Bill Gothard, Homeschool Movement, IBLP and ATI, Kevin Swanson, Modesty and Purity Teachings, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Women and the Church

Kevin Swanson Defends Bill Gothard’s Sexual Harassment Charges While Publicly Trash Talks Blogs

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Kevin Swanson defends his friend, Bill Gothard against accusations of sexual harassment, while accusing Spiritual Sounding Board and Patheos.com blogs of dancing on the grave of Christian fundamentalism and Biblical Christianity.

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Last week, I was notified by a Twitter friend/follower that Kevin Swanson had referred to my blog in a recent podcast:

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Kevin Swanon, Generations Radio, Bill Gothard, ATI, Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 12.05.16 PM
Source

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Really?  I promote pro-gay, pro-evolution on my blog?  Where?  He was naming my blog, SpiritualSoundingBoard.com?

Here was Kevin Swanson’s tweet that Chris had seen:

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Kevin Swanson, ATI, Generations Radio, Bill Gothard, Sex Abuse Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 12.09.47 PM
Source

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If you haven’t heard the latest on Bill Gothard, this article should catch you up to speed:   Bill Gothard, Family Planning and Homeschooling Advocate, Accused of Sexually Harassing Young Women and Teen Girls

My assistant, Kathi, who helps me at the Spiritual Sounding Board Facebook page was coerced, manipulated,  volunteered to spend 6 – I mean SIX hours of time transcribing Mr. Swanson’s flapdoodle.  Earlier, I had transcribed only a couple of paragraphs and the verbosity with which Swanson was able to fit within 2 seconds of airtime was staggering.  Give that woman a raise already!

It is peculiar that Mr. Swanson publicly named two sites:  SpiritualSoundingBoard.com and Patheo.com in his ranting.  Those who are familiar with Patheos.com know it is a large network of blogs beneath the umbrella of Patheos.com.  At Patheos.com, you will find an assortment religious bloggers:  Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Mormon and even atheist bloggers.  But interestingly, Mr. Swanson does not identify a specific blogger at Patheos.com.  But what does he say about my blog and this mysterious non-named Patheos blog?

Note:  Unless specifically noted, Kevin Swanson is talking. Notation is made when Steve Vaughn enters the conversation.  “KB,” who transcribed the document, contributed her commentary in pink.  Seriously, if you’re going to transcribe for 6 hours, you need an outlet.  As I was reading it, I obviously couldn’t keep quiet, so my editorial comments are in green.  I’ve only included the comments referring to the blog, but be sure to read the transcript or listen to the podcast as Swanson defends Gothard and blasts Spiritual Sounding Board and Patheos.com.  The transcription begins below:

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 Starting at the 6:00 mark:

You have this kind of thing happening a lot when people are ultimately ignoring the laws of God but taking on their own rules and regulations. Well, all that said, we’re gonna to talk about what is happening right now with fundamentalism, what is happening right now with the homeschooling movement, and precisely what is happening right now with Bill Gothard.

Okay. There’s [sic] some stories right now on Patheos.com, SpritualSoundingBoard.com, which by the way are the apostatizing websites that are dancing on the grave of the old Christian west and certainly anything related to fundamentalism or anything relating to Biblical Christianity. They love it. They love it when they begin to see cracks in fundamentalism.

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What is the Christian west, anyway?  Are we talking cowboys or what?  Sure, you can send me the Finding-Cracks-in-Fundamentalism t-shirt.   The fundamentalism that I’ve seen does not match up with the Christian conduct and character exemplified by Christ in Scripture.  

Now, friends, right now Patheos and Spiritual Sounding Board are the apostatizing websites working hard to drive another 10% out of the organized historical, Biblical churches to a pro-homosexual, pro-socialist, pro-evolution, pro-atheist agenda. I mean, they’re just so excited if they can…they’re sort of like the aprostalites <Made up word #4> of the left you know.

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Actually, I consider Spiritual Sounding Board to be like the pooper scooper of Fundamentalist Pharisee-like crap of religious tyrants, but whatever, Mr. Swanson.

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Can we get more to apostatize from the Biblical, spiritual faith, and they’re somewhat successful

-10:00-

mainly because whatever is out there that cloaks itself as a fundamentalist faith often times isn’t that strong anyway. So, anyway. Patheos and Spiritual Sounding Board are dancing on the grave of Bill Gothard and the whole A.T.I. thing right now. This is what’s happened. And the rumors on the street is that there was more sexual abuse of some sort. But here is the deal. As Christians we ought to be very careful when we see these things on public websites, new sites, presenting this information.

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Yea, Mr. Swanson, because when 34 women come forward with their personal testimonies telling us that this “man of God” and Christian leader who has led countless families to have “character first,” we need to be careful about “rumors.”  To heck with the idea that Gothard is the head honcho of his organization and so there is no place for young women to climb the hierarchical ladder to complain.  

But let’s back up a bit.  He claims I’ve been (SSB) dancing on the grave of Bill Gothard and ATI, of Biblical Christianity, etc.  Did he even realize that I have not posted ONE story on Gothard until this one?  And this article is really not so much about Gothard as much as it is about Mr. Swanson and his foolishness.  I’ll get to Gothard on my blog soon enough.  There are already quite a few articles currently published in the blogosphere.  But right now, I’m calling out Mr. Swanson for his behavior as a Christian homeschool leader AND pastor in siding with another Christian patriarchal leader rather than dismissing the personal testimonies of nearly three dozen women.  

-10:30-

We ought to demand two or three witnesses in a proper church court or a proper civil court. That ought to be important to us. And, uh. You know. But Patheos and Sounding Board doesn’t really care that much about it. They just get very excited about the fact that there may be some problem, some compromise, in the life of a spiritual leader. And if they can find that, they kind find the compromise, the moral compromise in the life of a leader, they get very excited because now they know that they can toss out everything that guy ever said about God,

 

-11:00-

Jesus, honoring mothers and fathers, you know, etc., etc. First of all, how do you get a man who is running a parachurch organization to a proper church court?  What church court?  Who overseas the man?  Do you think Mr. Gothard would sit beneath a church court when they are not “over” him?   So, if that be the case, you know, they can throw all that out and they can do whatever they want. And how fun that can be, you know. I mean, you know. We don’t have to worry about this adultery thing anymore, don’t have to worry about homosexuality, don’t have to worry about incest, don’t have to worry about pedophilia, we can just celebrate. <Yes. ALL of the writers on Patheos and of course, SSB, is excited about pedophilia, incest and adultery!> You know, I mean we’re free from anything that this Christian leader ever said because there may be some moral compromise in his life. And that’s why

-11:30-

they get so excited, Steve, I think.

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Yea, every morning I am excited to share yet another story of Christian leader’s moral failure.  I think NOT.   No, how about this – – if Church leaders would appropriately deal with sin among other church leaders,  blogs like mine wouldn’t need to call them out.  But when church leaders remain SILENT about abusive leaders like Gothard, Phillips, etc, that is when it causes mass confusion.  

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“Silence in response to abuse declares victims to be worthless & builds walls of protection around perpetrators.”  ~Boz Tchividjian

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SV: <Clearly the village idiot. Sure boss, whatever you say!> Yeah, and that’s. They want to be free from God. That’s why they’re worshiping themselves, or the whole humanist religion. Because they’ve been seeking to be free from God all their lives. And they can’t get free of Him. And it just, it’s like a cockroach trying to get away from the light to get into darkness. And they’ve found that they can’t get away from the light. And anytime that they can find any kind of darkness within the fundamentalist movement

-12:00-

SV (cont.): then they want to go hide there.

If you’d like to read more of the same drivel and appreciate KB’s hard work, click here.  KB nor I are responsible for the amount of time that will be wasted by reading this stuff.  Do so at your own risk.  Or . . . .you can tune in here.  It might make good background noise while vacuuming.

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The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

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By the way, if you do happen to read/listen to enough of the podcast, after hearing the word apostasy and the many odd variations of the word, I think you might agree with Kathi and me that Kevin Swanson thinks  . . . . .

this is the dawning of the age of Apostasy, age of Apostasy . . . . . . . . APOSTASY!!!!

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463 thoughts on “Kevin Swanson Defends Bill Gothard’s Sexual Harassment Charges While Publicly Trash Talks Blogs”

  1. Ironic that they perceive you and other bloggers who write about spiritual abuse and the moral failings of “Christian” leaders to be “cockroaches” fleeing the light.

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  2. Exactly, Joannah. Anytime you attack some guru leader’s foundational agenda, you become a cockroach. In this case, their foundational agenda is Patriarchy. (The same in Doug Phillips’ case.) Because we all know that Patriarchy is the Gospel!!!

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  3. I got the impression that Pastor Swanson cited Spiritual Sounding Board favorably when he interviewed me last week on his program. In that light, there are several options open for finding the right context for the apparent path his thinking is taking over time. I incline toward a charitable assessment based on his most recent comments about, e.g., Bill Gothard, which seem to me to be treading toward a focus with which Spiritual Sounding Board might find closer agreement than might have been the case earlier. Are you aware of his more recent radio program on this topic? Does it not reflect a perspective showing growing awareness (a step in the right direction)? If not, then I am of course interested to hear why not (but note that nobody can possibly do justice to the abuse crisis in 24 minutes, so if that’s the issue, everyone suffers from that problem — it becomes a matter of degree and hitting the right themes and recognizing the limits of the media).

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  4. Hi Martin,

    I have not listened to the most recent podcast in which you were interviewed, but some of the discussion I’ve heard was that Swanson was not his normal “self” when he interviewed you. Why don’t you take a listen to the podcast linked below to hear for yourself and compare with your recent interview: (https://generationswithvision.com/broadcast/why-the-old-fundamentalism-is-cra)

    To be honest, Martin, I don’t think he’d pull the nonsense with you. The contrast between your behavior and his would prove to be too embarrassing for him.

    However, I will try to listen to his interview with you to see for myself.

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  5. I think he is referring to the “Christian West” (Europe and North America) as contrasted with the East, which did not go thru the Reformation, Renaissance, Enlightenment, etc.

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  6. Notice how ol’ WombTomb Swanson has just reduced the violation of dozens of women (that we know of) to a “moral compromise” of Gothard. I find this particularly distasteful after spending today with a friend who was molested in our former church, only to have said “church” sweep it under the proverbial rug. “Moral compromise?” There are human souls at stake. I find his disdain for victims utterly appalling.

    Then there’s his false accusation of SSB writing about the Gothard “moral compromise.” Perhaps Swanson needs to be reminded about Exodus 20:16, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Any legit journalist would have been called out on that pretty quick. One must wonder what other false information (womb tomb babies aside) Swanson has been spewing with such authority.

    And, yes, my dear Swanson, I most certainly plan on dancing on a few graves. But not in the way that you’ve insinuated.

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  7. Thank you. It’s about freaking time someone paid attention to this appalling case of spin. No matter what Swanson says in the second half of the podcast, his character assassination of those exposing Gothard is an attempt to discredit them and minimize attention to the scandal. In other words: defend the abuser and continue to harm the innocent. And Swanson is the keynote speaker at the homeschooling conference near me in couple of weeks. I could scream.

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  8. The “Christian West,” the light of the world, bearing the White Man’s Burden – la mission civilatrice – the past 500 years by its robberies and genocides and enslavements, all sanctified with lots of patter about Jesus and the gospel. And now culminating in the general trampling and devastation of the earth alluded to in Daniel and the Revelation.

    Hitler became the ultimate evil by implementing upon white people in Europe what had been routine against the black and brown subhumans for centuries before with scarcely a squawk.

    And identifying this ghastly thing and its values with Jesus and the gospel as they do – that’s not apostasy!

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  9. I’m shocked they don’t mention Recovering Grace at all…all Spiritual Sound Board has done is uncover and shine a huge light on Doug Phillips and VF, who we all know were “in bed” with Kevin Swanson…so I can see why he would attack Spiritual Sounding Board…but I guess no publicity is bad publicity…

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  10. I found an article from 2002: “In Gothard’s world view, husbands are dominant over wives (another of Regier’s stated beliefs), and wives are forbidden to work outside the home. Marriages must be arranged by fathers, and divorce is not allowed. Rock beats and, oddly enough, chords in minor keys are considered a subversion of God’s harmony. Television and other forms of popular culture are largely shunned as evil. Gothard even dictates how people should dress and when married couples can and cannot have sex. And, like Regier, Gothard is a big believer in corporal punishment, preaching that the “wrath” of parents leads children to God.”

    In the 90s when we lived in VA, we knew several families involved with ATI. He also had strong opinions on adoption and men with beards.

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  11. BTDT – – I’m LOLing at that video! 🙂

    Notice how ol’ WombTomb Swanson has just reduced the violation of dozens of women (that we know of) to a “moral compromise” of Gothard.

    You are absolutely right. So he believes Gothard first and foremost, why? Because he’s a man-o’gawd? Do you see the way these men exalt each other? And isn’t it interesting that while he went around touting his Character First programs in the States and all over the world, his moral integrity was appalling.

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  12. Martin – Just so you’re aware, Swanson states in the above podcast that he’s been “warning” his listeners for the past 20 years about people like Gothard. Honestly, I think Swanson is like a politician. He will say what he thinks people want to hear to make him look good in the moment.

    To everyone – All of my inserted running commentary is solely my opinion. I have never met Swason or Vaughn in person (fortunate for me), but when you here how they talk, and you see their words in writing, opinions are formed. Just sayin’.

    And, I will never divulge if I was manipulate or coerced into spending six hours of my life listening to Kevin Swanson’s voice. But by the end of the experience, it sure felt like it. 😉 (I would totally do it all again to help the cause!)

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  13. “hear” not here. Sigh. I think my typing skills have diminished a little.

    I’ll also add…Swanson goes off about all we need to follow are the 10 commandments. Didn’t Jesus sum up the commandments with two easy points? Love the Lord your God with your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself? He is keen on rules, laws and regulations, not grace, mercy and love.

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  14. Julie Anne, you are truly my hero. Keep doing what God has obviously called you to do and don’t worry about Pharisees. Thank you. You have done more to help me reclaim my faith than any of these so-called “Men of God”. You are doing good work.

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  15. You have done more to help me reclaim my faith than any of these so-called “Men of God”.

    Kathrine, I’m so glad. THIS is why I do this. While Swanson is so busy defending a guy who promotes nonsense, has a cult following, crosses the lines sexually with reportedly 34 women, he seems to not be concerned that this man-o-gawd can have disastrous effects on someone’s faith! Check out this nonsense:

    Gothard teaches that the new parents of an adopted child must research the sins of the “biological parents,” confessing them and casting the consequences off the child. He says: “Causes of Conflicts — Adopted children are affected by the sins of their natural parents, and these sins are usually very severe. … Steps to Resolve Conflicts — If the child is too young to understand, pray for the child. Confess your sins and acknowledge the sins of the natural parents. Ask God to rebuke Satan and free the child from any unbelief or rebellion from the lives of the parents. Pray in the name and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ” (“Ten Reasons Why Adopted Children Tend to Have More Conflicts,” IBYC, 1982, pp. 1-2).

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  16. Julie Anne, I’ve not heard any of his podcasts, including the first one I recorded with him on the subject of music (I am also a symphonic composer and former assistant conductor of a Los Angeles orchestra and have written about music and Scripture quite a bit over the last 30 years). As you might know, I actually have a full-time job in the software industry and so I hold a non-paid position at Chalcedon as vice president and resident scholar. Consequently, I have to apply triage principles to my time. I have, however, heard Pastor Swanson speak at conferences and, with respect to those expositions I have heard in person, I’ve detected no significant issues. I gather his radio program covers more polemic ground inviting controversy. Did I mention my gift for understatement?

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  17. I’m not going to sugar coat it, Martin. This “understatement” is no gift when it comes to abuse. I am not amused by your deliberate choice to ignore what is laid out plainly before you. You are a smart man. I know this already as I previously asked you to cool it with the big words when you originally came to the blog. But please do not play ignorant with me. I’m asking you to listen to Swanson for 10 minutes. I’m sure you can see “related” links beneath this post on other articles I’ve done on Swanson.

    His obnoxious broadcast on embedded fetuses really upset me. As a pro-life mother of 7, I obviously value life. But when I heard him discuss that he had heard from a doctor and scientist that women who had been on birth control pills had thousands of dead embedded fetuses in their wombs, even I, with no medical degree, knew that was bogus. A basic understanding of women’s cycle will clue you in that there is no way any dead fetuses would remain in the womb with the shedding of the lining of the uterus each month through menstruation.

    I saw with my own eyes comments from medical professionals on his Facebook page saying his info was ridiculous and he ignored them. He refused to back down from this position and he also refused to cite sources. Can you imagine the emotional turmoil women might face when they start thinking about these 1000s of dead embedded fetuses in their womb from when they were on birth control pills years ago? I mean, after all, Swanson is a pastor. He wouldn’t mislead them, would he?

    This is the kind of stuff that can send a woman down the path to suicide because of the self-condemnation and guilt.

    Swanson is a fraud. He is obnoxious. Look at what he accused me of in this post. As I said, I feel like I am the pooper scooper to his waste. It makes me sick.

    You tended to talk up your precious time before when commenting here. Don’t bore me, Martin. Show a little integrity and look at Swanson yourself. Frankly, I can’t believe you’d agree to be on his show without doing a little research. Sorry, I’m not mincing words. I just do not have the patience to deal with all of this flowery junk.

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  18. Julie Anne wrote: I found an article from 2002: “In Gothard’s world view, husbands are dominant over wives (another of Regier’s stated beliefs), and wives are forbidden to work outside the home. Marriages must be arranged by fathers, and divorce is not allowed. Rock beats and, oddly enough, chords in minor keys are considered a subversion of God’s harmony. Television and other forms of popular culture are largely shunned as evil. Gothard even dictates how people should dress and when married couples can and cannot have sex. And, like Regier, Gothard is a big believer in corporal punishment, preaching that the “wrath” of parents leads children to God.”

    A light bulb just went on for me. Now I understand my creepy, seventh-grade Bible teacher. He had to have been a Gothard follower! He was obsessed with the evils of rock music/beats, and minor keys. I didn’t learn a single Bible verse that year, but I did sit through hours of his rants about music. Thankfully, my parents did not send me back to that school the next year.

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  19. Julie Anne, this is your blog and a free country, so I have no recourse if you ask what appears to be a straightforward question and I answer it without guile or malice, only to see the context reframed after the fact and the goalposts moved. However, just because I don’t listen to podcasts doesn’t mean I don’t read, and I did in fact read your entire attempt to reconstruct the posts about the fetuses, and found myself in sympathy with your position. Further, we all expose ourselves to criticism for where we show up (including this blog), but if the benefits outweigh the deficits, we should go forward (and put up with the resulting heat in the kitchen). I believe the points I raised on the podcast are valid and important independent of the venue. Yes, we can focus on the venue, but my focus was on abuse proper. Should any venue be excluded from propagating a better approach to some of these issues? In any case, you see I am here, not hiding even at the risk of being a punching bag. And this discussion is open and candid, and I assume your total sincerity whether or not that is reciprocated. I believe our goals regarding the abuse question are largely in alignment. So I will continue to answer questions assuming they’re not booby-traps because the scope of the issues really defy attempts to put boundaries around them. If you question my use of time, then please examine the three articles I wrote about the Massachusetts physician at Chalcedon’s website and then you might explain why those labors should have been curtailed in favor of a different agenda. I am open to listening, as I already have a stake in the issue of abuse. Finally, my sense of humor, even mild humor of a benign, disarming nature, is being interpreted here as a “minimizing tactic” when it isn’t intended as such, so I will refrain from it here due to the likelihood of perpetuating a distraction from my main point.

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  20. Leslie, I can simplify it this way: Listen to what I said on that radio program. If after hearing what I said, you believe that Pastor Swanson’s large audience should not have heard it, just tell me why. Then I have something specific I can respond to.

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  21. Martin: It seems you are trying to hijack this conversation to discuss your recent interview. That is not the topic of this post, however, I will most likely make an attempt to listen to it. It will certainly not be my nighty-night lullaby, I can assure you of that.

    Can we get back to the original focus of this post: Swanson’s recent podcast in which he used a diversion tactic of publicly giving falsehoods about me, attacking me and some unnamed blogger at Patheos in order to defend Gothard?

    Do you agree with Swanson on this quote about me:

    Now, friends, right now Patheos and Spiritual Sounding Board are the apostatizing websites working hard to drive another 10% out of the organized historical, Biblical churches to a pro-homosexual, pro-socialist, pro-evolution, pro-atheist agenda. I mean, they’re just so excited if they can…they’re sort of like the aprostalites of the left you know.<

    I don't think he can find anything written by me indicating that I'm any of the above, yet he announced it publicly, naming my blog quite a few times. He's essentially calling me apostate. I am a Believer. To have a pastor broadcast these things about me, without citing any sources is extremely rude and most likely could be legally defamatory, as I understand the meaning of the word.

    Going back to Swanson and his interview with you – just because he may have behaved himself on his interview with you, does not negate the derogatory, hateful, and most likely defamatory words he has used previously.

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  22. Julie Anne, I do not agree with that quote. I am sorry you (and/or your website) were on the receiving end of it. Neither did I mean to hijack this thread (which involved an earlier podcast by Pastor Swanson rather than the more recent one in which I participated). I simply saw an apparent contrast between the podcast described here and the later one, and perhaps should have left it at that rather than drift off-topic by answering additional questions.

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  23. Yes, well, as I said earlier, others have already informed me that the interview with you was out of character from what we’ve seen of Swanson in the past, so that should tell you something about his “norm.” I’ll try to listen to it tomorrow.

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  24. I haven’t listened to Martin’s interview, but it appears his charitable view toward Kevin Swanson reflects a common dynamic: Many (abusive, power-crazed, etc) men treat other (especially “important”) men completely differently (ie, respectfully) than women or those who dare to oppose their view or expose their flawed reasoning or bogus claims. It seems to me Martin should do his own research and arrive at the conclusion that the big sin issue here is Pastor Kevin’s many faces; a different mask for a different scene = hupokrtites, and God hates it.

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  25. “BTDT – – I’m LOLing at that video!”

    I couldn’t help myself, Julie Anne. 🙂 Ever since you first tweeted or commented about Swanson saying you were “dancing on graves,” that song has been stuck. in. my. head.

    I googled the name of the woman singing, Janice Sjostrand. She and her husband pastor a church in Newark, OH. She wrote the song “Alabaster Box” that was recorded by CeCe Winans. She also sang “Holy Ground” at the funeral for Bill Clinton’s mother. Barbra Streisand was so moved by her singing at the funeral that it inspired her CD “Higher Ground.” I had no idea. I just tried to find a video of the song.

    Isn’t it amazing how some people most of us have never heard about are actually touching other people’s lives?

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  26. jkpvarin makes an important point that dovetails with Julie Anne’s point. Yes, that is one way to account for the difference in the podcasts (to assume, based on prior experience, that Pastor Swanson presents a different face depending on his interview guest). The other possibility is that he might be teachable on this point and willing to leave his earlier views behind. It’s perhaps too soon to tell with certainty if it’s the latter (the option which I leaned toward due to a “charitable” outlook), and it would be fair to expect that he properly deal with his earlier statements with integrity and to acknowledge any harm flowing from them. I am concerned when posts are deleted without explanation — the reader might naturally assume such actions reflect regret over embarrassment versus regret for harm, and there’s a big difference (you’d at least explain the deletion in the latter case or archive it with an explanation). (A predecessor of mine did something similar at Chalcedon’s website so I am sensitive to this issue and the sense of “coverup” it naturally breeds. And of course, God made sure that somebody snapped a screenshot of the original post so nobody was fooling anybody anyway. And working in other areas, I’ve been busy snapping screenshots since I didn’t trust those site administrators not to hide or delete that content later. Been there, done that: I get it.)

    I think that King David set the proper example when Shimei was cursing him and throwing debris at him: “Let him curse.” David knew that though Shimei’s motives were premised on an error, David still deserved public denunciation on other grounds and was a big enough man to block those who proposed to protect his dignity from detractors. I gather from this that it takes a big man to accept rebuke: David’s friends wanted to silence the critic but David saw it differently. That, I think, is an ideal that proceeds from awareness of the value of integrity. Few today rise to that standard, but leaders who can’t arrive at David’s mindset are diminished as a result of trying to prevent themselves from being diminished.

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  27. Here are my thoughts after spending the time listening to the podcast.

    1) The discussion on fences is silly. The concept of fences comes up when dealing with the original law written in the Torah and extended by the rabbis in Jesus time so that people could avoid breaking the law. By this definition, any “fence” is man-made.
    2) I do think his condemnation of SSB & Patheos is over the top. The conspiracy theorist in me make me wonder if he uses this to drive readers over here to see the wrongs (two faced?). I’ve not seen you driving people out of the church, just out of abuse.
    3) Two or 3 witnesses? I think you had cited something like 5?
    4) “Don’t have to worry about pedophilia” (Swanson) – Seems thats what Gothard is being accused of.
    5) Swanson on not throwing the baby out with the bathwater…. Valid point.
    6) I’m amused by the irony in his discussion of “formulaic rules”…
    7) He loves widespread generalities.
    8) I think his reading of the Bible is a lot different than mine.

    At 19:00, I got tired of listening to him.

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  28. Martin,

    It seems you understand spiritual abuse and the chronic sin pattern of abusers (from the article you wrote). Any pastor who presumes to publicly judge someone’s salvation whom he has not personally met is a dangerous man. Any pastor who knowingly gives false medical information in order to promote an agenda (he seems to speak against all birth control without regard for woman’s health, etc.) is a dangerous man. Any man whose behavior shows damage control/image control over the truth of God has some issues. I’ve only scratched the surface. The man is on a mission to push his own agendas, similar to the agenda of Doug Phillips. These agendas are not the Gospel, they are man’s agendas.

    I like being charitable, too, except charity stops when there is a noticeable ongoing pattern and people are being hurt.

    When Kevin Swanson publicly repents about his womb tomb nonsense, publicly apologizes to Patheos.com and me and many others for his careless and cruel words, I will begin to take note. Otherwise, I will continue to take his own public words and actions and use my “sounding board” to alert as many as I can of his bad behavior – – behavior that causes Christians to become confused, have spiritual crises, etc.

    This man should not be a pastor. He is hurting sheep, not tending them.

    NOTE: added a bit more to the birth control sentence for further clarification.

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  29. it seems that these spiritually abusive types all have some connection to Gothard. Does anyone know where Gothard got his ideas from? i have asked at other sites, but so far have not gotten a clear picture of the roots of his ideas,

    Mr. Atwood: the Christian worldview resulted in such concepts as inalienable rights, free speech, and a host of other benefits to humanity. Most of the people who propagated, fought and often died for these idea were Europeans, the “Dead White Males” that receive such abuse in both the academic and popular cultures. You should feel some gratitude for them.

    Julie Anne: I have not read all your articles, but so far I do not see anything by you of an even remotely leftist nature. Mr. Swanson owes you an apology.

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  30. it seems that these spiritually abusive types all have some connection to Gothard.

    Keith – – the common denominators that I have observed are a twisted and extra-Biblical sense of authority as far as husbands/fathers over wives/children “Patriarchy” and then the Reconstructionist or Dominionist agenda, which encompasses getting into all spheres of civilization and taking over.

    Gothard was kind of off by himself doing his thing with his seminars and ATI program, yet he had a lot of influential people backing him. Doug Phillips was off doing his own thing with Vision Forum, trips, Vision Forum catalog, homeschool conferences. He was backed by billionaire Jim Leininger. Swanson is doing his own thing pastoring, speaking at homeschool conferences, has his podcast radio program, but yet their ideologies are very similar. It seems that Gothard kept more to himself than the others. However, you will find that Swanson and Phillips spoke at the same conferences, so they were connected in many ways.

    If you do background investigating on any of these three, you will see notable connections in politics/government.

    Like

  31. Love it, Kathi. I have so many that I want made: Woman of Mass Destruction, Jezzie, “slanderous, reviling, pastor-hating, egalitarian, self appointed prophetess, rebel”

    Like

  32. I am getting really tired of people who believe that right wing politics are Christian and those of us whose politics are to the left cannot be Christians.

    Like

  33. Marsha – I hear you. I don’t want to be identified with right or left. I want my identity to be in Christ. There’s too much garbage attached to either side. It’s ridiculous.

    Like

  34. I’ve noticed a longstanding trend to cite church context and procedure as the “right” place and way to deal with abuse allegations, while simultaneously condemning sites like this one as hotbeds of gossip. I’ve heard the term “sewer” used of this and other sites by those who say they refuse to visit them due to this broad condemnation. The church is “able and equipped to handle these issues properly,” these critics say.

    In that light, I think that one of the most important aspects of my article “Liberty From Abuse” is the detailed tabulation of 130+ moral failures of a couple dozen churches and ministries to handle the same single case of abuse. The required equipping is NOT there, and I doubt those institutions even WANT that equipping since they all joined the collusion roller coaster in virtual lockstep. Further, things like radio programs and podcasts stretch far beyond a church’s geographic boundaries: how does the church adjudicate issues if it limits its own jurisdiction to immediate pastoral concerns (as many seem to do)?

    Consequently, I’ve been told that I’ve “been snookered” and have “taken the bait” to even post here and at Jen’s Gems. A more sympathetic observer noted that “there are a lot of angry people on these two websites.” There’s a reason for that anger, and ignoring it or pigeonholing sites like this as gossip engines blends into the collusion game. Until this connection is broken and the church actually firing on all cylinders, sites like this will continue to operate lest the stones themselves cry out. Hab. 2:11 says, “For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.” Are these parts of the house guilty of gossip? I don’t think so — they react to the collapse of justice and the protection of iniquity (verse 12).

    Are there statements made on these sites that DO constitute gossip? Of course. But we need to filter out such static to hear the genuine signal, and the signal is clear enough that we can’t use the static as an excuse to plug our ears. I suspect that sites like this would happily close up shop if abuse was being handled properly. As it stands today, we face a situation where the librarian shushes the man who shouts “Fire!” while the library burns down.

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  35. I suspect that sites like this would happily close up shop if abuse was being handled properly. As it stands today, we face a situation where the librarian shushes the man who shouts “Fire!” while the library burns down.

    Very true, Martin. I think the frustrating thing for me that I see in so many situations is that even in the churches where there are safeguards in place, people like Swanson can continue in their ministry. I’ve heard hints that people have tried to reign him in, that it has to be done the “proper way,” but this has been going on for years. While he has developed a decent reputation among the homeschool community (where is their discernment?), some of his more ridiculous words are scattered throughout social media and he is viewed as a whack-nut job similar to the kind of nonsense that is spewed from Pat Robertson’s mouth. In general, this man does not do Christ any favors when he opens his mouth.

    You said this:

    and it would be fair to expect that he properly deal with his earlier statements with integrity and to acknowledge any harm flowing from them

    Ok, you said this to me, Julie Anne, – but why is it not said to Swanson? Swanson’s words were public – on a podcast for all to hear. I asked R.C. Sproul, Jr. about Swanson’s embedded fetuses comment. He said he would discuss it with him where he would be meeting him at a conference. Sproul never got back to me. Nothing ever happened.

    Swanson has a public platform where he can be a lone island with no accountability. That need not be in this day and age. Godly men should/could have gone to him privately and told him he was wrong and to make course correction publicly. And if that didn’t happen, godly men should have used their social media platforms and come out to say something like: What Kevin Swanson said about embedded fetuses is not correct. This misinformation is harmful to the Body of Christ. Swanson needs to come clean on this publicly.

    If Swanson did not come clean, this circle could then be widened to include other Christian public leaders who could make the determination that Swanson would not be invited to speak publicly, etc. Even John MacArthur encourages public course correction. I read an article where he said it was perfectly acceptable for people to question church leaders who say things publicly.

    I still haven’t listened to your interview yet (I’m about to go to a recital for my volunteer work), but by your presence on Swanson’s interview, you essentially gave your endorsement of Swanson. You have influence at Chalcedon. I have a platform here. Do you have something you’d like to send me so I can post it publicly about Swanson’s behavior? It would come better from you than me, as I have that missing male part 😉

    Like

  36. Julie Anne,

    I’ve just sent R. C. Sproul Jr. a message to follow up on that February 7, 2013 conference where he was intending to discuss the embedded fetus podcast matter with Pastor Swanson. Once I know the disposition of that discussion (Did it or did it not take place? What was the upshot of it if it did? Etc.), I will then move forward.

    If no reply is forthcoming from Rev. Sproul in a reasonable time frame (e.g. a week), I will simply move forward with the information in hand (after all, this matter has already festered for over a year with no resolution in sight).

    I will also deal with the disconcerting characterization of SSB at that same time and will contact Pastor Swanson directly on both matters. I hope and pray for a God-honoring outcome. Either way, however, I intend to disclose that outcome publicly given the public nature of the original assertions.

    Note that in St. Augustine’s “Retractationes,” we have a strong, early precedent for how a Christian should deal with his/her own statements upon reflection and counsel. That book proves that nobody was better suited to “clean house” on Augustine than Augustine himself. I pray that this powerful role model will be more generally adopted in our day and age, rather than neglected or dismissed. It takes a big man to publicly retract a statement. Augustine was such a man. I hope his spirit still lives today.

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  37. After listing to the pod cast for about 10-15 min., I couldn’t take any more. I have just one question for Pastor Swanson, just who does he think he is? He is building his case on information that is not true and I’m sure he knows it. Perhaps he really doesn’t care.

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  38. Kevin Swanson defends his friend, Bill Gothard against accusations of sexual harassment, while accusing Spiritual Sounding Board and Patheos.com blogs of dancing on the grave of Christian fundamentalism and Biblical Christianity.

    “These two Kings said one to another:
    ‘King unto King o’er the world is Brother’…”
    — paraphrase of G.K.Chesterton’s “Ballad of the Battle of Gibeon”

    (And besides, Womb Tomb the dork probably wants a few of those young female interns himself, and Got Hard might pass a couple along if he defends him enough…)

    Like

  39. @Julie Anne:

    Keith – – the common denominators that I have observed are a twisted and extra-Biblical sense of authority as far as husbands/fathers over wives/children “Patriarchy” and then the Reconstructionist or Dominionist agenda, which encompasses getting into all spheres of civilization and taking over.

    “The only goal of Power is POWER.”
    — Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party, Airstrip One, Oceania, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    “There is no Right, there is no Wrong, there is only POWER.”
    — Lord Voldemort

    Like

  40. Luke 18:2-6

    King James Version (KJV)

    2 …There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

    3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

    4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

    5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

    6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

    That says it all, really. That widow was seeking JUSTICE from a JUDGE in regards to her ADVERSARY, and Jesus was OK with that, as well as the outcome. LISTEN to what the UNJUST judge said, Jesus said.

    According to some in the reformed movement, the only court is the court inside a church building. But not according to the above verse.

    And, I was taught long ago that the best WITNESS (in the case of needing two or three) is EVIDENCE. DNA is a great witness. Even God states that the BLOOD of Abel speaks. It seems to me that these false preachers are dodging the criminal justice system that is outside of the church building.

    The women are begging the judge to hear their case. And there are those who want to silence the women. That is obstruction of justice.

    Ed

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  41. Well this blog has hit the big time ! When The womb TOMB boob feels the need to SLANDER ( to user their favorite term) this blog in order to slam it, that says a lot. Swanson is the biggest idiot of all the Doug Phillips wannabes (well besides Snotty Scotty Brown and Sir Geffro Botkin). These clowns really do think they are leaders and everyone is sitting around listening to all their nonsense. Hey Kevin NEWSFLASH : You shot whatever credibility you had with your wonderful medical advice and affiliation with the Midgit of Vision Forum. Nobody really gives a rip what you have to say, you are just another chuck O’neal that has been exposed and just doesn’t have the sense to go away.

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  42. Thanks for all the interesting discussion. It will be interesting to see what response Martin gets (my guess…nada).

    Re: Peter Attwood’s comment regarding the Christian West. Kevin Swanson has a whole book about the apostasy of the Christian West (beginning with Aquinas!). So, although you seem to be criticizing him by referring to the evils of the “Christian West”, Swanson is actually on the same page. Swanson agrees that the Christian West has apostasized (not as a recent thing, but something that has been happening for hundreds of years). That doesn’t discount the fact that there is such a thing as the “Christian West” which was good. Obviously it was never perfect, but there were some characteristics that we can identify as being better than what existed outside the West at that time and also with what we currently find in the West.

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  43. Mr. Selbrede,

    I am confused about your motive for posting here and would like to know what objective(s) you have in mind. Julie Anne had the same question, wondering if you came here to somehow vindicate Kevin Swanson while perhaps publicizing your interview with him? You then state that you have no prior knowledge of Swanson’s offensive, incredibly hyperbolic style — a style that makes him something of the Christian version of shock jock Howard Stern. (Your interview with him is the first time that he didn’t somehow work in the statement that if you send a daughter to any college, she will have three abortions when discussing some completely unrelated topic. I assume that because of your position, Swanson decided to table his usual, flagrant and ridiculous behavior.)

    In your interview with Swanson you again state that there are essentially no books out there that deal properly with spiritual abuse. The article that you wrote on the subject features a photograph of you at a desk, with more than 130 books that were referenced in search of help, all of which you characterize as antinomian and inadequate.

    In the SSB thread about Joe Taylor that was active during the Thanksgiving season, I noted to you that I recognized a few of the books in the photograph. One of them was a Christian book, but it was written by a Dispensationalist (an antinomian). Another was a very secular psychology book dealing with sexual addiction, yet it was included in this tally of 130+ sources on spiritual abuse. In our exchange, you admitted that you’d not even read the lion’s share of these inadequate, antinomian books. You also admitted that you’d not read what I consider the best Christian book on spiritual abuse. The authors of that book do not identify their position on human agency/sovereignty (but neither does the author of the book that I recognized in the photo). To remedy this, you put the onus on me to contact authors and invite them to write proposals to Chalcedon for consideration to participate in your upcoming symposium on spiritual abuse. I took away the message that it outside of your scope to obtain the books and read them to evaluate them and then perhaps contact those authors yourself. After all, they may also be antinomian, too.

    Also in your recent interview with Swanson, you state that the world is antinomian, as well as many churches. You state that these churches lack respect for God’s Law — that their understanding of it is moralistic and lacks proper respect for God’s Law. As explored in that older thread, most if not all of the people participating in the discussion here also classify as antinomian Dispensationalists. Most people in that discussion didn’t even understand the basics of Covenant Theology, let alone Theonomy, and It is my guess that few are Calvinists. Of the people who are, I suspect that they would also be considered largely antinomian by Chalcedon standards.

    One of the primary features of spiritual abuse is elitism — a withholding of heaven from the people with stringent rules or moral imperatives that make the primary path to Christ laborious and unattainable unto which the leaders often cannot aspire. I cannot help but see this similar theme in your own responses here. It all boils down to whether a person is antinomian or not.

    You stated that you see this website and those like it as a symptom of the fact that churches have failed in their ability to deal with the problem. May I ask, then, what you do hope to accomplish here, other than to perhaps soften people’s perceptions of theonomy — considering that most of the people here possess an inadequate conception of theology, as well as the nature of and solution to the problems? You’ve got your work cut out with Swanson, most certainly, as he would consider most of us here to be so “contaminated” by secularism (his application of the term), that it is wrong to engage us. Morecraft is another person who is given to his own variety of offensive hyperbole that vilifies most of the participants here. I do appreciate and am grateful for your efforts to hold some of these men accountable, and I hope that you succeed.

    If the majority participating here are all blind men who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof, are you here to just help mitigate some bad press about Theonomists? You mentioned Augustine who also said that we should extend liberty to those who are within the pale of orthodoxy within Christianity but who disagree with us on the non-essentials. Are you here in the spirit of liberty to work with antinomians to help them see the light of truth in terms of human agency/God’s sovereignty, then? And if your view of the proper means of solving the problem is so dependent on the proper procedure according to the Word Law, isn’t your view largely self-limiting? As I stated months ago, like the woman who pursued the unrighteous judge, most here do not have and will not have access to your remedies. Either their church systems were corrupt, their individual leaders were corrupt, or they largely reject your view of that which constitutes “Biblical.”

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  44. Martin Selbrede

    You write @ FEBRUARY 23, 2014 @ 4:07 PM…
    “If no reply is forthcoming from *Rev. Sproul* in a reasonable time frame…”

    Was wondering – Why do you call R.C. Sproul Jr. – Reverend?
    When, in the Bible,
    NOT one of His Disciples called another Disciple – Reverend?

    Seems, the only one, in the Bible, referred to as reverend is God/Jesus.
    Ps 111:9 …holy and reverend is his name.

    Could you also ask this, errr, this, this, errr, “Cloud without water” why…
    R.C. Sproul Jr., calls himself Reverend? Or has the “Title” Reverend?

    When, in the Bible,
    NOT one of His Disciples called themself Reverend?
    NOT one of His Disciples had the Title” Reverend?
    NOT one of His Disciples were, Hired or Fired, as a Reverend?

    ————–

    Why? Do you, and Sproul, ADD to the Bible?
    Why? Are you, and Sproul, NOT one of His Disciples?

    ————

    If these conclusions are NOT correct – Please forgive me…
    If these conclusions are correct – Please repent…

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  45. Martin Selbrede

    You write @ FEBRUARY 23, 2014 @ 4:07 PM…
    “I will also deal with the disconcerting characterization of SSB at that same time and will contact *Pastor Swanson* directly on both matters.”

    Was wondering – Why do you call Kevin – pastor?
    When, in the Bible,
    NOT one of His Disciples called another Disciple – pastor? Or shepherd?

    Seems, the only one, in the Bible, with “Title” Shepherd is Jesus.

    Could you also ask this, errr, this, this, errr, “Cloud without water” why…
    Kevin, calls himself pastor/shepherd? Or has the “Title” pastor/shepherd?

    When, in the Bible,
    NOT one of His Disciples called themself pastor/shepherd?
    NOT one of His Disciples had the Title” pastor/shepherd?
    NOT one of His Disciples were, Hired or Fired, as a pastor/shepherd?

    ————–

    Why? Do you, and Sproul, ADD stuff to the Bible?
    Why? Are you, and Sproul, NOT one of His Disciples?

    If these conclusions are NOT correct – Please forgive me…
    If these conclusions are correct – Please repent…

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  46. Martin Selbrede

    Ooops

    Why? Do you, and Swanson, ADD stuff to the Bible?
    Why? Are you, and Swanson, NOT one of His Disciples?

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  47. Cindy K

    You write…
    “As I stated months ago, like the woman who pursued the unrighteous judge, most here do not have and will not have access to your remedies. Either their church systems were corrupt, their individual leaders were corrupt, or they largely reject your view of that which constitutes “Biblical.”“

    Yup… Excellent – the whole comment – And you nailed it at the end…

    MY “church systems were corrupt.” And still are…
    MY “leaders were corrupt” – And still are…
    MY “view of that which constitutes “Biblical.”“ – Rejects Martins view.

    And I’m a thinkin –
    Swanson, Sproul, as “leaders” and “their church systems”
    Are also corrupt…

    But – I believe – The Whole Religious System, for 1700 years,
    Has been, and is *Totally Corrupt?*

    And, maybe I’m eggzaturating…

    Corrupt – Dictionary

    1 – showing a willingness to act dishonestly
    ……in return for money or personal gain.

    2 – debased or made unreliable by errors or alterations.

    3 – in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.

    Isn’t “Today’s Corrupt Religious System” filled with those having
    “a willingness to act dishonestly?” And are after – Power – Profit – Prestige?
    1 – “money and personal gain”
    ……(Celebrity Pastors, Church Leaders, Authors, Conference speakers)

    2 – and make “Today’s Religious System” “unreliable by errors, alterations,”
    to the Bible. How the Bible describes His Church? His Ekklesia, His Sheep?
    As a place to go to? To give money to? To join? To become a member of?

    NOPE – Go to church, Join a church, Tithe to a church, NOT in the Bible.

    Errors and alterations to the Qualifications for Elder/Overseer?
    Does anyone believe Swanson and Sproul qualify to be an elder/overseer?
    Seems, they are Blind guides leading the blind…

    And because of these “errors, alterations” to describe His church, His body,
    And these “errors, alterations” to the qualifications of Elder/Overseer…

    3 – “The Corrupt Religious System” is “in a state of decay; rotten and putrid.”

    Now, the benefit of having a “Corrupt Religious System” “Corrupt Leaders,” is – folks are leaving by the millions. And turning to

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

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  48. A. Amos Love,

    I’m with you on “Reverend”, but “pastor/shepherd” is a valid biblical term which is applied to certain disciples in the NT (eg. Eph. 4:11). The fact that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, Great Shepherd, and Chief Shepherd, indicate that there are other shepherds out there. Are you suggesting that all shepherds other than Jesus are bad? What about Julie Anne and others who seek to care for the flock? I know she wouldn’t claim that title, but isn’t she a pastor/shepherd?

    And maybe your dispute is simply with the title. I can agree with that. The word “pastor” has been much abused, much like “church” has. The reality is that most people associate “pastor” with a teacher/leader of a church, and most people associate “church” with a building, even though those aren’t biblically correct. Would you like it better if “pastor” were replaced with “elder/overseer”, which are more biblically accurate terms that don’t carry the same baggage?

    Whatever you call them, elders/overseers are to pastor/shepherd Christ’s flock (John 21:15-17, Acts 20:28, 1 Pet. 5:1-4).

    Like

  49. That Fifth Dimension reference and the Age of Apostasy is a hoot! Appropriate too, because the theology that Gothard and company rely on is laughable.

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  50. Tim, KB thought of that 5th Dimension video, I had a laughing fit. I adore 5th Dimension and especially Marilyn McCoo who has one of the most pure and beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. I’m a certified choir nerd and very critical of voices.

    Oh, and laughable is not the word I would use, Tim. Frightening might work for me. Ewwww.

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  51. Amos Love,

    We are in good company together.

    I ascribe to Luther’s concept of the centrality and importance of justification in appropriating Old Testament Law under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the informed conscience that God gives Believers when the become new creations in Christ. If a law brings conviction to us as part of our process of growth into ever greater holiness as the work of the Spirit, it is fine. If an Old Testament Law condemns us and argues against our right standing with God through Jesus, we have misapplied it and have fallen into legalism. This makes the Believer’s relation to the Law quite dynamic — and it almost makes it harder for me because I find myself more dependent on God’s grace and my connection to/relationship with Him. (I’ll always fail on a list of rules, just because of the way I’m put together.)

    Because I don’t separate out the Old Testament Laws into categories first, then create a code of conduct for myself from them, then go about living, I am said to be antinoian. This is seen as a disregard for Scripture and God Himself because it is misunderstood that because I believe that the law no longer condemns me, somehow that is seen as a lack of willingness to live up to the Law — or that I don’t seek and want more than anything to live a pure and holy life that glorifies God. This is seen by most people who ascribe to Covenant Theology as self-driven, self-directed faith that is more moralistic than it is Scriptural. — That I really don’t grasp the truth very well, and my understanding of it is inaccurate.

    This further highlights the significance of what is meant by the term antinomian in pragmatic terms as we work through this discussion. That is key here. What is meant by antinomian? Is it unbiblical to be antinomian? If we are antinomian, are we even saved, or are we something like separated brethren? Are we heretics? Are we unbiblical Christians? What are the consequences and limitations of being so? Are we without hope as Christians, apart from adopting a theonomic perspective, or at the very least, embracing Covenant Theology?

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  52. Cindy K,

    My response to your main points (appearing in quotes) below.

    Martin

    “I am confused about your motive for posting here and would like to know what objective(s) you have in mind. Julie Anne had the same question, wondering if you came here to somehow vindicate Kevin Swanson while perhaps publicizing your interview with him?”

    I was simply surprised at the pro-Gothard podcast attributed to Pastor Swanson that was posted here at SSB. My experience was very different, and I was pointing out the mismatch. Truth be told, I was expecting to read something like “Swanson Calls for Gothard Trial” (what I heard first-hand) rather than “Swanson Supports Gothard,” so you can understand my “cognitive dissonance.”

    “In your interview with Swanson you again state that there are essentially no books out there that deal properly with spiritual abuse. The article that you wrote on the subject features a photograph of you at a desk, with more than 130 books that were referenced in search of help, all of which you characterize as antinomian and inadequate.”

    My focus was intended to be the question of sanctions against abuse. My theme was that Ezekiel 34 teaches a one-strike-you’re-out doctrine backed up by God’s Own oath that lays His Own existence on the line. I’ve never seen a full exposition of this text in this connection (that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but I try to be thorough and usually am in my research).

    “You also admitted that you’d not read what I consider the best Christian book on spiritual abuse. The authors of that book do not identify their position on human agency/sovereignty (but neither does the author of the book that I recognized in the photo). To remedy this, you put the onus on me to contact authors and invite them to write proposals to Chalcedon for consideration to participate in your upcoming symposium on spiritual abuse. I took away the message that it outside of your scope to obtain the books and read them to evaluate them and then perhaps contact those authors yourself. After all, they may also be antinomian, too.”

    Again, the question of antinomianism deals primarily with the matter of sanctions. Several authors who lurk here sent me copies of their books on spiritual abuse. I’m particularly impressed with Jeff Crippen’s book, “A Cry For Justice,” as well as one from a pseudonymous writer. On my recommendation, Pastor Swanson ordered the Crippen book to study for himself. Do know that I “admit” things because they are true, not because I’m hiding anything. And in no place did I ever imply that I had read that stack of books: I clearly (repeat, clearly) pointed out that the victim, not me, had devoured them all and annotated them. I have, however, carefully read the victim’s syntheses of these books and examined the most pertinent ones.

    “One of the primary features of spiritual abuse is elitism — a withholding of heaven from the people with stringent rules or moral imperatives that make the primary path to Christ laborious and unattainable unto which the leaders often cannot aspire. I cannot help but see this similar theme in your own responses here. It all boils down to whether a person is antinomian or not.”

    My position on antinomianism has no bearing on salvation. My view is that antinomianism is the approach that actually generates stringent rules and moral imperatives that make the Christian walk burdensome. When God’s law is set aside, man’s freshly-minted “church rules” rush in to fill that vacuum. It seems to me that this very website has tabulated quite a few examples of this phenomenon in respect to Mr. Gothard’s teachings. There is no limit to how many rules a church leader can spit out when they’re in legislative mode, but I would hold that the Bible forbids them from legislating at all. God alone is the lawgiver (Isa. 33:22). Men do a horrific job of legislating, and antinomianism opens the door to this behavior (not by logical necessity, but due to man’s penchant for abusing power when there’s nothing to restrain them from doing so, on the false theory that God’s word is allegedly insufficient, so “here we come to save the day” with new blueprints for what will now constitute righteous conduct).

    Let me add that antinomianism is in play the very instant there’s ANY talk about restoring an abusive leader to office. I provided three lines of evidence from Ezek. 34 to back up the one-strike-you’re-out rule: the clear requirement of verse 10, the oath at verse 7 that God swears to enforce verse 10, and the fact that the shepherd is demoted to sheep status (“I will judge between sheep and sheep” says God at verse 22 – NOT “between sheep and shepherd”). The demotion is permanent. This is how God protects sheep from further abuse (aside from the matter of additional civil and ecclesiastical sanctions based on the harm the abuser inflicted on his victims). Consistent antinomians either dismiss, ignore, or override God’s oath in respect to this matter. I believe this compounds spiritual abuse and drives the abuser’s knife deeper into the victim. Following God’s commands stops this hemorrhage. To call this legalistic is to condemn the sheep to be abused again and again.

    “You stated that you see this website and those like it as a symptom of the fact that churches have failed in their ability to deal with the problem. May I ask, then, what you do hope to accomplish here, other than to perhaps soften people’s perceptions of theonomy — considering that most of the people here possess an inadequate conception of theology, as well as the nature of and solution to the problems? You’ve got your work cut out with Swanson, most certainly, as he would consider most of us here to be so “contaminated” by secularism (his application of the term), that it is wrong to engage us. Morecraft is another person who is given to his own variety of offensive hyperbole that vilifies most of the participants here. I do appreciate and am grateful for your efforts to hold some of these men accountable, and I hope that you succeed.”

    Yes, I’ve already encountered conflict from both sides. Your prayers would be appreciated.

    “If the majority participating here are all blind men who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof, are you here to just help mitigate some bad press about Theonomists?”

    I think you’re drawing a hasty conclusion perhaps based on prior experience with other individuals (which I can fully understand). If there’s bad press about Theonomists, it’s that they too can practice antinomianism and, to the extent they do, they will indulge and protect abusers in high office and run roughshod over God’s clear sanctions (“God must surely have sworn that oath at Ezek. 34:7 rashly!”). You see, that oath has huge implications: it means that for someone to adopt the antinomian view and say, “We need to work to eventually restore this abuser to office” is fully equivalent to saying “I want to see God dead!” There is no way around God’s ultimatum. Yes, sanctions are but a part of the abuse complex, and I want to take NOTHING away from those who’ve done painful research for years on all the other countless aspects of it. I am saying only that we’ve not taken Ezekiel 34 as seriously as we should have in respect to its value in this matter. Moreover, when victims realize that justice will work proactively against an abuser (rather than repeatedly protect the abuser, as my article documents in detail) and that God puts the victim first over and above the ministry (i.e., justice trumps ministry), this changes the playing field quite a bit. The opposing idea that ministry trumps justice is inherently antinomian, and the victim is once again at the mercy of powerful institutions that circle the wagons so effectively because they’ve glossed right over the sanctions God swore must be applied.

    “You mentioned Augustine who also said that we should extend liberty to those who are within the pale of orthodoxy within Christianity but who disagree with us on the non-essentials. Are you here in the spirit of liberty to work with antinomians to help them see the light of truth in terms of human agency/God’s sovereignty, then?”

    I don’t think the Calvinism/Arminianism (God’s sovereignty/human agency) debate has a significant bearing on the question of ethics (what we should do). Big-picture-wise, it is true that in 17th century England the Arminians stood with the king while the Calvinists stood with Parliament (so at one time you could have argued that Calvinists stood strong in opposing the divine right of kings and the resulting abuses of power), but Parliament is such an autocratic monster today that the earlier disputes hardly register anymore.

    Yes, I strongly agree with the principle “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”

    “And if your view of the proper means of solving the problem is so dependent on the proper procedure according to the Word Law, isn’t your view largely self-limiting?”

    In my article I explained the significance of Hebrews 6:16-18 as it relates to oaths that God swears. This was intended to show that the sanctions of Ezek. 34:10 are “beyond dispute.” We want to put this passage of Scripture into the hands of those who need it. Not a single person has attempted to refute the analysis (some desperately want to, but don’t know how to get around God’s oath to dismantle His sanction). I believe with Jeremiah that God’s Word, if unmuzzled, is a hammer that can crush rocks to powder.

    “As I stated months ago, like the woman who pursued the unrighteous judge, most here do not have and will not have access to your remedies. Either their church systems were corrupt, their individual leaders were corrupt, or they largely reject your view of that which constitutes ‘Biblical.’ ”

    Sounds like you’ve put your finger on the very thing we need to address. I don’t mean to oversimplify this, but the fact that victims can point to a key passage in Scripture in support of their search for justice, and can back up their appeal to Ezekiel 34:10 with God’s own oath at Ezekiel 34:7, surely puts them in a better position than what currently prevails. Yes, it’s just a start, but I believe a strong one. We’re better off with this tool than without it (and since it’s a tool that God Himself crafted and swore He would back up, it is inherently valuable). As I mentioned in my article, that victim I collaborated with had nose-dived into depression stemming from systematic church collusion designed to maintain the abuser in power. Just knowing that the Bible required the exact opposite of the victim’s experience with those churches was hugely liberating. God DID put victims first, even if the churches and para-church ministries did not. In fact, God expresses shock that nobody inquires about the victims of shepherd abuse in Ezekiel 34:6, and it is noteworthy that with the recent abuse cases it was websites like SSB that put THAT question front and center (“What about her? Who’s helping her?”) while SSB’s detractors generally ignored or maligned the victim (with some notable exceptions that worked proactively behind the scenes).

    I’ve probably preached on Luke 18:1-9 about a dozen times since 1981. I know the text and its implications well. That magistrate feared neither God nor man – it was only the widow’s persistence that wore him down, not the need to secure justice for her. Unlike him, Christ does deliver justice and does so because “He leads justice to victory” (Matt. 12:20). This is why I started my article with a discussion of the need to teach “the whole counsel of God.” If we don’t, as Paul reasons, we cannot claim to be “guiltless of the blood of all men.” We might incur significant guilt by failing to bring to bear the relevant scriptures upon a matter. I think that with spiritual abuse, the failure to apply the sworn sanctions of Ezekiel 34:10 is precisely such a blood-guilty omission. This was the point missing in that big stack of books in the photo, as valuable as many of them were in other respects. My research showed that many theologians over the last 350 had indeed understood the impact of Ezekiel 34:10 — I wasn’t discovering anything new, just uncovering what had been buried due to an antinomian (and conveniently self-serving) mindset among many who wield spiritual power. They promote antinomianism among their flocks because it keeps Ezekiel 34:10 at arm’s length and under the radar. This is precisely the pattern that needs to be broken.

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  53. Martin,

    You had said: “I’ve probably preached on Luke 18:1-9 about a dozen times since 1981. I know the text and its implications well. That magistrate feared neither God nor man – it was only the widow’s persistence that wore him down, not the need to secure justice for her. Unlike him, Christ does deliver justice and does so because “He leads justice to victory” (Matt. 12:20).”

    Regardless, Jesus said to listen…listen…listen to what the unjust judge said.  That unjust judge, regardless of motive, will avenge the widows adversary.

    In your quote above, you side stepped a bit, by transferring the conversation to spiritual justice. 

    That isn’t the justice in mind here.  The women want justice in the court of mankind, just like the widow did.  This isn’t about spiritual justice.

    We have to call a spade a spade, not just asking or telling or demanding that a spiritual leader repent for spiritual forgiveness, but to FACE THE MUSIC here on earth in a jail cell.

    Either you are for that, or you are not.  Justice is not a hand slap in a church building, it’s handcuffs in a jail cell.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  54. Hi Ed,

    I don’t see the term “spiritual justice” anywhere in Luke 18:1-9 or Matt. 12:20. What version of the Bible are you using?

    Deuteronomy 16:20 makes the imperative clear in the original Hebrew: “Justice, justice shalt thou do.” The KJV renders this “That which is altogether just shalt thou do” to soften the impact of the repeated word “justice.”

    As my post already discussed (positively) the issue of both “civil and ecclesiastical sanctions” are of paramount importance, and I put the two in that order. I have to assume that you might have missed that (it was a long answer to CK after all).

    I agree with your view that the widow wanted (in fact, needed) justice here and now, as she was suffering ongoing persecution from her adversary and needed to be delivered from it (“avenge me of my enemy” can be rendered “deliver me from my enemy,” because civil sanctions against him would stop the attacks on her).

    While you’re right to draw attention to Christ’s instruction to “listen to what the unjust judge said,” the contrast with the Son of Man is not that Christ is like that judge, but that He is UNLIKE him because He won’t drag His feet like the unjust judge did. The judge’s job was to dispense justice (here and now) swiftly. Note what happens when justice is delayed: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Eccl. 8:11).

    So, I fundamentally agree with you, and I’m not altogether sure why you are dissatisfied with my comments.

    Martin

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  55. Ed,

    Just to be clear, I use the term “civil sanctions” in a Biblical sense, not a modern legal sense (where secular law distinguishes sharply between “civil courts” and “criminal courts”). Civil sanctions in Scripture include both criminal and civil aspects in modern law. I didn’t want you think that I was avoiding the notion of criminal conduct — I most decidedly am not. These temporal sanctions are ON TOP OF the requirement of permanent loss of office laid out in Ezekiel 34:10. The ecclesiastical demotion does not take the place of other court action, it expands upon it.

    Martin

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  56. Martin,

    You had said in your previous comment the following:
    “Unlike him, Christ does deliver justice and does so because “He leads justice to victory” (Matt. 12:20).”

    When does that happen? In a court of law on earth, or at the great white throne a long way off?

    One is carnal, one is spiritual. The women want the carnal. You are discussing spiritual. Big difference. You say that Jesus doesn’t drag his feet, and yet, the great white throne is a long way away. The women can’t wait that long.

    I do not see what you see, that there is a contrast between the unjust judge and Jesus. In reality, that was a parable. It was a spiritual story to tell people to KEEP BUGGING GOD, aka, keep praying. It was a story equating Jesus to the judge, showing that if you keep BUGGING (praying), your prayers will be answered.

    How swift was God in removing the children of Israel from Egypt? How many years were they in bondage awaiting Moses to come on the scene?

    God is LONG SUFFERING, which means that he permits wrongdoing for a long time, with patience, before he executes his judgment. Long suffering.

    The widow kept bugging the unjust judge. We are to keep praying to God.

    Again, regardless, the women want carnal justice NOW, and they keep bugging people until they get their justice. Who’s side are you on? Your writings really confuse me. One post, you are on the side of the perp. On the other hand, you are on the side of the victims. I’m not getting you. Please choose, and make it known what the name of the persons (plural) that you support.

    Ed

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  57. Martin, just to be clear, I am discussing criminal court, as in Romans 13.  Your example of religious law does not apply.  That applied to the Jews based on the 613 laws of Moses.  I don’t know one Gentile that went to the Sanhedrin for justice.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  58. Martin,

    One more thing. I said “the women want carnal justice NOW, and they keep bugging people until they get their justice”.

    I add that there are those in the religious nut case circles that want to stop the women from getting their justice…you know, the guys in leadership. They want to SILENCE the women, to put them in their place. They want to silence this blog.

    I call that, as I said before, OBSTRUCTION of Justice. Do you agree, or disagree? Even your tone shows signs of wanting to silence things that are said on this blog. Who do you support?

    Ed

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  59. Ed,

    I don’t see anything obscure in what I’m saying. So, let’s unpack this one point at a time.

    I am NOT on the perpetrator’s side. The idea that I’m protecting the perpetrator comes not from my words but from your recontextualizing of my words.

    I AM on the victim’s side. I’ve said this in so many ways, I don’t understand how anyone here can arrive at an opposing position. The usual rule in even-handed discussion is “don’t put an unnecessarily derogatory construction on another person’s words.” We should aspire to this, no?

    When does Christ lead justice to victory? We see that Christ is quoting from Isaiah 42:1-4, which tells us (verse 1) that “He shall bring forth justice to the Gentiles” and (verse 4) that “He shall not fail nor be discouraged until He has established justice in the earth, and the isles shall wait for His Law.” This is all about earthly justice, which by a process “He leads to victory” (Matt. 12:20 “He shall lead justice to victory,” Greek version of Isa. 42:3, “He shall bring forth justice unto truth”). There are other passages in Scripture that teach the same concept.

    Why would any Gentile look to the Sanhedrin for justice when this same body mutilated justice so completely in the case of Christ? Jesus was struck in His face before any evidence was even brought forward or witnesses called. I’m not following you here on your argument about the Sanhedrin (nor why you associate it with God’s Law).

    I agree that Romans 13 applies here in respect to the civil magistrate’s involvement in adjudicating and punishing crimes (including those associated with abuse), but I suspect we disagree as to how to interpret this passage were we to drill down into it in any detail. It will suffice to say that the civil magistrate is to be a terror to evil-doers (including punishing the evil of spiritual abuse) over and above the ecclesiastical sanction. But to leave Ezekiel 34:10 out of the picture and disparage it as “religious law” means a perpetrator could theoretically resume ministry after his civil punishment is concluded. So, merely applying Romans 13 as if it were the only necessary remedy is to take the perpetrator’s side and reopen the door for recidivism. I assume you don’t intend this result.

    I didn’t notice you making any mention of God’s oath about this matter. Does it play any part in your analysis, or are you merely focusing on a specific point you’re trying to make and so are narrowing your focus accordingly?

    Finally, can you please quote the statement(s) you say that I have posted here that even remotely demonstrate that I advocate silencing victims of abuse (or silencing anyone, for that matter) as you’ve suggested you’ve found on this website? If anyone else can help Ed find these, please do so. Thank you all.

    Martin

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  60. Martin,

    You said:
    “When does Christ lead justice to victory? We see that Christ is quoting from Isaiah 42:1-4, which tells us (verse 1) that “He shall bring forth justice to the Gentiles” and (verse 4) that “He shall not fail nor be discouraged until He has established justice in the earth, and the isles shall wait for His Law.” This is all about earthly justice, which by a process “He leads to victory” (Matt. 12:20 “He shall lead justice to victory,” Greek version of Isa. 42:3, “He shall bring forth justice unto truth”). There are other passages in Scripture that teach the same concept. ”

    My response:
    That has nothing to do with justice in a court of law. This is not earthly justice. This is the New Covenant being discussed in spiritual terms. “And the iles shall wait for His Law.” What is His Law? Love God and Love People. The Law of Faith. Righteousness, that we are INNOCENT in Christ. I don’t see how you can find that this is about “earthly justice”.

    Next:
    You said:
    “I agree that Romans 13 applies here in respect to the civil magistrate’s involvement in adjudicating and punishing crimes (including those associated with abuse), but I suspect we disagree as to how to interpret this passage were we to drill down into it in any detail. ”

    My response: Why? It’s simple. It’s called obeying the law of the land.

    The woman charge sexual harrasment with the Police Department…the prosecutor decides to press charges…the perp is arrested, makes bail, see’s the judge, pleads not guilty, goes to trial, and is judged by a jury of his peers. Then the judge either dismisses, or sentences.

    In the mean time, he is on administrative leave, PENDING the outcome. He does not preach, teach, or even attend church services. He can watch Televangelists at home.

    That is our justice system in the United States, and Romans 13 is based on obeying the law of the land, so I don’t understand why there even would be an interpretation to drill down.

    You said that you are on the side of the victims, great. But you support Kevin Swanson, and that tells me that you don’t support the victims.

    Good day, sir.

    Ed

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  61. One last thing, Martin,

    Again, I say that there is obstruction of justice going on. I’ve said that three times. The men in leadership want to shut the women up. And that leadership goes very high. Tell me again how much you support the victims. Convince me. Lip service is one thing, but you support Kevin Swanson, and therefore, you have yet to convince me that you support the victims.

    Ed

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  62. Mr. Selbrede,

    Out of my great respect for the late Rev. Rushdoony and your position at Chalcedon, and considering that I’ve not been invited to do otherwise, I’ve addressed you by your surname. Someone mentioned to me this evening that I may seem officious, and that is not my intent. I am, however, frustrated, and I would like to explain why.

    As has been noted, you are also quite wordy, and a reader here communicated to folks privately that you write on a post-graduate level. That creates a problem for those who are trying to discern what it is that you’re trying to convey but don’t have the time, the knowledge of the language, details of other theologies with which they are unfamiliar, if not the acumen to understand.

    Many times, you used the term “antinomian” which carries both a precise definition as well as connotation which is *derogatory* when used among Theonomists. It implies that the antinomian wrongfully robs God of the sovereignty and power that is due to Him alone — a very serious offense and a type of self-idolatry. I’m not sure that most readers here are familiar enough with the implications of this term to catch that.

    In the several times that you mention your authoritative article (since it elucidates what others allegedly don’t in a superior way), when you characterize what sets your perspective apart, you repeat and repeat that the alternatives are antinomian (without further characterizations as to why).

    In response to my questions, you’ve implied that I have failed to discern things that I guess were supposed to be very obvious to me.

    — When you use the term “antinomian,” I am expected to disregard what I understand of the term, and I’m to understand that what truly makes your treatment of spiritual abuse unique and what you really meant was that you call for the permanent expulsion of abusive pastors.

    antinomian = authors who don’t write that abusive pastors should be disqualified from ministry

    (Perhaps if you repeated the latter instead of the loaded term that you do repeat as a distinction, I wouldn’t have “missed” that.)

    — You imply that I’m unreasonable in my expectation that a person who writes an authoritative article on a subject and claims that other sources on the subject are inadequate and antinomian (poor respect for God’s law) should have actually read those sources as some point, particularly the best sources. At least that’s how it feels to me.

    You never explicitly state that you read the books. The caption under the photo which displays the books states:

Martin Selbrede in February 2010 compiling over 130 systemic failures by more than two dozen Christian institutions in their handling of a single attempted sexual exploitation perpetrated by a noted missionary. The 121 books at the right were read by the victim in an effort to regain sanity after encountering the stone wall of ecclesiastical collusion for nine straight months.

    But for you to make authoritative statements esteeming these works, is it truly unreasonable for me to have some expectation that you have read them, too, since you are the person making the bold assertion? You are the person in the photo with the books, but that’s not supposed to imply that you read them? (I don’t think that this is an unreasonable expectation at all and I don’t think that you pointed this out clearly. If I wrote an authoritative article on a subject in my profession, I would be run out on a rail if I had not read and were not knowledgeable about the related literature.)

    — In addition to claiming that 121 books don’t address the topic well, you fail to post a list of those books, some of which I own and know well that they are neither Christian nor address spiritual abuse. But your presentation makes it sound like there are 121 books written by Christians that are not good enough. This is also terribly misleading.

    — Another factor here, concerning the books that *are* written by Christians and do concern spiritual abuse is a matter of their focus. You say that they don’t give a good enough exposition of Ez 34, but to do so in a book that is geared at survivors to help them transcend the effects of the experience would be inappropriate. Ez 34 is mentioned in every one of these books, but in a way that validates Believers and focuses on their recovery. Most of them are no longer in their churches, nor are they in positions to affect change, so addressing the pastoral issues would be inappropriate.

    That is not neglect of the Word, failure to thoroughly address the topic, or moralistic Christianity. That is a function of writing to the intended audience to address their functional needs. To bandy about with the term antinomian to characterize these many helpful books is not honest.
    
I have hinted at this many times before but did not want to be so blunt. If you follow conservative hermeneutics in the discernment of Scripture, you should also follow it in your assessment of this literature before you label it, especially with such a loaded term. Just because these books don’t discuss how pastors should be dealt with in depth and to your satisfaction means something entirely different from the claim that the authors think that abusive pastors should remain in ministry. That does not make them antinomian.

    — My other issues here are more subtle and perhaps more personal, but I believe that they often extend to many of the readers here as well. I’m quite disappointed. I get the impression that you’re posturing to make it clear that you are a legitimate authority, though I don’t believe that I’ve ever implied such. I allude to a previous commenter who mentioned parable of the woman and the unrighteous judge, and you come back with the reference for it as if I somehow implied that you were ignorant of it. I didn’t put the reference down because I know that you know it! Is it also critical to point out that you’ve preached X number of times on a topic as well? I don’t know quite what you were attempting to establish with these references, save to appeal to authority.

    — Now, I’m going to “appeal to authority” and to add some perspective towards my own accountability. I read your latest response to my husband this evening (undergrad engineering student, PhD and post doc in pharmacology, a masters degree in Biblical Studies, and he took several classes at SCCCS towards another masters degree before it folded). He laughed and said “He’s doing the same thing to you now that he did to you before.” He seemed to agree with me and my perception. You sound very condescending, you’re evasive, you avoid answering many questions, and you use them as an opportunity to talk about tangential topics, Your responses are often wordy and seem to be designed to establish you as an intellectual or very knowledgable (perhaps more than I am, as though I’m ignorant of Scripture references or quotes or sources, etc.). In the process, I think that most people’s eyes roll up in their heads because it seems unrelated to matters at hand.

And almost like clockwork, you’ll throw in what conveys as a sarcastic comment like “I don’t mean to oversimplify,” suggesting that such is needed. You did it over Thanksgiving several times, and I think that my jaw hit the floor when you did. For those who aren’t reading closely or don’t understand the finer points of the discussion, it stands out against the tangents that are often irrelevant to the germane discussion or question. They can’t follow your logic, but the implication that I needed some simplification does tend to stick because it is an emotional hook for them. I think that one could argue that this might be a rhetorical trick and something that appeals to a person’s sense of consistency (we like others to think about us the way we think about ourselves, and no one wants to be a simpleton). It’s a way of appearing gracious, but it seems that it is often a thinly veiled insult.

    So I don’t know if that’s your intent or not, but I have found you to be evasive and to engage in quite a bit of circumlocution. Sometimes, I believe that you do so to posture as an authority, and sometimes, it seems to me that it is aimed at diminishing me personally to create a contrast. If you’re trying to engender trust here with the predominantly antinomian readership here, you’re not doing very well.

    This is not how I normally like to converse with people, but I wanted to emotionally step aside from some of this to point out what seems to me as pretense in your responses. It strikes me as a continual pattern that I find a bit unpleasant because it does have an edge of personal insult. I usually let things like this go, but this is a repetitive pattern. If this is just a communication issue, please try to more directly elucidate what it is you actually mean, taking into account the audience here and without appeal to so much tangential example that is not directly or closely related to the subject (e.g. divine rights of kings reference, Augustine). Again, most people here don’t know much at all about Covenant Theology, and they are not theologians. We do know Scripture, however. 🙂

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  63. Hey y’all – – if you expect me to understand this highfalutin lingo, I think you should be awarding me some college credit or something for this massive brain energy expended. Seriously.

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  64. I would also love to see a list of these 121 books with their titles and authors’ names typed out. I think that people deserve to know which ones are written by Christians to address spiritual abuse and which ones have to do with sex addiction (one of the titles) and whether they are secular or not. Secular books should be expected to be antinomian — Water is wet.

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  65. Cindy K,

    I appreciate your points, which are well-taken. If my reply doesn’t cut the mustard, say so and I’ll try until I’m successful at expressing my position.

    First, this is a balancing act: technically, responding to you means hijacking the thread farther away from its original purpose, but Julie Anne hasn’t lowered the boom yet so I’m going to assume she wants to know where this is going.

    The second balancing act is simplicity versus accuracy. When I say I am going to over-simplify something, this should not be taken as an insult to the reader (not my intent) but to show there is a danger of misunderstanding as a result of taking that approach. I try to “over-simplify” something in the interest of communicating it without indulging technical points. For example, I could say “At the risk of oversimplifying the matter, we could say that Old Testament law states that individuals with leprosy are unclean.” Most people’s immediate reaction: “This is not an oversimplification at all, it a simple fact. Why did Martin make it sound so condescending?” Here is why: Leviticus 13:13 states that if leprosy extends over the entire body, head to foot, you aren’t unclean but actually clean. So the original assertion IS an over-simplification, and if taken as the whole truth, it is a lie and a dangerous one at that. If I say something is an over-simplification, it means it is open to the risk of creating a false impression, and that is a danger that we should be aware of. Alerting the reader to a hazard, not condescension, is my intention. I apologize for any other impression created by my writing style.

    I don’t want to be combative either, as it’s simply not edifying. If I quote Isaiah 42 that speaks about “justice established in the earth” and Ed tells me this has nothing to do with “earthly justice,” I think it better to let him have the last word than to reply in a way that comes off as overbearing (and in ironic conflict with Isa. 42:3).

    I credited the victim, who read those 121 books (and more), with doing enough research to satisfy two if not three doctoral dissertations. I myself only have a high school diploma. I regret that the disclaimers that denied that I had read those books were inadequate, despite being repeated (disclaimers in both the text and in the photo caption). I thought the disavowals were clear. I was evidently mistaken. I will strive for better clarity to avoid any repeats of this problem. I made a point of saying the “vocabulary of collusion” was not original with me, and credited the source. I did a massive conflation of the victim’s dissertation taking many months of work, so I worked with a lot of source material, but I did not read those books and didn’t intend for the photo to convey anything other than this message: this victim spent thousands of dollars to wrap her head around what had happened to her. And I said so in the body of the article.

    If you contact me via Facebook, I will provide a phone number and direct email address and I will try to assemble the list of those 121 books. You asked directly, and I’m happy to oblige and email you the list after it is collated.

    Yes, the humanistic books are antinomian just as water is wet. So I’ll conclude this late night post with a discussion of “what is antinomianism?” Did I use this term in a non-standard way (and is there really a standard meaning)?

    Antinomianism is really a spectrum, a sliding scale: it involves the question of how much of God’s law is still applicable today. Here is where an oversimplification becomes dangerous: the idea that dispensationalists are inherently antinomian (that is, they discount the Old Testament law for use today). Perhaps an “Acts 2” dispensationalist would discount Old Testament law, but an “Acts 13” dispensationalist might not: many such ultradispensationalists DO adopt a considerable amount of Old Testament law as an ethical standard for today (e.g., Charles Welch, etc.). It is a matter of degree.

    Maybe the most popular definition is that an antinomian denies that the Ten Commandments are still valid today. It is held that Christ upheld the Ten Commandments and so should we. This oversimplifies things again too: in Mark 10, Jesus gives the rich young ruler a list of “the commandments” which includes one that’s not in the Big 10. What do we do? Incorporate that law too? The two greatest commandments aren’t in the Big 10 either. In any case, the church has a problem: if it holds that only the Two Greatest and the Big Ten are still valid, then there are only 12 total commandments to worry about, and antinomianism would mean disparaging any of these twelve, but not the other 601 commandments. And of those 601, no orthodox Christian would advocate still keeping commandments related to the sacrificial system that was superseded by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on Calvary. The dispute boils down to what is called “the third use of the Law,” involving the ethical authority of the Old Testament. (You likely know all this, so forgive the redundancy.)

    My use of the term “antinomian” is much closer to “someone denying the ethical authority of the Old Testament today” than it is to “someone denying that the Ten Commandments are still valid,” although I’d obviously regard the latter as antinomian (a more extreme form since it denies the summary of the Law as well as the laws summarized in the Big Ten). And this boils down to the two basic approaches to Old Testament law: the RR and the MM approach. RR means Repealed unless Repeated, while MM means Mandatory unless Modified. If you adopt MM, you’ll regard the RR folks as antinomian to different degrees (and you’ll also find your MM friends differing from you on the validity of specific laws). But as a general principle or approach to Scripture, these two basic models tell the whole story. One side holds to continuity as the general rule, the other to discontinuity as the general rule. It is this discontinuity that severs the Old Testament from today’s problems, applying only New Testament teachings rather than what Paul called “the whole counsel of God.”

    This matter certainly involves the validity of appealing to Ezekiel 34 (the antinomian will say “That’s Old Testament! It’s a dead letter. We’re free to do something radically different than what this passage requires for dealing with abusive shepherds despite the oath God uttered in the chapter.”) But it involves more than Ezekiel 34. For example, what is the proper restitution to be paid to the victim of clergy sexual abuse? Here is where I probably differ from Ed, who says Romans 13 teaches the state should handle the perpetrator using secular law. But under secular law, any penalties exacted are paid to the state, not to the victim. God’s Law provides for up to a five-fold restitution to the victim (and in aggravated circumstances possibly a double recompence of this amount). Under God’s Law, the victim I worked with would have had a lot of counseling expenses and other huge collateral losses reimbursed for all the evil inflicted by the churches and by the abuser. Under state law — not so much. And restitution is as strongly promoted in the New Testament as it is in the Old.

    So, I would say that denying the ethical authority of the Old Testament is the essence of the kind of antinomianism I was referring to in my article and in my interview, as this approach throws out much that God gave us to deal with abusive shepherds. I don’t see anyone benefiting from this kind of antinomianism, in this context, other than the perpetrators, who thrive on a “New Testament Only” ethic. In the context of spiritual abuse, by jettisoning the Old Testament, the perpetrator can leverage New Testament terms like “restoration” and argue that he should be “restored” — not just to fellowship, but to office. But it is to the Old Testament and God’s sworn oath that we have to turn to see that the perpetrator is leveraging a view of the Old Testament he likely fostered in his flock to his own benefit.

    Of course, outside of God’s grace, we’d have a far more serious problem than disagreeing over the extent of God’s Law for today: we routinely break the commandments we actually acknowledge to still be binding — every single day. And if somebody teaches that keeping the law is necessary for salvation, he has crossed the line into the heresy of legalism and is using the law lawlessly (for a purpose other than for which it was given). Ironically, you can hold to just the Ten Commandments and STILL be a legalist, so the extent of the Law isn’t necessarily the determining factor as to what constitutes legalism — it’s misuse of the Law.

    Please call me Martin rather than Mr. Selbrede — I appreciate what motivates the formality but I’m no different from you — a sinner saved by grace.

    If I’ve been evasive again, Cindy, please pin me down so I can grasp the exact point you’re trying to get me to address. I do recall our Thanksgiving-period dialogue, and I truly do not intend to make discussion a difficult, teeth-pulling kind of experience. This is another reason I will provide a phone number if you contact me via Facebook — a verbal discussion (feel free to have your husband join in) can resolve things much more quickly than blocks of bald text on a blog can.

    Time to go back to bed.

    Martin

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  66. Yes Julie Anne, the discussion did get overly dense. How about a brief respite here — What do you think of the choral group Accentus? Or Stephen Layton’s work with Polyphony? Or Morton Lauridsen’s “Sure On This Shining Night”?

    Had to ask.

    Martin

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  67. Cindy K,

    I agree, that with his (Martin) big college educated words, something is lost in translation.  I think that for the most part, we are simple people.  We don’t need big words to communicate.  Some in my generation actually poke fun at people that go to Harvard, etc., those yuppies tying the arms of a pink sweater around their chests, and such…but then again, that was back in the 80’s.

    In the movie, The Siege, Agent Hubbard, played by Denzel Washington, always said, “Explain this to me like I’m a 2 year old”.

    Did Martin speak in big words in the 3rd grade?  Do I need to go to dictionary.com just to understand what yuppies are attempting to communicate to those who chose vocational school, rather than a Harvard type school?  We have a saying, in the navy, called K.I.S.S.  Keep It Simple Stupid.  The college edumacated people do not impress me in the least.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  68. Martin,

    You had said: “I don’t want to be combative either, as it’s simply not edifying. If I quote Isaiah 42 that speaks about “justice established in the earth” and Ed tells me this has nothing to do with “earthly justice,” I think it better to let him have the last word than to reply in a way that comes off as overbearing (and in ironic conflict with Isa. 42:3).”

    My response: I asked a direct question about obstruction of justice, and I expect a direct answer.  It is your choice to go off on tangents, as you do, to re-direct the conversation to Isa. 42:3 and such.  Just answer the freaking questions, instead of sticking out your chest trying to impress people with your big words, as if that really means something to us.

    There are people in upper ranks that are obstructing justice.  What do you do about it?

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  69. As I said, I only have a high school diploma. No bachelors degree, not even an Associate of Arts degree. I’m 57 years old, so I don’t see the “yuppie” connection either. I’m sure it IS possible to pigeonhole me, but the holes chosen so far don’t really look right. I’m sorry that “how” I say things gets more attention than “what” I am saying. I am paying attention to “what” others are saying here — but of course every one here has their own writing style. Everyone is an individual — something to celebrate rather than criticize, yes?

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  70. “There are people in upper ranks that are obstructing justice. What do you do about it?”

    They must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, make full restitution to their victims, and never be permitted to hold an office of trust ever again or make money in ministry.

    That’s the direct answer to your question, which I’ve given several times already. Here’s the problem: I no more trust the churches to enforce the last part than I trust the state to handle the first part. Both institutions “frame mischief using law” (Psalm 94:20). It’s like you might hear at small claims court from a judge: “Well, you got your judgment. Good luck collecting on it.” And THAT is why I don’t just give you a straight-up answer: it is irresponsible to do so and hurts the victims further.

    You want me to hit YOUR talking points. I don’t believe that’s remotely sufficient. It’s merely a first step, and whether it’s a good start or not depends on all the other things I was pointing out. You assume the system we have will work, and I know it doesn’t. It is designed to fail, to fall apart in plea-bargaining or attacking the credibility of the victim. We have to get ALL of this straightened out. Otherwise, saying “throw the book at ’em” gives you and me some cheap virtue and moral posturing but to the victim becomes meaningless when these systems implode on her.

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  71. Martin,

    I only ask that you cease with the big words, and communicate in OUR language.  Next, I’ve asked about obstruction of justice.  What will you do about it?  Keep supporting those in leadership who support the perp who is in leadership? 

    The mere propriety of evil is to be kicked out of the church.  No if’s, and’s, or but’s.  PURGE the leaven, because one bad apple spoils the whole damn bunch.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  72. They must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, make full restitution to their victims, and never be permitted to hold an office of trust ever again or make money in ministry.

    I tell you what, Martin. You talk about this great system of justice in your Reconstructionist camp and you have renegades like Swanson on the loose, not only being an embarrassment to your Reconstructionist camp, but also to Christiandom in general and why is it that no one can get him out of his position of leadership? Something is wrong with a system that allows a shepherd to use his words as a spiritual weapon. Oh, and I remember reading a hint by Shawn Mathis who mentioned something like “things were in the works” with regard to higher ups dealing with Swanson. His public bad behavior has been going on for years. Puh-lease, how many more podcasts do we need to hear of his runaway mouth with lies, personal attacks.

    Martin – think about this one. I am pretty sure that his words against me met the legal definition of defamation.: lying with the intention of harm. He made my blog sound like a feeding ground for rabid atheists against Christians. If you read here for any length of time, you will see people say that my blog (the people here) has helped people to keep their faith, but to separate real Christianity from those who abuse.

    I’ve never been in Kevin Swanson’s church, but his public words show him to be a spiritual abuser. He is going to have to give account for those who were led away by his toxic words.

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  73. “So I don’t know if that’s your intent or not, but I have found you to be evasive and to engage in quite a bit of circumlocution. Sometimes, I believe that you do so to posture as an authority, and sometimes, it seems to me that it is aimed at diminishing me personally to create a contrast. If you’re trying to engender trust here with the predominantly antinomian readership here, you’re not doing very well.”

    CindyK,

    Bingo.

    The ABSOLUTE last thing I want to do is get into a convo with him. He could talk a dog off a meat truck. :o)

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  74. That’s right, Martin, throw the book at them, and let God sort it out later.  It’s just that simple. 

    God set up judges to do a job.  At first, Moses was the judge, and his father in law persuaded him to set up more people to be judges, and God was OK with that.  So, I disagree with you referencing Psalms as your get out of jail free card, or, in other words, “Why seek justice in the first place, the judge and his minions are evil.”  NO…You are to seek man’s justice to the end result.  Let the judge decide who is right, and who is wrong. 

    You speak out of both sides of your mouth…a trend that I see in the reform BUSINESS (money making pay to pray organization). 

    ________________________________

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  75. Ed, my position at Chalcedon is an unpaid, voluntary one. Your “follow the money” insinuation doesn’t lead to my door. I think you’re grasping at straws that don’t lead where you think they do. I’m sure we can do better than that when dialoguing on this stuff.

    Next, I never said (or remotely implied) that because justice is imperfect, don’t bother with it. I said to expect serious problems with it. It’s the best we have, but it’s as bad as it is because it fell apart on OUR watch and WE have to fix it. How is my calling for us to realign our justice system on a firmer foundation to protect abuse victims a “get out of jail free card” for perps? Your math doesn’t add up. If I took your views at face value (I don’t because it’s not fair to distort them that way), I would conclude you never vote for judges on ballots: whoever is the guy, he’s our guy and that’s good enough. If you DO vote for judges, you obviously DO believe it matters. And it matters up and down. But just because it matters doesn’t mean shut down the courts — this is something you’re reading into my comments, but not something that is part of my position.

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  76. Wow! What a great read this morning! I appreciate the comments on all sides. As an outside observer, I see where Martin is coming from, as well as Cindy and Ed. It seems like everybody has a point they want to make, and they just keep sticking with that point.

    I think everyone could agree that currently, justice is not handled well in either the church or civil spheres. The disagreement seems to be on how to remedy that. Obviously there are a lot of people who have been hurt and rightfully demand justice.

    Ed, I think Martin is working on it as he thinks best. You ask him, “What will you do about it?” He is doing something about it. Maybe not exactly what you think he should be doing, but he is doing something. How about you? What are you doing?

    Martin, I think Ed raises valid points. You may want to do more research and put together a symposium, which are valuable things, but there are people who are suffering even now who need justice. I understand that your time is limited and you cannot be responsible for investigating every possible case of abuse, but Ed is trying to point out that there are obvious and glaring cases with which you could help. Dealing with a few of the ringleaders would go a long way toward helping the overall problem.

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  77. I guess both Ed and Martin were commenting while I composed my last comment.

    Ed, I don’t get why you think it’s Martin’s responsibility to see that justice gets done. If you know what should be done, why don’t you just go ahead and do it yourself?

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  78. Martin,

    You had said: ” I said to expect serious problems with it.”

    I disagree.  We are to have HOPE.  Did you know that the definition of Hope is defined as “expectation”?

    We go to court HOPING, or expecting justice.  We don’t go to court expecting or hoping for problems.

    And, I didn’t say that you make money.  I don’t know if you do or not.  But I do know that the leadership that you support do make money.

    Whether a person votes for a judge or not doesn’t matter.  The only thing that matters is that there is a judge on the bench to hear my case.  My voting only pertains to my own district, not necessarily in the courtroom that I may occupy.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  79. TIA,

    Thanks for your comment on both side of this.  You had said: “Ed, I think Martin is working on it as he thinks best. You ask him, “What will you do about it?” He is doing something about it. Maybe not exactly what you think he should be doing, but he is doing something. How about you? What are you doing?”

    The only thing that I can do is to support the victims by voice in blogs, hoping that someone with the capability to do something, well, do something.  It seems as Martin is capable, but he makes excuses.  If he supports Swanson, then he is doing nothing.  And he could do everything by denouncing his support face to face, and not mince words.  He has that capability.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  80. Yes Julie Anne, the discussion did get overly dense. How about a brief respite here — What do you think of the choral group Accentus? Or Stephen Layton’s work with Polyphony? Or Morton Lauridsen’s “Sure On This Shining Night”?

    Had to ask.

    Thank you for asking. I’ve never heard of Accentus, so I looked them up. Wonderful!
    I love Sure on This Shining Night. I accompanied a high school choir in Oregon when they went to State several years ago. It is a gorgeous piece. http://youtu.be/icp4bNb7TDI

    I’m looking forward to tonight as we begin practicing for our next cycle. We will be doing Vaughan Williams and Paul Carey selections.

    Vaughan Williams rep (all a cappella)
    O Taste and See, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWnkigCjx4Q

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  81. It seems as Martin is capable, but he makes excuses. If he supports Swanson, then he is doing nothing. And he could do everything by denouncing his support face to face, and not mince words. He has that capability.

    Yes, indeed he does, Ed. A simple Google research would reveal that Mr. Selbrede is highly respected among the Reconstructionist group. Frankly, I have a hunch that most of my readers would rather see Mr. Selbrede put his words into action and deal directly with Swanson rather then spend so much time composing lengthy comments here.

    Selbrede could easily post something at Chalcedon addressing these important issues. If Selbrede really cares about people who are getting harmed spiritually and emotionally by Swanson’s toxic teachings, he can do something about it. I want to see action, not talk. This reminds me of the recent article on Dorr who informed the woman what to say at the church trial. I wanted to say: DUDES, get off your butts and do it yourself. She should not have to defend herself. YOU defend her.

    Good grief, where are the men with balls? I’m getting tired of people complimenting me for my balls, frankly. I’m a woman. I don’t know where to put these extra 2 balls that people are giving me.

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  82. Ed, I agree that there is a basis for hope in the justice system (in passages like Isaiah 32:1-8 and elsewhere). For example, notice this inspiring declaration by a man providing hope for the justice system:

    “Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!”

    Oh, wait. Absalom said that (2 Sam. 15:4). Not a good example at all. The take-away? We need to be discerning. We have to have our discernment engaged at all times. God said of Jerusalem that “she once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her—but now murderers!” (Isa. 1:21).

    So, use the system you have, yes, but also work to improve it. It needs work, and the victims will benefit from fixing what’s broken in it. But in the meantime, use what you have. I don’t think we disagree on that point at all.

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  83. Julie Anne,

    Yes, for Martin to put his words into action is a valuable gesture. 

    What you said is exactly what I was conveying to Martin, but you said it better than I.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  84. Martin, you sound like the politicians debating on the problems with the border between Mexico and the US.  All talk, and no action.  Move thy feet, and accomplish something.  Writing books about it won’t solve a thing.  Get in the trenches with the worker bee’s.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  85. “I am pretty sure that his words against me met the legal definition of defamation.: lying with the intention of harm. He made my blog sound like a feeding ground for rabid atheists against Christians. If you read here for any length of time, you will see people say that my blog (the people here) has helped people to keep their faith, but to separate real Christianity from those who abuse.”

    Swanson not only defamed SSB but also a good many bloggers at Patheos. Roger Olson blogs at Patheos. I haven’t checked to see if he’s written about the victims of Gothard, but he is no atheist and is certainly not dancing on the grave of western Christianity. I imagine there are quite a few Patheos bloggers that could go after Swanson for defamation. It looks like Swanson researched blogs about as thoroughly as he researched birth control causing embedded fetuses. (How’s that working for you, Swanson?) Anyone who supports this man is subject to the same scrutiny.

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  86. Julie Anne,

    You know that I have committed to pursuing two specific matters with Pastor Swanson. I explained here exactly how I was going to go about this process, and what I would do based on what resulted. That is, and remains, the plan.

    It might have made the first part of my plan easier if you had mentioned to me that you’re in the middle of a toxic standoff with R. C. Sproul, Jr. concerning the anonymous allegations of wife-beating he says were posted here against him. I was completely blindsided by this issue when I approached him (I assume you know of it, but if not, say so). I do not believe two wrongs make a right, and I hope you two are able to ultimately resolve this. However, that standoff (and that is the exact best word for it) means that I need to now press forward without important information.

    I will step into the minefields I said I’d step into (where I can prepare for what’s ahead), but I’m not interested in stepping into minefields that weren’t disclosed and kept under wraps. Again, if you were truly unaware of this grievance, let me know and (more importantly) get with R.C.

    Martin

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  87. Martin:

    If Sproul wants to talk with me, that’s fine. I think I’ve said all that I know. He knows whether or not he spanked his wife. I imagine his children might know. I only reported what was noted in comments at Jen’s Gens and also what was personally reported to me (first-hand information). The point really wasn’t so much whether Sproul spanked his wife (not like we can ask her now, as she has passed away), but rather, the natural progression of Patriarchy that could easily lead to wife beating. In Patriarchy circles, the cries of the wives are often minimized and she is blamed for not submitting, so this makes women extremely vulnerable.

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  88. I’ll Tweet Mr. Sproul right now and see if he’d like to discuss it.

    I’ll keep y’all posted.

    That was fast:

    Like

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