Fallen Patriarchy Leader Doug Phillips Leaves Former Church and Becomes Member of New Church without “Letter of Transfer”

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Vision Forum’s fallen patriarchal leader, Doug Phillips, has become a member of another church without obtaining the required “letter of transfer” from the church he established and formerly led, Boerne Christian Assembly

I’ve been hearing about this news for quite some time, but now it is official. Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA), the family-integrated church which Doug Phillips founded, has issued a formal statement on their website regarding Doug Phillips:

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.13.54 AM

 

 

Also of interest, Bob Sarratt, who was previously listed as elder along with Doug Phillips when I took this screen shot November 2, 2013, is no longer listed on the church website. Word on the block is that Bob Sarratt stepped down after the Phillips fiasco and who can blame him?

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-02 at 9.23.57 PM

 

This is a current screenshot showing Jeff Horn and David Fry as elders:

Boerne Christian Assembly, Doug Phillips, Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.16.26 AM

 

 

Also of interest is an article posted about Biblical repentance based on a recent sermon. I think the timing of the article is relevant in light of Doug Phillips changing church memberships without receiving a “letter of transfer” from BCA. Here’s why:

Boerne Christian Assembly is showing the world what they view as Biblical repentance and what they expect from Phillips. Previously, Phillips issued a statement, and then a clarifying statement. Both statements did not pass the test of voluntary confession with remorse. The following is from BCA’s article about Biblical repentance:

Here is the sorrow of hypocrites:

  1. Their sorrow lies in their faces. Jesus said ‘they disfigure their faces’ (Mt. 6). They make a sour face, even express great emotion, but their sorrow is counterfeit.
  2. Hypocrites make no restitution, thus expressing disdain for the law of God (Nu. 5:7). Hypocrites state why restitution can’t be made, or make false restitutions that cost them nothing. Augustine said, “Without restitution, no remission.”
  3. Hypocrites generalize sin and make the least of it. While the repentant detail their sin, hypocrites sanitize their sin.
  4. Hypocrites blame others. Saul said, ‘I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord: because I feared the people‘ (I Sam 15). Saul lays his sin upon the people. It was a defense of himself, not a self-indictment. Adam did the same, blaming both Eve AND God. Blame-shifting is a sure fire way to identify a fake penitent.

 

We’ve spoken about church memberships before and I’m not too keen on them. But Phillips, having founded BCA, surely knows BCA’s established guidelines on church membership. BCA makes this very clear in their public statement about Phillips:

Recently, contrary to the position established many years ago at Boerne Christian Assembly under his Eldership and which he reaffirmed on multiple occasions . .

The point being, BCA leadership is claiming that Phillips elected to violate the guidelines he himself established when he left Boerne Christian Assembly to become members at a new church.

The Biblical repentance article is also notable because it is the first time anything has been posted since February of 2008. That’s over six years!

 

I think it’s pretty safe to say that with both the recent public statement and repentance article, Boerne Christian Assembly leaders are demonstrating to us that Doug Phillips has not shown himself to be Biblically repentant.

 

By the way, I really like the article on Biblical repentance and this is the kind of standard that should be held for all abusers. It really is good and I encourage you to read it. Here are a couple of excerpts:

Did you know that not all sorrow is repentance? That someone can pretend to have sorrow, yet not be repentant at all? But more than that did you know that godly sorrow brings joy? Have you ever repented and felt the joy that comes? Godly sorrow, not only leads to salvation, but also brings rejoicing. This is one acid test of Biblical repentance. If there is no joy, on one level or another, to the person, and no happiness to the ones offended, you can be sure that there is no repentance.

 

And this is also good:

 

The nature of Biblical repentance is this: it is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed. Therefore, many people can witness this transformation. Words out of the mouth and expressions of emotion can NEVER ALONE speak to Biblical Repentance.

 

Related articles:

 

134 comments on “Fallen Patriarchy Leader Doug Phillips Leaves Former Church and Becomes Member of New Church without “Letter of Transfer”

  1. Interesting. I didn’t know they even did letters of transfer. In my Baptist roots, that whole thing was pretty much pro-forma and if someone wanted to join another Baptist church, but did not want to do a letter, they would just join by statement that they had been baptized by immersion, etc.

    All that being said, church “membership” on a local level isn’t really Scriptural per se….

    The point is well taken. Phillips is trying to circumvent accountability and shame on the church he is going to for allowing that to happen!

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  2. Wendell,
    9Marks churches do this membership thing – -maybe not an official letter of transfer, but if your church is a member of that group and you leave one church and go to another, you will need to be “released” from your first church before the new church accepts you. In fact, your new pastor could possibly call your old pastor to make sure you left “well.”

    I have big-time problems with this because what if the church you are leaving is spiritually abusive? They are not going to give you permission to leave. One of the big issues in spiritual abuse is actually leaving the church. In my case, it wasn’t until AFTER we left that much of the abuse was blatant (stalking behavior, recording of private conversations, suing me, saying we were in church discipline to others when he never informed us, etc).

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  3. What are they going to do, move him from place to place until everyone forgets about him? The man obviously isn’t repentant of anything he has done.

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  4. Exactly, wantingthetruth. The unspoken implication is that his confession statements were completely bogus. Phillips, I know you are reading this – you are a fraud. Everybody is on to you, buckwheat.

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  5. Ok, I’m confused. This is America. The First Amendment would seem to preclude the need for a letter of transfer from one church to another. I realize that BCA is a private organization, and not the government, but I find such a requirement chilling. People ought to be free to worship wherever they wish. As to the repentance thing, restitution is always a sure fire indicator that a person has truly repented. Sometimes that restitution isn’t possible–for example, the offended party has died. But where it can be done, it ought to be done. I don’t buy into the joy part of it, though. This whole thing is a puzzle to me.

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  6. Sheila – You should be confused. If you are a Christian, you are member of the Body of Christ. This is all extra-biblical nonsense. This transfer of membership has to do with leaders who are essentially control freaks. They want to decide if you get to leave their church, if you behaved well in order to leave and if your justification for leaving meets their approval. In other words, if there are any “issues” from your old church, they might not let you leave until you resolve them to their satisfaction.

    The new church (if they have the same guidelines) can follow up and make sure you passed the test before they allow you to join their church.

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  7. Ah, yes. Doug is above his own expectations that he placed on others. Jesus talked about the Pharisees in this way:

    The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you to do. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. The tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. (Matthew 23:2-4)

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  8. JA, I had to go through a 4 session class and fill out a 4 page application to become a member of my church. That was a little intimidating. I would not do it again. They accepted me without further questioning, but looking back on it I think they should have been filling out the application letting me know what I could expect being a member of their congregation.

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  9. JA, Do you know what type of church he is attending? Do you think he has hoodwinked the pastor of his new church? Of course I personally don’t think it is a bad idea to give the children a “fresh start”, but do you think Phillips would be able to become a part of the new body? Based on his history, it seems he will eventually try to either “take over” the church or use it as a base to entice members to help him set up a new ministry. It is also interesting that his old church would announce his leaving, unless they want to publicly “divorce” themselves from any ministries he may try to establish. I hope Phillips will do right by his children and stay under the radar.

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  10. I do not know what kind of church he is attending. (I’ve heard rumors, but nothing definite.) I cannot imagine him attending something other than a family-integrated church. The public statement indicates he has become a member of a new church. In order to do that, they would have had to accept him as a member. What were they thinking???

    It seems as if the leaders at BCA are finally doing the right thing publicly by issuing the statement. It needed to be said publicly because Phillips’ ministry was public. It also needed to be done as a warning to new churches that there is unfinished business with Phillips at BCA.

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  11. One of the main reasons why churches have membership rolls is for voting purposes. Also, with membership there is more accountability for the members (not the leadership). I a a pastor and I have no problem with membership as long as it is not pushed. it does insure more integrity and accountability.

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  12. Sheila, the 1st Amendment,says what Congress can’t do, and together with the 14th, what any government can’t do. It doesn’t tell any church that it can’t require a letter of transfer or anything else like that which entails the free exercise of religion. In fact, if anybody went to a court to complain about it, the court would promptly pour him out on the ground that the 1st Amendment forbids the court to intervene.

    BCA or any church, has the right to say you haven’t properly departed unless they give you a letter saying so. And any church can decide that that’s a problem or not.

    I don’t see a problem there for anyone leaving an abusive church. Any church requiring to be shown a letter from an abusive church is clearly abusive itself, so it’s just telling you that you don’t want to go there anyway, making your church hunt easier.

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  13. Just as a matter of clarification, the primary reason I think that a “Letter of Transfer” or another communication might be good is so that a member who is under discipline can’t just go to another church who will unwittingly let them do the same shenanigans they did at the first church. Unfortunately, the flip side is the ability to use that to control in a spiritually abusive manner.

    It would be like me stealing from the church finances, getting caught, running off to another church without their knowledge of the previous infractions and then putting me in charge of finances again.

    Then again, in Phillips’ case, his issues are well known enough that the new church should know what is going on, whether they accept the truth or not.

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  14. Wendell G,
    Before I started reading SSB a few months ago, I had never heard of Doug Phillips. I’m sure there are plenty more like me out there. A lot more sheep to deceive.

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  15. Guy,

    Welcome to SSB! I used to be fine with membership. It made sense. I get the voting thing, but can’t voting be done in another fashion without forcing membership – – let’s say allowing a regular attender in the last year or so voting privileges?

    Another issue I’ve heard raised is regarding church discipline – – that church discipline cannot be done on someone who is not a member. I don’t agree with that, either. The Bible doesn’t say someone has to sign a membership covenant in order to follow biblical discipline process. It’s a man-made rule.

    What about the member who has been faithfully for 10 years or so who ends up committing adultery? Does a pastor not have the right to bring another person and confront this man about his ongoing sin? Or does the pastor say, “Oopsy daisy, Mr. Adulterer is not a member, so my hands are tied.”

    For the record, I don’t ever recall hearing a pastor say oopsy daisy 🙂

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  16. Wendell, your example of embezzlement could easily handled by doing exactly what workplaces do: Ask for references. Handling finances isn’t for anybody, so the church could just ask for previous experiences. That would be enough to scare away people looking to repeat their shenanigans.

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  17. I hadn’t heard anything on Doug Phillips since news of the civil suit came out. I assumed that there might be a story hear and there on his whereabouts before the trial happens (provided they don’t settle out of court).

    Phillips, Gothard, Driscoll… all wretched human beings in their own unique ways. But with Phillips, I get the impression of a man coming unhinged. Maybe that’s why any news surrounding him is so much more riveting than with the other two. Plus, Driscoll and Gothard have the layers PR people that Doug does not, so less is hidden.

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  18. I remember when TWW blog did a post or two about church membership stuff. Some of the views of some churches/preachers is downright bizarre.

    TWW linked to 2 or 3 different blog pages by various churches about what to do when/if your church member leaves.

    It was so creepy. The pages basically sounded like the preacher should morph into the Terminator and track an ex member down, like the Terminator hunted down John Connor in the Terminator moveis.

    I think this was one of the pages linked to:
    Pastors, Don’t Let your People Resign into Thin Air

    Some of these churches sound like stalkers. I don’t think attending, joining, or leaving a church should be so complicated and creepy, but some churches make it that way.

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  19. Brenda said,

    JA, I had to go through a 4 session class and fill out a 4 page application to become a member of my church.

    I’ve heard that people who attend Driscoll’s church are big time pressured to become members. They have to take classes for weeks and fill out lots of paperwork.

    Before I started reading all these blogs about spiritual abuse, I thought if you attended a church weekly that fact made you a “member.”

    I did not realize that “being a member” meant having to take classes and fill out paper work. It’s ridiculous.

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  20. Daisy,
    The day I was baptized in my original church–that made me a member. When I moved out of state-the church accepted me on my testimony. No paperwork. The classes were informative on what the church believes and why, which they could have just given me the pamphlet and I could have read it at home instead of dragging myself after working 10 hour days to listen to the pastor say it all in much longer version. The application was writing out my testimony and asking a lot of questions about my background and why I wanted to be a member of the church. By that time I wasn’t wholeheartedly thinking that I did anymore after the inquisition, but I also knew that the X wasn’t going to allow me to go anywhere else. I love my church even with the cons, but I will never go to another church and become a member if I have to go through all of that again. Oh yes, folks that are newly saved and baptized in my church would still have to go through the classes and fill out the application–makes no sense to me.

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  21. It is very disturbing that the only ones who “get” to break the “rules”, are the leaders. I have also seen this happen with the entire establishment of the CPC (Covenant Presbyterian Church). At least the RPCGA did right by not allowing these men to just leave, but rather stripped them of their credentials before sending them on their way. Has Phillips been stripped of his pastoral credentials? Or was he ever really an ordained pastor? My understanding is that the the pastors/elders in the CPC are all just self-appointed by each other. It sort of seems that this is the norm for the leaders in this “movement”.

    I am not sure how I feel about Church membership, per se, but I believe it is a danger to have pastors who have no accountability over them, or are only accountable to the people who helped them establish their own denominations/churches. Scary stuff.

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  22. Brenda, “inquisition” sounds like a good word for the rigmarole some churches put people through to join.

    I’ve also seen member (or potential member) literature that churches hand out – I’ve seen them in PDF on church websites. One was around 55 pages long! Who the heck wants to read 55 pages of beliefs and rules for belonging to a church?

    Someone else, months before at another site, linked to one church’s long form for choir requirements. If you wanted to join their choir, you had to read this big, long PDF thing, with all sorts of anal retentive rules about wardrobe, hair style, etc.

    Trying to get into some of these churches sounds more like a job interview than Christian fellowship, which may be fitting, since a lot of pastors these days fancy their church as a business and themselves as CEOs.

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  23. “…an inappropriate, long-term relationship with a woman other than his wife”

    Sexual abuse is NOT a relationship!! This stuff makes me so angry!

    Otherwise, I have to admit that I appreciate what they’ve laid out as biblical repentance.

    I’m in the process of putting my ducks in a row before starting divorce proceedings against my emotionally controlling husband, and it’s very easy to get sucked back in to wondering if his great show of repentance is genuine. If even Boerne, which I consider unhealthy at best, spiritually abusive at worst, spells out “the repentance of hypocrites” that describes most of my husband’s machinations, I can be pretty sure his repentance is false.

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  24. “Has Phillips been stripped of his pastoral credentials? Or was he ever really an ordained pastor? My understanding is that the the pastors/elders in the CPC are all just self-appointed by each other. It sort of seems that this is the norm for the leaders in this “movement”.”

    This is very important – How can we stop his pastoral influence? It would appear that Phillips left BCA intentionally to carry on with out feeling the consequences of his behavior, to leave the community who had invested so much in him and his family (some making big sacrifices for him) and they presumably would know what really went on. The truth would be too tough to bear in this crowd I would think, especially with him not at the top, that would be very humbling.

    BCA isn’t part of a formal denomination so no one can take away his pastoral duties officially and I always had the feeling they were self appointed credentials. They only thing they were a part of was the FIC – and we haven’t heard Brown, the leader of the FIC, taking away Phillips’ authority to preach. His leaving BCA has shown that he has no desire to be a “foot solider” as he said he was going to – it shows that will not answer to anyone or submit to anyone’s authority. His actions speak volumes to his character, in this time of spoken remorse, he is not willing to make things right to God and his community, church, family etc by going through the process he has established in the “church discipline”. He is by definition a hypocrite.

    He is no longer in control and so He will go find someone else to fool and manipulate with his charm and deception and see what else he can get away with.

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  25. @Eliza Doug Phillips is not an ordained anything. He appointed himself as Pastor of a church that he started. There are no credentials to strip away because he has none!

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  26. In a church we were affiliated with many years ago, membership was not a factor. As it grew it became a factor because the new board said that if the church wanted to borrow money to build a building the bank wanted to see the membership rolls. Before that it was a thriving community in a big office building. Now it it is long gone.

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  27. “What about the member who has been faithfully for 10 years or so who ends up committing adultery? Does a pastor not have the right to bring another person and confront this man about his ongoing sin? Or does the pastor say, “Oopsy daisy, Mr. Adulterer is not a member, so my hands are tied.”

    For the record, I don’t ever recall hearing a pastor say oopsy daisy :)”

    Well, then, Julie Anne, you haven’t heard from the pastors of churches I’ve attended! They’ve told stories about not confronting people just because they weren’t members. Also, at one church I was skewered by the elders for having a blog about theology, and I wasn’t a member. I can only imagine what would have happened if I were a signed-on-the-dotted-line-member.

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  28. All of this misses the point, people. I Cor 10 says to not associate with an openly unrepentant person. Phillips is supposed to be without Christian fellowship. That is supposed to bring him back, if ever that is to happen.

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  29. justabeliever,

    You raise a very good point. It is my understanding that Phillips remained at BCA for a while. I was wondering why they did not put him in church discipline immediately. But what I was told was Phillips put on the appearance of repentance, said/did the right things that the current elders wanted. Perhaps after he left without the letter of transfer, the elders at BCA finally saw the light? And maybe that’s why they posted the article on repentance which discusses this very thing:

    Did you know that not all sorrow is repentance? That someone can pretend to have sorrow, yet not be repentant at all?

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  30. “I’m in the process of putting my ducks in a row before starting divorce proceedings against my emotionally controlling husband, and it’s very easy to get sucked back in to wondering if his great show of repentance is genuine.”

    Emotionally controlling? That’s a new one. I’ve heard “emotionally abusive” and “cruel” and “detached,” but never emotionally controlling.

    Ah well… I hope you manage to cash in.

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  31. Matt,
    Emotionally controlling? That’s a new one. I’ve heard “emotionally abusive” and “cruel” and “detached,” but never emotionally controlling. Ah well… I hope you manage to cash in.
    Your amount of empathy is overwhelming. Not! Just because someone does not verbalize the way you would expect them to or perhaps you would does not minimize the problem.

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  32. Yeah, I’m sure it’s a horrible situation. But I’m so tired of seeing decent men get steamrolled during frivorce proceedings by their STBX wives. Happens all the time. Happened to me.

    I’m not talking about divorces where there is legitimate abuse or infidelity either — at least with those, there’s a biblical justification for ripping your spouses guts out via the family court system.

    Hopefully Persephone’s husband can keep his wits about him during the proceedings and not get too depressed. Once it’s all finished and some time passes, he’ll realize that post-marriage life can be a great, great time.

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  33. When I moved from one city to another about 30 years ago I requested a letter of transfer from my former church to my new church. However, both were in the same denomination and the letter of transfer was a mere formality. Evidently the letter of transfer required from Boerne Christian Assembly seems to be more of a control mechanism. That is scary stuff indeed.

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  34. Yes Matt, Divorce has done me a world of good, as well. He kept the house and most of the possessions, but I got my freedom. He indeed, “cashed in” and still manages to be abusive.

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  35. Brenda – Often the most unscrupulous spouse fairs best in divorce. Sorry to hear that your husband is still abusive, but at least you don’t have to live under the same roof with him anymore.

    It’s hard to put a price tag on freedom.

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  36. Julie Anne,

    Define “emotionally control.” That term seems very broad to me.

    Also, who’s to say that with the marriage in question, the husband was actually exerting his position of authority?

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  37. Matt, I’d like to refer you to this article by Leslie Vernick on emotional abuse: http://christiancounseling.com/content/emotional-abuse-worldly-psychobabble-or-biblical-reality

    Also, who’s to say that with the marriage in question, the husband was actually exerting his position of authority?

    The words used were “controlling husband.” In order to control someone, you are elevating yourself by using manipulation, coercion, controlling techniques. That sure sounds like a presumed position of authority to me.

    Also, I’d appreciate it if you did not post comments with only links in them. If you have a link to share, then please explain why.

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  38. The behavior described in that article is absolutely abuse. Everyone has a breaking point, and I’d imagine that a day-in/day-out onslaught of name calling and put downs over time would push anyone to that point. Actually, I don’t have to imagine it… I endured it myself.

    Which ties in to my point. One spouse throwing out a term like “emotionally control” could mean a whole host of things. Say a wife regularly berates, belittles, and orders around her husband. Perhaps he gets tired of being constantly targeted and becomes more standoffish and aloof. He begins giving short answers to her questions and disengages when he senses a tense situation coming up.

    I believe that the husband is using passive aggressive tactics in this situation, which I would considered trying to emotionally control the wife.

    But that said, is his behavior really THAT much worse than this wife’s constant verbal abuse? My point is, it’s really easy to rally around people in forums like this who may or may not be in the right.

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  39. But Matt – – in this forum, we defend those who have been hurt/harmed. It is the default mode at SSB. When someone comes here and tells us they are going through a divorce because of a controlling husband, I will support them. What wife in her right mind would be willing to sacrifice a home, financial security, possible custody issues, etc, on a whim? It’s just not worth the emotional and physical upheaval. I’m sure there are some, but according to a study I read on this very topic, it is slim. If I had the site handy, I’d post it.

    Please be sure that your comments here do not minimize someone else’s pain. thanks!

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  40. But that said, is his behavior really THAT much worse than this wife’s constant verbal abuse? My point is, it’s really easy to rally around people in forums like this who may or may not be in the right.

    I’d like to address this specific comment, too. When someone is abused, there is going to be a reaction – usually anger turned inward (depression, addictions that numb the pain, etc.) or anger turned outward. Do you think it is inappropriate to act out in anger when someone is abused? It seems you are accusing someone of abusing when in fact, her response is a direct result of the abuse she is incurring. She is trying to save her sanity. Would she be acting out in anger if she was not being controlled by her husband? I don’t think so. Let’s put the blame where it belongs, on the abuser who is causing the problems.

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  41. “What wife in her right mind would be willing to sacrifice a home, financial security, possible custody issues, etc, on a whim?”

    Seriously? This happens all the time. Exact statistics depend on particular state laws though.

    “Do you think it is inappropriate to act out in anger when someone is abused?”

    Absolutely not.

    “It seems you are accusing someone of abusing when in fact, her response is a direct result of the abuse she is incurring.”

    I don’t think that there is sufficient one way the other that this is the case.

    “She is trying to save her sanity. Would she be acting out in anger if she was not being controlled by her husband?”

    Again, the evidence is insufficient. I’m sure that you are familiar with Borderline Personality Disorder. In my experience, a BPD sufferer will become angry for no apparent reason at all — sometimes something in their brain physiology changes and and tells them, “It’s time to be angry!”

    “I don’t think so. Let’s put the blame where it belongs, on the abuser who is causing the problems.”

    I agree! I’m just not sure that there is enough evidence to say whether or not this Persephone’s husband is an abuser. The phrase “emotional control” makes me think that he is not beyond help. It sounds like he is trying.

    I think I’ve caused enough dissent here. I should probably leave now.

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  42. Matt, I don’t mind the conversation in general, but when someone shares their story here, again, the default mode is to believe them. Otherwise, this would hardly be called a support blog. We may err, but we are trying to extend love, grace, and support to those whose voices have not been heard.

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  43. singleman wrote,
    “When I moved from one city to another about 30 years ago I requested a letter of transfer from my former church to my new church. However, both were in the same denomination and the letter of transfer was a mere formality. Evidently the letter of transfer required from Boerne Christian Assembly seems to be more of a control mechanism. That is scary stuff indeed.”

    I also belonged to a denomination that required letters of transfer of membership, and that was done (as I understood it) to keep track of membership numbers and eligible voters within a congregation. And yes, if a member were in a state of excommunication (not rejected as a member, but excluded from the communion rail for his/her own good as an unrepentant sinner who was thus taking the sacrament to his/her damnation) then the transfer letter would indicate that the new pastor had this situation on his hands.

    The “control mechanism” of BCA’s letter of transfer to me is therefore partly “scary stuff” but it’s also potentially a good mechanism to curb the unrepentant sinner. And I’ve never met Doug, but evidently those who have been on very close terms with him (BCA’ers) perceive he’s unrepentant, and thus seek to at least counsel with him. At most, they could inform Doug’s new pastor (elder) about his fallen state.

    From what I’ve read of Doug, he likely included the transfer letter as a means of control; for all I/we know, his co-founders included it as a means of last-ditch delivery of a call to repentance. So, if TPTB at BCA are using it that way, now, good for them.

    My greatest hope right now is that the Phillips children come out of this as unscathed as possible — and one scathe would be if they watch what their dad got away with, and proceeded to finagle to do the same in their own lives/professions. Second-greatest hope: that wherever Doug & Beall are taking their clever little show, TPTB *and* the people in the pews have the God-given discernment to see through them, and not become dazzled & willing followers.

    I will give BCA founders the benefit of the doubt that part of their reasoning for a

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  44. Thank you, lovely folks, for your supportive words. It means a lot.

    One thing I’ve learned over e last six months, as I’ve finally woken up to the truth about my “marriage” is that some people like to vilify a woman attempting to leave abuse. I am so thankful that this is a safe place. But I also no longer feel any need to defend myself to people like that.

    I found Julie Anne’s blog through a link at cryingoutforjustice.com. They have lots of posts about the kind of people who post comments like Matt’s, the value of those comments, and some of the motivations behind them, in case anyone reads what he wrote and feels condemned in any way.

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  45. How to Honorably Leave a Church by Thug Phillips

    Christians are in a state of covenant with the Lord. One way that supreme covenant finds expression is through the “mini” covenant of their relations and duties to Christ’s local church. Because Christians are in covenant with Christ, they are to be in covenant with a local church. They are not “married” to the local church, but they are to be in a state of formal covenant with it. This “mini” covenant (an extension of our covenant with Christ) carries privileges and responsibilities, and is not to be taken lightly. Furthermore, it is designed as a covenant of blessing and should be viewed with profound gratitude by the believer.

    Contrary to what some say, there are sound biblical reasons for leaving one local church to attend another, but the reasons for departure must derive from sound biblical reasons, not personal whims and preferences. Biblically leaving a local church involves transferring covenant duties and privileges from one local body to another. It does not involve breaking a covenant.

    To put it another way, the believer’s covenant with the local church can be transferred to another Christ-honoring local church, but it cannot be “resigned,” abandoned, or simply disregarded without the professing believer becoming a covenant-breaker. Furthermore, the way a family leaves a local church is an evidence of their maturity, integrity, and honor as a Christian. Every effort must be made to act honorably. This may take time, effort, and patience. This means candidly sharing your reasons with the church leadership, affirming your desire to avoid schism and division, and asking for their formal blessing for a membership transfer. Dropping off the face of the earth without candidly discussing issues with the elders with whom you are in covenant is simply dishonorable conduct.

    Similarly, the willingness of church leadership to work with departing brethren (even discontented and divisive brethren) to transfer membership to other Christ-honoring church works is a sign that the leadership are men under authority, not dictators or autocrats. Membership covenants do not mean that local churches own people. Pastors and elders must never behave as if it is a crime for people to want to leave a church. It is a crime to be a covenant breaker, but it is not a crime to desire and act to honorably transfer your membership. Furthermore, a church member who is genuinely convinced that he should abandon his belief in paedo-baptism for credo-baptism, or credo-baptism for paedo-baptism, has not de facto “departed the faith.” He should not be denied transfer to a church that upholds the foundations of Christian orthodoxy (e.g. justification by faith, sufficiency or Scripture, the Trinity, etc.), because of his view on baptism.

    Even in the midst of disagreement and conflict, every effort must be made by the party seeking to leave a local church to work within the God-appointed chain of authority. This means the Christian seeking to depart must sincerely strive to honor the very leaders with whom he disagrees, to honor the terms of his membership covenant with the local body, and to treat all men with integrity. The goal is for the departing believer to leave with the blessing of his elders and to receive from those elders a formal transfer of his covenant membership to a church of Jesus Christ.

    Sometimes, sin on the part of either or both members and church leaders prevents these goals from being accomplished. It is my sense of things, however, that most church shepherds are happily willing to grant membership transfers to disagreeing brethren where (1) those brethren are genuinely trying to approach things in an honorable and respectful manner, and (2) where they seek a transfer to an orthodox Christian work (i.e., not into oblivion, or to a church which is at war with the foundations of Christian orthodoxy).

    Perhaps the worst thing a disgruntled church member can do is to insinuate that the body with whom he disagrees is “a cult” or simply “cult-like”—as some form of a pretext for privately declaring his covenant with the church to be null and void. Cults do exist. They are wretched abominations which rightly should be denounced. But if a people are going to raise the “C” word publicly, they had best be prepared to defend such a charge before the world, and if found guilty of defaming a legitimate work of Christ, they must be prepared to face the consequences which are rightly due to those who divide brethren and slander the servants of the Lord.

    Equally problematic is for church leaders to respond with hostility to those who go through the proper channels to raise concerns over doctrine and practice and who wish to peaceably depart because of matters of conscience. I know of one pastor who was so antagonistic to a confrontation and departure by some of his own co-elders, that he engaged in an ongoing campaign of slanders (and was confronted for such) that involved public Internet sermons, wild and unsubstantiated charges of legalism, gross mischaracterization of the views of those with whom he disagreed, and ultimately took the form of a formal Web site ostensibly dedicated to eradicating the cause of the split in his eldership, but clearly focused on his own self-justification. Such behavior divides the brethren, harms the body, is not the sign of mature leadership, and (no matter how carefully couched) is the mark of tyrants. In this case, the one pastor may not like the fact that one of his co-elders (and others in the congregation) fundamentally disapproved of his practice to endorse Christians placing their children in government schools, or promoting youth culture over family culture, or of having the daughters of his congregation join the United States military, but he would have been better served to address individual issues charitably and biblically than justifying irresponsible behavior on the grounds that those who disagree with him are simply pharisees and legalists.

    Ninety-nine percent of the time, the problem of amicable membership transfers in the local church (like the problems in marriage, employment, and most of life) is a problem of honor. One or both parties acts lawlessly and dishonorably toward the other. Honor is key. Honor is crucial. Those who have true Christian love will act honorably.

    Even as it is wrong for individuals to claim the status of “martyr for conscience and doctrine,” when they have acted dishonorably toward their local church and its leadership, it is wrong for pastors to use Christ’s pulpit for personal vendettas, or to arbitrarily refuse to transfer membership on some pretext of protecting Christ’s church.

    The fact is this: Honorable men can disagree and still be friends. Honorable men can disagree and still work through problems. Honorable men can determine that it is necessary that they take separate paths to be truthful to their conscience. Only dishonorable conduct will absolutely guarantee division, discontent, and heartache.

    From its inception, the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches and those leaders in association with it in the cause of unity between church and home have vigorously and vocally emphasized these principles and the duties of both shepherds and church members. Neither self-serving shepherds nor radically individualistic believers like this counsel, but it remains our deep abiding conviction.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20080705140212/http:/www.visionforum.com/hottopics/blogs/dwp/2007/08/2894.aspx

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  46. Persephone, FWIW, I think what motivated Matt’s comments was his simply his own experience and not a full understanding of yours, and for whatever reason, the term you used was a trigger to him. If it helps you understand any better, I can tell you that his experience is all too common. My brother is living something similar to what he described: A long marriage at the hands of a very manipulative, controlling, belittling woman. Many of us pointed this out to her, and were met with avoidance and blame. After six years, he took the cowardly route of having an affair, and it made her untouchable. Any mention of her behavior (past or present) was dismissed as condoning the affair, which she now ironically calls “emotional abuse”. If there’s any merit to the suggestion above that abused people live in reaction to their abusers, I think it’s obvious where the abuse began.

    It didn’t sound like Matt meant to presume on the details of your situation as much as he was calling out the use of a vague term. A term that he feels was incorrectly applied to him in the past. He was speaking out of his pain, and “Hurt people will hurt people”.

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  47. Anon, thanks for posting that. He set the bar pretty high for himself didn’t he? It sounds like he’s now running from the monster he created.

    I love Marian’s post, above about church membership. I don’t know how things are handled in the Baptist tradition, but I come from a church where membership is mostly about accountability and the Lord’s Table (communion). Not just discipline. It’s about a willingness to open our lives to our brothers and sisters in Christ in such a way that we might be sharpened and encouraged by one another. It was never intended to prevent church attendance there, or anywhere else. However, when there is an overt sin, there has to be some agreed-upon mechanism in place for dealing with it. Publicly if necessary. I believe this is a crucial part of what church membership allows, and it’s vital to the purity of the body.

    Julie Anne, perhaps I’m missing part of the story or misunderstanding some of the conversation in this thread. I think it’s correct to say that “openly unrepentant” sinners should be out of fellowship, but what evidence do we have that tells us Doug isn’t free to attend another church? Is BCA in a position to make that call? I’ve read the quotes above from articles and books about what “true repentance” looks like, but what evidence do we have from the Bible that Doug is living an openly unrepentant life? The man is prideful and theologically confused for certain, but all the more reason he needs to be counseled by a body of believers who can restore him. He needs serious help, and he’s not going to get it on his own.

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  48. So Thug Phillips espouses the view: “Christians are in a state of covenant with the Lord. One way that supreme covenant finds expression is through the “mini” covenant of their relations and duties to Christ’s local church. Because Christians are in covenant with Christ, they are to be in covenant with a local church.”

    Say what? Where is that in scripture? The self-evident fallacy of the foundational principal of Thug’s bloviation puts the lie to his entire screed. Still, how gratifying that he set the very trap by which his hypocrisy is revealed.

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  49. Karen:

    I’ve read the quotes above from articles and books about what “true repentance” looks like, but what evidence do we have from the Bible that Doug is living an openly unrepentant life?

    Ok, first of all, he did not step down voluntarily. He was forced to. That says a lot.

    His first public statement was ridiculous and his second one was equally ridiculous. I have linked an article at the bottom of the post where I dissected his statement based on his own criteria of repentance. He failed his own test.

    He has threatened to sue three former Vision Forum employees. That is certainly against scripture. These were men who confronted him about his abusive sex with a woman not his wife. A repentant man would be thanking these men for bringing truth into his life.

    If he were repentant, we’d be hearing of stories where he had sought reconciliation with the many he hurt. We’ve seen none of that.

    I am still in contact with key people closely connected to either Vision Forum and/or Boerne Christian Assembly and I can tell you with 100% certainty that there has been no mention of any humility or repentance from Phillips. It’s all about defending self, protecting self, projecting an image of self that he wants to create (including he and Beall’s Facebook page and media interview). This man is not repentant.

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  50. Karen – With regard to your comment about Matt and defending his comment based on his personal experience. Yea, I get that. Abuse comes in all forms. But when someone comes here to share their personal story, we stop and listen and encourage. It’s not our place to challenge what they went through. Abusive survivors are usually the ones who are not believed among family and friends and that’s the last thing they need to experience here.

    It was fine for Matt to share his personal story and I think people would come behind him and encourage him as well. But we cannot do that at the expense of minimizing someone else’s painful experience.

    That said, I believe your story, too. There is someone in my family whose marriage broke up because of a woman who suffered from mental illness and she took her illness out on my family member. It was very painful for all involved. Abuse is not solely initiated by men. That’s for sure.

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  51. “Christians are in a state of covenant with the Lord. One way that supreme covenant finds expression is through the “mini” covenant of their relations and duties to Christ’s local church. Because Christians are in covenant with Christ, they are to be in covenant with a local church.”~Thug Phillips

    This is a re-phrasing of the “Church is the Way to God/ Church is the Savior” deception. This is the same doctrine as stated (by means of similar flowery words) by the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. And like the RCC, Protestantism (whether the Calvary Chapel flavor, the Willowcreek Association model or the strict Puritan/Reformed Calvinist, teaches lies that, if taken to heart (believed) and put into practice, only serve to bring the gentle sparrow-like saint into bondage, confusion, shame, false obligation, pain and spiritual suffering. Oh love of Truth!

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  52. Karen, I grew up with an extremely narcissistic mother, most likely suffering from borderline personality disorder, so I do very much know what it’s like to be at the mercy of a mentally ill woman. To this day, nothing is every really her responsibility…much like nothing is ever my husband’s fault (including his decades-long substance abuse, and driving drunk with our kids). I haven’t shared my story here because this is a site for spiritual abuse, not so much emotional/marriage abuse. Not that they can’t overlap, but I haven’t felt this is the venue for my story. I have shared on other survivor sites.

    The reason I decided not to answer Matt directly is because I recognize some of the phrases and terms he was using as common to people (usually men, but not always) who are skilled at putting true abuse victims on the defensive, of having to prove themselves. And as Julie Anne mentioned, when we do finally decide to speak out (after over 20 years, in my case), we are used to not being believed. There’s a reason why these men can fool people for so long: they are often charming, intelligent, and extremely articulate. They are also frighteningly manipulative.

    I heartily recommend the cryingoutforjustice website for anyone who wants to delve more deeply into these dynamics (I have posted much more of my story, there, but under a different name). Also, some excellent books include “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” and “Why Does He Do That?”

    Off the soapbox. I don’t want to derail conversation but I did want to respond.

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  53. Thank you Persephone for your candor. I grew up being “gaslighted” and it is crazy-making! Fortunately, when I got therapy and realized I wasn’t who “they”said I was, the relief was astounding. I had to redefine myself as “not crazy” and that took a while. I finally woke up and trusted my experience as being authentic and learned to set boundaries. Now I can breathe and own the things I do-both the good and the bad! 🙂

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  54. I have to say, that I think so many of the beliefs I am seeing and hearing, are based on denominational doctrines – not the Bible – and that is what can be so confusing.

    I see no where in Scripture, where an abuser, adulterer or other person living a life of sin, can even make legitimate claim to Christ and it be accepted by the Church (ie: people, not buildings). Secondly, I see no where in Scripture, where someone who has made profession of Christ but is living in sin can just say they are sorry and that “repentance” be accepted, without seeing any “fruits in keeping with repentance”. Where is the “fruit” from Phillips’ repentance? Therefore, the question continues to be, what “fruits in keeping with repentance” has Philips shown. He laid down the law with many other people, but when it is his turn, he negates the very laws he laid down for others. I have not heard him say that those laws he established were wrong. They were right for everyone, but himself.

    I personally believe, that the Bible tells us how to know whether someone is truly in the faith or not and that we are to look for those characteristics and beliefs to determine who is true and who is false. It is hard to see the “new creation” going on here. Simply believing doctrines, values, lifestyles and playing house, does not a Christian make. I purposely left out living a “moral” life.

    I have heard other people who are defending Philips, questioning the Salvation of other people now, who will not accept Phillips’ supposed “repentance”. They say that to not accept Phillips’ words of repentance as true and proof of his repentance, are unchristian and show a lack of love for our “brother” and that not showing love to a brother, disqualifies one from being a Christian. Where was Phillips’ love for Lourdes or his wife or his children or all his followers, when he was molesting this young woman and committing adultery, among other immoral things? Wisdom says that we follow the Word of God, and the Word of God has to make us question if the man was even truly a “brother”. It wasn’t like he fell into sin one day, immediately repented of it and made it known to those who could help him and his victims, making full restitution to everyone involved. He went on it for years, not to mention his responses now. Not sure those are the marks of a true Christian.

    If Phillips was really repentant, he would be trying to make amends with everyone and publicly announcing all of his sin, taking responsibility for it, making restitution for it and beseeching forgiveness from everyone he has failed and harmed. He would be settling his suits and making things right. Don’t see any of that.

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  55. I have heard other people who are defending Philips, questioning the Salvation of other people now, who will not accept Phillips’ supposed “repentance”. They say that to not accept Phillips’ words of repentance as true and proof of his repentance, are unchristian and show a lack of love for our “brother” and that not showing love to a brother,

    Yes, and this is precisely what perpetuates abuse. It’s telling people who are concerned about victims and for the reputation of Christ to essentially shut up. It also gives the idea that a sexual molester’s sins are equal in weight to my sin of gluttony or your sin of drinking too much wine with your last meal. What a bunch of bologna – since when does someone who is looking for integrity in a public Christian leader then become the target of blame or challenged that he may not be a Believer for challenging? This is the pattern we see all the time in church abuse cases.

    But I’ve found it also in the doctrinal belief that we are all sinners and fall short. Here’s what you might hear: any one of us is only one sin away from becoming like Doug Phillips, so we better not challenge whether or not he is repentant. We just need to thank God that he did confess.

    The issue about Phillips’ repentance not being our business is false. The man was in a largely public ministry telling thousands of families how to live, even teaching extra-Biblical teachings – yes, a false teacher – and many families are still living out his guidelines. This is a bit off topic, but I cannot tell you how many wives have contacted me after the rug was pulled out from Phillips. I predict many more women and young adult daughters will be coming out and saying “no” to the type of Patriarchy that has them oppressed physically, spiritually, and emotionally. At least a handful of women I know are currently making plans to escape their abusive husbands with their children. In many ways, Phillips’ downfall may be a new beginning for many families, both positively and negatively.

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  56. Yeah, JA, that is exactly what we saw from Stacy McDonald and the rest of them in that patriarchy camp when they rose to defend Phillips. I got the distinct feeling that their defense of Phillips was because of the fear that they are all going to be next. I believe that they all know the oppression they are causing, as they try to get and maintain power and control over God’s people. Not trying to pick on a denomination, but there are certain ones that are really into the “we are all sinners of equal guilt” thing and rarely, if ever, discuss the “new creation” that the Bible teaches and says we are to live in now as Christians. Of course this means, just as you say, that the sexual predator is no more dangerous, than the glutton, and the abuser is no more sinful or dangerous than the wife who took too long in the shower. However, God does not say that and again, we have to go with God on these things, not with the doctrines created by men who twist His Word and do it so well.

    I believe that God is going to bring this whole patriarch/headship/submission movement to a grand screeching halt. I also believe that the downfall of Phillips and the rest who are yet to come, (which will be all of them) will be what frees the women and children who are being oppressed and abused within this system, in their marriages and homes. I agree, agree, agree with all you have said, and may God move swiftly and rescue His true people, His remnant. That is the business He is in and He does it ever so well. Praise His name!

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  57. I’ve already seen two families I know leave FICs (and the females starting to wear pants again) since this all came out. It’s a wonderful thing.

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  58. IamMyBeloved’s said,

    Not trying to pick on a denomination, but there are certain ones that are really into the “we are all sinners of equal guilt” thing and rarely, if ever, discuss the “new creation” that the Bible teaches and says we are to live in now as Christians. Of course this means, just as you say, that the sexual predator is no more dangerous, than the glutton, and the abuser is no more sinful or dangerous than the wife who took too long in the shower

    It’s interesting, sad, and I think incorrect, that some churches or preachers teach the “all sins are equal” or “all people are equally sinful” when God himself says some sins are worse than others, such as,

    Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19)

    If Jesus is classifying some sins are being “greater” it must mean he regards others as being lesser.

    Jesus also seems to teach that sins against children are taken more gravely than sins against adults,

    He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! 2″It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. (Luke 17)

    List of things that the Bible says God hates:

    There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
    17 haughty eyes,
    a lying tongue,
    hands that shed innocent blood,
    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
    feet that are quick to rush into evil,
    19 a false witness who pours out lies
    and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

    I notice that stealing isn’t on that list, or other sins. Which is not to say God is fine with stealing (that behavior is of course condemned in other parts of the Bible), but it is not listed as being things he “hates.”

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  59. IAmMyBeloveds –

    I was a member of a church in CPC denom. I don’t believe any of them are ordained.

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  60. Miss Daisy Flower-You are correct in what you say. The only thing I will note, is that in Matthew 18 where Jesus is speaking about causing one of these “little ones” to stumble, He is not just speaking of small children there, but of all His children, His little ones, the saved of Christ. The Greek breaks this down nicely. So what it really means is that when anyone causes any of God’s people to stumble, such as the situation at hand, woe to all of them. Time for a millstone or two, or three or a hundred or more.

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  61. IamMyBeloved’s,

    You had stated that Matthew 18 is discussing God’s children, and yes, you are right…those with NO KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil are indeed God’s children…UNTIL…they get KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil. At that point, they are the child of the devil…UNTIL…they are converted.

    FIRST, they are spiritually alive…THEN they die a spiritual death…THEN they are born again to spiritual life.

    That is our spiritual life cycle.

    Now…Look at verse 3 of Matthew 18:

    And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    I have no idea how you get the English word “little” to determine that as a Greek New “Baby in Christ” scenario, when the age of the New “Baby in Christ” is say, 48 years old, in the flesh.

    Little children are INNOCENT of all sins due to ignorance of good and evil.

    Deuteronomy 1:39

    Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

    There are a lot of “why” questions to be asked in that one verse.  And there is only one answer to all of the why questions.  That answer is:  Because they had NO KNOWLEDGE between good and evil.  The Little Ones.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  62. Chapmaned, You said,

    “I have no idea how you get the English word “little” to determine that as a Greek New “Baby in Christ” scenario, when the age of the New “Baby in Christ” is say, 48 years old, in the flesh.”

    I am saying that the term “little children” in Matt. 18:6, refers to the saved of Christ. That would be anyone who has been converted and accepted Christ as Savior, no matter what their age. Others teach that it means only little children, as in a child. I never said they were a “new baby in Christ”, if that is what you mean.

    Your answer is somewhat confusing to me. God refers to us as His children and sons and daughters all over in the Bible. I believe the verse means that unless we accept Christ with the faith of a child, we cannot enter. Why? Because that faith is unquestioning in a child. It means without all the knowledge and reasoning that has sometimes destroyed men or women of true faith.

    I also believe that all are born into sin. That means that the 1 year old screaming and throwing a fit in order to manipulate and get his way, is in fact sinning. I get that until he becomes aware of his sin and has understanding, that he is not accountable for his sin. Therefore, it cannot mean someone without any sin, because we have all sinned.

    “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in Me to sin, it would be better for him….” (ESV) This means that Jesus is speaking of ones who have already been converted, because they believe in Him.

    The Greek word mikros there, means: figuratively, of dignity, authority, meaning low, humble as in Matt. 18:6, It does not mean young or small as in a child. In Deut. 1:39, the term in Hebrew is tap and means child or little one. It is different than that of the term and meaning in Matthew 18. Hope this helps.

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  63. IamMyBeloved’s,

    You had said: “I am saying that the term “little children” in Matt. 18:6, refers to the saved of Christ.”

    My response: I’m not seeing how you get that out of Matthew 18:6.  The people gathering around Jesus was indeed little children, and Jesus is telling us to become LIKE THEM.  How are little children like?  I don’t see that Jesus was referring “saved of Christ” in that.  Children are care free, loving, no fear, innocent, etc.

    However, you had mentioned that the Greek shows your explanation.  I’d like for you to show me how the Greek does that, because I have never heard that before from anyone.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  64. Chapmaned – you can look it up yourself. You just need a concordance and the Hebrew/Greek Dictionaries. Look up the words for yourself. It will be much better than me trying to explain it to you.

    It has to mean “saved” anyway, just because of the wording there, which indicates that they “believe” in Christ. We become like little children, when we simply believe and by faith in Jesus, live out our lives before Him, trusting Him. Your words, care free, loving, no fear, innocent, etc., are all descriptions of what it really means to trust in Jesus as our Savior. Since our sin has been fully atoned for by Christ’s sacrifice, we are free to just rest in that once we have received Him as our Savior, and then be about the business of spreading the Gospel, putting our flesh to death – (although we are not able to accomplish that perfectly in this lifetime) – and then living out a holy life. It is pretty simple.

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  65. IamMyBeloved’s, I stand corrected.  Strong’s Concordance Greek Reference 3813 includes the word “little” ALSO as meaning, “Immature Christian”.

    Now see whatcha did?  Ya made me look it up!!  Haha!!  Well, that put me in my place!!

    Thanks IamMyBeloved’s.  I owe ya one!

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  66. Chapmaned – was not at ALL trying to put you in your place!!

    Number 3813 actually does deal with children – I think. My concordance (Strong’s) says 3398 would be the correct number for “little ones” in this passage (Mt. 18:6), which does not refer to child(ren) but speaks figuratively of dignity, authority, meaning low or humble, as a son or daughter of God would be. Anyway, no matter and hope you did not think I was speaking down to you, as I would hope I would not ever intentionally do that.

    I actually like looking things up and studying them on my own. I hope you have found a new study aid as well!!

    I also hope your “owe ya one” is going to be something good – that’s a real trigger for me–

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  67. IamMyBeloved’s – I know Ed and met him for lunch a while back. He’s a great guy and loves a good debate even when he’s proven wrong. I can picture him smiling as you taught him something new. I’m sure when he’s able to respond he will, but I have a hunch he was thrilled to have learned something new from you.

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  68. IamMyBeloved’s,

    No, I never thought that you were speaking down to me.  What you had previously laid out is the first time that I have ever heard that, so it was me challenging you.  But, I got egg in my face on that one.  So, my “I owe ya one” is a good one.

    I use the KJV, which is why I use a Strong’s Concordance.  In the definition of 3813 “little”, the “figurative” definition is immature Christian, otherwise it is indeed an infant, or a half grown boy or girl.  The English words used for 3813 are:  little child, young child, damsel.

    And, accordingly, 3398 definition is simply “small”, but figuratively, “dignity”.  The English words used for 3398 are: least, less, little, small.

    So, you were right, I was wrong.  I usually do my homework before I speak.  Oops on this one.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  69. Thanks Julie Anne and Chapmaned. Been busy with the long hard fight over at the catechism ordeal and a little worn.

    Chapmaned, this verse came to me this morning and thought you might find it interesting. It is Matthew 10:42 and says: “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” I thought maybe you would like that. It puts a little clearer picture on that term “little ones”. God bless~

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  70. IamMyBeloved’s said:

    Been busy with the long hard fight over at the catechism ordeal and a little worn.

    I hear you. Yesterday I had a long meeting with my pastor and discussed some of these issues – – like why is my blog growing? Because churches are failing. And what can our church do to make sure that women, singles, abused, etc, do not fall through the cracks? He listened very well. It was a good conversation, but I was sure emotionally spent.

    I think it’s important for those of us who have voices and are able to speak out to do so – whether that is in social media, or even face to face. If we are at a healthy church and leaders truly care for the people sitting in their pews, they should be happy to hear what you have to say and glad to know that others want to come alongside them in caring for those who might be hurting or in harm’s way.

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  71. Iam,
    I wore out before you did. I am in awe of your strength and endurance. I went back through the threads of certain conversations. I believe the lady who has made such a pain of herself should be waiting for the men in white coats to take her away.

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  72. JA, I am greatful to hear that your pastor was willing to take the time to listen. He must care about the people in the pews and keeping them there instead of blogging here on Sunday morning.

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  73. Back in my reformed days……Letter of Transfer was used mainly to determine if a person was in good standing with the church they were leaving and among churches of the same denomination. I saw people get voted in from other churches with a letter of transfer due to a move, otherwise we would ask that people interested in our church go through a membership class. For the most part they are pretty benign.

    That said….another thing that a letter of transfer was used for was to stop people, that were under discipline, from church hopping. It doesn’t mean much if the denomination wont enforce any standards, for example when RC Sproul Jr. left the RPCGA for the CREC he did it while he was under discipline from the RPCGA. But a good example of a letter of transfer was in the case of Steven Sittler. He was stopped from attending OPC churches because of his past unrepentant behavior. Surprisingly enough he found a home on the CREC.

    To be under discipline was pretty severe. It was usually a result of a gross sin. I my time I only saw one person under discipline in any of the churches I went to and that was due to adultry.

    I can’t speak for Doug Phillips or his denomination. If he stayed in his denomination I wouldn’t expect him to be allowed to transfer into a new church. If it was a different denomination a letter of transfer could be entirely worthless, it just depends on how the congregation wants to enforce it’s standards.

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  74. Thanks for your comment, jonathan. As far as I know, Phillips’ former church was not part of a denomination, it was an independent church, but I”m wondering if the letter of transfer would be used with other family-integrated churches. That would be the only kind of connection with other churches that I can see.

    The cases with RC Sproul, Jr. and Sittler are so disturbing for differing reasons. Somehow “special” men seem to get around rules meant to prevent those in church discipline from harming others. What a shame.

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  75. Julie Anne – that is so good to hear! Every Christian should be willing to listen and ask God if they need to change their response toward abuse. I am glad that your Church is open to listen and pray. I have been blessed to have a Church that has responded well to me and my children now, after our heinous ordeal in another “place”. I am just waiting on God to show me where to tell my story and how.

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  76. Jonathan,

    Just my 2 cents here, but I do not believe in church discipline at all.  I do not see that subject in Matthew 18 at all.  In Matthew 18, who is the church? People of that church.  Everyone.

    Much of what I see in these tyrannical church’s that endorse church discipline is that leaders are the judge and jury, and there doesn’t have to even be witnesses.  Oh, sure, there may be false witnesses to the major crime of disagreeing with the Pastor or Elders, which they might categorize that sin as “rebellion”. 

    The whole point of Matthew 18 is personal, between two people.  It only becomes public when “witnesses (plural) cannot convince the person to admit it.  If the witnesses saw it, they need to convince the BODY.  The BODY decides to kick the person out of the church.  End of story.  The pastor stays out of it.  The elders stay out of it.  

    1 Corinthians 6:4 (KJV) LEAST ESTEEMED IN THE CHURCH If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

    Not the Pastor, Not the Elders, Not the Bishop, etc.

    IF that person that was kicked out goes to another church…so be it.  I see no need for a letter of transfer, or any sort of correspondence from the previous church about anything.  It is not our job to micromanage people’s lives.  It’s our job to disciple (mentor), not to discipline.

    Remember the Lord’s Prayer?  Forgive us our sins AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US.  Does everyone that we forgive even ASK to be forgiven?

    Remember when Jesus forgave the Jews for killing him, stating, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  They did not even ask to be forgiven.

    Remember Stephen, being stoned, when he asked for God not to lay that sin against them?  They never asked to be forgiven.

    In Matthew 18, Catholics misuse it, so that Catholics can tell a priest that they stole money from someone.  The Catholics somehow believe that a priest can forgive them of the sin.  NO.  Only the victim can do that.

    However, when actions cross the line that it becomes a criminal matter, justice must prevail.  This guy admits to a sin, but not a crime.  But that sin is a crime under the civil law.  He is calling the victim a liar.  Does that sound like a guy that is repentant?  Not in my book.  He admits to adultery, but calls the victim a liar?  Jesus said that if you lust, that is adultery.  This guy did a lot more than just lust.

    I think that the point of this Post was to show hypocrisy, in that he is not abiding by his own made up by-laws.  That’s all.  I just don’t believe in church discipline, or church correspondence.  I do believe in CRIMINAL JUSTICE, which he is doing everything that he can to avoid it, by an appearance that he is a Christian that goes to church.  But he used church to further his deceit and sexual desires for people other than his wife.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  77. Hey Matt, Just some thoughts:

    Perhaps this not appropriate venue for anyone to analyze Persphones position. I do understand where you are coming from because it sounds like you lived a bit of it yourself. But this is not male against female. It is against all forms of abuse. Period. The sad fact is that most of Christendom deals with male on female abuse because a popular doctrinal position gives abusers cover. After all, many evangelicals teach some variation of “unsubmissive wives trigger abuse”.

    It would be very hard for a woman who is an abuser to get by with it in a higly controlling patriarchal church environment. Her husband would have to help hide it. (And that happens!)

    You answered:

    “Do you think it is inappropriate to act out in anger when someone is abused?”

    Absolutely not.”

    I absolutely avoid people who do not become get angry over abuse. they scare me. Being angry is not a sin. What one DOES with the anger can become sin. As believers we should LOVE justice. And abuse is injustice. There can be no real love without justice, fairness in the relationship.

    Unfortunately, these days, most Christians think they will see Justice in heaven and so don’t worry about it now. That is so totally opposite of what the Cross/resurrection means that it is almost blasphemy. We are to work for justice now. And quite frankly, if we are not working for it within the Body of Christ first, we have nothing to share with unbelievers.

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  78. “One thing I’ve learned over e last six months, as I’ve finally woken up to the truth about my “marriage” is that some people like to vilify a woman attempting to leave abuse. I am so thankful that this is a safe place. But I also no longer feel any need to defend myself to people like that.”

    P, that is so healthy! When you said earlier something about seeing “if his repentance was genuine”, I knew exactly what you meant. I see so many women held hostage by ” the repentence is real” issue. They don’t need to be hostages. First of all, do both parties know what repentence means? If the repentance is real, he will agree to separate for a long period and work on himself. It is HIS issue. Not hers. (And visa versa if genders reversed)

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  79. “Yesterday I had a long meeting with my pastor and discussed some of these issues – – like why is my blog growing? Because churches are failing. And what can our church do to make sure that women, singles, abused, etc, do not fall through the cracks? He listened very well. It was a good conversation, but I was sure emotionally spent.”

    Wow, you are a brave woman. So few will do this. I spoke with a new pastor recently on same issue and my concern. He was very nice and agreeable and said “thanks for the feedback”. Whatever that means. (wink). It was a blow off, pure and simple. A really really nice one but that is ok. I expected nothing less.

    My goal is not to convince pastors (who make their living in the institution) but pew sitters that there is a huge problem in most of Christendom and we have to wake up and be vigilent.

    If the money dries up things will change drastically. Don’t think that will ever happen on a drastic scale though. People love their gurus. I still pinch myself that SGM exists at all after so much came out about molestations, blackmail, etc. Same for Catholic church whose scandal was worldwide in scope. How come it was not a wake up call for folks to say, no way am I supporting this stuff and voting with feet and wallets?

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  80. Jonathan – Sproul Jr., was defrocked. The rest of the men from that mess, James McDonald included, were stripped of their credentials from RPCGA, because they would not go with Wilson to CREC, but wanted to start their own denomination. Not allowed in the RPCGA, so they stripped them and sent them packing. I just wrote a comment about this over on the post about spanking wives. I was really late in reading that post, but just left a comment there about this whole ordeal with Sproul and the rest of them.

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  81. “How to honorably leave a church”
    I could not even begin to read that, for the knot in my stomach. In our present situation, the phrase strikes me as the way a controlling church tries to keep someone from leaving. Is it really “good stuff”? If so, I will go back and read it, but at the moment I’m fighting nausea.

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  82. Refugee – May I suggest clicking the “x” in the window and listen to some good music so you can sleep peacefully tonight 🙂

    Sometimes you just have to shut that noise down, ya know?

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  83. I did, actually, right after I wrote that. Didn’t sleep too well because of what we’re going through, but tried, anyhow. Is there any “good” way to leave a controlling church? Or is the answer to that question so obvious that it becomes rhetorical in nature?

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  84. Refugee. I don’t know if there is a good or proper way to leave a controlling church. The first thing that came to mind was a song from way back when; Paul Simon’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. I don’t know how old you are or if I am just showing mine, but the words somehow made sense for a moment. The bottom line to the song is “Just set yourself FREE”.

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  85. Jonathan – Sproul Jr., was defrocked. The rest of the men from that mess, James McDonald included, were stripped of their credentials from RPCGA, because they would not go with Wilson to CREC, but wanted to start their own denomination. Not allowed in the RPCGA, so they stripped them and sent them packing. ”

    When all that was going on there was another scandal involving Ligoneir and finances. Seems Sproul Sr’s son in law, Tim Dick, was running Ligoneir with Ligon Duncan’s brother James as manager. They ended up suing a blogger who asked too many questions on blog posts. USA Today and Orlando Sentinel ran the stories. Problem is, they could not find the blogger. In any event, they blantently lied to donors about the lawsuit after the fact. Anyway, what Sproul Sr taught about lawsuits seems to have been one sided.

    Even more drama came out on how dysfunctional the Sproul’s were. Sproul Sr’s middle aged daughter and son in law all lived in big house together along with grown grandkids. One of them was posting personal info on internet about “inheriting” family business (Ligoneir) along with bragging about wild drinking parties, etc, etc. It was all very unseemly but gave many some insight into the world of the great guru Sproul Sr.

    Sproul Jr,. wrote a free ebook about his life called Ligoneir Tales where he called the wealthy widow woman who originally bankrolled Ligoneir a white witch. The whole book was creepy. It was taken down.

    Those people are sick if you ask me. Bizarre.

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  86. Lydia,

    “How come it was not a wake up call for folks to say, no way am I supporting this stuff and voting with their feet and wallets?” Because there is no salvation except inside an institutional church, be it Roman Catholic or Protestant, and isn’t that the real definition of controlling. Pastors, ministers, not only make their living off of the institutional church, they believe they have been given authority directly from God. Is that not a definition of controlling. You can educate the pewsitters all you want, but they have no authority, and they aren’t going to walk away. This is 180 degrees backwards from the first century assemblies, where they gathered for teaching ( not one man preaching), breaking of bread and fellowship. Am I the only one who longs to return to what Jesus started? Salvation is of the Jews, but modern Christianity is European, based on power and control.

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  87. JA….Discipline is as only as good as the church that’s enforcing it. If the FIC movement doesn’t have any denominational structure then any discipline is pointless. What can I say about DP. This move sounds more like an act of restoring his “ministry” and not his “soul”.

    Ed……We’ll have to agree to disagree on church discipline. It’s supposed to be used as a way of restoring the sinner. It’s not to be abused for minor supposed infractions, many which are unbiblical. The only positive examples I can give are extreme which is what I believe that church discipline should be used for.

    IamMyBeloved’s……..That’s my point. Church discipline doesn’t mean anything if the church doesn’t want to enforce it. Some series charges were laid against Sproul Jr. which he never accounted for because he church hopped to the CREC. Sproul Jr. and his team should’ve never been allowed to assume a pulpit in any denomination. The RPCGA was right in bringing charges against these men and proceeding with a trial. Too bad they never finished it.

    Lydia…..I have some strong feelings about the Sproul clan. None of them are good and probably better left unsaid…;-)

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  88. Refugee – The easiest way I’ve seen to leave a controlling church is by a job transfer. No joke. There are no questions asked when there is a job transfer.

    If you are leaving a church and remaining in the area, it’s difficult to find a “good way” to leave a church. In that case, I think the best way is to “vote with your feet” and say nothing.

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  89. Yeah. “Just leave” sounds good to me at this point. If the “other half” would just agree, and wouldn’t try to do the “noble thing” because just leaving is somehow rude after all these years.

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  90. But at this point, I think I’m done. I finally have grown enough backbone to say it. Pray for me (if you’re the praying sort). Please.

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  91. Refugee – – I remember that day I told my husband I was D.O.N.E. with BGBC. Now, we did eventually leave together because the you-know-what hit the fan when our friend was fired right around the same time, but I was prepared to make the step and go our separate church ways. It is very difficult, but yet so freeing as well. I suspect your other half will eventually give up and want to be with you.

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  92. “Because there is no salvation except inside an institutional church, be it Roman Catholic or Protestant, and isn’t that the real definition of controlling. Pastors, ministers, not only make their living off of the institutional church, they believe they have been given authority directly from God. Is that not a definition of controlling. You can educate the pewsitters all you want, but they have no authority, and they aren’t going to walk away. This is 180 degrees backwards from the first century assemblies, where they gathered for teaching ( not one man preaching), breaking of bread and fellowship. Am I the only one who longs to return to what Jesus started? Salvation is of the Jews, but modern Christianity is European, based on power and control.”

    Carmen, Good points! I would argue that control was formalized with Constantine and spread West.

    The question is why pew sitters in a free country do not ask more questions and demand more transparency concerning money, etc. It has actually gotten worse the more prosperous America had become and the more Christianity became a popular market niche. As if we beleivers agreed to checked our brains at the door. I think it coincides with the rise of Oligarchy/collectivism in our government. I am hearing more and more pastors refer to our government leaders as “those in authority over us”. They really think 1st Century scripture referring to Nero or Claudius refers to our composite elected “representative” nation of “laws” to obey not mere men to obey.. Bizarre.

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  93. “Ed……We’ll have to agree to disagree on church discipline. It’s supposed to be used as a way of restoring the sinner. It’s not to be abused for minor supposed infractions, many which are unbiblical. The only positive examples I can give are extreme which is what I believe that church discipline should be used for. ”

    Jonathan, I have come to the conclusion that church discipline (which is more 1 Corin 5 and not Matt 18) cannot work in an “institutional” environment. It becomes a power play. The Body of Christ was never meant to be institutionalized with a hierarchy who made all the decisions for the pew sitter who pays for it. There were not even supposed to be pews facing a “stage” where ONE guy taught others week after week, year after year. How stifling! No wonder believers in America are feasting on milk.

    But how else can it be done when 600 people are in the church? And no way can it be done at a mega church. Paul wrote 1 Corin 5 to the entire Body to deal with. Not just to elders, etc.

    That is why so much of the application of such things do not map to what the Body of Christ has become: Institutionalized. And I understand that most things become institutionalized over time. It is natural. But not so with us as believers. We ARE belivers no matter where we are. Our fellowship within the Body is one very small part of our walk with Christ. But the institution has taken over the function of the Holy Spirit and we are mostly dead.

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  94. Lydia…….Are we talking about church government or church discipline? 🙂 I don’t find anything either what says the congregation is supposed to submit to a hierarchical form of government. I use to but found the application lacking in any strength. If these men wanted to protect the church then they should do so but they didn’t and my feet spoke for me.

    What I practice now is a loose confederation of like mind. The denomination has no strength other than to encourage each other and provide a common confession. If the denomination falls into heresy then we, the church, the local church, have a duty to correct the error or leave the denomination if it wont take correction.

    The biggest thing I see lacking in most reformed churches is the application of the first and second table of the law. They do not understand how it works and instead focus on the third use of the law.

    I don’t think a larger church is any different than a smaller one. If the congregation would love their neighbors as themselves then I don’t think you would see the wacky legalistic stuff that’s so prevalent among some of the reformed or roman catholic churches.

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  95. Jonathan – You are wrong about that. Sproul Jr., was defrocked and never went to CREC. McDonald and the others were stripped of their credentials and never went to CREC. Check it out. McDonald and the rest started that CPC denomination that is not recognized by the other Presbyterian churches. I was told this first hand from the RPCGA. You are right about church discipline though. Sproul, Jr went back into his father’s arms for a period, but is now again “pastoring” in the CPC denominations. I have heard some pretty abusive stories about this denomination and have experienced my own spiritual abuse (as well as other abuse) at the hands of one of these “c”hurches in particular.

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  96. Does Patriarchy ever work? I mean, if the husband is well-balanced and truly loving and respectful of his wife? Or is that really not patriarchy. I am being told that if my husband cleans up his act (for want of a better phrase) our problems will be resolved. All he has to do is… um… I’m not sure. Take charge? Be the leader? Not let the feminine part of the family run roughshod over him?

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  97. (p.s. I’m not buying it. I’m just curious if the people who are telling me this are really making it work, or living behind a facade.)

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  98. I love your questions, Refugee.

    All I know is that the friends that I know who say they are complementarian sure look like there is mutual submission going on. They both esteem the other higher than themselves and make sacrificial choices for the other. There is no one lording over anyone. I suppose the only real look of Patriarchy would be taking care of his family by working to provide home/food, etc.

    I hope that makes sense.

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  99. “Lydia…….Are we talking about church government or church discipline? :-)”

    Jonathan, we are from different worlds. I do not recognize either of those concepts for the Body of Christ. Both are concepts made up by humans over the centuries to organize and control people. In 1 Corin 5 the situation was so flagrant and obvious, Paul was like: What are you people thinking?

    “The biggest thing I see lacking in most reformed churches is the application of the first and second table of the law. They do not understand how it works and instead focus on the third use of the law. ”

    Oh dear. More man made concepts from systematic theology. It can be so confusing and deflecting from the important things that we are to “be” as believers out in the world.

    “I don’t think a larger church is any different than a smaller one. If the congregation would love their neighbors as themselves then I don’t think you would see the wacky legalistic stuff that’s so prevalent among some of the reformed or roman catholic churches.”

    Small churches can become cult of personality very quickly. With that I can agree.

    But large churches such as mega churches are quite different. They eventually operate on what is called a “closed system”. They have to in order to grow and maintain. And it takes TONS of money for mega churches just to maintain. The electric bill at the last mega I was in was about $28,0000 per month. Just for that ONE overhead cost. They always have to be bringing in nickes and noses so everything they do is about maintaining while growing. It is a constant balancing act because as many leaving as are coming in.

    . In fact, the system will generally become the problem as in those who go to work in the system either operate within that systems parameters (unwritten rules) or they won’t last. And many don’t. The ones who last are almost always corrupted by the system in some fashion. In fact, the system becomes more about image and brand than the actual people who come to see the show each week. It is a business. Not a Body of Christ. People do like to fool themselves about it.

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  100. Here is a tip: Never ever join a church that will not show you a detailed budget. Ever. And don’t be shy. Ask.

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  101. “It is a business. Not the Body of Christ. People do like to fool themselves about it.”

    A professor at a seminary:
    “The Church started out as a fellowship in Palestine. It moved to Greece as a philosophy. It migrated to Italy as an institution. Lastly, it went to Europe ( and the west) as an enterprise..”

    When spoken to his class, one student asked, “But isn’t the Church a body?”

    He affirmed that was true.

    The student then asked, “If a body becomes a business, isn’t that prostitution?”

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  102. This is from a wiki on Sproul Jr.

    “The Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) examined the case and accepted Sproul as an ordained minister in good standing in 2006. In 2010 Sproul transferred his ordination to the denomination Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC) and is an elder in Heritage Presbyterian Church of Centerville, Tennessee.”

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  103. Lydia
    ” Both are concepts made up by humans over the centuries to organize and control people. In 1 Corin 5 the situation was so flagrant and obvious, Paul was like: What are you people thinking?

    Seems to me like 1 Cor:5 spells out exactly what the purpose of church discipline is. namely…”to destroy his sinful flesh in order to save his spirit on the Day of the Lord.”

    “Oh dear. More man made concepts from systematic theology. It can be so confusing and deflecting from the important things that we are to “be” as believers out in the world.”

    The first and second table of the law summarize what believers are to be. It’s a Lutheran concept, one not typically found in reformed churches. It simply summarizes what one finds in the 10 commandments and repeated by Christ in the new testament.

    first table……Mark 12:30
    Second table…..Mark 12:31

    I’ve no experience of mega churches so I’ll leave it to your expertise. I’ve always been turned off by them and prefer something a lot smaller and more confessional.

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  104. Where can I find out more about the Gospel Coalition, Mark Dever, 9Marks, and Acts29 Network, please (all listed as links on various church pages)? I don’t want something that can be dismissed as malicious gossip in a discussion of prospective churches. I’ve already read quite a bit about Mars Hill, and know to avoid that church.

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  105. Refugee, I personally would stay clear from any churches that endorsed those groups. The common denominator is a heavy authority structure with church membership agreements. Also, they all have a big emphasis on men ruling over women.

    When I see females mentioned in the New Testament who were busy with Jesus and the disciples, I don’t read of this kind of squelching of women in ministry work.

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  106. Jonathan,

    You had said:
    “Ed……We’ll have to agree to disagree on church discipline. It’s supposed to be used as a way of restoring the sinner. It’s not to be abused for minor supposed infractions, many which are unbiblical. The only positive examples I can give are extreme which is what I believe that church discipline should be used for. ”

    Well, you are right. We agree to disagree. I do not see in any scripture that we are to use discipline as a form to restore a sinner. None whatsoever.

    If that is how you restore a sinner, then please show me a chapter that discusses how to restore a sinner by using discipline.

    Galatians 6:1
    Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

    Discipline, huh? Yep…we disagree. The word is discipleship, not discipline.

    Which reminds me of a Catholic joke…the word was CELEBRATE, not celibate.

    Get rid of the discipline and start doing the job of discipleship. Jesus didn’t discipline any of his disciples.

    Ed

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  107. Jonathan said:
    “Seems to me like 1 Cor:5 spells out exactly what the purpose of church discipline is. namely…”to destroy his sinful flesh in order to save his spirit on the Day of the Lord.””

    My response:
    Seems to me like 1 Cor 5 spells out how to kick out a non-Christian from a church, having nothing to do with present day un-biblical practice of disciplining Christians.

    1 Cor 5 shows that this person is NOT A CHRISTIAN to begin with. He is not a Christian struggling with sin. He is wicked, not a Christian at all, needing purged, not a Christian needing to be restored.

    I hate that people use Matthew 18 and 1 Cor 5/6 as a justification for disciplining a Christian, leaving out the part of discipleship. Makes me sick to my stomach.

    Ed

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  108. Jonathan,

    John 6:66
    66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    What discipline did they receive from Jesus for disagreeing with THE Teacher, the main man in charge of all Christians?

    Peter lied about Jesus, three times, before the cock crowed. What discipline did Peter receive?

    Jesus never disciplined the disciples, even when they left him voluntarily. He did not seek them out to see what synagogue they went to so that he could write a letter to the rabbi, etc. He left them alone. Jesus said to let the blind lead the blind…in other words, leave them alone.

    This all reminds me of that nut case arrested recently who killed 6 of his family members because his ex-wife left him. Retaliation. Equate that with, “How dare you question me, how dare you leave my church…I’ll get back at you with church discipline, I will force you to bow down to church authority, and I will write a letter to your next church warning them that you are under my authority…”

    Sounds pretty immature to me, especially when those attributes were never a part of Jesus with his disciples that left him, or lied about him, etc.

    Ed

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  109. Jonathan,

    Now that it is agreed that we agree to disagree, now you can show me an example of Jesus disciplining his disciples, right? Just point me to the book, chapter and verse, and I will check it out.

    Ed

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  110. I already posted what I had to say and I don’t feel like getting into a pissing contest with you about something you have a problem with. Like I said I already laid out my argument for church discipline as it should be used. There are plenty of examples of how it should be used in scripture. If you don’t like what the bible has to say about it take it up with God. This will be my last response to the subject and to you.

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  111. Jonathan, you did not prove your case.  If you have a smoking gun, I would think that you would be eager to show it.  There is no such thing as church discipline.  It’s a man made up doctrine.  You can’t even find one example of Jesus disciplining his disciples, or a lying apostle.

    In 1 Cor 5 we see a non-Christian being kicked out of the church, not a Christian needing discipline.

    Ed

    ________________________________

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  112. In my experience, “Agree to Disagree” really means “You’re Right But I Am NEVER Going to Admit It.”

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  113. Refugee, I personally would stay clear from any churches that endorsed those groups. The common denominator is a heavy authority structure with church membership agreements. Also, they all have a big emphasis on men ruling over women.

    AKA Control Freaks with a side dish of Male Supremacy.

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  114. The first thing that came to mind was a song from way back when; Paul Simon’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. I don’t know how old you are or if I am just showing mine, but the words somehow made sense for a moment. The bottom line to the song is “Just set yourself FREE”.

    “You just slip out the back, Jack
    Make a new plan, Stan
    You don’t need to be coy, Roy
    Just get yourself free

    “Hop on the bus, Gus
    You don’t need to discuss much
    Just drop off the key, Lee
    And get yourself free”

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  115. @Lydia:

    I absolutely avoid people who do not become get angry over abuse. they scare me. Being angry is not a sin. What one DOES with the anger can become sin. As believers we should LOVE justice. And abuse is injustice. There can be no real love without justice, fairness in the relationship.

    Unfortunately, these days, most Christians think they will see Justice in heaven and so don’t worry about it now.

    “In the Sweet Bye and Bye,
    You’ll get Pie in the Sky when you Die…”
    — old Wobbly march song, “The Preacher and the Slave”

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  116. HUG,
    “Agree to disagree” does not always mean that “You are right but I am never going to admit it” whatsoever.

    I take an elderly woman to church, dr appts, grocery store and such. She protests, quite loudly and several times during each visit, that her Dr. and daughter hate her because they took her car keys from her. In her mind there is no reason for this and claims she has never had an accident. The facts are: she has dementia and her ability to drive was tested, she was told not to drive because she failed that test and because of medications that she needs to take. She also refuses to switch from whole milk and fatty foods due to a cholesterol problem because she “needs her cholesterol”. I cannot in earnest agree with her. That being said my response is ” We will have to agree to disagree.” It has nothing to do with her being right in anyway. It has to do with attempting to keep the situation loving and from getting out of hand. She can throw a tantrum better than any 2 year old I have ever seen.

    When I use that phraseology, it’s because I choose not to argue the point, because you are never going to see the big picture anyways.

    But, I suppose everyone is different.

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  117. Pingback: A Translation of Piper’s Clarifying Words | A Cry For Justice

  118. Pingback: Boerne Christian Assembly Excommunicates Patriarchy and Homeschool Leader Doug Phillips | Spiritual Sounding Board

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