The Family-Integrated Church movement is getting some heat by critic, Pastor Shawn Mathis. Pastor Kevin Swanson is forced to make a choice: OPC or National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC)
by Julie Anne
The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches NCFIC began as an off-shoot from the Doug Phillips’ now defunct “ministry,” Vision Forum (I cannot type the word ministry without the quotes knowing what has gone on there). Scott Brown, director of NCFIC, was a close friend of Doug Phillips, both men being proponents of the Homeschool Movement and Christian Patriarchy Movement.
In a nutshell, family-integrated church (FIC) ideology teaches that age segregation in churches is wrong and they blame many problems in churches/society on the age-segregation model. This has led to much division within churches and has been noted especially among the Homeschool Movement community because the FIC movement started within the Homeschool Movement and has spread widely.
Scott Brown’s group, NCFIC, claims to have a network of over 800 churches.
This means those churches hold to the confessions of the NCFIC:
The common denominators for those registered in our database are: (1) all parties have expressed a basic, orthodox understanding of Christianity as defined by the Nicene Creed; and (2) all parties have formally testified to at least substantial agreement with the NCFIC Confession on issues of unity between church and family. These are the only known points of agreement among the churches and families in the directory. (Source)
Below is one of the more troubling confessions in Article XI:
“We affirm that there is no scriptural pattern for comprehensive age segregated discipleship, and that age segregated practices are based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking which have invaded the church.”
Pastor Kevin Mathis Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC), has been following this movement for quite some time and offers the following response to the above confession:
This affirmation uses unqualified language beyond the vague adjective comprehensive. While the confession never uses the words “Sunday school” and the like, the practice and logic is clear: “age segregated practices are based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking”; modern Sunday schools are age segregated; therefore, they are based on “evolutionary and secular thinking.” This serious charge is echoed through the words of the leaders, their book and their movie. (Why I Cannot Sign the Family Integrated Church Confession)
The movie Mathis refers to is “Divided” which was produced by NCFIC which promotes everything Doug Phillips promoted:
Ok, so now with that background, let’s move on to some new and important developments in the FIC world. In March, Pastor Shawn Mathis presented an hour-long talk on the FIC movement at a seminar in New Lenox, Illinois, which was hosted by the Presbytery of the Mid-West of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).
Labeled a Pastoral Response to the Family Integrated Church Movement, the talk lasted a little over an hour, presenting the history of the movement’s rejection of youth ministries, its confession, practices, goals and beliefs. (Source)
Shawn Mathis is a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but guess who else is also connected with OPC? Kevin Swanson. Yes, that Kevin Swanson. Kevin Swanson pastors at Reformation Church of Elizabeth OPC in Colorado.
Well, it seems that the OPC was not too keen on Kevin Swanson having signed the NCFIC confession and didn’t like him seemingly straddling the fence. Through their governing presbytery, they called for Pastor Kevin Swanson to make a decision which I summarize to mean:
It’s either US (OPC) or THEM (NCFIC). Choose now, Swanson!
Karen Campbell reported:
During the hearing, Swanson was asked directly if he had both feet planted in the OPC or if his allegiance was divided–would he leave the OPC over this issue? He responded in no uncertain terms that he has both feet firmly planted in the OPC and “one little finger” in the NCFIC. He was also asked if he believed practicing age-segregated Sunday school was a sin. He unequivocally denied it was sin. Later, he was asked if such Sunday schools were “unwise or in error” as opposed to being in sin. He responded with an unclear answer to the effect that he could not answer the questions without knowing the particular churches in question.
Can you imagine Kevin Swanson having to make a public choice before his governing assembly after having promoted NCFIC and the family-integrated church models for years? Check out this video. Whoa!
He had to do it. It was either sever ties with NCFIC, or the OPC would probably be forced to sever ties with Swanson. As a result, Swanson’s church is no longer listed in the network at NCFIC. You can see that Reformation Church is not listed on the Network search in Elizabeth, Colorado.
This is a very strong statement by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church against not only NCFIC, but also the family-integrated church movement. Here is more from Karen Campbell explaining OPC’s concern:
At the April, 2014 meeting of the Presbytery of the Dakotas of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a complaint was upheld against Reformation OPC for signing an NCFIC family integrated church confession that has “the effect of charging our own congregations, and many others of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, of error without employing the process prescribed in our Book of Discipline and thereby introducing schism into our broader Church.”
The NCFIC, in its attempt to have the perfect church ideology, has marginalized other traditional churches which have Sunday schools, youth groups, college groups, etc. This is the same kind of methodology we see from high-controlling and abusive groups:
- black and white thinking
- our way is the right way
- everybody else is wrong
- our way is the biblical way
- our way is the godly way
In this kind of high-controlling environment, if you differ from these views, they will likely question what else in your belief system is off kilter. They may even question your salvation if you get too many “wrong” answers.
I give kudos to OPC presbytery for keeping this destructive ideology away from their church groups. It will be interesting to watch Kevin Swanson maneuver around this when he has been one of the loudest voices in the Family-Integrated Church movement.
98 thoughts on “The Family-Integrated Church Movement is Getting Some Much-Needed Heat from Critics”
As a former member of the OPC, I will say this…if even the OPC (of all denominations) is critiquing this FIC movement, they must be having some real trouble…
I am so glad he is taking the heat for this. Now if CHEC would just stop asking him to speak… It’s not even a “homeschool” conference now, it’s the “Super Conference on the Home and Family.” Pfffft!
Swanson said “poo-pooing” in that second video! Hee-hee! 🙂
Sorry, I spent the morning with middle schoolers and the humor has rubbed off.
I am going to hazard a guess the email NCFIC sent out this week (we received it too <>) is somewhat of a response.
Slight OT, but notice what he says about:
It is very interesting that God actually encourages wives to ask their husbands questions (not the pastors) about what went on during corporate worship. In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 the apostle Paul writes, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”
Perhaps one of the reasons men have such poor understanding of the Bible is that their wives are not asking them enough questions about the preaching. In our church, I often exhort the wives to ask their husbands questions when they get home, about what they just heard.
I’d love to see his answer as to how women who do not have husbands present during the sermon are supposed to “learn something”.
I have no problem keeping silent during the service myself, but to blame a man’s lack of understanding on the wife’s “not asking . . . enough questions” is just ludicrous. Just another sign of how the NCFIC leadership places burdens on women that are not theirs to carry.
We attended a FIC church for about 6 months – Household of Faith church plant started by Gregg Harris. One of the things that struck me the most was that it seemed only families (and large ones at that) would feel welcome. I saw very few older people, people of color, singles, unless they were college age and sitting with their families waiting to be courted. I certainly saw no single moms with children. So, your point, nomoretears is well taken.
Kathi – he has said a lot worse than poopoo. Someone created bingo cards with favorite Swanson phrases to be played while listening to a Generations Radio broadcast. How about you and I listen to a broadcast at the same time and play. Tell me when!
It’s a sore point for me. Because of extenuating circumstances, I often must take our children myself. It’s beyond frustrating for me, no matter what church I’ve been to recently, that because I’m “perceived” to be a single mom, I get ignored (or worse, those pitying looks where no one will approach you). I feel for the single moms I do see. If I’m treated that way just because my husband is not at church with me (and people know our situation), I can imagine how those poor ladies would be treated.
I really wish the church would stop judging outward appearance, and start remembering that God’s the One in charge.
You’re preaching to the choir, nomoretears! Keep preachin’!
Yes, Kevin Swanson, Geoff Botkin, and Voddie Baucham are keynote speakers this weekend at the “Super Conference on the Family” in Colorado. It’s like homeschool is a bad word, and they can only use “home discipleship”. Kevin won’t have to “eat vegetables” for long (see video), since the rotten fruit of this FIC movement is already apparent.
It’s like homeschool is a bad word, and they can only use “home discipleship”.
And so ChEKA changes its name to OGPU which changes its name to NKVD which changes its name to KGB…
All semantics, My Dear Wormwood.
Stick it to him, OPC. Hard.
Kathi – he has said a lot worse than poopoo. Someone created bingo cards with favorite Swanson phrases to be played while listening to a Generations Radio broadcast.
I’d like to know what his “thing” for “Nephilim” is all about.
Some years ago, I remember this one flake “Anti-Nephilim” Conspiracy site that claimed Nephilim were all homosexual and had two full sets of teeth in their mouths. And that their descendants (identifiable by one or more of these signs) were still among us Masterminding the Vast Conspiracy behind everything. Real Art Bell at 3 Ayem stuff. I think it also advocated violence against the Nephilim Conspiracy; my writing partner got concerned enough he had to issue a caution to the Yahoo group he moderated about the site, that “He was a Nephilim” was not a valid defense against an assault-to-murder charge.
Will NCFIC expunge his footage from its media? It will be interesting to watch. I’m neither Presbyterian nor homeschoolish but I will place a bet: that Swanson attempts to lead his congregation out of the OPC and into something more agreeable to the NCFIC’s beliefs. Meanwhile, exceptionally glad to hear that the OPC listened to a presentation on FIC doctrines. I tried to explain the phenomenon to my pastor and got his patented, “patiently listen to the crazy member” look and responses. It was as though he didn’t think such a thing could exist, or that it wasn’t something that would ever threaten his congregation. Eh bien.
Headless: you only forgot Okhrana…continuity.
I cracked up at this: “got his patented, “patiently listen to the crazy member” look and responses.”
It’s not really funny, though. It’s sad when a pastor doesn’t want to listen and respect a congregant – – especially when you’re trying to warn about something dangerous.
I also agree with you, Marion, based on Swanson being so ingrained in this movement and endorsing it for years, I don’t know how he’s going to be able to divorce himself from “himself” if that makes sense. If he does leave OPC, it would follow a similar path that others have gone: James McDonald, RC. Sproul, Jr.
Thank God these men LOVE the sound of their own voices. With video, audio and computer access, they can no longer “gas light” their congregation. No more, “I didn’t teach that! You are mixing me up with that false teacher down the street”. Or, “you misunderstood what I said”. Now it’s all out there in cyber world, where their words come back and bite them in the butt!
I’m in awe that he went with the OPC over the NCFIC. Since Scott Brown was quick to sever from Phillips, perhaps Swanson’s going to support Phillips when he rallies for a comeback. I get the impression that K-Swizzle has not cut ties with The Doug, but that’s just a guess.
I’ve wondered if The Doug will end up going the route of Jim Bakker. After his legal woes have been resolved or dealt with, he could go to Branson and get on cable TV somewhere selling MREs, #10 cans full of storage food, gold investment mutual fund deals, and water purification systems to help the faithful survive the feces eater apocalypse.
Off topic, but very important, on the Leadership Journal (Christianity Today) site,they have chosen to publish an article written by a married church youth director who groomed and took advantage of one of his students.
His article is an exercise in total narcissism. He states, “she admired me and I loved the admiration, and “WE tried to break it off, but WE couldn’t.” They crossed over from Facebook friends into something “inappropriate”. I am shock at the ignorance shown by the publishers as are all the commenters. This man groomed the young girl from Middle School to use as a way to fulfill his ego needs and sexual desires. He talks about how his life had been impacted, but shows no sorry or empathy toward the impact of his actions on this girl. His words re-victimize her and she has no recourse. Reminds me of the whole sick world of Doug Phillips.
Please go over there and join the protest to take it down!!! Thank you.
JA note: Thanks, Ann. I’ve been following this since yesterday. Here is a link to read the story (which won’t give Christianity today hits): http://t.co/ijeSLboNwE
and here’s another good article: http://hopefullyknown.com/2014/06/12/because-its-time-to-take-down-that-post/
You’re right – he makes it sound just like a consensual affair, when it’s actually rape!
I would pay serious money to see a three camera SPECT scan of Swanson’s brain.
I will place a bet: that Swanson attempts to lead his congregation out of the OPC and into something more agreeable to the NCFIC’s beliefs.
I met Doug at an OPC where he attended before he went off to start Boerne Christian Assembly. He said that he was not in town very often which is why he didn’t show up very much (and Beall never attempted to come on her own, perhaps because she wasn’t permitted to hear the teachings of another man without her spiritual covering to discern for her). And he took a bunch of people with him from our OPC when he left. One day, we showed up at church, and half of the peer group round about my age were long gone.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Kevin ends up going the same route, Marion. Very astute.
Cindy (not the same Cindy above) on Facebook SSB had great comments about this. I will copy them here:
And my response to her:
Cindy, you know how he says women have embedded fetuses in their wombs and all – it made me think of his brain and wonder if he has anything embedded.
Though I really, seriously would like to see his brain SPECT (I bet I can guess what at least some of the findings would be based on his behavior), my husband just said in response to your comment, “He’s got a bad case of craniorectal inversion.” And he said if I posted that here, he wanted the credit for saying it. (He thinks it’s quite a common affliction.)
Tell your husband he cracks me up.
He responded with an naughty chuckle then said that this is one of his goals in life. (Actually, I think he really just likes to make sarcastic comments for his own amusement, and amusing others is just a bonus.)
This is perhaps a topic for another article on Spiritual Sounding Board:
Christianity Today posted an article by an ex-church youth worker in jail for having sex with an underage girl he met through church work. The guy does not take any real responsibility, talking how he “stumbled” (stumbled is a word for an accidental mistake), and in terms to make it sound consensual. An “it’s easy to sin, I sinned, I lost a lot” article without speaking of the effect it had on the girl. Many people -see article I linked to – is horrified that a Christian™ magazine gives space to a child (statutory?) rapist to “repent”/ minimize his crime.
Missionarymike suggests: “go the the Leadership Journal and the Christianity Today Facebook pages and every time the post something leave a comment like this “Take down the post, Leadership Journal and Christianity Today”. Swamp them until they do something. As of right now they are ignoring us and deleting comments but eventually it will catch up to them.”
Sorry for re-posting what Anne already did. I did not read all the comments. Great minds …
I have a question: What does Sunday School (yes or no) have to do with Jesus Christ? I don’t understand these people getting so wound up about some trivial man made structure.
Can you imagine Womb Tomb as a Commander of Holy Gilead, with the power of life and death over Heathen, Heretics, Apostates, and Handmaids? (I’m sure he can.) “Embedded Fetuses in Wombs” would be Dogma Ex Cathedra.
Holding benefits as a weapon is something you really only see in liberal churches such as the PCUSA. My former church, in the OPC, left it up to the pastor to pay for that stuff himself. It was his and could never be touched by anyone in the congregation. I think this has been the historical practice of the OPC since it’s foundation in the 30’s. That wouldn’t stop the local congregation from giving someone they did’t like the left foot of fellowship, which happened in my former church too.
As far as giving him the boot, I don’t see the OPC doing that anytime soon. The trial of Elder Kinnarid (SP) is a good example of just how heretics use the Book of Church Order to futher their cancer among the believers. If the OPC moved against Swanson, which I doubt it will, it will take years to finally settle the matter, in the meantime the man under question is free to spread his bad doctrine, which he has been doing for years anyways.
I would think that if it ever came to a trial that KS would leave and take his congregation with him. I don’t see how a man, who’s a minor celebrity, would be kicked out of his church for bad preaching. Not by the local congregation anyway. I would expect him to pull a Sproul Jr. type play.
Of course you are right, Jonathan. How his congregants can sit and support this man who blatantly lies when he’s behind a microphone astonishes me. Every time I start thinking about the embedded fetuses nonsense I get so angry thinking about women who immediately put shame/guilt on themselves. I believe it could even cause someone to have an emotional breakdown thinking THEY caused fetuses to die and those fetuses remain forever embedded in their wombs. That kind of stuff can mess with a woman’s head – – and I dare say, even to contemplate suicide. And why did he say it? Because he’s against birth control. He spews evil lies to promote his agenda.
I think he’s against birth control so he can keep the women at home. If you have a bunch of kids it is very hard to do any work outside the home – including serving family and church. I only have 3 and can’t imagine trying to juggle schedules if I worked (and hubby works 60 hour weeks). (But, if I needed to I am certain we would figure it out.)
I don’t know anything about the embedded fetuses comment. I left several years ago before He became too popular. I did sit under his preaching a couple of times but I got so bored I didn’t listen to anything he said after about the 15min mark.
Here is the direct comment from his broadcast, Jonathan:
I watched as countless medical professionals, including OB/Gyns challenge him on his Generations Radio Facebook page. I sent him e-mails, Tweets, FB notes and he refused to respond or retract. Eventually, he took down the broadcast and issued a statement using a 10-yr “study” by a pastor, not even a medical professional. He continued to defend his stance.
Because The Cause is so Righteous it justifies any evil in its service.
Like Citizen Robespierre, Comrade Pol Pot, and Iran’s Ayatollahs with their eyes firmly fixed on the horizon of the Republique of Perfect Virtue, the Perfect Communist State, and the Perfect Islamic Society.
They flip a coin and the loser gets to keep him!
LOL. I also threw up in my mouth a little when I saw this today.
Today, on TBN (Christian network), they had Doug Phillips on a TV commercial, wishing everyone a happy father’s day!!
He identified himself as Doug Phillips, leader of Vision Forums (I forget the exact wording).
I was so shocked and grossed out that this dude was on TBN wishing everyone a happy father’s day, I didn’t catch the rest of his comments.
I wonder if his commercial is old, if it was taped last year?
I cannot imagine TBN wanting to use the guy now as a spokeshead for a commercial about father’s day. Or, maybe it was filmed this year, but TBN is unaware of his propensity to chase after young women?
I don’t know if you can find the commercial on You Tube or iTBN.
Phillips was interviewed for this page at TBN:
TBN to Host Memorial Day Premiere of New WWII Film
I cannot find the commercial, but a search on iTBN turns up that Phillips was a guest on a PTL show or something:
In the midst of looking for the commercial on You Tube, holy cow, the stuff I came across, such as these videos, note the ironic content / titles:
– 1. Doug Philips – Fruit of Modern Youth Culture
– 2. Prayer for Reconciliation for Women within the Church (Doug Phillips..) [from July 2010]
The info underneath the second title (video on You Tube) there says he was invited to speak at something called the Evangelical Woman’s Rights Convention??????? What?
That’s like seeing a video with the description of, “Mr. Fox was invited to speak at the Society of Chicken and Hen Welfare and Rights Convention.”
NO way, Daisy. So this was a current Doug Phillips, not an old recycled video?
Julie Anne, I’m not sure.
I don’t keep up a lot with him or some of the same folks/movements that you do…
Is Vision Forum even operating anymore? Or, didn’t they shut down, or kick him out?
Because he opened the commercial by saying something like, “Hi, I’m Doug Phillips, leader of Vision Forum ministries….”
Also, he appeared happy in the commercial, smiling, and he had a beard and a mustache. (I think before he met Lourdes he was clean shaven?)
I was so shocked/grossed out to see him on this network commercial break, I didn’t even hear the rest of what he said in the commercial.
TBN might repeat this commercial today and over this weekend.
I looked for the commercial on iTBN and You Tube but did not see it.
He was beardless until fairly recently, and it was after Lourdes’ parents found out about his inappropriate behavior with her the first time. I think the beard showed up around 2010-2011, if I’m not mistaken. TBN might not have any clue about Vision Forum’s closing. Most people in the TBN world don’t keep up with Doug’s side of evangelicalism.
He was clean shaven at the end of 2010 at Blair Brown’s wedding. But he had the beard in Machu Pichu when he let his anaconda out for a manly sweaty romp foray. So there might have been several periods of facial hair and no facial hair.
Back to the Leadership Journal, they have “edited” the article to reflect more repentance. What a sham. The man is a con. The “youth pastor” is victim blaming, showing self-pity and lack of any insight into the damage his actions have caused. I am shocked they tried to clean it up and keep it posted . Please go over and comment. Most commenters have expressed their dismay, but this does not move the editor’s heart. If the journal truely wants to be relevant, they would have posted an article from an experienced therapist who has worked with sex offenders in prison. A therapist could explain the motivations behind offending and offer churches ways to teach their staff how to spot a potentially unsafe person. Sorry for the ramble, but I am still reeling from the poor judgement being shown over there. They are being conned and don’t see it!!
Ann, this is disturbing. I’m not sure if you remember, but the Christian Post revealed the identity of the victim in the Doug Phillips case before she had disclosed her identity. I along with others complained and they eventually removed her name. I hope they pull it together in this situation, too.
Edited to add: I thought the article was published 2 places: in Leadership Journal and Christian Post. Am I wrong? I just saw a tweet that made me think I’ve been wrong.
They certainly aren’t getting it, Ann! They have explained that they think this is an important article because sexual abuse in the church is the most common reason churches get sued. I thought the topic was important so that churches could protect children!
I very much object to their editing this man’s words. Where he had repeatedly used ‘we’ to suggest mutuality, ie ‘we tried to stop many times’ and so forth, they have changed each ‘we’ to ‘I.’ If they are going to keep that article up, let people see just how distorted his thinking us, don’t help him sound better. And especially, let the parole board see just what he actually wrote.
Does someone have both versions posted? It would be interesting to see the side by side comparison.
If you are easily triggered by the violinists who always appear to play sad songs of misplaced compassion and support for unrepentant abusers, then please be careful if you decide to read about the “youth pastor.”
The TBN commercial that you saw with Doug Phillips has to be an old one. Just based on the name “Paul Crouch Jr.” tells me that.
Paul Crouch Jr. was fired a few years ago, because his daughter, Paul Crouch Sr.’s granddaughter, worked in the finance department, and uncovered lots and lots of financial fraud, and she turned them in with lawsuits. So, Paul Crouch Jr., and his granddaughter were fired, and there is also counter suits against them, as well.
But then, Paul Crouch Sr. died recently, and I haven’t heard anything else about the case.
Ed / chapmaned24,
sorry for any confusion, but the Paul Crouch thing you mention, no, that was not part of the thing I am talking about.
The PC Jr. thing is from a 2010 show of “Praise the Lord” or whatever where Phillips was apparently a guest. I only mentioned that in conjunction of playing detective on the internet and trying to find the commercial.
The commercial I am talking about, the one with Phillips in it, was one I saw today. Paul Crouch was not in that commercial at all.
The commercial was just Phillips alone, with a grove of trees behind him (which I think was a big photo of trees, I do not think they actually filmed him in a forest).
It was a guest spot where Phillips was wishing everyone a happy father’s day.
The only thing is, I am not sure when the Phillips spot was created, this year, or last or when?
Regardless of when it was filmed, I find it tacky that they would have a guy who stalked and preyed upon a teen girl standing there wishing everyone a happy father’s day… I would find it a tad more disturbing if the commercial was filmed recently, as opposed to three years ago or whatever.
Jonathan is mistaken about the Kinnaird trial. There were no BCO shenanigans there. He was found guilty by both his session and his presbytery and was acquitted by the General Assembly after much debate over whether the problem was with his views or with the way he stated his views. I know for a fact that some believe he was simply himself confused and a bad enough teacher to pass on his confusion and poor articulation to others (and thus deserving of being removed from office). This was more the equivalent of a man being improperly judged by a jury because one juror was on very good terms with most of the jury and they all respected him enough not to want to let him down than it is heretics hiding behind the BCO (which truly is a blatantly false description of what happened).
More likely he means the case of Norman Shepherd who escaped trial due to technicalities. There it was very much a failure of the moderator of his presbytery to act appropriately as his dismissal to the CRC was placed on the docket prior to the issue of his trial, which actually goes against what the BCO says to do in such circumstances.
This complaint against Swanson and his session was clearly upheld by his presbytery. It is unnecessary to malign the entirety of the OPC for a supposed failure to act when the denomination doesn’t even yet have the jurisdiction to do so.
Just checked the Leadership Journal again. The article is still up. If you look at the beginning of the comments, the editor says they are no longer taking comments over the weekend. I think he said they are still considering what commenters are saying and will open it back up on Monday. It looks like they have taken some of the previous comments out so the opinions look a little more balanced, yet still overwhelmingly negative! Going to bed! Night!
That youth pastor article is a joke.
(Link to that page: From Youth Minister to Felon)
If the folks at CT meant for that page to be educational, where we get the perspective of how a predator works directly from a predator, okay, I can maybe see some value in that, but… it was handled all wrong.
There should have been a strong introduction by a CT staffer explaining all that and what the purpose was so that it did not read like one big sexual assault apology, because it did very much read like one big justification for what he did.
I have seen televised exposes, where Oprah Winfrey, or “20/20,” have interviewed serial killers, rapists, and child molesters to ask how they choose victims, trick targets, etc, and they do this not to glorify the pervert or killer but so that we, the audience, can learn how to protect ourselves from their schemes and tricks.
The thing is, though, these TV shows make it clear that is what they are doing.
They clearly depict the guy they are interviewing as being a big perv, they don’t make excuses for the dude’s crimes, or water them down, etc.
I have visited the CT article off and on the last couple of days. Not only do they change the text of it, but they have even changed the blog tags for it.
One guy at a Patheos blog took screen caps of the page from a day or two ago, showing CT had the page tagged with the words “mistake” and “adultery.”
After much protest from readers, CT removed those tags and added other ones. (The current tags now read: Accountability ; Character save; Failure ; Legal Issues ; Self-examination ; Sex ; Temptation)
The CT guys also keep deleting critical comments by readers. At one point, I think there were around 70 comments last night, then back to like around 16, then up to 54, then 60, then back down to whatever – they are now at 58.
Perhaps most annoying and creepy (IMO) are some of the comments below the youth pastor article who say “pity this poor man, how sad people are not showing him compassion, what if it were you, anyone can sin like this, etc.”
Oh please. If it were true that sexual assault of minors was so common lots of people do it, I think we’d see lots more of it in the news than we do.
I wonder about people who try to make all sin / crime equivalent, or who insist they think they could be guilty of something that heinous. If you really, truly think you too could prey on a child, you need to stay away from kids and get some serious therapy.
Kevin Swanson Bingo LOL
Who created that ? Hilarious but a bit too accurate as he apparently said all these weird things. I did a bit of a search and WOW, this guy is nuts. His apparent sick “fantasy like” obsession with the dietary habits of lesbians makes me wonder if he is into the vilest forms of pornography. I don’t know very many people that think on these types of things but those that are always focused on such topics are nearly always porno attics. I do know a few lesbians and I don’t think they do that.
If a couple of months (or years ) from now it comes out that this guy has a huge stack of porn in his office and is a cross dressing pervert it will NOT surprise me in the least.
I’m not some lesbian defender or anything, but come on this is ridiculous and makes Christians look stupid. Mr. Swanson should
Make that Mr Swanson should try treating lesbians like human beings and see what happens. I have a ton of lesbian and gay customers and I have never had a problem with any of them. His obvious sexual obsession with all things gay, lesbian, kinky etc. comes out pretty clear in his bizarre statements on his Internet radio show. If I believed in reincarnation , I would swear he was a transvestite prostitute in a previous life.
I almost choked on my corn flakes when I saw Phillips in that “Divided” trailer. Disgusting man.
I won’t bother watching any other clips from the movie’s website, but I have to wonder: Did they keep Phillips’ words and clips, or has he been edited out since the accusations against him became public? Anyone know?
Ann and Marsha – – they removed the article. Good!
Thank God and I thank everyone who spoke back to this injustice! JA you and others give victims a voice and maybe will educate some people-cough, Leadership Journal-cough along the way.
I am curious if anyone has considered that Jesus probably went to Synagogue School to learn the vast amounts of scripture that he knew. I was reading an article recently (sorry did not bookmark it) that Mary and Joseph had the scriptures and Mary taught Jesus at home. Let’s consider that “paper” was rare and very expensive, it took months to copy said scriptures, somebody had to pay the scribe who did the copying, memorizing scripture was considered more important although it appears they also read them. It is quite likely these schools were only for children as a young man was expected to pass bar mitzvah at age 12.
The scriptures were so sacred they kept them in a special container in the synagogue. I very much doubt that an average working person had copies in his home and his wife home schooled the children using their very own copies. So, if “S.S.” was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for me, to misquote an old Sunday School song.
I’m not a fan of the FIC hyper focus on “the family” – Christians tend to ignore adult singles, divorced, and widowers as it is – but – I’m rather in the middle on their position against Sunday School and age segregation.
Maybe if more churches did adult singles Sunday School classes correctly, it wouldn’t be a problem, but depending on what type of church you go to, often times, churches dump all the adult singles into a class and forget about them.
Sometimes, finding a right class is a challenge when you are a never married person over the age of 29.
Some Baptist churches are especially totally ridiculous and anal retentive about segregating people by age and marital status.
Some churches are good at having singles classes for ages 20 – 29, but have nothing for singles ages 30 – 49. Yet other churches may have adult singles courses for ages 30 – 45, or only for ages 35 – 45.
I remember when I was in my mid 30s, around 35, 36 years old, I had a bear of a time finding Baptist churches with my age group and martial status (never married, childless).
I kept finding churches that had singles for ages 20 – 29 and 45 and up, but nothing, nada, zippo, for people who were 35. So I was like, do I, a 35 year old woman go to the singles class for 25 year old kids, or the class of 45 year olds, or what, or am I just not welcomed at this church?
Also making it hard – I have never married. But the only “singles” classes Baptist churches advertise for those age 35 and up are usually for DIVORCED people.
So I sit there at age 35 (and in my early 40s now) and see these signs at Baptist churches that say, “singles ages 35 – 50 who are divorced (aka “single again”) meet in room 405.”
And I’m like, “Okay does this mean never married ladies like me are not allowed to go there to that class of “singles again”? Where are the age 35 and up never-married classes????”
Now that I’m in my 40s, I see a gap for 40 somethings in churches, there is nothing for adults singles age 40 to 49 … some churches have singles groups/classes for 20 somethings and 30 somethings, but nothing for 40 somethings.
As most churches have a tendency to turn adult singles classes into “ghettos” where the adult singles go ignored while the church focuses on married couples with kids, maybe churches should halt the age and marital segregation stuff, maybe that would get the adult singles integrated into the rest of the church.
I sent Kevin a FB message and Twitter message asking if he is going to address this. CRICKETS! I like a lot of what Kevin says and stands for, but I have to call him out when he has gone overboard. We can’t have this hero worship, it’s idolatry. So we will see if he will address this either on his show or in writing. Julie Ann, have you reached out to him at all? It was the same thing with the Doug Phillips thing. He briefly mentioned it on a show. But he and Doug have been friends for a long time. Don’t tell me he didn’t see flaws or inclinations towards his type of tyranny. If he or any others want to salvage their reps, they need to speak to these things. Address them, don’t shove them under a rug!
paul, I have not reached out to him on this issue. I did so on the embedded fetuses issue and all I got was crickets and they removed my comments. BTW, if you listen to his Generations Radio show, you will see that he buys into FIC and so much of the patriarchal ideology. The rhetoric on his show is so obnoxious.
I’ve heard it. I disagree with his brand of patriarchy. I would consider myself complementarian. But there is no doubt that he and guys like Phillips, have taken the Gospel completely out of the picture. When I listen to his show, and when I have listened to Phillps speak, there is never an underlying Gospel centrality to their talks. They may mention the cross, but it’s not what drives them. This is the danger. While trying to convince Christians that they don’t have a complete Gospel, have lost it themselves and embraced moralism.
His ideology is his god, and it’s the whole package: homeschooling, FIC, patriarchy (even tho he claims he’s not a patriarch now), courtship, anti anything government, etc. He just throws in “God” and choice Christianese words for good measure.
And made up words.
We were a part of a FIC for close to 6 years and are still dealing with the damage. Hyper Calvinism, legalism to the point of being Pharisitical, modest dress taken to the extreme (floor length skirts, high collars AND a written prohibition of even the men wearing shorts to the biennial picnic/softball game), courtship taken so far that young ladies were not even allowed to speak to young men unless in the presence of their fathers, militant fecundity (even with a talk of generational vision complete with a spreadsheet showing how many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren one of the enders expected to have!), music that was pre 1900 or not at all and a “machismo” where the guys that were not into traditional “manly” activities (football, building things, police or military stuff) were not regarded as “real men”. I have a son that is an artist who bore the brunt of that ridicule. My daughters dance (Christian ballet and interpretive dance) and have even heard from a current member of the church, “Why are you letting your ‘young maidens’ participate in exotic dancing?” While I do appreciate the tenets of family integration, I am not so short sighted to think that it is the solution to all of societal ills, NOR do I feel that any deviation from that pattern constitutes a grave sin on the part of a local Church. Unfortunately, in many fellowships like these, family integration tends to take a front seat to the Gospel. Case in point: we had Scott Brown come to speak at a conference. one of his topics was to be sharing your faith through relationship building. I was very excited to hear this message, but, at the last minute and at the request of our teaching elder, the topic was changed to “What is Family Integration”.. Talk about a let down!
And as an illlustration of the legalism, when we had Voddie Baucham speak at our services one weekend, he had a Q&A session. There were may great questions asked: How do you conduct a typical family worship time? How do you adhere to family integrated church concept while still reaching out to the lost? (Both excellent questions top which Voddie answered very eloquently and well!)
Then came the series of questions from our teaching elder: Are Christian Romance Novels evil? How do we ensure that our daughters remain modest away from the church? How do you address the problem of modern praise choruses in church? I just rolled my eyes.
used to go to theCHEC conference years ago when my kids were school age. Went back a few years ago and it was a frightening experience. You could just feel the heavy oppression in the air and the speakers were legalistic and prideful. It scares me that so many children are being brought up in that type of teaching. Thank God so many of my fellow Christian homeschooler helped lead me out of that and into the light of God’s Grace.
I wrote two letters to my PCA elders protesting their use of Sott Brown’s Husbands Love Your Wives webinar. They would have none of it so I posted my letters for the congregation to see what was at stake. I am now under church discipline and not allowed to leave the church according to the elders, and my friends have largely rejected me over this.
Bravo to you, sprite! Would you be interested in sharing your story here? I have looked into Brown’s webinar when he was promoting it and have been disgusted at how women are objects for men to own.
I know what it is like to be in church discipline and shunned. I’m so sorry you have had to go through it. You are definitely doing the right thing and good for you for being strong and challenging extra-Biblical teachings. Please feel free to contact me: email@example.com
Just in case it’s any comfort to you, I’ve been waiting for a small Southern Baptist congregation to honor my request to drop me from their membership rolls since about 1988. I’m very sorry your friends have largely rejected you. That’s a hard thing. As to the “leadership” putting you under discipline (as if they have any real power to keep you from finding a truly loving fellowship), I find myself experiencing a very Christ like urge. I’d like to take a whip to them! Apologies if you don’t find that helpful.
It’s sad that the OPC is becoming such a liberal denomination. I wonder how long it’ll be before they start ordaining homosexuals. NFIFC is really only about one principle: God gave men the responsibility to lead and teach their family. Too bad the spirit of the age, feminism, finds that so offensive.
OPC, liberal? That’s the denomination of Kevin Swanson, right? Surely you jest.
not alot of scripture being discussed on this blog-just gossip. read your Bibles and stop gossiping. where is the age segregation in the Bible?
What, rpotter, you are a first-time commenter rebuking us for not using the Bible and you didn’t even use the Bible. Say what?
“But know this, that is the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, gossipers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth, Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.”
2 Timothy 3:1
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law; Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like, of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Great words of wisdom from our Mighty Father who are in Heaven, I would say.
These words have power to bring conviction and true repentance for those who call on His Name. Praise Jesus.
Definition of gossip: My husband regularly visits the pastor of his church (I do not, will not, nor ever will confess and confide in a pastor of organized religion-please read on), for when he does so, he learns little tidbits here and there of this one or that one in his congregation coming from the pastor’s own mouth; things of which he SHOULD NOT be told. Then he proceeds to come home and share with me, the personal information concerning those in the church system which he has no business knowing!
So while we rebuke public forums of conversation; let us remind ourselves that hireling pastors and their overlord systems ( you know, the ones who go around gathering information to gossip about at their meetings, bible studies, and personal intimate conversations for five minutes of popularity and glorying in themselves, or perhaps to destroy you as a believer in Jesus Christ, whatever their modus operandi), ought to be reminded of what God has to say to all of us.
Time to go visit the tilled bean field and confess my own sins to our LORD in utter disgust of my own uncleanness, for the power lies in Christ alone for my redemption. I have never seen utter brokenness nor tears of repentance in any western church thus far in all of my earthly years, for such is the “pride/proud of life.”
May God have mercy on all of us, in the precious name of Jesus, the Christ of all time. May He be with you.
We finally left the OPC a few years ago. It isn’t hard to see why. They are just not getting so much of what needs to happen at church besides the LAW being ground into your brain. There was no love, no warmth. It took our oldest daughter leaving for us to get our heads straight. That being said, I am not on board with ‘sunday school’ or ‘youth group’. Fellowship really needs to be done together, as a whole congregation, not piecemeal. Everyone is included from newborns all the way to the oldest folks, married and single. Together, praising God and loving one another. The longer I serve the Lord the more I retreat back to historic Christianity.
Life at Church, I’m glad that you have found something that works for you. I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea that fellowship “needs” to be done together. If that works for you, that’s great. It’s not really a primary doctrinal issue and people can decide for themselves what works best for their family.
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One advantage to keeping children in church during the service is that they are less likely to be molested by someone watching the nursery. Not a doctrinal matter, but something to consider.
No joke, I primarily kept the kids with me because there are some parents who don’t seem to care about their kid spreading their nasty virus to other kids. When one of my kids would get sick, sometimes it would take 6wks for it to spread through all the kids and would really interfere with life and homeschooling.
I taught Sunday school for years. I like to think that I taught at an age appropriate level and related what we were learning to their lives. If everyone is together, the adults are going to be bored or the material is going to be over the children’s heads or the teens won’t be able to discuss their issues.
It would have been very difficult for anyone to get away with molesting a child. We taught in pairs, the doors were open, and people were walking by.
Marsha: I know most Sunday Schools are safe. Still, folks need to be careful. I cannot go into detail, but I know of a juvenile sex offender who is being permitted to watch over the nursery. Also, it not necessarily safe because the nursery is under female supervision. It is a good idea to keep an eye out.
I believe with all my heart the best prevention against sex abuse is by being open with children about sex, safe touch, boundaries, and trusting their gut (or Holy Spirit).
There is a pedophile in our family and so my kids have learned from an early age about inappropriate touching and also about paying attention to scenarios where something seems “not quite right.” Not all sex abuse is about a physical act upon a child. It is also voyeurism/exhibitionism. Every time they go to camp, overnight, or an extended period at a friend’s house, they get to hear the broken record from me: “you remember what to do if you feel uncomfortable?”
Giving kids the tools to handle tough situations is preventative medicine. AND . . another thing – – they also must understand that it’s people they know and typically trust who are usually ones who will abuse, not strangers.
So let me get this straight, the “best prevention” against sex abuse is simply talking about sex with your kids and trusting their (uninformed) gut? This is superior to having your children next to you? That’s your big winning criticism of the family integrated movement–they don’t rely on sex education and keep their children nearby? I have had a 5 birth and adoptive daughters, each of whom would sit on anyone’s lap at the age of 3-7 just for the attention even after all the safe-touch talks and child safety videos we showed them. Amen to involved parents.
Secondly, I have worked as a youth pastor and Sunday school director for years (more than 20 years). In all the churches I served at, never could I say that most kids are getting discipled. I was shocked at how little kids knew of the Gospel and how much resistance I got when I suggested that the church push parents to teach their own children at home during the week. I heard a lot of, “Well the parents have enough to do with school and homework.” Really? These are things more important than God’s Word? No wonder our churches see children grow up with a less than 10 percent biblical world view!
I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to criticize a movement that has child training at home in God’s Word as a major distinctive. Why is everyone I know so upset at parents who take this duty so seriously? I just don’t get it. There are much bigger and better battles to fight like tens of thousands of Christian teen pregnancies, abortions, drugs and suicides. If I could say one thing to each of you it would be to pick a better battle to get upset about than to do what’s happening here. Everything here amounts to saying, “Look, awkward homeschoolers who don’t like how we do church! Let’s slander them!”
I feel like I’m reading a bunch of Pharisees who are justifying their personal failures as parents and judging others who make them look bad. How inappropriate and how unchristian-like.
GT, You are precious. How lovely that you call us Pharisees & failures as parents.
Bless You, if I may, a word. I raised my children with a biblical worldview, to my regret today, I spanked my oldest, more than the youngest. No thanks to Dr. Dobson.
I had them in church 24/7, memorizing scripture, serving, youth groups. My eldest daughter went on several missionary trips in 3rd world countries. Blah blah blah.
My husband & I have had more than 15 different people live in our house. My oldest daughter was hurt deeply by a so called Christian boy who took advantage of her. Oh, & btw, he came highly recommended by the church he attended.
As a result of my parenting, my children have rejected Jesus Christ & they are repulsed by Christians, I don’t blame them. There are so many evil people masquerading as Christian, who are full of hate. What is up with that?
Friendly reminder, do you have any idea how the internet has opened up dialog? Christian kids are learning about control & abuse in churches?
Kids are savvy, you cannot control your children forever.
Time will tell buddy. I hope you don’t have to eat your words. I took my parenting very seriously, I wanted to raise children to love our Great God. The thing is, I was listening to guru’s in the church, following men, instead of listening to the Holy Spirit. I wish you the best, I really do, you sound like me 25 years ago.
If life kicks you in the heart & gut and you end up in deep agony, you might understand & read between the lines of what I am saying.
I understand that might sound unchristian & inappropriate, just quoting you dude.
So sorry to read your story, my heart breaks with and for you. Prayers for you and your entire family.
GT’s post was enlightening considering the fact that upon stepping foot in many churches who label themselves as conservative, one of the first institutions they push on you is Focus on the Family/James Dobson. Before visiting the local ‘conservative’ church down the road, I had never heard of Focus on the Family or Dobson, for this social institution was not the center or focus of other churches’ ministry. So to be like these folks at this new church we began attending, and to fit in with their religious/political paradigm, I did begin listening and following the doctrines of Dobson. And I fit in beautifully with these folks; our family even visited, toured, and purchased mega books from Dobson’s institution in Colorado Springs. We were big “fans” so to speak, until one day, I when I heard one of Dobson’s broadcasts on the radio dealing with spousal abuse. My heart hit the floor by the lack of compassion, the lack of wise counsel concerning the victim for their personal/family safety, and the blatant lack of rightly dividing the Scriptures properly.
That was it, the end of Focus on the Family for me, the end of giving volumes of money to a social institution that does not have the compassion nor the understanding of Scriptures according to Jesus, the Christ, the lack of prayer for those who are hurting/suffering, and the end of supporting people who accumulate massive amounts of money in having higher lifestyles than the rest of us have in everyday life. Would rather give to the poor and needy in our own community who struggle paying their own grocery bills.
And GT, in our conservative church, our Youth Group Leaders also attended conferences at the Focus on the Family Institute with their families, boasting and bragging about their ‘wonderful studies.’ These individuals were eventually fired/relieved from their leadership positions when the truth of their secret dealings came to light; our youth group leaders were secretly taking young teen girls to the clinic without the parents’ knowledge, to get them on birth control pills. These youth group leaders took it upon themselves to be the parents in place of the authority of their natural parents and as a result, these wise parents took their families and left the church. Thankfully, our children avoided the counsel of our Youth Group leaders like the plague, for they knew in their own hearts, how these leaders loved the praise and applause of the congregation; a dangerous recipe for leadership abuse.
We must always take care to be discerning with whom we place our trust in, for in my experiences with authoritarian/hyper-spiritual churches, it is the leadership/persons of importance structures that have the MOST sexual sins within their own households, meanwhile trying to rule over the rest of us with an iron fist in calling out our personal sins. It is no wonder to me, in studying the Scriptures for myself, that Jesus called out the hypocritical religious of His day as “You brood of vipers.”
I believe His statement is still valid today.
Be strong in the LORD gm 370, as you already know, Jesus is our only hope and we can rest freely in Him. You are not alone.
Katy, “Would rather give to the poor and needy in our own community who struggle paying their own grocery bills.”
It is so refreshing to no longer follow guru’s, and to be free to tithe to people as my heart is directed… Your kindness is glorious. You know, even if my grown children don’t believe & love Jesus, I know in my knower, that He believes in them & loves them perfectly.
He knows that they rejected the cruel, controlling, legalistic jesus that was taught in church. I rejected that jesus for several years, and the true JESUS came & found this lost sheep, slowly but surely, I have awakened.
Thank-you for your encouragement, so glad that we and many others got out of the money, celebrity making institution. Thank God for Julie Anne & all the bloggers who are calling these wolves out.
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You are worthy of Jesus’ love and you are very welcome. I grew up in the institutional church and followed man’s rules, regulations, and self appointed authority over me, learning about Jesus, yet not born again. It took a tragedy, the loss of a loved one who encouraged me, my husband, and our precious children in this life on earth, to fully know what brokenness in a human soul (mine) looks like. To fully experience the pain of loss, the abuse of the churched (and some unchurched) around me with their lofty doctrines, some quoting Scriptures, with absolutely no love in their eyes, mouths, and hearts, just plain old fashioned cruelty, was so much to bear for my weak soul in a period of darkness, that I fully and completely gave my life to Jesus, and HIM ALONE. It was then I began reading, studying, memorizing the most comforting Psalms, and singing hymns wherever I was on the farm, that Christ’s love fully became ALIVE. ALIVE. Jesus came alive inside of me through His Holy Spirit, with the aid of no man so that they came receive the credit.
Only Jesus can claim all of the glory, praise and Honor that is truly His.
gm….many of us were lost, but now are found and at the end of the day, that means there is hope for all of us, our children, every soul who will one day recognize their great need for HIM. If we all could share our stories in person, face to face, with an open heart of love and willingness to humble ourselves in prayer, I believe there would be so many tears shed, that I dare say, if we had a buck for every tear, we would be gazillionaires.
At the foot of that cross of Jesus, there is a level playing field.
Love you, gm370. Just love you to pieces, from this lowly farmhand.
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And you are so right…..must give thanks during this time of Thanksgiving to Julie Anne who made this venue possible for those of us who are in need of good and godly encouragement here. I am needy too. Blessings to you Julie Anne.
Thank you, ladies. You all are the life of the blog, so I thank YOU 🙂
You are a sweetheart, His love seems to bubble out of you. Yep lots of tears, going to be out of this world when He wipes everyone’s tears away. I hope there will be campfires in heaven, where each person gets to tell their story, and Jesus can explain how He was present in our dark nights of the soul and how He never abandoned us, even though there have been times when I wondered… O, and s’mores, yum.
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I’ll pass on the smores and eat a dark chocolate bar instead, but sitting around a campfire with y’all sounds so cool!! Wouldn’t that be great?! If I were rich, I’d put on a gathering at a big ol’ lodge for spiritual abuse survivors to hang out, decompress, eat good food, share stories and love on each other.
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LOVE the ministering going on here at SSB.
Please know this gm370; you are ministering to me, a very lonely soul at times that understands your story and the depths of a former darkness until the miracle of salvation takes place in the human soul.
And yes, count me in on the s’mores around the campfire with you…..would love to be a-singing Amazing Grace with Julie Anne’s touch at the keys. Oh, what peace flows out of sisterly/brotherly love through Christ.
‘Tis a quiet day for me here, and yet, the love of Jesus ministers to me through internet relationships by those who know Christ as their own. Oh, what love has He.
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Amen Julie Anne. AMEN!
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I’m going to resurrect this thread a bit… Sometime between then and now, Swanson took his church out of the OPC and into the CPC. There is a progression if you look at the history of this page: https://web.archive.org/web/20171120130417/http://www.reformationchurch.com/about/faq from the OPC to the CPC.
However, I’m concerned about what this means about the OPC. As of 2014, Kevin Swanson was a pastor in good standing in the OPC. As far as I know, he was never under any sort of discipline.
On April 27, OPC member John Earnest committed mass murder in a Jewish synagogue. The OPC issued a statement: https://www.theaquilareport.com/a-public-statement-from-the-opc-on-the-shooting-at-the-chabad-synagogue/
“We deplore and resist all forms of anti-Semitism and racism. We are wounded to the core that such an evil could have gone out from our community. Such hatred has no place in any part of our beliefs or practices, for we seek to shape our whole lives according to the love and gospel of Jesus Christ.”
But, how far different is that, really, from Kevin Swanson’s teaching, with the full right hand of fellowship of the OPC:
“Yes, Leviticus 20:13 calls for the death penalty for homosexuals,” Swanson exhorted. “Yes, in Romans Chapter 1, Verse 32, the Apostle Paul does say homosexuals are worthy of death — his words, not mine. And I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I am not ashamed of the truth, of the word of God. I am willing to go to jail for it.” (Des Moines Register)
So, maybe anti-semitic hatred is not espoused by the OPC, but hatred is okay. By allowing Kevin Swanson to, in the good graces of the OPC, teach that killing gays is okay, it’s not much of a stretch to see that someone would connect the dots between the OPC teaching of Judaism as a false religion/idolatry, their teaching that idolaters deserve the death penalty, and John Earnest’s actions.
Mark – we are not OT Jews under the law, so the penalties there no longer apply (cf. adultery). Swanson is also imo butchering the meaning of Rom 1, where deserve to die applies to all the sinful practices listed in that chapter, and has more the sense of For the wages of sin is death. He would not be the first person I have encountered who has changed ‘deserve to die’ to ‘deserve to be killed’. Personally, I would link it in the case of homosexuals to the earlier verse and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
There is a line of argument in the OT that the capital punishment verses allowed death as the maximum penalty, but did not always mandate it.
Swanson may be not ashamed of the gospel, but he doesn’t seem to realise that same gospel provides forgiveness, justification, washing, for these very sins.
I’m sure you know this already, but for a pastor to make what is in my opinion such an elementary mistake in using scripture is quite breathtaking.
The OPC’s introspection was limited to anti-semitism and not the hate culture that they were tolerating by allowing Kevin Swanson to speak hatred and death to homosexuals while an OPC pastor.
Thankfully for the OPC, Earnest targeted Jews and not gays. It still troubles me, though, that they haven’t connected the dots between hate and hate crimes. Maybe they have, and their public statements are more trying to buy time while they clean house, but I doubt it. There are probably many pastors in the OPC that hold the same views as Swanson, but just haven’t stated them publicly.
See also: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/april-web-only/whos-to-blame-synagogue-shooting-orthodox-presbyterian.html where OPC ordained minister Carl Trueman cleverly denies denominational culpability: “In the case of the OPC—a denomination of around 30,000 people—a single killer is one too many, but hardly a sign of widespread, anti-Semitic radicalization among our youth.” then proceeds to blame shift to any available targets: (ourselves) ‘Perhaps it would be better to ask, “Is it I, Lord? Has anything I have said or done fueled the toxic culture in which such things are happening?”’ (all Christians) “When murder has become routine and mass shootings are starting to become a part of life, it is time for Christians to examine with sorrow our complicity in a fallen culture.”
Then it’s time to tell us that our outrage is misguided: “In our culture, violence has become so routine that we have been anesthetized to it. It now takes a murder with a special context—racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny, or sheer number or age of victims—to provoke outrage. Yet, we as Christians are called to mourn with those who mourn regardless of circumstance; murder is not made intrinsically more or less evil and tragic by the motivation of the murderer or the identity of the victim.”
Then it’s time to tell us that outrage itself is not an appropriate response “This is not a moment for blaming “them” for what has happened. It is a moment to grieve with the family that has been destroyed by this senseless action, to examine our own part in this fallen culture, and to ask ourselves how we can truly represent something better to the watching world.”
So, there we have it, an OPC member murdering a bunch of Jewish people is not cause to question what is being taught, modeled and condoned in the OPC [cough: KEVIN SWANSON], but cause to question ourselves and our own culpability in this murder.