Recent news events from Sovereign Grace Ministries, Harvest Bible Chapel and Pastor James MacDonald, David Hayward article, and another John Piper tweet
There have been some newsworthy events in Churchianity, some updates on stories I have covered and a couple of new items, so I thought it might be good to post them all in one lot here. ~ja
New Church Added to Sovereign Grace Ministries Churches
It’s mind-boggling that a new church would even consider joining Sovereign Grace churches amidst their recent and ongoing legal fiasco:
- the largest sex abuse case in recent evangelical history
- many pastors and churches left Sovereign Grace Ministries
- many former members, including former SGM pastors calling out CJ Mahaney and the leaders for sex abuse coverup, spiritual abuse, etc.
What were they thinking?
From their pastor, Chad Haygood, on the new relationship with Sovereign Grace:
We are excited to join together with likeminded churches for the advancement of the gospel! We’re honored to share in the mission of advancing the kingdom of God through the planting of healthy churches. We also know that joining together with Sovereign Grace will benefit the overall health and longevity or our church.
How does one improve overall health when one is connecting to a cesspool of corruption?
Update on Harvest Bible and Pastor James MacDonald controversy involving the discipline and shunning of three elders in 2013.
Pastor James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, gave a public apology during the church service last weekend and posted a video. In this short video, you can see Pastor James MacDonald publicly apologize on behalf of himself and the elder board before the Harvest Bible Chapel congregation. WorldMag.com posted this on their recent article:
James MacDonald, an author and the senior pastor of Harvest, read a statement to the church saying he and the current church elders met last week with the three men and asked for their forgiveness: “I wish to announce that the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel have unanimously agreed to lift all discipline from Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh and Dan Marquardt.” WorldMag.com
This was a very messy and public situation. Christianity Today gives a good summary of the full story here (you can also find related articles on SSB here). Last year, the elders were telling folks to essentially shun Philps, Slabaugh, and Marquardt. Here is the offensive and abusive language we saw last year (I label it abusive because men used their position of authority to control in an abusive manner):
“If these men would express even a fraction of the constant and ongoing grace and humility that we see so frequently in our pastor, they could move beyond their bitterness to healing,” elder Steve Huston said in last year’s videotaped statement. “Their current refusal to do so is defiling many people, and that is a great sin.”
That Phelps and Slabaugh publicized their viewpoints after being rejected by the elder majority “is Satanic to the core and must be dealt with very directly,” Huston said last year. (Marquardt had already resigned from the elder board.) “We warn the people of Harvest Bible Chapel to separate themselves from these false messengers. … Please avoid these former Harvest elders at all costs lest you incur great detriment to your own soul.” (Christianity Today)
Those following the current Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill fiasco will recall that James MacDonald recently stepped down from his position in the advisory board at Mars Hill. I can’t help but wonder if James MacDonald’s apology was prompted by the ongoing mess at Mars Hill.
Perhaps dealing with the Mars Hill situation caused some serious introspection for MacDonald? Both men behaved like bullies in outing “divisive” elders. Maybe Mark Driscoll’s saga was hitting a little too close to home. Time will tell how genuine this repentance is. I pray that MacDonald will walk in integrity and transparency.
David Hayward’s Article on Thugs and Theology
David Hayward of “naked pastor” posted an excellent article, Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology?
In this article, he discusses some of what we have talked about here on abusive behavior and theology. I highly recommend his article. But what happens in the comments is quite revealing as well, as we have the Who’s Who of Emergent people gathered in one location hashing it out. In this conversation, you can clearly see that abuse is not confined to one particular theological group.
John Piper Twitterings
John Piper proves once again that his words ought not be taken seriously:
Here is the ESV translation of the cited verse: “therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts.”
Let me remind you. This man has 659 THOUSAND followers and he sends out a tweet like this?
Here are other notable tweets from this man with a huge following:
We must use critical thinking, people. We don’t need to follow after big-name celebrity leaders when they preach nonsense from their public platform. Wow. I just cannot believe this man has such a following.