9Marks, Leaving the Church, Meetings with the Pastor, Shunning, Spiritual Abuse

9Marks, Spiritual Abuse, and How Church Members Can Fall Through the Cracks

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Yesterday, I shared the a comment that I had posted on SharperIron.org forum.  From my limited times there, I gather there are quite a few pastors.  We were discussing 9Marks practices.  Chip asked me to elaborate after reading my comment:

I’ve read some of the 9Marks writings and some of these ideas are troublesome to me.  I am concerned that while the basic principles may seem to work as a guideline for good and decent shepherds, they also may give license to those pastors who are heavy-handed in authority and ruling over their congregants.    We need to be wise in turning to core values in the Bible, not core values of Dever and 9Marks – just sayin’.

I explained one bothersome aspect in yesterday’s article, 9Marks:  Church Authority over Church Members.

Below is the second part of my response to Chip.   Instead of answering his question with a short logical answer, I wanted him and other readers to have an understanding of what some of us have gone through, to have the eyes to see through a personal story (even if it is made up).  This story is a combination of my story and many stories I read.    It’s not a profound, in fact, it was typed up quickly as a comment and so is not “polished.”  You might find parts of your story tucked in there.  I didn’t get much of a response from this story at the site, but at least it’s giving these folks something to think about regarding spiritual abuse.

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So now, let me explain why I have problems with the 9Marks brand of church membership, discipline, changing churches.  I’d like to explain in story form.

Patty is a single, middle-aged woman going to a church with a bona fide spiritually abusive pastor.  She had difficulty with some of the teachings at church and questioned an elder.  The elder told the pastor about it (elders are instructed to tell the pastor of any kind of ‘dissension” among the ranks).

Patty’s church is an independent church. Her church is connected with 9Marks.  Her pastor has two elders, but they are yes-men (truth be told, they are afraid of the pastor).  They have never questioned him or challenged him on anything they have seen over the many years they have served as elders.  They remain silent on any issues of concern.

The pastor has no one over him to hold him accountable.  He is spiritually abusive, twists scripture in order to gain more authority over members, and uses his authority in ways that are intrusive in the private lives of church members.   Patty decides that she must leave and so she quietly leaves Grace Church and finds Pastor Nate’s church.

Pastor Nate’s church is part of 9Marks and knowing the guidelines set up by 9Marks, he appropriately asks Patty which church she recently left.  She tells Nate, “Grace Church, from across town.”  Nate knows the pastor of Grace Church.  He’s a likable guy.  Pastor Nate has run into him at various events in town and knows him by name.  He had recently seen him at his son’s soccer game, but they were supporting opposing teams, so they waved to each other as they passed the concession stand.

When Patty tells Pastor Nate that she left Grace Church, Pastor Nate tells her she must go back and tie up loose ends at Grace Church before he will allow her to stay at his church.  Patty then reluctantly tells Pastor Nate that her pastor from Grace Church was spiritually abusive.  She really had hoped to not bring that subject up.

Pastor Nate doesn’t know Patty, but he’s known the Grace Church pastor casually for 5 years.  Surely this could not be.  This pastor couldn’t be spiritually abusive.  There surely is a misunderstanding.

Who is Pastor Nate going to believe?  Patty, whom he doesn’t know from Adam, or the pastor whom Pastor Nate has known casually for 5 years?  Most likely Pastor Nate will believe the pastor, after all, both churches are connected and committed to the 9Marks practices, so the Grace Church pastor can’t be that bad, right?

What does Patty do now?   Patty is having a hard time trusting anyone in church authority at this point, but she knows the Bible tells her she needs to be meeting regularly.  She likes Pastor Nate and his church.  It is solid biblically and it feels safe to her.  She wants to stay there, but Pastor Nate says she must go back to Grace Church.

Patty thinks to herself that maybe the spiritual abuse was in her head (spiritual abuse victims often justify the abuser’s behavior – similar to a domestic violence victim).  She convinces herself that maybe she does need to repent of her sins with the pastor at Grace Church (Patty hasn’t sinned, she’s been spiritually abused.  Victims often unknowingly set themselves up to re-victimize themselves.)

She goes back to Grace Church.   Now, because the pastor found out that she left his church and went to Pastor Nate’s church, she is put into church discipline for not following the proper membership rules (sanctioned by 9Marks).  She is excommunicated and shunned by the church members (the pastor sometimes stretches the rules)- and all of her friends she has had for the last 8 years abandon her.  She is completely alone.

Where can Patty go now?  If she goes back to see Pastor Nate, he will tell her he cannot receive her because she is in church discipline from Grace Church and needs to repent.  The pastor from Grace Church called Pastor Nate.  They at first made some small talk about common connections, but then he told Pastor Nate the story of Patty’s divisive behavior.  The story was compelling to Pastor Nate.  How could Patty have been so dishonest with him?  (She was completely honest.  The wolf was pulling the wool over Pastor Nate’s eyes.  Honing in on their mutual connections and experiences, the wolf built a level of intimacy and trust, and Patty’s “divisive character” was an easy sell.).

Chip, this is not a far-fetched story when it comes to spiritual abuse.  This is the type of story that I get in my blog’s e-mail.  Even you (and any pastor reading here) are not exempt from being fooled by a wolf.  Unless you personally know what is going on in someone’s church (you won’t know that unless you are part of it intimately), if you go by 9Marks guidelines of connecting with pastors of previous churches, you may mistakenly align yourself with a wolf and inflict harm on people by adhering to those guidelines.

Chip, I’d be happy if my blog could shut down.  It’s only been growing and it’s because of stories similar to this.  People want to be in church, but church leaders are sometimes unknowingly working alongside a spiritual wolf who is destroying lives.  I get some of those broken pieces of people saying:  what next?  where can I go?  who can I trust?

I know this comment is very long, but I hope I have shown you a different side worth considering as you consider aligning with some kind of 9Marks system where precious sheep can slip through the cracks and be left abandoned and shattered like Patty.

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For extra bonus points:  Using the above photo, can you find any significance with the picture and Patty’s story?  Any hidden parallels, ideas, thoughts come to mind?

Here is the link where you may read the entire discourse.  However, per Summer’s suggestion, I’m issuing a medical alert warning.  Reading it may cause your blood pressure to rise.

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199 thoughts on “9Marks, Spiritual Abuse, and How Church Members Can Fall Through the Cracks”

  1. “These guys have no moral credibility. I will certainly be glad when more people figure that out and the money dries up for them,” and “The best thing that has ever happened is that it is getting a good debate in the public square of the internet by the peasants.”

    No more money from this peasant (and co-equal priest/prophet/king).

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  2. “In neo-Calvinism, the senior pastor is really nothing more than the senior autocrat. The protestant Pope, if you will.”
    http://unreformingtheology.com

    Speaking from experience I am sure it was no problem for Dever to get a 2/3 majority on matters of discipline. Functionally the way congregational polity works in the 9Marks church I once attended (and am still a member of in spite of my best efforts not to be) the pope/senior pastor does whatever he wishes. The compliant elders agree with whatever he wants and the members rubber stamp it with nary a dissenting voice. Such unity in the Spirit is a beautiful thing to behold.

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  3. And Calvin supported the civil law of killing those who disagreed with him. People were scared to question him.

    So, if they can’t kill ‘em, discipline them instead?

    And train Quiverfull after Quiverfull of Culture Warriors to Outbreed and Overwhelm the Heathen, establishing a Christian America/Republic of Gilead where they CAN kill ’em again, Praise The LOORD!

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  4. This is beyond control freak, Julie Anne. Let’s just get this out in the open and say what these people are saying is they have the power to revoke an individual’s salvation by removing him/her from Christ Himself since there is no distinction between being in His kingdom and being in Him.

    In Medieval times, this was called “Excommunication” and “Interdict”. Check out the actual text of Excommunication sometime. It DOES revoke the individual’s Salvation and hand them over to the Devil and Hell. The text DOES pronounce a Curse of Damnation. That’s why today the Catholic Church is very reluctant to pronounce it.

    The underlying rationale is “Binding and Loosing”, delegating Authority to the Apostles — “Whatever you Bind on earth is Bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on Earth is Loosed in Heaven”.

    But then the Calvinists are now also claiming Apostolic Succession to Bind and Loose…

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  5. “In neo-Calvinism, the senior pastor is really nothing more than the senior autocrat. The protestant Pope, if you will.”

    But there is more than one “senior pastor” in neo-Calvinism, isn’t there?
    Can the Church have many Popes?
    Can the Universe have more than one Center?
    “DIE, HERETIC!!!!!”

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  6. Oh but JA, it is just a bulletin board. They are not responsible for abusive churches….

    Two words, Lydia: PLAUSIBLE. DENIABILITY.
    (And it all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is. Wasn’t Calvin originally a lawyer?)

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  7. 2samuel127 – – – I think I’ve read bits of your story here and there and this kind of behavior is shocking — that they own you and you cannot leave.

    Did you read Ed’s funny comment on how you can leave these kinds of churches?

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  8. JA, you are a watchman announcing to God’s people what is happening. I thank God for you. The job requirement for watchman is not seminary training, pastoral experience. It holds NO authority. A watchman alerts the people. We need more WATCHMEN on the wall.

    Isaiah 21:6 For thus the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman; let him announce what he sees.

    Isaiah 52:8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.

    Jeremiah 31:6 For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’”

    Isaiah 62:6 On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest.

    Habakkuk 2:1-14 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. 2 And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. 4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. 5 “Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough.
    He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.” 6 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own – for how long? – and loads himself with pledges!” 7 Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be spoil for them. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them. 9 “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm!
    10 You have devised shame for your house by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life. 11 For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond. 12 “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity! 13 Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing? 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

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  9. Functionally the way congregational polity works in the 9Marks church I once attended (and am still a member of in spite of my best efforts not to be) the pope/senior pastor does whatever he wishes. The compliant elders agree with whatever he wants and the members rubber stamp it with nary a dissenting voice.

    Just like Baba Saddam or Comrade Dear Leader running for re-election.
    Just like any Third World Maximum Leader in any Third World hellhole.

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  10. A Mom wrote~

    “For instance, we can’t believe CJ is treated differently while under “discipline” (pride is very serious in the Bible). We don’t understand why they’ve circled the wagons around SGM & CJ & not the kids (now adults? & their families). But we should not be surprised at all, because authority & chain of command is most important. They are following their rules. CJ is above all congregants.”

    I have had to learn this very hard lesson over and over and over and over (because apparently I am stubborn/thought I knew better/not the brightest bulb) and it’s this: Like Attracts Like. These men support Mahaney because they ARE Mahaney.

    Read in Mahaney’s own words (with sgmsurvivors Kris’ excellent commentary) why he quickly left CLC and ran into Dever’s arms. It was because CJ is special and he needed care that only Dever could give.
    (JA-sorry for the length of the following)-

    “Next my transition to CHBC. After the public statement about the leave, I decided with the support of the board to attend CHBC during my leave of absence. I am very aware this decision has left you with a number of questions and I understand why.

    Prior to the leave we had decided that Mark Dever would pay a strategic role in providing me with care and counsel …so his involvement was decided prior to the decision to attend CHBC. After my public confession and statement, it quickly became evident that for me to remain in CLC in this season would be untenable for a few reasons: there was hostility from a number in the church toward me after the release of Brent’s documents and I had disagreements with the approach that was adopted by the CLC pastors concerning these documents and in relation to my confession an approach that they thought best served the church. [Kris says: So basically what CJ is admitting here is that he was not actually submitted to the authority of any of his pastors at CLC. His primary concern was not actually to obey his pastors and make them happy. He decided he did not need to “be a joy to pastor.”]

    So I didn’t see how I could remain in the church because I didn’t want to be a distraction, a disruption in the church, and I certainly didn’t want to be divisive to the church, because I love this church, I helped found this church, I gave 27 years of my life to this church. I wouldn’t want to do anything to harm this church. So I thought it would serve the church, serve the pastors that I wouldn’t be drawn in by the church to anything controversial by having to reveal any of my differences or concerns. I was desirous of serving the church. [Kris says: Actually, it sounds a lot more like CJ was desirous of serving himself and his own comfort. It sounds a lot more like CJ wanted to avoid hard questions and potentially uncomfortable conversations with other members. If his real desire was to “serve the church,” he could easily have done so by simply saying nothing if people tried to engage him.]

    I realize this doesn’t fit the expected practice relative to a church that preceded this decision …I know that, and I understand the questions but this was a situation where I believed and still do believe that the Word agrees that remaining in CLC would not have served this church or have served the pastors of this church. [Kris says: CJ just pulled the Bible card here. He says “…the Word agrees…” I would be very interested in knowing just where the Bible says anything that would have supported CJ’s leaving CLC. CJ’s decision to quit submitting to his own pastors and his own local church flies in the face of everything he has ever taught about the overarching importance of the local church, and of the need for members to constantly be going around asking themselves if they are obeying and submitting to their pastors and making their pastors’ job a joy. Certainly if CJ is going to imply that the Bible supports his decision, he ought, as a responsible “theologian” and elder, to rightly divide the Word and show his audience where he gets this idea.] I did consider becoming part of Solid Rock Church but I didn’t want to be a distraction to that church either, didn’t want to draw that church unnecessarily into this controversy. I am at this time a walking controversy and I did not want to distract another church, to disrupt any church or to be divisive in a local church.

    Finally I made this decision as a husband. My wife has an unusually strong constitution but I needed to protect her from the assaults that we were both the objects of. [Kris says: “Assaults”? Isn’t that a pretty melodramatic word for CJ to use to describe what he and Carolyn might have theoretically experienced if they’d remained at their SGM local church? Perhaps I am mistaken, but I’ve always had the impression that people were a bit in awe of Carolyn anyway and have always treated her with the utmost respect. Would she really have been vulnerable to “assaults” if they would have quietly continued to attend CLC?] I am a husband before I am a president. When it was announced that I would be attending CHBC it was suggested that i was fleeing accountability and my response is as follows. I was not under any formal church discipline. Actually I was pursuing accountability. I was taking a leave of absence that I thought was a statement of accountability. I continue to participate in my small group with Bob and Jeff and Gary and continue to receive their care and council, encouragement, correction. I was running into, not away from, two separate panels and I was placing myself under the care and council of Mark Dever for the purpose of adding even more accountability. Mark is a true friend. We have a history of relationship. He is an excellent pastor and the man does not flatter.

    One final reason – I needed help, I needed pastoral care I needed the benefits of worship and preaching where I wouldn’t be distracted, where I wasn’t viewed suspiciously, where I didn’t have to be concerned about anyone approaching me before the meeting or after with questions or accusations. I needed to sit and listen to sermons that could speak to my needy soul. Mark is a dear friend to Sovereign Grace and I will never forget their kindness to us.

    I don’t consider myself an exception at all. I do think these were exceptional circumstances.

    [Kris says: If CJ doesn’t consider himself an exception, then he is really out of touch with what has been the reality for pretty much all other SGM pastors who have times of stepping away from the ministry, or being outright de-gifted. When other SGM pastors have been de-gifted (fired), they were then commanded to remain in SGM churches after they were forced to step down. They were not given the luxury of getting to seek the “benefits of worship and preaching.” They were forced to stay put and face people who knew all about their situations, Sunday after Sunday.]”

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2011/11/11/transcript-of-c-j-mahaneys-remarks-at-the-sovereign-grace-ministries-2011-pastors-conference/

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  11. I just read and briefly responded to a private e-mail from Jonathan Leeman. He has been reading here.

    I told him I have out-of-town company coming, so my time is limited until I can give him a thorough response next week.

    Here’s the deal – – – these guys can defend themselves until the cows come home, but when you read 2samuel127’s comment above that he cannot sever ties from a 9Marks church, we need to look a little closer at that system in which a person cannot even leave a church.

    We can dissect their articles and books publicly. I tried, with reference to the Patty story above, to say that there are cracks in the system. I mentioned my former church being linked in their church referral site.

    I have legitimate concerns. Just the behavior of a pastor suing former members should send red flags. Mr. Leeman is in a position to be able to do something about that, to investigate. He said sometimes people alert them about such pastors/churches and they will remove the church from their referral system. Well, I did alert him right here publicly. He obviously has my e-mail address. I can hook him up with the board off pastors who revoked his license, with countless members stemming back 15 yrs. I can give him a police officer’s phone number with the open file on a PASTOR who was recently caught trespassing on former member’s property. I can give him the name of the church in which a group from his church put “slander blogger” cards on cars and collected 253 cards. I did this all publicly and you all saw the behavior – acting like he could do nothing.

    I’m calling it BS.

    I didn’t used to talk like this, but there you go. It’s BS, plain and simple.

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  12. And…lest we (peasants) think we can resign before discipline is completed or started (like Mr. Mahaney was able to do)…think again-

    From Mr.Leeman-

    “Rather, the church exists because Christ came to establish his kingdom, and he means for a marked off group of people to represent his heavenly rule on earth (see Matt. 3:2; 4:7; 5:3,5; 6:10,19-20; 13:11). The church exists not simply for its own sanctification’s sake or even finally for the world’s sake. It exists to accomplish the task originally given to Adam and Israel but fulfilled finally in Christ, the task of imaging or representing the glorious rule of God on earth.

    Yes, individuals are ultimately accountable to God and not to their churches. Yes, individuals should choose God’s side rather than the church’s side whenever a church requires its members to go against the Word of God. Yes, the church is a “voluntary organization” insofar as the church cannot conscript members as with an army draft, or keep them from leaving, as with a slave. We’re justified by faith alone. Still, Christ has given the corporate gathering of believers an authority he has not given to the lone individual: the authority, we might call it, of guarding the borders of the kingdom by making public statements on behalf of Christ. It’s the authority of the White House press secretary to speak officially for the president, or of an embassy to speak officially for its government. The individual who attempts to preempt this process by resigning before the church enacts formal discipline is guilty of usurping the church’s apostolic authority to speak in this manner. In so doing, he compounds his guilt, like the criminal charged with “resisting arrest.”

    The man who continues to call himself a Christian and yet attempts to avoid the church’s act of discipline is guilty of usurping the power of the keys. Christ has made the church his proxy on earth exactly for such occasions, lest heretics and hypocrites presume to continue speaking for Christ.”

    Read more at-
    http://www.9marks.org/journal/preemptive-resignation-get-out-jail-free-card

    Now…why isn’t Mahaney guilty of usurping the power of CLC’s (his church) keys?

    Since he did usurp by ditching CLC because it was too hard to stay, he didn’t feel loved anymore and thought people would ask too many questions ….not to mention his needy soul needed Dever-care, Mr. Leeman has informed us that those kinds of people are hypocrites who continue to speak for Christ. Perfect shoe fit.

    Mr. Leeman, what do you think about the church split caused by Mahaney by moving SGM to Louisville thus disrupting lives, jobs, families and causing financial hardship?

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  13. Diane – thanks much for that comment and link. No apologies necessary. This blog is about shining the light on this stuff. People have a tendency to not click on links when they are in a hurry (I am one of them), so having it copied here is fine.

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  14. “You can say, “You have no right to keep me as a member!” Well, that’s sort of missing the point. In fact, the church has a Jesus-given-job of setting the public record straight, not just for your sake, but for the church’s sake, Jesus’ sake, and the nations’ sake. This is what it does by saying, “Hold on. Are you leaving because you plan to pursue sin unrepentantly? If so, then we need to excommunicate you. We’ve been publicly vouching that you’re a Christian. We’ve been putting our name and Christ’s name on the line for you. But now we need to withdraw that affirmation.”

    In other words, when you leave a church on bad terms, you’re not making a decision that affects just you and your reputation. You’re making a decision that involves the reputation—the “name”—of your whole family: your church and its covenant Lord.”
    http://www.9marks.org/blog/pastors-don%E2%80%99t-let-your-people-resign-thin-air-part-2

    That’s right. Take Mahaney’s departure for example. He left abruptly with relationships in disrepair. He acted hypocritically in not staying and facing the grievances against him as he had other SGM pastors do when things came up with them… according to various accounts by SGM congregants. He recanted his apology to CLC at the Pastors College Conference in 2011. He removed SGM from the CLC building and took it to Louisville, splitting families and creating hardship. He has not one but had at one time up to 3 (or more) websites for the purposes of people airing their grievances against him and the abuses they suffered at SGM churches under his direction while he was president of SGM and his response to those sites in the 5 years they have been up and running is to ignore them, and forbid people to read them. I have to ask….what kind of reputation have these decisions produced for his “covenant Lord” as Leeman writes?

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  15. Diane, Keep it coming! This is so helpful. We’ve been talking about the eery similarity of church-state, church-corporations, church-master. Forget about the similarities. The facts are if you read the source directly, IT IS all of these.

    Mr. Leeman, from 9Marks, “Still, Christ has given the corporate gathering of believers an authority he has not given to the lone individual: the authority, we might call it, of guarding the borders of the kingdom by making public statements on behalf of Christ. It’s the authority of the White House press secretary to speak officially for the president, or of an embassy to speak officially for its government. The individual who attempts to preempt this process by resigning before the church enacts formal discipline is guilty of usurping the church’s apostolic authority to speak in this manner. In so doing, he compounds his guilt, like the criminal charged with “resisting arrest.”

    Mr. Leeman, in this statement of his for 9Marks, has right to proclaim & determine the charge of guilty before due process. If this type of “power” over individuals doesn’t send chills down the back of your neck, you are naive, brainless, or the ones making/keeping these rules.

    I hope An Attorney chimes in here. I’d love to know his thoughts.

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  16. ‘If this type of “power” over individuals doesn’t send chills down the back of your neck, you are naive, brainless, or the ones making/keeping these rules”

    I was naïve, but It doesn’t really send chills because it is a fantasy. These are self-proclaimed authoritarians. They do not have any power but like to think they do. It is a charade, as far as it goes for me. It is not funny because it definitely hurts people. But authority? That is funny.

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  17. “But authority? That is funny.”

    More like “self important”. If the reputation of Christ hinges on what passes for the church, then there has been a HUGE problem for the last 1800 years or so.

    Now think of this statement Diane copied from Leeman:
    “Still, Christ has given the corporate gathering of believers an authority he has not given to the lone individual: the authority, we might call it, of guarding the borders of the kingdom by making public statements on behalf of Christ. It’s the authority of the White House press secretary to speak officially for the president, or of an embassy to speak officially for its government. The individual who attempts to preempt this process by resigning before the church enacts formal discipline is guilty of usurping the church’s apostolic authority to speak in this manner. In so doing, he compounds his guilt, like the criminal charged with “resisting arrest.”

    I really thought they believed in a “Sovereign God” defined as predetermining all things. If someone wants to leave that was predetermined by God, right? So then would their response also be predetermined? And if the person leaves anyway, wasn’t that predetermined? Or, is that ONLY the actions of the great men are predetermined by God, the others are only acting out of selfish totally depraved flesh?

    See how confusing this religion of determinism really is?

    Can anyone show me where “Apostolic authority” comes from? And how does one go from “Apostolic authority” to “corporate gathering of believers”. Me thinks they are talking about of both sides. Trying to make it look like a corporate decision when we all know it isn’t. Well, it could be since I would have to assume anyone who stays there for any length of time is a lemming and drinking koolaidand would agree with the Apostolic authority. :o)

    Gee, does Todd know he is a “criminal” resisting arrest for trying to leave his 9 Marks, church?

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  18. JA, Some of these little boys will only ever get authority over people by marrying and becoming an elder. There is something wrong with someone who actually wants that power over others. Beware. They are sending red flags. His is big red flag.

    Almost all “authority” is abused in some way over time. But that is just a “mistake”, right?. Not submitting all the time to the “authority” is the REAL sin in their religion.

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  19. “Can anyone show me where “Apostolic authority” comes from? And how does one go from “Apostolic authority” to “corporate gathering of believers”.”

    Remember this lydiasellerofpurple? It’s cool to be apostolic-y. Their apostolic authority comes from each other saying they are apostolic pastors, I think.

    “Wanted: Apostolic Pastors”
    By Mark Dever

    HOW CAN WE BE “APOSTOLIC PASTORS”?

    How can we be such “apostolic pastors”—pastors who work with not only their own congregation in view, but with the non-Christians in their neighborhood and their city in view, loving all true gospel work?

    And how can we lead our congregations to enlarge their vision and be excited for gospel work in our areas?
    • Pray privately for other local pastors and congregations.
    • Set an example for our churches by publicly praying for God’s blessing on other Bible-believing and Bible-preaching churches in our area.
    • Encourage ministers of other evangelical denominations to preach from time to time in our pulpits. As occasion may arise, accept invitations to preach in theirs.
    • Invite a fellow pastor to your church’s prayer meeting. Interview him about the work in his congregation, and pray for him and his church.
    • Discipline yourself to speak well of other churches. If a warning must be given, speak with great care.
    • Be willing to encourage members who live a distance from your church to join likeminded congregations closer to their home.

    There is so much you can do!

    STRATEGIZE TO HELP OTHER PASTORS

    Whatever form it may take, strategize to help other pastors. Gather them. Pray with them. Give them books. Let them know that, as best you can be, you’re there for them.

    Look especially for those pastors who will themselves work to bless other pastors. This is a kind of pastoral version of 2 Timothy 2:2, training faithful pastors who will in turn train other faithful pastors. And as God raises up such a company of godly ministers of his Word in your area and mine, may the lost be saved, churches be built, and God’s name be honored.

    In every generation, that’s how the great commission has been, is being, and will be fulfilled.’

    http://www.9marks.org/journal/wanted-apostolic-pastors-0

    Like

  20. “Wanted: Apostolic Pastors

    Editor’s Note: Bobby Jamieson

    9Marks is on the lookout for apostolic pastors. Know any?

    Here’s what we have in mind: pastors who care deeply about the progress of the gospel beyond their local churches. Pastors who encourage, disciple, and partner with other pastors. Pastors who lead their congregations to link arms with other likeminded local churches for evangelism, church planting, and more. By “apostolic,” we don’t mean someone who is personally commissioned by Jesus to bear witness to the resurrection (Acts 1:21-22). Instead, we mean someone who shares some of the apostles’ priorities and concerns, even though he doesn’t share their office.”

    See…it’s kinda just pretend stuff. 🙂 You are now an apostolic pastor.

    http://www.9marks.org/journal/wanted-apostolic-pastors

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  21. They are masters of redefining words and concepts. Gotta watch ’em closely and encourage people to check their word meanings against their actions. .

    Like

  22. Can anyone show me where “Apostolic authority” comes from? And how does one go from “Apostolic authority” to “corporate gathering of believers”.?

    In my Church tradition, “Apostolic Authority” was originally delegated by Christ to the Twelve, in the verse about “Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

    This Apostolic Authority was then passed down in what’s called Apostolic Succession; the Apostles appointed/ordained what were later called Bishops, who appointed/ordained other Bishops as successors, passing the delegated Apostolic Authority through the succession. Though the first few centuries were primarily oral tradition, Church bureaucracy kept records from then on. Thus, a Bishop should be able to trace his ordination/consecration up the chain of Apostolic Succession, eventually leading (even through the oral tradition of the first couple centuries) to one of the Twelve Apostles originally delegated authority.

    This originated in the Roman Empire and passed down through Medieval times, where hereditary succession was THE way to pass down authority and power, and reflected that tradition of legitimacy. “Hereditary” in this sense could also mean by Roman-style adoption, which primarily had to do with designating inheritance.

    Like

  23. They are masters of redefining words and concepts.

    Right up there with the Spinmeisters and PR flacks of the old Soviet Union.
    Semantics, Semantics, Semantics.
    Spin, Spin, Spin.

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  24. JA, Some of these little boys will only ever get authority over people by marrying and becoming an elder. There is something wrong with someone who actually wants that power over others. Beware.

    “It’s not so much that ‘Power tends to Corrupt’ as Power tends to attract the already-Corrupt and the easily-Corrutped.”
    — Frank Herbert

    Like

  25. Check out Mr. Thornton’s Twitter handle.

    And his Twitter icon — a spazzed-out screaming Daffy Duck in full “MINE! MINE!” tantrum mode.

    Like

  26. A Mom,

    You say you hope An Attorney chimes in. I’m not An Attorney, but I am an attorney. I haven’t had time to follow everything here the last several days. I certainly haven’t had an opportunity to review the organizational documents of any of the 9Marks Churches. For these reasons, I cannot contribute anything specific to the topic at hand. However, I do have some general thoughts from a legal point of view.

    First, never join a church (or any other organization) until you have completely familiarized yourself with their organizational documents, including anything and everything having to do with membership. Although churches have historically had very little actual power to enforce these documents (and lots of incentive not to make the attempt), you should assume that a Court will enforce anything and everything to which you have agreed. Simply joining will likely be treated as indicating your agreement, just as if you had actually signed something in writing. There seems to be a tendency for churches to attempt to impose more and more control, while relieving themselves of more and more responsibility, and they are finding more effective and binding ways of doing it. BE EXTRAORDINARILY CAUTIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING THEY ASK YOU TO SIGN.

    Organizational and membership documents include, but are not necessarily limited to, constitutions, articles of incorporation or organization, by-laws, covenants, membership agreements, pledges, and even the statements of faith referred to in these kinds of documents. While they will seldom actually call something a contract, you should assume that all these kinds of documents are enforceable against you as contracts. Even if you aren’t sued, you will find that every attempt will be made to impose the terms of these documents on you. Be especially wary of anything that says you cannot sue the church or its leaders.

    You might not be sufficiently safe unless you actually review all the historical minutes of meetings, including meetings of members, committees, and governing bodies. If it is a denominational church, or if it is affiliated with an association of any nature whatsoever, you really need to review all the same documents for the denomination or association. There is not end to it.

    Do not accept anybody’s word for what is in these documents. Until you actually join, they have every incentive to paint an rosy and appealing picture. This will tend to happen even if they do not recognize that they are doing it.

    If anything seems off or unacceptable, do not ignore it. If you raise concerns and are told that it doesn’t matter because it isn’t something that anybody pays attention to, run for cover. These documents will almost always have been prepared by lawyers, and lawyers get paid to see that their clients wishes are enforceable to the greatest extent possible. One reason I know this is that I have been involved in drafting organizational documents for churches.

    Be especially careful about anything that seems off base. I have noticed a tendency for church organizations to be distinguished by each one’s substantially unique heresy. That is, the very thing that makes one church different from others will tend to be the one thing that church has wrong. The reason this is important to note is that this will also tend to be the one thing that is emphasized over and over. Heresy must be defended.

    Never, ever, join a church that claims to have authority to prohibit you from withdrawing you membership, even if that authority is only supposed to be exercised while you are under church discipline. You can be place under discipline with the least of pretexts.

    Insist on complete financial disclosure. Observe whether church finances are regularly and transparently shared with the public, and not just with church members.

    Beyond all this, do not trust that what you see in writing. Observe how the organization actually goes about doing church. Do not join immediately. Go slow. I suggest that a full year of observing is the minimum before joining. Five years would be better. Try challenging the leadership (politely) and observe how it is handled. Expect that you will be treated will much less consideration once you have joined. It will be instructive if you can observe how a change of pastors works out. Does the church go on without significant disturbance, or is there significant change. If there is unexpected change, you may be dealing with something of a cult of personality. This is dangerous because you never know who the personalities will be from time to time.

    My own personal approach? I do not expect that I will ever again join a religious organization. I may or may not participate in an organized religious institution, but I will not join. It has simply become too dangerous.

    Never, ever invite a lawyer for input on a topic in which s/he takes a personal interest. Although the response may not be exhaustive, it will almost certainly be too long.

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  27. Diane, I’m responding to your 12:03 comment:
    “I was naïve, but It doesn’t really send chills because it is a fantasy. These are self-proclaimed authoritarians. They do not have any power but like to think they do. It is a charade, as far as it goes for me. It is not funny because it definitely hurts people. But authority? That is funny.”

    Did you mean “But authority?” or “Butt authority?” Hee, hee. I, too, think that is funny!

    Just wanted to insert some much needed comic relief here.

    In all seriousness, while they are wielding “self-appointed” power & authority, it is not so simple or harmless as we would initially think. There is damage. Many young people bear the wounds & have scars that last a lifetime. Many have left the faith completely.

    As Lydia often reminds us, throughout history, there’s been great persecution & damage in the name of religion. The damage is real.

    Like

  28. Hey All:

    I’m not sure how much I can contribute to this dialogue generally as, to me, 9Marks is clearly a profitable cult masquerading as a religions organization rather than a mainstream Christian organization/denomination. I think it should be labeled and treated as such rather than taken seriously by anyone. Mr. Leeman’s seemingly reasonable response to Julie Anne does not reflect how his organization behaves behind the scenes, in my opinion..

    What I would say about the abuse problem is that a lot of 9Marks practices are demonstrably unethical or possibly even illegal pertaining to laws and general standards regarding clergy confidentiality statutes in many States.

    For example, we don’t live in the time of the Spanish Inquisition so threatening people who wish to leave your religious group is unacceptable. Clergy are also supposed to keep their interactions with penitents private so unless someone has committed a crime that makes them a danger to others, 9Marks guys should probably not be talking to other Churches/Clergy about him/her.

    Generally speaking, most people don’t consider leaving a Church without permission or not attending Church regularly a crime in 2013, in the U.S.A., even though those are the equivalent of venal sins to the 9Marks guys.

    I know 9 Marks tries to make people sign contracts waiving their legal rights to take any kind of action against the organization regarding abuse (which is generally a clear sign you’re dealing with a cult) but having signed a silly contract shouldn’t dissuade anyone who feels they’re being abused from talking to a lawyer or even the police if you’re really being harassed.

    Those contracts are pretty sketchy as Churches haven’t traditionally been allowed to impose business-like terms on members and you have the right to state you’re revoking the terms you supposedly agreed to, retroactively, in my opinion. I’m not an attorney but have talked with lawyers who agree that there is no downside to writing 9 marks a letter saying you consider their contract null and void. If they don’t like that, they can look ridiculous by trying to sue you for leaving a Church without their permission.

    In my experience, these 9Marks guys and other cult leaders like them look for easy targets and will back off fast if strongly encouraged to do so.

    Thus a letter from a lawyer advising 9Marks cult leaders that you may seek legal redress if they keep disclosing confidential information about/threatening you in subtle and not-so-subtle ways will probably get them off your case.

    If they’re calling incessantly or doing anything that might appear to be blackmail or extortion, please file a complaint with the police.

    Standing up to a 9 Marks bully is no different than standing up to any other tyrant trying to impose a theocracy on U.S. citizens in 2013.

    Like

  29. Gary W,
    In Diane’s 10:15 comment:
    “From Mr. Leeman, …The individual who attempts to preempt this process by resigning before the church enacts formal discipline is guilty of usurping the church’s apostolic authority to speak in this manner. In so doing, he compounds his guilt, like the criminal charged with “resisting arrest.”
    In my 10:50 response, I said” Mr. Leeman, in this statement of his for 9Marks, has right to proclaim & determine the charge of guilty before due process.”

    Do you have any thoughts on this as well?

    Like

  30. “From Mr. Leeman, …The individual who attempts to preempt this process by resigning before the church enacts formal discipline is guilty of usurping the church’s apostolic authority to speak in this manner. In so doing, he compounds his guilt, like the criminal charged with “resisting arrest.”

    And then we have the opposite situation with CON. A staff employee was trying to initiate the 1 Tim 5:19 (Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.) process and CON got word of it and fired him before he had a chance.

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  31. I think it’s so important to understand why separation of church & state is necessary. Anyone up for living in a Calvin’s Geneva circa 2013?

    JA, I get the feeling your mind is reeling.

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  32. Gary W. and Janna Chan – You both have some great comments!

    Gary W. – I’m with you on joining a religious organization. We have yet to even step a foot back in the door of one. When we decide to do so, it will be done very carefully.

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  33. A Mom says:

    JA, I get the feeling your mind is reeling.

    True story! My present state: In the middle of 2 posts, switch over the laundry and fold a load while stewing. Respond to tweets where someone is trying to convince me that I’ve called Dever a wolf. Get distracted with Gary W.’s excellent response which needs a post of its own or at least a place of prominence, peel a peach for a kid to have with cream and sugar, read Janna’s comment which gets my blood pressure going up, approve a couple of pingbacks from TWW, see your comment and respond, and now I have to go read what’s going on at TWW before I get distracted for the 10,000 time. This is crazy – lol.

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  34. Has anyone seen the old, old Twilight Zone tv episode? The one titled “To Serve Man”? Aliens land on earth. They do lots of good. They convince humans they are here to serve mankind. That’s the title of the book they give to the UN, written in their Kanamit language. But Patti continues to decode the book & learns the book is actually…. a cookbook.

    Still sends shivers down my spine.

    http://vimeo.com/37778819

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  35. A Mom,

    Because I am not familiar with all the 9Marks organizational and membership related documents, it’s difficult for me to have any thoughts, from a legal point of view, about your 2:32 question. From a non-legal point of view I find it striking that 9Marks appears to claim apostolic authority. Historically, as I understand it, Protestants have rejected the notion of apostolic authority as claimed by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Anglican Church, a Protestant church, recognizes apostolic authority, but they have a unique history that explains this.

    What is even more interesting is that 9Marks seems to be saying that this apostolic authority belongs to the church as an organization rather than to men, as with the bishops in the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican churches. The novelty of this particular 9Marks claim makes it suspect.

    I suppose that what I am seeing in all of this as a lawyer is that there is no separation of powers. When these church leaders are given effective authority to expel you from the Kingdom by excommunication, it would tend to take a knowledgeable and very strong person to resist them. They end up being able to legislate whatever requirements they desire (legislative authority), to decide who and who is not living up to their expectations (judicial authority), and then impose excommunication, the spiritual equivalent of the death penalty, on those who do not please them (executive authority).

    One of the fundamental principles on which our Constitutional Republic was founded is the notion is that ours would be a government of laws and not of men. It would appear that, within 9Marks there may be a de facto government of men, not a government of laws. Again, I am reluctant to say this for certain because I have not examined the documents. Neither have I observed their practice. Still, some red flags have certainly been raised in the last couple of threads.

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  36. A Mom – Is that the episode where the aliens speak by thinking? The episode is mostly silent? If so, that’s the only episode my kids have seen. They couldn’t get through it because they thought it was so funny – the way the aliens physically looked and the looks on their faces. I thought I was introducing them to something wonderful and they couldn’t stand it! 😉

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  37. A Mom,

    My 3:13 comments regarding separation of powers are primarily from the point of view of political philosophy. The problem with examining 9Marks from this point of view is that it almost presupposes the legitimacy of their exercise of authority, with the only question being how that authority should be exercised.

    My own view is that, Biblically speaking, they simply do not have the authority they claim. I am repeating myself, but relationships between Christians are to be based on love, not authority. The world system, also known as Babylon, is maintained on the basis of authority. If Jesus meant what he taught (no lording it over others, loving God, neighbors and one another), the Kingdom of God simply does not operate on the basis of authority. Any “Christian” organization that is founded on claimed authority is actually, therefore, a part of the world or Babylon system.

    I go so far as to say that authority based “churches” are prostitute daughters of that Babylon which is represented by the Great Whore who sits on many waters. This is something that merits more thought on my part, but I find it very interesting that whatever affirmation and supposed love is meted out by these authority based “churches” comes with a price. Not only is a member expected to be loyal to do the bidding of the “church’s” leadership–typically a single man, for all intents and purposes–but they are also expected to render up at least 10% of their income. Hmm, supposed love in exchange for loyalty that belongs to another (i.e., Jesus), plus lots and lots of money. Sure looks like prostitution to me.

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  38. This emphasis on authority has nothing to do with Christ and everything to do with seeking temporal political power. A lot of the 9Marks stuff is pure political activism in disguise, a Calvinist version of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

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  39. I’ve pointed out how a lot of the Calvinista takeovers (and subsequent “Cleansings(TM)”) are done straight out of Comrade Stalin’s playbook.

    Like

  40. Is this Mark Dever on the South Park…ugh I mean evangelical circus of today.

    “Respecting my authoita!!!” 😛

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  41. “Be especially careful about anything that seems off base. I have noticed a tendency for church organizations to be distinguished by each one’s substantially unique heresy. That is, the very thing that makes one church different from others will tend to be the one thing that church has wrong. The reason this is important to note is that this will also tend to be the one thing that is emphasized over and over. Heresy must be defended.”

    This is so true, Gary W. I was once warned by my mother that any church that emphasizes a secondary doctrine as primary, is suspect. For example, a church that is constantly talking about gender “roles” or “discipline”, etc, would be suspect. Ask yourself, why the focus? Because that is where their heart is and it is not love.

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  42. “My own view is that, Biblically speaking, they simply do not have the authority they claim. I am repeating myself, but relationships between Christians are to be based on love, not authority”

    Totally agree. And note, they usually have redefined “love” as being their “correct doctrine”.

    Like

  43. Gary,

    I quote you partially, due to length:
    “Yesterday at 8:52 Jonathan Leeman states that, ” in Genesis 1:28, God places authority into the hands of human beings.” Actually, what God granted according to this verse was dominion, not authority, and the dominion was granted over fish, birds and other living things–which does not appear to anticipate the domination of other humans. It just makes me angry that anybody would confuse dominion with authority.”

    God Bless You Man!! That was awesome, and right on the mark.

    Ed

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  44. Diane’s 10:15 comment: “From Mr. Leeman, …The individual who attempts to preempt this process by resigning before the church enacts formal discipline is guilty of usurping the church’s apostolic authority to speak in this manner. In so doing, he compounds his guilt, like the criminal charged with “resisting arrest.”

    It seems 9Marks is preempting any means of escape.

    BTW, I think “speak” is too soft. Mr Leeman isn’t talking about a two-way conversation. A truer, more accurate word for the sentence above would be “control” instead of “speak”. Thoughts anyone?

    Gary W’s 3:13 comment: “They end up being able to legislate whatever requirements they desire (legislative authority), to decide who and who is not living up to their expectations (judicial authority), and then impose excommunication, the spiritual equivalent of the death penalty, on those who do not please them (executive authority).”

    Yes, exactly. Your insight is helpful. And the judgment of “guilty” is automatically assigned EVEN IF the only “crime” is to leave the church & forgo “formal discipline”, no matter if the discipline is warranted. Thus, the guilty verdict is administered over an individual for “usurping” AKA “resisting arrest” of the apostolic authority & control of the church.

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  45. Dianne,

    You quoted Jon here:
    “The church exists not simply for its own sanctification’s sake or even finally for the world’s sake. It exists to accomplish the task originally given to Adam and Israel but fulfilled finally in Christ, the task of imaging or representing the glorious rule of God on earth.”

    Where in the hell did he get this idea from?

    Ed

    Like

  46. Gary W, Your 3:48 comment looks at the overall “big picture”. They claim authority that belongs to God alone.

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  47. I’ve pointed out how a lot of the Calvinista takeovers (and subsequent “Cleansings(TM)”) are done straight out of Comrade Stalin’s playbook.

    Exactly. During the time of John Calvin, Geneva was an authoritarian state that had Michael Servetus burned at the stake for denying the Trinity, and had a girl beheaded for striking her parents.

    FACT: Tyranny is the result whenever man follows determinism, either atheistic determinism in the form of Communism, or religious determinism in the form of Calvinism.

    Like

  48. Ed,

    You ask where in the hell did the idea come from that the church exists to accomplish the task, fulfilled finally in Christ, of imaging or representing the glorious rule of God on earth. At first I wanted to respond that your question was answered in the asking, i.e. that the idea came from the very bowels of hell itself. It may be so, but the reality is that we needn’t look any farther than John Piper. In “God’s Passion for His Glory,” Piper, in homage to Johnathan Edwards, waxes eloquent on, well, God’s Passion for His Glory. Then, borrowing from Question 1 of the the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Piper runs with the proposition that, “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” See “Desiring God,” p.17, Kindle ed.

    Although he would not agree with my assessment, the overall impression I form from reading Piper is of a god who, being obsessed and primarily motivated by His passionate concern for His glory, is some sort of supra- or trans-cosmic narcissist, with mankind’s assignment being to enjoy every moment of an existence spent feeding God’s ego. Thus, you have people advocating for ideas such as the church existing to image or represent the glorious rule of God on earth.

    My Bible, on the other hand, says that God is love. This plain and unambiguous Scriptural statement simply cannot be reconciled with whatever contorted logical interpolations and extrapolations must have been required to cause some to believe that Scripture portrays the aforementioned narcissistic god.

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  49. Gary W.,

    Your comment reminded me of this quote I read earlier today from a familiar name, Jonathan Leeman of 9Marks:

    Rather, the church exists because Christ came to establish his kingdom, and he means for a marked off group of people to represent his heavenly rule on earth (see Matt. 3:2; 4:7; 5:3,5; 6:10,19-20; 13:11). The church exists not simply for its own sanctification’s sake or even finally for the world’s sake. It exists to accomplish the task originally given to Adam and Israel but fulfilled finally in Christ, the task of imaging or representing the glorious rule of God on earth. Source

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  50. Gary,
    I agree…The term, “God’s Glory” has really been twisted. All of the evil that happens in the world is for God’s Glory, because he gets a kick out of it for his “good will and PLEASURE”.

    What do we call a human that gets PLEASURE out of evil? Hmmm…Glory? I think not. If he did, he would be in prison for life.

    Oh, but we just don’t understand God….phewy!!!

    Ed

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  51. Hi Julie Anne and others. I am new to this blog but I find the timing uncanny. My story is very similar to Patty’s. I was excommunicated (by a 9 Marks church) for “slander against the elders” for reporting their horrible and partial handling of a personal matter to the EFCA district office (my former church is independent like all EFCA churches and the district office said they don’t get involved in individual church matters). After absolute shunning, and having my reputation damaged and my employment prospects reduced, I decided to ask some other pastors in our small community to approach my former church’s leadership in a type of Matthew 18 process. All refused, citing discomfort at the idea. A year after excommunicating me, I heard myself characterized as an evil woman and a termite in an online sermon. I am convinced that suing my former church for defamation is truly warranted. My dilemma: how do I find an attorney who handles such matters (and i have searched), and who is a grounded-in-the-truth believer? This seems to be an insurmountable obstacle. I hope this is not an inappropriate post. Thanks.

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  52. Ed said:

    Where in the hell did he get this idea from?

    You’re being dundant (if I put the “re” in front of that word, I feel like I’m being well, re-dundant – it’s one of my pet peeve words – – – – – and it’s late).

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  53. Welcome, Janet!

    What an horrific story! I’m angry inside just reading it. My story is different in that I was sued for defamation for speaking out against my former pastor (who excommunicated and shunned my family).

    I’d like to help if I can. Please contact me spiritualsb@ gmail.com

    thanks,
    Julie Anne

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  54. Does Jonathan Leeman do what Jesus did?

    The answer is NO.

    Jesus let people is own followers walk away without screaming at them, penalizing them, or harassing them. He simply let them leave.

    When a city refused to believe in Jesus, his disciples wanted to call fire down on the inhabitants. Jesus rebuked the disciples.

    9 Marks churches obviously think Jesus is too meek for leadership…that he needs enforcers.

    But we are supposed to imitate Christ.

    I’m so glad there’s a list of 9 Marks churches. I had a friend who was in a spiritually abusive para-church ministry. Turns out the leaders were members of a 9 Marks church. I helped her get out. She’s so much happier now. And she knows it was the leaders’ problem.

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  55. 9 Marks aren’t the only authoritarian churches out there. Here’s a map of where fundamentalist, King James Version only, independent Baptist churches are. My area is solidly yellow, meaning we don’t have very many…thankfully.

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  56. Lydia,

    Yesterday at 5:21 PM you note that “they usually have redefined ‘love’ as being their ‘correct doctrine’ “. In the case of Jonathan Leeman this appears to be demonstrated by the title of his book “The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love: Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline.” No doubt this book is an exposition of 1 Cor 13. NOT.

    It appears Leeman is coming from a Southern Baptist background or perspective. If so, his emphasis on the anachronistically conceived “local church” is not surprising. It was from observing the inordinate and, in my opinion, idolatrous Southern Baptist emphasis on the “local church” that I formulated my observation that denominations tend to be differentiated by each one’s defining heresy. (I once yielded to pressure to be re-baptized into a Southern Baptist church–and yes, they do baptize you into the local church as opposed to baptizing you into Christ.) It was also with regard to this idolatrous emphasis on the “local church” that I observed that a “church” organization’s defining heresy is the one thing that get emphasized over and over and over.

    Given his apparent Southern Baptist influence, I am not surprised that Leeman’s books for sale on Amazon all address the topic of church membership.

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  57. “The “Glorious Rule of God On Earth” phrase reminded me of Dominionism or Reconstructionism.”

    Yes it does me too. What kind of ruling does God do,…and when is this going to be manifested? I guess each church is a mini-heaven on earth representation with God ruling?…and with passports — do NOT forget your passport….liars and thieves and swindlers and non-passport holders shall not enter into the kingdom of 9marks.

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  58. “What Is a Local Church?

    By Jonathan Leeman | 5.7.2012

    A local church is a group of Christians who regularly gather in Christ’s name to officially affirm and oversee one another’s membership in Jesus Christ and his kingdom through gospel preaching and gospel ordinances. That’s a bit clunky, I know, but notice the five parts of this definition:

    •a group of Christians;
    •a regular gathering;
    •a congregation-wide exercise of affirmation and oversight;
    •the purpose of officially representing Christ and his rule on earth—they gather in his name;
    •the use of preaching and ordinances for these purposes.

    Just as a pastor’s pronouncement transforms a man and a woman into a married couple, so the latter four bullet points transform an ordinary group of Christians spending time together at the park—presto!—into a local church.

    The gathering is important for a number of reasons. One is that it’s where we Christians “go public” to declare our highest allegiance. It’s the outpost or embassy, giving a public face to our future nation. And it’s where we bow before our king, only we call it worship. The Pharaohs of the world may oppose us, but God draws his people out of the nations to worship him. He will form his mighty congregation.

    The gathering is also where our king enacts his rule through preaching, the ordinances, and discipline. The gospel sermon explains the “law” of our nation. It declares the name of our king and explains the sacrifice he made to become our king. It teaches us of his ways and confronts us in our disobedience. And it assures us of his imminent return.

    Through baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the church waves the flag and dons the army uniform of our nation. It makes us visible. To be baptized is to identify ourselves with the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as well as to identify our union with Christ’s death and resurrection (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:3-5). To receive the Lord’s Supper is to proclaim his death and our membership in his body (1 Cor. 11:26-29; cf. Matt. 26:26-29). God wants his people to be known and marked off. He wants a line between the church and the world.

    What is the local church? It’s the institution which Jesus created and authorized to pronounce the gospel of the kingdom, to affirm gospel professors, to oversee their discipleship, and to expose impostors. All this means, we don’t “join” churches like we join clubs. We submit to them.”

    http://www.9marks.org/blog/what-local-church

    It looks like God’s glorious rule on earth means “The gathering is also where our king enacts his rule through preaching, the ordinances, and discipline.”
    Maybe this is all it means? I really an mot sure.
    But I don’t like these army/passport/embassy/institution/outpost descriptions..

    Also….”the sacrifice he made to become our king” ???? Whatever is he talking about? Jesus was Lord and King before He condescended to die for us.

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  59. Gary W,

    SBC did not used to be so monolithic before the Conservative Resurgence which began in the late 70’s and really gathered power by the early 90’s. I grew up in it and no way we insisted on re-baptism of those who joined but had been immersed in another denomination. And we were not Nazi’s about the “local church” And I was in many SBC churches because of my mom’s ministry.

    If you look at the history of that movement, you will see many of the same tactics using different issues. The emphasis was on inerrancy and if you did not proclaim inerrancy you were a godless liberal. (There were a few profs in some SBC seminaries who denied the virgin birth, etc and this was magnified to claim godless liberals had taken over)

    The CR was about power politics. And every movement that gains power using those tactics and factions within that movement learn from it and further splinter the movement. That is what Al Mohler has done in the SBC. He and his followers claim the SBC roots are Calvinism. Well, so was the pro slavery stance. Roots are not always a good thing. But history proves their determinist god was not on the side of those who lost a war and more people started rethinking both positions. All that became shameful and the SBC moved away from both positions around the turn of the century..

    The YRR/NC movement is nothing but power politics and a further splintering of the CR movement which gave birth to the YRR. Has nothing to do with Jesus Christ or evangelism. It has to do with amassing power with lots of followers. People always make the mistake of thinking money is the big motivator when it isn’t. It is power and influence. One has to ask what in the world an educated president of a seminary has in common with an uneducated “Apostle from the People of Destiny cult? It was about numbers for this movement. And I will even tell you when you get into the stratosphere of guys like Mohler, Mahaney, Dever, etc, the doctrine is just a rallying point for the young guys. “We have the real truth”. Every movement needs an enemy and their enemy are the phantom Arminians who do not know the real Gospel. It worked. Young people are especially susceptible.

    As I have watched this movement for the last 10 years up close and personal I have seen the trajectory. It has moved to more and more narrow stances slowly because people would have thrown them out. . Ten years ago, Dever would have been laughed out of the convention if he had proposed exactly these things. But you indoctrinate a generation and it is amazing the results you can get.
    They were patient and worked quietly behind the scenes…reading Quiet Revolution gives insight on what they have been doing.

    The SBC is dead. Now it is just a matter of time for the money to dry up. Al Mohler pretty much has his loyalists in most of the entities and is the big influencer. The non Calvinist leaders are scared of him. There are a few who stand up to him but they are too late. While they were asleep at the wheel, he was building a movement and his tentacles are deep. And guess what the most amazing part of this is? Mohler is an EMPLOYEE of an SBC entity! He is NOT independent. But his power is so solid, no one dares touch him.

    Now the SBC is known publicly for coddling Mahaney, the man who protected child molesters and taught that victims (as young as 3) are sinners too just like the molester. Thank you Al Mohler. These are sick men and those who look the other way or insist on some sort of false unity are enabling their evil teachings and behavior.

    Like

  60. “Although he would not agree with my assessment, the overall impression I form from reading Piper is of a god who, being obsessed and primarily motivated by His passionate concern for His glory, is some sort of supra- or trans-cosmic narcissist, with mankind’s assignment being to enjoy every moment of an existence spent feeding God’s ego. Thus, you have people advocating for Ideas such as the church existing to image or represent the glorious rule of God on earth. ”

    This is a big one for me. I so want people to think through what they are really teaching. “God’s Glory”. Sounds good, right? But they are really teaching is that is all God cares about, “His Glory”.

    Does that sound like our Savior who hung on a tree?

    Here is an interesting article on an SBC Calvinist pastor blog where they simply did not get why a young man would ask if the God they are teaching about was a narcissist:
    http://sbcvoices.com/is-god-a-narcissist/

    Thankfully there are some “voices” there who are not determinists. But you can read that and see how deep that thinking paradigm has become even with long time pastors who are part of that movement in the SBC. They really have been brainwashed by Piper and Mohler

    Like

  61. “Gratefully, one son of Adam, one son of Israel, did keep God’s law perfectly, the same one whom Paul would describe as “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). Now, those who are united to this one Son are called to bear that same “image,” which we learn to do through the life of the church “from one degree of glory to the next.”

    It seems he is saying you cannot learn to bear God’s image? unless you are in a church. I presumes he is talking about sanctification. Where is the Holy Spirit in these men’s teachings? Are they the Holy Spirit for us?

    “Local churches should be those places on earth where the nations can go to find humans who increasingly image God truly and honestly. As the world beholds the holiness, love, and unity of local churches, they will better know what God is like and will give him praise.”

    I find more people who image God truly and honestly outside the local church…not in. I found much of fake love and unity in the last church we attended.

    And if I were Leeman/Dever/9marks, I sure would be distancing myself from SGM and Mahaney because being the cause of the biggest evangelical sex abuse lawsuit does not make for a positive image of the “holiness” and “love” in that groups of churches. I am convinced that “as the world beholds” the actions of some of the gifts from God elders in that family of churches, people are not going to like the God they are imaging.

    Like

  62. Link for my above comment.
    http://www.graceinhbg.org/index.cfm?i=6205&mid=12&id=28051

    Also…link for elders are a gift from God…for anyone interested.

    “Additional Reading – Elders”

    “Elders are to be recognized by the church as gifts from God for the good of the church. The church should therefore delegate to them the duties of teaching and leading the church. Those duties are only to be revoked when it is clear that the elders are acting in a way that is contrary to the Scriptures. And for their part, the elders must recognize the God-given authority of the congregation. (e.g., Matthew 18; I Cor. 5; II Cor. 2)The church should trust, protect, respect and honor its elders. Thus Paul writes in I Timothy 5:17, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is teaching and preaching.” The elders should direct the affairs of the church, and the church should submit to their leadership. So the writer to the Hebrews wrote in 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

    We have seen the emphasis in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus on the elders being “blameless.” (In Titus 1:6 Paul wrote, “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”) The elder, then, must be willing to have a life that is open to inspection and even a home that is actively open to outsiders, giving hospitality and enfolding others into their lives.

    The elders should be marked by a use of their authority which shows that they understand that the church belongs not to them, but to Christ. Christ has purchased the church with His own blood, and therefore it should be cherished, treated carefully and gently, led faithfully and purely, for the glory of God and the good of the church. The elders will give an account to Christ for their stewardship.

    As in a home, or in our own relationship with God, a humble recognition of rightful authority brings benefits. In a church, when authority is used with the consent of the congregation for the good of the congregation, the congregation will benefit as God builds His church through the teachers He gives to His church. Satan’s lie––that authority is never to be trusted because it is always tyrannical and oppressive—will be subverted by the benevolent practice of and recognition of the elders’ authority in the context of the congregation.”

    –Mark Dever, A Display of God’s Glory, pp.25-26.

    Download or purchase A Display of God’s Glory.”
    http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/we-are/led/elders/additional-reading-elders/

    Like

  63. “Where is the Holy Spirit in these men’s teachings? Are they the Holy Spirit for us?”

    This is one of the most important questions. In my years of following this movement, that is one of the biggest missing pieces. And yes, they are taking the place of the Holy Spirit in your life. They are not interested in mature Christians eating meat and growing in Holiness. They need you to be dependent on them.

    Like

  64. Lydia said: “And yes, they are taking the place of the Holy Spirit in your life. They are not interested in mature Christians eating meat and growing in Holiness. They need you to be dependent on them.”

    This is exactly what I picked up on at BGBC – no HS and completely dependency on the pastor. It’s so bizarre how this happens because not all of these pastors went to the same seminaries.

    I’ve joke about the underground Creepy Spiritual Abuse School (CSAS) that these kinds of pastors go to and am now more convinced that there are satellite schools all across the nation, in large metropolitan cities and even small towns. But if I tell you where they are, I’ll have to shoot you.

    Like

  65. At 8:52 on 8/6 Jonathan Leeman uses an illustration to defend the application of authority wielded by those holding spiritual office (a word not found in the Greek New Testament). He says: “God gives us a tool to build a house, but we use that tool to hit someone on the head.” Well, yes, it has been my observation that more often than not men (and it’s most always men, not women) use claimed spiritual authority in ways that are destructive.

    Yet I would submit that it is not just the manner in which a spiritual hammer is used. These hammers of spiritual authority are by their nature formed, as it were, of an alloy laced with unspent plutonium. The spiritual hammer of authority is by it’s nature destructive, not just of the one whose head is smashed, but of the one whose hand wields the tool.

    As plutonium is destructive to the body, so also is claimed spiritual authority destructive to the soul and spirit.

    Like

  66. By the way, please don’t anybody conclude from my harsh assessments of his views that I am intending to personally condemn Jonathan Leeman. So far as can be observed from his earlier interactions here, his manner makes him deserving of our grateful thanks. I perceive that we would do well to follow his example regarding how to approach those with whom we disagree.

    Like

  67. Okay…I’m going to venture into the mud here and post some thoughts after taking a break from TWW and other blogs.

    I read Jonathan Leeman’s comments and this is all I have to say…

    Bullshit – squared

    In Genesis man was given dominion over animals and the sea – not authority over man. What is being created in Christianity today is a Caste system. Just like the Caste system in India. Jonathan Leeman, 9 Marks and other Neo-Cals are creating a caste system with the pastors being elite and above the rules, while the members of the congregation are the new Dalits. It doesn’t matter was is said…the Dalit has no say, no respect, and no word. Jonathan Leeman and others are acting and playing the same game that Mormons play. They are redefining the rules, changing definitions, re-writing history, denying history, claiming special access and revelation. Mark Dever and crowd really should migrate out to the Salt Lake Valley as they would have great company there. The Mormon church rolls are intentionally “exaggerated” I’m sure Thomas Monson could use the company and help of 9 Marks.

    Now….as I said pastors are exempt from the rules. All one has to do is look at the entire CJ Mahaney and Mark Dever mess. One fled discipline and the other enabled . Here are the 9 Marks:

    Preaching
    Discipline
    Evangelism
    The Gospel
    Leadership
    Conversion
    Biblical Theology
    Discipleship
    Membership

    How many of those did Mark Dever and CJ Mahaney violate when CJ ran with his tail between his legs. I’d say at least 7.

    1. (Discipline) Mahaney fled discipline at CLC and Dever helped him avoid it by giving him refuge at CHBC.
    2. (Leadership) Both Dever and Mahaney showed no leadership, a strand of cooked linguine would have more spine than either than these did. Why do the women….whether it be Janet, Julie Anne, Dee, Deb, etc.. have more balls and more leadership skills than Jonathan Leeman, Mark Dever or CJ Mahaney?
    3. (Conversion) Did Mahaney feel remorse for his sin? No.. Did Dever point out his sin? No..he defended his sin. Conviction of remorse is sign of being a new creation in Christ.
    4. (Biblical Theology) Since the Bible talks about discipline both Mahaney and Dever violated Biblical theology.
    5. (Discipleship) Mahaney fled discipleship and Dever didn’t disciple him. If he did disciple him he would have told him to submit to discipline and scripture!! Due to Mark Dever and CJ Mahaney’s actions they have both shown they have a low view of scripture. And people who defend them also have a low view of scripture.
    6. (Membership) Membership was violated as Mahaney fled his membership requirements and his community at Covenant Life. Pardon my French but Dever showed a lot about how important membership is at CHBC by letting him preach and be intimate there. The pigeon crap on the sidewalk in front of CHBC has more value than the membership both of these guys hold up and proclaim.
    7.(Preaching) Preaching since many of this was taught in expository fashion who then didn’t follow the preaching what does that show? How important is preaching.

    As you recall I almost became a Mormon in college. And I got a good taste of the LDS culture. I see that same culture in the Neo-Cal and 9 Marks ministry. Its dishonest, deceptive, and to be frank its bullshit.

    Okay back to lurking….

    Like

  68. BTW… my analysis is meant not to condemn Jonathan Leeman personally. I appreciate him showing up and posting.

    Like

  69. Eagle, it is so good to have you commenting again. Your presence has been missed here and on TWW.

    Back to the topic. When we moved about three years ago, we were encouraged to check out a church in town, I will call it “S” church. I met the pastor’s wife and just thought, okay another woman who has no opinion other than what her husband gives her. Hmmm. That just irritates me. Then I checked their website. I was concerned that the pastor had so much “authority” and there was a very strong emphasis on the various points mentioned in 9m*rks (this was before I knew what 9m*rks was). I told my parents that hell would freeze over before I attended that church. Just now I looked on the 9m*rks website and saw that “S” church was listed. The same thing happened at another church we attended – my gut instinct said that something was a little funky beyond the extremely long sermons. Once again that church was listed on the 9m*rks website. There is something to be said for fleeing any religious institution that is hyper-obsessed with authority and/or discipline.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. Eagle, I’m somewhat of a newbie commenter. I’ve read your comments on TWW before. 🙂 You call it straight up as you see it. It’s cool to see you comment here.

    Like

  71. Mandy, Your experience is important to the conversation.

    It seems that the list is quite helpful, then. As a warning? It’s appropriate for CON to be on the list?

    Like

  72. I’m sorry to come late to the convo. Every time I tried to load the post on my tablet it crashed. I just now had time to sit down at my desktop and read the post and comments.

    Eagle, I was just thinking about you today! Glad to see your presence again.

    Gary W, “My own personal approach? I do not expect that I will ever again join a religious organization. I may or may not participate in an organized religious institution, but I will not join. It has simply become too dangerous.”
    Same here, Gary. Same here. By the way, as a lawyer, you may find this post over at TWW of interest: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/05/23/abusive-church-discipline-how-to-recognize-it-and-escape/

    Thank you everyone for the insightful comments. I have been receiving quite the education from reading these blogs for the last year. If only I had known 24 years ago what I now know. There is so much good information here that I wish could be more widely dispersed.

    Like

  73. JA said:
    “Ed said:

    Where in the hell did he get this idea from?

    You’re being dundant (if I put the “re” in front of that word, I feel like I’m being well, re-dundant – it’s one of my pet peeve words – – – – – and it’s late). ”

    I didn’t realize how I worded that until I began getting comments. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  74. Anonymous and All Others,

    Anonymous @ 4:23am said:
    “Jesus let people is own followers walk away without screaming at them, penalizing them, or harassing them. He simply let them leave.”

    HE IS SO RIGHT!!!!!

    John CHAPTER 6:66-67
    “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. The said Jesus unto “THE TWELVE”, Will ye also go away?”

    DING DING DING DING!!!!!

    Thanks anonymous.

    Ed

    Liked by 1 person

  75. J.A., I live over 1500 miles away from your location, and our former church which was abusive is also listed on “9 Marks”. People who left went to another church – Attending and giving money were not “enough” – they were pushed to be members so the leaders can “speak into your life” or something to that effect. (That church is also on “9 Marks”.) We actually use the “9 Marks” list as a “reverse look-up” now – if a church was listed there, we crossed it off our list of places to visit. We found a small independent Baptist church that wasn’t listed on “9 Marks”. After several weeks the pastor preached “What is a Church?” & quoted from “9 Marks”. (they have far-reaching influence) We’ve been asked to consider membership, but don’t want to “sign a covenant”. We didn’t accept an invitation to a dinner to talk about membership, but this pastor wasn’t “pushy” and he still lets us attend.

    “9 Marks” is not the only “church recommendation list”. There is another national list, and both of these authoritarian churches in our area are also listed there.

    TWW had a very good sermon on e-church in July that helped us understand the proper interpretation of Hebrews 13:17 “Only Servants and No Masters”

    CON did us all a favor by his actions that resulted in you blogging. You are not a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” – men that denigrate women who speak up expose their true character and show that they lack the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

    Thankful for you & SSB blog, Julie Anne!

    Liked by 1 person

  76. BTDT,

    Thank you for the link to the article on TWW with a long list of real life examples of abusive church practices. What is even more appalling than the practices themselves is their prevalence. The sample resignation/demand letter is also very interesting. I wonder how well it, or letters like it, tend to actually work in practice.

    It’s all a reminder of the dangers of joining ourselves to a church or anything else other than Christ alone. Though Paul would have us avoid even marriage, a man and woman may be joined together in marriage. In every other instance I can think of, to become a member of anything other than the body of Christ is to commit an act of idolatry. Others will disagree, and I do not condemn them, though I pity them. Why voluntarily enter into bondage?

    Liked by 1 person

  77. Hi, Julie Anne. Dr. Orlawski recommended I visit your site some weeks ago and I marveled at your courage. Thanks for your kind encouragement. I understand you were a defendant. As a potential plaintiff, my concern is finding an attorney who is a believer and who understands the best goal is reconciliation of all parties. I’ll keep you posted. I’m loving your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  78. Believers! Who have been outside church because of abusive leaders of church.
    Know the true that you are no longer under bondage of human connection,rather being connected directly by Father in heaven in his true light,so remain in his light .To do that leave the evil behind you,whatever it is whoever they are, be very conscious about your own mind not to be polluted by any hatred ,grudge, bitterness,
    Un forgiveness toward church authorities who have hurt you against Father’s love towards you.From now on your only authority comes from the Lord,no other human will take credit which belongs to God.Not The thieves with pastors titles!
    Know the true ,obtain knowledge of God,help yourself free to be who God bless dearly for eternity .Now your are the body of Christ on mission for kingdom of God on this earth and Heaven,God bless you ,protect you ,keeps you in his light in the name of Immanuel Jesus!

    Liked by 1 person

  79. My former 9 Marks/John MacAthur-ite/Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood/NeoCalvinist’s church’s elders RE-WROTE the By-Laws so that members wanting to flee for saner churches couldn’t. Instead they have to meet with two pastors/elders’ for an “exit interview”. The Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders however brought their friend a Megan’s List sex offender to church and refused to vet him with his supervising law enforcement agency, the Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force.

    The church is so threatened by my posts that they’ve gotten my negative YELP review and Google review taken down.

    My ex-church was a proverbial Salem Witch Trials II, complete with excommunications and shunnings of anyone who critical thinking skills.
    They kicked out a godly doctor in his 70’s! Faithful and loving husband for nearly 50 years. Loving father to grown children. Just evil. Before him was a middle-aged woman in finance. And then after the good doctor…was me.

    YELP REVIEW OF GRACE BIBLE FELLLOWSHIP OF SILICON VALLEY – July 2016
    “It was very disturbing to be a member of this church and to see the level of mistreatment shown by the GBF pastors/elders to adult Christians, an iron-fisted authoritarian control over adult Christians’ lives and demands for “obedience.” There were excommunications and shunnings ordered of dear Christians for any independent thought.

    Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley is one of the growing number of authoritarian, NeoCalvinist churches spreading across the U.S. and it’s not Biblical.

    *Heavy Shepherding. GBFpractices the 1970’s heavy-Shepherding movement’s un-Biblical control of Christians’ lives by the pastors/elders. The Florida founders repented for its abuses and un-Biblicalness. The GBF leaders have not repented and the damage is growing in the lives at GBF. GBFcopies Mark Dever’s (Capitol Hill Baptist, Washington, D.C.) 9Marks organization. It is a heavily criticized model, including by conservatives, who have said that there is only ONE Biblical mark of a healthy church: Love. The other 9Marks are un-Biblical and it’s the Heavy Shepherding Movement all over again.

    Membership Covenants. Members are told to sign them because they’re *Biblical and back to a Biblical basic. In point of fact they aren’t Biblical and are used to exert authoritarian control over members’ lives. Jesus required people to sign how many pages to follow Him? Correct answer: 0 pages. (Don’t sign!)

    *Congregational vote. GBF wants your money but doesn’t believe in a true Biblical church honoring the Holy Spirit’s work in Christians lives and giftedness. It is more authoritarian control exerted by a few yes-men over the Body of Christ, hobbling the power of the Holy Spirit to truly work. I will never go to a church again that is run like GBF. I will never give money to one again.

    *Women. GBF pastors/elders promote Complementarian/Patriarchy doctrine that women are to “obey” and to “submit” and be 2nd class citizens. At GBF they live under the old Covenant and not the new one in Christ. GBF pastors espouse the Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood which teaches a Semi-Arian Heresy by Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem called the Eternal [a lie] Subordination of the Son to justify the subordination of women. It is untrue and is trinatarian heresy. GBF has put this man-made doctrine on par with The Gospel. If you reject Comp you reject The Gospel. Nonsense. Read: Wartburg Watch blog for more info.

    *Teaching. GBFSV does not permit Godly women to teach the Word of God. They base this on the writing of the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote Timothy about one woman — original text in Greek said “the woman” — teaching one man error. Paul wanted her to learn correctly first. The issue wasn’t her being a woman, the issue was error – and that would be true if it was a man in error. Manipulative anti-woman Bible translators conveniently changed the text to something Paul never said.

    *Nouthetic Counseling. GBF leaders believe that Bible is sufficient counsel for everything. They have no training and licensing, do not follow Cal. law, and frequently cross over the line into the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine (a crime in California that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony). This bogus form of non-counseling comes from the un-trained Jay Adams and his books. It is malpractice. GBF pastors/elders did not get an older woman alcoholic to the care of a physician to supervise her treatment and spent months with members discussing “gossip” and drawing pictures on the blackboard. In the end this woman, her adult children, and church members were harmed.

    Additionally, the GBFSV pastors/elders held me responsible for the genetically inherited brain disorder – Dyslexia – of a woman church member who refuses medical care. She can’t remember entire events and accuses other people like me of lying. Dyslexia isn’t just a reading problem but a memory problem.

    Excommunications/Shunnings/Stalking. A godly woman left GBF for a saner church and was harassed by church members on the orders of the GBF pastors/elders. A godly doctor was excommunicated for dissenting in private. I was excommunicated because the GBF pastors/elders blamed me for someone’s memory problems. A bizarre church!!!

    Credentials. Snr pstr’s *Ph.D. is from a MO. diploma mill.

    GETTING OUT: Don’t tell them. Send a certified/return receipt letter & resign, no details. Call 911 and contact an attorney if they bother you. Read: Wartburg Watch blog for details.

    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Women – call domestic violence shelters/support groups for help getting out. Call 9-1-1. Read: A Cry For Justice blog by pastor/cop.

    BOOK: Churches That Abuse, Dr. Ron Enroth (FREE online).

    SEARCH TERMS: Spiritual Abuse, Membership Covenants, Authoritarianism, NeoCalvinism, Homeschoolers Anonymous, Wartburg Watch, Spiritual Sounding Board,Steve Hassan

    I learned that I know more than I thought I did & I will never listen to authoritarian men again!:

    Like

  80. @Chung,

    Thanks for the encouraging words.
    I’d like to say that my heart hurts for all of the dear sweet saints men and women
    Christians, all ages including senior citizens, who were abused at my ex-church.
    And the false teachings being loaded onto the backs of sincere believers, who get more depressed by the day from the legalism.

    Like

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