Kevin DeYoung Pushes Church Memberships and Making Vows

Church Membership, Pastor Kevin DeYoung, Making Vows, The Gospel Coalition, here we go again!

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At The Gospel Coalition website, Pastor Kevin DeYoung has a new article on church membership, 6 Reasons Why Membership Matters. The title is not correct. It should be:

“6 Reasons Why Church Membership Matters to Controlling Pastors.”

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As long as celebrity church leaders continue to push this dangerous teaching, my blogging friends from coast to coast will be pushing back.

Thank you, Amos, for bringing this article to my attention. Let’s just jump on in and I’ll add my editorial comments:

1. In joining a church you make visible your commitment to Christ and his people. Membership is one way to raise the flag of faith. You state before God and others that you are part of this local body of believers.

You do NOT need to be a member to raise the flag of faith. Your presence and fellowship among a body of believers is enough proof.

2. Making a commitment makes a powerful statement in a low-commitment culture. Many bowling leagues require more of their members than our churches.

Our commitment is to Christ and His precepts. Why is DeYoung keeping this so narrow to a body of believers at a church? The Body of Christ reaches far outside the confines of a physical building.

3. We can be overly independent. In the West, it’s one of the best and worst thing about us. We are free spirits and critical thinkers. We get an idea and run with it. But whose [sic] running with us? And are any of us running in the same direction? Membership states in a formal way, “I am part of something bigger than myself. I am not just one of three hundred individuals. I am part of a body.”

Part of a body following whom? One leader? How about following Christ?

4. Church membership keeps us accountable. When we join a church we are offering ourselves to one another to be encouraged, rebuked, corrected, and served. We are placing ourselves under leaders and submitting to their authority (Heb. 13:7). We are saying, “I am here to stay. I want to help you grow in godliness. Will you help me to do the same?”

There it is, the most popular verse used by leaders who to control their underlings. It does not require church membership to encourage one another. This is just nuts. When did church memberships start?  25-50 years ago?  Why weren’t there membership rules before that?

5. Joining the church will help your pastor and elders be more faithful shepherds. Hebrews 13:7 says “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.” That’s your part as “laypeople”. Here’s our part as leaders: “They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.”

Ack – two times he’s using that verse to push an authority position.

As a pastor I take very seriously my responsibility before God to watch care for souls. At almost every elders’ meeting the RCA Book of Church Order instructed us “seek to determine whether any members of the congregation are in need of special care regarding their spiritual condition and/or not making faithful use of the means of grace.”

Code language:  let’s see who is messing up so we can use our self-appointed authority positions and put people in church discipline. “Making faithful use of the means of grace?”  Say what? What exactly does this mean?

This is hard enough to do in a church like ours where there is constant turnover, but it’s even harder when we don’t know who is really a part of this flock.

Me thinks they probably take roll here to determine who is present or not present. Watch out!

To give just one example, we try to be diligent in following up with people who haven’t been at our church for a while. This is a challenge. But if you never become a member, we can’t tell if you are really gone, because we might not be sure if you were ever here! It’s nearly impossible for the elders to shepherd the flock when they don’t know who really considers them their shepherds.

Yup, there it is. And if I say that I can’t make it to Sunday because I’m out of town at my daughter’s volleyball tournaments, and that excuse doesn’t pass their test, then what? Church discipline?

6. Joining the church gives you an opportunity to make promises. . . . They are solemn vows. And we must hold each other to them. If you don’t join the church, you miss an opportunity to publicly make these promises, inviting the elders and the rest of the body to hold you to these promises-which would be missing out on great spiritual benefit, for you, your leaders, and the whole church.

Hold on, just a minute. Did he just say vows? This pastor is telling you to go against Scripture?

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5: 33-37

Articles from women bloggers (Dee and Deb from The Wartburg Watch) from the East Coast to SSB on the West Coast warning about these dangerous teachings:

145 comments on “Kevin DeYoung Pushes Church Memberships and Making Vows

  1. Yuck, I would have to get a divorce quickly if I made a vow to his church.

    I get hives when I drive by Kevin’s church building, that was where I attended for years when it was owned by Trinity church. When we left Trinity, we attended University Reformed a few times, don’t remember Kevin, but THANK GOD we didn’t buy what they were selling.

    We took one of my daughters friends when we visited, months later we drove by it, she was in the car & said, “isn’t that University Deformed Church?” Haha out of the mouth of babes does wisdom speak.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I was getting ready to quote those scriptures from Matthew 5, but you were already there.

    Authoritarianism loves to cherry-pick scriptures to back its agenda. If these folks had their way, I wonder if Matthew 5:33-37 would just disappear from the Bible.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow! This was sure timely. Thanks, JA. There is no way that I would ever make a vow to a church or pastor/preacher, whatever. The debate on church membership is still out for a judgment call inside my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Why are these contracts always about power and control over the church attenders? The script should be flipped. HAVE THE PASTORS AND ELDERS SIGN A CONTRACT TO SERVE THE CHURCH : This should include financially caring for single moms, widows and orphans. Be available to help those who have mental and physical illnesses. Assist in paying for medical care (Remember when pastors visited the sick!!!). Provide a food pantry for members who are hungry (That is feed the poor). Have their own children attend-gasp- public school to be a light for Christ. Provide afterschool tutoring for kids who academically struggle. Provide an accurate account of how church money is spent, including pastor salaries. Do not engage in money making endeavors that interfere with church service ie: publishing books, attending conferences or making paid speeches. Do not spend money on frivolous items such as p.r. representatives, campus bookstores, building campaigns, McMansion sized buildings or other unnecessary purchases (fill in your own blank)
    Most of all they must wash the feet of their congregants monthly to be an example of Christ-like humility to their church. It would be amazing to see how far money would stretch when not wasting it on printing obnoxious membership contracts! Some of my suggestions are actually in the Bible.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. RevKev wrote~
    “I’ve been asked the question before. Sometimes it’s said with genuine curiosity-“So explain to me what membership is all about.” Other times it’s said with a tinge of suspicion-“So tell me again, why do you think I should become a member?”-as if joining the church automatically signed you up to tithe by direct deposit.”

    Well, membership may not technically sign one up to tithe by dd, but RevKev sure makes it easy at his church:

    “Q: When will contributions be taken from my account?
    Contributions will be taken from your specified bank account within 48 business hours of the date you requested. This time frame allows time for the contribution to process through your bank and the church’s bank. If the date of your contribution falls on a weekend or a holiday, the transaction will be initiated on the next banking day.”

    http://www.universityreformedchurch.org/members/online-giving.html

    Liked by 1 person

  6. On this issue, I’m going to say I’m for membership. From a practical standpoint, if one is going to be part of an organization with a charter and by-laws, then they need to be able to have some sort of legal standing. Of course, these type churches don’t vote on much of anything that matters, because the elders rule, right?

    There does need to be authority, accountability, etc. The deep end for me is this covenant membership junk which is like some sort of mafia blood oath or something, giving some sort of overarching permanent authority.

    Then there is the misinterpretation of “obey your leaders” which cannot biblically be justified as implicit obedience to RevKev cause he’s the pastor. RevKev has to earn that obedience through influence and the “member” needs to just be a teachable person. And when RevKev is full of it, he/she should feel free to tell him so and hit the door without consequence.

    Membership is not mentioned in the New Testament. I believe that is probably because the cultural context would imply that if one was willing to suffer as a Christian back then, then they were all in as a “member.” Now that we don’t have that heat, there is some desire to get people to sign on the line in order to be willing to put up with a bossy leader or be committed to be there to help pay for some useless new building project. Can’t have that new fellowship halls without browbeating members for the cash.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m constantly amazed at the relevance of this blog and just how ” fluid ” it is. Recently I have started regularly attending church for ( confession time ) the first time in a decade. Some of the things that happened to me made me just want to get as far away from church PEOPLES as I possibly could and , well I did. Honesty it was a very freeing feeling and one of the best things that I have ever done. The problem is IT WAS ALSO the worst thing I have ever done. It took me a good 10 years to get to the point of wanting to actually go to church. That 10 years gave me time to heal, really heal to the core of my person. Then I ran into one of the horribly abusive teachers from the Christian school I attended. She is now divorced, doesn’t attend church at all and is teaching in a public school. She sobbed uncontrollably in that Walmart parking lot apologizing and acknowledging how wrong it all was. In that moment a wholeness and centeredness emerged that can only be described as healing of woundedness. I wrapped my arms around her and realized at that moment that we were the same. Two people greatly effected and hurt by a theology of legalism that ran through a church and Christian school like a cruel venom killing the body.

    So I start going to this church and when in a few months of attending started seeing how they push the whole membership issue. For one, you are barred from taking communion unless you are a member or visiting from OUT OF THE AREA and a member of a church of similar belief. They claim communion is a ” local church ordinance”. That to me makes communion a church thing instead of the LORD’S Supper. Then David Gibbs of the Christian Law association was given the pulpit for a Sunday. This also concerned me as I have very strong views on the guy.

    They also insist on membership if you marry within the church, are married by one of their pastors or are marrying a member. That seems kind of weird and cultish. Like their main objective is to get control over people with membership covenants, instead of growing the body of Christ through winning people to the Lord and maturing the believer through the teaching of the Word of God. I’m not sure whether I will join the church or even take the membership class. Part of me would rather be on the fringe of the church, uncommitted as they say , and safe.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. Membership may be a relatively new concept in a lot of churches, but it is the norm for many others. It is the norm in Lutheran churches (at least in LCMS).

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  9. “But it’s not just about being cared for, it’s about making a decision and sticking with it-something my generation, with our oppressive number of choices, finds difficult.”

    Wow…didn’t know his generation finds making decisions difficult. I wonder how he knows this for a fact? He doesn’t. Assuming…RevKev.

    “We prefer to date the church-have her around for special events, take her out when life feels lonely, and keep her around for a rainy day. Membership is one way to stop dating churches, and marrying one.”

    Where have I read these last two sentences before?…was there an SGM book or a Josh Harris book …something like I stopped dating the church? So yesterday…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I wrapped my arms around her and realized at that moment that we were the same. Two people greatly effected and hurt by a theology of legalism that ran through a church and Christian school like a cruel venom killing the body.

    Scott, that was beautiful!

    The communion and church membership/marriage rules are whacked out. Seriously, these pastors need to take a chill pill.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. My memory is shaky, but aren’t there verses in the Bible that tell believers not to make vows, or do not make them lightly, or if you do, only make a vow to God and not to man?

    Before the spiritual abuse blogs started covering church membership, I don’t think I would have realized before that there was a difference between membership and attendance. To me, it’s the same thing.

    I don’t recall where the Bible says you have to sign a paper, take classes, or take vows to be part of the church.

    I’m not so keen on going to church anymore, or trusting too many Christians. The internet isn’t as bad, but in real life, no.

    After my mother passed away, I was in a world of hurt. I tried going to local churches and felt safe confiding in some of the church members – and I also went to extended family (who are Christian) – I got lectures, platitudes, put down, shamed for opening up from all these people – no support, no compassion, no encouragement from them.

    So I’m not in a hurry to attend a church let alone be a member of one.

    Churches need to fix their people problem first if they want more members or attenders. Start loving people where they are, instead of shaming them for having problems or being in pain, or pressuring them to repress the pain or denying the pain.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Julie Anne I have a stinkin’ feeling all this is coming out with greater intensity because of the bloggers, Nones and Dones. This is a push back. They are feeling the pain of losing churchgoers and especially the ones who did all the work in the church. The money and power must be slipping through their fingers and they are noticing.
    Keep it up- we can’t back down now.

    Scott- don’t become a member. I felt free too after I left and now I realize I can do more outside the four walls. I have met people in all denominations who are Christians and have come to realize we have ONE thing in common: we love Jesus.
    This has been/and is a wonderful experience and one that promotes the unity of believers. When I was in church I kept in my heart fear and guilt; I was fearful of the world and was in a bubble. Not anymore because love conquers fear.
    I have also come in contact with those who are not believers and without the church affiliation I think it is easier to witness. There are no barriers between me and that individual. These are just my own observations.

    Liked by 7 people

  13. I went back and read the OP more closely, and yes, I see you’ve already quoted some of the verses where the Bible says not to make vows, or be careful when you do…

    “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5: 33-37

    I think there might be some Old Testament passages that caution people about making vows too – I think.

    Like

  14. trust4himonly said,

    Julie Anne I have a stinkin’ feeling all this is coming out with greater intensity because of the bloggers, Nones and Dones. This is a push back. They are feeling the pain of losing churchgoers and especially the ones who did all the work in the church. The money and power must be slipping through their fingers and they are noticing.

    This is an excellent point.

    For years, conservative evangelicals and Southern Baptists have been arguing that only liberal denominations are losing members, but the new Pew (or was it Barna?? whatever it was) survey that was released this week says conservatives are losing members at a high rate too.

    I’ve already seen a small number of conservative Christian editorials the last two days insist that the survey must be flawed. They are still at this point in denial that they are having problems and they are still arguing that only liberal churches are having problems.

    I think maybe we can expect to see more and more editorials by them about this survey.

    And maybe different tactics to lure people back.

    Maybe they will buckle down on blaming the rank and rile even more, and yelling at us to attend church no matter what, rather than do the hard work of examining their flaws and fixing them.

    That will probably be their tactic. Which actually isn’t different or new, they’ve been shaming and blaming the “nones” and the “dones” and “deChurched” for the last few years now.

    How do they expect to draw people back by being critical of them, guilting them, and shaming them? That isn’t a winning strategy.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ann said,
    “Provide a food pantry for members who are hungry (That is feed the poor).”

    Good idea, but sad story at CFJ blog about this. A woman there was going through a divorce from her abusive husband. She had s small son and daughter.

    This lady said she and her kids kept going to their church during the divorce. She said she didn’t have much money and couldn’t buy food. She kept telling her church she needed help (with money and/or food), but they wouldn’t help her.

    I can’t remember exactly, but I think she said in spite of her low income, she sometimes donated a bit of money and/or food to the church’s food pantry

    She said her church had a food pantry and on some days put out hot plates of food for those less fortunate.

    One day her two kids were leaving the church, when her kids stopped by the food table to get themselves plates. The ladies at the table shooed the kids away, told them the food was not for them, but for people who needed it.

    I was upset to read that.

    Here you have a church member among a church who was facing problems herself, and she and her kids needed their help, but they refused to give her help. They seemed to think that their food pantry / hot plate program was only for non-church member, homeless / poor people.

    Church people have that attitude in general, I have noticed.
    A woman at my father’s church would cry for the women she met at a DV shelter but be dismissive and mean-spirited about my grief over my mother being dead.

    This church women would assist women at the DV shelter and weep for the women at the DV shelter when talking about them with me at our church, but she would scold me over still being upset over my mother’s passing (this was only about a year and half after my mother’s passing).

    Sympathy and help is only for those outside the church, and not in it, apparently.

    I am convinced this is another reason churches are losing members and can’t attract new ones. People who show up to churches are not finding compassion or help in their times of need, want, and pain.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Change of subject, but on Free Jinger there is a thread about Lourdes filing for divorce from Nolan. The fall out from Doug Phillips is still being felt.

    Like

  17. Daisy, you are spot on.

    The mega church I grew up in helped the entire community around them with their massive food bank, but when my own family (which tithed 10% every single paycheck) underwent hard times (dad lost his job in a recession), they gave us 1 whole bag of groceries and told us not to come back for another month. I also recall one of the lower-level pastors dying in a horrible accident, and leaving behind his widow and children. The church wouldn’t help his widow out at all. When my dad left me and my mom when I was 19 (and my mom is disabled with multiple sclerosis), nobody from any church would help, except those few individuals who didn’t have much to give in the first place, but tried their best. I got more help from an atheist family member whom I barely even knew.

    Seriously, why would anyone want to get saved and join a church if they’ll be downgraded to “we-don’t-care-about-you-anymore” status? Duh.

    Of course, if you become upset and leave the church as already saved individual, they don’t reach out to you either. You’re now a lost cause, and they still only care about people who were never saved in the first place.

    You know the most sobering thing I’ve done is read church history books, especially for the ante-Nicene era. The Romans thought Christians were absolutely NUTS to care for the sick, the lame, the poor, the windows, the orphans, etc. In some cities the bishop would call for a church-wide fast so they could save up food to send to another city’s Christians who were suffering from hunger. When I read those things, I feel like I’m reading a fairy tale. I’ve never seen anything like that in any church I’ve ever attended. Why is it considered so nuts by *other Christians* today when we ask that these things be done? Shucks, I care for my disabled mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and my own “Christian” family thinks I’m nuts for doing what the *Bible says to do*. I’ve done it when it was really hard and when my father left me with nothing at age 19. And there were Christians from university and church who thought I was nuts and should dump my mom so my life would be financially easier. Even Candice Watters, from the Focus on the Family Boundless blog, wrote a Q&A just for me telling me to dump my mom if I want to get married. I had basically just wrote in wanting to know if she knew of any real-life Ruth & Boaz stories. I mean, she loves that Bible story so much. But I guess she doesn’t like the Naomi part. Ruth should have totally dumped Naomi so she could score Boaz, because there’s *no way* Boaz would want to take care of *two* widows! Ha. Ha. Ha.

    By the way, Daisy, your blog really resonates with me. In case you can’t tell already, I’m a very disillusioned, single 30-something woman who has finally kissed Joshua Harris goodbye, because all his advice is WORTHLESS (as is the majority of conflicting advice on Boundless). My mom is my best friend, too. She’s still with me, thank God. But as she’s getting older and older, I know I’ll end up alone soon. I’m very scared of what that will be like. I know I can’t rely on “church” to be my family. It’s just a fancy country club–the pastor’s own small business. There’s no such thing as fellowship and friendship in those four walls.

    Wish I could get to know you in person. I have a feeling we would have been good friends, despite the 10-year age gap. We just have too much in common. But you have my condolences for your mother’s passing, and my prayers. I know that it’s not much to give, being long distance and all, but I can promise you your voice has been heard by someone, and that you’re not the only one. Hang in there. As part of the body of Christ (to which I am connected), you are dearly loved. How can I not love the arm/finger/ear/eye/etc. of my body that is suffering? We’re connected.

    Liked by 6 people

  18. Daisy,

    The OT passage about vows is in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7:

    Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifices of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed — better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.

    This is one of the reasons why I think what DeYoung et al are doing in requiring people to make vows to the church via membership covenants is something closer to an abomination than a public demonstration of Christian solidarity or “raising the flag of faith.”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. @Scott,

    Nice post. Your new church sounds like my old one (that has inflicted so much damage on so many peoples’ lives). I would suggest that you try a variety of churches.

    Here are Dr. Ronald Enroth’s well-known books about abusive churches, which Dr. Enroth has made available for free (bless him in electronic form), in case you would find them helpful:

    1. Churches That Abuse http://www.ccel.us/churches.toc.html

    2. Recovering From Churches That Abuse http://www.ccel.us/churchesrec.toc.html

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Julie Anne I have a stinkin’ feeling all this is coming out with greater intensity because of the bloggers, Nones and Dones.

    I completely agree. And obviously, by listing those blog articles at the bottom of the post shows that Dee, Deb, and I have covered this subject a lot. So, I’ll keep preaching to the choir, but at the same time putting it out in social media, too, because they are putting their stuff out in social media. This mom in the podunk desert of Eastern Washington can tweet just as loudly as they can.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Ann, I can confirm that the pending divorce between Lourdes and Nolan Manteufel is true. I heard about Lourdes filing for divorce in March. She’s going to school full time. I wish the best for her and Nolan. Marriage is difficult enough under normal circumstances, but then to come out of a cult, deal with a very public lawsuit, etc, had to be very stressful.

    Like

  22. These Neo-Calvinists and all of their legalistic rules are so damaging to the Body of Christ (membership covenants and the like; all of the Mark Dever/9 Marks inappropriate control of members’ lives).

    At my former church – the one that did excommunications and shunnings for any form of dissent with the pastors/elders (a doctor* married for 40+ years, godly man was the first one subjected to this deplorable treatment) – membership covenants were used like clubs over the members. I didn’t know that. I thought we were agreeing to things like say, being confronted for unrepentant sexual immorality. But no. It wasn’t the big stuff. It was virtually anything that could be used against a member to kick them out, and preceding that – drag them into elders’ meetings.

    Additionally, a dear older Christian man from East Asia, who didn’t believe in membership covenants and did not wish to sign the church’s, was told by the pastors/elders that he was no longer permitted to come to church! It was so evil and heart-breaking what the pastors/elders did to this dear brother in the Lord.

    *The doctor is a long-time close personal friend of Pastor John MacArthur’s at Grace Community Church in Southern California.

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  23. ^The older Christian man from East Asia, who was told by my (former) pastors/elders he was no longer permitted to come to church, had been faithfully attending church for six years!

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  24. I wonder if the real substance of this debate on membership in churches is more related to how that membership is secured (oaths, vows, etc.) and what it actually means (discipline, unwanted home visits, pressure to give money, etc.), and how it is re-enforced (withholding fellowship, communion, baptism, etc.)
    But the fact of some identifiable membership being required seems evident, doesn’t it? How could Paul honestly think his letter to any particular church (say, the Corinthians) could be received and read by the right people if he didn’t have some specific people in mind that he’d written to? And on a more immediate level, it seems to me that if a church doesn’t have some means of its supporters identifying themselves as having a stake in its ministry, how would that church’s leaders know who to submit themselves to, as servants of the church? If there were no means for people to self-identify as members, who would determine what people have the right to determine the business of the church, such as its relations with the surrounding civil government, its need for material upkeep of its facility, the payment of salaries, support, benevolence, etc.? Oregon, for example, requires us to identify who leads our church (our “officers”), and also requires that we function under some sort of bylaws. Otherwise, how would the state know that we weren’t just a group of buddies that had joined together to launder our money under the guise of conducting a ministry?
    My point is–if individual attenders of a church do not stand up and self-identify as members, with a stake in the church, and a commitment to share in the fortunes and ministries of that church–then I soberly believe there will be a group of people who will gladly take those roles and responsibilities. That group will probably function more like a gang, and (short of a healthy, robust, identifiable membership in the church) will soon find themselves in ownership of the churches resources, if not its soul. So, as we muddle through the issue at Grace Bible in Portland, we tell everyone if they’ve made it through the door, they’re family to us, if they live in the neighborhood, they’re family to us, too. But if they want to make a formal step of joining in, and taking a role in determining how we operate and function in our part of the world–they should think about joining the church formally. Sorry, if you’ve made it to the end of this too-long blog, you deserve an apology!

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  25. “I can confirm that the pending divorce between Lourdes and Nolan Manteufel is true.”

    Oh. 😦 I’m sorry to hear that. Coming out of the ideology they were raised in is a difficult transition, and Lourdes had been through so much already. I wish the best for both of them.

    Like

  26. “But the fact of some identifiable membership being required seems evident, doesn’t it? How could Paul honestly think his letter to any particular church (say, the Corinthians) could be received and read by the right people if he didn’t have some specific people in mind that he’d written to? And on a more immediate level, it seems to me that if a church doesn’t have some means of its supporters identifying themselves as having a stake in its ministry, how would that church’s leaders know who to submit themselves to, as servants of the church?”-Ken Garrett

    @Ken,

    It seems to be liked you are repeating the Mark Dever/9 Marks version of church membership. Is that where you got it from?

    1) Dever demands church membership so that churches don’t let people slip out the back doors. If members are slipping out the back doors, including at Dever’s church, then it’s time to get really honest: They don’t like him (or the other leaders).

    2) Next up, Dever has claimed that the Baptists have too many members on their rolls who don’t attend church and that it will all be resolved by membership covenants. Is Dever too lazy (or uncaring) to pick up the phone and call church members, ask how they are doing, and do they consider themselves members or not? Mark Dever seems short on grace and love; he solves every problem with a new rule.

    3) I don’t subscribe to the adults-as-idiots rule that Mark Dever and the Neo-Calvinists subscribe too. I’ve seen it do too much damage.

    4) At my former church (a church that practices excommunication and shunnings for any kind of dissent, the first to be subjected to it was a godly doctor, married for 40+ years and a long-time friend of Pastor John MacArthur’s of Grace Community Church in Southern California), the pastors/elders told a godly, older East Asian man who had attended the church for six years, faithfully volunteered at church, that he was no longer permitted to attend church because he did not believe in membership covenants and would not sign.

    My former senior pastor made, what I believe were snotty, remarks from the pulpit about those who would not join the church and “who is your pastor” and how do we “know to serve you”. My thought: Because they showed up and they’re here, the “one anothers.”

    5) Speaking of the Apostle Paul, which church was he a member of?

    Like

  27. Do you (insert future members name) solemnly swear to love and serve this church and it’s elders?

    To blindly follow it’s dictates, even when your conscience tells you otherwise.

    To believe all official proclamations from the pulpit and to faithfully tithe, give, and allow your pastors to use your vacation property for free during the prime summer season.

    And should you ever find yourself up late at night, doubting the contradicting stories coming from the pastoral team, swear to never do an internet search about this church.

    And if you should, accidentally read an unflattering (and therefore, untrue) report about this church, swear to disregard and forcefully defend your pastors from such hell bound blogging.

    If so, say I do.

    I now pronounce us, master & you, servant.

    You may kiss your tithe goodbye!

    Liked by 6 people

  28. I think Ken brings a unique perspective here. Not only is he pastor of a church, but he came out of an abusive cult. I don’t think Ken has any desire to control other people’s lives whatsoever. Still, I can’t do the membership thing ever again. I just can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. @Witch Hazel

    “I thought they pushed baptism as the “flag of faith”. Or maybe things have changed since I was in VBS.”

    It used to be that way. I was baptized in “the titles” to satisfy the SBC’s requirements, and then baptized in “the name of Jesus” to satisfy the Oneness’ requirements. I guess that makes me cross cultural in a denominational sense?

    I was in my former cult for nearly two decades before we had to start signing a membership covenant twice a year for communion. Before that people joined by being baptized or making a verbal commitment before the congregation.

    Like

  30. Dever says, “Membership states in a formal way, “I am part of something bigger than myself…” This is an appeal to pride, just like the time when they set out to build a city and a tower and a name for themselves.

    He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.

    (Psalm 2:4 ESV)

    Liked by 2 people

  31. @Julie Anne,
    LOL. I figured Ken wasn’t a Mark Dever, because I checked out his church’s website prior to posting. I would like to know where his ideas come from since they are in the vein of 9Marks (of an Unhealthy Church).

    Like

  32. @Michaela

    You wrote, “It seems to be liked you are repeating the Mark Dever/9 Marks version of church membership. Is that where you got it from?” No, I actually thought this stuff up all by myself! My point is not to support abuses of formal membership, but to suggest that when enough people decide to attend and participate in a church without formalizing their participation, a type of vacuum is created (depending on the church’s system of administration and governance). Unfortunately, that vacuum is then more easily filled by the power-hungry and sectarian people, who are then granted the formal power to do bad things to the church. I think this is esp. relevant in small, independent churches like the one I serve at. I certainly wouldn’t “demand membership” from anybody. Any church that made that kind of demand should be the one you’ve left behind. But, that being said, what Mark Dever does in is church is really not my concern, and he’s certainly not my enemy because I don’t agree with him or his 9Marks ideas.

    As for Paul’s church, that’s easy. Everyone knows he was a member of 1st Baptist Church of Tarsus. Seriously, it does seem that he mostly identified with the church in Antioch, having been formally sent by them into ministry, and returning there to report after his ministry endeavors. Although, who knows how long that association really lasted, as he continued to extend his ministry?

    @ Gary W
    The “bigger than myself” idea seems strange to me, too. It presumes that the listener knows (or gives a rip) about church-life, membership, etc. Maybe in the Bible-belt that might be true, but here in Portland, nada. With so many opportunities to join things (websites, member clubs, etc.) I think the concept of membership has become pretty a pretty lightweight concept. Seems like churches should get off the idealistic reasons for membership, and certainly the control-mechanism reasons, and simply look at it from a legal standpoint in the eyes of the surrounding culture.

    @Been There Done That: Me, too! I didn’t join churches that I attended after leaving a Christianesque-cult! In fact, I couldn’t make it through an entire service, and often would just step out for a smoke, and end up walking home. We wanted the kids to be in church, so kept going, but it was a long time before our hearts were healed enough to make any commitments.

    Like

  33. Anyone who plays the Hebrews 13:17 card —
    “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
    needs, firstly, to quote the verse number correctly!

    It’s verse seventeen, not verse seven, as Kevin DeYoung erroneously gave it.

    And secondly, such a person needs to, balance verse seventeen with verse seven —
    “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”

    So, the implicit instruction in verse seven is that all Christians ought to be continually evaluating the teaching of their leaders to discern whether or not they are “SPEAKING THE WORD OF GOD” to the flock. And for whether their way of life and the outcome of their faith lines up congruently with the Word of God.
    In other words: evaluate not just what the leaders SAY, but what they DO; and the OUTCOMES of what they say and do.
    ….(sorry for all caps, please read as italics).

    Any leader who bridles at this interpretation is to be called into question , because such bridling would suggest they have an authoritarian attitude which is attached to or addicted to power and control.

    Would De Young accept it if a person in his church (or a member of the universal church, such as a Christian reader of this blog, for example) were to admonish him for not speaking the word of God but teaching the doctines of men?

    I bet some of you here, who are more familiar with De Young’s teachings, can give some examples of his pet doctrines-of-men which he might resist being challenged on. Would his doctrine on divorce be one such doctrine?

    It’s all too easy to think one’s doctrines all line up with the Word of God, but one is in fact believing man-made traditions that have been passed down by the multitudes of seminaries and theologians for centuries. . .

    My own experience in grappling with the doctrine of divorce demonstrated this to me (in spades… )

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Ok, I’m going to say some things here that may step on some toes. Forgive me if I do.

    1) DeYoung’s particular branch of religion seems to breed these sorts or thinking… I’m not surprised.

    2) I went to DeYoung’s church website looking and found this in their statement of faith: “III. Scripture. We believe, that while God has revealed himself in his creation (Ps. 19:1-6, Rom. 1:18-20), he has spoken to us most clearly in his word (Jn. 14:25-26, Deut. 6:6-7). The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are breathed out by God, holy, complete, and entirely without error in the original manuscripts (2 Tim. 3:16, Jn. 10:35, 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Bible is our final authority in life, doctrine, and godliness (Mt. 4:4, 2 Pet. 1:3-4).”

    In contrast, Bruxy Cavey recently stated: “We believe in the authoritative, inerrant, infallible Word of God. His name is Jesus.”

    Liked by 2 people

  35. I was a member of a church for many years. The church was basically healthy. My husband and I applied for membership and were voted in by the board at their next meeting. We had gone there for some years so they knew we agreed with the denomination’s theology. We were not asked to sign anything. Membership allowed me to vote for the board of deacons and to participate in decision making. When my husband and I left for a different church with more programming for teens, we just said we were leaving and why and that was that. No shunning even though we were changing denominations.

    The idea of making vows to a particular group of people in a particular building is just mind boggling to me. My loyalty is to Jesus.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. @ Ken

    I believe you say what you say in good faith, but I am a believer in Jesus Christ, therefore, I am a member of the only Church that ultimately matters. As the Jews say “Dayenu”–it is enough. If anyone thinks that one need to add anything to that, any man-made commitment, then it has the effect of lessening the importance of that one true commitment.

    You may mean well, but one day Ken you will die or move on to another church or occupation. And if you leave a legacy of human membership commitments being tacked on to that commitment to Jesus, that status as a part of His True Bride, that baptism into the faith, then you have left a legacy that says those things are not quite enough, that “dayenu” would not be appropriate to use in connection with them. Surely you don’t really think that, and surely not so benighted as to think that others without your bonhomie and general good will might not one day use those things as a weapon.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Ugh, this is exactly the set of lines my ex-husband used to spout at the kids and me, trying to convince/coerce me into being a member at two different churches I didn’t feel comfortable in. Makes me shudder.

    Ironically, when we did find a church that was a good fit, and that church ultimately backed me up when I began to reveal the mental and emotional abuse that had been going on throughout the marriage, XH suddenly wasn’t super dedicated to following the advice of the elders. Funny how many of these types dance and shout about everyone’s responsibility to submit to membership ideals until they themselves aren’t getting what they want.

    Liked by 4 people

  38. “Membership is one way to stop dating churches, and marrying one.”

    Marrying a church? But the church is the bride of Christ. If I go marrying a church that is already Christ’s wife, I am committing adultery. God’s wife is the last one I would want to commit adultery with.

    Liked by 4 people

  39. I see that I have misunderstood the problem, which is not church membership per se, but signing some sort of document. Is this correct?

    Liked by 2 people

  40. The one thing that is conveniently missing from these guys teaching is the one about how the elders are servants. The other one is how Paul continually warns us about those who take advantage of/abuses/falsely teaches the flock. The other is how there is only one mediator/one Priest and that is Jesus Christ.
    Here is another kicker- context, culture, Greek and Hebrew text. This is why we are to be Bereans. There is soooo much that they miss compared to the few issues of elder control and membership (which is a shaky theological view in the first place). And they are the supposed leaders of NT teaching?? I do not think so.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. @Keith Blankenship
    “I see that I have misunderstood the problem, which is not church membership per se, but signing some sort of document. Is this correct?”

    I think that may be the problem for some… I’ve got bigger issues… I’ve even got an argument with this article…

    “1. In joining a church you make visible your commitment to Christ and his people. Membership is one way to raise the flag of faith. You state before God and others that you are part of this local body of believers.

    You do NOT need to be a member to raise the flag of faith. Your presence and fellowship among a body of believers is enough proof.”

    Jesus said: (John 13:34-35 NIV) ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    Notice, Jesus didn’t say, “By church membership, people will know your commitment to me.”

    He also didn’t say (Sorry JA) “By the amount of time you hang around other who are a body of believers”..

    The only qualifier and witness to the world is your love for others.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. joelfrederick: Thanks for the response. Do you think that churches which have formal membership are sinning? Or is church membership an adiaphoron?

    Like

  43. @Keith

    adiaphoron – I learned a new word today! I would go with that…

    I don’t see anything wrong with church membership in general. I see a problem when that becomes a litmus test of your faith or commitment…

    Like

  44. The church in Ephesus (Rev 2) was criticized for losing it’s “first love”. Could we be seeing this?

    We love our Bible to the point where we make it, instead of God our authority in life. We love our churches to the point where we make the pastor and elders our authorities in our life.

    What happened to our love for Jesus and letting him be our authority? Our Shepherd? Something more than just “our savior”?

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Somebody should ask these guys if they think the same holds true for Christians joining underground churches in parts of the world where maintaining official member lists in any form may actually be dangerous. Then we’d find out in a hurry whether they believe these new requirements are *Biblically* necessary, or if they would admit that they just believe them to be highly advisable in our Western cultural context. I suspect the latter but they keep speaking like it’s the former.

    Liked by 4 people

  46. I just have to get up on my soapbox and I really hope no one minds :).

    I was saved by the Lord Jesus Himself at 9 years and have been going to church since I was born- 45 1/2 years. I was always an outlier, never truly finding my place in church; an invisible one. Now I do not say this to garner pity, because that is not my intent, plus I am really content now WHERE the Spirit has me (and I will get to that as far as the Spirit because this is key). I have been in many denominations and have heard all kinds of sermons (WOF, Reformed, Mennonite, Catholic, Southern Baptist, Independent Baptist, Fundamental Baptist, Church of Christ, Bible, Calvary Chapel, Non-denominational, Methodist) and not once did I hear of a consistent teaching of the Holy Spirit LIVING IN YOU and working out the fruits of the Spirit inside all Christians.

    Oh yes, I heard a lot of elder and pastor headship and the focus on church and being in it. Early on in my youth, it was great: Awanas, Bible Camp, Sunday School, Potlucks and my salvation. As the years rolled on I started to question but never knew where to ask. These questions then were stuffed underneath the back crevices of my mind; I just went along with the flow. Went to church and be a good girl- right?
    I started to develop a condition, however, it was called self-righteousness. Oh yes, I was still the invisible one, with no place to call home really and no place to use my gifts; but also in this “home” I developed a hard heart towards “those” on the outside. I was the good girl, I had church and God.

    I finally got married, but I did not know Jesus really. This attitude of self-righteousness spilled over into my marriage and uh….church- what did they notice?
    I was just a number, sitting in the pew. It was not until I miscarried, developed clinical depression, left my husband for six months did I realize who Jesus was; realized that there was, well…..a Holy Spirit. It was Him who brought my marriage back; It was Him who healed me from my depression (where I almost killed myself); It was Him that showed me I was His and loved, and not invisible. He was the one that I felt sitting on His lap and His arms around me- my experience with Him.

    Throughout the years (and still going) , I have painfully gone through areas of pruning from pride, self doubt, fear (still a hard one for me), guilt, self-righteousness. But this pruning did not occur with the help of an elder or pastor but the Holy Spirit. Now I am not saying that God does not use elders or pastors, I am just saying that THAT is not the only vehicle He uses. I am saying that the church and its structure is not the “end all be all”. It is not the ONLY way to see, know, feel and touch God. Throughout the years I had His Word to fall back on and study thankfully. However, I still went to church because that is what “I was suppose to do, supposedly”. Something had changed, however, I was starting to notice things. They were little but they continued to grow and fester. I still held on to self-righteousness, but I was increasingly getting anxious about the outside world around me. IT needed to change and the church must do the changing of the sinful world. I was a bigot. As I write this I am crying, because I see my own fallacies. I see where I was wrong.

    I ask forgiveness for the attitudes and words I have said to anyone that hurt their spirit; to the world especially for showing how a Christian should not be.
    I say these things for the sole fact that being a “Done” is not about leaving the church body out of rebellion it is out of self-preservation or should I say out of soul-preservation. I did not go because of hate, but because I want more. I want more compassion and love, to use my gifts, to be a better witness, to know become friends with those who don’t know Him, know Him more. So, if this is wrong in the sense of me leaving the church because of these things, I do not know what to say except I think it grieves the Spirit. Because He is the Wind and goes where He pleases.

    I will never forget the one phrase that finally put a nail in the coffin for me in leaving the IC. It was when I was in a home group (Reformed church home group) the leader of that group said this “Jesus cannot be your friend………because He is too Sovereign”. I left in my heart never to look back again.

    I do not say these things to push anyone into any direction other then to say …….Listen to the Holy Spirit. He is in you and will speak to you when we stop listening to the other voices.

    just my little box…….I do not want to step on anyone elses toes, but please leaders of the church listen to the Body of Christ and especially listen to the voice of the Spirit.

    Liked by 5 people

  47. In contrast, Bruxy Cavey recently stated: “We believe in the authoritative, inerrant, infallible Word of God. His name is Jesus.”

    Joelfrederick,

    It’s funny because as I was reading “We believe, that while God has revealed himself in his creation (Ps. 19:1-6, Rom. 1:18-20), he has spoken to us most clearly in his word (Jn. 14:25-26, Deut. 6:6-7).” I was thinking “God who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” (Heb 1:1-2a)

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  48. As I write this I am crying, because I see my own fallacies. I see where I was wrong.

    I ask forgiveness for the attitudes and words I have said to anyone that hurt their spirit; to the world especially for showing how a Christian should not be.

    t4ho,

    I completely get this. I have been in much the same place this past year. I have lost count of the tears I have cried over this. God seems to be doing this sort of thing with a lot of folks these days.

    “Jesus cannot be your friend………because He is too Sovereign”.

    The first thought that comes to mind when I read this is “this is blasphemy.” Jesus Himself said “But I call you friends.” And, “no longer do I call you servants, but friends.” And, “you are My friends if you do what I say.”

    I also can’t help but think, “Why do you call Me Lord but do not do the things that I say?” How is it these people can claim on God’s behalf that He cannot be your friend because He is too Sovereign when the Sovereign God they claim to represent has Himself said the exact opposite? It is a curious faith indeed that does not let the Sovereign Lord of that faith make His own rules.

    Liked by 3 people

  49. trust4himonly said, “I will never forget the one phrase that finally put a nail in the coffin for me in leaving the IC. It was when I was in a home group (Reformed church home group) the leader of that group said this “Jesus cannot be your friend………because He is too Sovereign”. I left in my heart never to look back again.”

    I have never heard this put this way but I have heard many approach this concept without expressing it directly. Yes, my God is sovereign but He is also my friend. I find that the difference between the Christian God and the one of Islam is the fact that God, Jesus wants to be and is our friend. One aspect of Christianity that is unique is that God wants to have a personal relationship with us and for this I praise Him. It is not a religion of just fire insurance. I came to Jesus for the fire insurance aspect but soon I realized He was becoming my friend and this soon became as important as the eternal life part of my relationship.

    Too sovereign? My Bible says that the curtain was torn in two and by using the term torn indicates to me that a pair of hands did the work and that was done by God Himself. This opened up His throne room for me and all to boldly enter and have a relationship with Abba (daddy) Father. Yes, my God is sovereign but He is also my friend and He loves my also.
    Jim

    Liked by 4 people

  50. I did not go because of hate, but because I want more. I want more compassion and love, to use my gifts, to be a better witness, to know become friends with those who don’t know Him, know Him more.

    I have heard this same sentiment expressed by other Dones. I wonder if a lot of traditional church goers hear the word “done” and assume they are done with everything, including Christ?

    Liked by 1 person

  51. I can’t help but wonder what my former pastor thinks about Christ as friend. That was never articulated. There was God (of wrath and judgment), Christ on the Cross (but not much else), and the only time I heard the Holy Spirit mentioned was in reading Scripture.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. So, Ken, what do you think about the idea of verbal church membership? Do you think church membership needs to be a signed agreement? I think the signing part is a big deal because it is a legal document and some controlling churches would take advantage of that.

    Like

  53. “I think the signing part is a big deal because it is a legal document and some controlling churches would take advantage of that.”

    Alliance Defending Freedom is even recommending that churches include a mediation clause in their membership contracts which will limit a signator’s options for legal recourse.

    Like

  54. In the comment thread on DeYoung’s blog, an aquaduck nailed it by making the observation that some ministers see themselves as part of a “fraternity of leadership” instead of members of their own congregations. We see this all the time on the conference circuit, online, in their many books, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Julie Anne

    Great post.
    I recently found this foolishness on Nine Marks. There is NO date on it.
    And RevKev mentions Nine Marks, and Mark Dever…

    These guys are sumptin else… 😉

    “Can church members simply resign their membership in order to avoid church discipline?”

    http://9marks.org/answer/can-church-members-simply-resign-their-membership-order-avoid-church-discipline/

    ———-

    Of course their answer is..
    “Definitely not.
    Churches shouldn’t allow members to simply resign their membership in order to avoid discipline because:…”

    Seems nine marks does NOT want a member to…
    “…simply resign their membership…”
    “in order to avoid *church discipline.*”

    But, the nine marks form of “church discipline” is
    “excluding a person from membership.”

    Yeah – You heard that right.
    ———-

    Yup – nine marks wants you to sign a “legal document”

    to **legally protect itself** when they try to stop you from leaving

    So they can kick you out. Excommunicate you.

    Yup – these guys might have been turned over to a reprobate mind… 😉

    ———-

    Seems, nine marks wants to be able to “declare to the world”
    “a person who lives this way (serious unrepentant sin)
    does not belong to Christ” (And who determines what is “serious?”)

    And nine marks does this, “declare to the world,” by…
    “excluding a person from membership.”

    nine marks says…
    “When a professing Christian lives in serious, unrepentant sin, it is the church’s responsibility to declare to the world that a person who lives this way does not belong to Christ, which the church does by excluding a person from membership.”

    ———

    So, let’s see…
    A person wants to resign, and *Leave the church,* to avoid church discipline.

    Nine Marks won’t let you resign, and *Leave the church.*
    So they can minister “church disipline”
    And tell you to *Leave the church.*

    You can’t make this stuff up… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  56. If believers are blessed by being in fellowship with a certain group of believers, then no signature and list of commitments can add anything to that–they won’t want to leave.

    If believers are not being blessed by being in fellowship with a certain group of believers, then why oh why would you want to tie them down to that place with a man-made contract? I would say to Ken and others: Don’t you dare make a piece of paper vetted by an attorney a possible stumbling block to anyone who might be better fed elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. So, to answer a question posed to another by Keith above. Yes, I do believe those who thrust membership agreements on people are generally in sin. There is only one reason motivating these membership contracts, and that is FEAR. Fear of losing control, losing a giving unit, losing influence, losing your shot at building a mega. Even the fear of losing someone to Jesus is not valid in this context, because Jesus does not need your church or you. Jesus was saving people long before you or your church existed and He will be doing so long after both you and your church building are inconsequential dust.

    Liked by 3 people

  58. joelfrederick on May 14, 2015 at 7:59 PM
    Ok, I’m going to say some things here that may step on some toes. Forgive me if I do.

    1) DeYoung’s particular branch of religion seems to breed these sorts or thinking… I’m not surprised.

    2) I went to DeYoung’s church website looking and found this in their statement of faith: “III. Scripture. We believe, that while God has revealed himself in his creation (Ps. 19:1-6, Rom. 1:18-20), he has spoken to us most clearly in his word (Jn. 14:25-26, Deut. 6:6-7). The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are breathed out by God, holy, complete, and entirely without error in the original manuscripts (2 Tim. 3:16, Jn. 10:35, 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Bible is our final authority in life, doctrine, and godliness (Mt. 4:4, 2 Pet. 1:3-4).”

    In contrast, Bruxy Cavey recently stated: “We believe in the authoritative, inerrant, infallible Word of God. His name is Jesus.”

    Joel –

    I was having a conversation with three men (two elders) at my former church one day about this very thing. I expressed concern about worship of the scripture. I often heard them pray about “gathering around the scripture for worship and prayer. — Hmmm. During the conversation they basically attributed the same authority to scripture (the Word) as to Jesus (Word). I was surprised. Though I probably should not have been. What I have come to realize is that the scripture as the (Word) is much more controllable (via their interpretation) than Jesus himself is controllable. If they leave off Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s working in out lives, and appeal to “scripture alone,” they have much more power and expediency to get what they want. Hierarchy by scripture, via interpretation, is much more controllable than the working of the Holy Spirit. In all honestly, I don’t think that the majority of those of the hierarchy bent even realize that this is how they are functioning. Others do know, and take full advantage of the power it affords them.

    Liked by 4 people

  59. “attributing the same authority to scripture… as to Jesus”

    Wow– that is so spot-on, Bridget. Things can get pretty screwy when people start worshipping their bibles.

    ~Lise

    Liked by 4 people

  60. Clockwork Angel MAY 14, 2015 @ 2:58 PM

    Clockwork Angel, I am so sorry for what you and your family endured, that church people let you down.

    I have seen this mentality from so many Christians and churches over and over. You can be a long term member at a church, tithing regularly or volunteering at various functions for years, yet, when YOUR turn to need assistance (emotional, financial or whatever) comes up, that same church will turn you down.

    Or, you can just be a hurting Christian, not necessarily a long time member of their church, and they should help you, but they will scold you with lines like, “church is about serving not being served.”

    They will devote money and time to homeless charities and so on, but not help the guy sitting next to them in the pew, – and I don’t understand that at all.

    You said,

    Seriously, why would anyone want to get saved and join a church if they’ll be downgraded to “we-don’t-care-about-you-anymore” status? Duh.

    That is it exactly. That is actually the intention of seeker friendly churches. They only care about drawing in new people, they don’t care about people who are already there or who are already Christians.

    Some of them, like pastor Steve Furtick, have actually made comments like that from the pulpit, he screams at his congregation that their church is all about the new guy, but once the new guy joins, they expect that new guy to turn around and reel in more new guys.

    Well, why on earth do I want to join your church if, the moment I attend or become a member, your philosophy is that you don’t care about me anymore? If I cannot turn to church people for help when I need help, I don’t see the sense in going.

    I’ve arrived at this in my personal life, too. My mother thought being a Christian meant only meeting other people’s needs, never getting your own needs met (because that would be selfish).

    So, over my life, I helped other people… but these people never wanted to help me when I could have used help. The relationships I had with people were one-sided (and exhausting), where I did all the giving, and they did all the taking. I no longer live life that way. Because when you do, you are allowing yourself to be used and exploited.

    But some churches ask me to be that way if I attend their church.

    You said,

    Even Candice Watters, from the Focus on the Family Boundless blog, wrote a Q&A just for me telling me to dump my mom if I want to get married. I had basically just wrote in wanting to know if she knew of any real-life Ruth & Boaz stories. I mean, she loves that Bible story so much. But I guess she doesn’t like the Naomi part. Ruth should have totally dumped Naomi so she could score Boaz, because there’s *no way* Boaz would want to take care of *two* widows! Ha. Ha. Ha.

    That is horrible she answered that way.

    Candice Watters and Boundless are horrible about singleness and marriage. They don’t deal with any singles who are over 30. They only care about singles who are under 30.
    Watters also thinks the way to help adult singles is to obsess over marriage even more – but obsessing over marriage is precisely one reason so many adult singles drop out of church. Singles don’t hear their concerns discussed or addressed by churches.

    Does Watters care? No. She just digs her heels in on that even more, insisting that churches keep pushing marriage and ignore singles.

    You said,

    But you have my condolences for your mother’s passing, and my prayers. I know that it’s not much to give, being long distance and all, but I can promise you your voice has been heard by someone, and that you’re not the only one. Hang in there. As part of the body of Christ (to which I am connected), you are dearly loved. How can I not love the arm/finger/ear/eye/etc. of my body that is suffering? We’re connected.

    Thank you so much. 🙂

    I’ve gotten through a lot of the grief in the last few years, but there’s still a hollow place. I’ve not had anyone to turn to (at least in real life) since my mother passed. That is still hard for me to cope with.

    I hope you and your mother do well. 🙂

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  61. Someone above was mentioning how some Christians do not like other Christians thinking of Jesus as a friend.

    I was once friends with a guy who runs an apologetics site who thinks that 20th and 21st century Christians have really gotten the friendship understanding about Jesus wrong.

    I’ve read blogs by various preachers who seem to detest any Christian who thinks of Jesus in friendship terms. They seem to want Christians to have a stale reverence for Jesus / God, to view them only as holy, conquering, vindictive deities. They seem to think it weakens God or people’s perceptions of him to view him as a friend.

    Now, I do think some Christians err too much in making God out to be the friendly old Grandpa in the Sky, who never gets angry or upset about sin, but I can’t say as though I’m on the side of the “Anti Jesus as Friend” types, either.

    I think some Christians prefer an intellectual, stodgy, overly judgmental, repressive, faith and God. A faith or God devoid of laughter, compassion, understanding, second chances, and warmth.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. “I think some Christians prefer an intellectual, stodgy, overly judgmental, repressive, faith and God. A faith or God devoid of laughter, compassion, understanding, second chances, and warmth.”

    _____________________________

    This may be because some Christians (or shall I say “Christians”?) are stodgy, overly judgmental, repressive and lacking in laughter, compassion, and warmth.” Those types, however, are not what I would refer to as “Intellectual”, those types are generally quite full of themselves, but upon close analysis end up being rather intellectually constipated and dull.

    Liked by 2 people

  63. @ Julie Anne (May 15th, 8:35am): “So, Ken, what do you think about the idea of verbal church membership? Do you think church membership needs to be a signed agreement?”
    I like the verbal idea, and it’s what we practice at Grace. Rather than forming and signing a legal document, someone simply affirms to our leadership team that they want to become members of the church. We don’t have a document to sign anyway. We formally welcome new members in our service, but not all want to stand up or be recognized in public, so that’s cool, we just add them to our membership list, and go from there. I like that, because it replaces the power and significance of a person’s word alone as a basis of trust between them and the church. If it’s a matter of conscience that a person is not willing to join the church, formally, we have no problem with that–they’re considered members of the Grace family, but we ask that they not vote in church business meetings, although they’re welcome to attend. We have Grace ‘members’ who have never formally joined for the reasons found in the comments section of this piece, and we understand.
    I realize that formal membership is a very, very big deal to survivors of spiritual abuse, many of whom (like me) have formally joined groups in the past that ended up holding a vise-grip over the very soul–so the issue itself should be a good ways down the list of priorities in recovering from spiritual abuse. The balance issue that I’ve had to face is as a pastor of a historic church that sits on some prime real-estate in one of the most desirable places to live in the country, but is small and not very wealthy anymore. Also, we need a way that gives us some power in enforcing safety measures that we’ve taken, esp. for children, but also for our community. Also, (I know I keep beating this drum…) if the people who attend the church, week after week, and support it with their money, time, prayers, etc., do not step forward to determine the course and actions of that church–then someone else definitely will step into the void, and often that ‘someone else’ will not be the people you or I would want leading the church and determining its affairs. Formal membership is just a way of inviting those who feel Jesus has called them to a particular church to take a role in its life and decision-making, and it is tragic that membership is used by others as a means of control, nit-picking, and fear.

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  64. Ken, that is the most reasonable response to church membership I’ve heard yet. I appreciate your perspective and your respect for the saints who might choose not to join in for whatever reason. I know you are sensitive to spiritual abuse survivors having experienced it yourself.

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  65. What is your opinion if “membership” does not invite one’s input into any type of decision making for the church? Shouldn’t one be considered a member if one is attending, giving and serving, etc. What does a signed paper do?

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  66. A historic building and prime real estate neither outweighs Jesus’ admonition about not taking such vows or justifies locking a person who loves Jesus and is in regular fellowship with out from having a formal say in matters within your fellowship. If someone is unsafe around children or is the type who likes to step into voids and take control and place themselves between other believers and Jesus, then they ought to be asked to leave by you and other elders. I think you’d be better taking a wrecking ball to the historic building and selling the prime real estate and giving the money to the poor rather than letting it guide your decisions in this manner.

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  67. It seems to me these leaders/pastors/shepherds have forgotten everything Jesus said about sheep. It is the shepherd’s responsibility to feed the sheep, care physically for the sheep, look after the sheep, protect the sheep, heal the sheep, count the sheep and go after the one(s) that is/are missing.

    I think church leaders like RevKev had better leave the sheep-tending to The Good Shepherd, and be very careful how they treat God’s flock!

    Liked by 3 people

  68. @Ken,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to me. I appreciate it.

    I came out of a spiritually abusive church and I will not sign a membership agreement again. A dear older Christian man from East Asia was ordered by the pastors/elders not to come to church any more, he’d been coming for six years, because he didn’t believe in membership covenants. A godly doctor, married to his wife for 40+ years, was ordered to be excommunicated/shunned because he disagreed with the way the pastors/elders were leading the church and pointed out the Biblical errors to them, in private. I was ordered to be excommunicated/shunned after eight years because the pastors/elders had moved a friend of theirs who was a convicted sex offender on Megan’s List into positions of trust and leadership without telling parents or members about it. The pastors/elders said he was ‘safe’ and ‘coming off’ Megan’s List. His supervising law enforcement agency called that ‘all lies’.

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  69. @Truth Detector: Well, I’m glad you’ve found a church that allows you equal input, regardless of your status as a member or non-member. The “this could be sold and given to the poor” argument isn’t a new one, but I think I’ll hold off on the wrecking ball idea…
    @Loura: Thanks for the reminder, and the warning. One of the great ironies of the Great Shepherd is that He would entrust His most precious flock to the care of men and women who are sheep themselves! I don’t take the responsibility lightly, nor do most of my friends who are also pastors. I don’t know if “RevKen” was a jab or not, but I’m actually not ordained by a denomination or missions board (we’re an independent church), so I’m very pleased to just be Pastor Ken! 🙂
    @ Michaela: I am very sorry for the horrible situation of abuse at your old (and I am hoping it is “old” to you!) church. I hope that although membership covenants are not for you (understandably), you are still able to find support and peace in fellowship with other like-minded, tenderhearted believers. Thank you for responding!

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  70. Look, Ken, honestly I’m not playing the Judas card on you, so in all candor I rather resent the implications. Perhaps an attempt on your part at humor? A really awkward, halting, cringe-worthy stab at it? Not sure.

    My point is simply this: Your main argument out of the starting block for why you needed membership was to protect the historic building and that prime real estate (I suppose from those who might attempt to take over your church and get their greedy hands on all these valuable things). You sound more like an over-eager real estate agent in your defense of the necessity of membership.

    In light of my concerns, and rather than just getting cute and linking me to Judas, please address my point: what exactly justifies locking a person who loves Jesus and serves the fellowship from having a formal say in the direction of the church, if they are indisputably part of the true Church? Do you think Jesus will buy the line about the prime real estate as a justification? Should He?

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  71. I’m sure it’s been said before here on SSB, but it bears repeating. Why is it that so many of these controlling churches are Reformed, i.e.: Calvinist? I have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear what others have to say.

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  72. @Truth Detector: I imagine whatever transpires between Jesus and me is between Jesus and me. Let’s just consider the conversation as over–and simply agree that we don’t agree on this.

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  73. “I’m sure it’s been said before here on SSB, but it bears repeating. Why is it that so many of these controlling churches are Reformed, i.e.: Calvinist? I have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear what others have to say.”

    You know, I’m not sure it’s just the neocals who are doing this. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the idea of legal membership covenants took off and we started seeing a number of other denominations adopting them. I half expect the New Apostolic Reformation to start using them next.

    As far as Calvinism goes, theoretically any tradition adhering to the “doctrines of grace” would be grace-full, yet many of us are all too familiar with the cage-stage phenomenon, men who seem to enjoy doctrinal controversy, and highly intellectualized jerks. On the protestant side of things, Calvinism is a fairly comprehensive theological system that covers every possible sphere of life, and I think that attracts certain kinds of people. By modern standards, you could say Calvin himself was pretty controlling while in Geneva (when he wasn’t being booted out), although I think he was a man of his times.

    Beyond that, I know some Christians have read the Institutes and seen a primary emphasis on the sovereignty of God or the Holy Spirit (instead of Christ). I once read somewhere that as a very young man Calvin had originally trained as a lawyer, and I think his writings and the later Westminster standards reflect that. Reformed theology seems to have more of an emphasis on the law of God and sanctification than the Gospel itself and justification.

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  74. Ken wrote~

    “I don’t know if “RevKen” was a jab or not, but I’m actually not ordained by a denomination or missions board (we’re an independent church), so I’m very pleased to just be Pastor Ken!”

    RevKev is his (DeYOung’s) chosen twitter name. He is not only someone to whom people should give reverence (high esteem, high regard, great respect), but he’s the SENIOR pastor too because, you know, it’s important people know that (in his mind).

    Kevin DeYoung
    @RevKevDeYoung
    Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church. Married to Trisha. Six children. Saved by grace.

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  75. Bridget

    Great insights @ MAY 15, 2015 @ 10:05 AM…
    “What I have come to realize is that the scripture as the (Word) is much more controllable (via their interpretation) than Jesus himself is controllable. If they leave off Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives, and appeal to “scripture alone,” they have much more power and expediency to get what they want.”

    “Hierarchy by scripture, via interpretation, is much more controllable than the working of the Holy Spirit.”
    ————

    John 3:8 NKJV
    The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it,
    but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.
    **So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.**

    Yes – WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, are to be “Led by the Spirit.”
    NOT “Mere Fallible Humans.”

    Rom 8:14 KJV
    For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
    ———-

    Jesus NEVER asked His Disciples to “Follow a Mere Fallible Human*
    Jesus ALWAYS asked His Disciples, His Sheep, to “Follow Him – *Jesus*

    John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they *Follow me:*
    John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him *Follow me*…
    Mt 4:19 …*Follow me,* and I will make you fishers of men.
    Mt 16:24 …let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and *Follow me.*
    Mt 19:21 …thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come *Follow me.*

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  76. “As far as Calvinism goes, theoretically any tradition adhering to the “doctrines of grace” would be grace-full, yet many of us are all too familiar with the cage-stage phenomenon, men who seem to enjoy doctrinal controversy, and highly intellectualized jerks. On the protestant side of things, Calvinism is a fairly comprehensive theological system that covers every possible sphere of life, and I think that attracts certain kinds of people. By modern standards, you could say Calvin himself was pretty controlling while in Geneva (when he wasn’t being booted out), although I think he was a man of his times.”

    It really helps to view the European and English Reformations as political. Not spiritual. Otherwise it makes no spiritual sense. Geneva, like others, were tired of sending tribute to Rome. Back then religion was the state, too. And because of that, they needed a system. The help of Calvin who was known as having written a comprehensive system for religion was enlisted. But some who had power at the time were resistant to his system. Calvin insisted it had to be followed exactly and was not exactly the type to make concessions. He went back to Strausborg.. Some of those people were either brought to heel or worse and the council begged him to come back because Catholicism was making inroads. But, Calvin had conditions. And he got them. And the rest is tyrannical history from Geneva to the Boers in SA to the Puritans and Southern Slave owners.

    To say he was a man of his times dismisses those who gave their lives to disagree with him and the other Reformers. There were men and women who were considered “Radicals” who believed in believers baptism, the Lords Supper as an ordinance not a sacrament and separation of church/state over conscience. Many were drowned for a “third baptism”, imprisoned, tortured, banished and even burned all over Protestant Reforming Europe. Calvinism is not “grace-ful”. it is deterministic. Spiritual “fate” as in what Allah wills. If you have read the Insitutes you would know that it is possible, according to Calvin, to look like a Christian, act like a Christian all your life but really be reprobate but not know it until you die.

    Calvinism has obviously undergone its own constant reformation as it tends to die out and then reinvent itself in other ways usually going more liberal. And there are many wonderful Calvinists today.

    But, the sad fact is that most Calvinists today know little of its heritgage, writings, and historical results. They are attracted to a system that is based on Augustine’s doctrine of imputed guilt and dualism imported from Paganism and relies heavily on phiolospher kings who know best for the rest of us— and it basically redefines Jesus Christ

    Liked by 1 person

  77. @Diane: “RevKev is his (DeYOung’s) chosen twitter name.”
    Thank you so much for correcting me on that! The internet may be a 24/7 animal, but this guy shouldn’t trust his eyes past about 9pm!

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  78. Dear Truth Detector,

    This may be because some Christians (or shall I say “Christians”?) are stodgy, overly judgmental, repressive and lacking in laughter, compassion, and warmth.” Those types, however, are not what I would refer to as “Intellectual”, those types are generally quite full of themselves, but upon close analysis end up being rather intellectually constipated and dull.

    Interestingly enough, Lewis once wrote about a similar kind of person: people who have an appearance of intelligence, but only by divorcing themselves from human sentiment. He called them “Men without Chests”, the “chest” referring to the heart, or stable, reasonable sentiment.

    “The operation of The Green Book and its kind is to produce what may be called
    Men without Chests. It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as
    Intellectuals. This gives them the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks
    Intelligence. It is not so. … It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so.”
    — C.S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man”

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  79. SKiJ

    That is an excellent quote. I have that book. Haven’t read it in so many years I might as well have not read it at all. I will have to dig it out and read it again.

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  80. That sounds fine, Ken, but I would seriously consider dumping that choice real estate, as it may well have become a stumbling block for you if it’s affecting the manner in which you consider the input of fellow believers who meet with you regularly in that magnificent historical building.

    You never did give me a good answer.

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  81. It seems as if guys like RevKev are trying to restore a form of the OT priesthood. They want to tell the “little people” where they can worship, what rules they must follow, how much they must pay and to whom, how they must spend their time, when they can leave, with whom they can associate, etc. They seem to think they need to run interference between the peons in the pews and God. Funny, I thought Jesus already took care of that.

    At it’s core, I think that this need to micro-manage other Christians is really about maintaining power and control in the hands of a small number of Christian “leaders.”

    Liked by 2 people

  82. @ GC

    I’ve heard some come right out and explicitly talk about themselves in light of Moses’ priesthood, as if the priesthood of all believers had never occurred, as if the Holy Spirit had never been granted freely to all who love Jesus, as if Paul had never said a word about different gifts, different parts of the body, greater honor to “lesser” parts, as if, frankly, Jesus had never died at all for the sins of the world (which to your average neocalvinist like DeYoung, never actually happened anyway, who cares if the Bible says in Greek that Jesus died for “the cosmos”, surely the Lord must have just made a mistake in inspiring that unfortunate word, or “Here, let me tell you about this parallel passage that John Piper told me about that makes that passage mean the opposite of what it says.” ).

    Best just not to dwell on some things too much, makes your head want to explode.

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  83. I don’t think DeYoung would be considered a neo-Calvinist. His church was RCA (i.e liberal Reformed) and recently left to become PCA. I think he is a cradle Calvinist.

    Lydia00: The European reformation was not monolithic. Luther preceded Calvin, and was himself preceded by others. Luther and Calvin had very different views on a number of issues. As regards the English Reformation, some in the forefront were in much agreement with Luther, such as Cranmer, but the political issue was what drove the movement.

    Lydia00: Are you aware that many Boer are now destitute and homeless, and many have been murdered since the ANC took power? Do you have any sympathy for these people who did not choose to be born there? RSA is a violent place, it has the horrible distinction of being one of the “leaders” in the world in the crime of rape.

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  84. “Do you have any sympathy for these people who did not choose to be born there?” I suppose it would be something of a cheap shot to suggest that that was something of a cheap shot, but I’m having some difficulty getting my mind around how the current condition of homeless Boers has anything to do with depredations worked by their reformed ancestors–if I have the history right. It’s kind of like defending southern slavery on the basis that somebody doesn’t have enough sympathy for impoverished white southerns. Not trying to pick a fight here, but I am doing a bit of head scratching here.

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  85. @GC~

    “It seems as if guys like RevKev are trying to restore a form of the OT priesthood. They want to tell the “little people” where they can worship, what rules they must follow, how much they must pay and to whom, how they must spend their time, when they can leave, with whom they can associate, etc. They seem to think they need to run interference between the peons in the pews and God. Funny, I thought Jesus already took care of that.”

    A three minute video clip on the tithe is alive by RevKev taken from his sermon Our Neglected Stewardship two years ago. Ten percent is mandatory, and only a beginning, according to him.

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  86. That’s a new one on me: “cradle calvinist”.

    In all honesty, in this day and age, I tend to lump everyone who calls themselves reformed and who calls themselves calvinist into the same camp. Over the last two decades, because of the excesses and abuse, the twisting of truth, the exaltation of secondary doctrines to hill-you-die-on primary truth, the calvinists have essentially made calvinism a dirty word and not a very marketable one (as surely John Calvin himself had made adherence to his set of beliefs a dirty, ugly thing in Gneveva and much of Europe (and lest you think me an Arminian, perish the thought, the worst abuse I’ve ever seen in my life in the church was at the hands of Arminians). So they retrenched and now refer to themselves as “reformed”. It is not so much a doctrine as a way of life and way of viewing the world, and, in my opinion, a spirit that’s very, very ugly and destructive.

    So Deyoung can call himself what he wants, matters not, calvinism or calvinism lite is all the same to me, it leads to the same forms of idolatry and ugliness in time.

    Liked by 2 people

  87. Regarding the video posted by Diane, it is my opinion that whenever a preacher demands 10% of people’s income, as a matter of obligation, that preacher is a thief.

    Liked by 2 people

  88. And let me add that that preacher ought to have his pulpit overturned in front of him and be run straight out of the church at the crack of a whip.

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  89. Agreed, Gary W. I posted that clip because it shocked me how lazily the argument was presented. What does *Jesus became poor so we could become rich* have to do with a tithe sermon? lol

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  90. Gary W: It was not intended to be a “shot’ of any sort. I simply think that regardless of the wrongs committed by the ancestors of the Boer/Afrikaner, they are made in God’s image and should have our sympathy. I cannot think of a nation whose ancestors did not sin against other nations. This does not mean that Boer/Afrikaner should be murdered and raped. It does not redress any past wrong, and is an attack on the imago dei which they also bear. Oddly enough, people forget that the English put Boer women and children into concentration camps. Heck, even americans from the North and Northwest did bad things to Native Americans.

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  91. Truth Detector: Amen re: Arminians. One of my sons just got back from spending a few days with Arminian relatives, one of whom said he was not “saved” because he is a Lutheran.

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  92. To all: I do not mean any of my posts above to be offensive or hurtful. Christ’s Blessings to you all!

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  93. Bringing this back on the topic of vows and membership, I’d find it hard to believe that members of RevKev’s church who are failing in his mandatory10% tithe would NOT experience the blessing of church discipline for that infraction. Many covenants I’ve seen include a phrase about supporting the church financially, and that might mean 10% for all-because, you know, Jesus became poor so we could become rich.

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  94. Yes, Truth Detector, and do you suppose these misadventuring klepto-shepherds would respond in humble repentance if anybody could get close enough to them to make them aware of the error of their ways. No, no. We would each and every one of us be accused of being angry, bitter, gossiping, divisive reviling sons of the satan.

    Plus, I wonder if it’s just me, or is it possible this Kevin preacher has actually practiced a tone of voice and general demeanor that ends up projecting the feigned humility of those who see themselves as better than the rest of us. Actually, I have to hand it to anyone who can almost pull off the appearance of being meek and humble while at the same time being so condescending to an auditorium of full of people from whom he unashamedly demands, as a beginning, 10% of everything they make. Wonder if he makes an exception for widows and orphans?

    Liked by 1 person

  95. Keith, you say ” Heck, even americans from the North and Northwest did bad things to Native Americans.” Probably if one were to look they would see that we are still doing bad things to the nations and peoples whose land we now occupy. I’m aware of a situation where land near where I live was given to individual members of a certain tribe in about the 1920’s–except that the deeds have restrictions that kept them from selling the gifted land without the consent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. To this day their descendants still cannot sell their land.

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  96. @Daisy:

    Some of them, like pastor Steve Furtick, have actually made comments like that from the pulpit, he screams at his congregation that their church is all about the new guy, but once the new guy joins, they expect that new guy to turn around and reel in more new guys.

    LIke Amway or any other pyramid scheme?

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  97. Or a Ponzi scheme. It’s pure fraud, because the people neither get truth nor kindness nor love from these types, all they get is sucked dry, and the early followers of the abusive leader get to lie about their experiences and how much blessing they’ve received, thus attracting further followers who get abused and sucked dry of finances and joy. No, it has more to do with Charles Ponzi than Amway, but I see where you’re coming from and you’re right in spirit.

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  98. Giving is good, of course. But I’m not sure it counts for much when it is coerced. God looks at our hearts and seeks willing givers. It may be that when these thieving preachers coerce our giving they steal more than our money. It may be that they also steal the reward we would have received had they left us the resources to give according to our own hearts.

    Personally, I do not regret what giving I have done. However, when I look back at what was done with what I gave, I feel swindled. When the time comes for us to be placed with either the sheep or goats, I will be in big trouble if all I get credit for is what was done with the money I used to give to organized religious organizations.

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  99. I tried, Diane. I really did.

    I made it to 2:20 in that video. That was all I could take.

    Does this guy always lace his speech with so much guilt and shame? ‘Cause…wow.

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  100. @BIT~

    It’s part of an hour long sermon from two years ago. An HOUR… on tithing. O_O

    I am watching the entire thing right now in order to be fair to the one who is to be revered.

    The momentum behind the tithe sermon was a lack in giving, not meeting their budget and the church’s desire for 1) a rather large building renovation/addition and 2) hiring a full time international ministry director (because every church needs one).

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  101. @Diane

    They’d be far better off selling the buildings, telling people to give wherever God leads them to give, getting honest jobs in the private sector (like Paul did) and teaching while sitting in a chair across from a small group of other believers also sitting in chairs, eye-to-eye, no one on a raised stage, all of whom are considered to be exactly on the same level as them. If they sent their idols of church growth and influence and conference honoraria and fleeting fame aside, they’d possibly see Jesus. But if they keep hanging onto the idols, they might not ever know Jesus.

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  102. The momentum behind the tithe sermon was a lack in giving, not meeting their budget and the church’s desire for 1) a rather large building renovation/addition and 2) hiring a full time international ministry director (because every church needs one).

    Oh, isn’t it always? :/

    Or some variation on same.

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  103. Church has begun at this morning’s SSB Gathering post. Anybody who is suffering from shame and guilt after watching the DeYoung clip on tithing may relieve the spiritual and psychological pressure by sending 10% of last week’s income to our own Julie Anne, who is self evidently our anointed pastor, bishop, apostle and priest. If one’s bank does not have a service by which cash can be sent to an email address (posted above), PayPal, Google Wallet or similar services may be used.

    I’m sure “pastor” DeYoung would approve.

    Personally, I’m suffering no shame or guilt whatsoever.

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  104. “The European reformation was not monolithic”

    Not doctrinally, no. But wrestling political/financial control from Rome was pretty monolithic and drove the whole thing. Do you honestly think the Princes would have backed Luther if he had taken the side of the downtrodden in the peasants war, for example? Of course not. There was little spiritual about it

    My view is we have mostly been sold rewritten history when it comes to the Reformation. Don’t get me wrong, I think it had to happen that way but lets not kid ourselves what it was about. There was very little of Christ about it. To see it more clearly, it really helps to read secular history in the area of politics and economics.

    Our real inspiration really should be the radicals that gave their lives on principal of the freedom of conscience against a magisterial Christendom that forced conformity in belilefs. Guys like Felix Manz (and his wife),Conrad Grebel, Menno Simons, George Blaurock etc. They are barely a footnote in most of Reformed history and that is a crying shame. Look at all the saints in the huge book, Martyrs Mirror.

    Why aren’t some of these men/women who put their beliefs in freedom of conscience household names like Cavlin or Luther? Because most of their writings, etc were destroyed and they were having too much influence so what we know about them is mostly from their persecutors…who are considered heros today. It is upside down.

    Liked by 1 person

  105. “Lydia00: Are you aware that many Boer are now destitute and homeless, and many have been murdered since the ANC took power? Do you have any sympathy for these people who did not choose to be born there? RSA is a violent place, it has the horrible distinction of being one of the “leaders” in the world in the crime of rape.”

    I don’t think that sort of evil inhumanity to ANYONE should be excused because of evils done in the past. Are you seriously asking me if I am delighting in
    Boers being homeless and destitute. Is that really your takeaway from my points concerning history?

    I have sympathy for the German people whose Lutheran church leaders so easily captiulated to demands of allegiance from the Nazi Regime.

    Is that what you are asking? I don’t really understand your point based upon my point concerning the spread of Calvinistic doctrinal thinking (determinism) over history and how that manifested itself politically, socially, financially.

    Like

  106. Church has begun at this morning’s SSB Gathering post. Anybody who is suffering from shame and guilt after watching the DeYoung clip on tithing may relieve the spiritual and psychological pressure by sending 10% of last week’s income to our own Julie Anne, who is self evidently our anointed pastor, bishop, apostle and priest.

    LOL – oh, please. I’m blog owner, that’s it 🙂

    SSB does not receive tithe $$, but I have been known to be the middleman to anonymously pass $$ to people in need. And it has been pure joy to do so.

    Like

  107. Diane

    Really appreciate your research.

    Seems you have his number – The number of “the one who is to be revered.” 🙂

    “this is not a new article by RevKev. It was originally posted in 2009 at TGC.
    He just changed the title.”

    And great posts by that professor on De Young’s “Tithe Sermon”

    Like

  108. Tithing to SSB?! LOL! Does that mean I could potentially be an Associate Pastor? By the way, if I have to be called a “Director” or “Coordinator” I’m not taking the job!

    Liked by 1 person

  109. I have a question. If I tithe to SSB, does that mean you have to become a 501c whatever corp to get the tax-exempt status and me to get the write-off? Not that I can ever write off donations. I never file long form, but I am curious.

    Kathi, you are too funny!! Julie Anne, that is a wonderful middle-woman thing to do.

    Like

  110. Brenda, I don’t accept tithe $$. I have no idea about tax laws and 501c stuff. If you are looking for some place to give $$, keep your ears/eyes open to needs around you. I think God will guide you as you seek Him.

    Like

  111. JA, Another failed attempt at humor on my part. I really should give up on that. I am obviously not good at it.

    Like

  112. Oh, shoot, Brenda, I missed it. I’m sitting here doing my homework between reading comments and missed the humor. I really need to lighten up! 🙂

    Like

  113. Hi Daisy,

    Thanks for the well wishes. 🙂

    “Candice Watters and Boundless are horrible about singleness and marriage. They don’t deal with any singles who are over 30. They only care about singles who are under 30.
    Watters also thinks the way to help adult singles is to obsess over marriage even more – but obsessing over marriage is precisely one reason so many adult singles drop out of church. Singles don’t hear their concerns discussed or addressed by churches.

    Does Watters care? No. She just digs her heels in on that even more, insisting that churches keep pushing marriage and ignore singles.”

    Yeah, pretty much it. The only one at Boundless with any credibility is Lisa Anderson, as she is/was in her 40s and still single. At least she’s honest enough to say she doesn’t know why God leaves so many of us single. At least she’ll cry alongside with us. Candice Watters only writes articles about how we should be scared of getting older without getting married, and how we’ll end up alone with 200 cats if we don’t hurry up and find a mate. (I have a dog anyway. Not scared at all of 200 cats invading my home.)

    Here’s the link to what she posted to me: http://www.boundless.org/advice/2011/i-care-for-my-disabled-parent-is-it-unrealistic-to-hope-for-marriage

    She starts off all nice, then devolves into wishy washy advice that amounts to, “You can only take care of your mom when you’re married if your husband approves. Otherwise, if hubby doesn’t let you, then you’ll have to dump her.” Completely unbiblical. Marriage should be a partnership where both spouses obey God’s commands together. Taking care of one’s parents isn’t an option–it’s a command. She also acts like the church will help. Ha. Ha. Ha. There’s so many horrifying things in her response that I’d be there forever picking it apart. I’m sure you’ll spot them easily. Like the one where I shouldn’t get married for what I’ll get out of it–even though she writes articles that make it sound like I’ll end up an old bag with 200 cats, so hurry up and get married so I don’t end up miserable. Isn’t that getting something out of it? Isn’t that an impure motivation to not want 200 cats? Since when was God against us wanting a mate for ourselves, and not just to be a doormat servant-slave for another person? If the only thing in it for me is to be a doormat slave, then why would I ever want to get married at all, never knowing if I got anything in return? Duh. 200 cats sounds better and better. But I think I’ll keep my dog.

    One of these days I’ll have the energy and willpower to write back and give her a piece of my mind. I usually don’t care. Though I probably should. There’s at least another Boundless commentor I used to chat with who took care of a brother who had down syndrome. She deserves a better response than this, as does anyone else in a situation similar to mine. Candice Watters just told them to ditch their loved ones and hope the church magically helps out if their someday-husbands tell them to.

    Liked by 1 person

  114. “Kevin DeYoung @RevKevDeYoung
    · 16h 16 hours ago
    I’ll be preaching on 1 John 5:1-5 tomorrow at URC (9:15, 11:00). I’ll try to respond to some objections from this week’s blog too. Join us!”

    I am going to try to listen. I am curious how he is going to address objections.

    Like

  115. Lydia00: Menno Simons is a household name, i.e. the Mennonites. Why not Muentzer? You mention the Peasant’s War, but don’t mention him.

    Re: Afrikaner/Boer: Well, they certainly are not “determining” anything now.

    Re: Lutherans and NSDAP, we have been through this before. I know you do not care for Lutherans, which does not bother me, but I can list a lot of Lutherans, both church leaders (Bonhoeffer, hanged, Flossenburg) and political leaders (Goerdeler) (who ended up hanging from a hook in Ploetzensee) who did what they could.

    Liked by 1 person

  116. “Lydia00: Menno Simons is a household name, i.e. the Mennonites. Why not Muentzer? You mention the Peasant’s War, but don’t mention him.”

    Because he was denounced by the other radical reformers of that time. They were mostly against any sort of magisterial tyranny of that kind. The Ana Baptists were not monolithic. There were some followers of Hoffman in the Low Countries that broke off and were somewhat violent, too. They were also denounced by the other radicals.

    The Mennonites who descended from that movement are probably more well known now than they were 100 years ago– even by evangelicals because of the internet. They came here, pretty much kept to themselves and kept their “separateness” for a long time that they were known for as they fled from the Reformers across the Low Countries.

    I totally agree with you about Bonhoeffer. I wish more had shown his courage. He even came back to Germany when he could have stayed in England.

    What we are really discussing is who had power at particular times in history and what they did with it. That is the real underlying theme. And whether Catholic or Protestant, the church had power and used it for evil. Rebellions were crushed. People burned, banished, tortured for non conformity to the church/state. Why we celebrate these people today as hero’s I will never understand.

    Like

  117. “I am going to try to listen. I am curious how he is going to address objections.”

    That is easy to do when it is kept to one way communication. If it is anything like what I have seen back stages, they are very careful what “objections” they respond to publicly. Everything is carefully controlled.

    Like

  118. “She starts off all nice, then devolves into wishy washy advice that amounts to, “You can only take care of your mom when you’re married if your husband approves. Otherwise, if hubby doesn’t let you, then you’ll have to dump her.” Completely unbiblical. ”

    I read the most interesting opinion piece in the WSJ years ago (before the internet) where the author had changed her entire life to care for her elderly mother. She called it “mercy living”. And she would not change a thing about her decisions.

    If the husband does not approve, then he cannot be trusted to take care of her if it comes to that.

    Like

  119. “That is easy to do when it is kept to one way communication. If it is anything like what I have seen back stages, they are very careful what “objections” they respond to publicly. Everything is carefully controlled.”

    You mean like the TGC Q/A panel sessions where the questions from the audience are supposedly not known beforehand by the panel? lol

    Like

  120. On the topic of caring for an ailing, elderly mother and marrying, I was fortunately able to do both. My fiancé moved across the country to marry me and help take care of my terminally ill mother for a year and a half. I didn’t want to move her away from her friends and doctors, so he moved. Luckily he was able to continue in his job by telecommuting.

    He was absolutely wonderful to her, a great practical help to me, and he never once complained. His character and caring were two major reasons I fell in love with him to begin with. I am quite sure I couldn’t love a man who would want me to dump her in a nursing home and take off with him. And honestly, I look back and see what we gained from that time period and I can’t think of anything negative other than losing my mother of course.

    As for churches helping long term caregivers, I can’t think of one that ever did so. Help in a crisis, sure, but not as the years go on. I know someone who played the organ during church services for 29 years. As her chronically ill husband got worse and could no longer attend church, she couldn’t come to any of the groups or fellowship activities because he couldn’t be left alone and she couldn’t afford to have a nurse’s aid come in. Still she continued to volunteer and attend Sunday services for a few more years until money got even tighter and she couldn’t afford Sunday help either. After she stopped attending and contributing not one person ever contacted her again, not even her pastor. Not once.

    Liked by 1 person

  121. “If the husband does not approve, then he cannot be trusted to take care of her if it comes to that.”

    I totally agree with that, lydia! Sadly, men don’t seem to connect the dots that I’ll take care of a husband who gets sick, and that I can prove by my present actions that I will, and that I’m a godly woman who obeys Jesus. They never asked me out at church. Their loss.

    Marsha, thanks for sharing your story. It’s nice to know that there are some great men out there, even if I never meet one myself. So sad what you said about the woman who used to play the church organ. It’s so typical. They only care about what you can give to them. They don’t have anything to give back. They’re only ministers to themselves, and not to the flock.

    Like

  122. “Kevin DeYoung
    1 hr ·
    Pray for URC congregational meeting: electing officers, calling @Helopoulos as associate pastor, making pledges for PCA transition fund.”

    Making pledges? More money from the members? How I would have loved to instead have read…Hey members, no worries. We have the money…we are covering this. We do not want to burden you with these fees for switching denoms.

    I read that it will cost their church $280,000 to leave the RCA to become Presbys.

    And he that is to be revered wants more money? On top of a 10% tithe (floor not ceiling); on top of offerings; on top paying for a 2-3 million building addition and renovation they are currently undergoing? And he needs another $280 grand?

    It sounds very expensive to be a member of there.

    Like

  123. @ Clockwork Angel
    I don’t know if I’ve heard of Lisa Anderson before or not, maybe I’ll look into her articles later.

    I will consider reading the link you gave me later, but I can’t promise – just reading your summary of it here sets me off. I’m afraid if I click through and read it, I may get so angry I may punch a hole in the wall. 🙂

    You said,

    “She starts off all nice, then devolves into wishy washy advice that amounts to, “You can only take care of your mom when you’re married if your husband approves. Otherwise, if hubby doesn’t let you, then you’ll have to dump her.”

    She seems to be framing this from a mindset that the husband = boss, the wife his underling.

    I think at the start of a relationship, you should discuss this situation with the guy you’re dating. He would then need to decide if he wants to enter a serious relationship that would take on an elderly or sick mother- in- law.

    You and the guy hammering out an agreement, or the guy deciding to go his way, is how two mature adults handle an obstacle.

    Watters makes it sound like the husband is the boss, it is a gender complementarian position.

    You don’t need your husband’s “approval” or “permission” to keep your mother.

    You said,

    “She also acts like the church will help. Ha. Ha. Ha.”

    Oh yeah, I know that is a joke and total lie.

    I know first hand that many church people are more into shaming and blaming than in actually helping other Christians who need help (my mother, who was a Christian, was one of the few exceptions I’ve seen about this, and a few Christians who post here).

    After my mother died, and I went to Christians for emotional support, and that would include Christians at a local church, I was told to stuff my pain down, go volunteer at soup kitchens, help homeless people get my mind off of me, I got shamed, lectured, criticized.

    I got anything and everything but actual HELP. I was not even asking for money, just emotional support, for pete’s sake.

    I’ve read so many stories that last few years about church people who served in a church for YEARS, but when they went to their church for help (emotional, financial, whatever it may be), they were told to go away and/or they were criticized for it, or shamed for having needs, or for asking for help.

    The New Testament says Christians are supposed to help other Christians, not give them lectures or platitudes -but many Christians ignore this.

    Yet, a lot of churches expect you to serve them! They expect you to show up regularly, mop the church floors, volunteer at functions, tithe, etc, but they don’t want to help you when you need it.

    (continued in Part 2)

    Like

  124. @ Clockwork Angel / Part 2

    You said,

    “Like the one where I shouldn’t get married for what I’ll get out of it–even though she writes articles that make it sound like I’ll end up an old bag with 200 cats, so hurry up and get married so I don’t end up miserable. “

    The majority of Christian advice about dating and marriages contains huge contradictions and is filled with hypocrisy, so I tune it out now.

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to married for “what you will get out of it” – that is precisely why other Christians get married – because they want to get something out of marriage (whether it’s companionship, sex, financial stability, whatever), but then some married Christians have the nerve to turn around and tell still-single adults, “That’s selfish if you view marriage that way.”

    The main reason most Christians (like Non Christians) get married is because they want to.

    So I find it so hypocritical that married Christians shame singles who want marriage by telling them, “You should not want to get married, you wanting it is the same as idoliziing it.”

    No. Wanting something is not necessarily akin to making it into an idol.

    Look at all the married Christian couples you see around you: had they not wanted to marry, they would still be single! Wanting something is a prerequisite to obtaining it.

    I am trying to make a long story short here, but let me tell you, I was in a serious relationship with a guy. I did what Christians say.
    I did not try to get my own needs met with my sweetie pie, let’s call him Scott (not his real name). I catered to Scott’s every want and need over the years we dated/ were engaged. I allowed him to exploit me financially, too.

    I was not looking to get anything out of it my relationship with Scott per se (maybe only love, affection, companionship) – but after years of Scott ignoring my needs and using me, I had enough.

    You cannot sustain a relationship indefinitely if you are not getting your needs met (and all humans have needs, even women), you cannot sustain a relationship if you are doing most of the giving, and the man is doing most of the taking.

    But the Christian gender complementarian view of marriage (which is what “Boundless” and other groups maintain) is that the wife exists only to meet the needs of the husband, it doesn’t matter if husband meets wife’s needs.

    I lived that view out with my ex- BF/finacee, and it did not work. I could not stand it anymore. I could not stand my needs were not being met over a period of years, but I was bending over backwards to meet Scott’s needs.

    Scott made out like a prince in our relationship, while I got nothing – not emotional support, not attention, no encouragement, no financial support, nada, zero, nothing. I was serving Scott, not being served – and I honest to God tried to be happy with that, it’s how Christians say you are to view other people, etc.

    I finally woke up and relaized I was being used. I was getting nothing out of it. So I dumped Scott. But stupid Christian dating advice on their stupid dating/ marriage sites keep telling single Christian women to keep doing this stuff.

    If you have this “doormat” mentality, (that it’s always selfish for you to have needs and get them met, and that it’s wrong for you to expect your mate to meet your needs), you will keep attracting men (and women friends) who will use you and take advantage of you.
    This is borne out not just in my personal experience, but in so many books and blogs I’ve read about boundaries and abusive marriages.

    Clock said,

    like the one where I shouldn’t get married for what I’ll get out of it–even though she writes articles that make it sound like I’ll end up an old bag with 200 cats, so hurry up and get married so I don’t end up miserable. Isn’t that getting something out of it? Isn’t that an impure motivation to not want 200 cats? Since when was God against us wanting a mate for ourselves, and not just to be a doormat servant-slave for another person?

    This kind of reminds me. I was reading stuff by single adult Christians. They quoted a book by married Christian authors who told singles a conflicting message, that went like this:

    1. Don’t be in a rush to get married. Take your time. You will make mistakes or appear desperate if you rush it

    — but a chapter later in the same book, they wrote: —

    2. Don’t take too long getting a mate [because single women have an expiration date].
    (They implied that most men won’t want to date a women over 35 or 40)

    So, the message they sent to single adults reading their book:
    Do NOT rush to get married, but DO rush to get married.

    Christians always give stupid, contradictory dating / marriage advice like that.

    Clockwork said,

    Candice Watters just told them to ditch their loved ones and hope the church magically helps out if their someday-husbands tell them to.

    Not to beat a dead horse since I discussed this above, but no, churches aren’t going to help you with your sick loved one.

    I have seen too, too many stories by church-attending Christians, who, when they feel sick, were in the hospital, dealing with an abusive spouse, nasty divorce, or a loved one was in bad medical shape, their church did nothing to help them when they approached their preacher, Sunday School friends, whomever, for help.

    Churches will fall all over themselves to give free turkeys at Christmas-time to poor families, to dig water wells for African orphans, or give free shoes to homeless men, but their attitude is, go take a long walk off a short pier if you are Average Jane or Average Joe who needs help with something.

    Churches think you should be totally self-reliant and never ask them for help. (Which totally goes against what the New Testament teaches.)

    Like

  125. Re MarshaMiller MAY 17, 2015 @ 1:07 PM

    Your story about the organ player whose husband fell ill – yes, this is the type of testimony I’ve seen over and over again on spiritual abuse blogs the last few years.

    You can spend years serving at a church, but if you stop going for whatever reason, often, the church won’t phone you to see if you are okay. If you approach them asking for help, many of them refuse to.

    They expect YOU to serve THEM, but they get angry if you ask them for help, even if it’s just emotional support, or something like, can someone from the church mow your lawn while you are sick on your couch for a few weeks or whatever.

    I do not know why so many Christians are so reluctant to help others who have problems.

    Like

  126. Part 3.
    @ Clockwork said,

    Isn’t that an impure motivation to not want 200 cats? Since when was God against us wanting a mate for ourselves, and not just to be a doormat servant-slave for another person?

    I sort of discussed this a bit above, but I wanted to re-iterate, I wish Christians would stop guilting or shaming singles who express a desire to get married!!

    Married Christians should stop lecturing singles that it’s “selfish” or a “wrong motive” to want to get married.

    There’s nothing inherently selfish or wrong with WANTING marriage, any more than it’s selfish or wrong to want to eat a cheese pizza for dinner tonight, or to take a continuing education class in auto repair, or to want to see the new Avengers movie.

    You’ll notice that Christians basically only ascribe the “check your motive” or “wanting something is selfish” view point when it is MARRIAGE under discussion.

    I’ve never seen these weenies scolding Christians over things such as:

    “Hey, it’s SELFISH for you to want to go take a French class at your local community college!”

    “You are thinking about mowing your front lawn this Tuesday? Well, that is just selfish!”

    Or, “Hey, WHY do you want to eat a grape lollipop, rather than have a piece of pecan pie? Check your MOTIVE!! Your grape candy desire is idolization, so repent.”

    Conversely, some Christians get alarmed over the shrinking marriage rates and then turn around and yell at single adults, “You should WANT to get married!!!”

    Oh okay, but when I freely admit yes, I am an unmarried adult who WANTS to get married eventually, these same jerks, or other Christian jerks, tell me, “But it’s selfish for you to want marriage.”

    They shame you for wanting marriage, but then also turn around and yell at you for supposedly not wanting it, because obviously, (they assume all this), if you had wanted marriage, you would have married years ago.

    There is nothing selfish or wrong about wanting to get married. The Christians who teach it’s selfish for a single to want marriage are obnoxious hypocrites.

    Like

  127. Daisy says – “Yet, a lot of churches expect you to serve them! They expect you to show up regularly, mop the church floors, volunteer at functions, tithe, etc, but they don’t want to help you when you need it.”

    I can top that! An elder at our former church said we should turn over all our income to the church, and that we could ask them to give us the money when we needed it. Oh that was in addition to all the free labor-my husband was the youngest guy in the church without a title. They promised him a position (volunteer of course) if he would take on the repairs, like shoveling snow, mowing lawns, repairing, painting, fixing the roof. He is an administrator not a fix it guy! And as if he had lots of free time, he takes care of our house, his mother’s house, and does lots of things for the elderly neighbors. But don’t get caught doing yardwork on a Sunday, he got called on the carpet several times for that.

    BTW, the whole membership saga gives me the creeps. My two former churches were big on membership agreements, the second one I refused to sign and they effectively shunned me. No discussion on my objections. Both of our former churches keep calling my husband to lure us back in. Ha!

    Just to let you know: after a year of non-attendance, I joined First Baptist Church in Branford CT. It’s American Baptist, and there are no rules, no tithing, no membership agreements, the pastor is technology savvy and there are women who preach and teach! When I told my story (not in graphic detail) they were amazed that these churches still exist. I think this church is easier on the members because it’s in an affluent town and has a 200 year legacy. They do lots of outreach and mission work, and I joined the choir. This is great so far.

    Like

  128. Preach it, Daisy!

    Don’t forget, if God hasn’t given you a spouse yet, then you must not be holy and sanctified enough yet for one, you yicky sinner you. But of course, the purpose of marriage is to sanctify you, you yicky sinner you. And if your husband beats you, you’re a yicky sinner who needs to be sanctified through a good beating. No matter what, you’re a yicky sinner who deserves whatever it is you’re going through. You deserve to be punished, er, I mean, sanctified. I mean, Jesus didn’t die for your sins or anything…. Now give us your money so you can voluntarily suffer some more to get holier faster.

    Evangelicals sound so Catholic sometimes. Seriously, the teaching that suffering sanctifies comes straight from Catholic theology. It is the entire basis of purgatory. Protestants merely have purgatory end on planet earth and not continue on in the afterlife. Sounds nit picky to me. A few verses, and the story of Job, are twisted to teach this doctrine of suffering for sanctification, and this becomes Gospel truth. But what is actually Biblical is that only suffering that is disciplinary for a specific sin (i.e., David’s adultery/murder) is sanctifying, since it corrects you from continuing in that same sin. Trust me, your conscience will know it when God is disciplining you for something specific. If you honestly don’t know why you’re suffering, then it isn’t because God is purging the yicky sin out of you. It is more likely a trial that proves before all of heaven and earth what your true character is.

    That is the entire point of the book of Job, but you’ll hardly ever hear that from the pulpit. You’ll usually hear that Job needed to be further sanctified so he can see God better, if they even preach on it at all. But real truth is that Job’s name was slandered in front of the angels, as well as God’s, because God was bragging about Job’s blamelessness. There was only one way to clear Job’s name, and that was to have him go through a trial where he couldn’t know the reason for his suffering. God’s appearance to him in a storm was NOT his sanctifying moment where he repents of some sin, but it was his final test–his last chance to literally curse God to his face if God didn’t tell him why he had to suffer. And he came out blameless.

    Yet Protestants/Evangelicals continue to treat Christians as though they must have some horrible sin in their life if they are suffering. They are just like Job’s friends. They accuse the saints like the devil does, even though it is likely that God is in fact bragging on them in heaven before all the angels. And because of their misinterpretation of the book of Job, they likewise continue to slander Job, just like the devil did.

    This is what I believe to be the root cause of why so many Evangelicals/Protestants look the other way when someone is suffering–whether it is a single person wanting to get married, or a married person trying to survive an abusive spouse, or someone who lost their job, or a loved one died, etc. etc. They think that if something bad has happened, then that person deserves it, and that they shouldn’t meddle with the cleansing God is doing. After all, they must be sinning. If they weren’t sinning, then life would be peachy for them. But if the suffering person is an unbeliever, then it’s okay to help them so they can know Jesus. If you already know Jesus, then you should have known better and deserve what is happening. We’ve all been unconsciously indoctrinated in this false teaching. Now, that doesn’t excuse the perpetrators who look the other way at suffering. I think it’s a convenient excuse to justify their cold-heartedness. But there’s no reason to hand these people convenient excuses. We need right teaching on this matter.

    Glad you dumped “Scott”. He didn’t deserve a nice lady like you. Funny, though, how complementarian teaching makes women out like their sole existence is to be their husband’s slave, but when you want to fulfill your “purpose” in life and get married so you can be your husband’s slave, then you’re suddenly wrong to want that. Perhaps I should have phrased my question to Candice Watters more carefully. Instead of saying, “I’d like the emotional support from a husband,” I should have said, “I desperately long to emotionally support a husband as a slaver, er, um, help meet and to meet his every whim. Do I pretty please have permission to do that at the same time as taking care of my mom?” Maybe Mrs. Watters wouldn’t have identified me as selfish if I’d put it more that way.

    Yes, I’d definitely be upfront with any man about my mom’s health. And I have been before. In fact, I’ve met a few men who admire what I do and wouldn’t mind being support of that as husbands, but sadly they lived in different states. Hard to get to know someone that way, and I’m not trusting enough to want to do a long distance relationship. I have to scan their back yard for dead bodies first. I just have to.

    I want a cheeseburger right now. Selfish me. 😀

    Like

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