Mark Dever’s New Book and Pastors Who Use Language to Control Their Members to Not Connect with Others Outside of Church-Approved Groups

Mark Dever, 9Marks, and other pastors using language to control and coerce members to not engage in outside activities without church endorsement


Mark Dever’s parachurch organization, 9Marks, is advertising a new book written by Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop. The book entitled, The Compelling Community: Where God’s Power Makes a Church Attractive (9Marks), is due to be released this month and 9Marks is using their Facebook page to bring attention to it.

Kathi recently posted about it on the SSB Facebook page (and I noticed a new Facebook advertisement from 9Marks yesterday):


9Marks, Mark Dever, Compelling Community, Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.50.34 AM


Kathi included her comments:

I’m confused. Does 9Marks think it’s okay for Christians to unite and create community around something that doesn’t focus on the gospel?

What if I started a knitting group and the knitters happen to be all Christian. What if we don’t talk about the gospel once – at all – during our knitting time. But, we sit, knit, drink wine and enjoy each other’s company. Is that bad? (I think I may know the answer already. -KB)

Kathi raises a good point. What about other gatherings?  Do you see the subtle unspoken rule in this phrase?

 When Christians unite around something other than the gospel, they create community that would likely exist even if God didn’t.

Before I go any further, let’s take a look at the book’s summary from Amazon:

What does a community look like that testifies to God’s power?

God’s people are called to a togetherness and commitment that transcends all natural boundaries—whether ethnic, generational, or economic. But such community can only be enjoyed when it relies on the power of God in the gospel.

In The Compelling Community, pastors Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop cast a captivating vision for authentic fellowship in the local church that goes beyond small groups. Full of biblical principles and practical advice, this book will help pastors lead their congregations toward the kind of community that glorifies God, edifies his people, and attracts the lost. (Source: Amazon)

Ok, Kathi brought up a knitting group and coincidentally I was in a knitting group while attending my former church which I believe runs like a cult, Beaverton Grace Bible Church. This knitting group consisted of some friends from a former church and also other knitting friends, some were Believers, some not. I was never told not to go to the knitting group by my pastor, but I felt guilty each time I went. I felt I was betraying someone, but who?  Yes, I thought I was betraying my pastor and his “mission.”

Whenever I played the piano for the local high school choir and the concert coincided with Wednesday evening services, I felt guilty that I wasn’t spiritual enough, that I was letting my church family down. These guilty feelings really weighed on me. Why couldn’t I spend time with great friends and knit, even if the conversation didn’t always revolve around the gospel? Why couldn’t I share my love of music with high school students who were part of my community? We were building relationships and I was getting to know people in my community. Where was this division coming from?

My gut proved me right. I later got word from my friend who was a staff employee that my pastor, Chuck O’Neal, did NOT like me meeting with other ladies to knit. He controlled the influence over the ladies in his church. This was a church that would allow baby showers and bridal showers, but there were no ladies Bible studies. At our ladies retreat, aside from a few sessions with ladies from our church leading devotional type discussions, our primary teaching came from Chuck O’Neal via videotape.  The second year I went to the ladies retreat was a mix up of the ladies speaking, but again, we took the same videotape and hit play and Chuck O’Neal spoke to us again (the content on the video is worthy of a separate blog post). I guess he didn’t have time to give us new information to learn.

The underlying message I got from the nonverbal communication was this:

  • you can do things together as a group as long as they are church-approved, meaning Chuck O’Neal approved
  • you don’t get to have any teachings unless I (pastor) am teaching them or I give special permission for one of the elders to preach (rarely)
  • if you do anything that doesn’t include the church community or is not church-approved, the activity is suspect

9Marks and Mark Dever are known for their strict church membership policies. I’m sure this goes along with their thoughts on keeping a pure community without outside influence. In this short video clip, we hear about the importance of committed church members and the church community. We also see a strong belief in a hierarchical structure of pastors and their belief that church membership is crucial to be an effective church and community


I think we can get to the heart of the message when Jamie Donlop shares at the 1:34 mark. He’s talking about the church community within the physical building, not about the Christian community at large.

Ok, here is where JA rants.

Based on what I know about 9Marks, I am concerned about the underlying message of this forthcoming book.  I am also concerned that this book will get in the hands of abusive leadership – leaders who know how to use words in a way that make congregants feel guilty for participating in a bowling league, a community choir, a nonprofit group, etc. You will see that these leaders won’t come out and tell you to not participate in outside activities – that’s too cult-like. But they will speak in language with an underlying tone that if you do, you are showing your lack of commitment to their church community. You may even hear that they are concerned about your soul. They want all of the church members (and you’ve got to be a member) to behave like they do – – 110% committed to the church at any and all times unless there is a justifiable excuse (illness, business trip, vacation).

Folks, these leaders are responding in fear. When one is living in fear, there is the need to be in control. They are afraid of losing you (your tithes may be part of this fear, but not always) and so they use gospelese lingo and hand-selected Bible verses to keep you where they want you. If you don’t do something that is church-sanctioned, if you are missing church for other activities, they interpret it as your lack of commitment to their church community.  In other words, they fear they are losing their grip on you.

Here’s the deal. This is more about church leaders owning their congregants and ruling over them rather than trusting congregants to use their own discernment and make their own decisions about what activities in which to participate.

Chuck O’Neal had no clue that as we were knitting, we were inviting other ladies into our group. One lady came for months and was led to Christ. The love of Christ had shown through the ladies at that knitting group and it drew her to Christ. This group of Christians from different churches, all with a heart for Jesus, met this precious woman where she was and loved on her. Christ’s love was speaking through His church Body at large, through the Believers in this knitting group, not through a pastor-approved group.

The reality that these controlling authority figures forget to realize is that there is real church happening outside their church, too. But because they aren’t apart of it and it hasn’t gone through their gospel purity test, they cannot approve/endorse it.  To that I say, oh well – they need to get over it.

We do not need the approval of our pastors to share our gifts outside of the church, to have relationships outside of the church, to participate in activities outside of the church.  We are to be a light in the darkness, not holed up and tethered to our church building and its church-approved activities. I do not see so much of this emphasis in Scripture. I, do, however, see Jesus out among the sick, the poor, the oppressed and other Believers. He was out in the community.

At your church, are you feeling guilty for doing “non-approved” outside activities? If you feel like you need your church’s permission to do outside activities, you might want to dig a little deeper and ask what other aspects of your life they are controlling. Is this a safe place for you spiritually? Are you encouraged to use your gifts? Are they encouraging you to hear from God or are they telling you what God says as if they are mediator?

I am very concerned that pastors who have a need to be in control will use this book, written by a well-known celebrity pastor and endorsed by the respected 9Marks group, to further justify pulling in the reins on their congregation. When you have a leader who decides how you get to use your time outside of church, making decisions for your outside activities, you are heading into cult-type behavior. Watch out!

100 comments on “Mark Dever’s New Book and Pastors Who Use Language to Control Their Members to Not Connect with Others Outside of Church-Approved Groups

  1. If any pastor tried to do that to me, I would say “its none of your business” and continue what I was doing. Before this point a pastor like O’Neal would have kicked me out. So who cares?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Julie, that video and the ideas under the surface of the sentiments expressed, is very troubling to me. A strong emphasis on membership is a huge red flag to me. My best friend and his wife are considering attending a Mark Dever satellite church in the DC area. I hope they’re not getting themselves into this stuff. =[ Thanks for bringing this up – I’m going to research and share concerns with them.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Good for you, govpappy. The obsession with authority among this group is very attractive to bully/narcissist-type pastors. They get to claim they are a 9Marks group when their church is listed, but really, there is no oversight among individual independent churches.

    An interesting side note. A while back, I had a post up and an exchange with Jonathan Leeman who is part of 9Marks. Jonathan Leeman engaged in the blog conversation and I brought up the fact that my former suing church was listed on their 9Marks church search site: http://9marks.org/church-search/). I no longer see Beaverton Grace Bible Church listed there. I wonder when they removed it? Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is one huge concept I see missing from all this control-freak junk from pastors: Love. And if you do not have love, you do not have God, for God is love. “Perfect love casts out fear”. 1 John 4:18

    Liked by 5 people

  5. “When you have a leader who decides how you get to use your time outside of church, making decisions for your outside activities, you are heading into cult-type behavior.”

    Well, you already said what I would have said. It’s scary that this is being encouraged in more mainstream denominations. This is too much like the cult I came out of. I hope people will not drink this kool-aid.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This reminds me of a church where a few of us wanted to discuss the Bible in French. Because we wanted to practice our French with likeminded people as much as study the Bible the church would not support it or encourage it.

    I think more and more these types miss the point of the gospel (to set us free). 9Marks or the controlled and contrived boring Christian life seems interchangeable labeling to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Be true to your cult, ctd | Civil Commotion

  8. Pingback: » Mark Dever’s New Book and Pastors Who Use Language to Control Their Members to Not Connect with Others Outside of Church-Approved Groups

  9. Oh, no, I’m in trouble. My daughters have a weekly knitting club including the daughters of one of our church’s deacons (no wine–they’re underage and have no interest. But they’ve all danced with their respective fathers). Worse yet, I’m currently reading the Scriptures in German and Hebrew (I’m pretty weak on the latter if you’re curious).

    But wait a minute–my pastor is not a control freak. Whew!

    Levity aside (hopefully that came across as levity!), I’ve noted a few times that a pastor’s interest in the things that interest you is often a wonderful indicator of his character. To draw a picture, if a pastor isn’t interested in my 1726/1728 Berlenburg Bibel portions, my 1958 New Testament printed in Leipzig GDR, and the like, it betrays a general provinciality and lack of curiosity about the world and….even the Gospel. Even if the things I was enthusiastic about were sinful–say my oenophilia involved bottles each night instead of a few glasses per week–isn’t that a great opening for the message that Christ came to save sinners?

    So an inability to interact on various hobbies of people is something of a red flag meaning “person really doesn’t know how to communicate the Gospel coherently.”

    And Dever? I’m not quite sure what to make of it. I can see Kathy’s concern, though. Per Psalm 24:1, even a knitting club can be subtly about the Gospel (be careful with that red wine if you’re knitting with light colors, though), but too many do make it all about the pastor instead of the Gospel.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is alarming. As a new believer, I was invited to a legalistic church that practiced what I now refer to as “Checkbox Christianity,” the list of dos and don’ts that made believers responsible for their own salvation. Did you have your quiet times this week? Evangelize? Are you discipling anyone? Praying enough? Worshipping enough? In my desire to love God “correctly,” I bought in and tried to live that burdensome life for years. That is not the kind of life that Jesus died to offer us, but one of a genuine love relationship full of grace, truth and freedom in Him.

    Such dogmas reject the beauty of the gospel and embrace instead the horror of New Testament legalism. We have been called both to freedom in Christ and to live as our Lord’s disciples, to show those He places in our lives the beauty of our living faith. Isolation and control are in direct contradiction to the truth.

    What do we find in Scripture?

    Jesus said, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one… As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” John 17:15-18 (in part)

    “Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:16-17

    “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
    I Corinthians 10:33

    “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

    Amen.

    Liked by 7 people

  11. I about punched a hole in my I-pad around 1:06. Dever is speaking rapidly but refers to Hebrews 13 when saying membership is to “help the people know whom to obey.” I don’t think he was referring to Jesus. One of my brothers is deeply into obedience to leaders, wives to husbands, daughters to parents. He seems to think obedience is the key to the gospels. It makes me insane! (Or actually more insane as I was crazy to begin with! :-))

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ann, the common thread when reading at the 9Marks site is church leaders maintaining their position of authority over congregants through: church membership, church discipline, in complementarian teachings of husband over wife, etc. we do not see Jesus ruling over people. We see Him speak truth in love. His church is the Body of Christ collectively, not a specific building of church members who signed a legal contract and sometimes have to go to extreme measures to revoke their church membership.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Living in the DC area, everytime I hear this puke Dever speak I’m motivated to buy another firearm and stockpile another couple thousand rounds. Everyone within the Christian community seems to grasp the threat posed by muslim terrorists , but what about this christian terrorist mentality and these cult leaders that are on a power trip and really want to define the Christian Faith to their specs and control the believer in such extreme ways ?

    Really any different than Islamic terrorists ? Perhaps a few years behind the jihadists but I would submit that the mentality is much the same. Driven by arrogance , the love of money and the overwhelming need to control other people.

    Dever disgusts me and I put him in the same category as Jim Jones.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ann , that OBEY word fried me too. These idiots really don’t get that they are in charge of the church NOT THE MEMBERS. Obviously you don’t just get up and decide to sing a solo in church but church leaders are NOT your commanding officer or authority over your life’s decisions.

    I’m typing this on an IPad Air. During the start of the Vision Forum melt down I had to replace a screen my first Ipad. Maybe we need Ipad busted screen trigger warnings to read this blog or military-spec tough books by Panasonic, LOL

    With clowns like Dever, I’m getting Apple Care next time around.

    Like

  15. Hmmmm, It seems a little difficult to recite scripture in between knit one and purl two, but others will know by your actions and words that you are different. I’m not a knitter, but I do crochet. I skip the wine though. I never was much of a drinker, but keep the iced tea coming. Paul did say a little wine was good for the stomach though.

    I am going to 3 MS seminars this month on a variety of topics. I can guarantee they will not give thanks for the food at these events as a whole, but I will personally. It is what we do as individuals that counts and you just never know where God is going to plant a seed.

    We are not suppose to follow men or a church building, but the Lord. I have things that I am involved in that the local church body may not approve of, but it is what I feel God has for me to do. Their opinion really doesn’t count, but unfortunately I cannot say that it never has. These guys are scary.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. “I’m typing this on an IPad Air. During the start of the Vision Forum melt down I had to replace a screen my first Ipad. Maybe we need Ipad busted screen trigger warnings to read this blog or military-spec tough books by Panasonic, LOL”

    Get an otterbox for your iPad. Those things are awesome.

    Like

  17. Frankly, this sort of ridiculousness is why I’ve abandoned churches altogether. No man-preacher tells me how to live my life. I’ve got more than enough problems already without being subjected to the authoritarian whims of someone who uses God as a front for spiritual narcissism.

    In the late ’90’s I attended a small evangelical church that met in a rented community center. I played music with the worship group, hung out with the singles Bible study, the whole nine yards. The pastor was an extremely self-important demagogue who couldn’t stand being debated or questioned. I remember the day when, in the middle of his sermon, a few kids were coming and going from the meeting hall and the sound of the doors opening and closing caused him to interrupt his speech and fly into a rage. He ordered the ushers to close and lock the doors and expostulated “No one else is to leave the auditorium until I’m finished speaking!” I had just been on the verge of getting up to go to the bathroom, and I sat petrified in my chair for the remaining 20 minutes of his blustering from the pulpit. After the service concluded, I left that day and never went back. That was the last time I ever set foot in a church service.

    A lot of people in the congregation were outraged by his behavior, and several of the more influential (read: wealthy) members remonstrated with the pastor. One of these wealthy members, who played with me on the worship team, begged me to reconsider, but I’d had enough at that point. What’s the point of going to church if all it does is terrify you and make you feel bad about yourself?

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Dash,
    I understand your feeling about this particular pastor. He is not only human and a bully, but unlikely a Christian. It should never be terrifying to go to church. It should be uplifting and convicting, You should feel loved and welcome there. I belong to a local church and every few weeks it seems I have to reaffirm that I am where God wants me to be. I think outside the box of what is going on there, but do participate in some things that are going on. Never let a man tell you how to live your life, but do let Christ be the leader of your life wherever that takes you.
    Praying for you, Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

  19. OK, I made myself watch the video. Barf. Double barf. What a bunch of self-righteous pontificating blowhards. I’m not a “sheep” by the definition they’re using (they all make it clear they think their congregants must be really stupid), and I’m not going to volunteer to “obey” anyone who has no legal authority over me. These guys are all power-tripping.

    Liked by 5 people

  20. If I ever do start attending a church again, I think I’ll go Unitarian or Episcopalian. I’m done with evangelicals.

    Like

  21. Julie Anne – Thanks for taking my initial thoughts and going farther than I imagined. Seriously, I was confused at what he was saying in that one brief statement. Is community that doesn’t focus on the gospel bad?

    Here’s another example…my husband has found a great community of photographers through Google+. We have made some great friendships through the people he has met. He can pretty much travel anywhere around the world and meet someone personally that he has met online. Likewise, we’ve had several visitors to Portland, and some have stayed with us, that he can take around for photo shoots. How is this not meaningful community?

    Better yet, imagine a cancer support group. As long as Piper isn’t leading that group! 😉

    Like

  22. As far as the 1:34 mark on the video, what bothered me was that it focuses on membership. And, he goes farther to say that membership allows you to know who is in and who is out of the church. Why would you place people in these terms? Is this how Jesus would think? Does this mean that they respond differently to those who are outside of the church?

    I would not want to be a part of this type of “community.” No thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Truly, JA. I think of every description of Christ I ever read about in the four Gospels, and I compare it to the demeanor of these men, and the gulf between the two is so vast as to be laughable. Who do these guys think they’re kidding?? They could not possibly be less Christ-like.

    Jesus never said “Come unto me so that I may instruct ye who to obey.” Jesus said “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. I’m really tired of people who cherry-pick the parts of the Bible that give them power over other people, and ignore all the parts about how Jesus blew the doors off the Pharisees for being legalistic and callous.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Kathi,
    None of these things are wrong, unless of course Piper is leading it. I wouldn’t follow him if he were heading up a flea market. It may just give flea market’s a bad name. People get into all forms of activities and unless they become an idol they are not wrong. I know people in gardening clubs, bee keeping, quilting groups. The Lord can be glorified in all that we do in the way that we conduct ourselves. Making friendships leads to learning about each other. You don’t know how God will lead to Christ through you. He went to prostitutes and tax collectors. I don’t really hang out with them, but I do have a lawyer friend who’s client base is 80% divorce cases. I’m sure he would be frowned upon by many. There is no one that is going to tell me to stay away from him. He did not cause or handle my divorce.
    Brenda
    I need to get ready for an MS group. May God be glorified.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. My wife has organized a summer Bible study off and on for years, maybe decades by now. When she talked about it with our pastor, he said “I love hearing about this kind of thing.” Some years the group was so big it couldn’t meet in our house, so she’d get a conference room at our church or one of the other churches in town where we knew the leadership. Not one of the pastors said they needed to review anything ahead of time. They just asked how they could help make the Bible study happen.

    That’s how church is done right, in my opinion, both within and outside the physical walls of the building.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Tim, that is great!

    A friend and I started a homeschool group through our church. We made it very clear to them that we did not want the group to be inclusive. They had to be okay with the fact that anyone could participate – members, non-members, Christians, and non-Christians. They let us run with it and it was very successful for many years. We made it clear to each person who visited that it was not a religious homeschool group.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Quote from the page about the Dever book:

    “But such community can only be enjoyed when it relies on the power of God in the gospel.”

    What does that even mean?

    I am not a fan of comments by Christians that are so vague they are meaningless, and IMO, that qualifies as one of those.

    From the original post:

    “Why couldn’t I spend time with great friends and knit, even if the conversation didn’t always revolve around the gospel?”

    I currently reside on a spectrum between Christianity and agnosticism. I was a conservative Christian ever since I was a kid, until the last 2 or 3 years.
    I have to say, even during the many years I was totally on board with the Christian faith, I was weirded out or bored by Christians who talked about God and theology all the time.

    I was very into theology and Christian apologetics during that time I was totally Christian, but even I occasionally took a break from that to listen to secular pop music, watch science fiction shows on television, and think about other non-Christian subjects.

    But I’ve met a small number of Christians over my life who have to make every single conversation about Jesus and God, or some kind of debate or discussion about theology. They are just so strange to me.

    On a related topic: trying to discuss a non-Christian topic and another Christian has to sour it by turning a light-hearted or funny subject into a serious Jesus one.
    See The Jesus Juke for examples.

    OP,

    Chuck O’Neal, did NOT like me meeting with other ladies to knit.

    O’Neal sounds like a real tool.

    Like

  28. P.S. I said above,
    “I have to say, even during the many years I was totally on board with the Christian faith, I was weirded out or bored by Christians who talked about God and theology all the time.”

    I mean in face to face encounters, mostly. I understand that this blog and ones like it are naturally going to have a lot of talk about Jesus, the Bible, and theology since they are discussing related topics, so I understand that.

    But even on blogs like this, sometimes the participants can and will talk about other things, within limits. Like on a previous thread, we talked about Julie Anne’s hatred of cilantro, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Daisy – I’m really worried about Julie Anne’s salvation due to her hatred of cilantro. It is, after all, one of God’s greatest creations. Reconsider and repent, Julie Anne! 😉

    P.S. – Even though I absolutely love cilantro, I understand how others have an adverse reaction to it. I guess that’s just how God makes them and he died for them all the same. (See how I related hatred of cilantro to gospel?)

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Regarding cindy burrell’s post above.

    Some of her points remind me also of preachers of the last few years who have been pushing the “Radical Christianity” type stuff, like sell everything you have to go live in a mud hut in a third world nation to share the Gospel with the locals, and if you do not, you are not a “real” Christian. You’re a slacker.

    Preacher Kyle Idleman was pushing this sort of thing on his TV series on TBN, “Fan Not A Follower” or whatever it was called.

    Some other preacher published a book about the same topic, basically telling people that living an ordinary, every day life with a 9 to 5 job was not enough, that you were not a genuine Christian unless you were volunteering at a homeless shelter, ladeling (spelling?) hot soup in to bowls of homeless people every day, adopting ten kid a piece from various impoverished nations, etc etc.

    I don’t see where the Bible condemns people for living average, quiet lives. I don’t see where the Bible calls everyone to run down to Africa to nurse ebola patients back to health.

    I wish preachers would stop shaming people and putting burdens on them. Jesus said his yoke was light. If Jesus wants you to go serve in Africa, I would think he would place that desire in your heart, so that you would want to do it.

    But yeah, I see preachers on TV who shame Christians for smaller stuff, like what cindy burrell was mentioning. A lot of them are fond of shaming Christians for not praying first thing in the morning, or for not praying in the morning.

    Look it, I am NOT a morning person. I’m grouchy in the mornings and half asleep. Any praying or Bible reading I do is anywhere from late afternoon to right before bed time, and I don’t think God cares that I do my stuff later in the day.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Oh, a correction, where I wrote, “A lot of them are fond of shaming Christians for not praying first thing in the morning, or for not praying in the morning.”

    I meant prayer and Bible reading. I repeated prayer there.

    I don’t know why, but 99% of preachers I see on TV are obsessed with Christians doing stuff first thing in the mornings. TV Preachers complain about Christians who put off Bible study or prayer til bed time.

    Well excuse me for having a different rhythm or preference from you and being more awake at the end of the day than I am at the start.

    Is there some commandment I’m missing in the New Testament where Jesus says, “I prefer early birds, so thus saith the Lord, I command you to cram in all spiritual activities first thing in the day, and if you don’t, I don’t like you” ?

    Liked by 1 person

  32. “OK, I made myself watch the video. Barf. Double barf. What a bunch of self-righteous pontificating blowhards. I’m not a “sheep” by the definition they’re using (they all make it clear they think their congregants must be really stupid), and I’m not going to volunteer to “obey” anyone who has no legal authority over me. These guys are all power-tripping.”

    Ditto to what Dash wrote! I don’t dare speak my mind right now because the words that are crossing it after reading this rubbish are R rated.

    Like

  33. Julie Anne said,

    His church is the Body of Christ collectively, not a specific building of church members who signed a legal contract and sometimes have to go to extreme measures to revoke their church membership.

    Churches who go anal retentive or fixate on membership remind me of the Borg on Star Trek.

    And if or when you quit, and they track you down (I’ve read testimonies on other blogs of people who quit their church, joined a new one, and their old church chases them down for years afterwards), they then remind me of the Terminator cyborg from the Terminator movies.

    To quote a character, Kyle Reese, from the first Terminator movie (this reminds me of some of these strict churches and the preachers):

    “Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Sorry, Julie Anne, but I am revoking your membership to the Cilantro Gospel Community Group. You will have to find your way among the basil or oregano gospel centered group.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. @Daisy I think one of those preachers was Francis Chan and his book, “Crazy Love”. I believe those teachings are the segue way into a version of Christianity based on mysticism, saints, martyrs, and especially works.

    Like

  36. Scott said,

    Really any different than Islamic terrorists ? Perhaps a few years behind the jihadists but I would submit that the mentality is much the same

    I agree that some types of Christians or churches seem to have a lot in common with radical Islam.

    I just saw an article not too long ago where someone was trying to dispute that view, but I’m sorry, some of the teachings and behavior of some Christians is indeed just like radical Muslims, or close to it.

    Christian Reconstructionism Is Not ‘America’s ISIS,’ Says Religious History Expert Molly Worthen (Christian Post)

    No, I disagree with her. I think they are very much the American version of ISIS.

    That Christian Reconstructionists may not be able to literally stone adulterers to death does not mean they do not want to (because I’ve read some of their content, and they do want the death penalty for adultery and other things).

    We saw on here about a month ago a post where Julie Anne quoted some American Christian (I forget who it was) as expressing admiration for radical Muslims on some issue, and he thinks American Christians should copy Muslims on whatever topic that was.

    People who leave the Muslim faith are ostracized for it. With some authoritarian Christian groups, there is a similar stridency towards church membership.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Loura – I’ve seen articles written by Francis Chan on the Desiring God site. That surprised me. I didn’t think he associated with that crowd.

    Like

  38. Dash said,

    I remember the day when, in the middle of his sermon, a few kids were coming and going from the meeting hall and the sound of the doors opening and closing caused him to interrupt his speech and fly into a rage.

    I was watching TBN a few days ago, flipping around the channels, and I stopped to watch Benny Hinn for a few moments (I loathe the man. I think Hinn is a crook).

    He was speaking on stage at what looked like the TBN owned theme park “Holy Land.” Apparently, people in the audience got up and left, because he started condemning them.

    Hinn stopped his sermon to shame and nit pick people who would get up and leave – he was saying it was an insult to the Holy Spirit of God for them to leave during his show or sermon.

    I had read an article years before whose author said he went to a Hinn service where Hinn would pitch a fit min-show to shame people who had crying babies in the audience and so on. Hinn was saying that crying babies or people moving around in their seats squelched the Holy Spirit.

    The ego of some of these hucksters who pass themselves off as preachers is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Kathi, Really!? That surprises me too. Then again, maybe not. They are both big names, and in the end, both men teach a righteousness works-based gospel.

    Like

  40. How cilantro tastes is controlled by a gene. Some people taste a wonderfully ambrosial herb while others taste soap.
    About the nine marks, if a mark is a strike, they have an entire inning worth of strikes so, in my world, they’re out. This whole no Bible study but have some dim bulb compensating man giving women literally the same old worn out tape instead of the living word reminds me of Tina Fey’s latest project.

    Enjoy the sarcasm

    Like

  41. People,,he practices a toxic Methodology using his Reformed Doctrine to substantiate his position,,,,if you want to belong in that club you need to be a 5 Point Calvinist. I’m sure Julie Anne’s and my own former Pastor would fit the criteria in that church.

    In particular “Judge Theology” and abusive retaliation to those that don’t embrace their mean and aggressive Methodology, Doctrine or both which also includes force feeding their Will and Doctrine on others, in an unloving way.

    Like

  42. I transcribed Leeman and a paragraph from Dever:

    Notice how Leeman says “the Bible says,” yet he doesn’t give chapter/verse. That is a method used to give him “Biblical” credibility. It makes him appear like an authority. How many people are going to question that?

    “The Bible very much calls us to be joined together with a congregation – a concrete group of people of fellow Christians in this life together that we call Christianity.

    The Bible calls us to submit ourselves, I think, to the oversight of the church leaders, yes, but also the entire congregation. So, I’m building my life into this community of people. And that’s what we call membership.” Jonathan Leeman

    Ok, and on this quote, Dever takes Hebrews out of context. The obey here is not a proper translation. Not only that, he uses the #1 verse Hebrews 13:17 to put himself as an authority. And what is the 2nd reference? Church discipline! These guys cannot get enough authority and church discipline. Now all you have to do is become a member so they can enforce it. Some have not been able to be “released” from church membership.

    “The people that [we] are accountable for need to know who they need to obey according to Hebrews 13; and members of the church need to know who each other are or they can’t live out Matthew 18.” Mark Dever

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Christian apologetics There was a class at church last fall on how to “frame” questions in order to be able to speak to people who were all about science or other beliefs in creation, Jesus or whatever else came up. I gave up that class very quickly. I came out each week saying, “what did he say?”. If I cannot speak the way I normally do, then I give up. It shouldn’t have to be that hard and I really don’t have in depth conversations with theology scholars or science professors.

    Like

  44. Thanks for sharing this Julie Anne. I could write a book on this subject matter having been a member of some very controlling churches and also a Para Church group I was involved with some years ago. I can vouch for the specific language that on the surface sounds spiritual and concerned for others welfare but at the end of the day is very subtle control. Its not just about controlling the congregation, its about controlling and vetting content by disallowing any teaching or idea that conflicts with the Pastoral or leadership’s agenda. I would often hear other parishioners repeat the leaderships warning about going to other churches or getting involved with other denominations activities because they may be teaching wrong doctrine. My response was “Well if you’re teaching the truth then when we hear false doctrine we will recognize it wont we? My other comeback was “Have you actually been to one of their services?

    In other words church members couldn’t be trusted to discern truth on their own. Church members didn’t have the spiritual insight or special ability that the Pastor or leadership possessed to discern truth. In my mind this is and always has been the weakness of controlling groups which leads me to ask the question,”Do you actually believe your own blurb enough to let each individual make up their own mind? They are insecure.
    Conformity is a wonderful thing if it is healthy and open where it allows each one to experience the world and form their own opinion or are allowed to question the status-quo.

    Unfortunately in many fundamentalist groups Pastor worship precedes the Gospel. This is also true of some of the more extreme Reformed and Evangelical groups I have been involved in as well as well.

    Over the years as I have moved around I have noticed that church leaders and Pastors will very subtly interrogate visitors or potential members by bring up doctrinal subjects in discussion to see where potential initiates stand on some matters. The other method is to bring up their pet doctrines and say “We believe…..”, or “We teach….”, What you later find out is that these ‘pet’ doctrines are non-optional. If one agree’s and is accepted into the congregation the thumb screws are gradually tightened and the spiritual manipulation begins. Because one wants to be part of the group they stop challenging and conform without realizing that GUILT played a big part in this process.

    Guilt helps keep the group INSULATED from outside influence and this insulation develops into GROUP THINK where the group assumes itself to be superior to out side groups. However as I said above this only works so long as the group can insulate itself from outside influence. And we all know how that goes when the hedge of thorns is breached!

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Many men have an insatiable appetite to enslave others to their wills. They are conscienceless worshipers of self, also known as narcissistic and psychopaths. Some of these men get no further than to subjugate their wives and children. The truly accomplished become dictators of entire nations. Narcissistic, psychopathic religious leaders occupy a middle ground where they persuade a significant group within a larger community yield themselves to the tyranny of themselves, as a religious figure. The methods, however, are always the same: An initial drawing by false promises of hope unachievable, followed by a program of retention through fear, intimidation, shaming, isolation, lies, retaliation, threats, monopolization of time and attention, and on and on and on.

    In each instance, the solution is the same. Get out. Now. Not tomorrow. Now.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Kathi said: As far as the 1:34 mark on the video, what bothered me was that it focuses on membership. And, he goes farther to say that membership allows you to know who is in and who is out of the church. Why would you place people in these terms? Is this how Jesus would think? Does this mean that they respond differently to those who are outside of the church?

    At the church we were visiting, when I questioned them about their urging church membership, the answer that it came down to (after a lot about forming and reinforcing community, or something like that), upon further questioning, was that it helps the pastors/deacons to know whom to care for. (?)

    Like

  47. Wow, Tim. At our ex-church, the elders had to approve all materials used in the women’s studies, and the studies themselves had to be led by an elder’s or deacon’s wife.

    Like

  48. wonderingeagle, I am in the middle of reading your post that you linked to here, and I got as far as “Membership – According to the Bible, church membership is a commitment every Christian should make to attend, love, serve, and submit to a local church” — see, I just don’t understand this. Where do they say, specifically, this “according to the Bible” information is to be found?

    I mean, I have issues with other points as well, but this is the one I’ve been going around and around with the family members who still want to go to church. I feel like I’m being subtly pressured to become a member, for their sake.

    Like

  49. At the church we were visiting, when I questioned them about their urging church membership, the answer that it came down to (after a lot about forming and reinforcing community, or something like that), upon further questioning, was that it helps the pastors/deacons to know whom to care for. (?)

    Uhhhh? Aren’t we to care for anyone who comes for help. I was not a member of the church when I needed to talk to someone about the destructive marriage I was in. Not that I got good advice, I didn’t, but it was a starting point. The church directory has people in it that don’t believe in church membership, but are always willing to help when there is a need and are regular attenders. I’m sure that others would help them as well in spite of membership status.

    Liked by 2 people

  50. I didn’t realize Thabiti Anyabwile was part of this group, but it makes sense now, given something he said on twitter awhile back. It went like this:

    “Saying you’re a Christian but aren’t part of a church is like saying you’re married but don’t have a wife.”

    That effectively equates church membership with salvation. That is scary stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. @refugee:

    Wow, Tim. At our ex-church, the elders had to approve all materials used in the women’s studies, and the studies themselves had to be led by an elder’s or deacon’s wife.

    “Elder’s or deacon’s wife” as in “Party Commissar/Political Officer”?

    Liked by 1 person

  52. refugee – “membership….helps the pastors/deacons to know whom to care for.”

    Brenda R has already stated well what I was thinking. According to Jesus, the greatest commandments are to love God and love others. How does excluding those outside of the official membership of the church love others? It makes me wonder if they think that the parable of the good Samaritan is something to strive toward, but in the end, it’s just a good story.

    Like

  53. If Jesus Christ is supposed to be the Lord of the church, then why do control-oriented pastors usurp authority that rightly belongs to Jesus?

    Liked by 2 people

  54. Brenda R., Kathi, I think their rationale is that there are so many who attend the church who haven’t committed themselves by signing a membership covenant, that if there is necessity to prioritize needs, church membership is a way to identify those who are committed, and they should be helped first.

    But it still sounds coldly businesslike to me, which seems odd, coming from such an otherwise warm and welcoming church.

    Like

  55. govpappy, Ironically enough, I have used a phrase like that in discussing religiosity with our teens, I have said (regarding people from our old church) that just because you’re a member of a church, it doesn’t make you a christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car… Not that I’m setting myself up as judge over whether they are “saved” — just observing that only God knows the heart, while man looks on the outward appearance. They may think they’re the only ones (as in, their church has the “right” doctrine) saved, when in reality, their actions don’t speak very clearly of salvation.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. How cilantro tastes is controlled by a gene. Some people taste a wonderfully ambrosial herb while others taste soap.

    Clearly there is election to embrace the Cilantro Gospel and since it’s biological, that election is according to the flesh.

    (See what I did there? 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

  57. It makes me wonder if they think that the parable of the good Samaritan is something to strive toward, but in the end, it’s just a good story.

    Kathi,

    Their version of the good Samaritan is the guy is not one of their sheep so they are not responsible for him and they can just walk right past. However, if he was one of theirs, then he would be taken somewhere where they would interrogate him within an inch of his life and place him under church discipline where no one is allowed to help him with his practical needs until he repents of whatever he did to land himself in this place, because the abuses he has suffered have to be his fault somehow.

    Liked by 2 people

  58. One contributor here referenced “Crazy Love,” and another writer seemed to vaguely reference it, or another book like it. “Crazy Love” is, by far, the worst “Christian” book I have ever read – one big, long guilt trip. I guess those of us who get married, raise children, work hard and serve right where are, well, we’re really just a bunch of unbelieving losers.

    There is no end to the legalism here. Who decides if or when we are “doing it right?” Isn’t it interesting that Jesus not only despised the legalists, but that the legalists sought to kill Jesus for interfering with their power structure? It seems that same dynamic is still occurring today. Current-day Pharisees seek to claim power in God’s name while rejecting the authority over our lives that belongs to Him alone. Keep the law, kill Jesus.

    It is the Holy Spirit who leads and equips, not the church.

    Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

    He also said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
    Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

    He is our source, and we are the church. .

    Liked by 1 person

  59. Really appreciated Cindy’s comment. A few years back, I “canned” some of Chan’s videos for a youth group I was leading because we had kids in junior high, and Chan’s videos were more or less assuming a degree of worldly experience they just didn’t have–really for high school kids in California, not junior high kids in the Midwest. They just weren’t connecting.

    That said, agreed 100% that a lot of evangelical resources more or less assume that you’ve got to be doing something exciting in order to be serving Christ–going to Zimbabwe, blowing up water bottles by sheer strength, whatever. Sometimes testimony time can leave a guy feeling guilty that he wasn’t a heroin addict and Hell’s Angel with fifteen illegitimate children before coming to Christ.

    It probably isn’t very helpful to the faith of Joe Sixpack to have such expectations–it’s the theological equivalent of a girl competing with Kate Upton for the attention of her man. (or a man competing with whoever a gal might be attracted to for the attention of his girlfriend) Didn’t our Lord interact with some pretty boring fishermen?

    Liked by 1 person

  60. I too hate cilantro.

    In other news, my pastor knows I go to rock concerts and even rock ‘n’ roll cruises. When my sister told him we were raised in a very strict legalistic Christian home, he said, “really? I thought you were raised by the Moody Blues!”

    I think he’d go to rock concerts too, if he could afford it….. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  61. From the original post, Re: “Before I go any further, let’s take a look at the book’s summary from Amazon: What does a community look like that testifies to God’s power?
    God’s people are called to a togetherness and commitment that transcends all natural boundaries—whether ***ethnic, generational, or economic***.”

    This book desciption quoted above leaves out one of the three “transcended natural boundaries” featured in the Bible. From Galatians 3: “26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, ***nor is there male and female***, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    The book’s focus on top-down control also contrdicts Jesus in Mark 10: “42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 ***Not so with you.*** Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Also in Luke 9: “46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is ***the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.***”
    49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” 50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Sometimes testimony time can leave a guy feeling guilty that he wasn’t a heroin addict and Hell’s Angel with fifteen illegitimate children before coming to Christ.

    I am a victim of this. My testimony is so plain Joe/Jane boring I don’t know how anyone can stay awake through it. Nothing sexy about it. But God doesn’t care. He saved me anyway. 🙂

    Like

  63. Ok, still stewing on Dever’s comment here:

    “The people that [we] are accountable for need to know who they need to obey according to Hebrews 13; and members of the church need to know who each other are or they can’t live out Matthew 18.” Mark Dever

    I’ve already said that he wrongly uses the word “obey” in this passage – and he uses it to control. This was the verse that was repeated to me by an elder when I was questioning the elder about how they fired my friend from his staff position – -that I needed to trust my elders to make appropriate decisions because they care for my soul. (Which was patently false.)

    But see how he uses Matthew 18? Is he not saying that if you are not a member, then you cannot “live” out Matthew 18? That is not what the Bible says in Matthew 18. nI’m even going to quote the complementarian version so the control freak pastors can’t say I used the wrong translation:

    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matt 18:5

    re: “if your brother sins against you” – this could be any Christian brother and certainly does not have to be within a church setting – maybe it’s a group of Christians who run a summer camp or a group of missionaries. Are we going to remove Matthew 18 from scripture and ignore it in this kind of group setting? Of course not.

    Is he trying to say that if a non church member and regular attender is in blatant and ongoing sin, their hands are tied and they can do nothing because he/she is not a member? Hogwash. If there is ongoing sin, they do have a responsibility to bring witnesses and mention it, whether someone is an official church member or not.

    I also don’t see any authority structure mentioned here. I only see “tell it to the church.” Who said it has to be an elder/pastor doing this?

    These guys are making up rules as they go.

    Liked by 4 people

  64. Julie Anne – “These guys are making up rules as they go.”

    Yep. And, the rules are conveniently made up to help them maintain power and control.

    Liked by 2 people

  65. OK. Here’s what I did. The title of this book is evocative of soooooooo many other similar books already on the market, some of them for years now, I went digging around Amazon to do some comparing. Turns out there is a good reason why that title is so evocative. There are tons of books on church as community and similar things — precious few of them written from a top down/hierarchical/New Calvinist perspective, as far as I can tell. (There’s one by Tim Keller called Center Church which may or may not have that as a component.) Most of them are sort of institutional alternative ideas like Organic Church and Simple Church and the like. And of course the older Purpose Driven ones that are entirely top down but in a different way, sort of.

    I narrowed down to a few that are more recent and seem to have something like the same theme and/or the same words in their title or descriptions. I have not read any of them myself. And this could be a complete red herring. Still, I found it interesting.

    Christopher Smith and John Pattison; Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus; May 6, 2014

    Eric Carpenter [ed]; Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity; December 2, 2014

    There is another Simple Church from 2006 by Thom Reiner and Eric Geiger which could also qualify.

    But these are the two that seemed to have the most similarity to Dever and Dunlop.:

    Andy Stanley; Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend September 18, 2012. This one has the following in its description:

    Deep and Wide provides church leaders with an in-depth look into North Point Community Church and its strategy for creating churches unchurched people absolutely love to attend. Andy writes,
               
    “Our goal is to create weekend experiences so compelling and helpful that even the most skeptical individuals in our community would walk away with every intention of returning the following week…with a friend!”

    And the second most recent (before Carpenter’s Simple Church by a couple of months) was this one, with the following in its description:

    Wayne Jacobsen; Finding Church: What if There Really Is Something More?; October 15, 2014

    …straight talk from a man who has sought authentic New Testament community for more than fifty years and who has discovered it in the most unlikely places….

    His church is a living temple, springing up in the individual heart and then knit into a worldwide community of people whose very relationships put God s glory on display.

    And finally, the new kids on the block (who make a point of saying in the book that their idea is not new. I did read some of the sample pages but I couldn’t finish as I got bored), our dear friends Dever and Dunlop:

    The Compelling Community: Where God’s Power Makes the Church Attractive April 30, 2015

    Which has this in its description:

    this book will help pastors lead their congregations toward the kind of community that glorifies God, edifies his people, and attracts the lost.

    I think it is a tad hairy to draw sweeping conclusions from common words like “compelling” and common concepts as “attractive to the lost/the unchurched absolutely love to attend” as they have with Stanley; and common concepts like God-glorifying community via a worldwide unity in diversity that only God could do, as they have drawn with Jacobsen (who also wrote the forward to the Simple Church: Unity in Diversity book edited by Carpenter). But this seems just a little tad like D & D are maybe trying to play a bit of capture the flag.

    Or I could be nuts.

    Incidentally, Jacobsen happens to have debated 9 Marks Jonathan Leeman on Moody Radio just this past March about church attendance being mandatory or not. They are not on the same team. So that kind of fuels my thinking too.

    http://www.moodyradio.org/brd_ProgramDetail.aspx?id=156451

    I don’t know what if any differences D & D might have with Stanley.

    Like

  66. Kathi said… :Even though I absolutely love cilantro, I understand how others have an adverse reaction to it. I guess that’s just how God makes them and he died for them all the same. (See how I related hatred of cilantro to gospel?)”

    No, no, that’s the Arminian / semi-Pelagian / heritical free-will view of the Cilantro Gospel! The true Cilantro Gospel is that He died only for those chosen to love cilantro.

    Like

  67. I have had and known some pastors who could be jerks, authoritarian, and control freaks, but fortunately never one so abusive as to be bothered by members of the congregation being involved in social groups outside the church. Most I’ve known would be glad for the opportunities that such groups would provide for people to share the love of God and the gospel of Christ. (As long as there was no drinking or dancing involved!) 🙂

    The idea of ministry and church activity centered on what goes on inside the walls of a particular local church is, unfortunately, all that many pastors seem to understand or want to promote. But that focus often misses the whole point of what the church is supposed to be and do.

    I’m convinced that most pastors don’t have a clue of how to disciple and equip people to minister to others in their daily lives outside the church walls — which is what is needed most.

    Like

  68. @JA–re: your comment April 8 at 2:30–

    Interesting that you mention the Matthew 18 passage. The elders of the cult-church that I left claimed that as their justification for shunning me, when I made it clear to them that I do not call myself a “Christian” and therefore did not qualify as a “brother” as per the passage (AND I hadn’t attended their church in over 6 months). They also did not follow any of the steps (confronting me, bringing 2 or 3 witnesses, etc.). They shunned me anyways, though, and instructed their congregation to do the same. I guess it is ok with these people to use that passage to justify whatever they do.

    There was a sign as you left the cult-church, and it said, “You are now entering your mission field.” Even though many of them didn’t even allow their children to speak to strangers in passing at the grocery store, and always sent their daughters around with a father or brother to “protect” them–in a small town with a crime rate of zero. They automatically shunned and counted as a heathen anyone who missed their standards even so much as wearing a tank top or shorts–but they claimed the world as their mission field. Whatever. These people don’t care about evangelizing anyone, unless it means that they get to lure that person into their prison of control. If they truly believed what they claim to believe, i.e. that without their particular gospel that all will perish, they are truly the most hateful and sociopathic people that the world has ever known.

    I am sure that Dever and Dunlop (I wonder if the alliteration there was planned?) hold to Quiverfull theology. Why don’t they write a book encouraging large families to do the math on how many lost souls they could reach by allowing their multitude children to actually go out into the world and reach lost souls? They don’t write it because they don’t give a s*** about lost souls, they want control.

    So there is my rant. I guess they are right about keeping people within their church-approved circles, because thanks to my association with just a few people who were not cult-approved, I have found true happiness and freedom in life. I guess they regret ever letting that happen.

    P.S. I think that any man who names his ministry with a pun on his own name has serious ego issues.

    Liked by 2 people

  69. P.S. I think that any man who names his ministry with a pun on his own name has serious ego issues.

    You’ve got that right, SOAR. I am also thoroughly disgusted by those who think they can and should have their name printed on the front of a Bible as if it’s their Holy Word. Ick.

    Liked by 2 people

  70. Bike Bubba,
    That has been done already. Kate Upton taking a young woman’s man. I’m kind of sure that the man went willingly, but the girlfriend was a long time relationship and it was just wrong. I understand what you’re saying, but KU really gets my dander up.

    Like

  71. Brenda–aiyaiyai I walk into triggers at times, don’t I? My apologies…..

    Really appreciated Another Tom’s comment about many shepherds not knowing how to shepherd the flock, BTW. Too darned true too darned often. I’m sure Tom also wishes it weren’t true.

    And cilantro is wonderful. Sorry, gracious hostess, but this is a cross you’re going to have to bear on this earth at least. Hopefully the “defect” is fixed in Heaven. :^)

    Liked by 1 person

  72. BB,
    I was half way between laughing and saying wait just a minute, Justin Verlander had a pretty, nice, smart woman who loved him and he threw it away on someone who will probably be having her chest sagging to her knees in a few years. That’s his problem. Of course with their money they can pin them back up again. lol His girlfriend from before deserves better, maybe a nice fisherman.

    Brenda

    Like

  73. Submission and obedience to Church Authority, Church hierarchies and ranks are core tenets of Roman Catholicism (the Mother of Churchianity), which daughter Evangelicalism continues to mirror in practice (albeit sans fancy robes, bells and incense).

    But New Testament good news is, we are unbound and freed from this (“Unbind him and let him go!”) Fun etymology fact: the word “religion” means, “to bind”. Jesus came to end all this bondage of people by Religious Authoritarians, but the Rulers of Churchianity desire to keep it going.

    Liked by 1 person

  74. Brenda, :^) If you weren’t rooting for the Tiggers, I’ve got to guess you’d say “serves you right” to the gentleman as he’s on the DL. And it seems that his health was more robust before the Whirlpool heiress walked into his life.

    Kinda like church health is better without “whirlpool heiress” theology. There we go. Now do we see if we can grow ivy on the church walls as a theological illustration? Hmmm…..or use a goat to trim the lawn?

    Like

  75. BB,
    You’ve got that right. I may just root for the Washington Nationals now that they have Max Scherzer. I liked him better anyways. ; )

    Like

  76. JA, Your last comment about Matthew 18 really hits home! What if your extended family attends different churches? If there is family conflict would this not apply? Not in my family! I have an in-law who was very angry at me, but would never tell me. She went to everyone else in our family, but me. No one encouraged her to come to me. I asked my mother why this in-law was avoiding me and got some convoluted response. Finally after three months my brother told me why she was angry, but also said to not let her know he told me. So, how do I apologize for something I was unaware of if she (or other relatives don’t tell me)? They go to a 9Marks church, but for some reason they would rather play the avoidance game than be up front with conflict in our family. So the issue gets bigger and bigger, until I finally find out and apologize. These are the same people that would tell me, “Don’t let bitterness overcome your life”.

    Like

  77. One former church I went to, the pastor constantly railed against my taking Girl Scouts camping. When my husband became a member, the pastor said he had to demand that I needed to be in church. For some of these girls, my presence was the best thing in their lives. Someone from this church comes over occasionally to try and guilt us into returning. My husband would like to visit, just to say hello, but he dreads the extra guilt he is sure to receive.

    When I was attending my next church, I refused to sign a membership contract because of the ‘man is the spiritual head of household’ clause. I was then cut off from meaningful contact with any members.

    I just joined a new church, no covenant no rules no roles. I told the pastor that I would not sign a membership document, and described to him the other churches. He told me this is cult-like behavior, and they didn’t have any such document. It is American Baptist. I joined the choir, and one of the guys is a blues guitarist who’s going to help me score some songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  78. The essential problem is their belief in some kind of singular authority–the pastor–and the fact that such authority does not exist in any form whatsoever in the NT and only exists in select and unusual circumstances in the NT. People like Dever want to place themselves above their church and what they are doing, at bottom, is blasphemy, because they seek to usurp Jesus’s authority over the church, or they equate Jesus’s authority with their own. These are wolves, neither understanding the Gospel nor Jesus. They are thieves and will steal your joy if given the chance. They ought to be rejected utterly. they will one day face that Lord Who’s authority they sought to usurp and will face the consequences. Woe to anyone who enables them.

    Liked by 2 people

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

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s