Personal Stories, Recovery Process, Spiritual Abuse

Guest Post: A Call for Reasoned Discernment Before Judgment Is Made Upon Others

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Ok, you really have to hear the background of this next post.  The other day I was tweeting with a guy whose Twitter handle is @fivesolasguy, (Brian Thornton.)  He responded to a couple of tweets of mine and I have to be honest with you, his words felt very familiar to me.   The following is a good sampling of our conversation.

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Eventually, I got tired of the same runaround and so I said “gotta run” or something similar a couple of times.  I continued to get more tweets after saying I had to go (notifications come to my smart phone) and I didn’t want to have to keep picking up my phone for the same guy tweeting the same ol’ stuff and so I blocked him.  I think I have only one other person blocked in my 1+ yrs of tweeting.

Well, yesterday, I noticed Mr. Thornton came here to the blog and posted a couple of comments.  He questioned why I blocked him on Twitter.   So, I went back to Twitter to see what was going on.  Apparently, he had tweeted and tagged me quite a bit. I found the evidence on Aug. 9 in which he spouted off publicly about me for blocking him.   JA did something she doesn’t allow her kids to do – she rolled her eyes.

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Wow – those are 6 tweets in a row.  There were more, too.  I couldn’t tell if the tweeting occurred all at once or throughout the day.    I realized that this guy was obviously trying to get some message across to me and not satisfied with my earlier responses and so I gave him an offer to say whatever he’s trying to say in a paragraph or two and I’d post it here on the blog.  (You might consider clicking on that link.  The exchange is pretty funny – – one of our regular readers, Eric Fry, saw what was going on and put his TX cowboy boots on.  Yea, he cut to the chase.)  I figured why not –  we could try to discuss it here with complete sentences and paragraphs without the Twitter character limitations and just be done with it already.

Hey, what do you know, he took me up on it.  You can tell from the tweets above that we both were getting frustrated.  Twitter can be very effective or it can be very ineffective.  Our conversation was not getting anywhere.

But check out what he wrote.  I can’t believe it’s the same guy.  It definitely gives more insight into his tweets.  The only edit I made was to break up a long paragraph, otherwise, this is exactly Mr. Thornton’s content.  I’m looking forward to the discussion.

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A Call for Reasoned Discernment Before Judgment Is Made Upon Others

My wife and I have experienced what is known as spiritual abuse at the hands of a pastor who went to great lengths to “lord it over” his flock. He would arrive at your doorstep unannounced to rebuke you for not attending a service, have others call you out and rebuke you for some comments you made at a small group gathering, and would even verbally chastise you and threaten to remove you from membership if you did not repent of a particular sin he was convinced you had.

When I finally concluded that this guy was beyond the possibility of being reasoned with, I removed my wife and family from his spiritually oppressive influence. This guy was off the chain, so to speak, and I would not allow him to exert his unbiblical and sinful attempts to control us any longer.

My experience had made me a prime candidate to resist any future submission to a pastor/elder/shepherd (it did, in fact, result in me being hyper-critical for several years following that experience). But, in spite of what we went through, I remain convinced of the Bible’s teaching concerning the submission of Christians to their church leaders. Sadly, though, I fear that there are many who experience similar things that we did who become overly cynical, distrusting, and critical of anyone who teaches the biblical truth concerning the authority of church leaders over their congregations. Simply put, bad experiences do not negate the truth of God’s Word. And they don’t give us unfettered license to rail against anyone we believe is abusing their authority.

One of the main mistakes we can make (especially those of us who have experienced abusive practices firsthand from church leaders) is that, going forward, we fail to give others the benefit of the doubt. Paul said that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”, and I believe part of what Paul is saying there is that our love for one another inside the church will include an attitude and heart of trust, rather than distrust. Our love for one another, rooted in the common bond we have IN Christ, will (should) translate into carefully researched conclusions and comments regarding another’s supposed position on church authority, for example. That love will result in, not publicly expressed suspicion the moment we see a red flag or questionable information, but will instead lead us to make sure that we are counting others as more important than ourselves, which will hopefully result in us reserving judgment until we are sure of the truth. I have been guilty of this more times than I can count.

Another common mistake we tend to make is that we will attack and judge and critique something based upon what someone has written rather than how what has been written actually gets fleshed out in real life. For example, someone reads on a web site article about someone’s position on the church’s authority over a Christian, and they draw all sorts of conclusions and preconceived opinions, not based upon what actually occurs in real life, but rather based upon what was written. I have been guilty of this quite recently. I strongly disagreed with a particular “method” for doing something as it was written and explained on paper, and I began to passionately attack that method with much vigor and emotion. However, when I took a step back and decided to see how that method was actually being fleshed out in real life, my conclusions were completely opposite from my initial judgments. We can erect all manor [sic] of straw men that we can easily knock down (or burn in effigy), when the truth is all we’ve done is malign another member of the body of Christ for no good reason. Make no mistake, there are those who take advantage of others and abuse their authority in the church. And they must be exposed and stopped. But, every red flag is not a cause for misinformed declarations against others who profess Christ. When we do that, we very well may be bringing down someone who is truly on our side. And for what reason? Because we didn’t give the benefit of the doubt, or we didn’t do our homework, or we attacked some words in an article rather than examined real life actions. When that happens, we have acted no differently and no better than those we are accusing of wrong-doing.

I pray we would all grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior as we bear, believe, hope, and endure all things for the well-being of our brothers and sisters in Christ. May we seek to be well-informed, truly discerning members of the church.

Brian Thornton

879 thoughts on “Guest Post: A Call for Reasoned Discernment Before Judgment Is Made Upon Others”

  1. “You will find yourself dealing with people who are very much like this god, which, again, they have created in their own image.”

    Nice little sound bite, but completely false. Just the opposite in fact. I believe God is completely sovereign over all things. I, however, am NOT sovereign over all things. So, how in the world is this a God created in my own image?

    I still haven’t seen anyone interact with the passage I quote where God says he creates calamity and creates everything for its own purpose, even the wicked. Any takers?

    Like

  2. A Mom said,

    “David said he sinned in the womb (an impossible feat).”

    Please stop twisting Scripture. David did not say this. He said he was “conceived” in sin. He did not say he sinned in the womb. You are twisting Scripture to refute my position. Why can’t you just let God’s word speak for itself?

    David says the same thing twice, in two different satements:

    1. I was brought forth in iniquity
    2. In sin did my mother conceive me

    The subject is his conception, not him personally sinning in the womb. You are attacking something that cannot be inferred from the verse.

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  3. Brian

    Isaiah 45:7
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

    That is what the KJV states.

    The Hebrew word for EVIL is the same Hebrew word that you use for calamity. Calamity is the modern translation.

    God is light.

    I have heard people say that darkness is the absence of light.

    But with God, it is the exact opposite. Darkness had to be created. Darkness is a spiritual word that is used to describe evil.

    The same with evil. Evil had to be created. Calamity isn’t the right word, although it is the same Hebrew word.

    Remember, Jesus had to command the wind to stop. It was already in natural mode when Jesus said for it to stop. The wind “obeyed” Jesus. And since Jesus is God, God INTERVENED to change things. It wasn’t scripted from the foundation of the earth.

    Sovereignty of God:
    I think we all believe in the sovereignty of God. I believe that the sovereignty of God is that he gave us free will. If he didn’t, then God would not have to INTERVENE to change things. And our prayers would be meaningless. It would all be scripted prayers from the foundation of the earth.

    It is demeaning to ever consider ourselves as robots or puppets of a play.

    Ed

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  4. Brian,

    I stand corrected, as I do remember that there are THREE choices with the C Crowd.

    1. Calvinism
    2. Arminian
    3. Pelagian

    I stand corrected.

    So, I will ask again,

    Why are there ONLY Three choices with the C camp for those who are not Catholic?

    We are Christians. They were first called Christians in Antioch.

    There were not called Calvinists, Arminian, Pelagian, Lutheran, Epicapol, Catholic, Presbyterian, etc.

    As Paul said, divisions are when people classify themselves by a man, when he gave examples of:
    1. I am of Paul
    2. I am of Appolos

    Did they die on the cross for you?

    I am a Christist.

    Ed

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  5. Brian,

    You said:
    “The subject is his conception, not him personally sinning in the womb. You are attacking something that cannot be inferred from the verse.”

    I don’t understand how and why you think that this is attacking anything here.

    I say that because, as usual, you leave out the other half of the story here.

    1. You believe that we have the sin of Adam, that we are guilty in the womb already.
    2. And, there was NO SIN in regards of the conception. His mother was not sinning by having sex with the father of David. The Father of David was not sinning by having sex with the mother of David. But you think that there was some sort of sin going on in regards to his conception. WHAT WAS THAT SIN? Be specific.

    Quoting scripture is one thing. Your explanations of the quote just don’t add up.

    Ed

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  6. A Mom,

    Late last night I responded to Lydia’s observation that “There is a trust issue in talking with YRR/NC types.” Brian seems to have assumed my comment was pointed at him directly. Interesting.

    Whatever the significance of Brian’s thinking my comment was all about him, I fear you are wasting your time, effort, compassion and concern with him. Well, I’m sure you realized that long ago. I have been enjoying, and appreciating, how you and others have so successfully put the thinking of our current resident c’ista to rout.

    Still, I do hope Brian doesn’t end up suffering (more of?) the kind of abuse so many here have suffered at the hands of “pastors” who emulate the sociopathic/psychopathic tendencies they attribute to their god.

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  7. Ed,

    I fear that you too are wasting your time and effort with Brian, except that it is so much fun. He’s such an easy target! I know, I know. Not nice of me.

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  8. Gary W,
    Oh, I do have fun with this. My personality is sarcastic, so I hope he doesn’t take offense at my sarcasm. I get accused by the C camp as being arrogant. I say, yes, I am arrogant, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

    God’s Word will not come back void.

    I think these debates are fun, and even in our heated disagreements with Brian, I think that we have all at least given him something to think about. He may reject it now, but one day, I think that he will know and understand the reasons why we have disagreements. When I debate, I study my opponent’s belief system before I even enter into a debate. That way, I already know their talking points before they even bring them up.

    All in all, Brian actually has been a really good sport in all of this. The one thing between Brian and most C’s is that they would have already cut us off. Brian has stuck in there. I don’t condemn Brian, just his dogma.

    Brian, I commend you for putting up with us, and I thank you for participating!!

    Ed

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  9. Oasis,
    So true, so true. The creeping in thing is definitely going on in the SBC. It’s infiltrating church’s that never once believed in Calvinism before, too. My personal opinion is that I believe that this is very dangerous, and we are seeing the evidence of it’s danger before our eyes.

    What Luther did was a good thing, although not perfect. What Calvin did was not a good thing. Luther’s heart was in the right place, Calvin’s wasn’t. Luther wanted people to be free, Calvin wanted people submitting to bondage to him.

    I am not a Lutheran, but I side with him.

    Ed

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  10. Brian

    You have earned my admiration also. – fwiw… 😉

    Thanks for sticking this out – You get an A+ for persistence.

    Mal 3:16
    Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another:
    and the LORD hearkened, and heard it,
    and a book of remembrance was written before Him
    for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

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  11. Julie Anne

    You are also to be commended – Thank you for allowing this to continue.

    For me – This Post and Thread is a great example of…

    1Co 14:26
    How is it then, brethren? when ye come together,
    every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine,
    hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.
    Let all things be done unto edifying.

    And we sure have had lots of – doctrine – revelation – interpretation… 😉

    You sure do NOT find this in the Sunday Morning get together…

    The Perfomance…

    This is much more real – And edifying…

    NO one saying – I’m the Boss – My way or the highway…

    And let us consider one another
    to provoke unto love and to good works:
    Heb 10:24

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  12. Still, I do hope Brian doesn’t end up suffering (more of?) the kind of abuse so many here have suffered at the hands of “pastors” who emulate the sociopathic/psychopathic tendencies they attribute to their god.

    The attributes of God claimed by some people are often contradicted by the very verses they use to claim other points of theology. These contradictions are usually dismissed with the “God is far beyond our understanding” cliche, which is a contradiction in itself when people try to assign attributes to God.

    Still, many of these attributes seem to be excluded by each other and verses in the Bible.

    Let’s take ‘God is just’ and compare it to the Calvinist view of original sin. Adam sins, and God decrees that all men are sinners due to the sin of one man. This is an action that is considered unjust in our own court systems where each person is responsible for their own actions. That tight hold on a doctrine that shows God clearly to be unjust winds up showing itself in the psychology and actions of those who hold the doctrine, e.g., the way SGM makes a declaration of blamelessness and righteousness for CJ in the face of mounds of contrary evidence. This is the cognitive dissonance brought on by seeking theological justifications to map one’s own psychology on to God.

    Now let’s compare one very important attribute of God to others, in just a linguistic manner. In 1 John 4 the statement ‘God is love’ occurs twice. These are two nouns, ‘God’ and ‘love in English and ‘θεὸς'(Theos) and ‘ἀγάπη’ (agape) in Greek. Since the attribute claimed here is a noun, this is not a descriptor of some facet of God’s personality, it is a statement of God’s essence, of what He is and what is Him. All the rest of the things we attribute to God are adjectives describing qualities He posesses, rather than what is His essence. Wrathful, just, righteous, merciful, etc., these are all words that we use to describe God and His actions lad out in the Biblical texts. Where the problem occurs for us is that we give these adjectives equal weight as the noun, i.e., we equate and attribute with His essence.

    Instead of trying to see if these attributes fit logically with His essence, the quirks in our psychology try to explain and modify His essence of agape love to include and allow for these attributes. In doing so, we come up with contradictory doctrines and statements that serve to diminish His essence, and the only way we can maintain these contradictions is by maintaining our cognitive dissonance. How else could a preacher claim that ‘love’ consists of harassing women at abortion clinics or categorically denying abuse allegations?

    Of course, these dissonances and logical contradictions can be dealt with easily when pure literalism is abandoned for a more figurative and allegorical approach to scripture. That doesn’t mean that there are no verses which can be taken literally since that would put everything into pure relativism. But, we need wisdom and guidance, not from men, but from the Holy Spirit, to discern which verse should be taken literally, and which verses should be viewed figuratively or in a limited context. My position is that “God is love” is the ground for all literal statements about God, and any scripture that diminishes or negates that statement should be considered in more figurative senses.

    Besides, whatever attributes of God we focus upon more will show more in our behavior. When I forget to focus on love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, it shows in my words and actions; likewise when I focus on sin, anger, wrath, etc. it shows as well. That is a truth of human psychology and existence, no matter what other ‘truth’ we wish to claim. Our psychology determines our theology, but fortunately, we can change our thinking and behavior by shifting our focus to His essence instead of the things we attribute to Him.

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  13. Eric Fry,

    You say “My position is that “God is love” is the ground for all literal statements about God, and any scripture that diminishes or negates that statement should be considered in more figurative senses.”

    Yes, yes! Stand up and cheer!!

    And, “Besides, whatever attributes of God we focus upon more will show more in our behavior. When I forget to focus on love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, it shows in my words and actions; likewise when I focus on sin, anger, wrath, etc. it shows as well. That is a truth of human psychology and existence, no matter what other ‘truth’ we wish to claim.

    Again yes! But, eh, guilty as charged. (I do hope that to confess is to be absolved.)

    Like

  14. Brian Thornton said, “A Mom said, “David said he sinned in the womb (an impossible feat).” Please stop twisting Scripture. David did not say this. He said he was “conceived” in sin. He did not say he sinned in the womb. You are twisting Scripture to refute my position. Why can’t you just let God’s word speak for itself?
    David says the same thing twice, in two different satements:
    1. I was brought forth in iniquity
    2. In sin did my mother conceive me
    The subject is his conception, not him personally sinning in the womb. You are attacking something that cannot be inferred from the verse.”

    Brian, Psalms 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” You said this is literally true. You keep using this verse to support your “sinful in womb” religion. I say that’s impossible, to sin in the womb.

    If David’s mother committed a sin when she conceived him, that does not make David, or any child for that matter, responsible for their parent’s sin or sinful. However, since this is poetry, we need to be careful. I would not assume she committed a sin based on this verse alone.

    He was a poet. He was waxing poetic to describe how he feels when he wrote the entire chapter. He was in anguish. He spoke out of sorrow. He wasn’t calmly & methodically setting out to pass on to us a certain serious theology at that moment. I think everyone should read the whole chapter & decide for themselves.

    Please read the rest of my comment. Do you understand what I’m saying about the logic you have been applying & why it is not helpful?

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  15. Eric Fry, Now that’s teaching worthy of supporting! But it’s free, you asked no money for it. 😉

    What, hopefully is clear to the readers here, is that many will press a religious belief & keep claiming it. They read that religion into what they are reading. We need to be careful not to do that – keeping in mind at all times, especially when reading, that God is the very definition of love. And he is just.

    Ariel Castro, the man who kidnapped the 3 girls & held them against their will (for a decade?) is no different than the personality of a God who determines our actions, thoughts, decisions. That is a religion where we are robots. However, Ariel Castro’s control stops short. He can’t send those girls to hell.

    So how can anyone blame or hold to account anyone for anything, when they are just puppets & their actions are controlled by some good evil, yin yang, love hate God?

    I hope many will see & reject this false religion.

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  16. A Mom,

    And this is where the C’s talk out of both sides of their mouth.

    1. God predetermined who is going to hell
    2. Don’t blame God because you are going to hell…it’s all your fault.

    Ed

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  17. “They tend to live in what I call C ghettos with TGC and T4G and more.”

    So now I live in a ghetto. This is not inflamatory language at all.”

    The YRR/NC ghetto is a place where people are comfortable asking people whom they have NO relationship with at all whether or not they are submitting to their elders. It is their normal. It is an astonishing question to those who don’t live in the same ghetto.

    And btw: Ghetto is not a negative word used in it’s original historical meaning. See what I did? I used a word that has evolved over centuries and the meaning was different to you. That is not a good thing in communication, is it? Now, I have plausible deniability as to the meaning I was using. Makes communication frustrating.

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  18. “Why is the only two choices amongst the C camp either Calvinist, or Arminian?”

    Oh, it’s not. This blog thread is loaded with Pelagian doctrine as well.

    Be very careful about this one. It might backfire. Al Mohler even hinted around that his seminary president colleagues who signed the Trad statement were Pelagians (or semi) which has been ingrained as heretic to most people.

    But this was thrown out so much as an accusation against non Cals in the SBC that the peasants have started to so some homework. And that is never a good thing for those who want to accuse censor and control others with such accusations.

    Seems some of our seminarians are not as well educated as some thought. More indoctrination. We can save the Pelagian argument for another blog post somewhere.

    In fact, I believe this shoving Calvinism down throats as the True Gospel has only driven people to take a look at history and coming away shaking their heads that a tyrant thug is now a spiritual icon for so many young men.

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  19. Gary W, I hate to say it but it was never about Brian. It is for all those folks who are being intimidated by YRR/NC actually seeing people interact with them instead of being cowed by their typical methods of what they call communication. They are indoctrinated so they think they indoctrinate others. That is the method. If they can get most folks arguing about scripture they can have them so confused it is not funny. Some have tried “love” but their view of “love” is to beat correct doctrine into you. And this means people have to have boundaries with them even if they carry a Christianese title.

    It is easy to forget how you met them once you go around the mulberry bush with them as we have done here. We met Brian because he tweeted JA a question most of us find astonishing for someone who has no spiritual relationship with her. But it is his normal because of who he hangs with and who he listens to. We cannot forget that.

    Once it went on for a while, he started watering down his foundational premises. Happens all the time for those who are willing to stick it out. Which brings me to the fact that Calvinism is NOT something one can apply to their life. It has NO practical application as a belief system except for obeying your elders, making dates with Satan to go deep with your sin and preaching the gospel to yourself everyday. That is it. There is no real actionable sanctification. You are guilty of something you did not do. Your right living is imputed to you so there is nothing you can add except obeying elders. In the meantime babies are evil and guilty too, for something they did not do. Children are “broken” and we MUST tell them that all the time. But what frustration for them since there is nothing they can do to help fix their brokenness.

    Is it no wonder it is producing not backsliders but rabid athiests who were once rabid YRR who became frustrated in navel gazing for…..what? The end to come so they can find out if they really persevered or not?

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  20. “Once it went on for a while, he started watering down his foundational premises.”

    I have watered down nothing.

    You guys continue to create a caricature that you then attribute to Calvinism, the YRR, etc. Rather than just addressing my comments, beliefs, positions, etc., the typical M.O. on here is to disagree and then continue on with something like, “This atrocious deceitful unloving bahavior is typical of Calvinists, they eat their young, kill innocent women, and beat the elderly, etc., etc…”

    Honestly, the things you guys have attributed to those who hold to my theology…can you introduce some of them to me? Because, in all my years in this theogocical “camp” I have NEVER met any who hold to what you guys are espousing, or who do the things you claim they do.

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  21. I mean seriously…I could tell you what I believe about something and how it works itself out in real action and living and you guys would say, “No, Brian, you are wrong…THIS is what you actually believe and THIS is how you actually live out that belief.”

    It would be a nice refreshing change for me to be able to make a comment and for you guys to take me at my word rather than to think the worst of me.

    Hey! That actually brings us back around to the actual point of this thread. One of the things we all tend to do is to label someone and then attack that label with vigor, instead of giving one another the benefit of the doubt.

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  22. lydiasop wrote~ (hope you don’t mind the abbreviation lydiasop)

    “If they can get most folks arguing about scripture they can have them so confused it is not funny. ”

    I frequently see that on the 9Marks blog. I personally do not like to argue about scriptures. It gets ugly and people rarely change their views. But I do like to ask why people support/promote/link to various professing Christian pastors/leaders. Since actions speak louder than words, I want to know what actions/practices people are supporting/promoting when they link to various ones.

    For example, I have asked about Brian’s linking to Baucham and what is it he enjoys about him. He declines to answer. That makes me think either he does not really know why he links to Baucham… maybe linking to him is a cool thing to do in his circles…or he does not wish to tell us why. I would think he would jump at the chance to articulate why he links to those he does.

    It will not do for Brian to merely say…Baucham preaches the doctrines of grace- that’s why I link to him. So do a thousand others who are not as extreme in their views as Baucham is. I am left to surmise Brian likes Baucham’s actions.

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  23. Lydia saiad:

    It is easy to forget how you met them once you go around the mulberry bush with them as we have done here. We met Brian because he tweeted JA a question most of us find astonishing for someone who has no spiritual relationship with her. But it is his normal because of who he hangs with and who he listens to. We cannot forget that.

    The tweet from which this current blog post originated was really a continuation from this earlier tweet: https://twitter.com/fivesolasguy/statuses/365188320067727360

    If you click on the date/time link, the whole conversation should pop up.

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  24. “It would be a nice refreshing change for me to be able to make a comment and for you guys to take me at my word rather than to think the worst of me.”

    I have been waiting for you to do that…first what it was that made you a “huge supporter” of SGM and what it is that you find desirable about Baucham.

    Hey! That actually brings us back around to the actual point of this thread. One of the things we all tend to do is to label someone and then attack that label with vigor, instead of giving one another the benefit of the doubt.”

    I have waited for you to comment to my questions but you have appeared to ignore me or chose not to answer my honest inquiry.

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  25. “Honestly, the things you guys have attributed to those who hold to my theology…can you introduce some of them to me?”

    Brian,

    Meet John Calvin. Not the sanitized version you have been taught but the REAL historical person in word AND in behavior. I keep hoping the fact of the matter is that you guys have just not done proper research on him. And I hope and pray that if you ever do, you will see the bigger problem. If it makes you like him more, then that scares me to death.

    What I am hearing a lot of today is many YRR/NC are now saying they don’t follow Calvin because that has become a problem for them as the movement grew. In fact, they are following Calvin’s thinking and methods closer than the mainline Calvinists (frozen chosen) who are benign. I also know that many in that movement do not really understand that because they have never really questioned it or their gurus. they are smitten with Piper’s passion or Al Mohler’s “brilliance” or CJ Mahaney’s “humility”.

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  26. “Since actions speak louder than words, I want to know what actions/practices people are supporting/promoting when they link to various ones. ”

    Diane, I totally agree. What we believe drives our behavior. What Dever believes drives him to go for control of people by twisting scripture. What Mahaney believes drove his group to protect molesters. What Jack Schaap believed drove him to adultery and child molestation. We really have to come to grips with this. And part if it is the errant belief that we cannot help but sin all the time because we are born sinners sinning. It is moral chaos. This thinking is everywhere. Not just NC/YRR except that it is inherent in their doctrine to a much larger degree.

    I will take a beating from an unbeliever but NOT from another who claims to be a long time believer but spiritually abuses people or bullies them. No way.

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  27. Brian,
    You had said:
    “Honestly, the things you guys have attributed to those who hold to my theology…can you introduce some of them to me”

    My response:
    I told you point blank what you believe, already knowing before hand what you believe, before you even said what you believe, which is Calvinist doctrine, and you said something like, “true, very true, yes”, or something like that. And I had said that based on your watered down theology in order to correct your theology.

    Ed

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  28. “I have been waiting for you to do that…first what it was that made you a “huge supporter” of SGM and what it is that you find desirable about Baucham.”

    I really like SGM’s music.

    I really like Voddie’s promotion of adoption, most of his home school views, his teachings on the importance of family worship, and how he stands by his convictions.

    Like

  29. Brian, I suspected your doctrinal slant by your tweets and then affirmed it by linking to your blog. I live at ground zero so I have more of a head start. I cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a YRR arrogantly asking someone: “are you submitting to your elders?” Seriously, that thinking is ingrained in your tribe.

    Now, they are taking a page from Doug Wilson’s method and also demanding to know a person’s pastors name so they can call him for you to be disciplined if you dare disagree with them doctrinally.

    Good old Piper popularized Wilson. And in case you were not paying attention and did not do homework, you can find Wilson’s pro slavery treatise online. Black and Tan which was updated from Slavery As It Was when the the internet was born and scholars took him to task on it. He has his own pedophile protection issues. What is it with that movement and child molestations being no big deal? I don’t get it.

    Your tribe is on the road to serfdom my friend. You will be fine if you get a paying gig in ministry, though, and make sure you bow down to your elders.

    Diane, did you see Voddie Bauchmans teaching that men need daughters so they can get the attention they yearn for from a younger woman? The man is a creep.

    Like

  30. You guys do realize that those who hold to the tenets of Calvinism don’t necessarily support everything about John Calvin, right?

    You do realize that what became known as Calvinism developed AFTER John Calvin was dead and buried, right?

    In fact, a better term for the theological framework I hold to is what is known as the doctrines grace.

    Fire away…

    Like

  31. “I cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a YRR arrogantly asking someone: “are you submitting to your elders?” Seriously, that thinking is ingrained in your tribe.”

    What are you doing swinging dead cats around?

    Seriously, though, you really shouldn’t be swinging dead cats around…they carry all kinds of diseases.

    No really, seriously now…I don’t know how your remarks above have anything at all to do with this discussion, unless you just want to create more caricatures and beat them up. And no, the word ‘caricature’ is not exclusive to the ‘C camp’, and neither is ‘straw man’ or ‘ad-hominem’, for that matter.

    I feel to that I need to define what a straw man is, as many of the comments here indicate a lack if understanding about what I mean. A straw man argument is one in which a person sets up a false premise that may be loosely based on what someone has said. Once the straw man is erected, it is easily kicked down by the person who built it in the first place. It’s just a figure if speech that means you are not really addressing what has been said, but rather are creating only a caricature of something and are attacking it instead.

    Like

  32. “Fire away…”

    No problem. Calvin, Luther, The Puritans, Edwards, etc. One starts reading them and one sees it all in vivid color upgraded for today in the YRR/NC movement. The same sorts of extra biblical focus, The bible as manual for the elders to beat with, hierarchical teaching, bad behavior (without the power of the state, though, thankfully)

    Of course, stuff like infant baptism which fit in with sacraments as another means of grace, state church magistrates (although they would love to have them) etc, were thrown out to fit certain denoms like Baptists.

    Have you ever read about the gruesome suicides that came out of Edwards personal discipling during his Great Awakening?

    Like

  33. “No really, seriously now…I don’t know how your remarks above have anything at all to do with this discussion, unless you just want to create more caricatures and beat them up. And no, the word ‘caricature’ is not exclusive to the ‘C camp’, and neither is ‘straw man’ or ‘ad-hominem’, for that matter.”

    Brian, it is called “observing a pattern of behavior”.

    Like

  34. Then there is no need to use the word straw man, since it can be easily kicked down…just kick it down…Speaking of “Kick it”, back in the 80’s, many people were kickin it. I always wondered what they were kicking. A straw man perhaps?

    Like

  35. Brian said:
    “You guys do realize that those who hold to the tenets of Calvinism don’t necessarily support everything about John Calvin”

    I always laugh so hard when I hear that. If that were really true, they would ditch the name altogether.

    I am a Christian, and I hold the tenets of Jesus thru and thru, and I support everything about Jesus.

    Therefore, I will never call myself by a man, not now, not ever.

    Why can’t you C’s do the same? Don’t call yourself a Calvinist if you don’t hold on to all of the tenets of Calvin. Don’t call yourself a Calvinist if you don’t support everything about John Calvin.

    That would eliminate much, and be a good first step in the right direction. Abandon John Calvin altogether. He is dead. Leave him in the grave. Same with Spurgeon, etc. All of them.

    Like

  36. Actually Ed, in their defense, their leaders have been trying like mad to get rid of the C word. Esp in the SBC. They need to in order to bring it in covertly. In chp 4 of a Quiet Revolution, Resiinger says to never use the C word to describe the doctrine you are teaching them. If you must describe it, use Doctrines of Grace. They have tried Reformed and even “Sovereign grace”, if you can believe it. But Mahaney stoled it when he went from being an Apostle of the People of Destiny to “Sovereign Grace”. I am not sure Mohler could hang around with an Apostle of the People of Destiny and keep his job.

    What is even more interesting is now they are trying to replace Calvinism with “conservative”. . That would help hide it even longer because SBC folks like that word. It brings back memories of inerrancy and the conservative resurgence. But some of us are on to them. I first noted this in a blog article from an SBC leader and it backfired on him.

    In other words, they would LOVE to get rid of the C word. But it is not going away easily.

    Like

  37. lydiasellerofpurple,

    I totally agree with what you said. When I say to ditch the name, what I am really conveying is this:
    “Forget everything that you were taught, and begin again”.

    The problem with that is, it’s hard to forget.

    Yes, the SBC covert takeover is an abomination. That is so deceitful that I know that it is the work of the Anti-Christ. If it were disclosed from the beginning of what they were doing, they would lose most of the money…er I mean congregation…no, I mean money.

    I would never had believed this had I not read the step by step process on how to turn a Southern Baptist church into a Calvinist belief system. Steps set up to purposefully deceive, as the steps were to be over a long period of time…in little snippet after another…slowly, so that no one would notice the change. I couldn’t believe the deception that I was reading.

    And then, a while back, we had a guy by the name of Mark that used to comment here. He kept talking about this, that he was at a Church that did this. It took him a while to recognize it, and he kept beating himself up about it, because he would say that he “should have known better”, as he was a mature Christian. He was blindsided, but then finally figured it out.

    Ed

    Like

  38. Hey-thanks for sharing, Brian. So many questions….no answers expected this time.

    “I really like SGM’s music.”

    Giggle. That’s what I would say if I realized that I had been a huge supporter of a shepherding cult and I had to think of something to say I liked. That’s all about SGM that you were a “huge supporter” of? OK, I will take you at your word.

    Yeah…that music. Some of it might be good. I have been reading a lot of negative comments about their latest cds. They’re just not as good, as in dark and depressing. (I blame it on the documents like SGM does with everything.) But when I think of SGM music, honestly, I can only think of the “worship CJ” song Bob Kauflin sang at the passing the baton Broadway-style musical extravaganza CLC put on for Mahaney. The “CJ…you led us to the cross” song. Did you catch that one? Then there were the “prophetic” songs Kauflin sang about women named Mary…. and bald men. Shudder. No thanks.

    “I really like Voddie’s promotion of adoption, most of his home school views, his teachings on the importance of family worship, and how he stands by his convictions.”

    Voddie promotes adoption…so do lots of less fringey-type patriarchy promoting pastors. Pastors that would not insist on first time every time obedience…or toddlers looking at them in the eyes and greeting them and being punished if failing. Honestly, when I heard he had adopted an infant boy last year, I was amazed that he, with his strong views on corporal punishment, would be granted an adoption. I felt sorry for the baby. But, ok, to each his own.

    I hope that “Baucham’s government schools are evil” is not included in your “most of his homeschool views.”

    How he stands by his convictions? I am confident you can find better examples of pastors who stand by their convictions without promoting the extreme, narrow, legalistic views he does….unless you like those. ? Doesn’t it bother you a teeny tiny bit that you may be leading people down the Voddie Baucham pathway by your link? Well, it would bother me, but to each his own.

    The importance of family worship. Careful there. Men at his church HAVE to lead according to how the elders teach….they must do this without fail. If you refuse to lead like they say, you will be asked to leave. However, you may get a visit (or ten) from an elder (with or without prior notification) and be placed under discipline for failing in this area before getting ousted.

    Are you a fan of this degree of legalism?

    Like

  39. Oh, I just thought of something funny. I know that Brian likes Tim Hawkins, the Christian comedian. He once said that if you say that the music is great, that means the preaching sucks. If the music is terrible, there’s great preaching.

    Like

  40. “Diane, did you see Voddie Bauchmans teaching that men need daughters so they can get the attention they yearn for from a younger woman? The man is a creep.”

    THAT would be one of the “fringey-type” things I am concerned with that might lead someone onto the Voddie Baucham path with Brian (or anyone’s) link to Baucham.
    It absolutely disturbs me that his daughter is almost 25, lives at home and takes care of her 6-7 brothers and sisters as a surrogate mother. The girl needs to live her life.

    Like

  41. @ JA~

    😦

    When is enough enough? So, a new baby for Jasmine to train up. Jasmine seems to post a lot about homeschooling her brothers and sisters. I do not know about her mom…how much her mom is able help raise her own kids. I read at one point she was ill. I find this all very sad. I hope Jasmine is able to find her own life soon and get married, as she hints she wants that from her blog posts.

    Amos (last year’s adoption) came from Georgia, too. Baucham mentioned that at the “Men of God” conference at Bellefontaine, Ohio…remember THAT conference?

    I wonder why Baucham goes to Georgia for children? Does he have connections there? Are these children obtained through an adoption agency? Surely if they were the agency would be checking out Baucham’s practices and that should be causing them concern?

    Like

  42. “Don’t call yourself a Calvinist if you don’t support everything about John Calvin.”

    Ed, Calvinism and John Calvin are not synonymous, regardless of what you say.

    Holding to the tenets of what is commonly called Calvinism does NOT equate to agreeing with everything Calvin did or taught.

    I am curious…does anyone on here even know what they are talking about when they use the term “Calvinism”? I’d be interested to see some responses. What is Calvinism? You’ve all been railing against it, so I expect you can describe it without having to look it up. If you have to look it up, then why are you so against something about which you actually do not know the details?

    Like

  43. Brian – – – I’m going to make your comment into a new post. That way we can keep the other topics alive here and keep the Calvinist comments in its own thread.

    Hang on, peeps! It should be quick.

    Like

  44. “I wonder why Baucham goes to Georgia for children? Does he have connections there? Are these children obtained through an adoption agency? Surely if they were the agency would be checking out Baucham’s practices and that should be causing them concern?”

    Perhaps the adoption agency actually has some first hand knowledge of the Bauchams, and has direct contact and experience with them. Perhaps they know them just a wee little bit better than you.

    Like

  45. “Perhaps the adoption agency actually has some first hand knowledge of the Bauchams, and has direct contact and experience with them. Perhaps they know them just a wee little bit better than you.”

    Brian, that’s what scares me.

    Like

  46. Good point, Diane

    Did I mention in this thread I just got a copy of Voddie’s book in the mail he sent me? I’ve been skimming it and my spine has been quivering.

    Like

  47. So Diane, are you insinuating that you know the Bauchams better than those involved with them in the adoption process? Or are you demonstrating your inability to trust someone else’s judgment who might know them better than you?

    Like

  48. Apparently he goes through Covenant Care and it would appear Covenant Care seeks the Bauchams out with children to adopt. It appears they are well acquainted with each other.
    http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/338256

    This comment from a forum gives some info-

    “Koala wrote:
    I’d love to know which agency is behind this placement. I wonder if it is private adoptions through word of mouth.

    They currently adopt through “Covenant Care”, a Christian adoption agency in Georgia. Voddie has written/spoken about the agency before when his blog was hosted on another site.

    Personally, I feel that this agency’s license to place children should be revoked given that they have knowingly placed children with the type of people (Voddie in particular) who are prone to using physical discipline over meaningless character “flaws” like shyness. If anything, they should be investigated for their method of screening and accepting prospective candidates who would (and have) be(en) deemed unfit as foster/adoptive parents by other, state and public agencies. Voddie Baucham was denied several times before by public agencies (which is why he went the “Covenant Care” route) which speaks volumes. If Covenant Care was too foolish to take that fact into account, then they shouldn’t be in the business of placing children.”

    Like

  49. Brian – Fathers like that send alarm bells off in me. Case in point: Steve and Terri Maxwell have Sarah who is probably 30s and is not married. The Botkin girls, Anna-Sophia and Elizabeth are around 28 and 30 and are not married. Baucham’s daughter is not married. Tony Miano’s 3 adult daughters are not married. Something is wrong with this picture.

    Like

  50. Hey Brian…

    “So Diane, are you insinuating that you know the Bauchams better than those involved with them in the adoption process?

    I know what he teaches. Do you?
    Enlighten yourself with his sermons from the Men of God Conference 2012 Bellefontaine, Ohio. You know, that conference where the mess was made in the women’s restroom?

    “Or are you demonstrating your inability to trust someone else’s judgment who might know them better than you?”

    Here’s what I am demonstrating. Of course they know him better. And no- I don’t trust anyone who would approve of Baucham’s child rearing methods. I am saying ….here is his connection. Covenant Care has offered children to him. They must approve of first time / every time obedience. They must approve of spanking infants. They must approve of taking your kid to the church bathroom and “wearing him out.” They must approve of all that and more. They offer children to that environment. They promote him. That scares me. Sorry if it doesn’t concern you.

    “After the unprofessional, disrespectful, and frankly unkind manner in which we were treated earlier this year, Covenant Care was like a breath of fresh air. I preached at their banquet back in March, so I was very familiar with the agency. In fact, they had contacted us two years ago about another possible adoption when we were in the process of adopting Asher. From the initial contact to the placement ceremony, Covenant Care was everything an adoptive parent could ask for. They were professional, attentive, thorough, responsive, and above all they conducted themselves like true followers of Christ.”

    Wow—throwing kids at his feet.

    “While all of this was excruciating for my dear bride, it was still better than it could have been. Thank God we live in Houston where flights to Atlanta are plentiful. Also, thank God for frequent flyer miles, frequent renter miles, and frequent hotel stay miles that made our journey a lot less expensive than it would otherwise have been. Also, thank God for the ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of a Child) process went through in record time (both Georgia and Texas approved us in a total of one day!). All-in-all, God was indeed merciful, and we rejoice in his providence.”

    http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-ministries/blog/welcome-home-micah-2009-09/

    Now I know why he adopts in Georgia. Mystery solved.

    Like

  51. Brian what he said about men having daughters to get the attention they need from a younger woman is sicko. Lots of what Voddie teaches about women/girls is sicko. This is the part of living in the ghetto that really concerns me. Once in there, these things seem normal. They aren’t.

    Like

  52. “Check out Voddie’s book, What He Must Be if He Wants to Marry My Daughter. Excellent book for those with daughters…and for those with sons.”

    Well Brian….Jasmine Baucham is pushing mid 20s now. Time’s a wasting if she is ever going to get her quiverful. What’s the problem? Can’t Baucham find a “What He Must Be” man in all of Texas with his connections? I find that hard to believe. Although he may say out of one side of his mouth that he has no intention of actually picking out her future husband, the other side of his mouth states that he will do the editing,

    Like

  53. Brian what he said about men having daughters to get the attention they need from a younger woman is sicko. — Lydia

    Craster’s Keep, in near The Wall in Northern Westeros, Game of Thrones

    Hey Brian~

    Do you think a toddler should be spanked repeatedly for shyness?

    Only if it’s possible to beat Fluttershy until she somehow turns into Rainbow Dash.

    Like

  54. Lydia said, “Gary W, I hate to say it but it was never about Brian. It is for all those folks who are being intimidated by YRR/NC actually seeing people interact with them instead of being cowed by their typical methods of what they call communication. They are indoctrinated so they think they indoctrinate others. That is the method. If they can get most folks arguing about scripture they can have them so confused it is not funny. Some have tried “love” but their view of “love” is to beat correct doctrine into you. And this means people have to have boundaries with them even if they carry a Christianese title.”

    Absolutely! Brian has been severely indoctrinated. His contributions so far have been very helpful. Brian is a window into how, what & why. Most critically thinking individuals reading carefully thru this thread will see that. They are the reason why I comment. I care about Brian. I don’t think he thinks ahead much, but more moment to moment. His kids may read him someday. I hope they don’t reject God or become cruel determinists.

    Julie Anne does a service by allowing this dialogue to take place, as difficult or frustrating or heartbreaking as it may have been. Opinions & beliefs can be presented & people can hopefully choose more wisely than if the dialogue hadn’t taken place.

    Like

  55. Brian said, the typical M.O. on here is to disagree and then continue on with something like, “This atrocious deceitful unloving bahavior is typical of Calvinists, they eat their young, kill innocent women, and beat the elderly, etc., etc…” Honestly, the things you guys have attributed to those who hold to my theology…can you introduce some of them to me? Because, in all my years in this theogocical “camp” I have NEVER met any who hold to what you guys are espousing, or who do the things you claim they do.

    Brian, Even though you have never met a deceiver or evil-doer that does evil while quoting Biblical passages they say backs up a sovereign God (who is control of every action) as a basis for their evil actions, I have. It is heartbreaking & ugly. These people can’t be reasoned with. Many times they can’t be stopped without legal intervention. They will push to the very edge & go as far as they can with what they can get away with. It’s a cost/benefit analysis. Not a right/wrong analysis. I’ve seen Calvinism used to support evil or as a basis for an indifference to evil, more than you’d ever believe.

    I’ve also heard people who have “sat under” the teaching of total depravity say they aren’t able to choose God. That God will choose them. It is predetermined by God. So they continue on in their sinful ways. And if they are the elect, the predestined, that’s God’s choice & God will give them the ability to believe & save them. And if they’re not, God will send them to hell. It’s a done deal for them, it has nothing to do with them, & they live their life fully consistent with that. This is absolutely heartbreaking. And very damaging to themselves & others.

    I will never tell children, “Let’s pray that God will change our hearts or some person’s heart”. We are each responsible for our own behavior, NOT GOD. This teaching indoctrinates children into thinking they are helpless or off the hook for their own behavior.

    Brian, you MUST live in a somewhat insulated world. Or you only associate with people just like yourself. Or you are very naive. Or you don’t have real conversations with people. Or you don’t ever “touch” the unclean. While that sounds very sanitary, in reality it would be unloving behavior. You shouldn’t assume that because you haven’t experienced horrific behavior, that many others have not based on these fatalistic beliefs of “I’m sinful so I sin” or “I’m unable to please God” or “what I do doesn’t matter, I’ve got grace” or “God is responsible, not me”.

    This blog is here to help those who have been abused, due in part, to this exact theology. Did you miss that somehow?

    Like

  56. Brian,
    I think what’s upset many commenters here is your attitude, not just your beliefs. Your joke about Lydia swinging a dead cat went over like a lead balloon. When Lydia talks about swinging a dead cat, I totally understand. It grieves me. While I don’t live at ground zero, I live close enough. And I can walk to a mega church where sin abounds & so does cheap grace. And I could walk to churches where people “sit under” total depravity/inability teaching & then go practice that the rest of the week. Both are truly full of spiritually dead people. They could be born again & following Christ all their days instead. This is why I comment.

    Like

  57. Brian Thornton
    AUGUST 18, 2013 @ 11:44 AM
    Only those appointed to receive salvation will believe:

    “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

    Only those given by the Father to the Son will be saved:

    “All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out.”

    ———————————–

    This is contradicted (as are many things in “the bible”) by another passage here:

    2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

    The Greek is precisely: “having bought” or “having redeemed”…as in they were redeemed but then they were lost.

    James White and John Piper try to tap-dance around this one…and the arguments are not compelling.

    You are either forced to accept that these “False Prophets” are in fact Elect and are saved even though they are called “False Prophets” and introduce “Destructive Heresies”…or you are forced to accept that the Proof Text you proffered is not an Absolute as it is contradicted strongly by 2 Peter 2:1.

    This particular verse has ruined a good many former Calvinists and former OSAS guys. If one is intellectually honest…it’s Check Mate on that particular issue.

    Like

  58. Brian, another biggie is Judas Iscariot. He was “chosen” but assumed damned as the “son of perdition”….yet he was a chosen Apostle and he performed miracles and participated in the works of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.

    Now, the bible says this was to fulfill a prophecy, but it is an example of one who was chosen, exhibited the Holy Spirit’s miracles, etc….but was “lost”.

    What is more sinister about the Judas account is that it appears on the surface (through a more Calvinist hermeneutic) that Judas didn’t really have a choice in the matter. He was created to be betray and be damned and subsequently tormented in hell forever….which is essentially the underlying Calvinist position. Underneath the veneer of Soft-Calvinists is really a Double Predestination construct that says God creates a few Chosen/Elect to bestow mercy on…and then creates the vast majority of humanity throughout human history to be tortured in hell for eternity.

    This is contrasted strongly by Jesus’s “I give you a new law…love your enemies…as your father in heaven is perfect”.

    Hard to “love your enemies” by torturing them in hell forever.

    Like

  59. Alex,

    Speaking to the disciples, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”(Matthew 19:28, ESV)

    Does this not on its face include Judas? If so, so much for the son of perdition being subject to eternal conscious punishment. I don’t claim to have it all sorted out, but I’m confident the theologians don’t either.

    Like

  60. Hey Alex! Yes, this was a crazy thread. Interestingly, Brian sort of just disappeared and then I found out fairly recently that he also blocked me on Twitter. Go figure.

    Like

  61. Jezzy, yes, blocked/excommunicated…that’s the typical response from those types.

    Gary W said, “…but I’m confident the theologians don’t either.” Very much agreed. I think we all know very little and are mostly guessing on a variety of issues. I am always skeptical of a Doctrinarian or Theologian who says their Box is “the right way!” with such certainty. It usually doesn’t take long to poke holes in it and expose glaring blind spots. God doesn’t fit in a Box…and my faith in a good and loving God who we cannot know the nuance and mystery…is much greater than my faith in men who tell me “thus sayeth the Lord!” on all matters.

    Like

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