The Clanging Cymbal Tweet of Pastor Jared Mellinger

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JM

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I saw a disturbing tweet come through my Twitter feed by Jared Mellinger, senior pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church.  Please note that I typed “senior pastor.”  Covenant Fellowship Church is part of Sovereign Grace Ministries, the same family of churches in which there is a large civil action lawsuit alleging sex abuse cover-up, failure to report, preventing parents from contacting authorities, a sex ring, etc.   This lawsuit (* * *extreme trigger warning if you read the link to the lawsuit * * *)  is horrific and dwarfs the Penn State case in numbers of victims and perpetrators, crossing multiple state lines, etc.

Here was the tweet:

JM3

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Pastors of all people should use discretion and care in their public words.  This was an epic fail as my teens would say.  At the very least, he should know that there are a whole lot of hurting people in his family of churches as scores and scores have shared their stories on the now closed SGMRefuge.com blog, the current SGMSurvivors.com blog, and many other personal blogs.  I have been covering the stories for at least a year.   Regardless of where his allegiance stands, where is the sensitivity and love?  Sometimes it’s better to not say anything.  

Others joined in on the conversation, too, airing their disapproval:

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Screen shot 2013-07-07 at 5.40.46 PM

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After responses to the initial tweet, I wondered if Pastor Mellinger would remedy the situation.  He could have responded any number of ways:   replied to us, taken the tweet down, publicly apologized.  The only response I saw was him blocking me.  Notice the message with black background at the top of the tweet.  I can no longer see his tweets on my Twitter feed.

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JM2

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However, being blocked does not prevent tagging, so I tagged him on this tweet:

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Screen shot 2013-07-07 at 5.37.19 PM

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More people responded to the tweet:

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Screen shot 2013-07-07 at 5.42.04 PM

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As if he didn’t get the message yet, Pastor Mellinger posted this tweet to announce this morning’s message:

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JM4

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To that I say:  

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Hi-hat cymbals

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,

but have not love,

I am a noisy gong

or a clanging cymbal.  1 Cor. 13:1

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118 comments on “The Clanging Cymbal Tweet of Pastor Jared Mellinger

  1. I’m just thankful that some “vindictive” VICTIM of sexual abuse hasn’t strolled into a Sovereign Grace church with a AR-15 or a pipe bomb and retaliated for the rape, beatings and other sick, sick things done to them. The tweet from this thug of a Pastor is quite typical of cold hearted indifference of Sovereign GraceLESS church staff. Dispite the celebration of the sovereign grace idiots the litigation is far from over. Eventually the Fairfax church at a minimum will be wiped out financially. I look forward to seeing that.

    Everyone should go to the goggle places listing for this church and post your opinions of this pastor and his “church”, LOL.

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  2. Giving J.M. the benefit of the doubt, and assuming he had no direct responsibility in the rape of little children, it seems a somewhat normal response for the pillar of an establishment to give a knee-jerk defense of the establishment. That being said, that’s why I don’t like “the establishment,” because it tends to fend for itself, often at the cost of hurting a lot of others. And churches should never, ever, ever operate as establishments, as if a rule oriented machine could dispense the love and discipleship of Jesus properly. Might as well put a computer in the pulpit.

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  3. Epic fail, for sure.

    SGM churches continue to prove themselves dangerous for victims of sexual abuse.

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  4. “Blocked” you — i.e., silenced opposition of any stripe. From what we can tell, this tweet is even more telling, is it not? “Pastor” Mellinger lacks the wisdom to discern between the two. Very telling indeed.

    BTDT,

    Also dangerous for future victims, which means dangerous, period.

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  5. C. J. Mahaney, Fred Phelps, Fred Butler, Jim Standridge, and now victim-blaming Jared Mellinger. Men like these, and their friends, have unfortunately become the face of conservative evangelicalism to the American public, both Christian and non-Christian. Denominations and independent churches that have not joined these men and their friends are largely enabling them by remaining silent.

    It is to the point that I am increasingly embarrassed to be known as a Christian. The time may be near when I will no longer call myself a Christian. Don’t get me wrong. I am and always will be a follower of Jesus. It’s just that the word Christian has been hijacked by too many who do not love and who cannot, therefore, be known to be Jesus’ disciples.

    Mainly I continue to call myself a Christian because of my inability to think of an alternative term. Christian means of or belonging to the Christ. There does not seem to be a word meaning of or belonging to the Messiah. Perhaps I could call my self a Yeshuite, a word I derive from Yeshuah, which I understand to be Jesus’ name in Hebrew. Trouble is, a quick Google search discloses that this term possibly has already been corrupted.

    So, for now, I will be most comfortably simply calling myself a follower of Jesus, exclusively. I use the word exclusively because I have come to see that it is idolatrous to give one’s allegiance to a pastor or any other human. I have come to see that it is idolatrous to join oneself as member of an organized so-called church. And so on.

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  6. This makes me want to cry, because it sounds like exactly the way my dad would respond if he was involved in all this. 😦 Such a martyr, full of willfully ignorant missing of the point.

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  7. Epic fail for sure. Though not surprising at all to see more denial and judgment of the wronged rather than introspection within SGM.

    Julie Anne, I have to say that your relentless calling out of this kind of thing has given me vicarious strength in the process of healing post-SGM. And your boldness without being mean, despite the spin those you challenge like to put on it. It would be so easy for someone who was treated as you were for speaking up to retreat, but instead you’ve allowed your (not asked for) public platform to continue challenging injustice.

    I’m not even on twitter and in so many ways don’t have the energy to directly engage with the SGM leaders any longer, for the mere fact that their victim blaming and quickness to shut down women is SO triggering. Any attempt at a normal conversation with a leader in SGM inevitable turns into the leader challenging the questioner to “examine their heart” and this subject changing nonsense, such as “we’ll be preaching about how they’ll know by their love….” blah blah blah. Love the clanging cymbals. So appropriate.

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  8. Gary W- I could not agree more. It is embarrassing especially with non-Christian friends to admit I was ever a part of SGM and even at times I hesitate to use the label “Christian”. I have no shame in associating with the name of Jesus and the more time goes on, the more free I feel to tell about my faith as it relates to Jesus, rather than “church” and “Christianity”. In a lot of ways, I think my openness with such friends about my experiences has actually allowed for more openness on their end to hear about Jesus in a positive light. People are discerning and can see the difference between Churchianity and true Jesus followers.

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  9. If Jared’s tweet is referring to the alleged child sex crime victims and the outraged families whose stories cover a 25 year period at his sister church Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, you can bet that is probably how he treats child sexual abuse victims in his own church.

    It is right to cry out for justice. King David did it in the psalms and all of the minor prophets did it. It is always right to cry out for justice for innocent children.

    By the way, Jared isn’t just another SGM pastor. He is very special to former Covenant Life Church pastor C.J. Mahaney. In fact, child sex abuse coverup lawsuit defendant Mahaney did an entire article about how wonderful Jared Mellinger is.
    “…Jared is part of a young generation of pastors that gives me a lot of joy as I think about the future. I won’t get to see all of that future myself, but I can see when I look at these young men that the future is going to be well led, and that the transfer of the gospel between generations is being accomplished. Jared in particular is wise beyond his years (an overused expression, but it’s true) and a gifted expositor of the Word..”

    Friends of C.J. Mahaney aren’t doing so well right now. Jared needs to take his cues from the Al Mohler, Lig Duncan, and Mark Dever who’ve taken down their support statement for Mahaney. Pastors who are “wise beyond their years” need to think before they tweet.

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  10. This douch bag is why SGM is unraveling. There is a direct and obvious relationship between these third rate thinkers with a hard on for brute power and SGM being a pimple on the intellectual ass of the neo-cal movement.

    His father is no better. Ken Mellinger is a CJ sycophant. A tiny man with a massive sense of entitlement.

    The apple fell from tree, not far…then the tree was chopped down and fell on the apple.

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  11. I just got word that another person who tweeted to Jared Mellinger was blocked on Twitter. Once again, there is no public response from Mellinger regarding his distasteful tweet, but instead he says “No Talk.” Those of us who have been in spiritually abusive churches know that rule. He doesn’t want to hear anything that doesn’t agree with him. That is pretty weak, not behavior we would expect of a pastor.

    I think I need to send R.C. Sproul, Jr. a tweet to let him know I have respect for him for not blocking me. I really do have respect for him on that. He is willing to engage when challenged. And I’ve challenged him 🙂

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  12. I see two troubling situations here:

    The first is JM’s tweet. It is not that I see his tweet as particularly heinous in itself but because he knows that every word and every act spoken by anyone associated with SGM is scrutinized and critiqued he knew what type of response he would illicit. It seems that he intentionally goaded people responding and then blocked their response.

    The second is those seeming to be willing to discard the church as a corporate body and the descriptive “Christian” because they have been hurt by someone at a church or disappointed by the conduct of someone that is a Christian. This seems unwarranted unless said persons are also willing to discard the New Testament because it was written by Apostles and Judas was an Apostle. Why not simply accept the fact that churches are comprised of people that will mess up and Christians are people that mess up? I would suggest that Instead of writing of the corporate church get involved in one and help it to operate properly and instead of looking for another descriptive to replace Christian they model being a biblical Christian.

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  13. Wesley Roy,

    I respect you and your position on the corporate church. However, I do not reject the idea of corporate church because I have been hurt or disappointed. I reject it because I believe the church consists of all believers of all ages, and that it is synonymous with the Body of Christ, of which Jesus, and only Jesus, is the Head. I find no evidence in Scripture to support the notion that Church is some sort of organization with compulsory authority over the lives of believers.

    Further, I reject the notion that relationships between Christians are to be formed on the basis of authority. They are to be based on agape love and absolutely nothing else. This does not mean that there is no place for boundaries, but it does mean that no man or organization has authority to come between any believer and their Lord and Savior.

    I will go further and say that any organization operating on the basis of authority enforced by compulsion is a part of the Babylon system. I am not quite ready to take a hard stand, but I am increasingly convinced that any denomination, church or other ecclesiastical organization that claims authority, as opposed to agape love, as an organizing principle is a prostitute daughter of the great whore who sits on many waters. The evidence is in the fruit. The rottenness of the fruit of so much of what goes by the name Christian is what makes me increasingly embarrassed to be known by the name Christian.

    Please not that I am NOT saying that I am embarrassed to be known as a follower of Jesus.

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  14. Ric – I don’t have this site rated, although I sometimes intervene when seeing very colorful words. Generally, I will modify the words that are regarded more offensive than those in Argo’s comment (ie, sh, f-bomb). Argo’s words are expressive and seem to appropriately match the anger he feels towards the tweet. In this case, I think it is appropriate anger.

    Please keep in mind I got sued for defamation which is a freedom of speech issue, so I will not be quick to remove/alter comments by my readers. This is supposed to be a safe place where we can express our anger/sadness/joy, etc. I value freedom of speech in our country and that means that sometimes we will read/hear words that are not to our liking. I don’t particularly care for the fact that Chuck O’Neal has a blog out against me and passes out business cards directing people in my former town to the website to hear is crazy talk. But there it is. And here I am, still able to type his name: Chuck O’Neal – and publicly proclaim that I think Chuck O’Neal behaves like a bully.

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  15. Gary W.,

    I agree totally with your post with the exception that the NT clearly shows the establishment of local churches and deals with local churches more than it deals with the Church as inclusive of all believers.

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  16. Chuck O’Neal . . . hahahahaha . . . oh, my, just the name gave me a good laugh just now — I hope it’s not at your expense, Julie; but some so-called “ministers” (“pastors”) are so utterly ridiculous that they illicit a laugh from deep inside me — a place that challenges me to laugh at such men to keep me from becoming severely depressed by their so-called “ministries”.

    (And I’m sure the fact that you’re a woman standing up to these bully men has nothing whatsoever to do with their opposition to you.)

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  17. William, I’m sure the fact that I’m a woman has nothing to do with it. I’m still remembering the day that I heard CON tell my husband that he needed to get me in order. What in the heck does that mean, anyway? As if I am a child? And who, pray tell, can get any redhead in “order?” ha!

    If I caused you to laugh for any reason, William, I’m glad. We all need to laugh. I love a good and hearty laugh – you are right – it does help to ward off feelings of depression from some of the disgustingly sad and maddening stories we read.

    So any time someone wants to interject something funny here, by all means, do it. There’s an open invitation.

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  18. Wesley Roy,

    I live in a very small Town with four churches. We could perhaps agree to disagree whether Paul would have addressed the church, singular, or the churches, plural, in my town. What I do not see, however, is any evidence that any church addressed by Paul had an organizational existence separate and apart from the assembly of the called out believers themselves.

    I am a member of a family. That family exists in and of itself without any kind of separate organizational identity. To say that churches are to have their own separate organizational existence and identity is tantamount to the idea that I should incorporate my family, with the corporation having authority in its own right to direct the conduct of my family’s relationships.

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  19. Gary,

    Not really sure where you are going but Paul clearly addressed churches and not just the church. Clearly there were distinct assemblies of believers within certain geographic areas.

    No problem though. We can agree to disagree. I do look forward to the day that Jesus does assemble all saints in his presence and there is just one Church actually assembled but until then I will have to live with God’s representation of that Church on the small scale in local churches.

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  20. Gary W

    Much agreement when you say…
    It is to the point that I am increasingly embarrassed to be known as a Christian. The time may be near when I will no longer call myself a Christian.”

    Stopped using the label “Christian” and/or “Born Again” some years back.
    No longer desired to be aligned with “The Corrupt Religious System” of today.
    The.501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deuctible, Religious $ Corporation, the IRS calls church.

    Too many “twisted scriptures” and “heavy weights” placed on shoulders. :-(…
    And I left – I desired to hear “His Voice,” be led by the Spirit, and follow Jesus. 😉
    I had to leave “the Corrupt Religious System” to find Jesus.

    And should one of His Disciples call an IRS Corporation – His Church? 😉

    Hmmm? Did Jesus shed His Blood for a building, an organization, an institution,
    a denomination, or an IRS $ Corporation.

    NOPE – Jesus shed His Blood for His Ekklesia, His Body, His Sheep, His Church…
    People – God’s People – You – Me – “WE.”

    “WE” be His Church. 😉

    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 }}}}}}

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  21. Gary W

    Here’s one explanation for my thinking today about the word “Church.”

    When someone asks – Hey Amos – Where do you “Go To Church?”
    I often reply with – Did anyone one in the Bible “Go To Church?”
    And – I can’t “Go To” some place that I am. – Some place that “WE” ARE.

    Mostly I get a quizzical look. Then I continue…
    You might NOT realize it but – You Just asked me – Where does Amos “Go To” Amos?
    More strange looks – You can see the gears in their brain grinding to a halt. – Huh?

    I continue – In the Bible believers did NOT “Go To Church.”
    His Disciples, who experienced “Eternal life”, did NOT tell anyone – “Go To Church.”
    In the Bible – They became The Church of God. Believers, ARE – His Church.
    His habitation. His body. Where God lives, and moves, and has His being.
    God NO longer dwells in temples made with hands of man. He wants to live in you.
    The Kingdom of God comes NOT with observation – The Kingdom of God is within.

    I love the body of Christ, His Church. And talking about it to unbelievers and believers. Most today think – church – is a building with a steeple on it. Or – A Pastor, in a Pulpit, Preaching, to People, in Pews. BUT – That’s NOT in the Bible.

    How many, still in the world, still dead in their tresspasses and sins, will know that “church” in the Bible refers to us, you and me, “WE,”believers, God’s kids, Kings and Priests, Brides, Servants, Sons of God, Ambassordors of Christ, Disciples of Jesus? And they, the unbeliever, can become the Ekklesia of God?

    One reason they don’t know is because of the way – Believers – use the word “Church.” We’re taught in “the Corrupt Religious System” to invite folks to “Our Church.” But – that’s NOT in the Bible. We tell them – Go to a good Bible believing Church. But – that’s NOT in the Bible. Join a Church, Tithe to a Church, Apply for membership in a Church, But that’s NOT in the Bible.

    What if we asked some one to a meeting of – the sons of God – who are “Led” by the Spirt. And then tell them – Yes, you can become a son of God,”Led” by God. And, you can “Hear His Voice,” the voice of the creator, and “Follow Jesus.” You can be His Disciple – learning from Jesus directly. NO middle man.

    Jesus wants to be your friend. You can be a King and  Priest unto God. You can be – An ambassodor for Christ – delivering His Message of Love to a broken world. You can lay hands on the sick and see them recover. This is available to ALL who believe. NOT just to a special clergy class. NOT just to those who have taken “Titles” NOT found in the Bible. Available to ALL who believe.

    IMO – We have deceived the very people we are trying to reach out to.

    The world has NO idea what “Church” really means. Neither do most believers.
    Go ahead – ask some folks to describe the word “church.” See what you get. 😉
    Ask some folks to point to “The Church of God.” – Will they point to you?

    Jesus – He is the head of the body, (the ekklesia, the called out ones.) The Church.

    The Church of God, The Ekklesia, His called out ones, in the Bible are…

    Kings and Preist’s unto God.
    The Bride of Christ.
    Servants of Christ.
    Sons of God.
    Disciples of Christ.
    Ambassadors of Christ.

    Instead of asking people to go to church – Why not ask them to become His Church?

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  22. “Not really sure where you are going but Paul clearly addressed churches and not just the church. Clearly there were distinct assemblies of believers within certain geographic areas.”

    I think what Gary was actually arguing against wasn’t churches themselves but those that set up a hierarchical structure, i.e., the pastor and elders have authority over the laity’s daily lives.

    I could be wrong, though.

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  23. Amos,

    Yes, yes, yes and amen!

    On two occasions people calling themselves pastors actually corrected me for using the word church in reference to an organization. Specifically, on each occasion I was expressing my distress that “church” did not seem to make much difference in peoples lives, whether in terms of inner peace, sanctification/transformation, or just becoming more like Jesus. Upon being rather defensively told that the church is the people (as in, don’t blame us pastors or the institutions we lead), I responded that, no, what I was talking about was the thing they call church and to which they (the preachers) insist I give a tenth of my income. Eh, I was not engaged in further discussion.

    An no, I still don’t think I ever got my money’s worth out of whatever amount I ever gave to organized religion. Maybe there was one exception covering several years.

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  24. Wisdom would prevent someone from saying something so idiotic, so we know he doesn’t have any.

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  25. Gary W. and Amos are pretty much right where I am in this line of thought.

    “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Mk 10:42-44, ESV

    Strange how these authoritarian ‘pastors’ think that the qualities of overlord and servant are synonymous and congruous.

    Elders should share the wisdom they’ve gained with age.
    Deacons should serve by facilitating the functioning of the congregation
    Pastors? Christ is the only Shepherd of His flock.
    We’re all supposed to minister to each others needs, edify and walk along with our brethren, seek out the lost and those who have strayed, and most of all love each other as we would wish to be loved. To set up one person (or a few) to be the leader, director, and final arbiter of the congregations functions is to abdicate our own responsibilities as Christ’s Disciples.

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  26. I always smile when I see the phrase “organized religion” as if there is such a thing as “unorganized religion” or as if God presents us with an unorganized form of living or interaction with God and others.

    I do get you guys on the heavy handed authority issue. Just not something I have had to deal with in the 20 years that I have been a Christian and part of a local church as well as the Church.

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  27. As far as the disconnect between pastor/congregation goes, and why people tend to be comfortable with just setting in the pews and letting the pastor run the show, Pete Rollins has an interesting theory that he lays out in Insurrection and The Idolatry of God. Depending on the type of church (questioning or dogmatic) the pastor serves as either the one to doubt for the congregation, leaving the people to be comfortable with a feeling of full faith, or an example of true belief, allowing the people to dismiss their doubts easily. Both models function as a kind of scapegoating, and it serves to solidify the gap between pastor/congregation. The “true belief” kind of pastor, if dismissive of, or lacking understanding of his own psychology, is in a unique position to keep building himself into the overlord role, rather than the servant. I’d bet a bundle of cilantro that’s the dynamic that produced Jim Standridge and a lot of these other thought lords.

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  28. Eric, Pastor as scapegoat has a lot of implications for what we are seeing out there. It is as if people don’t think they are responsible for what they believe.

    Good comment. Thanks

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  29. This thread has been really interesting and helpful to me. I appreciate the civil discussion between Wesley, Gary W, and A. Amos about what the “church” means.

    I have been mulling over this concept for quite some time. Recently, I heard a sermon about the importance of community as Christians. While I think the pastor meant well and had some scriptural backing, I struggle not to hear such messages from the filter that SGM presented this as (mandatory, and equivalent with one’s salvation).

    Personally, I have ridden a middle ground between Gary W and Wesley’s thoughts on church. I very much want to use scripture as my guide, and not the Christian culture nor my internal preferences, though obviously our experiences shape our perspectives.

    Where I am now is certainly in process, so it is helpful to read through others’ thoughts without reading dogmatic, polarizing statements such as, “One cannot be a Christian apart from the ‘church’ ” or “The entire system that is ‘the church’ is corrupt to its core and of no value any more.”

    In response to Wesley Roy’s comment (8:26), “Why not simply accept the fact that churches are comprised of people that will mess up and Christians are people that mess up?” I agree with you in theory, but in reality, it is not that simple. It sounds to me like you have not been a part of SGM or a similar system (correct me if I’m wrong). I can see how, if you are a part of a non-abusive, yet imperfect (because all of us are imperfect) church, this attitude would be very Christ like and wise.

    However, there is a time to question when things aren’t right, and there is a time to bail. In SGM and Julie Anne’s former church and others that operate similarly, whenever anyone has a valid concern, they are told that no church is perfect and that they are sin if they bail. Just wanted to add that to the discussion that bailing on a church can be healthy, and that it does not mean that the person who bailed has discredited the entire New Testament.

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  30. Wesley, I’m glad you have not had to deal with heavy-handed church authority and I’m even more glad that you are open to understand the consequences of it. I was just talking to a friend last night about how much it can mess with your head for years. It can have lasting repercussions just as physical and sexual abuse can.

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  31. How do you know what rust tastes like, JA?

    Cilantro the king of herbs, and most useful in discerning Jezebels and rebellious wimminfolk…

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  32. I don’t know how I know what rust tastes like. That is a good question. I think maybe it’s what I imagine what rust tastes like after smelling it. Ack – I just shivered with the thought of it. Blech. My good friends love to harass me on Facebook by putting cilantro pictures on my wall. I think they are trying to brainwash me. For shame.

    So it sounds like you are saying CON likes cilantro in order to determine I’m a Jezebel?

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  33. for those who define “church” as the building/congregation with a leader, where does that leave me? my local church buildings are not disabled-person friendly. my body is almost destroyed with pain after a recent trip to visit family and i can barely type right now due to agonizing pain in my wrists. “organized meetings of believers” are impossible for me right now. i much prefer our disorganized meetings on this blog. i find so much comfort in reading the comments of a amos love. i need the reminders that the concept of church is not one that is defined by one’s ability to attend organized meetings or contribute to a program but rather that we are all an important part of the bride of christ, even my crippled body. i am so tired of being judged as “less than” by people who are supposed to be brothers and sisters in christ, especially at church settings. please keep this blog as an atmosphere of comfort and encouragement for those who have been and continue to be marginalized and/or hurt by the traditional concept of church.

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  34. Mandy, I’m glad you chimed in 🙂 I was thinking of folks in your position with my post above, as well as my own struggle with “church”. One of my most understanding, supportive friends who has walked with me through this whole “what is church” thing post-SG is someone who has multiple invisible disabilities- mostly related to auto immune disorders which come with a whole host of limitations. She has so much grace toward herself and others about this broader concept of church, and has helped me to see that the Sunday experience is only one aspect of the Christian life, and certainly not the pinnacle, nor the measuring stick for one’s spiritual maturity. I’ll try to remember to keep you in my prayers as I pray for her as well. The internet community is such a blessing!

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  35. Wesley Roy,

    I commend you for your clever play on “organized religion” as opposed to “unorganized religion.” Even so, I rather suspect you understand what is meant by “organized religion,” and I invite you to suggest a better term. The new term would need to be sufficient to denote and connote most and often all of the following, which are NOT consistent with the New Testament use of the word church:

    1. A man made organization that has it’s own separate existence, separate and apart from simply the fellowship of called out believers.

    2. An organization that claims authority, as an organization, over believers.

    3. An organization that is founded on a constitution and bylaws, covenant, or anything at all other than the New Testament.

    4. An organization that requires membership (with concomitant submission to organizationally defined authority) as a precondition to a person being allowed to minister according to their God given gifts, talents, training and experience.

    5. An organization in which there is a divide, wither formally or informally, between clergy and laity.

    6. An organization in which there are leaders who are called officers as opposed to ministers or servants. (It is interesting that, though the word “office” appears in various places in the English translations, there is no Greek word for office in the New Testament.)

    7. An organization in which the “officers” have titles, functions, positions, and authority that are not to be found in the New Testament.

    8. Generally, and to my mind most importantly, an organization in which the relationships between believers are based on the imposition of authority rather than on love voluntarily rendered.

    Perhaps others will wish to add to the list.

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  36. Gary W

    Great list. Kinda says it all. At least a lot – About “Todays Local Church.”
    And you ask, I think, in reference to “Organized Religion”
    “I invite you to suggest a better term.”

    Hmm? Which “Organized Religion” – “Local Church” should “WE” be connected to…
    for a meaningful relationship with God?

    Let’s see…. Today “WE” have…

    The Traditional Church,
    The Institutional Church,
    The Religious System Church,
    The Steeple $ Corporation Church,
    The 501(c) 3, non profit, tax $ deductible,
    Religious $ Corporation, the IRS calls Church,
    The Brick and Mortar Church,
    The Pastor Led Church,
    The Multiple Elder Led Church,
    The Congregational Led Church,
    The Pope Led Church,
    The Bishop Led Church,
    The “Chief Executive Apostle” Led Church,
    There really is a Chief Executive Apostle
    No Kidding. Saw it with my own eyes. 😉
    The Fluid Church,
    The Solid Church,
    The House Church,
    The Simple Church,
    The Organic Church,
    The Small Group Church,
    The Institutional Church,
    Oh, I said that one already. 😉
    The Denominational Church,
    The Non – Denominational Church,
    The Inter – Denominational Church,
    The Intra – Denominational Church,
    The Underground Church,
    The Full Gospel Church,
    The Mega Church,
    The Baptist Church,
    The Lutheran Church,
    The Evangelical Church,
    The Charis maniacle ism Church,
    The “Pente” – it’s going to – “cost”- you – “a Lot ism” Church,

    And, none of them are working very well. Oy Vey!!! 😦
    The Folks, believers, are leaving in droves.

    Wikapedia says there are 38,000 denominations. Oy Vey!!!
    Even if they overstated by 90%, that’s still 3,800 denominations.

    3,800 denominations started by “Organized Religion” -“Local Church” pastor/Leaders.
    Who were not happy with other “Local Church” pastor/leaders.

    How does that sound to you; as a witness for Christ? 3,800. Wow!
    That gives the world, and me, a lot of confidence in what being connected
    to “Organized Religion” “Todays Local Church ” is really worth. My, My – Tsk,Tsk…

    “Chaos” anyone?

    Seems that’s what “Todays Local Church” “Organized Religion” has produced.
    Thousands upon thousands of denomnations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…..ominations

    Nope – don’t think there is much benefit for me, or God, with
    being connected to “Todays Local Church” – “Organized Religion.”

    I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul. 🙂

    I have a wonderful Shepherd/Leader.

    His name is {{{{{{  Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  37. Amos,

    Oy Vey!!! Indeed! Seems whenever the words “organized religion,” or equivalent are used, they need to be hyper linked to your 30 some entry list–which itself is doubtless no more than a representative sample. Trouble is, can anybody tell me how to hyper link oral speech?

    Like

  38. I think it’s fantastic that Jared Mellinger tweeted what he thinks. I hope “pastors” speak their minds freely.
    His tweet helps us. How? BTDT said, “SGM churches continue to prove themselves dangerous for victims of sexual abuse”. William Birch said, “Also dangerous for future victims, which means dangerous, period”. Yes, we can protect ourselves better after Jared’s tweet. Jarod has an us vs. them mentality, and it doesn’t look like he knows right from wrong. Reality and knowledge are always helpful, even if it’s sad, bad, disgusting or criminal. I want to know what Jared or anyone else really thinks, so I can make informed choices.

    We can’t change these “pastors” minds, but we can protect ourselves and try to protect others. Telling these guys how a kind, good, moral person should behave – fruitless. I don’t want them to be deceptive or politically correct. I want them to be upfront. Leaders who identify themselves for who they are so we can run like Forrest Gump – priceless.

    I’ve heard a saying that goes something like this, “if someone tells you who they are, believe them.” I’ve made mistakes in the past and this saying has helped me.

    A thanks to Julie Anne for letting us know, for our protection, what came directly from the horse’s mouth.
    Jared’s preaches “By your love they will know” on Sunday. Well, we’ve got a good idea, Jarod, “By your tweet and blocking we will know”.

    Like

  39. A Mom: knocks one out of the park.

    Amos and Gary W.: Bringing the truth with good comedy. Sad that the state of the churches have gotten to be so laughable.

    I’m not a part of ‘organized’ religion. We only have a piano in my church…

    Like

  40. Like A Mom said, J.M. uttered a statement regarding discernment that, taken on its face, was a valid concern. He immediately got hammered by a bunch of ‘Christians(s)’ who read all sorts of things into it including motives of the heart that only Christ would know. I don’t blame him for blocking some of those folks. I can’t wait to see all the hammering after his next sermon, which is a part of a series in John.

    Like

  41. So true, A Mom. You know, I chose the name of this blog very carefully. In fact I lost sleep over it and hounded friends (you know who you are) for feedback. Check out this definition of sounding board:

    a. A thin board forming the upper portion of the resonant chamber in an instrument, such as a violin or piano, and serving to increase resonance.
    b. A structure placed behind or over a podium or platform to reflect music or a speaker’s voice to an audience. Also called soundboard.
    2. A person or group whose reactions to an idea, opinion, or point of view serve as a measure of its effectiveness or acceptability.
    3. A device or means serving to spread or popularize an idea or a point of view.

    I did not have to fabricate, explain, insinuate anything. In this exchange, the words (tweets) speak for themselves. My blog simply served as a sounding board – it gave resonance and increased in “volume” to a larger audience.

    Thank you, Jared, for tweeting from your heart so we all can see.

    Like

  42. Mandy

    Sorry to hear about the pain your going thru… Really sorry… 😦
    And “The Religious Systems” that have let you down – Made you feel less then…

    You, Mandy, are the Body of Christ – The Church. 🙂

    Jesus – He is the head of the Body, The Church.
    Church and Body are synonymous. And Jesus is your head – Glory…

    Jesus, He purchased you, the Chuch of God, with His Blood.

    Ac 20:28
    Take heed therefore unto yourselves, (Mandy) and to all the flock,
    over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you (Mandy, and others here.) “overseers,”
    to feed **the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.**

    Yup – Ya’ll here are feeding me – His Body – His Sheep. And, You, Me, “WE,” are…
    **the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.**

    Hmmm? Has the Holy Ghost has made Ya’ll “overseers?” 😉

    Mandy – Don’t know if you ever checked out the word “church?” BUT…

    After I left “The Religious System” I printed out every verse with the word Church. I knew enough to know what I was taught in “Organized Religion” – was NOT accurate, NOT in the Bible. GoTo Church – Join a Church – Tithe to a Church – Pastors calling it “MY Chuch.” NOPE – the ekklesia belong to Jesus.

    And I read those scriptures over, and over again. Asking Jesus to teach me.

    If you would like that list of verses – I have them on PDF and can send them to you.
    You can read them for yourself – And ask Jesus to teach you.

    Anyone wanting this list can contact me at…
    love101faith@me.com

    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 }}}}}}

    Like

  43. Hammered, B4B?

    My comment that the tweet was distasteful is “hammering?”

    There was ample time between all of those tweets for him to respond appropriately. He failed and instead blocked people. Any strong words that were sent to him were well-warranted.

    Like

  44. “Organized Religion” is an incorrect term. A better approach would be to reference the particular unbiblical practice of a group of believers that is the point of discussion. To demonize the organization displayed throughout Scripture in the worship and service of God or the organization that is inherent in a family’s function is neither wise or biblical.

    Now correcting erroneous practices in congregations is a needed thing. The elevation of people gifted to teach/preach above those not gifted in that area is wrong. It is not inherent in organization but a result of human sinful natures given to laziness and self-promotion. I confess that I struggle with the authority issue because being part of a congregation is voluntary and no one can exercise any real authority over anyone else unless they allow them to. Again this is really unheard of in my context. My 19 year old son when viewing the guy Jim Standridge’s rant laughed and said, “Who does that?” and “Who lets someone do that?” So for me these “abuses of authority” attributed to “Organized religion” are not inherent to organization.

    Recovering’s comments in post:: Recovering Pharisee JULY 8, 2013 @ 4:16 PM were very insightful. RP I don’t see a problem with leaving a particular congregation after you have attempted to bring to light and address unbiblical practices in the congregation. My problem is with those who have written of the local churches because of someone’s unbiblical conduct. I say find another congregation that is doing it right and bless the congregation and community with your presence and gifts.

    Like

  45. Mandy – Anyone – If you’re interested… 😉

    Here is some of what I’ve discovered over the years about this word “church.”

    And there is a dispute, a debate, with the word “church,” and what it really means.
    Struggled with it for quite awhile. Still looking…

    Read what others had to say, and why…
    1 – Some, like Cooper P. Abrams, III, and others, seem to say church only means
    Assembly or Congregation. ….. http://bible-truth.org/Ekklesia.html

    2 – Some, like “Ekklesia Ministries” and others, seem to say church only means
    “the called out ones.” ….. http://www.ekklesia.ws/ekk_defined.htm

    3 – Some, like Strongs Concordance and Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon,
    …. and others, seem to say church is – both – “the called out ones” and “assembly.”
    …. Before there can be an assembly, the folks, believers, have to be “called out”
    …. of where they are into that assembly.

    The word “Church” “Churches” is always the Greek word Ekklesia in the NT.
    Ekklesia is made from two other Greek words – Ek – and – Kaleo

    Church – is Strongs – #1577. ekklesia ek-klay-see’-ah; a compound of 1537 and 2564;
    “a calling out,” i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, assembly, church.
    From… 1537 + 2564
    #1537 – Ek – out of,
    #2564 – kaleo – to call

    Church – Thayers lexicon – ekklesia –
    1 – a gathering of citizens “called out from their homes”
    ….. into some public place – an assembly.

    Today I’m with #3 – Both “the called out ones” and “assembly” is the likely option. 😉

    What I did, evey time the word “church” appers in the Bible,
    I would read that verse and insert “Called out ones” – or insert “Assembly”
    To see which one fit.

    I’ll give you some examples…

    Like

  46. JA & B4B,

    NJA & B4B,

    Not defending the feeding frenzy on JM’s tweet but JM knew exactly what type of scrutiny his every word was under and he knew exactly what the response to his tweet would be. He asked for it.

    Now if I had read his tweet I would not have arrived at the same conclusions as most here. I would have assumed he was warning Christians against the twin sins of bitterness and vengeance-seeking. However, because he is a SGM guy and is privy to the current events he would have been wise to save that tweet for a different time under different circumstances.

    His blocking those who responded as he no doubt knew they would to his tweet only aggravated the situation. He may have not liked the responses but being a SGM guy and knowing the charges of censorship leveled against the organization he may have been wiser to ignore the posts and refrain from hitting the block button.

    He played into the negative SGM stereotypes and received the predictable results. So JM is not a victim unless you mean a victim of his own unwise decisions.

    (MOD edited: Wesley, part of your post duplicated and I deleted it. ~ja)

    Like

  47. Wesley,

    I agree with your assessment. If Jared was not tied up with the SGM situation, there would have been no post here. I would have interpreted it the same way as you. The fact that he is a senior SGM pastor closely tied in with the ongoing SGM legal situation is what made the tweet distasteful.

    I’ve been reading SGMSurvivor blog for 5 years and it’s important to keep in mind that the pastors there have done everything possible to keep their congregants from reading the survivor blogs (there was also SGMRefuge blog which appears to be taken down entirely now.) He seems to imply that reading survivor blogs is divisive and worse than viewing pornography:

    http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/2012/2/18/what-does-my-website-have-in-common-with-pornography-ask-jar.html

    Like

  48. Mandy – Anyone

    Here are some examples…

    If Jesus is the head of the body, the ekklesia, the church… Col 1:18
    And “ekklesia” only means “assembly” or “congregation” – Then…

    Does that mean Jesus is **only** “the head of the body” when we’re assembled?
    Does the “body of Christ” no longer exist if believers are not assembled? Traveling?
    Are we no longer the “body of Christ,” The Ekklesia, when we’re home alone?
    What if someone is in prison? Solitary confinement?
    Are they NO longer part of the body? His Body? His Ekklesia? His Church?

    Right now I’m in Barnes & Nobles, blogging, all by myself, not assembled.
    Is Jesus still my head? Am I a part of “ the body of Christ,” His Ekklesia, His Church?
    When do we become “the assembly” that becomes “the church?”
    When two or three are gathered? More? How many? Home Alone?

    Myself, I kinda like using “ekklesia” and “called out ones” when talking “Church.”
    It reminds me and others “the ekklesia of God” is always people. NOT the institution.
    I can see “ekklesia” referring to being “by myself,” with two or three” an “assembly.”

    Church = assembly? OR Church = the called out ones? Hmmm?

    1 – I will build my church – Mt 16:18 – And – build – also means “to edify.”
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?) Could be either – Yes?
    I will build/edify my assembly? I will build/edify my called out ones?

    2 – the Lord added to the church – Acts 2:47 – Could be both -Yes?
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    If He adds someone in prison, solitary confinement;
    Is this person, all alone, now, part of Christ, His body, part of “His Church?”
    Or, are they “only” ekklesia, church, when out of prison and assembled?

    3 – great fear came upon all the church – Acts 5:11.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Does fear only come when the ekklesia is assembled?

    4 – there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem – Acts 8:1.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Was there persecution just against the assembled believers?
    If there is NO assembly of believers- then – is there NO persecution against believers?

    5 – Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house – Acts 8:3.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Why did Saul enter into every house? Why not just where they were assembled?
    Were there assemblies in every house? In Jerusalem?
    Or, the called out ones” in every house?

    6 – they assembled themselves with the church – Acts 11:26.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Did they assemble themselves with the assembly?
    Or, did they assemble themselves with “the called out ones?”

    7 – Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church – Acts 12:1.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Only certain of the assemblies? Or certain of “the called out ones?”

    8 – and had gathered the church together – Acts 14:27.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Gathered the assembly? Or, gathered “the called out ones?”

    9 – And being brought on their way by the church – Acts 15:3.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Did the assembly bring Paul?
    Or, only a few of “the called out ones?”

    10 – they were received of the church – Acts 15:4.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)

    11 – set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. – 1 Cor 6:4.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Hmmm? Must be a misprint? The least esteemed get to judge?

    12 – If therefore the whole church be come together into one place – 1 Cor 14:23.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)

    13 – Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Eph 5:23.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Is Christ “only” the head when we’re assembled?
    Is Christ “only” the savior of an assembly?
    Or, the head and the savior of “the called out ones?”

    14 – Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Eph 5:25.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Gave Himself “only” for the assembly? Not the one alone in prison? At home?

    15 – feed the church of God, which he hath purchased his own blood – Acts 20:28.
    (Assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Feed “only” the assembly. Or, feed “the called out ones,” where ever they may be?

    Theres lots more but you get the drift…

    Mandy – where ever you are – Alone at home, with two or three, or assembled…

    You are His Body, His Called Out One – His Church…

    Like

  49. Wesley Roy,

    O.K., I can see how you would not be satisfied with the term “organized religion,” but what other term would you use as a label for what I am attempting to describe? Frankly, from my reading of Revelation, I think that the term “prostitute church” might not be totally inappropriate, except that it is rather incendiary for everyday wear and tear. Too much of what passes for “church” only seeks its own material good while exulting it’s own prestige, glory and authority–all the while demanding 10% of its patrons’ (I’m sorry, I mean members’) income. It all looks to me rather like prostitution. But I’m open to suggestions as to some better term than “organized religion” or “prostitute church.”

    By the way, from what you have described to us about the way you do church, I am not at all intending to suggest that you are a participant in a “prostitute church.” If memory serves, you really do seem to have made an effort to avoid the kinds of things I am pointing out.

    Like

  50. Let’s be clear for everyone here: Born4Battle wants anyone that questions any pastor with a conservative position to shut up and be quiet. Doesn’t matter what the topic is, no one has any right to question or call out a pastor in Born4BS’s eyes. Instead of even accepting that there might be even a small possibility that any allegations of wrongdoing may be true, B4BS simply tells everyone else they’re wrong and/or not a ‘real’ Christian.

    Been listening to Bruce Cockburn this morning, a man who is a true Christian that stands up and speaks out for the oppressed, and I have to echo his words: If I Had A Rocket Launcher…

    I’d love to meet you face to face B4BS, and put you back under the rock you crawled out from.

    Like

  51. Julie Anne – Sounding board, indeed. And a necessity. We NEED to know.

    B4B – Wisdom includes understanding actions in context, right? If you take what Jared said on “face value” but out of context, it’s not surprising you arrive at unwise conclusions. Interesting, these “pastors” have a problem understanding the Bible in context. We need to read our Bibles as Bereans, instead of mindlessly following.

    So let’s talk about wisdom, and it’s context in the Bible, since Jared brought it up.

    These guys wouldn’t hear wisdom even if wisdom yelled at the top of her lungs. Thus, wisdom eludes them. Why? Because females do not instruct men in an authoritarian “complimentarian” structure. And the Bible personifies wisdom as female.

    The most extensive personification in the Bible assigns wisdom as a woman. We’re talking a whole book in the Bible, and it’s about how to live. The context of Proverbs: the gaining of wisdom, assigned as female, written for the instruction of young men. Don’t take my word for it, read the whole of Proverbs for yourself, especially if you desire wisdom. Here’s a snippet:

    Proverbs 1:20-23 Wisdom’s Rebuke 20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech. 22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke!

    Wisdom sounds like she could be a red-headed woman to me, Julie Anne! 🙂

    Like

  52. Eric

    So sorry to hear about your friend – Mercy Lord!

    Eric, may you be surrounded by His Love and His Peace in this trying time.

    Jesus our comforter

    Like

  53. Wesley Roy,

    I agree with you that it was an unwise tweet, considering the circumstances, and it triggered another feeding frenzy. I know God will bring about justice in the whole SGM thing. I also am still ashamed that professing Christians would engage in ‘feeding frenzies’ (hammering). I can think of a dozen motives for such behavior, but I have no right to say which motive belongs to which heart.

    Like

  54. A Mom

    Great post – Really like – and can’t wait to use… 😉
    “And the Bible personifies wisdom as female.”

    “These guys wouldn’t hear wisdom even if wisdom yelled at the top of her lungs. Thus, wisdom eludes them. Why? Because females do not instruct men in an authoritarian “complimentarian” structure. And the Bible personifies wisdom as female.

    Pro 7:4
    Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister;
    and call understanding thy kinswoman:

    Like

  55. Gary W

    I also like, and agree when you write @ JULY 8, 2013 @ 8:55 AM…
    “I find no evidence in Scripture to support the notion that Church is some sort of organization with compulsory authority over the lives of believers.”

    And I really like…
    “but it does mean that no man or organization has authority
    to come between any believer and their Lord and Savior.”

    It wasn’t till after I left “Todays Religious System,” with human shepherds/leaders
    Did I realize – These guys were coming between me and Jesus.

    They had me serving Two Masters – Willingly… Oy Vey!!!!

    “Todays System” with “Fallible Humans” calling themselves shepherds/leaders…
    They taught me, deceived me, into looking to man to feed me…
    And NOT going to Jesus – The “ONE” Shepherd.

    They taught me, deceived me, into following a “Fallible Human” man…
    And NOT following Jesus – The “ONE” Leader.

    They, “Todays Religious System,” with shepherd/leaders…

    Came between me and Jesus.

    But someone said – you can’t cheat an honest man…
    Seems, I was willing because I desired that “Title/Position” for myself…

    Wow – Folks looking to me to be “Fed,” cared for – and calling me shepherd?
    I could be someone – someone important…

    Wow – Folks looking to me to be “Led,” and following me, calling me leader?
    I could be someone – someone important…

    Maybe God was just giving me what I asked for? – “And A Little Bit Extra?”

    Then it all crashed – And now I can say – Thank You Jesus…

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd

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

    Like

  56. Gary W said:
    JULY 9, 2013 @ 10:26 AM
    Wesley Roy,

    O.K., I can see how you would not be satisfied with the term “organized religion,” but what other term would you use as a label for what I am attempting to describe? Frankly, from my reading of Revelation, I think that the term “prostitute church” might not be totally inappropriate, except that it is rather incendiary for everyday wear and tear. Too much of what passes for “church” only seeks its own material good while exulting it’s own prestige, glory and authority–all the while demanding 10% of its patrons’ (I’m sorry, I mean members’) income. It all looks to me rather like prostitution. But I’m open to suggestions as to some better term than “organized religion” or “prostitute church.”

    By the way, from what you have described to us about the way you do church, I am not at all intending to suggest that you are a participant in a “prostitute church.” If memory serves, you really do seem to have made an effort to avoid the kinds of things I am pointing out.
    ____________

    The errors that you are speaking of are so varied and so nuanced that simply assigning an adjective to describe them all is unnecessary and misleading. Personally, I refer to the practices of particular congregations as unbiblical. The use of the term “organized religion” drags too many congregations into the group that don’t deserved to be classed with the congregations that are engaged in systemic unbiblical practices. Just as JM should have been more careful with his tweets considering the current environment, we have to be careful of lumped together congregations that really should not be lumped together in a quest for a convenient expression.

    Gary, I do share your frustration over the wide-spread unbiblical practices being associated with the local church. I too feel that many of these are not churches at all but businesses, kingdoms, and cults. I have to work hard to make sure that my frustration with those who are doing things wrong, who seem to get all the press, does not cause me to defame those congregations of believers that are seeking to worship God, proclaim the Gospel and be a blessing to all. I think the term “organized religion” makes their task even more difficult.

    Like

  57. Eric,

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing your heart-breaking news so that this amazing group of people can lift you and your friend’s family up in prayer. I believe in prayer and I know the people here pray. Rest on that, friend.

    Like

  58. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” Ephesians 4:11
    Tell me again that there are no ‘human’ offices in the church?

    Like

  59. Born 4 Battle- I wonder what it would be like if you changed your name to Born4Prayer and joined us in praying for Eric and his friend’s family. Probably a little more Christ like and appropriate than needing to be right on this issue.

    Wesley Roy, I’m glad that you see validity in leaving some churches in some circumstances. You said, “My problem is with those who have written of the local churches because of someone’s unbiblical conduct. I say find another congregation that is doing it right and bless the congregation and community with your presence and gifts.”

    I think in an ideal world, your statement would be true. I am wrestling myself with what this concept of church is all about, and what my role is in relation to it. For now, I press on cautiously, but not out of obligation. For some though,finding a congregation that is “doing it right” is simply not an option.

    In light of Mandy’s request for sensitivity on this issue, I am suggesting that you perhaps think outside the box and consider the rigidity of this statement for some folks who are physically unable to be an active participant of a traditional church, as well as those who are physically able but spiritually not.

    If you disagree with me on this, I can respect that. I’ll choose to see folks like Mandy, my friends who are physically unable to go, and friends who have been spiritually wounded and still cling to Jesus but are too hurt to consider traditional church, as viable members of the Body of Christ that is much broader than the confines of the walls of a church building.

    Like

  60. RP,

    How do you know I haven’t been praying already? Maybe I choose to keep those prayers in the closet.

    The Ephesians passage is merely a statement of truth that I hope those who keep complaining about church leadership of any kind might pay attention to. I don’t know if that’s you or not.

    And I believe Wesley hit the nail on the head about local churches. If the one you are in isn’t Biblical, move on down the road. Been there, done that, and have grown from the experience. When things seemed not quite right, it drove me into the written word, which is a good thing. So rather than dwelling on the ‘hurt’ I feel, I can praise God for giving me a learning and growth experience. Every trial God sends my way is a growth experience so I can be thankful for them. If I’m hurt and choose to dwell on being hurt, it’s on me, not God, or the leaders I feel hurt me..

    Like

  61. Recovering I hear what you are saying but my statement was driven by what I find in Scripture. I find in Scripture not a perfect world but a world in which God saw the need for a local visible group of people living in community and demonstrating God’s influence in lives and presence to the world. I would submit that a person could be an active part of a biblical local congregation even if they cannot attend the public gatherings of that congregation. That person can pray for the needs of others in that congregation. That person can provide counsel, insight, and encouragement to others in the congregation. That person can provide others in the congregation an opportunity to show grace and love by being a blessing to them in there time of need. A person like Mandy provides an opportunity for a congregation to learn to give as well as receive.

    As for those who have been hurt, I would say there must come a time when they place their trust in God to use a local congregation of believers to help them with their healing, forgiving, and moving forward. Like Joseph learned though some people may do hurtful things to you God always has some people He wants to use to bless your life so what they meant for evil will instead be turned to good.

    Recovering my confidence is not in a perfect world but in a perfect God that has chosen to use imperfect people and local imperfect communities of believers called churches to bless our lives, to challenge our ideas and beliefs, to provide us opportunities to be a blessing, etc. I trust His wisdom. I also consent that we will probably never find a congregation that is doing everything absolutely right. This is a direct result of our imperfection and our need of each other to reveal our blindspots to us. Local churches were intended to produce a certain amount of push and pull and give and take. Differing personalities force us to apply principles of patience, love, grace, mercy that we do not need in an homogenous community. When we forsake that we miss out on some opportunities to love and grow and have our views challenged. This weekend for instance in our church the subject turned to the stinginess of the churches. I encouraged us to think of the needs of others in our giving not just our comfort. I reminded us that we are to show God’s grace to everyone and that is how we should look at giving as an opportunity to provide groceries or pay the utility bill or rent for some family that are not a part of a congregation and may not have anyone else to turn to. Some may have embraced the American ideal of everyone is responsible for themselves but that idea was challenged this weekend. (Disclaimer: I don’t receive a salary but work a full-time job as a metrologist in a machine shop. ) I want people to know that we are only showing grace when we are willing to give to those who won’t repay and don’t seem to deserve it.

    Enough rambling. 🙂 I just don’t want you Recovering or Mandy or anyone else to miss the beautiful family that a congregation is when it is “organized” (Sorry, I couldn’t think of another word Gary. 🙂 ) as God intended.

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  62. I’m not reading the previous comments because I’m distractable. Can I just say that I am childishly excited about being screencapped and included in this?

    On a more important note, I do feel the need to let you know, Julie, how you have affected my own life. I found your blog and began following the story with your former church and the lawsuit they filed against you. Now seeing you become such a voice for victims and speaking out against abuse in the church… you have inspired and affected me deeply. Among other things, this blog and the grace and boldness with which you conduct yourself has been helping me to realize the importance of my own story and the validity of my own voice. Your courage has helped me find some of my own.

    I keep thinking of this song by Sara Groves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt_WpluguwE

    I’m saying this now because I am confident that I speak for countless others, who may not be commenting but who are reading. We’re watching, and we are changed. Thank you.

    Like

  63. Wesley,
    Thanks for listening to where I’m coming from. I also hear what you’re saying. It is encouraging to hear that you are preaching such a message and challenging congregants to live in this way.

    I think we are coming at the same issue from different perspectives and experiences. I absolutely believe that every single person has unique gifts to offer, and also that church CAN be a place where we imperfectly love and serve one another and bump up against one another and grow in the process.

    I also think that the responsibility lies heavily on the leaders of churches to change the toxic climate of many (not all) churches in which it is simply not a safe place to share ones gifts, to share oneself including our imperfections and grow in a healthy way rather than being judged and condemned in that process.

    Church SHOULD be as you described above, but isn’t always, and that is not only the responsibility of disillusioned parishioners to fix. Simply telling them to just accept a church because going to church is “biblical” and expecting people to trust again after being badly burned is not going to change things. Trust is earned.

    As for encouraging people to use strengths to serve, I also see that as partially the leaders’ job to observe, draw out, give opportunities for. There is a reason people hold back, and it isn’t always just their lack of commitment.

    As for folks like Mandy, I also see it as MAJORLY the leaders’ responsibility to first NOTICE folks who have various needs, take to heart the words you preached about, seek them out, truly care for them, and get to know them enough to find their unique gifts that can be used even if not on a Sunday.

    Finally, I agree that in a healthy church, growing along with others who are different than us promotes growth and that is something clearly in the Word. Again, our experiences seem to be shaping how we see this. My experience has been that the church is one the most homogenous place in society. This concept of diverse backgrounds challenging one another is difficult to live out when churches tend to attract people from similar socioeconomic groups, similar political persuasions, even similar ages and ethnicities. The church I am currently attending is at least having this conversation and acknowledging this problem, and is making practical steps to work toward changing this.

    In my own life, I interact with folks from diverse walks of life at work, in my apartment complex, in my family and in the variety of friendships I have, and in all of these areas have many opportunities to be challenged and grow in the way you describe, to pray with fellow believers, to use my gifts and show Jesus by serving and loving those around me.

    I think many churches have a LONG way to go in becoming truly diverse, welcoming, safe, genuine communities where people can trust that they can grow and be gently challenged and still shown genuine love in that process. As long as the world outside of evangelical Christianity is more diverse, accepting, loving, etc., the ideal you speak of seems shallow and lacks credibility.

    Perhaps I’m a bit cynical. Like others here, I’ve been burned. I’m trying, really trying to trust again. To trust God first and foremost, not a institution or a leader. But I don’t think it all falls on people like me blinding accepting that there is no perfect church and diving in. Leaders must recognize the problem, own up to it, and do some self examination as to why evangelical America is at this place, and what part they have to play in changing it for the better.

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  64. One way to approach selecting a church home is to ask God where HE wants us to serve the body. Choose one based on our personal likes/dislikes might not be the best way to approach it. Not saying anyone is, just suggesting a practical approach that works. One thing though, where God places us might not be too close to what we would choose for ourselves. Not saying ‘dive in’ willy nilly, but to ask God and trust His choice. Then don’t leave from where God has planted you until He tells you it’s time to move on down the road a piece and plug into a different local body.

    Like

  65. Mandy said:

    please keep this blog as an atmosphere of comfort and encouragement for those who have been and continue to be marginalized and/or hurt by the traditional concept of church.

    You can count on that, Mandy. I am so thankful for your presence here and your voice which most likely represents many, many people just like you. You have opened my eyes. I thank you for that.

    Like

  66. Recovering Pharisee I am in total agreement with your last post. You are correct to lay the lion’s share of the blame at the feet of those who claim to be leaders. No ones should be expected to tolerate unbiblical practices without clear assurance that they are acknowledged as unbiblical and are BEING changed. A person can understand slow progress in change but should not be expected to understand no progress in needed changes.

    Blessings on you and your involvement in your current congregation. My prayer is that they will benefit from your insights as I have and that you will benefit from theirs and that this congregation will prove to be a family that understand imperfections and embraces diversity.

    Like

  67. Define traditional concept of the church? I would say it’s probably the church birthed at Pentecost, whose growth, including appointing leadership, etc. With that definition, ‘tradtional’ church might be what we are striving for.

    Like

  68. In response to the one who is congenitally predisposed to conflict (just trying to avoid being automatically put into moderation), my testimony is that, if I was hearing correctly, about 2 years ago I convicted that I was no longer to enable any un-Scriptural religious organization with my presence, money or anything else. Perhaps I will be led to associate myself with what appears to be a Scripturally sound Christian fellowship, but I just am not aware of any such within any reasonable driving distance of where I live. In the meantime, I find that my Lord regularly brings me into fellowship with other Christians and, therefore, with Himself, as I live my day to day life.

    Like

  69. I would like to apologize to and ask forgiveness from anyone who read my last post in this thread, including Jared.

    My whole philosophy is centered around affirming the inherent worth of human beings as PHYSICAL creature. My post was inconsistent with that ideas. And so, while I despise Jared’s theology and hold his tweet to be an arresting and sparkling diamond of dispicable taste and dreadful discernment and utterly bereft of any sort of wisdom, I should not have insulted his person.

    For that I am very sorry. The Holy Spirit was most kind and most diligent in convicting me of this sin.

    All glory to God, the one who loves and affirms all humanity, even His enemies.

    I hope to be holy as He is holy in this way in the future.

    Like

  70. Argo – -Thank you for your apology. What a beautiful display healthy church community right here. I struggled about what to do with the comment, yet knew that it came from an a heart that was troubled and angered because of blatant abuse in churches. Someone commented and challenged me on the appropriateness of it here (which I appreciated and may have neglected to say that), which I’m guessing you might have seen. The HS did the work in your heart and now you have apologized.

    If I would have removed your comment, we may have not been able to see this sweet and humble response. Thank you so much, Argo.

    Like

  71. Sarah: I was so very touched by your comment. Thank you so much. I’m not sure why my story got so much fanfare because it is no more valid than your story or any other person’s. I think what it did was present a real story that people could relate with on a personal level – – that I am an ordinary person – just like everyone else. You are so right – your story is powerful and you do have a voice. I’d be honored to read your story and if you like, to share it here. (spiritualsb@ gmail.com) I think once we get our voice and realize we are not alone, we can see things in a different light. There is something so beautiful about connecting with others, encouraging one another, and giving hope. I’m so glad our paths have crossed, Sarah, and enjoy connecting on Twitter, too 🙂

    Like

  72. Ack – you guys – – I just went over what recently transpired: Argo’s original comment, Ric’s comment to me asking about Argo’s comment. Ffor some reason, I did not read Argo’s initial comment as a personal attack and now after re-reading it, it certainly was (which he has since apologized for). Ric correctly challenged me (thank you, Ric!). I should have done better on moderating. I failed on that and I apologize to my readers. I hope you will forgive me. Free speech is fine and dandy, but I should be moderating more carefully when there are personal attacks. I’ll try to watch more closely. ~ja

    Like

  73. Julie Ann

    You are welcome. Praise be to God.

    FWIW, I thought I was posting on Paul’s site. LOL I like to think I would have used better discretion on a site where I was commenting the first time.

    I have met Paul in person and knew he would understand my heart (as you understood it!).

    Still, that is no excuse for my sinful post. It doesn’t matter where I posted it. It was wrong.

    Like

  74. Argo – Oh, that’s funny. I suspect you are commenting via WordPress notification??? I did the same thing once on Denny Burk’s site – haha 🙂

    Like

  75. Argo

    Thank you…

    The true test of humility – is the ability to say grace – just before eating crow…

    You ate some Crow – And did it “Graciously”

    Thank you for a wonderful example…

    Jesus loves you this I know…

    Like

  76. Gary W

    You write…
    “I was no longer to *enable* any **un-Scriptural** religious organization
    with my presence, money or anything else.”

    This is kinda where I’m at for today. I’m NO longer giving – Time, Talent, or Treasure, to – Organized Religion – The Religious System – The Local Church.

    The Book of Amos says – Yup – Could be my favorite book. 😉
    Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

    So, I stay away from – Today’s Local Church – I’m NOT in agreement with them.
    All the ones I’ve examined are – **un-Scriptural** religious organizations”
    They use, enforce, – many terms – many “Titles” – many rules – NOT in the Bible.

    But – they, Organized Religion, will call them all – “Biblical.” Go figure…

    When you believe the lie you start to die… 😉

    Like

  77. And Gary

    I’d like to add to your list about Organised Religion @ JULY 9, 2013 @ 6:43 AM. And how a believer can detect Organised Religion as opposed to being able to recognise “the Church of God.” His Ekklsia, His Body, His Church, His Kings and Priests, His Bride, His sons, His Servants, His Disciples, His Ambassodors.

    Something I’ve noticed in – Today’s Local Church – Today’s Religious System – is they use – many terms, many “Titles,” many rules – NOT in the Bible. **un-Scriptural** And they use them, and say they are “Biblical.” They, “The Religious Leaders” say them, over and over again. The Religious Leaders say them, do them, so often even they become convinced that – they really are “Biblical.” Oy Vey!!! 😉

    I’ll give you a few terms, and “Titles,” used in – Today’s Local Church – Organised Religion – That are NOT used in the Bible. I think “WE” can call them **un-Scriptural?**

    It’s amazing what you find – Living Water – when you dig your own wells.

    ** List of “Church Terms”
    Used in Organised Religion – Today’s Local Church – Today’s Religious System…
    BUT – are NOT used by anyone in the Bible. **un-Scriptural** ????

    1 – Go to Church. —– Who wudda thunk it? – NOT one Disciple going to church. 😉
    2 – Join a Church. —– NOT one of His Disciples joining a church, In the Bible.
    3 – Tithe to a Church. —–
    4 – Give siver, gold or money to a Church.
    5 – Buildings with crosses called Church.
    6 – Apply for Church membership. 6a – Formal Church membership.
    7- MY Church: by a pastor. Nope, the Ekklesia, the body of Christ, belongs to Jesus.
    8 – My Church: by sheepies. 9 – Your Church. 10 – Our Church.
    11 – Church Leadership. —– NOT one of His disciples called themself – leader.
    12 – Church Growth. 13 – Church Planting.
    14 – Church clean up Day. 15 – Local Church.
    16 – Looking for a Church. 17 – Church Home.

    And I used to use these terms myself – Until I searched the Bible for myself.
    Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

    I think these “Church Terms” can be added to your #1.
    Because, these are “Man Made” terms. And NOT in the Bible.
    But – Could be – Commandments of men – Doctrines of men – Tradtions of men…
    That *Make Void* the Word of God that Jesus warned us about – Mark 7:13.

    “1. A **man made** organization that has it’s own separate existence, (separate terms)
    separate and apart from simply the fellowship of **called out believers.**

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

    Like

  78. Thank you Wesley, for hearing where I’m from. It’s good to come to some common ground after disagreeing with you on other matters.

    B4B, just was no one knows what you are praying but you, I would suggest that many of us are exactly where God has led us, in response to your suggestion to ask God where he wants us. It sounds like Gary W., Mandy, A. Amos Love, and others are all where He wants them as well. Only they know what God has spoken to each of their hearts. I appreciate their perspective church, and the dialogue on that topic here.

    Sarah, I feel the same way about JA and this blog 🙂 “Among other things, this blog and the grace and boldness with which you conduct yourself has been helping me to realize the importance of my own story and the validity of my own voice.”

    And since we’re functioning as the Body here, I’m going to ask for prayer for a few things. I have a friend staying with me who has a family member in the hospital. Without going into all the details, she is a strong believe, but I’m not sure where he is at. Prayers for him to trust Jesus and also to recover would be appreciated. And for my friend as she interacts with family during this stressful time.

    Also, I will be at a family gathering later this week, seeing some out of town relatives who are very precious to me. They lost their adult son to suicide a few years ago. They are amazing people who love Jesus, and are an amazing encouragement to the rest of the family (none of whom are believers) in how they have walked through their grief. Please pray that the family will see Jesus in them, and also for me to be an encouragement to them. They are on my hearts as I pray for Eric and his friend’s family. No words do a situation like that justice, but the Spirit intercedes for us when there are no words.

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  79. Gary

    I think these two from your list might go together for helping belivers detect…
    Organised Religion – The Religious System – The Local Church…

    5. An organization in which there is a **divide,*
    wither formally or informally, between clergy and laity.

    7. An organization in which the “officers” have **titles,**
    functions, positions, and authority that are not to be found in the New Testament.

    ** List of “Titles”
    Used in – Organized Religion – Today’s Local Church – Today’s Religious System…
    BUT – are NOT used by anyone in the Bible. **un-Scriptural** ????

    1 -. Pastor. — Who wudda thunk it? – NOT oneof His Disciples had the “Title” pastor.
    1a – Pastor/Leader/Reverend
    2 – Shepherd. — In the Bible Jesus is the only “ONE” with the “Title” shepherd.
    2a – Under Shepherd. — NOT one of His Disciples called Under Shepherd?
    3 – Senior Pastor.
    4 – Lead Pastor.
    5 – Teaching Pastor. 6 – Executive Pastor. 6 – Youth Pastor.
    7 – Singles Pastor. 8 – Worship Pastor.
    9 – Reverend. — Jehovah/Jesus – Only – Holy and reevered is
    10 – Holy Reverend. 11 – Most Holy Right Reverend.
    12 – ArchDeacon. 13 – Canon. 14 – Prelate. 15 – Rector.
    16 – Cardinal. 17 – Pope. 18 – Doctor. 19 – M.Div. 20 – Chief Executive Apostle.

    Titles – Titles – Everywhere… Except in the Bible…

    And In my experience…
    “Titles” divide – “Titles” say I am and you’re NOT.

    “Titles” automatically create “Heirarchy” – Jesus proclamed “Lower archy.”
    Jesus, as man, humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation,
    And took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

    Taking the name of God – Shepherd/Leader/Reverend –
    Automatically gives you a “Reputation” whether you want it or NOT.

    “Titles” are used to create a form of “Control” – Jesus came to set us free.

    And I used to use these “Titles” myself – Until I searched the Bible for myself.
    Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

    “Titles” become “Idols” ………………. “Idols” of the heart. Ezek 14:1-11 KJV
    “Pastors” become “Masters” ………. A No, No, Mat 23:10 KJV

    Like

  80. OOOPS – Redo – above

    9 – Reverend —- Only – Jehovah/Jesus – ..holy and reverend is his name. Ps 111:9

    Thank you Jesus

    Like

  81. Oh…

    And I forgot to add two more “Titles” only found in…
    Organized Religion – The Religious System – The Local Church…

    And NOT found in the Bible.

    21 – Clergy
    22 – Laity

    And – IMO – The reason the “Titles” are so desired today is they come with
    Power – Profit – Prestige – Glory – Honor – Reputation – Recognition…

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

    Like

  82. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” Ephesians 4:11

    Tell me again that there are no ‘human’ offices in the church?

    Define traditional concept of the church? I would say it’s probably the church birthed at Pentecost, whose growth, including appointing leadership, etc. With that definition, ‘tradtional’ church might be what we are striving for.

    Like

  83. clergy

    Those ordained in church: the body of people ordained for religious service, especially in the Christian church

    laity

    All those not part of the clergy

    Both are reasonable ‘terms’ describing a group/set of people.

    For anyone interested, I thought a short grammar lesson might be in order.

    Like

  84. CongenitallyPredisposed2Conflict,

    Re: Your post of 12:11, a couple of points:

    1. Serving as a prophet, evangelist or pastor doesn’t any more mean that the servant holds an office than does, say, a janitor, mechanic or farmer.

    2. If you can tell me what the Greek word for office is, I will review the matter further. Until then, I will assume that any Greek word for office simply does not appear in the New Testament.

    3. Since I recall your having made this particular point before, I am grateful for the opportunity to resubmit an additional entry for possible inclusion in the Glossary of Manipulative Rhetorical Gambits and Code Words. I’m not saying the definition applies to you in its entirety, but maybe you will get my point:

    Domination by Reiteration ad Eternum:

    A rhetorical device whereby a perpetrator attempts to impose their views on an unsuspecting victim by endless repetition of unsubstantiated, unexplained and typically groundless opinions or conclusory statements—all while adamantly refusing to answer questions, respond to challenges, or even engage in discussion. Alternatively, may involve endless repetition of non-factual, often manipulative, characterizations of opinions or conclusory statements, such as where it is endlessly repeated concerning a false view or position that “It is Biblical. . . It is Biblical. . . It is Biblical! ! ! ! ,” Ad eternum, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. C.f entries for “Ad nauseam” here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_nauseam and for “Argumentum ad nauseam” here http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_nauseam. Being an attempt to overcome the victim’s freedom of thought, is inherently abusive. An extension into the arena of rhetorical manipulation of the coercive principal whereby an abusive parent will undertake to impose their will on even the youngest of children, whether by means of an extended regimen of painful violence (i.e. corporal punishment) or otherwise, the parent’s strategy being to just wear them out.

    Like

  85. Recovering Pharisee

    I love your name …
    Even though it reminds me of how much Pharisee is still in me. Ouch!!! 😦
    Yup – I’m still in recovery… 😉

    And I’ve enjoying, and convicted,
    by your very considerate comments and writing style.

    Peaceful – Gracious – Fruitful – Levelheaded – Christlike… I am awed…

    Praying for you and your friends – And that you would be a comfort.

    ———-

    I have some 8 X 10 posters in PDF – with just – the Word of God.

    In Color – and – Black and White

    Made to print out and put on hospital room walls and windows.

    Any place where folks are in recovery – and did I say – Just the Word of God…

    ————

    I’ll ask Julie Anne to post a few…

    If you would like to see them…

    love101faith@me.com

    Like

  86. I will be praying for you and your friend and the family members that you both are concerned about Recovering Pharisee.

    Like

  87. All,

    Even a cursory study of the biblical structure of the church will reveal that the aforementioned ‘gifts’ to the church are commonly referred to as ‘either ‘offices’ or ‘roles’. The chief office/role is of course the Head, Jesus Christ.

    The terms ‘office’ and ‘role’ are also used quite frequently in the structure of organizations, businesses, etc., as we all know. We also should already know that offices/roles are necessary for any organization to run smoothly, else we have everyone doing what is ‘right in his own eyes’, a phrase found several times in the Bible (OT), referring to God’s chosen people, just prior to God raining down judgment upon them.

    Like

  88. Jared Mellinger !! When little boys like you talk out loud, you keep making my point that Calvinism (and all its variations) is the single most disastrous, single most corrupting body of thought ever perpetrated on man. And with your help I will soon be able to persuade everyone of that truth.

    Good job! All Hail SGM! Viva la Reformation!!!

    Like

  89. Thanks Julie Anne… i’m sure glad you are keeping up with the SGM insanity. It turns my stomach to much.

    Keep doing the good work!

    Like

  90. Loveingkindness

    Seems to be a notable miracle. 😉

    You’ve written something we agree on @ JULY 10, 2013 @ 12:48 PM…

    Yes – We have something in common… Go figure…
    You can NOT name, one of His Disciples, In the scriptures, in the Bible
    Who had the “Title” – Clergy – either…

    Or was called – Clergy…
    Or had a license plate, or window sticker, with Clergy on it.
    Or anyone called Laity or Laypeople… Very Cool. 😉

    Then you demonstrate for us how
    Organized Religion – Today’s Local Church – Todays Religious System
    Comes to the conclusion it’s okay to use “Clergy and Laity”

    They go to – the Anointed Word of Webster…
    And get a Dictionarys definition of Clergy and Laity…

    So, In this case it’s okay for
    Organized Religion – Today’s Local Church – Todays Religious System
    To use the Dictionary for their “Doctrine,” their “Titles.”

    And NOT the Bible.

    You bet – the Anointed Word of Webster…

    Like

  91. Gary W

    Here is something else I’ve noticed a lot of in – Organized Religion – Todays Religious System – Todays Local Church – That I see a little differently – Since leaving the 501 (c) 3, non-profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation, that the IRS calls church.

    I’ve often heard, in theses organizations – “Bloom where you’re planted.”

    Even when it is uncomfortable – When you’re NOT getting along with folks…
    It’s God’s way of pruning you, Causing this Christ-like growth…

    Just do NOT leave – Do NOT be a Church Hopper – Do NOT be a Lone Ranger.
    And many similar statements to get you to – Stay – Pray – Pay – and – Obey…

    And I used to say these things myself – Until I searched the Bible for myself.
    Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

    That ALL sounds so good and wholesome and “Biblical.”
    But, they leave out a few verses – A few principles…

    ***John 3:8
    The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,
    but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth:
    so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

    Seems here, When you are “Born of the Spirit?” You’ll be moving like the wind…
    And folks will NOT know where you are coming from, or where you are going…
    Because – You are being “Led” by the Spirit.

    ***Rom 8:14 For as many as are “led by the Spirit of God,” they are the sons of God.

    And you are Following Jesus…

    ***John 10:27 My sheep hear MY voice, and I know them, and they Follow Me:

    And you are NOT being “Led” by a “Mere Fallible Humans” like most folks in
    Organized Religion – Todays Religious System – Todays Local Church –

    Who tell you to – Follow – God Ordained Auuthority – Church Leaders – pastors…
    “Mere Fallible Humans” who think they are a “Special” class of Christian…
    Clergy Class and separate themselves from the Body with “Titles” NOT in the Bible.

    No Thanks – I’d rather Follow Jesus.

    Mt 4:19 …*Follow me,* and I will make you fishers of men.
    Mt 8:22 …*Follow me;* and let the dead bury their dead.
    John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him *Follow me*…

    Seems Jesus always asked His Disciples to Follow Him – Jesus… 😉

    But – Organized Religion – Todays Religious System – Todays Local Church
    want you to Follow their rules, their leaders – And come between you and Jesus…

    Like

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