    Like

  33. @JA,
    The “Social Gospel” is the idea that the restoration of the cross is not so much at a personal level, but found in eleveating the oppressed, poor, orphans, etc. That by doing good for our community we are doing the real stuff of faith and that’s what salvation is all about. There is little emphasis on personaly repentance and restoration.

    While perhaps not explicitly followed by the main-line, more liberal churches, you find these concepts fairly pervasive. Evangelical churches put the emphasis on personal transformation and have a lot of negative things to say about the so-called “Social Gospel”.

    Keller certainly believes in personal salvation, but he also believes that the Gospel is not just intended to impact our individual lives. In”Generous Justice” he shows that part of the Gospel is to bring shalom (peace) to the world around us- it’s not just limited to our own sense of peace. Effectively he merges the “social” and “individual” ideas into one “Gospel”, and I think he’s got scripture on his side.

    This is probably as clear as mud, but that’s how I understand the terms and positions.

    Like

  34. That was very helpful, Jeff. Thanks! That seems to be unbalanced. I think it is our awareness of our personal sin and our need for Christ and what He has done for us that compels us to reach out in love/action to others.

    Like

  35. I agree. A transformation that doesn’t go outside of ourselves isn’t much of a transformation is it? But how in the world are we going to really do God’s work in the world without a personal transformation? I think it is all part of the same message (or in other words, I’m with Keller).

    Like

  36. Julie Anne, Your statement, “If an abusive pastor says, “Jesus is Lord,” is it any less truthful than a loving pastor who says the same thing?”
    My experience has been when abusive pastors speak what ‘would be’ truth, it is just them twisting the knife they have already plunged into me. If they ‘know’ what would be the truth, and they do not LIVE their words with LOVE, it magnifies that they are evil. True doctrine cannot be be believed or trusted from evil pastors/churchtians; their words are therefore manipulation and self serving and not truth.

    Like

  37. @ JA & Jeff S, Your description of the social gospel is spot on. Tim Keller does an excellent job of pointing out the comprehensive effect of redemption on all areas of life and society. Another good book on this is “The Cross-shaped Gospel” by Bryan Loritts. Tim also makes this a central theme of his book “Center Church”.

    Like

  38. I haven’t read through all the comments, but just saw this quote from Oswald Chambers that seemed to summarize things well: “God and love are synonymous. Love is not an attribute of God, it is God. Whatever God is, love is. If your conception of love does not agree with justice and judgment, purity and holiness, then your idea of love is wrong.” – Oswald Chambers

    Like

  39. Would it not be better to say, “If your conception of justice and judgment, purity and holiness, does not agree with love, then your idea of justice and judgment, purity and holiness, is wrong?” But then, who am I to disagree with Oswald Chambers?

    Like

  40. JoeJoe – Wesley

    JoeJoe writes @ APRIL 25, 2013 @ 5:33 PM…
    “From your comments it sounds like you once belonged to an abusive church
    where the pastor was authoritarian and controlling, abusing his position.”

    Yes – You are correct – And I appreciate your concern – Yes – it was sad and tragic.
    But – There was benefit to the Abuse – It drove me to Jesus – And He’s the Best. 😉

    You also write…
    “It seems to me that in your comments you are making broad generalizations
    and have an automatic distrust for anybody who calls himself “pastor”

    “You are also seeming to apply your own arbitrary standards
    as to what exactly qualifies a person to be pastor.”

    Well, I was ordained – I thought I was called to pastoral ministry. That’s what my pastor/elder/overseers told me. And I “Ignored” the Qualifications in 1 Tim 3, and Titus. So, I know from experience, that most of today’s pastor/elder/overseers also “Ignore” these tuff qualifications. When I checked out these “Qualifications” for myself – I wasn’t even close. I cudda saved myself some headaches. And having to apologise to God for taking a “Leadrship Position” I did NOT qualify for. 😉

    And, We’re asked to – love one another – Admonish one another – Warn one another.

    So it is NOT a “distrust for anybody who calls himself “pastor” – Or, pastor/leader.

    It’s – Loving one another. – It’s risking rejection by – warning one another…

    It’s a warning – If you think you’re a pastor/elder/overseer – checkout the tuff Qualifications – If you do NOT meet ALL the Qualifications remove yourself from that position – And Protect, Guard, Care for, Give attention to your family. Because your family is paying a horrible price. 80% say pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.

    Like

  41. @AAL, thanks for the clarification. It give context to your posts. Sorry to hear about your situation though you did not quantify “abuse”. 🙂 I also think that that 80% number may be more reflective of “American” culture than pastoral ministry since we have same dynamics playing out throughout the American population irrespective of religious persuasion or involvement.

    Like

  42. JoeJoe,

    “I do want to say though, that I think there are Christians and Christian churches out there that genuinely do try to show real love and grace toward others, while still not compromising their biblical beliefs”

    Yes, yes, I agree, Jesus is at work in many places, like your church! Methinks that the good that is done for others out of love for Christ doesn’t make the news. What makes the news is the ridiculous, like Westboro Baptist, or some celebrity pastor running his mouth on a disaster claiming it to be God’s judgement on America, or a pastor suing Julie Anne, sadly, the list could go on and on.

    I get to hang out with a lot of unchurched folks, and from what I hear from them, some, not all, Christians, are giving Jesus a really bad name. My friends who reject our Lord, don’t know us by our love as the song goes.

    But there sure is a lot love & wisdom that flows in the comments here, dare I say that I experience church- the body of Christ in action here!

    Like

  43. JoeJoe – Wesley

    JoeJoe writes…
    ““You are also seeming to apply your own arbitrary standards
    as to what exactly qualifies a person to be pastor.”

    Was wondering – Have you guys ever researched the qualifications…
    Would you share your standards for pastor/elder/overseer. – From Titus.
    What does “1 – For a bishop (overseer) “must be” *blameless.*” mean to you?
    What does… 2 – “Just” mean to you? What does… 3 – “Holy” mean to you?

    And – If you like – I’ll give you what I turned up…

    Titus 1:5-8 KJV
    5 …ordain elders in every city…
    6 If any be *blameless,* the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop “must be” *blameless,* as the steward of God; not self willed,
    not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
    8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;

    1 – For a bishop (overseer) “must be” *blameless.*
    2 – Just
    3 – Holy

    Like

  44. On Regent Radio today, there is a marvellous message worth listening to, by Darrell Johnson.

    http://www.regentradio.net

    John was reminded: Things are not as they seem!

    The Revelation of Christ: The Lion and the Lamb.

    Christ won the victory when he was slain! The heart of the Almighty is the heart of the Lamb! The Lion does not get to the Throne by being a Lion. The Lion gets to the Throne by being a Lamb. The Lion wins by being slaughtered!

    The power that overcomes evil in the world is the weakness of sacrificial love.
    The wisdom that overcomes the foolishness of the world is the weakness of sacrificial love.

    Quote from Bruce Metzger’s Book: Breaking the Code

    “Instead of a ferocious lion that hurts others, the Messiah is the sacrificial Lamb that takes into himself the hurts of others.”

    The Lamb’s followers reign with him NOW.

    Like

  45. Gail,

    You said, “Methinks that the good that is done for others out of love for Christ doesn’t make the news. What makes the news is the ridiculous, like Westboro Baptist, or some celebrity pastor running his mouth on a disaster claiming it to be God’s judgement on America, or a pastor suing Julie Anne, sadly, the list could go on and on.”

    A while back I actually tried to write a freelance news article for the newspaper about the outreach program that my church is leading. It was just getting started, so I was trying to help spread the word a little bit. I sat down with the husband and wife that were leading the team, recorded an interview I did with them, and then wrote the story in style of a typical article. I am a part-time/serious amateur photographer as well, so I even got a really nice portrait of them for the article. I’m a little biased, but I thought it was pretty well written. I sent it to the paper, but they didn’t run it.

    And I think that in a way this is kind of like church. Church in the sense that it’s a body of believers, even ones who have differing opinions and theologies, that are coming together to build one another up. Even when people disagree in the comments, if we try to still be loving about it, it can still be encouraging and edifying (though it would be easier if everybody always agreed with me 😉 haha!)

    Like

  46. JoeJoe

    Much agreement with everyone agreeing.

    I often say – “I can’t wait for unity in the Body of Christ”

    Unity – When everyone agrees with me. 😉 😉 😉

    Like

  47. “Things are not as they seem!”

    Barb, this is a great reminder of truth. It’s so easy to forget this when one has had a heavy dose of spiritual abuse and sees the religious, smiling, “good”, people thrust in knives and twist to add further to one’s misery.

    Like

  48. I feel like running a commercial called “There is a VapP” for that. Vapp is short for vapid pat answers.

    People don’t see us as very loving? That is because the cross is foolish to those hell bound pagans.

    We don’t spend any of our resources on the poor? Well, that is because “social gospel” is of Satan as is socialism.

    You think Christians have horrible reputations and you are trying to change that? You are a lover of the world, not of God. Do not love the world or anything in the world.

    Any more VapP’s?

    Like

  49. JoeJoe – Wesley

    Was wondering…
    How do you explain the tuff Qualifications Paul gives for pastor/elder/overseer?
    IMO – this discussion – Qualifications – is important in preventing “Spiritual Abuse.”

    I left some info @ APRIL 25, 2013 @ 2:26 PM about…
    1 – For a bishop (overseer) “must be” *blameless.*

    And received NO response – maybe I’m wrong – BUT…
    It sounded like JoeJoe is accusing me of something nefarious – ”applying your own standards” – and accusing me of lacking Grace – when I look at Titus, report the qualifications, and give my opinion, for – pastor/elder/overseers?

    JoeJoe said @ APRIL 25, 2013 @ 5:33 PM…
    “Yes, you are quoting the qualifications in Titus, but you are applying your own standards as to what exactly that looks like. I see this as lacking in the same grace you would expect for a pastor to show you.”

    JoeJoe, you might NOT realize it – BUT – Calling it – “applying your own standards” – “lacking the same grace” – is a favorite tactic, scheme, dodge, subterfuge, used by “Pastors who Abuse” and “Pastors addicted to Exercising Authority” to change the subject.

    To change the subject from… 1 – For a bishop (overseer) “must be” *blameless.*
    To – Amos is “applying your (his) own standards” to the qualifications…
    To – Amos is “lacking in the same grace you would expect for a pastor.”
    And now – Amos, who is lacking grace, using his own standards, is the subject.

    And, the elder/overseer, who does NOT qualify, is NOT blameless, gets a pass.

    These “Pastors who Abuse” want to “Silence” people who dis-agree with them.
    And – they never like it when I bring up these tuff qualifications that they “Ignore.”
    So they accuse those who dis-agree – to change the subject and marginalize them.

    Maybe that’s NOT what you intended…
    That’s why I asked @ APRIL 26, 2013 @ 11:31 AM – for your standards – From Titus.
    IMO – this discussion – Qualifications – is important in preventing “Spiritual Abuse.”

    So, I’m asking JoeJoe and Wesley again…
    “Was wondering – Have you guys ever researched the qualifications…”
    “Would you share your standards for pastor/elder/overseer. – From Titus.”

    Like

  50. JoeJoe – Wesley

    Here’s what I found out about the Qualifications for pastor/elder/overseer in…

    Titus 1:8…
    But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;

    2 – Just
    Strongs #1342 – dikaios {dik’-ah-yos} from 1349;
    Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament has JUST as…
    1) righteous, observing divine laws
    1a) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God
    1a2) innocent, faultless, guiltless
    1a3) used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting
    is wholly conformed to the will of God,
    and who therefore needs no rectification in the heart or life

    3 – Holy
    Strongs #3741 – hosios {hos’-ee-os}
    Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament has HOLY as…
    1) undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
    religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious,

    Now that’s three tough qualifications for “pastor/elder/overseer.”
    1 – Must Be Blameless. 2 – Just. 3 – Holy. — Yes?

    “Would you share your standards for pastor/elder/overseer. – From Titus.”

    Makes an interesting study – checking out ALL these tough qualifications for “pastor/elder/overseer” – Then checking out those who say they are “pastor/elder/overseer” compared to the qualifications. 🙂

    I was ordained. I was in “Leadership.”
    Folks told me I had this so-called “Gift of Leadership.” 😦
    And I “Ignored” these qualifications for pastor/elder/overseer. 😦

    But – I do NOT “Ignore” them any more.

    Pro 29:5 KJV
    A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

    Pro 20:17 KJV
    Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

    I believed the flattery – I was special – I was needed – To build the body of Christ.
    I deceived myself and wound up eating a lot of gravel. 😦

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    Like

  51. While perhaps not explicitly followed by the main-line, more liberal churches, you find these concepts fairly pervasive. Evangelical churches put the emphasis on personal transformation and have a lot of negative things to say about the so-called “Social Gospel”.

    The danger of the Social Gospel is it can become a Gospel without personal salvation.

    And the Fundgelical reaction to it was a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.

    Communism begets Objectivism.

    Like

Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s