Learn to Discern: Wife Has Affair with Pastor . . . and Reconciles?

*     *     *

Kandace has an affair with her pastor.  She and her husband, Nathan, talk about their reconciliation process and grace, but leave out something very important.

*     *     *

Video:  Liberate

JA note:  Sorry, I’ve been unable to embed the video.  Please click on “Liberate” to see the video.

*     *     *

I was glad to stumble across this video.  In this video, a husband and wife, Nathan and Kandace, talk about how their marriage is recovering after the wife’s affair with their pastor.

We hear a lot about grace, which is very common.  But there’s something very important missing from this testimony that concerns me.

What important piece is missing?

*     *     *

106 comments on “Learn to Discern: Wife Has Affair with Pastor . . . and Reconciles?

  1. What is missing: acknowledgement of the pastor’s abusive behavior. When power is unequally shared, there is no possibility of meaningful consent. When a pastor seeks or agrees to a sexual relationship with a congregant, he violates his ministerial role and her vulnerability. What happened to Kandace wasn’t an “affair,” it was clergy sexual abuse.
    I am very glad that Kandace and Nathan were able to renew their marriage. That is a blessing from God, and it will be a big part of Kandace’s healing. But I hope one day she will understand that the shame was never hers. The shame belongs wholly to her pastor.

    Like

  2. Only 1:30 into the video, stopping to comment. Nathan says God was orchestrating everything! The pastor is free from blame!! it’s all God’s fault, er, um, I mean doing!!!

    Like

  3. I will have to say what great marketing for GOSPEL COALITION and plug in for the numerous conferences of these fabulous, gawd…..fearing men of Neo-Calvinism!!

    Like

  4. I could say a lot about this. “i wasn’t loving my wife as Christ loved the church…etc”. Okay, but it doesn’t justify an affair. I know MANY marriages where spouses were treated very well, and the well treated spouse still has an affair. Gary, I agree with your comments too. Also, regarding the Hosea scripture, yes God said go an love your wife. Hosea also said ‘you will no longer play the harlot”. That part is always left out. There is too much greasy grace in this video. I am glad they were restored also, but how about talking about actual consequences instead of being so vague? As far as the pastor…well, I don’t know if I can call it abuse. She seems to be an intelligent woman. I would say the pastor was able to influence her into the affair more due to his position, but I really don’t want to use the abuse word. I think it gets thrown around a bit too often. There is a different dynamic between this and what DP has done, but that’s just my opinion.

    Like

  5. Yea, I figured as much, but I just didn’t want to capitalize it because I don’t think God was responsible for it 🙂 But I did go back and fix it. Thanks, wftt2 🙂

    Like

  6. Yes, JA and GW—- God orchestrated it….did you not know that??? and……
    The Gospel Coalition is there to put any marriage back the pieces. Such fine men.

    Like

  7. Kandace ends saying something along the lines of I can’t do this. I am not going to fault her for this, and not doubt it is a true statement given the circumstances. However, the underlying presupposition seems to be that we have no ability to make and act out good moral choices. The implication is that the offending pastor could not have helped himself. The implication is that we are robots under the control of an all-powerful God upon Who who orchestrates evil for His Own purposes and glory.

    None of this is to fault Nathan and Kandace. They are entitled to more credit than they claim for themselves. It was by and in cooperation with their own humility and love that God worked and appears to be working a great miracle in their lives.

    But where was this “church” in all of this? Why were Nathan and Candace left, unaided, to sort out the destruction worked by this so-called churches “pastor?” Where is any offer by this “church” of restitution? Is this “church” paying for counseling? Has this “church” publicly accepted any scintilla of responsibility for what its “pastor” perpetrated? Maybe this “church” has taken responsibility, and is rendering restitution in ways we are not being told, but it would greatly surprise me.

    My own best guess is that this “church” is doing nothing to restore. Rather, I would guess that Kandace is most likely under church discipline for the role she played in fall of this “pastor,” who otherwise would have fulfilled the great destiny to which he was called. I hope I am wrong.

    Like

  8. It clearly isn’t a telling of the whole story, but a focusing on the grace of God this couple found, when they decided to work on their marriage after her confession. If she was the initiating party, would that shift this from abuse to adultery?

    Like

  9. “If she was the initiating party, would that shift this from abuse to adultery?”

    I don’t think so, at least not in the sense that the “pastor” is somehow exonerated, or in the sense that he is somehow held to a lower standard of accountability for his failure to act in accordance with a heightened standard that must be shouldered by anybody and everybody who claims leadership of or authority over another. Regardless of who is the initiating party, whenever anybody in a position of leadership or authority engages in a physically and/or emotionally adulterous relationship with one who is under them, it is abuse.

    Like

  10. That struck me too, that there is no active church participation obvious. It straddles the fence between abuse and adultery. I would say that trying to do something as grand as creating an adoption agency is something that will create vulnerability elsewhere in Kandace’s psyche. And is she under discipline? By who’s authority? I would not trust the lot of these useless pastors, they should have been aware of this guy’s activities. And to just fire the pastor? They are just cutting him loose into another ministry? Where is the grace and love and discipline for him?

    Like

  11. There’s a lot of the story missing. I know it’s not their point to go into the details but it’s supposed to be about grace and mercy and restoration, etc. But in order to judge it properly, we’d need the whole story. How did the affair start? Who instigated it? What happened with the minister? So many other questions.

    Like

  12. Julie Anne–this issue is very important to me. I have a friend who was the pastor’s personal secretary ( this church employed three secretaries). She had an “affair” with the Pastoral Assistant…who was a recent new hire. She described it to me as a situation of being deceived by a man’s lies. The assistant was fired. She repented. Her husband ( an elder) has forgiven her.

    If you have any more information ( hopefully legal definitions) that would tie this to clergy sexual abuse I would greatly appreciate it.

    Like

  13. Hi Julie Anne,
    Longtime reader here. (Waves from Canada.)
    In answer to your question:
    “Let me ask your question with a question. In the secular world, if a boss has an affair with an employee, who is at fault?”

    I’m thinking the person who started it.

    I meant to clarify further, but pressed the enter too soon. The video clip isn’t clear who the initiating party was. Whether the situation be of a secular or non-secular nature, or possess equal or unequal balances of power, the initiator is firstly responsible therefore, firstly at fault.

    Like

  14. A pastor is in a position of authority and influence. Anytime anyone in any position of authority and influence acts inappropriately with someone else, they bear the greater responsibility and consequences.

    Very smart people get taken in when they are vulnerable emotionally, weakened physically, or too trusting. But how many of us has ever escaped being too trusting? Probably not many of us because knowing when to trust and when not to gets murky when we least expect it … like when we are relating with a spiritual leader, a friend, a trusted teacher/preacher/advisor, someone whose been trustworthy before, etc…

    Pastors have flocks that they are to care for. Even if a “sheep” came on to him, it’s the pastor’s responsibility to the mature one, the wise one, the disciplined one to resist and redirect the sheep. He works with people, which is messy of course, so he should be well prepared to deal with a person who is not at their most mature or at their best.

    Like

  15. Some companies have a “No Fraternization Policy”. The understood reason is that the boss’ position creates undo pressure and influence. Even in companies where relationships are allowed to develop, they still have policies against fraternizing with anyone who is a direct report.

    Like

  16. I hope I am not being too judgemental about this video but I have some observations.
    I hear many “I”s from the wife but not one thing about the harm to the husband. It seems to be all about her.

    The marketing aspect of this video can’t be overlooked.
    At the beginning I thought “Ok, these 2 will now have a ministry” and then she make the comment to confirm. Even when she looks at her husband there is something strange. I would not want anyone to judge me, but she does not appear as one who hurt her husband. It is all about HER restoration, what he did for HER…something seems off- It is obvious that she is physically attractive and they just seem unmatched. And why are they now on this video? What are they promoting?

    Is someone suggesting this is Pastoral abuse?
    I can’t agree. This woman has no feelings in this video for her husband, only herself. That’s how it appears to me. She was a willing party. She was not getting her needs met from her husband. Her husband admitted he did not love her properly. But I think he seems to be taking the blame more than she is.

    Like

  17. Julie Anne,

    You asked,

    Let me answer your question with a question. In the secular world, if a boss has an affair with an employee, who is at fault?

    In my state, the higher ranking person is at fault NO MATTER WHO INITIATED. The higher ranking person is seen as having more power in the relationship.

    I have a friend who prosecuted her boss legally (with the state’s encouragement) because she was seduced by his attention and favoritism.

    Every pastor has to be aware of this. If you have any kind of power over a person (their job, their pay, their acceptance in a spiritual community), then the romantic relationship is not equal.

    Like

  18. PS– She says “I knew I got myself into something I could not get myself out of”.

    With a grown attractive woman not getting her se+ual needs met by her husband–with older kids–why are we blaming the Pastor?

    Like

  19. I was talking about something similar at Wartburg Watch a few days ago (in this thread, at least I’m pretty sure that’s the thread).

    I got criticized or some disagreement from a few people for pointing out stuff about single women. Unmarried women tend to get more stereotyped than married ones in some areas (sexual ones).

    Often times in Christian books, sermons, and blogs by Christians about relationships, married men (and sometimes single ones) are warned to stay away from unmarried women.

    I’m not quite sure if it’s more that Christians like to maintain the notion that married men lack sexual self control, of it it’s more Christian (and Non Christian) suspicion that single women are more sexually loose and target married males.

    I pointed out on that blog that this ends up isolating single Christian women (and in some contexts, Non Christian single women too, in Non Christian society). When you treat all single women like potential man stealing hussies, it has the effect of cutting women off from fellowship and friendship.

    A person or two at TWW responded that no, this is about all women equally, not just single ones (I disagree – single women get hit harder with some of these “Jezebel/ temptress” stereotypes.

    Many evangelical or Baptist Christians assume married people are getting their sexual urges met by a spouse and are therefore not as prone to sexual temptation / lust as they perceive the unmarried to be.
    This assumption is one reason evangelical churches will not use singles as teachers in churches, they assume the single will hit on and bed half the students in a class).

    Several also said keeping single women away from preachers is “about appearances,” it’s to protect the preacher’s reputation (they don’t consider this stereotype is damaging the single women’s reputation by assuming she will sleep with the preacher or hit on him, so singles must be kept away from men). They are in effect upholding and defending bias against single women on that precept.

    Here JA has posted a story about a preacher (who is married, I take it? Most are, because most (evangelical) churches won’t hire a single guy), who hit on and suckered a vulnerable married woman.

    I could dream up a harmful stereotype that married women cannot and should not be trusted around preachers (or any man, but in particular married ones) now, so married women should never, ever be permitted to be around married preachers because they are temptations.

    Because golly, every time you see a married woman walking out of a married preacher man’s office, you just know that they were having sex, and you know the married woman initiated it, *wink wink*.

    Most people would find those assumptions and solutions (‘keep all married women away from men because they cannot be trusted’) insulting, and I agree… but these very things are often assumed by a lot of Christians about unmarried women.

    Like

  20. What’s missing? The truth A-Z. This has nothing to do with grace at all, and neither does the Gospel Coalition. I am convinced we are witnessing the antinomian spirit of Antichrist predicted for the last days. I would not even know where to start in pointing out the error of this presentation, so I will point to one element: per the usual, this Neo-Gnostic religion is great for people who have money. Gnosticism has always been a rich man’s game. What about the typical couple who could not afford to just drop everything and go to a freaking beach for seven days? Poor little her, she just wanted to walk into the waves underlooking their 400 dollar a night Hotel room. These people enable me to understand why there is a hell.

    Like

  21. I sat in front of women at church that distracted almost every man around them with their dress and behavior. Some women would run their fingers through their husbands hair and I believe purposely tempt other men at church.
    How about the ones with the mini skirts or exposing cleavage?
    I was in a megachurch and this went on all the time.
    People would say that since the church drew in so many non-believers we can’t really expect anything else.
    I would literally pray for these women in front of me who were probably distracting my husband. After they would stop with the hair, theu would start massaging their backs. I can’t tell you how much this went on.

    A woman like this can’t cause a man to stumble? It has to be his fault?

    Like

  22. My rant is not done. Notice my friends what her REAL sin was. The adultery? No, no, no. Yes my friends, her sin was MINISTRY! Her only real sin was thinking that she could do a work that pleased God–that led to her downfall. Yes, not knowing that “we can do nothing.” This is right out of Luther/Calvin theology. It utterly ejects the new birth. True repentance is “repenting from good works.”

    Like

  23. @ Hannah said
    “A woman like this can’t cause a man to stumble? It has to be his fault?”

    It doesn’t matter if the women in the pews up front of your sweetie are buck naked and winking at him seductively: it’s his responsibility to control his behavior and actions, not other women.

    I’ve had men hit on me when I thought I looked AWFUL and was in no way flirting with them.

    I have had men mistake my platonic friendly chit chat for torrid, steamy flirting when it was no such thing.

    Some men are hideous at reading female intent or are so desperate for a GF, they assume ALL female interaction is flirting. Why should women get blamed for the social awkwardness or social cluelessness of men?

    It’s like when I’m dieting and my pal eats a bag of potato chips in front of me. If I cave in and eat chips too, it’s ultimately my fault and responsibility for eating the chips, not my friend for eating the chips.

    Some men cruise the internet looking for porn, no woman is pushing them to go looking for it.

    I’m tired of females being held accountable for male sexual failures.

    These men that have affairs have sexual self control but choose not to use it.
    Says the 40 year old virgin, never married woman, who had a fiance for years and had plenty opportunity to have sex numerous times but still abstained,
    Daisy

    Like

  24. Julie Anne, I have a question for you. Biblically speaking, does a pastor have spiritual authority (or some other form of authority) over church members?

    Like

  25. AnotherTom,

    I know I am not Julie Anne, and forgive me for butting in, but my view is that, in the typical church setting, pastors act and and are related to on the basis of an arrogated, de facto, compulsory authority, although they do not possess actual, de jure, God given authority. They are to be held accountable on the basis of what the profess to possess. they cannot be excused on the basis that they are claiming to act on the basis of authority that does not actually belong to them. That would be like saying that a murderer is to be absolved of responsibility for having committed the murder with a stolen gun.

    Like

  26. @ Another Tom
    “Biblically speaking, does a pastor have spiritual authority (or some other form of authority) over church members?”

    I would say no, but a lot of churches behave as though they do.

    They are certainly in positions of influence, and particularly over troubled, trusting church members. They can easily exploit their perceived or assumed authority.

    Like

  27. (off topic, kind of)
    Holy cow:

    From Under Much Grace blog:

    Some homeschooling advocates claim that Jesus was homeschooled by the Father in heaven, long before creation and human history, during His development period (Doug Phillips in at homeschooling conferences in the late ‘90s). And some maintain that Jesus does not have the authority to hear an answer prayer but only delivers prayer to the Father (Bruce Ware in private communications to verify his beliefs).

    Source
    (“A Brief Overview of the Development of Eternal Subordination of the Son Doctrine: What You Must Believe to Fully Embrace the Danvers Statement”)

    Like

  28. Hi AnotherTom: Ok, I have done my Black Friday shopping (dodged crowds and got my boys their yearly supply of socks 50% off- woohoo) and have eaten a plate full of Thanksgiving leftovers, I can now respond 🙂

    I used to believe pastors had spiritual authority – – the “spiritual” part is an important distinction. In the Bible, we read about spiritual authorities ruling over people, however, when you dig deeper, the original language is not rule over, but guide. I wrote a couple of articles where I tore apart Hebrews 13:17 – -one of the most commonly used verses pastors use to exert their authority. They are wrong.

    Now, if you are talking church governance, that’s a different story. I think when someone becomes a member, signs the dotted line to agree to follow church guidelines and rules, then church leaders would have authority of you (but you agreed to that by signing the dotted line).

    For the record, I have not signed any dotted line at my current church and don’t plan on it.

    Like

  29. “Shannon – – you could say that about everybody who joins a cult and stays in one. But who is ultimately at fault?”

    Everybody is ultimately responsible for their own actions unless they’re forced into something (for instance being kidnapped) or are a child and doesn’t know better. (And I’d include those adults who have never been allowed to grow up (patriarchy) and are as children.)

    Could they both have exercised self-control? Could one have got out when things heated up?

    Like

  30. Thanks Julie Anne, Gary and Daisy for your responses.

    As you all likely surmised, the question behind my question was regarding how spiritually abusive behavior relates to the presumed authority of the abuser (in the minds of both the the abuser and the abused). Our culture does indeed imbue pastors with a form of authority that goes beyond what they actually possess from a biblical standpoint. When we (Christians in general) are aware of their position as guides and servants rather than seeing them as possessing power over us, we are less likely to feed into abusive and authoritarian behaviors and systems.

    I hurt so much for those who have been hurt by men who set themselves up as rulers over others and then abuse the role of trust people place in them. I have not experienced a level of mistreatment in churches that I would consider blatantly abusive, but I have experienced some small measure of what it is like to be silenced and criticized when asking sincere and reasonable questions by leaders with an authoritarian mindset (so common in many churches today). My heart truly goes out to those who have experienced serious spiritual abuse. I would therefore never want to be among those who blame the abused for the abuse they have received. Nor do I want to see people heaping guilt upon themselves rather than recognizing the faults of their abusers.

    But in my own experience, I know it doesn’t help me much to put significant energy into focusing on what others have done that they shouldn’t or haven’t done that they should. I can never control the actions of others. I sometimes barely seem to be good at exercising self-control over my own actions. On good days, I can try to focus on having positive reactions to what others do and to the circumstances I am faced with. Focusing on my own actions and reactions keeps me humble and gracious concerning the faults of others and is, for me, a more productive use of mental, emotional and spiritual energy than focusing elsewhere. While there is nothing wrong with saying “what so-and-so did hurt me,” (and we should always listen with compassion to the stories of those who have been hurt), in my own life I prefer to focus on what I can control (myself) rather than what I cannot (others). However, because those who would be teachers of others are indeed to be held to a higher standard than others, and because we should seek justice for those who are oppressed, I do feel it is important to speak out against the abuses or other wrongs of pastors / teachers when I see them causing harm to others.

    All that said, I am bothered by some responses to the video. It saw it as a beautiful testimony of the love and mercy and grace of God at work in the hearts of the couple, both of whom acknowledge their own sins in their marriage. I see no reason to be critical of what they did or didn’t say. Had either of them made reference to the wrongdoing of the pastor, it could have come across as attempting to minimize their own sins and their own responsibilities. I personally find it encouraging that they did not say anything negative about the pastor, even though they might well have reason to feel their trust was betrayed by someone who was supposed to be a spiritual shepherd. The woman focused only on what she herself did wrong, and her husband focused only on his own wrongs. Unlike Adam or Eve in the garden, they each blamed no one but themselves, and they demonstrated grace toward each other and spoke of the power of God to heal. With so many church leaders and members today seeking to divert attention away from their own failings and blame others, I find it refreshing that these two simply admitted they messed up.

    Like

  31. What underlying message does she or he inevitably believe when they fail to acknowledge clergy abuse?

    The Pastor is a God, and Gods Can Do No Wrong?

    Like

  32. Catherine Thiemann
    November 29, 2013 @ 8:01 AM

    What is missing: acknowledgement of the pastor’s abusive behavior. When power is unequally shared, there is no possibility of meaningful consent. When a pastor seeks or agrees to a sexual relationship with a congregant, he violates his ministerial role and her vulnerability. What happened to Kandace wasn’t an “affair,” it was clergy sexual abuse.
    I am very glad that Kandace and Nathan were able to renew their marriage. That is a blessing from God, and it will be a big part of Kandace’s healing. But I hope one day she will understand that the shame was never hers. The shame belongs wholly to her pastor.
    _________

    I think what needs to happen is that “sensitivity-training” trainers need to go into churches and educated the clergy, staff and congregants on sexual harrassement and sexual assault, just like they do on college campuses and in professional work places.

    Its blatantly obvious these people have no concept of “power dynamics” and what constitutes consent and what differentiates it from non-consensual activity.

    Like

  33. I’m sorry and maybe I am over reacting here… Some of the comments here were not very gracious…

    1) The issue of abuse of consensual – I don’t know of course, we are only getting one side of the discussion. In some cases, even if consensual, yes, the pastor may have been at fault. On the other hand, the pastor was disciplined by loosing his job, the affair came out.

    2) Greasy Grace (what does that mean?)? Really? Do we really presume to know the heart of the husband or the wife? I sure don’t. I recently heard Phillip Yancy speak at a conference. He said something like “Jesus raised the moral bar really high…. And lowered the Grace bar really low”. The wife indicated that the 7 days wasn’t enough… Marriage counseling needs to take place, etc.

    3) God’s Sovereignty “caused” – One of the reasons I have problems with those that hold the view — it puts God (if the “god” being portrayed is really God) in the position of causing “entrapment”… Isn’t one Enemy enough? We need to add God to the mix?

    4) Yeah, the “promotion’ end of the video bugged me a bit as well.

    5) Thumbs up to the comment which suggested men need to be held accountable for their own actions.

    6) Your pastor only gets as much “spiritual authority” as you give them…. At some point, it becomes idolatry (IMO).

    As a male, my wife and I have been support for several friends who have gone through divorce for various reasons. It is never easy. On some level, the video was quite encouraging.

    Like

  34. @Gary W wrote: “Only 1:30 into the video, stopping to comment. Nathan says God was orchestrating everything! The pastor is free from blame!! it’s all God’s fault, er, um, I mean doing!!!”

    That is not at all the way I took it but as I mentioned above, I have a bit of different view on that sort of thing.

    My read on what was orchestrated was that Nathan realized he was complicit in any of the marital problems a month ahead of time. The wife didn’t blame him (that I remember) but God was already preparing his heart for the revelation of the affair.

    Like

  35. The pastor at my hometown church once shared an anecdote from his time in seminary. At the time, there were only three single men in the class including my pastor. One day, seemingly out of the blue, the professor started talking about adultery. He asked the class who thought they could possibly have an affair. The three single men raised their hands. The professor responded “Thank you gentlemen for your honesty. It is those with their hands in their laps I am worried about. No one is immune to sin, regardless of marital status.” Grace is an incredible gift but hiding behind it and refusing to acknowledge the original problem is not healthy.

    I also agree with what Daisy said earlier in this thread. It is far too easy for women, especially single women, to be blamed for problems in the church. At the end of the day men have to control their actions just as much as women do. Over the course of 14 flights in 6 weeks, I quickly learned that I needed to wear a fake engagement ring to keep unwanted attention away. And I promise you that I was not dressed in a remotely sexy manner. At the same time I also knew that throwing a hissy fit on board an airplane wouldn’t get me anywhere. It would be nice to live in a society where women didn’t always have to be on guard and worried about protecting themselves.

    Oh, and that fake engagement ring is no longer fake. 🙂

    Like

  36. JoelFrederick- Greasy grace- Everybody sins, no ‘blaming’ cause we all sin…I know I did something wrong but it’s okay, God is gracious, He will forgive me…don’t point fingers, don’t talk about others sins, don’t bring it up, forgive and forget’…all of this I continually heard in my old church, while sin ran rampant in ministries and with ministry leaders, all under the guise of ‘grace’.

    Like

  37. Hmm. Her last line? I spent my whole life trying to be good, and trying to improve. It was very refreshing to be able to say – I can’t do this. I completely surrendered to the Grace of God.

    Its a little OT, but certain places of worship to place an extreme amount of pressure to their view of doing good – improving yourself. There is nothing wrong with that on the surface okay? Its the definitions you get that shows how to be good, and improving yourself. The ministry she mentioned is one of them, and she doesn’t mention what she really got OUT of the reading she did.

    Also – I’m glad they are working to move past this – so don’t get me wrong here. Notice also these ministries don’t really concentrate on those individuals that had relationships tore apart, and God came behind them to forge a new path. They always present the one type of GRACE and restoration, and that bothers me to no end. Paul never would have made their video series with his past history for example.

    Like

  38. AnotherTom

    You ask @ NOVEMBER 29, 2013 @ 12:27 PM…
    “Biblically speaking, does a pastor have spiritual authority
    (or some other form of authority) over church members?”

    And I appreciate your heart @ NOVEMBER 29, 2013 @ 2:57 PM
    “I hurt so much for those who have been hurt by men
    **who set themselves up as rulers over others**
    and then abuse the role of trust people place in them.”

    Was wondering – Biblically speaking…
    (And these questions might help answer your first question about pastors.)

    Biblically speaking – From the Bible…
    Can you name one of His Disciples who had the “Title/Position”
    pastor/leader/reverend? Or, shepherd/leader/reverend?

    Biblically speaking – From the Bible…
    Can you name one of His Disciples who “Called Them Self”
    pastor/leader/reverend? Or, shepherd/leader/reverend?

    Biblically speaking – From the Bible…
    Can you name one of His Disciples who “Called Another Disciple”
    pastor/leader/reverend? Or, shepherd/leader/reverend?

    Like

  39. @A Amos Love

    Jeremiah 23:3 God indicated his purpose to set up shepherds over his people
    Ephesiahs 4:11 God fulfills his purpose to give pastors (shepherds) to his church

    I certainly assume (but have no way of proving) that the shepherds he gave his church were taken from people who were his disciples; I cannot imagine Jesus giving his church shepherds who were not under his training.

    Like

  40. I pastor an EFCA church. I could not watch the video as Vimeo is blocked on my router but I have a few thoughts. (First time poster here, so please be nice! No, actually I can handle healthy criticism, so let me have it!)

    I tend to agree with JA and others who believe that the one in the higher position of authority is at fault. If it were a counselor/counselee relationship it would be a no-brainer, so why not pastor/congregant?

    I also agree that anyone can sin at any time. No one is ever immune, including me. Scares the heck out of me.

    I do find it interesting though that JA does not assign pastors any authority but still holds them fully accountable for abusing their “authority.” Could you please help me understand that subtle distinction?

    I think Matt 18 and 1 Cor. 5 clearly teach church governance/authority regardless whether you have signed a church membership covenant or not. Many other passages teach it as well.

    Having said that, I know full well that pastors/elders are guilty of pride and abuse at every turn. This also scares the heck out of me. A healthy leadership is my number one priority as a pastor. Without that, we have nothing-no gospel, no witness, no ministry. It all comes crumbling down. I am sorry that so many seem to have been hurt by their church leadership.

    Also, why is there so much hatred of TGC in this forum? I guess if they seemed to hijack the story with an advertisement that might turn some people off, but why not mention a ministry which is helping them?

    Thanks for any feedback.

    Like

  41. Hi Rich:

    Sorry, I was away for a bit and am now catching up. Welcome to the blog and I love your comment and great questions. I’ll do my best 🙂

    (First time poster here, so please be nice! No, actually I can handle healthy criticism, so let me have it!)

    I like you already – ha!

    I do find it interesting though that JA does not assign pastors any authority but still holds them fully accountable for abusing their “authority.” Could you please help me understand that subtle distinction?

    Great question. This is my favorite definition, so I’m going to cheat and copy it here:

    Spiritual Abuse: Spiritual abuse is a spiritual role-reversal where a shepherd, instead of clinging to and emulating the Great Shepherd by shepherding God’s people (Acts 20; 1 Peter 5; 1 Timothy 3; Ephesians 4), subtly demands that members exist to meet the shepherd’s needs (James 4:1-4). Rather than relating as a servant leader, the pastor “pulls rank” and “lords it over others” (Matthew 20:20-28; 1 Peter 5:1-6), not for the benefit of the flock, but for the benefit of the pastor. Rather than speaking the truth in love and rather than ministering grace and truth (Ephesians 4:11-16, 29; Colossians 4:3-6; Titus 2:10-12), the spiritually abusive pastor intimidates, judges, condemns, shames, and blames the sheep without regard for the spiritual wellbeing of the sheep (Jeremiah 23:1-4; Matthew 23:1-39). Definition from Bob Kellemen, Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition

    Also, why is there so much hatred of TGC in this forum? I guess if they seemed to hijack the story with an advertisement that might turn some people off, but why not mention a ministry which is helping them?

    Another great question. Speaking only for me, I have problems with this group in that they have behaved poorly when it comes to the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit. They have continued to publicly endorse Mahaney, allow him to speak at their conferences, etc. In the secular world, if someone was under investigation for similar situation, they would either be put on administrative leave or would have removed themselves so as not to be a distraction. The man has had so many pastors speaking out against him, countless stories of abuse in churches, sex abuse coverups. He needs to step down NOW (years ago, actually).

    I have issues with the New-Calvinist doctrine many TGC guys hold to and the big emphasis many of them have on the subject of complementarianism, making it a primary doctrinal issue when it is not.

    Like

  42. I hope you will allow this Calvinist/complementarian (balanced, though, I would like to believe) to keep hanging out here. 🙂

    What would you recommend for a healthy, comprehensive source for the SG/Mahaney issue? I have read things here and there but it sounds like you know much more. Thank you.

    Like

  43. Welcome graceviroqua!

    Of course you are welcome here. Have you checked out sgmsurvivors.com blog? That site has a lot on it. I have quite a bit under 2 categories (check my sidebar for categories) Sovereign Grace Ministries and Sovereign Grace Ministries Lawsuit. C.J. Mahaney also has a category listed. http://www.brentdetwiler.com is another site to check out.

    Like

  44. Hi Jay

    I can agree with your statement – And your focus on **his disciples;**
    “I certainly assume (but have no way of proving)
    that **the shepherds** he gave **his church**
    were taken from people who were **his disciples;**

    The question then becomes – If that statement is accurate…

    How are “WE?” His Body? His Ekklesia? His Church? His Disciples?
    His Called Our Ones? His Ambassadors? His Body? His Kings and Priests?
    You and Me? – Supposed to Recognize? – And Know?
    Today? – Now? – In “The Religious System” you are a part of?

    Who are the shepherds Jesus gives to “WE?” His Ekklesia? His Church?

    If “WE,” go to The Bible for that answer? What do “WE,” His Ekklesia, find?

    That’s why I asked the questions – And I’ll ask again – From the Bible…
    Can you, Jay, name one of *His Disciples* who had the “Title/Position”
    Can you, Jay, name one of *His Disciples* who “Called Them Self”

    pastor/leader/reverend? As “WE” see today?

    Lots of folks today have that “Title/Position” pastor/leader/reverend. Yes?

    But – In The Bible…
    NOT one of *His Disciples* had the “Title” – pastor/leader/reverend.
    NOT one of *His Disciples* called them self – pastor/leader/reverend.

    If someone today has the “Title,” or calls them self, pastor/leader/reverend

    Are they one of *His Disciples?*

    Like

  45. Jay

    Seems to me…
    In the Bible, shepherds are NOTHING like todays pastor/leader/reverend.
    Any shepherds given by God – Were Anonymous – NOT known or revealed.

    Can you name one of His Disciples who called them self shepherd? 😉

    In The Bible – Can you find – Any…
    Shepherds who had “Titles” – “Pastor/Leader/Reverend?”
    Shepherds who called themselves – “Pastor/Leader/Reverend?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves – as a “Special Clergy Class?”
    Shepherds who promoted *His Sheep* as lesser “Lay people?”

    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Leaders?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Church Leaders?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Spiritual Leaders?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Christian Leaders?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Leaders to be Obeyed?”

    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Spiritual Authority?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “God Ordained Authority?”

    Shepherds who separated from the flock, wearing different, special, clothes?
    Shepherds who were – Hired and Fired – by congregations?
    Shepherds who would move from one congregation to another?
    What’s up with that?
    Shepherds who would “Exercise Authority” over another Disciple?
    Shepherds who had their own private parking space. 🙂

    Well, you get the drift…
    NOT much of what todays pastor/leader/reverend gets paid for or does…
    Is In The Bible… 😉

    Paul taught – ALL can, and are expected to, patriciate. 1 Cor 14:26.
    “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together,
    every one of you hath a psalm, hath a *doctrine, (A *Teaching)
    hath a tongue, hath a *revelation, (*Concerning things before unknown.)
    hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.”

    But today, pastors are “Hired” to do the teaching – Weak after Weak…
    And – His Body, His Church, becomes weaker – Weak after Weak…

    Paid – Professional – Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews…

    Prevent – Public – Participation – and – Promote – Passive – Pew – Potatoes….

    Procuring – Power – Profit – Prestige – for the Prevailing – Parsing – Pastor…

    And Jesus taught there is “ONE” Shepherd… Go figure… 😉

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

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

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

    Like

  46. If God has said he would give shepherds to his sheep, and it is recorded in Ephesians that he HAS given shepherds (pastors) to his church, then it seems rather plain that the one whom he charged with care of his sheep (John 21:15-17) was among the first pastors, and those to whom that one wrote (1 Peter 5:1-4) who were also charged to pastor God’s flock are among those who continued with that task and position. It is clear that some among the number of those who were charged with pastoring the flock would be unfaithful (Acts 20:28-31). And Jesus made it clear that when his sheep heard someone who was a false shepherd, they would not listen, but would run away (John 15:5).

    So, yes, Biblically, there were a number of people who were given the task of pastoring or shepherding the sheep, whose call came from God and was affirmed by the sheep who found them to be faithful.

    And, yes, I would think those who are faithful shepherds today are among his disciples. I sure don’t think that he would appoint someone who was not under his training and discipline to shepherd his flock.

    Like

  47. Jay

    You write…
    “then it seems rather plain that the one whom he charged with care of his sheep (John 21:15-17) was among the first pastors,”

    Well, maybe? – Maybe Simon Peter “was among the first pastors,”
    You call him one – does the Bible mention Simon Peter as a pastor?
    And, as I said, if he was he remained – Anonymous – NOT known or revealed.

    Seems, in the Bible, Simon Peter NEVER told anyone he was a shepherd. 😉
    Now, here’s a guy who can keep a secrete… 😉

    Simon Peter – NEVER – Took the “Title” or called himself – shepherd.

    And – Jesus asked Simon Peter – to feed *MY Sheep* – Jesus’ “Sheep”
    NOT call himself shepherd or pastor.

    Big difference between feeding His sheep – And taking the “Title” pastor.

    Close by where I live, there is a petting zoo. Some animals are out-side, some in cages. One out-side area contains a small Flock of Sheep. Cute little guys. And a machine where I put in a couple of quarters and out comes some food pellets. Yup – Lots of fun feeding their sheep.

    Now does that make Amos a shepherd? Do I put that on my resume? 😉

    And – If I’m to look to a Mere Fallible Human as “MY” shepherd…
    How do “WE,” His Body? His Called Out Ones? His Church?
    Know or determine “who are faithful shepherds today?” As you call them…
    From the Bible?

    Like

  48. MissDaisyflower

    If you were responding to my posts perhaps you misunderstood.
    I was not holding single women responsible for attracting males in church to sin, I was simply saying that if a woman chooses to draw attention to herself by creating a display of overt physical display in public in church (rather than keep that in the marriage bed), it is a stumbling block for men.

    I am not saying men will do anything other than be distracted at church by women who are keen on knowing full well that they are acting inappropriately. But it is a form of stimulation for them much as watching the same thing in a movie. I believe these women should be called out on what they are doing to attract other wive’s husbands. I do think it is a conscience thing they are doing. I have seen it too much.

    Like

  49. Jay

    You also write…
    “and those to whom that one wrote (1 Peter 5:1-4)
    who were also charged to pastor God’s flock…”

    Well, you must be using a different Bible version. I can find different versions that say – Tend God’s flock, Feed God’s flock, shepherd God’s flock. But NOT one version where someone is “charged to pastor God’s flock.”

    Here’s 1 Peter 5:1-5 KJV…
    1 – The elders which are among you I exhort,
    who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ,
    and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
    2 – Feed the flock of God which is among you,
    taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly;
    not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
    3 – Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but ensamples to the flock.
    4 – And when the chief Shepherd shall appear,
    ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
    5 – Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
    Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility:
    for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

    So, these “Elders” are asked to be an example to the flock. Yes? Verse 3?

    And – I like the example they set – For ALL of us. For “WE,” His Body – Because…
    NOT one “Elder” had the “Title/Position” pastor, or leader, or reverend.
    NOT one “Elder” called them self – shepherd, or leader, or reverend.

    Seems the “Title” Shepherd/Leader/Reverend, Is reserved for {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    And I really like 1 Pet 5:5 KJV, “ALL of you be subject one to another,”
    And subject is the same Greek word for “Submit” in the same verse.

    Ever try sharing that verse with “Senior Pastors, or Leaders, or Reverends?” 😉
    And “Teaching” them – ALL believers are to “Submit” one to another?
    And “Teaching” them – They are to be “clothed with humility” NOT “Titles.”

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

    Seems, in the Bible, the “Title” Shepherd/Leader/Reverend, Is reserved for

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

    Like

  50. “Well, you must be using a different Bible version. I can find different versions that say – Tend God’s flock, Feed God’s flock, shepherd God’s flock.”

    The word “pastor” and the word “shepherd” are synonymous, both in the noun and the verb forms. There is no distinction, so no matter which translation is used, and which of these two words, it is saying the same thing.

    Again, God promised to give his flock shepherds; it is recorded that he fulfilled that promise in Ephesians 4; Peter is given the task of tending God’s sheep (that, by the way, is what a shepherd does); Peter instructs other elders (and he, too, is one) that they are supposed to shepherd/pastor God’s flock; the elders at Ephesus were to shepherd and oversee God’s flock. I don’t know why it is so difficult to see that these were particular people. No, I don’t know the names of the elders at Ephesus, and those to whom Peter wrote. But it is obvious that those who were involved knew who they were.

    Who shepherds a flock? Shepherds. The word has both a noun form and a verb form, but in Greek as well as in English, the noun and the verb are essentially the same word. And pastor is the same word (just through Latin, and from there, through Old French). I don’t know what is so difficult about this; it seems rather plain from the Bible to me.

    Like

  51. Jay

    You write…
    “The word “pastor” and the word “shepherd” are synonymous,”

    Well, shepherd and pastor are the “same” Greek word – Poimen.
    Poimen is used 18 times in the NT…

    Poimen, is NEVER used as a “Title” – By one of His Disciples – For themself.
    And Jesus called Himself – The “ONE” shepherd. John 10:16
    And Jesus said – I am the good shepherd… John10:14

    “I don’t know what is so difficult about this;
    it seems rather plain from the Bible to me.” 😉

    His Disciples, Did NOT, refer to themselves as, or take the “Title” shepherd.
    Because, Jesus called Himself – The “ONE” Shepherd – The Good Shepherd.

    Poimen, in the Bible, is used once as a “Title” – Talking about Jesus…

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

    Archipoimen is used once as a “Title” – Talking about Jesus…

    1 Pet 5:4
    And when the *chief Shepherd* shall appear,
    ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

    And this has been my experience with Today’s “Titled” pastors…

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

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

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

    Like

  52. Jay

    If you want to see Poimen, shepherds, in action today…
    With NO “Titles,” NO pulpits, NO pay, NO power…

    Folks tending God’s flock, feeding God’s flock, shepherding God’s flock…

    Just read, and learn from, the varied commenters here…
    As they put forth words of Love, Compassion, Understanding, Wisdom, Exhortation. With out a bunch of rules to follow. Or a bunch of “Traditions of men” to follow, in order to be “Right” with God. In order to “Please” God. You can read them – On this Blog, and other survivor Blogs. 🙂

    As they share thier “Teachings” and “Revelations” – Both men and women.
    His Kings and Priests – His Bride – His Servants – His sons – His Disciples…
    His Ambassadors – His Ekklesia – His Church – His Called Out Ones – His Kids…

    Their purpose being – “ALL things be done unto edifying.”
    And – By love serve one another – Admonish one another…

    As they care for the Abused – Who have been Abused by “Titled” pastors.
    Who used that “Title” to obtain Power and Control over the people.

    That “Title” – pastor/leader/reverend – that – Is NOT in the Bible – And…
    Comes with something “A Little Bit Extra” in “Todays Religious System.”
    Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Recognition, Reputation…

    ALL those things Jesus spoke against.
    All those things Highly Esteemed among men…
    But – Is an abomination in the sight of God.

    Luke 16:15
    And he said unto them,
    Ye are they which justify yourselves before men;
    but God knoweth your hearts:
    for that which is **highly esteemed** among men
    (“Titles”- Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Recognition, Reputation…)
    is abomination in the sight of God.

    Why follow a Mere Fallible Human Shepherd – Who will lead you astray?

    When you can follow Jesus? – The “ONE” Shepherd? – The Good Shepherd?

    MY Sheep – Hear MY Voice – I know them – and – they Follow Me.
    John 10:27

    Like

  53. @Amos

    I don’t deny that Jesus is the ONE shepherd.

    What I deny is that God lied when he promised shepherdS for his sheep, and then said he had given pastorS (shepherdS) to them.

    Jeremiah 23:3 God indicated his purpose to set up shepherds over his people.
    Ephesiahs 4:11 God fulfills his purpose to give pastors (shepherds) to his church.

    Ciao.

    Like

  54. Jay

    And – I do NOT deny that Jesus gives some to be shepherds…
    For the perfecting (Equipping) of the saints, for the work of the ministry,
    for the edifying of the body of Christ: Eph 4:11-12.

    What I deny is, that these shepherds, in the Bible, had the “Title” pastor…
    Or, looked or acted, like the pastor/leader/reverends “WE” see today.

    Of course His Disciples shepherd, feed, tend. – They do it without “Titles.”
    I mean – Aren’t I shepherding, feeding, you on the internet – now?
    Feeding you “the Word of God?” Teaching you with Revelation?
    Revealing to you – NO one, in the Bible, took the “Title” pastor?

    And, in the Bible, only Jesus is known as – Shepherd/Leader/Reverend.

    Aren’t I Equipping you for the work of the ministry? – Without a “Title?”

    And I also pointed out a whole bunch of other folks – Here at SSB…
    Who also shepherd, feed, tend, the flock of God – With-out a “Title.”
    And are very serious about the – “edifying of the body of Christ.”

    That has been so Abused by “Titled” pastors who had Power and Control.

    Seems you want, or need, these “Titles” that are NOT in the Bible.

    In my experience with having been ordained, in “Leadership.” And…
    My experience with the “Title/Position” of **Today’s** “Pastor/Leader,”

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

    An “Idol,” an addiction, difficult to lay down, hard to walk away from.

    And if a “Titled” pastor, says their “Title” is NOT an “Idol”
    Just ask them to lay the “Title” down and walk away from the…
    Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Recognition, Reputation…
    That Comes with that “Title” Today – I double dare you… 😉

    Yup – “Titles” become “Idols” – And…
    If you will NOT bow, and “Submit,” to the one with the “Title,” the “Idol.”
    “Church Discipline” will be on the way…

    Still – Other sheep will “Idolize” that “title” – And will look for guidance…
    From a “Mere Fallible Human” – as shepherd…

    And – NOT – Look to the “ONE” Shepherd and Bishop of their soul…

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

    Like

  55. Rich

    You ask about The Gospel Coalition @ NOVEMBER 30, 2013 @ 4:03 PM…
    “Also, why is there so much hatred of TGC in this forum?”

    Well, for me, I do NOT hate them, they tend toconfirm many of my beliefs…

    Pastors in Power, do NOT like difficult questions…
    And, Pastors in Power do NOT like, or put up with, disenting opinions.

    TGC has a tendency “to delete” comments they do NOT like.
    And “BAN” commenters who ask tough questions they can NOT answer.

    As you can tell from the comments with Jay…
    I can appreciate, and enjoy, a differing opinion – Iron sharpens Irion…
    I look forward to the oppurtunity to share my beliefs, And talk about…

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

    BUT – NOT TGC – I now see The Gospel Coalition as bullies…
    And It’s NOT just me who has experienced this…
    Here’s a blog that allows comments that were deleted anywhere. 🙂

    “The Wartburg Watch”
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/my-comment-was-deleted/

    If you really want to know why TGC is frowned upon.
    Go see TGC in action – Check out this site…
    See how many of the commenters were silenced at TGC…

    One of the biggest understandings with understanding Spiritual Abuse..
    Is how the Abused are “Silenced” by those in Power…
    They have NO voice….

    Spirtual Sounding Board – The Wartburg Watch – and others…
    Allow those who have been abused – A Voice… 🙂

    When you get on the site, Go To Find – hit your command and F key…
    Then write in TGC or Gospel Coalition…
    And see – How many have been deleted by “The Gospel Coalition.”

    Good Hunting – Let me know what you find… 🙂

    Like

  56. Rich,

    You say, “A healthy leadership is my number one priority as a pastor. Without that, we have nothing-no gospel, no witness, no ministry. It all comes crumbling down.”

    I’m not thinking where any such thing is said in Scripture. Eph. 4:11 doesn’t count because apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, pastor describes kinds of service or ministry, not places of leadership. References to various offices don’t count because the word “office” was inserted by the English translators where no such word appears in the Greek. I would sooner say that so many of the problems in the church exist because “expert” leadership has taken over, the priesthood of believers is given short shrift, and each one is NOT allowed to contribute according to his or her gifts, talents, training and experience.

    Have you considered that maybe your number one priority as a pastor should be simply Jesus including introducing people to Jesus, and assisting them in being formed into His image?

    I don’t say any of this to be critical. It’s just that the more I observe of how so called church is done, the more I see that it all built on the traditions of men and not the person of Jesus. Even the word church has been corrupted. I would like to challenge your thinking.

    Like

  57. Amos,

    Yes, so it appears. Although in the interests of granting the benefit of the doubt, maybe they just haven’t checked back.

    Like

  58. Gary W

    GGGRRRAAAAGGHHH…. 😦
    You’re always so much nicer the I am…
    Love – Love – Love – All the time Love….
    “granting the benefit of the doubt,” – What a goody two shoes – Sheesh..

    Well – I gotts a burr in my saddle, A thorn in my flesh,
    A pebble in my shoe, and – An itch that needs some scratchin…

    I’m Annoyed – Yup – Again!!!
    I know, I know. Correct me if you want.

    BUT – Rich, who says – “I pastor an EFCA church.”
    Sounds, at first, like a nice guy and asks the folks here to be nice…
    “First time poster here, so please be nice!”

    Then Rich, ends his comment with a strong, hurtful, abusive, charge…
    Then says – “Thanks for any feedback.”

    And when Rich gets some feedback…
    Then Rich disappears into the blogosphear…

    So, much for Rich saying…
    “No, actually I can handle healthy criticism, so let me have it.”

    I know, I know, I’m a bad, bad, boy – But that was music to my ears…
    Because I do have lots of “healthy criticism” for him and TGC… 😉

    Rich asked about The Gospel Coalition @ NOVEMBER 30, 2013 @ 4:03 PM…
    “Also, why is there so much hatred of TGC in this forum?”

    And “Accused” the commenters here of “so much hatred” of TGC…
    When I do NOT see any “hatred” at all from the commenters here.

    Lots of criticism of TGC – And their abusive doctrines – Those scallywags…
    Some warnings and Reproving their “unfruitful works of darkness” 🙂
    But NOT hatred…

    Eph 5:11
    And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
    but rather *reprove* them.

    So once again with these abusive pastors…
    dis-agreement, dis-like, a different opinion – becomes…..
    HATRED – AAARRRGGGGHHHH

    Rich – Lets talk… If you do NOT want to talk to me…
    Someone who NO longer trusts pastors – At ALL – Because I was ordained…
    But – Loves pastors and warns them constantly…

    Pastors are in a dangerous profession – for them and their families…
    Pastor/leader/reverends have a “Title/Position” NOT found in the Bible.
    And pastors have taken a “Title/Position” that belongs only to Jesus.

    But – You can talk to Gary W.
    I’m fairly certain, he will grant your request. 🙂
    “First time poster here, so please be nice!”

    Like

  59. Amos,

    Thanks for the compliment, but if you think I’m the nice guy as between the two of us, well, I suspect there are those who have dropped by who would disagree. I don’t suppose I could easily find the exchange now, but our friend RD could likely enlighten you.

    That said, it’s just that in Rich’s case I note that there was a 2 day delay between his initial comment and my (our?) response/s. Maybe he just never thought to check back. If you click on Rich’s name in his comment, you will be linked to his church’s website, where you can find a general email address. I’m not interested, but maybe you would like to send him a (possibly) polite email inviting him to come back.

    As to Jay, he certainly seems to think pastor(S) and shepherd(S) means something different than what our Gracious and Loving Lord has in mind with regard to those for whom their place of service (as opposed to their titles and authority) may best be described with the job description of shepherd. I don’t know, but it does seem that Jay may be advocating for the acceptance of the very kinds of “shepherds” and “pastors” who claim coercive authority. I believe it is these who would claim titles and authority that come in for great condemnation:

    “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. (Ezekiel 34:7-10, ESV)

    Like

  60. Gary,
    A fair question.

    “Have you considered that maybe your number one priority as a pastor should be simply Jesus including introducing people to Jesus, and assisting them in being formed into His image?”

    Please allow me to explain how your question and my priorities are one and the same.

    When I say that I seek a “healthy leadership” I mean a group of elders who consistently do the OPPOSITE of most of what is raised as concerns on this board, and others like it. One of my life goals is to have an increasingly thick skin but also correspondingly tender heart; and that these two would grow in tandem. If my skin is thick as an elephant’s hide, then helpful criticism may not penetrate. But if my skin is too thin, I would not be able to handle any feedback whatsoever.

    Moreover, I want to be in a group of elders who can listen and learn from appropriate criticism. Our elders hear it all of the time. And even though far greater than 50% of it is given in an absence of love, we still seek to learn from it. Our elder meetings are always open meetings. Anyone can attend at any time and share whatever they wish. The only exception would be when we need to discuss confidential matters.

    Therefore, elders who are not tough and tender will either be too soft or too abusive. Either extreme will destroy and poison all that we do. This is why we NEVER want to be like the pastors/leaders who are described on this board. My small town has had countless church splits and as far as I can tell, most of the blame should be laid at the feet of the leadership. I knew this when I helped to plant this church 13 years ago and remain committed as ever to maintaining a healthy leadership so that we do not cause more harm to the people in our town. In fact, for the first few years of our church’s existence, I prayed, “Lord, if this church will be a cause of harm to the body of Christ and to your reputation, then kill it.” I no longer pray this prayer but I remain painfully aware of potential harm that can be caused.

    If our leadership is abusive, then we have no witness. I want healthy leaders SO THAT we can “simply…introduce people to Jesus, and assist them in being formed into His image” as you wrote. I AGREE with you that this is our number one priority. But I see churches/pastors who seem to have this as their number one priority as well but ignore the factor of a healthy leadership. You have got to have BOTH or else you will have NEITHER. This is what I meant.

    Re: TGC, I apologize for my use of the word “hatred.” That was a sloppy word to have used. Amos, thanks for your links.

    By the way, I NEVER use the title of pastor and especially loathe reverend. I constantly tell people that I prefer to be called “Rich.” I do prefer children to call me by my last name or pastor Rich, but I always ask adults to call me by my first name. A small percentage, out of habit, still use the pastor title, but they know my preference.

    As you know, this is only my second post on this blog. I don’t plan to check in here often and I certainly don’t read all of the dozens of emails that come to me. Therefore, please do not assume that I cannot handle the feedback simply because I do not immediately respond to your questions. I may choose not to comment ever again, but it does not mean that I fear your questions. It simply means that I have other priorities. Thank you, gentleman.

    Like

  61. Rich,

    Thank you for your comment, which I only have time to acknowledge at the moment. I will try to follow up, hopefully this evening.

    Like

  62. Gary,

    Seems that Amos doesn’t want to come out and play. 🙂

    Just messin’ with ya, Amos! TOTALLY kidding here. It’s a joke, man. Please be nice to me, I have thin skin! 😉

    Like

  63. graceviroqua,

    Being the (balanced) Calvinist/complementarian you identify yourself as being, you may want to consider checking in on the Calvinism Off the Top of Your Head Part 2 thread, but ONLY if you have a desire to overcome that thin skin thing. 🙂

    Like

  64. Rich

    And I also thank you for continuing the conversation.

    Many of the topics you talk about, and how you word them, sounds fine. But, alas, I remain skeptical – To many disappointments with pastors. I’ll need some time to think about what you’ve said and how to respond.

    But – I have been rummaging around on your website at

    “Grace Evangelical Free Church in Viroqua, Wisconsin.”
    http://www.grace-efca.org

    And I do have some major concerns when I look over your Vision page.

    OUR VISION
    A Biblically Healthy Church
    http://www.grace-efca.org/vision.html

    And you list 9 parts to “Our Vision.”

    1. Expositional Preaching
    2. Biblical Theology
    3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News
    4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion
    5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
    6. Biblical Understanding of Membership
    7. Biblical Church Discipline
    8. Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth
    9. Biblical Understanding of Leadership

    But – When I click on each of the nine categories
    The name 9Marks shows up but does NOT go to the 9 Marks site.

    1 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark1)
    2 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark2)
    3 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark3)
    4 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark4)
    5 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark5)
    6 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark6)
    7 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark7)
    8 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark8)
    9 – (http://marks.9marks.org/Mark9)

    You might want to re-do your site to match 9 Marks.
    This page lists the same 9 marks on “YOUR” vision page
    With addresses which will lead folks to each of the 9 categories.

    http://www.9marks.org/what-are-the-9marks/

    Now, I do NOT like Mark Dever, 9 Marks, or their doctrines, teachings, at ALL. Mark Dever and his 9 Marks, has caused much Pain, and Tears, and Spiritual Abuse. Dever also protected C.J. Mahaney. Dever and 9 Marks has created Hyper-authoritarian pastors and leaders and “Church Membership” forms they want folks to sign. Forms written by lawyers to protect their butts. And they are big on “Church Discipline.” Oy Vey!!! 😦

    “Church Discipline???” – Which is NEVER discipline by His Church, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Called Out Ones, His Bride, His sons, His Kings and Priests, His Ambassordors – But Always “Discipline by “Church Leadership.” The ones with the “Titles” and Power, Profit, and Prestige.

    Now, I said all that to ask this….

    Why do you follow, list, Devers 9 Marks of a Healthy Church?

    Why would you call it – “Our Vision”- When it is “Devers Vision,” and “9 marks Vision?”
    Do you agree with everthig Dever does, and stands for?

    Like

  65. Rich – graceviroqua

    If you’re interested – Here are some more links…
    And some info about 9Marks and why I do NOT like them at all…

    They say…
    “the church must retain the right *to refuse someone’s resignation*
    and send them out another way—through excommunication.”

    Sure – “refuse someone’s resignation”
    Yes – Excommunication is a much more loving way… 😉

    NOPE – TGC – Mark Dever and 9 Marks are bullies…

    —————

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/08/05/9marks-church-authority-over-church-members/

    WHY YOU CAN’T LET PEOPLE RESIGN INTO THIN AIR

    When your church made that person a member, you were declaring to the world that this person belongs to the kingdom of Jesus (Mt. 16:18-19). By regarding this person as a member, your church affirmed that he is indeed a “brother” in Christ (1 Cor. 5:11-13).

    If someone **tries to resign*** mid-process in order to “escape discipline,” should the church just let them go? Of course not. That would defeat the whole point of church discipline. Instead, the church must retain the right to refuse someone’s resignation and send them out another way—through excommunication.

    ————–

    http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/2012/02/church-discipline-of-critic-you-get-it.html

    Church Discipline of the Critic – You Get it if You Stay, You Get if You Leave.

    Thursday was the story of a long-time church member, Dr. Nan Hawkes, who is being barred from her mega church and subjected to the church’s disciplinary process and possibly excommunicated from the church for “slander, bickering, and gossip”, and for “offenses of immorality and contempt for the established order of the church”.

    What was her “crime”? She said disparaging remarks about her pastor and one of his family members. And apparently the church doesn’t tolerate people being friends of the pastor’s critics either as Dr. Hawkes’ friend at the church has also been barred from serving in the choir after she sent a letter stating her support for Dr. Hawkes.

    As I included in the quote above from the newspaper article, Dr. Hawkes realizes she could have just left her church, but she decided to stay. She is a believer in Christ and feels compelled to worship at this church despite her differences with the pastor.

    And of course Dr. Hawkes could have avoided all of this and just left the church if she had disagreements with the pastor, right?

    Not so fast, my friend, as Lee Corso likes to say.

    Even the act of leaving a church is now seen by some reformed pastors as being in sin – or worse, not even a believer – requiring corrective church discipline and excommunication. Let me explain.

    ———–

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    Like

  66. Rich

    this comment should have been first – It was stuck in moderation…

    —————

    And I also thank you for continuing the conversation.

    Many of the topics you talk about, and how you word them, sounds fine. But, alas, I remain skeptical – To many disappointments with pastors. I’ll need some time to think about what you’ve said and how to respond.

    But – I have been rummaging around on your website at

    “Grace Evangelical Free Church in Viroqua, Wisconsin.”
    http://www.grace-efca.org

    And I do have some major concerns when I look over your Vision page.

    OUR VISION
    A Biblically Healthy Church
    http://www.grace-efca.org/vision.html

    And you list 9 parts to “Our Vision.”

    1. Expositional Preaching
    2. Biblical Theology
    3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News
    4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion
    5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
    6. Biblical Understanding of Membership
    7. Biblical Church Discipline
    8. Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth
    9. Biblical Understanding of Leadership

    But – When I click on each of the nine categories
    The name 9Marks shows up but does NOT go to the 9 Marks site.

    You might want to re-do your site to match 9 Marks.
    This page lists the same 9 marks on “YOUR” vision page
    With addresses which will lead folks to each of the 9 categories.

    http://www.9marks.org/what-are-the-9marks/

    Now, I do NOT like Mark Dever, 9 Marks, or their doctrines, teachings, at ALL. Mark Dever and his 9 Marks, has caused much Pain, and Tears, and Spiritual Abuse. Dever also protected C.J. Mahaney. Dever and 9 Marks has created Hyper-authoritarian pastors and leaders and “Church Membership” forms they want folks to sign. Forms written by lawyers to protect their butts. And they are big on “Church Discipline.” Oy Vey!!! 😦

    “Church Discipline???” – Which is NEVER discipline by His Church, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Called Out Ones, His Bride, His sons, His Kings and Priests, His Ambassordors – But Always “Discipline by “Church Leadership.” The ones with the “Titles” and Power, Profit, and Prestige.

    Now, I said all that to ask this….

    Why do you follow, list, Devers 9 Marks of a Healthy Church?

    Why would you call it – “Our Vision”- When it is “Devers Vision,” and “9 marks Vision?”
    Do you agree with everthig Dever does, and stands for?

    Like

  67. Rich,

    You certainly come across as one who shepherds, as opposed to one who claims and exercises the office and (coercive) authority of all too many who accept the title of pastor. (Would you be surprised to know that there is no word in the Greek New Testament for “office,” even though “office” appears multiple times in the standard English translations?) If there were more like you, there probably wouldn’t be blogs like this.

    I do not know how it would fit in with your outlook, but the foundation of my theology, in both the formal and general senses of the word, is that God is Love. This in turn means that I just cannot accept so much of what flows from the more generally accepted foundational presupposition that He is primarily motivated by a concern or passion for his glory. That has lead to thinking that makes God a sociopathic/psychopathic, narcissistic terror. The consequence of this blasphemous view of God is that its proponents all too often emulate the god they preach, and become or endeavor to become egocentric, authoritarian, totalitarian dictators. Probably most of the regular readers and participants on this blog, myself mostly excluded, have been abused by one or more of these dictators.

    In keeping with my view that love is the defining characteristic of the God Who is Love, I have come to the conclusion that love, not authority, is to be the organizing principle in all relationships between Christians. It is surprising just how radical this view is in practical application. Except for the earliest years of the faith, men who have arrogated authority that belongs only to Jesus have enslaved His sheep. They now guard their claimed authority with every coercive means short of that which would land them in jail.

    You say you are a busy man and may or may not be back, and that is certainly O.K. However, if you return, and if you are interested, I could share my views of what I think a perfect church, meaning fellowship of Christians, would look like.

    Like

  68. Rich,

    Please allow me to put in a good word on behalf of Amos. Nobody does a better job than Amos when it comes to holding our feet to the fire of what the Bible actually says on a given topic. In the process, he forces us to recognize the difference between what the Bible says and the traditions of men we have always just assumed were Biblical.

    Like

  69. Thanks Gary and Amos, brief reply here.

    I don’t shrink from the calvinist label but do not wear it on my sleeves. Even a few in our body who hate reformed theology agree that I almost never raise the topic and do so only as I work through expository preaching through books.

    Amos, I identify the 9 marks and that we have adopted them as our own. I have wholesale rejected church growth and like some church health. I have read MUCH on the topic (and even from our own denomination) and settled on the 9 marks as the clearest of them all, rather than inventing our own.

    I do not “follow” Dever and have not read anything of his in a while. and all of this was prior to the Mahaney issue. BTW, I have read some of the blogs/links and have a very simple question. Is Mahaney being accused of CREATING a culture where abuse was covered up or actually covering it up? It honestly was not clear to my from my reading. If either could give a BRIEF summary I would appreciate it.

    Gary, thanks for the benefit of the doubt. I will stay clear of the calvinist forum as that would suck me in unnecessarily. Anyway, I have sufficient “skin thickening” opportunities right here in lil’ Viroqua!

    Amos, I could never begin to earn your trust on this forum. We would have to spend much time together. Perhaps you could get a better flavor by listening to a few sermons, if you like. I am sorry that so many shepherds have crossed your path that truly are not worthy of the name.

    You guys will freak at this, but I have self-published a book on church discipline. I’d be glad to send you a copy when it is complete. I am trying to find time to finish some tiny corrections and then will hit the complete button. It is mostly about personal relationships in the church with a little church discipline thrown in.

    Thanks for accepting me here. And Amos, I apologize again that we got off on the wrong foot. Please use Gary’s idea to send me a quick email if I fail to respond after several days. Thanks to both of you for your tenacity and commitment to Christ and His word.

    Like

  70. Rich,

    Spiritual abusers seem to be obsessed with church discipline, so yes, when you mentioned that you have written a book on church discipline I had to choke back the apoplexy. Still, I should be careful. Although murders use guns,not all gun owners are murders.

    I think it was in your first post that you mentioned Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5 in support of the legitimacy of church discipline. Well, Matthew 18:15-17 only addresses conflict resolution as between individual believers. 1 Corinthians 5 addresses how to deal with gross sin. Fine, but it seems like abusers go beyond what is written. It seems they find proof texts from which they can springboard, claiming authority to discipline for purposes of coercive control. I don’t expect you join these wolves in applying the concept of church discipline as an instrument of power and control, but I encourage you to be very, very careful.

    I would be more concerned that you may have, however unwittingly, adopted a working concept of the meaning of “church” which is not Scriptural. Too often “church” is viewed as some sort of organization. This organization is viewed (however consciously or unconsciously) as possessing authority in and of itself. The organization’s supposed authority will be wielded by a hierarchy of one sort or another. While those who claim to wield this authority would deny it, the reality is that organized Christianity in America is very much based on a caste system. People with positions (elders/deacons/board members/pastors, etc.), seminary degrees and strong, overbearing personalities are the Brahmins. The dis-empowerd pew sitters are the dalits/untouchables whose sole function is to pray, pay, stay and obey.

    A tip of the hat to Amos from whom I have unashamedly pirated the phrase “pray, pay, stay and obey.”

    As to your book, I am not disinterested. It’s just that I, like you, have time constraints. Still, if this conversation continues when your book is ready, I would be interested in knowing how to purchase a copy. Will it be available as a Kindle download?

    Like

  71. Rich,

    You ask, “Is Mahaney being accused of CREATING a culture where abuse was covered up or actually covering it up?”

    The actual allegations against him (and others) may be found in the Second Amended Complaint, which is available here:

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/2nd-amended-lawsuit-filing-may-14-2013.pdf

    Julie Anne has an article under date of May 13, 2013 (which I am not linking to, lest this comment be placed in moderation).

    If you decide to read the Complaint, and it is quite long, be prepared to be sick. If you have blood pressure issues, proceed with caution. As I understand it, Mahaney stands accused of both creating a culture of abuse AND actually covering it up.

    So far the defendants in the lawsuit are enjoying some success hiding behind the statute of limitations. We may never have a full determination of the facts from a court of law. Except where there have been successful prosecutions, we must remember that allegations are not established facts. Nevertheless, due to the number of (alleged) victims, and given the corroborative nature of their allegations, I am inclined to think they are credible.

    One reason the Gospel Coalition types have completely lost credibility with me is that their response to these serious allegations has been to circle the wagons, ask no questions, and defend their own, i.e. C.J. Mahaney. John Piper is among the worst offenders. It appears that Wayne Grudem is likewise embracing Mahaney. See Julie Anne’s article of July 9, 2013.

    Where is there any outpouring of concern or compassion for victims (and not all of them are just alleged victims) of child sexual abuse? I have not seen it anywhere within mainstream evangelicalism. I have completely lost any respect I may have had for the likes of Piper, Grudem, and the institutions with which they are associated. Based on their now-manifest fruit, I cannot see how one can seriously embrace their doctrines.

    Like

  72. Gary,

    I think this is giving me the benefit of the doubt, though I’m not sure. 🙂
    “Still, I should be careful. Although murders use guns,not all gun owners are murders.”

    A quick story. In my 13 years at my current church, we have only conducted church discipline twice and I just happen to be in the middle of the second instance. In the first instance, the person removed his family after the second step. We did not stop them from leaving and never published anything to anyone about the situation. The church was not told and there was no excommunication. After they left, he and his wife sullied my reputation for years. Some of my friends heard it and many whom I now call friends told me that they assumed I was a monster after what they had heard from this man and his wife. I did not follow them around or even attempt to correct the character assassination. I figured that if my character was worth a hill of beans, over time people would see who I truly am.

    Fast forward 8 years. This man walks into my office and offers a weak, but I believe mostly sincere apology. A year later he is attending my church again. He has gone through the nastiest divorce I have ever seen–by FAR. He needs help and I have spent about at least 150 hours in the past year helping him, far more than I have ever spent on any one person in my 20 year pastoral tenure. (I never catalogue hours helping folks but in an effort to wade through the mess, I did a lot of first hand research and the hours I spent were meaningful to the research.)

    I genuinely like this man and enjoy his company, though I still do not trust him. Sadly, even though he did apologize, he does not like the fact that we are again in a process of church discipline. He is denying that he deserved any such treatment from us ten years ago.

    You and Amos may still detect monstrous motives and actions in my brief story but I stand by what we have done and are doing as being thoroughly Biblical in motive and practice. Our elders hate, hate, hate conflict. This current episode has torn them apart, but each of them has been willing to do hard things for the right reasons. I love them all the more for their sacrifice.

    I could say a lot more about your “church” comment Gary, but it would require much time. I address this in my book. Suffice to say that the church/ekklesia is both an organism and and organization. 80% of the instances of the word in the NT are related to a local church body and not the universal church. I do believe my book will be available on Kindle. I would be glad to send you a hard copy if you wish. I would really be interested if you could ever find time to read it.

    Thanks Gary and Julie Anne for the Mahaney links. I will do my best to fully understand the issue and implications. Has anyone attempted to gently contact someone like Mark Dever and others to get their feedback on this issue?

    Thanks again!

    Like

  73. Gary W

    Thanks for the tip of the hat
    But – I can NOT claim rights to – “pray, pay, stay and obey.”
    Picked that saying up along the way…

    But – Here is one I can claim – Kinda…

    “Titles” become “Idols”
    “Pastors” become “Masters.”

    I was talking to a pastor friend about NO pastors like today – in the Bible.
    And this pastor says – “Did you just say, pastors become masters?”

    I answerd, “NO, but that’s good. I think I’ll use that often.”

    And – Here’s a new one that just came to me – what do you think?

    “Church Leaders” become “Deception Breeders”

    Anyway – That’s been my experience in “Todays Corrupt Religious System.”

    And – I can NOT claim rights to – “Nobody does a better job than Amos when it comes to holding our feet to the fire of what the Bible actually says on a given topic.”

    There are just a few topics I’m passionate about that are passed off often as “Biblical.” With a little research, most can figure out they are just Commandments of men, Doctrines of men, and “Traditions of men” Jesus warned us about that Make Void the word of God. Mark 7:13.

    The challenge comes – Can we admit we have believed lies…

    The problem is, most pew sitters know something is wrong with their fellowship, and most pew sitters know what happens when you question, or disagree with, those with the “Titles” – Those with the Power, Profit, Prestige, that comes with the “Titles” today.

    “Church Discipline” is on the way.

    So they just remain quite, silenced, if they want to continue in fellowship. NOT till out and out abuse happens that they stand up and realize whats happening. Even then it often takes years for them to depart. It’s different for everyone. It was over two years for me to actually walk away from the mess and ALL my friends. It’s often a lonely journey when you walk in the Truth. But eventually we find out – we are NEVER alone…

    Thank you Jesus.

    Like

  74. Ick. I have never walked beside someone who has experienced this. I appreciate everyone’s efforts at giving the victims a voice and pursuing justice for the guilty.

    Forgive my ignorance, but I am still unclear in regard to the connection to Mahaney. I fully realize it was under his watch but I have not read anything about him actually being informed of these abuses. Creating such a culture is certainly bad enough. At the very least you would hope that Mahaney would issue some sort of “I am sorry this happened under my watch” kind of statement. But if there is more evidence of a cover up, I would like to have that info please.

    Also, obviously Josh Harris led CLC out of SGM due to the controversy, but is anyone privy to inside information on their decision? Thank you.

    Like

  75. Rich

    You write…
    “I have self-published a book on church discipline.”

    A book on “Church Discipline?” Hmmm? A very demanding task? I know the labor pains involved in producing a book, especially a Biblically Accurate book. I have written, and have had edited and re-written, three books. Lots of hard work.

    I have a challenge for you – I have a “Free Offer” for you…

    Would you like to have someone with different “Traditions,” an “opposing view” actually read it, and for free, give a “Very Critical Review.”

    You did write about our trust issue @ DECEMBER 5, 2013 @ 7:31 PM…
    “Amos, I could never begin to earn your trust on this forum. We would have to spend much time together. Perhaps you could get a better flavor by listening to a few sermons, if you like.”

    It might be a benefit for you to receive “appropriate criticism” BEFORE this book is released to the general public.
    And “We would have to spend much time together” if only thru email or phone, and I “could get a better flavor by” by reading your toughts. And you might “get a better flavor” of where I’m coming from.

    I did say I love pastors…
    What an adventure this could be. – Yes?

    And you did write @ DECEMBER 5, 2013 @ 10:08 AM…
    “Moreover, I want to be in a group of elders *who can listen and learn* from **appropriate criticism.** Our elders hear it all of the time. And even though far greater than 50% of it is given in an absence of love, **we still seek to learn from it.** Our elder meetings are always open meetings.”

    And – I now have lots of white hair and qualify by age to be an “elder.” 🙂

    A challenge ALL believers face – When we give “OUR” Biblical Opinions.
    Is – We ALL tend to use, and read, the scriptures – To Validate ME…
    To Validate – MY LIFESTYLE – And MY Traditions…
    And – to convince others – ME is correct in MY beliefs.

    And – I have discussed, and debated, on the 9 Marks blog,
    Jonathan Lemens ideas on “Church Membership” and “Church Discipline.”

    Since I left “The Abusive Religious System” in the early 90’s, I never left “The Body of Christ, The Church,” – I’m fairly certain MY Traditions, My Truths of scripture, have become very different then yours. 🙂

    So, the challenge is – Are you open to – **appropriate criticism?**

    And how will you know it’s **appropriate criticism?**

    Until you read it?

    And you might check with Gary W. He is edjumacated…
    And might also be someone worth asking for **appropriate criticism.**

    Be Blessed in your search for “Truth”

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

    Like

  76. The “book” is a summation of sermons. I did not take months to write it form scratch. The series flowed out of preaching through Corinthians.

    Give me your email and I will send you my latest draft. (Gary also, if he is interested) I will consider your feedback for sure. But can you agree to disagree with me if I don’t follow all of your suggestions? Can you admit from the start that you could be wrong about your conclusions?

    Like

  77. Rich

    Thanks for accepting the challenge and the Adventure. You Got Guts…
    And, who knows – This could be the beginning of a beatiful friendship.
    http://movieclips.com/TjiNa-casablanca-movie-the-beginning-of-a-beautiful-friendship/

    You ask…
    “can you agree to disagree with me if I don’t follow all of your suggestions?”

    Absolutely – I was ordained, I was in leadership….
    Hardly anyone followed “MY” suggestions… 🙂

    I cudda been a great leader – If I cudda just got a few folks to follow me. 🙂
    And, IMHO, I always gave such great council, great suggestions to folks.
    Very frustrating some times. Yes?

    But – Failure has it’s benefits. Drives you to Jesus. And everyone else… 😉
    Jesus – Who is, for everyone – The Wonderful Counselor – Isa 9:6 KJV

    You also ask…
    “Can you admit from the start
    that you could be wrong about your conclusions?”

    Absolutely – I always reserve the right to be wrong…
    Been wrong many times. Oy Vey!!!

    Here is just one – Used to think I could make a “Disciple of Jesus.” 😉

    Eventually had to admit…
    All I ever did was make “Disciples of Amos.” 😦
    ….. Folks learning and sounding like me – And NOT learning from Jesus.

    All I ever did was make “disciples of the movement” I belonged to. 😦
    ….Folks following the beliefs of our movement – NOT following Jesus.

    Eventually had to admit – I NEVER made a “Disciple of Jesus.”
    I NEVER could get someone to “Deny themself” or “Lose their Life.” 😉

    Mat 16:24-25 KJV
    Then said Jesus unto *His Disciples,* If any man will come after me,
    let him *deny himself,* and take up his cross, and follow me.
    For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
    and whosoever will *lose his life for my sake* shall find it.

    And – I NEVER could get someone to “Forsake ALL.” 🙂

    Luke 14:33 KJV
    So likewise, whosoever he be of you *that forsaketh NOT ALL that he hath,**
    he can NOT be my disciple.

    ————-

    Wow – I guess I talked myself into a homework assignment.:-)
    And I’m looking forward to see what you have to say…

    love101faith@me.com

    Like

  78. Rich & Amos,

    I’m being tempted to jump in here. I won’t have a lot of time but might be interested in commenting on Rich’s book, or parts of it. The trouble is, I have professional and personal reasons for wishing to remain anonymous. The personal reasons are more pressing. If my identity become known, that might make it possible for people to identify people I have referred to without identifying.

    So, if I provide my contact information, will both of you agree to keep my identity to yourselves?

    As to the question Rich put to Amos: “Can you admit from the start that you could be wrong about your conclusions?” I’m not able to give quite the same assurance Amos gave. It’s true enough that I could be wrong about my conclusions. It’s not so clear I will be able to admit it. But that’s O.K., I’m more interested in getting people to look at things they hadn’t thought about, in maybe encouraging people to think outside the box, than in actually convincing anybody of anything.

    Like

  79. Rich,

    Do I use the email that starts with office@, which seems it might be for the church generally, or should I use something else that goes directly to you?

    And, yes, I am 99.99999% certain that your are trustworthy. I feel I only need to make sure you are careful to avoid every appearance of impropriety. On your church website there is a picture of you and your family overlooking a body of water. I’m a little embarrassed at what I am suspecting, but just to allay my fears, WHAT IS THE NAME OF THAT LAKE?

    Like

  80. Yes, that email is fine. I am also the secretary, so I get these emails!

    Do you know this lake? It is unfortunately names Devil’s Lake State Park. It is beautiful, though.

    Like

  81. Ah, yes. Devil’s Lake! To be at which no doubt constitutes a participation in the acknowledgment of the adversary. But, of course, I’m just having a bit of fun. I have been there myself. Don’t be alarmed when you see an email from a lawyer. It’s just me.

    Like

  82. graceviroqua

    NO offense taken by your humor – I enjoy a little Jousting and Snark. 😉

    YOU WRITE @ NOVEMBER 30, 2013 @ 7:29 PM…
    “I hope you will allow this Calvinist/complementarian
    (balanced, though, I would like to believe)…”

    Was wondering…

    Why would you label yourself, and be known, as a “Disciple of Calvin?”
    A DEAD man…

    When you could be known as a “Disciple of Jesus?”
    Jesus – Who is ALIVE today…

    Jesus – Who wants to be Your “ONE” Teacher, Your “ONE” Leader.
    Mat 23:8-10 NASB.

    And – Are you a Neo-Calvinist? A Hyper-Calvinist? A True Calvinist?
    A TULIP-Calvinist? If yes? Are you – A five pointer? Only a three pointer?

    My Brain is starting to hurt – I’ve heard Calvinists say all these things. 🙂

    If you believe you’re a balanced-Calvinist? What makes you balanced?
    What does an un-balanced-Calvinist look like? So I can avoid… 😉

    And then we have you labeling yourself as a “complementarian.”
    A word I still can NOT spell and usually write the four letter word – Comp.
    A word NOT found in the Bible. NOT Biblical.
    A word that is then – Non-Biblical – Extra-Biblical – Anti-Biblical…
    A word NOT understood by my “Spell-Checker.”
    A word NOT found in my Dictionary.
    A word defined by different Comp people many different ways.
    Even the Comp people disagree what the word means. Oy Vey!!!
    Hard, Soft, But when I’m at home – But when I’m at the Corporation…

    A word “Invented by Man.”in the 1980’s. And is, by their own admission…
    A Commandment of Men, a Doctrine of Men, a Philosophy of men,
    a Precept of Men, that becomes Traditions of men” that Void – God’s word.

    Mark 7:13
    NLT – you “cancel” the word of God to hand down your “own tradition.”
    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through “your tradition”
    ASV – Making “void” the word of God by “your tradition”…
    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by “your tradition”…

    NOPE – In my Experience…
    Calvinism/comp#$%&tarianism – Arminianism/Egal%$#^&isim –
    And ALL the other “Isims – Are a Distraction from KNOWING Jesus.
    From hearing His Voice for yourself and Following Jesus.

    These are distractions – Arguments, debates – That take our eyes OFF Jesus.

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

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

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

    Like

  83. Rich – graceviroqua

    Here’s another fine example of “Church Discipline” and Abuse. 😦

    “Replanting Countryside Acts 29 Style: A Personal Testimony”

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/12/06/replanting-countryside-acts-29-style-a-personal-testimony/

    Rebecca Lynn on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:04 AM said:

    Thank you to the Wartburg Watch for getting the true story out of what happened to our family. The shame of it is we were ONE family out of the many that went through this. Most went away quietly, never to return, and some like us were thrown out under church discipline with many lies being spread. I cannot tell you how hurtful it was to see people I had known for years turn the other way in the grocery store so they would not have to speak to us. They were too afraid. Or too deceived. The sickening thing for me is this “pastor” is still in the business of relevance and spreading the infection of Acts 29. My only hope is that that one day people will get wise to Acts 29, Mark Driscoll, and this movement as a whole and flee….

    Like

  84. You are all so full of it! Self righteous, saying the pastor is all at fault. She committed adultery, she did it freely she wasn’t raped, she wasn’t threatened. WOW, more hypocrites in this world than I ever realized. Very sad. A pastor is man, no different than you or I, the woman is human and fully subject to committing sin, but hey lets cast all the stones at the pastor. He who has not committed a sin cast the first stone, remember who said that? The only judge, only jury and you all have to face him too.
    Enjoy your Sunday in the pew and go ahead and sin. It is preordained by GOD, why not? Only a pastor will be at fault. You all sound like the Pharisees, they fully put the blame on Jesus…..good job history has repeated itself.

    Like

  85. Wow! I was just told about this conversation about my life, my marriage and my sin. I truly get wanting to dissect and understand the stupidity and sin of others.

    Instead of addressing the myriad of comments and presumptions, I will just say a few things:
    1) There will be no book. It’s the last thing I would want to do.
    2) No one in this comment thread knows my husband and I personally and has no clue about the details of how this all played out.
    3) I remain thankful I stumbled onto the Gospel Coalition’s material as it helped me greatly. However, I do not adhere to every theological thought they align with. Heck, I don’t even know what all that is.
    4) And yes, this was and is still the grace of God working in us. Four years later, we are resting in a healed, restored and healthy marriage.
    5) Nathan and I both took repsonsbility for the breakdown of our marriage and it was BOTH our faults. I took ownership of my behavior and he took ownership of his.
    6) I’m thankful I didn’t not see these comments when they were written. They would have discouraged me. The assumptions and accusations are why people battle sucidal shame. Those who created their own arrogant narritive about a story they knew little about should consider the implications of spewing out “guesses.”
    7) Lastly, though the video has encouraged many people, I regret doing it so soon. We were one year out of the mess and we didn’t not have the guidance and counsel we needed. We were asked to do the video and we felt if God could use our story of redemption to give others hope, we wanted to make it available. This video was removed because Liberate took down their website.

    Like

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

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s