Discernment: You, Some Woman, or Phil Johnson?

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I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me.

They have clung to me all my life. Abraham Lincoln

Today I read a comment on a blog that absolutely floored me. Early on in my lawsuit case, I contacted a couple of pastors from a well-known church. As I tried to share my story of spiritual abuse, I felt I was treated like a less-than. I knew that if I had male anatomy, I would not have been treated in such a fashion. I also saw this same treatment at my former church. I remember my pastor rebuking a husband to get his wife under control. I was still drinking the Kool-Aid then. I’m not anymore.

I recently read an article by Karen Campbell of ThatMom.com blog. Over the last couple of years, I have read many of her articles on the different ideologies represented in the Homeschool Movement. She has a lot of information at her website and I highly recommend it.

In her current article, how’s that prophet, priest,and king thing workin’ out for ya?, Karen first discussed the support of C.J. Mahaney amidst the Sovereign Grace lawsuit. Towards the end article she mentioned the upcoming Discernment conference (something that I had planned on discussing, too), and because of linking to the Discernment website, the folks at the Discernment conference website also received a pingback. By the way, the Discernment site will most likely be getting a pingback from me, too, since I also linked to it above.

After receiving the pingback, someone connected with Grace Family Bible Church, which is hosting the Discernment conference, left a comment on Karen’s blog. And boy was it a comment. I’ve copied it all here, adding paragraphs for easier readability.

Be sure to check out Karen’s fantastic response. Actually, I encourage you to read the whole post and great comments.

I’ve spoken about patriarchy and the Homeschool Movement before. Mr. Miller’s comment was a “gift” of sorts. Because he has posted his comment publicly, he is showing us all how some women are treated in Christian Patriarchal homes. There are women who are treated like this on a daily basis. Some are treated far worse. One would assume that Mr. Miller showed common restraint because he used his full name and also included the link to his church. His words speak for themselves, don’t they?

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Dear “mom”,

Thank you so much for your pingback to our discernment conference on July 20th. While we are somewhat disturbed by your apparent contempt towards pastor Brown over an orthopraxic issue/question such as whether sunday school is Biblical; we do appreciate your letting people know that this conference is taking place.

The question of whether sunday school is Biblical or not, regardless of where a believer stands on the issue, is a secondary one (although it is important). Surely it is not an orthodox issue which should cause one to treat a brother with contempt. But regardless, with the flippany and lack of theological training which occurs in sunday school, and the lack of it being an historical institution in the church; should cause all believers to question how these training programs (that is what sunday school is after all) should be conducted or whether they should be done at all.

The question sister is this, who should be discipling children, and what means of grace has God given to train them. Clearly the Scriptures point towards parents, in particularly the father in this role. Not a youth pastor and not sunday school “teachers.” Sadly the teacher very rarely if ever meet the Biblical qualifications to teach or have that responsibility or authority in the church mandated by the Apostle Paul in 1 Tim and Titus. Usually they are simply the willing and nice, without any aptitude for teaching and with superficial theology at best, if not heresy.

Who should teach according to the Scriptures? Only a few, and only those who meet very strict moral and character qualifications. That’s not me saying that, that’s the Apostle Paul. And what of James “be not many masters for we will suffer greater condemnation” and yet what do we see in sunday school? Young couples, and the elderly and Biblically disqualified teaching children theology, supposedly. The result dear sister has been chaos. Now you say, rather strawman-dishly (there is a new word for you) that Mr. Brown teaches that sunday school is the end of western civilization. That is not what the brother says.

Western civilization has already fallen, it has already fell under the wrath of God. Do you not see the news dear lady? Do you not see God’s common grace pulling back from the world as it is given over to a reprobate mind and vile affections. No the issue is, how ought the church to teach children theology, in particular the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And this is, “fathers teach your children…” Again not Mr. Brown saying that, not me; but the Apostle Paul. That is the authority that is in question on this issue. And pragmatism like “youth group” or “sunday school” is not a Biblical argument, because only God can truly judge the eternal fruit of such ministries since our hearts can deceive us and spiritual fruit can easily be counterfeited with what appears to be religious and pious but which is, in reality, “wood hay and stubble”.

So the church must go back to what the Scriptures say about these ministries. That is all Mr. Brown is saying; sola scriptural is wisdom. The man was a youth pastor for decades before he was brought, by the scriptures, to his convictions on this issue. Not his opinion, but his conviction on what the Bible teaches about this issue.

Now in regards to the conference, Mr. Brown will be teaching on Biblical fatherhood. What does the Scriptures command of Christian fathers. Because, you can have all the ministerial bells and whistles in the world, but without true evangelism and the Gospel preached and lived within the home; children are in a seriously dangerous situation.

So sister, who has true discernment on this issue? You, a “mom” who teaches theology small_412235294supposedly, but where the Scriptures are clear that women are not to usurp authority over the man in the church. Or even further, where the Scriptures limit the role of the woman to teaching the younger women, or a pastor who, after years of struggling with the fruitless and carnal effort of modern youth groups went back the Scriptures and realized that it has much to say on this issue? Who should be [sic] listen to on discernment; you, some woman, or Phil Johnson, the executive director of Master’s Seminary who will be teaching alongside pastor Brown as a brother in Christ and co-laborer for the Gospel? Who has discernment ma’am? on this issue could it possibly be that, wise in your own conceits you are the one quite possibly who is standing against the clear teaching of Scripture? Should we listen to you, the non-descript “homeschool mom” or should we listen to the Apostle Paul.

Sister, let me say this clearly, we would be seriously in error to put your teachings above the word of God. I pray that the Lord would open your eyes to this truth; much of what pretends to be Biblical teaching in the modern American church is not spiritual at all and strongly stands in direct contrast to the Word of God. And how many youth are being raised in complete contrast to saving faith and have no concept of Biblical assurance? What some .5% can even affirm basic orthodoxy from college age; have we not reason to question these practices sister?

I would encourage you to come to the conference, listen to what is being said before you pass judgment. I would encourage you to study the scriptures on who should teach and who should teach children theology. Is it the unqualified Mrs. Bean the sunday school teacher, who knows nothing and is a pelagian? or the fathers of these children, supported by their Godly wives, and loving pastors and deacons who know the word of God and who meet the qualifications laid out by the Apostle Paul? Sola Scriptura sister, God is specific about His will on these things.

Read Numbers, have you not seen the detail of the tent, the tent?! How much more specific do you suppose the Lord is in regards to the next generation. I urge you to reconsider yourself ma’am. and may God help His church. Sincerely in Christ, Mike M.

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photo credit: Sagrado Corazón via photopin cc

102 comments on “Discernment: You, Some Woman, or Phil Johnson?

  1. Julie Anne
    I’m finding it difficult to find words at this point. Wow!

    I grew up in somewhat that kind of church background and the brainwashing went deep. It took many years to work my way out of that way of thinking. (Unless some “Brother” think otherwise I believe the Holy Spirit led me through Bible study, other reading, and much prayer.) When I was growing up I remember it as somewhat subtle. Is it just me or do I sense desperation from those who preach this stuff in such an In-your-face manner.

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  2. I wonder if Michael would also like to see women wear burqas and walk several paces behind their men? His tone is sooo condescending simply because he is addressing a woman. I will always maintain that when someone misses the mark of love, they have missed the entire intent of the gospel no matter how ” Biblical” they sound.

    I was a part of a Patriarchal church; One that was even, supposedly, non-violent. That non-violence did not always apply to the women and children. I’ve also lived in the Middle East, and Patriarchal “Christianity” is just the other side of the coin of fundamentalist Islam.

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  3. Julie,
    I couldn’t get the links to work so I haven’t yet read Karen’s response. The condescending dismissive tone of the author is so self righteous it’s nauseating. It was a dis missive. Nyuk nyuk The guy takes sola scriptura one step beyond. Sola my churcha.
    Sunday school teachers ARE theologians. They may not have a badge on the wall and, sure, many have wrong beliefs but I’ve known so many who love those kids enough to stay close to Jesus in their study of scripture (or Scripture Press hee hee). This guy doesn’t realize it but he’s bashing motherhood. What mother doesn’t teach her kids her beliefs? Ridiculous! Where is his mother? She should slap him with her bible, if she’s not locked in a dissenter’s closet somewhere.

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  4. JA breathes sigh of relief. I am at my daughter’s volleyball tournament in Mars Hill country for the day (without access to the laptop). It’s kind of hard to fix typos on my smartphone.

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  5. My father used to say “Only a lawyer can talk for three hours and say absolutely nothing.”

    This is just the Christianese version. With additional God-talk.

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  6. sola my churcha…..just that phrase was so worth the whole thing!!!! Still laughing…….

    Julie Anne, you are correct, this man’s comment was a gift. It isn’t every day that we have proof in writing of what we often deal with. I am now wonderin’ how leaving that comment is workin’ out for him!!!

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  7. Julie Anne,

    Thank you for linking to thatmom.com. I’ve been to her blog before either from you or TWW. She offers a whole different perspective on home schooling than what I am used to.

    It’s been a head numbing transition coming out of a Patriarchal church. Part of the struggle has been whether or not to continue home schooling. The extremism in the patriocentric paradigm was fairly easy to let go of, but it was all I knew in regards to home schooling. I’m trying to broaden my knowledge in this area, so that I can make an informed decision on what is best for my children. Neither schools, churches, or families are always safe places for kids. Yet, I can’t isolate them from everything.

    The hidden assumption In Michael Miller’s perspective is that fathers,husbands and pastors always do what is best for their families. Yet, here and at TWW, there are countless stories of domestic abuse, child molestation, spiritual abuse, incest, etc. I would question anyone (man or woman) who insists I trust them because of their self-assumed authority. Trust is earned.

    Sorry if that’s all over the place. I’m working through a lot of issues here, and I appreciate all the help you’ve offered.

    Hope your daughter’s VB team does well.

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  8. That Mom,

    I thought the same; and then I had the sad thought that, even if he were to receive flack for his comments, he would just consider himself a martyr for the cause of “Truth” (his version of truth) — he and his ilk are standing their ground for the Word of God, blah blah blah. We’ve been there, done that, gave the t-shirt to Goodwill.

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  9. Sometimes bashing women is a diversion. What is the ratio of abuse by mothers to abuse by fathers? I’m guessing about 10,000 to 1 or more. YIKES! I just accidentally uploaded a new browser. Where’s my woman? “Help!!”

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  10. Been There Done That,

    If it is any encouragement at all, the vast majority of homeschooling families are NOT of the patriocentric ilk. The patrios would like to make you think that they are in charge but that is only true of their own little fiefdoms. I learned a couple years ago that even HSLDA has less than 10% of homeschooling families in their membership.They have done a great job of controlling conventions and support groups but if step back and look at the big picture and realize that even less than 10% ever attend their conventions, you see how they have manipulated the system. That doesn’t mean that they are without influence. They have lots of influence but I believe it is waning in some places as these sorts of attitudes and actions are witnessed. Where I now see their greatest influence is within the broader evangelical community. And what makes me really sad is how it turns off so many people to the wonderful option of homeschooling and all that it can be for a family. This is why I won’t be bullied by people like Mike. Building relationships with our children and encouraging moms and dads who get it about one anothering is what will prevail in the end….we are on the right side of these issues. Don’t forget that!!!

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  11. Greetings, my comment was not a “bash on women” quite the contrary, nor are we a “patriarchal church”; quite the contrary. God made men and women different in a complementary fashion with different roles and responsibilities within the home and church. This isn’t our opinion, these principles are clearly laid out in the word of God. Are there some men, who having adopted certain creeds, in their lack of a regenerated heart operate in a misogynistic fashion; certainly. But the fact that these individuals exist does not change the reality that certain features of contemporary church “ministry” have supplanted essential roles of the father (and to a lesser degree the mother) within the home in terms of the discipleship of children. Because of this thousands if not tens of thousands of children are growing up in “Christian” homes who are not being taught the Scriptures rightly, who do not truly understand the Gospel, and who are now receiving false assurance because well meaning sunday school teachers are leading them into superficial sinner’s prayers. I know this of a certainty, not only from my own personal one-on-one evangelism, but the Barna-group and other surveys show this to be a reality in our generation. The solution to this problem is to go back to the Scriptures and the sufficiency of the same. It is not to replace one ministerial error (age segregated youth ministry) with another (hyper-patriarchy). Based on what I have read from Mr. Brown, he is not advocating hyper-patriarchalism but simply calling believers and church leaders to exercise discernment on whether these ministries are in fact Biblical, and he is calling Christian men to simply step up to their God-ordained role within their families and churches. Yes, there are those who are in excess, but it is not wise nor honest to dismiss a valid Biblical point because some stagger into a ditch by going too far. The truth is, we are called to “not go beyond what is written…” and to avoid extra-Biblical excess on either side of the issue. It is my firm conviction that well-meaning men and women began these ministries with the best of intentions, but they neglected the Biblical commandments in regards to who is supposed to teach children. The result has been chaos folks; that is undeniable. We have created a Laodicean church which appears alive and huge and well financed and boasts in being rich and in need of nothing, but is actually poor, naked and blind. How many of the youth in your “youth ministries” would affirm the exclusivity of Jesus Christ? How many believe the Genesis account of creation? How many understand the justice of Hell? How many comprehend penal substitutionary atonement? How many of your supposedly saved youth, raised by strangers, how many can explain the Gospel rightly? How many understand the character, nature and attributes of God? The hypostatic union of Christ? How many would affirm the exceeding sinfulness of sin? How many understand Biblical assurance? How many understand justification, the effectual calling, election, or predestination? How many of your “saved” youth show the fruit of the Spirit? How many of your saved youth understand the difference between repentance unto life and a repentance that leads to death? How many can tell the difference between saving faith and superficial faith? I would encourage you brethren to enquire of your youth who are the by-products of this modern “ministry” that we have created; which is based on emotion and feelings and experience, but not truth; ask them simple Biblical questions. Take them through the test of assurance in 1 John and you will find, as Mr. Brown did, and many others; that a great majority of these youth are already gone. They have no understanding of the Gospel, do not trust in Jesus Christ but in their works; and they will hear “depart from me you worker of inequity I never knew you” because they were fed a superficial credalistic Gospel based on them saying a prayer. But they have never been discipled by their father, they have not been shown and taught the Gospel by the person whom God commands to teach them. Brethren the question is this, do we believe the Word of God or not? If God defines specific roles for men and women, are we smarter than Him? Will the clay tell the potter “why have you made me thus?” God forbid. Now is the time which the church needs self-examination on these issues, because souls are at stake and God’s glory. Soli Deo Gloria, Sincerely in Christ, Mike M.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thatmom,
    Thank you for the encouragement! It means a lot. As you probably know, this is a topic that elicits strong opinions from people of various beliefs. I love your blog, and your perspective. You are a balm for the craziness of my former experience. Thank you for being there.

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  13. What Miller’s long-winded comment really means is: “women who disagree with us should not blog!”

    Julie Anne experienced this attitude from the MacArthurites.

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  14. Mr. Miller:

    Just wondering: how do you reconcile your claim that your comment was not “a ‘bash on women'” with your reference to Karen Campbell as “some womean” (in contradistinction to Phil Johnson)? Is that your idea of respectful discourse? If not a “bash,” would you at least agree that your choice of words was highly condescending and deserving of an apology? Somehow I think even Phil Johnson would agree.

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  15. Hey Mike,
    I have a burqa. Actually, where I lived it’s called an abaya. I’d put it on in your honor right now, except it’s just too hot down south.

    I’ve already lived what you’re suggesting. I’ve literally been there, done that. It’s not healthy. And it’s only “Biblical” according to your interpretation.

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  16. Regarding Family-Integrated Churches (FIC), they actually require women and children to receive the elements of Communion from their husbands and fathers rather than from the clergyman. This has never been done in the history of the Church.

    Make no mistake, FIC is a cult. And that is evident enough from Mr. Miller’s comments which are full of kool aid.

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  17. A true woman-hater. One can feel the anger and condescension behind “dear lady,” “dear sister,” etc. And calling Karen Campbell “non-descript” [sic]? Only because she’s not well-known or distinguished by his standards? He compares her to the Apostle Paul. I think we all lose out on that level.

    But for supreme sneering contempt, I choose “Who should be [sic] listen to on discernment; you, some woman, or Phil Johnson…”? Whether “some woman” refers to Campbell, or to women in general, this leaves no doubt, if there had been any, about his bigotry.

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  18. Too many leaps of logic. Too many general assumptions.

    “Depart from me you worker of inequity. I never knew that verse was in the bible.”

    Soli Patriacum Gloria

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  19. Hey Mike, Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you stopped by to explain yourself. But I’m not sure you got the intent of my post. Through all of that doctrinal diarrhea (that phrase is not original with me), you completely missed the point. I’ll be more clear. Do you realize how you are coming across to Karen?

    I have more to say, but need to hit the road for our 4-5 hr trip home. S

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  20. My comment was written before I read the one from Miller. I agree with much of his diagnosis. But to blame women for this situation is absurd.

    The congregation I escaped from had three elders. None of them was able to teach. They had to take theology classes from the congregational leader. Needless to say, perhaps, but all of the elders were male.

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  21. Mike,
    Your neat and tidy extra-biblical theology creates a nice little hierarchy that Jesus never did. If you recall, he spoke directly with women, and knew that they would understand his words plainly, not via a church leader or husband. Your comment that the churches are supplanting the essential roles of fathers and the “lesser” role of mothers disciplining children is a slap in the face to single mothers. Don’t worry, your manhood will still be fine when you can admit that women are just as capable of understanding scripture as you.

    Oh, sorry, I a woman who is not married. May I have permission to speak to you? Oh right, my understanding of scripture must be sub par because of my gender. And all of those lessons I’ve taught to children in Sunday school over the years… yeah, I happen to have a degree in education, but you’re right. I must have led them astray.

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  22. Mike, I am sorry you didn’t return to my blog to engage in the discussion. I am fairly certain you won’t engage here either since I doubt you are really interested in what other people think unless they agree with you. But in case you pop in here, here is proof that, indeed, you approved gurus as mentioned above are part of the patriocentric movement. I would encourage you to listen to these two podcast series on their movement:

    http://www.thatmom.com/podcasts/patriarchy-patriocentricity-series/
    http://www.thatmom.com/podcasts/patriarchypatriocentricity-series-two-2010/

    And this one on the militant fecundity movement. That phrase was coined by Scott Brown himself.
    http://www.thatmom.com/podcasts/militant-fecundity-vs-children-as-a-blessing-series/

    I am very careful to use exact quotes and document where you can find the originals in context.. One of my motives is to encourage moms to not be duped by this movement. I believe so strongly in what a great option homeschooling is for families that I will do whatever it takes to keep these dear women encouraged in the face of the misogyny that is woven throughout their teachings.

    I would still like to hear your thoughts on Mr. Brown’s discernment regarding his poor daughter.

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  23. Wow. After reading Mr. Miller’s comments I feel like “I’m not in Kansas anymore”.

    It’s been hard for me to believe that these kinds of appalling attitudes really exist. Wow. Just Wow.

    As for all the correct doctrine that one must have in order to be “Mr. Miller’s form of a Christian”, I guess I can just tell those little women in the Karen Tribe Hill village in Thailand that I was blessed to visit a few years ago, “Sorry, you just don’t cut it ~ you can’t answer my doctrinal questions correctly.”

    BTW: Where’s the role of the Holy Spirit??? Is He invited??? Was Jesus even mentioned?

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  24. What Miller’s long-winded comment really means is: “women who disagree with us should not blog!”

    Like a lawyer taking three hours to say nothing. Except Miller was taking a couple hundred lines to say something:
    “ME MAN! YOU WOMAN! WOMAN! SUBMIT! GOD SAITH!”

    P.S. Internet Monk used to have a standard reply to such long comments:
    “If you’re going to write a whole new blog post, get your own blog.”

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  25. Mike,
    Your neat and tidy extra-biblical theology creates a nice little hierarchy that Jesus never did.

    Purity of Ideology. Just like the Communists.

    And didn’t this guy Jesus like to throw a wrench into neat and tidy theology?

    Oh, sorry, I a woman who is not married. May I have permission to speak to you?

    Though not married myself, I have those dangly bits between my legs that DO give me permission to speak. And I say “B.S. B.S. with a lot of God-talk, but still B.S.”

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  26. A true woman-hater. One can feel the anger and condescension behind “dear lady,” “dear sister,” etc.

    For many years, I had a pretty low opinion of women myself. But even at its worst, I NEVER used that kind of passive-aggressive saccharin. That kind of flattery hiding the black mamba venom, the sweet sweet smile before the knife in the back with a twist. That was the specialty of the sociopath in my family.

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  27. Funny (but not really) how even Jesus had women deacons, which is explicitly mentioned at Luke 8:3 — the translation ” who were contributing to their support,” diēkonoun, being derived from diákonos, referring to the female servants of Christ — the same exact Greek word used, by the way, of the male deacons at 1 Timothy 3:8. I wonder: Why did Jesus not treat those women as do “authoritarian” men today in “authoritarian” churches, keeping their women silent and under their thumb. Could it be that someone is misinterpreting Paul, and women are suffering for it?

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  28. Monique,
    Heads of corn are a poppin’ all over Kansas right now just for you! That Miller fella better not show his face there. I’m trying to imagine the Karen Tribe Hill village in Thailand version of “Little Women.” God bless those little women.

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  29. Mike, you have taken the time to express how grieved that you are that youth are not coming to Christ, but are, in fact walking away from Christ and/or leaving the church. My brief comment to your concerns will be in two parts: 1. Why people leave the faith/church and 2. The perceived role of men and women in the church and the home.

    1. You may have some statistics to back up why youth do not understand the basics of the Christian faith and are leaving the church. This is a huge topic and there is not enough time or space to delve into this fully here, but here are a couple of pertinent thoughts. There are many reasons why people are exiting the church which are not directly related to the fact that people believe or do not believe in the Lordship of Christ. For example, people are leaving the church for reasons of hypocrisy and/or abuse, both in the church and in the family. If the father is a hypocrite and/or an abuser in any way, there will be a consequence in the hearts of children and youth that will impact them regarding the ‘faith of their fathers’ and will cause them to reject what they have experienced. Agreed, “to blame women for this situation is absurd.”

    2. Mike, you state that: “these principles are clearly laid out in the word of God.” Also, “If God defines specific roles for men and women, are we smarter than Him?”

    This may be a foundation that you have put faith in but there are a huge number of reasons why this persuasion is hermeneutically flawed. There are a huge number of people who do not discern from the Scriptures that there are ‘specific roles for men and women’ as defined in Scripture, as you indicate. These ‘roles’ are not ‘clearly laid out in the word of God’. There are interpretation methods that come up with these conclusions, but they are flawed and do not represent the heart of God nor the Kingdom of God in our time.

    If we read in Gen. 2, that God created man and woman in his very image, how signficant is that. Right from the beginning of creation, the Creator-God infused his image in both the woman and the man. Nothing has eradicated this fact. Further, Christ came to redeem that which was lost. Christ fulfilled his promise to pour out His Holy Spirit upon all flesh. Men and women, sons and daughters, are fully able to prophesy and proclaim the goodness of God without restriction. Women are full participants in all that Christ has provided and called them to do.

    BTW I have an earned doctoral degree from the local seminary, which is conferred with all the rights and privileges thereof. Theology and church history are two of the many topics that I am keenly interested in. All the best as you continue to learn from the community gathered here.

    Barb @ ChurchExiters.com

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  30. Gary: LOL and yes, they are very blessed! They have a simple life and faith. We come from such different worlds, yet we share the same Holy Spirit’s presence that connects us in a way that transcends all cultural differences.

    Somehow, I don’t think many of the Thai Karen Tribe Christians I met would pass Mr. Miller’s expectations for a “real” Christian.

    Meanwhile, the Karen Hill Tribe family I stayed with were the first Christians in their village and now many more are coming to the faith through this family. They have a great little church and they exude the love of Jesus and are so welcoming and sharing what little they have with you while you’re visiting. Yes, there’s still the witch doctor down the road, but these Thai Christians are the real deal.

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  31. Hi BeenThereDoneThat,

    Salam Alaykum! We, too, spent time in the Middle East. I have been meaning to ask: Which country were you in? How long and when? We might find that we have a lot in common. 🙂 BTW I have an abaya in the closet–is it time to bring them out??!

    Just email me through my website email: info@churchexiters.com

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  32. To: Mr. Mike Miller
    Re: Your post of 10:04 this date

    You ask how many “youth ministries” youth accept and/or understand a long litany of doctrinal positions. Is it necessary that they do so in order to be counted amongst the redeemed? If so, I have a confession to make. I myself am not amongst the redeemed. You see, though I am impressed with your vocabulary and superior knowledge, I have no Idea what you are referring to when you mention the hypostatic union of Christ. Nor am I able to understand how your doctrine of the justice of Hell– assuming it includes the notion of eternal conscious torment–makes God anything other than an omnipotent, satanic, megalomaniac.

    Then again, perhaps we should both examine whether we are in the faith (which is “Biblical,” you know). You see, I do agree that there is a difference between saving faith and faith that is not effective to salvation. You appear to have placed your faith in mentally understanding and embracing certain “correct,” doctrinal positions you call “Biblical.” I, on the other hand, am content to confess my ignorance on such matters and simply embrace Jesus. This, in turn, means that the only law to which I submit is the law of love, love towards both God and neighbors. Excepting only the God/man Jesus, no man, not even Paul, and certainly not you, binds my conscience. I anticipate your objections. My answer to each and every one of them is simply the law of love.

    When I read about the time when the goats will be separated from the sheep, I see nothing about subscribing to a litany of approved doctrinal traditions of men. I only read about attending to the needs of “the least of these,” which is to attend to Jesus Himself.

    Whether or not our respective eternal destinies are at stake, I earnestly entreat you to pursue love, which is to pursue God Himself. Your knowledge of doctrine will pass away. The love you attain will never end. That’s “Biblical,” you know.

    Respectfully,
    Gary W
    (Not the same as the other Gary commenting in this thread)

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  33. Hi Mike:

    I was at my daughter’s volleyball tournament this morning when your comment came in for approval. Today was unique in that I was able to connect with a long-time blog reader, Ed Chapman, who came to watch the game with me. (Thank you, Ed, for stopping by the game. It was great to meet after all of these months of dialoguing here.)

    When I read the first paragraph of your comment, I realized you had missed the gist of my article as I discussed earlier. But as I continued, I realized you were speaking a language that was confusing to me. There was so much unfamiliar doctrinal jargon.

    I handed my phone to Ed and invited him to take a look. He echoed my thoughts. All of those big words??? Why? What for?

    It reminded me of this verse: Matthew 18:3 – And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    This notion that only certain people can teach others is not what I find in scripture. Where does the Holy Spirit fit into your picture? You and your ilk have created a very strange hierarchal structure, elevating only approved people who speak your lingo to teach children. Jesus doesn’t speak your language. He spoke simply. Maybe it would do better to read and use the words of Jesus rather than whatever dead human biblical “scholars” you are reading.

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  34. Been There Done That:

    I, too, would like to say that not all Christian homeschoolers are part of the conservative Christian homeschool movement. I have homeschooled the past 10 years and I have never fit into that group. I find that I am more of a middle ground person, and that makes it even more difficult to find groups to associate with. In Oregon they tend to lean to one side or the other.

    After this year, I will have one in public high school and one in online public middle school. The high schooler is a result of her own choice to move on this year and the middle schooler is my choice for him to better prepare himself for high school. So, I have run the schooling gamut – homeschool, public school, (some) private school, and now online public school. What I have loved about our schooling journey is the ability to make a choice for what is best for my kids.

    If you would ever like to communicate with another fellow middle-ground homeschooler, I would be happy to connect with you. Julie Anne can give you my email address.

    Kathi

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  35. HUG: “That kind of flattery hiding the black mamba venom…” Oh, please, please tell me that’s a Megamind reference! If so, you’re awesome! 🙂

    Mike: I mean in this in all sincerity and not in jest, Julie Anne’s reposting of your original comment is much easier to read. So, when I saw your comment on her post, my immediate reaction was “blah, blah, blah, blah….” Whenever I’ve had a person talk to me in the way your comment comes across, it’s as though I’m being “talked to” and not “talking with.” I immediately want to tune you out. You may want to reconsider the way you type out your comments so that people will really want to read and listen and try to figure out what you say.

    Like

  36. Quote from Michael Miller: “Who should be [sic] listen to on discernment; you, some woman, or Phil Johnson, the executive director of Master’s Seminary who will be teaching alongside pastor Brown as a brother in Christ and co-laborer for the Gospel? Who has discernment ma’am? on this issue could it possibly be that, wise in your own conceits you are the one quite possibly who is standing against the clear teaching of Scripture? Should we listen to you, the non-descript “homeschool mom” or should we listen to the Apostle Paul.”

    FYI, Mike, Phil Johnson is not the “executive director of Master’s Seminary”. Phil is “executive director of Grace to You”, John MacArthur’s radio ministry and edits most of MacArthur’s books. He’s not listed as staff/faculty @ Master’s Seminary.

    Julie Anne, this was a “triggering post” for me having come from a church that elevated doctrine above people. Thanks for encouraging your readers to check out Karen’s response at http://www.thatmom.com. I was relieved to read what she wrote and some of the other comments on her blog!

    Listen to the Apostle Paul and “that mom”, Karen, who knows 2 Timothy 1:5:

    “I would encourage you to check out Paul’s praise for Lois and Eunice, the mother and grandmother of Timothy. And how about King Lemuel’s mom whose wise admonition to her son made its way into Proverbs 31? I would encourage you to do your own study and see all the many examples of women instructing without trying to hold authority over anyone! Means of grace to children for instruction in theology? Moms ABSOLUTELY are one of those means!!!!!!! So are your sisters in Christ whether you like it or not!!!”

    The National Center for Family Integrated Churches 2-day intensive Bible conference on Christian fatherhood held July 18th and 19th (just before the “discernment conference”) has their schedule of teaching sessions listed here: NCFIC Master’s Plan Schedule Most of the sessions are based on the Old Testament – I don’t think Lois, and Eunice fit their description. But the Apostle Paul commended these women in 2 Timothy and did not mention his father…

    The greatest commandment is not to have the correct theology as Gary W. said. (see Matthew 22:35-41 and also 1 Corinthians 13)

    “How many of your “saved” youth show the fruit of the Spirit?” asks Mike Miller.

    How many of their pastors and Christian role models show the fruit of the Spirit? “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Teens may not know every theological doctrine, but they can sure sniff hypocrisy and detect a lack of love.
    Add that to the list of what is turning many young people away from the church.

    Like

  37. Not a Rebel! Long time no see. I’m sorry this was triggering for you. Your comment was excellent – and the 2 Tim reference was so appropriate. Lois and Eunice must be removed from their bibles.

    Mike’s comment was difficult for me to read, too, but I did it knowing that many are living in homes where husbands treat them as objects and less-thans. It’s important for people to see first-hand how women are treated by some church leaders. And contrary to what Mike says, this is an example of heavy-handed Patriarchy.

    Like

  38. Recovering Pharisee wrote earlier: “Don’t worry, your manhood will still be fine when you can admit that women are just as capable of understanding scripture as you.”

    I think it’s the other way around. These domineering have no manhood because of their low view of women. That’s why they have to puff up and make a display to try and fool people. The truth is that they’re only fooling themselves. A real man doesn’t have to be afraid of women or people that are different.

    Like

  39. This goes back to this godly manhood thing, Eric, doesn’t it? And these guys speak so strongly on biblical manhood, yet everyone knows a bully is really not showing their strength, but their weakness.

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  40. Exactly, JA. I wonder how these guys reconcile Christ’s strength being perfected in our weakness with their blustery tail-fanning and strutting, or any of the verses about humility with their pride in their own deeds and degrees?

    Proclaiming doctrinal correctness is useless junk if you can’t truly love your neighbor. And insisting that your neighbor concede to your doctrine or be castigated for their disagreement isn’t love by any real definition.

    Like

  41. Henrietta Mears would be rolling in her grave… Providing she was still in it.

    ~God-fearing, homeschooling, single mom in Los Angeles.

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  42. Oh, that is so true, Eric. Yes, Christ’s strength being perfected in weakness – that’s it – the focus is on Christ. These kinds of guys instead want to focus on them, their doctrine, their rules and I can’t seem to find Christ. Where is He?

    And of course he missed my comment entirely. I wasn’t even talking about doctrine. I was talking about how women are treated, ya know – that love thang.
    It’s so easy. So basic.

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  43. Arclight, Welcome to SSB!

    Yes, I imagine she would.

    I just noticed you said you are a single mom. I’m trying to figure out how Mike would say your children should be discipled. Would you be “allowed” to do it as a single mom? I hope Mike comes back to explain. Confusion is not a good thing for me.

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  44. Mike would have to go to the church in Arclight’s house and teach her children every day or at least every Sabbath. No Sunday school for him!

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  45. I hope we can move away from the belief that knowledge and love are mutually exclusive. First of all, Scripture in many places exhorts us to study and learn the Word (e.g. Heb 5:11-14; 2 Tim 3:14-17). But acquiring knowledge is never spoken of as an end in itself; it should lead to love and good works.

    Although he does it in an off-putting way, Miller makes a valid point: There is a strong anti-intellectual tendency in American churches today; a belief that learning necessarily makes one an “inauthentic” believer, prideful and superior, and lacking in love. Unfortunately, too often it does, but it’s not inevitable. The Bible says that learning and love should go hand in hand. After all, what we are learning about is God.

    I find it shocking how many believers can not give a basic definition of the Trinity. Yes, I know the word is not in Scripture, but the concept goes back as far as the Apostle’s Creed. It is the very definition of God. And it shows how love is the basis of God’s identity. Because each of the three Persons loves the other two, God is shown to be inherently loving. No other “religion” has a God like this.

    BTW, Gary W, hypostatic union means that Jesus is fully God and fully man. The term isn’t important, but its meaning is. It’s another definitional term – Who Christ was on earth, and still is.

    Knowledge of the Word should be taught and learned in a way that increases our wonder of God and our love of God and man. Like any good thing, it can be abused.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Hi Julie Anne,

    Thank you for the welcome!

    So much I could say about all this…. So little time. Romans 16 is one of my favorite chapters regarding women in the church. Lois and Eunice apparently did quite nicely also. Commended by dear Paul, no less.

    God is so faithful. Its not easy being a single mom in any church, frankly, but God knows what He’s doing, doesn’t He?!

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  47. Jeff, I agree in part, hoping that “we can move away from the belief that knowledge and love are mutually exclusive.” and that knowledge should “should lead to love and good works”.

    But I am also quite tired of head knowledge being the litmus test for true faith. Barb made some excellent points above about the true reasons young people are straying from the faith. I think it has much less to do with a simple presentation of the gospel than with hypocrisy.

    As for this paranoia among Neo Calvinists against “easy believism”, meaning that droves of people are being persuaded to respond to altar calls and that their conversions must be false because they have never heard of TULIP, is freakin hogwash. In my SG church, there was much discussion looking down upon those not so solidly “biblical” churches that still have altar calls. How one must be saved was presented as knowing this and knowing that. Billy Graham was looked down upon- seriously?! Something is very wrong when you are so concerned with having proper doctrine that you can’t rejoice at the multitudes who will be in heaven because of Graham’s simple, accessible preaching.

    My own conversion experience involved responding to an altar call without truly repenting, then years later, my heart truly being awoken to the actual gospel and my need for a savior. One could deem the first experience as false. But as I look back, I praise God for sincere folks like Billy Graham and that college chaplain. Though I didn’t understand the gospel at the time, my raising my hand to “be saved” was a genuine movement TOWARD God. It was not the simplicity of his message that hindered me from truly being saved that day. And it was not more head knowledge that later brought me to true faith. It was the Holy Spirit working in me over time, drawing me to God and preparing me for the moment when I truly believed.

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  48. Knowledge and love certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, but without a demonstrable and palpable love, knowledge and doctrine are just worthless noise (and that’s something that is “Biblical.”)

    Jeff Brown wrote: “Although he does it in an off-putting way, Miller makes a valid point: There is a strong anti-intellectual tendency in American churches today; a belief that learning necessarily makes one an “inauthentic” believer, prideful and superior, and lacking in love.”

    He also seems to demonstrate that point quite effectively. No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. His snotty “some woman” remark pretty much proves that he doesn’t care one bit about women or their intellectual contributions. Or maybe he just got his panties in a wad because a couple of women skewered his sacred cow.

    Knowledge and education are completely unrelated to one’s ability to live a loving life. Knowledge ans education are also completely unrelated to wisdom. If you’re going to put such a big emphasis on correct doctrine and scriptural knowledge, you’d better have loving people down pat. Otherwise, you’ll likely lose sight of love, and start to use your correct doctrine as a weapon for beating people over the head. I’ve seen that far too many times to care one bit about these self-styled ‘defenders of the faith’.

    Doctrine doesn’t feed the hungry, tend to the sick, or stand up for the oppressed; Love does. And if you need doctrines to tell you what love is, you’ve probably missed the point entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. HUG: “That kind of flattery hiding the black mamba venom…” Oh, please, please tell me that’s a Megamind reference! If so, you’re awesome! 🙂

    Actually, no. Just that black mamba venom is supposed to be the worst and deadliest snake venom on Earth.

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  50. So – Who wudda thunk it – Mike Miller, represents – Grace Family Bible Church…
    Hmmm? – Did anyone notice much “Grace” in Mike’s words?

    Seems to me, Mike Miller, is helping to prove the latest theory about…

    When you find “Grace” in the “Title” of a Religious System…
    You will NOT find much “Grace” in “the Leaders” of that Religious System.
    You will NOT find much “Grace” in “the Followers” of that Religious System.

    Hmmm? New rule of thumb…

    Do NOT trust, do NOT join, do NOT give money to, any “Religious System”
    that has the word “Grace” in their “Title” until…

    You have observed “The Elder/Overseers” for at least two years.

    And – Know Them…

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

    And can honestly say – They are 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 KJV

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **their shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    I’m Blest… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

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

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Again, when I speak of gaining knowledge of the Word, I’m only repeating what Scripture says, not what man says. The Bible says that we should not drink milk forever, but advance to solid food (Heb 5:11-14). The writer of Hebrews said this to believers, so this is not necessarily a salvation issue. I don’t think solid food means knowing what TULIP means, but rather knowing more about this God that we claim to love.

    If someone tells us that they love Jesus, and we find out that they think Jesus is an exalted man, we need to point them to the truth in Scripture. My point is that love is sometimes not enough.

    Billy Graham has been mentioned. He is a great man, but, unfortunately, he is also an example of what I’m talking about. Some years ago, on Larry King, he said that he believed that devout Hindus, Muslims, etc., will be saved without being converted to Christ. (The video is on You Tube.) I believe this contradicts the Bible (most obviously John 14:6). It was clear that this belief was prompted by his love for people of other faiths. But if it’s true that Jesus is the only way to the Father, of what value is this love?

    I realize that this is a controversial subject, but please let’s try to make the conversation civil. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Jeff Brown,

    I appreciate the comment you posted yesterday evening at 11:06 PM. Certainly I can relate to the point about a strong anti-intellectual tendency in American churches. Not so long ago a friend prayed over me that I would quit thinking so much–and they thought they were doing me a favor! Well, I intend to continue the pursuit of knowledge as essential to the faith. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6. On the other hand, I perceive that much of conservative evangelicalism is “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” My conviction is that we cannot come to the knowledge of the truth (or is it Truth?) until we: a) repent of the many ways in which we have bowed down to the Enlightenment goddess of Reason as an end in and of herself, and b) apply what learning we possess to the well being of our neighbors, including especially “the least of these.”

    As to the hypostatic union of Christ being a reference to the fact that Jesus is fully God and Fully man, maybe my place in the Kingdom is safe. After all, my previous post did refer to the God/man Jesus. Still, I didn’t know the fancy word. Perhaps you have succeeded in rescuing me from the very edge of the Abyss. (Just kidding.)

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Amos, You’re right. Another Grace church. BGBC, SGM, GCC, now GFBC. The church I presently go to does not have “Grace” in it’s name. Whew.

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  54. Gary and Jeff, you both make good points.Regarding the anti-intellectual tendencies of some churches, this is usually less about anti-intellectualism than it is about control of conformity by stopping questions. The same control of conformity is at work in groups that promote the teachings of certain “theologians” as the truth that people need to accept. Different sides of the same coin, but the same desired outcome: infringement of the freedoms of thought, expression, and practice.

    While it is perfectly acceptable to desire (and require) conformity of opinion in a congregation, using the coercive methods like the threat of church discipline, hell, etc., is a hallmark of abusive cult behavior. Likewise with insisting that people outside of your group/congregation/ideology accept your opinion as “truth.” Doing so dismisses an individual’s experiences and situation, and also crowds out the work of the Holy Spirit speaking to an individual as a unique individual. Of course, doctrinarians will immediately dismiss anything as the work of the Holy Spirit if it doesn’t bring a person into conformity with their doctrine. Which would make me question whether the doctrinarian finds comfort in faith in Christ or in the certainty brought by their educated opinion. The doctrinarian position also brings about the need to discuss the possibility of idolatry of scripture pushing aside worship of God and living as Christ’s body.

    Perhaps more people would remain in church, or join a church if there were less “correction of error” to get people to accept “the Truth” (TM), and more lives lived as a demonstration of God’s Grace and Love.

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  55. Eric,

    Great comment at 9:13. Certainly it is my first hand experience that one will be marginalized, and even excluded, if even the individual preacher’s doctrine is not accepted. You don’t have to be opposed to anything in the official, written, statement of faith. You just have to disagree with something the preacher thinks.

    Please allow me to present a different take regarding your statement that “ it is perfectly acceptable to desire (and require) conformity of opinion in a congregation.” The verse I have seen used to promote this view is 1 Cor. 1:10: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (ESV)

    What is overlooked, however, is what is meant by this “same mind.” In Philippians 2:1-2, Paul begins by admonishing the believers at Philippi to be of one mind. Then he tells us what it means to be of one mind: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8, ESV)

    I submit that to be of one mind does not mean that we all think the same things. Rather, it means that we all empty ourselves and take the form of a servant, being humble and obedient even to the point of death. I’m not there yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. @Jeff Brown,

    You had said:
    “Billy Graham has been mentioned. He is a great man, but, unfortunately, he is also an example of what I’m talking about. Some years ago, on Larry King, he said that he believed that devout Hindus, Muslims, etc., will be saved without being converted to Christ. (The video is on You Tube.) I believe this contradicts the Bible (most obviously John 14:6). It was clear that this belief was prompted by his love for people of other faiths. But if it’s true that Jesus is the only way to the Father, of what value is this love?”

    My Response:

    I have seen this video. Unfortunately for your comment, if you really dissect the actual video, you will see that it is taken out of context and where the words are twisted of the point that Billy Graham was making. He did NOT AT ALL say WITHOUT CONVERSION. It’s the same trick that was used on Obama when he accidentally stated that he was a Muslim by saying, “My Muslim Faith”. The video was edited to leave out the rest of the story. Don’t believe quotes of famous personalities on YouTube unless you see the whole interview. See the whole interview of the Larry King show in regards to Billy Graham.

    Ed Chapman

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Gary,

    I tend to agree with your idea of being of “one mind”, but my position on a congregation being able to require conformity of opinion comes less from a scriptural standpoint than the freedom of people and groups to practice an exclusive association. I prefer and choose to associate with a congregation that celebrates differing opinions and positions, but I understand that can be very uncomfortable for some. As long as their practices and doctrines aren’t intellectually or emotionally abusive to people both in and out of their group, I’m fine with letting them be.

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  58. @Michael Miller,

    Big words that are somewhat new to the Christianese language. Does that make you feel important, educated (I think the Apostle Paul thought of his education as DUNG, in the KJV. In the 21st century, I think there is a more common word for it. You will learn that word in a CLASS called Special High Intensity Training), king for a day, CEO of church x, Commanding Officer, etc. I feel that when you speak, I have to go to dictionary.com to find out what the heck you are talking about. But then I have to remember, this is Calvinese lip service without the Christianese simplicity of what comes NATURALLY, i.e. love, compassion, etc. The Bible is EASY. Why do you TEACH that it is difficult that NO ONE can learn it, except thru people like you? Women teach better than men in MOST areas, including the Gospel.

    Tell me, Mike…WHAT SEX WAS THE FIRST TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL? Men, or Women?

    If I do recall, the men were having a pity party, thinking that they bet on the wrong man (Jesus) to save them.

    But the women were told BY JESUS to GO TELL MY DISCIPLES THAT I AM RISEN.

    It was the WOMEN who FIRST proclaimed the gospel.

    I know of a specific woman preacher that can dissect the scriptures better than you can in regards to women teaching men…in the Greek, too. I have seen the teaching myself.

    You, sir, underestimate women’s intelligence, and knowledge, and power of women. You can quote scripture very well, but not accurate, in regards to women, and there place in the church. You are out of line. But then again, so are most Calvinists with this patriarchal attitude. You need an attitude check.

    Ed Chapman

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  59. Eric,

    I count you fortunate if you have found a congregation that celebrates differing opinions, especially if you are still allowed to contribute according to your gifts, talents, training and experience. My experience is that preachers with whom I disagree will tolerate me so long as I show up regularly, don’t express my views and, especially, fork over large sums in the form of tithes and offerings. However, when it comes to actually being allowed to contribute according to what I have been given to contribute is concerned, I am kept at arms length.

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  60. Yeah, Gary, I find it sad that my experience seems to be a far outlier on the bell curve of exceptions to the norm. We discuss all sorts of things in the classes, and I’m allowed to contribute my time and talent as much or as little as I wish. As far as the church services, we focus on worshiping God, remembering Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and leave focusing on how we can best serve our neighbors. We’re a pretty small congregation (about 150 people, which is small in Houston), but I think we’d be a comfortable fit for a lot of people who have felt burned by a church.

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  61. I shared something similar last night on TWW. When I was in college I was in predominantly male Bible study groups, with many members going on to seminary. For these men, the quickest path to idiocy was to assume intellectual superiority over me simply because of gender. I have a degree in Classical Studies (emphasis on Latin) and while I don’t yet know Ancient Greek, I can still pull a lot more knowledge out of the Latin Vulgate than any of those men at my Bible studies could find in their fancy annotated Bibles. Intelligence needs to be proven not assumed.

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  62. chapmaned24

    Yes, it’s true that Graham did not use the words “without conversion.” But I don’t think it would be strange if someone came to that conclusion. I haven’t been able to find the video of the entire show, but I find it hard to imagine a context that would change the meaning of the clip. At the very least, his answer is, as the label says, so “watered down” that it resembles the kind of answer Joel Osteen has given to the question of who will be saved.

    http://www.rejoicetube.com/media/6418/BillyGrahamWateredDownAnswerOnLarryKingLive/

    Here is an excerpt from a Newsweek interview:

    “A unifying theme of Graham’s new thinking now is humility. He is sure
    and certain of his faith in Jesus as the way to salvation, but when asked
    whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists,
    Hindus or secular people, Graham says: ‘Those are decisions only the Lord
    will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and
    who won’t … I don’t want to speculate about all that. I believe the love
    of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I
    think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have.'”

    Again, he is avoiding the hard distinctions that Scripture makes. I, myself, would like to say to people what Graham says. Probably only hard-core atheists would give me a problem. But I’m constrained by what Scripture clearly says on this subject.

    As I said before, I think he is a great man. I don’t want to bash him. But these are unfortunate statements from a very influential person.

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  63. Kathi,
    Thank you for your offer of help with homeschool info. It means a lot just to have your offer. I agree with you about being able to offer each child what he/she needs.

    Funny, in my former church you had to homeschool in order to be a member. Yet, I could never get any practical help on how it all worked. I’m a public and private schooled mama. I’ve gotten more offers of help from complete strangers since leaving that church. Something was definitely missing there.

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  64. Seems to me, Mike Miller, is helping to prove the latest theory about…

    When you find “Grace” in the “Title” of a Religious System…
    You will NOT find much “Grace” in “the Leaders” of that Religious System.
    You will NOT find much “Grace” in “the Followers” of that Religious System.

    Like the “People’s Republic of Tyranny” page over at TV Tropes, where the more adjectives about “Democracy” you find in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.

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  65. @Jeff Brown,

    The point that Billy Graham was making is that Jesus died for the whole world, including Muslims, Hindu’s, etc. He wasn’t avoiding anything.

    Besides, this brings up the question:

    “What about all those people that never HEARD of Jesus? What happens to them?”

    What about all those naked Amazon people in the jungle with bones in their noses, with spears in their hands that no one preached Jesus to them? Are they all hell bound? They know nothing about Jesus, so what about them?

    Is there Scripture that answers this question? Yes. Where?

    I have spoken to Calvinists before who actually believe that EVERYONE who isn’t converted to Christianity goes to hell, and that includes EVERYONE who died before Jesus died on the cross. Do you believe that? How and why? What about those who never heard that there is a Jesus? Is Adam in hell?

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  66. chapmaned24

    I believe that those who never heard of Jesus, but respond to the whatever illumination of the truth that God gives them, are saved. Of course, this also includes those who lived before Jesus died on the cross.

    In an interview with Robert Schuller, Graham seems to be talking about these people, but I don’t think he is with King or in the Newsweek interview.

    I think that if, say, an Orthodox Jew watched the interview with King and read the Newsweek interview, there’s a very good chance that he would conclude that Graham was saying that believing in Jesus was not necessary for salvation; that if one were a devout Jew, Hindu, etc., he would be saved. I’m speaking of those who know about Jesus but reject Him because He is not a part of the faith that the Jew, Hindu, etc., subscribes to.

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  67. I was hoping my example of Billy Graham would be universally accepted as positive enough to make my point. I find it sad that his theology would be dissected and questioned so much that the amazing legacy he has left and the good fruits left in his path would be discounted because of non-essential points. This is exactly why I am on a spiritual sabbatical from Calvinism. Mr. Graham was heavily criticized for his ecumenical efforts. He preached the basics of the gospel very clearly. He most certainly preached Christ alone. He is deeply committed to prayer. If Neo Calvinists spent as much time praying and loving the world as they did dissecting why other brands of Christianity are off based, imagine how many more people might see Jesus in them and be with them one day in heaven because of that.

    By the way, I have no problem with the above quote. Graham is brave to state humbly and publicly that it is the Lord’s decision who will be saved, and that he most certainly is able to save anyone from any people group. And that God loves everyone. Those statements are not the same as preaching universal salvation. They are simply saying we humans don’t know absolutely who is saved and who is not.

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  68. @Jeff Brown

    I believe you used the correct word…reject. In order to reject, one must first hear. But in regards to Orthodox Jews, WHY do they reject? There is a SPIRITUAL reason as to WHY they reject, and it ISN’T their fault.

    Romans 11:1-2, 8, 11, 25, 28-32 (NIVr)
    1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

    2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel:

    8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” (Deuteronomy 29:4)

    (That means NEVER)

    11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.

    25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in,

    28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,

    29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

    30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,

    31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[a] receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.

    32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all

    (Bottom line…God blinded the Jews from the beginning, and God is responsible for unblinding the Jews in the end. God has mercy on the blind).

    In regards to the “illumination of the truth that God gives them”, that “illumination” is a conscience.

    Romans 2:14-16 (NIVr)
    14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.

    15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

    16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

    ****Bottom line, one is NOT an unbeliever by the mere fact of ignorance, but by rejecting, but the Orthodox Jews reject for a valid reason, because God blinded them.

    Take for example this (Notice the word “Hid”)

    Luke 9:44-45 (Jesus talking to his own disciples)
    44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

    45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.:

    Luke 18:31-34
    31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.

    32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:

    33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

    34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

    Bottom line…people seem to misunderstand God’s dealings with the Jews, and people conclude that God gave up on them because they reject Jesus. That isn’t true at all. God has mercy on the blind, especially the ones that He, Himself blinded from the get go.

    Ed

    Liked by 1 person

  69. @Recovering Pharisee,

    I totally agree. People take one statement of Billy Graham to an extent we all know that he never implied. It’s appalling.

    Ed

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  70. Ed, I was going to say the same to your previous comments… Thanks for being an advocate for women and pointing to scripture to show God’s heart for gender equality.

    But then you left this last comment.. I can see tons of wiggly worms jumping out of the can you just opened 😉 Those scriptures are some of the hardest (at least in my opinion) in all of scripture.

    Like

  71. meaning, Romans 9-11… Jews & Gentilles… hard stuff.. I’m looking at my Bible now and seeing a paragraph toward the end of all of that stuff that I circled, and this is where I land on all of this:
    “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?”

    Liked by 1 person

  72. @Recovering Pharisee,

    Yes, I am always aware of them wiggly worms when I discuss God’s mercy on the Jews, and the blind. Jesus said that salvation is of the Jews (plural). He also said that “WE” (Jews) KNOW what we worship. The Apostle Paul stated that there is MUCH ADVANTAGE to being a Jew, as that Jews hold the Oracles of God (not the Gentiles). Not the Pope, not Calvin, not Luther, etc.

    Also:

    Jeremiah 31:35-36
    35 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name:

    36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

    I am looking in the Prophets that I know that I have read before, in that the New Covenant that God will make (Jesus), that God will have mercy on the Jews, not due to anything that they did or didn’t do, but for God’s name sake, that he will do it. I know I have read it before, and I am having a hard time finding it now. But I will find it. When I do, I will post it.

    Ed

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  73. I was hoping my example of Billy Graham would be universally accepted as positive enough to make my point. I find it sad that his theology would be dissected and questioned so much that the amazing legacy he has left and the good fruits left in his path would be discounted because of non-essential points.

    Purity of Ideology, Comrade.
    Purity of Ideology.

    I totally agree. People take one statement of Billy Graham to an extent we all know that he never implied. It’s appalling.

    Especially that Billy’s age has caught up with him, and his son Franklin (“All Culture War, All The Time”) is running the show and possibly signing the old man’s name to his own diktats.

    Like

  74. @HUG,

    Can you translate that to English for me please? Simple English will do. Explain what you said as if I am a three year old, cuz I sure don’t get it.

    To translate what I just said to a three year old, it’s three letters:

    Huh?

    Like

  75. Julie Anne,

    Thank you very much…lol…be sure to tip your waitresses, I’ll be here all week.

    (I used to go to live stand up comedy shows a lot back in the late 80’s).

    Like

  76. chapmaned24 –

    Are you saying that individual Orthodox Jews are unable to come to faith in Jesus today? The verses you quoted have to do with Jews and Gentiles as groups and their roles in salvation history. What does that have to do with individual Jews coming to faith? God has always preserved a remnant of Jews who have obtained salvation (Rom 11:5,7).

    BTW, I’m a Jewish believer.

    I confess that I do not understand what the verses in Luke have to do with Jews not coming to faith.

    I appreciate your saying that God has not given up on the Jews. There are too many today who do not believe that.

    chapmaned24 and Recovering Pharisee –

    Concerning Billy Graham, a couple more statements:

    “I fully adhere to the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith for myself and my ministry, but as an American, I respect other paths to God.” (Parade Magazine, Oct. 1996.)

    This doesn’t sound like preaching Christ alone as the way to God.

    “GRAHAM: I appreciate the opportunity of saying a word about the Pope… he has been the greatest moral and spiritual leader of the last 100 years.

    KING: Really? Why do you put him that high?

    GRAHAM: I’ve been to see him several times. I was preaching in Krakow in [his] cathedral…as his guest…at the time he was [in Rome] being made Pope….I don’t know anybody else that I could put as high as he is. He’s traveled the whole world, giving his version of the Gospel and spreading the Catholic faith.” (Larry King, Mar. 2005)

    The Pope “giving his version of the gospel”? So much for Gal. 1:6-9.

    There are more. I am not gloating as I write this. Just sad. And there are many besides Neo-Calvinists who criticize Graham on these points.

    Like

  77. Interesting that MichaelM says both: “Who should teach according to the Scriptures? Only a few, and only those who meet very strict moral and character qualifications.” and “…what means of grace has God given to train them. Clearly the Scriptures point towards parents, in particularly the father in this role.”
    Any atheist, Hindu, or name Christian who don’t know Jesus at all could be a father. How can anyone believe both that God sets strict requirements for teachers, and that all fathers are to be the religious teachers for their children?
    Further in the piece, MichaelM claims: “…who should teach children theology. Is it the unqualified Mrs. Bean the sunday school teacher, who knows nothing … or the fathers of these children, supported by their Godly wives, and loving pastors and deacons who know the word of God and who meet the qualifications laid out by the Apostle Paul?
    Ironically, chances are the average father of a church child knows less about God than the average Sunday School teacher. And why did he mention all the support for fatherly teaching and none for the Sunday School teacher’s teaching? The only way to think that is from circular reasoning: His church supports fathers and not Sunday school teachers, so he believes that is true in all cases.
    He makes the mistake of taking a few verses on teaching children out of context too – the church is certainly called to make disciples of people (that would include children) and teach people (that would include children) to follow Christ. The church is not just fathers, and some believing children does not even have a Christian father.
    Ps. 78 even mentions that they will teach the next generation so the children “will not be like their fathers!” I am very sure the text never meant every dad in Israel resolved to teach his own children to not be like him.
    An even surer sign of his attitude towards women than his disrespect for Sunday school teachers, and his seeming idea that fathers are all automatically qualified, is how he simply barged in where he was not even on topic (Thatmom’s blog entry was on another topic) to talk a lot, and none of it from a willingness to learn from her or understand where she comes from.

    Like

  78. Excellent observations, Retha! Welcome to the blog, btw.

    Well, I think what happened was he had to respond because he got pinged and felt the need to set the record straight because obviously a woman wouldn’t have that capability on spiritual matters. It would have been a different story if Karen’s husband was commenting. However, I’m sure that Michael would dismiss Karen’s husband altogether, though, for “allowing” her to have a blog.

    I know how this system works. I’ve dealt with people like Michael before. I think back in the day, I even put a disclaimer on a couple of posts: My husband gave me permission to post this – just to rub it in a little – haha 🙂

    Like

  79. I know, it is basically about disrespecting Karen (“How can some WOMAN know anything?”) disrespecting Sunday school teachers (“How can some WOMAN know more than a FATHER? Fathers are male, most Sunday School teachers are female”), and disrespecting women in general under a “but I respect women who stay in their role (and to be honest, no woman I know quite does that)” idea in his head which he has never challenged.

    Like

  80. Mr. Miller,

    Paragraphs are our friends. Especially when penning tyrannical tirades. :o)

    Julie Anne, please tell me we are not talking about “Scott Brown” of FIC fame?

    Like

  81. Ok, I see that it is. I know of a woman who must remain anonymous who has helped some young women trapped in that church. Both were in their 20’s, never had left home and “worked to serve their father until marriage”. Neither one had been to a gyn. One was found to have a large tumor that had to be removed. Neither one had any basic social skills for living in the real world. There was not even a thought of college for either one of them after being homeschooled but mainly living as “mothers” to their younger siblings all their lives.

    It is hell on earth to be a female in that cult. It is one step away from Warren Jeff Mormon cult. It does not surprise me that Phil Johnson and Frank Turk are on board with Scott Brown. The man is sick.

    Like

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