ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Grace Community Church, John MacArthur, Master's University / Master's Seminary, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches

Jane’s Account of Rape, Response of Master’s University to Her Claims, and a Breaking Development Confirming Details #DoYouSeeUs

The Master’s University, The Master’s Seminary, Grace Community Church, John MacArthur, Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse, Jane’s Story, #DoYouSeeUs

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Credit: TMU Facebook page

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Introducing the Account of Master’s University Student “Jane” Being Raped

Earlier this week (September 18), blogger Marci Preheim shared the story of Jane (pseudonym), a Master’s University student who was drugged, then raped. The horrific story of what happened and how she was treated afterward is entitled, Do You See Me?  This incident occurred in 2006, 11 years ago.

Of course, this has created quite an uproar in social media, so much so, that statements from Pastor John MacArthur’s church and schools were posted on the Facebook pages of Grace Community Church (GCC), The Master’s University (TMU), and The Master’s Seminary (TMS). John MacArthur is the pastor of Grace Community Church, and founder and president of both The Master’s University and The Master’s Seminary.

Here is the statement posted on these Facebook pages:

The ministries of Grace Community Church and The Master’s University and Seminary have been informed of the blog article posted on September 18 by a Ms. Marci Preheim on behalf of an undisclosed individual. Although there are both evidentiary and biblical limitations in dealing with anonymous accusations, we take all claims of misconduct very seriously. According to our initial internal inquiry and review of the available records, we believe the blog article is plainly incorrect, a reality that we have verified with the police report on record. In addition to the various inaccuracies in the posted narrative, the male student that was accused in the official report was never a student at either The Master’s University or Seminary. In our view, anyone who would post such accusations without first verifying them has committed an unconscionable act of defamation, and anyone who would spread such misinformation is equally culpable in that irresponsibility. Should the undisclosed individual or any other person who has direct, firsthand knowledge of this matter wish to address this issue with us, we would request that they contact Kent Haney at The Master’s University who is overseeing the internal review of these allegations.  Source

I have issues with the statement, but in the interest of time, I will let others who posted responses on the Facebook pages of TMU, GCC, and TMS have the floor. By the way, the following comments are no longer there. The powers that be decided they did not like these comments and removed them. Why would they remove and squelch the voices of people who are responding with their full identities? At this blog, aptly named, Spiritual Sounding Board, I believe that all Christians should have an equal voice, regardless of their status within their churches or schools.

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No one from TMU, TMS, or GCC responded to any comments.

One concern that I take very seriously is the one of defamation/slander and harming innocent people. Mike Riccardi, the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, wrote a blog post, How to Kill Your Neighbor, which discusses slander and the harm it can cause. I agreed with a lot of it …

Scripture couldn’t be clearer. Proverbs 11:9 says, “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor.” Two verses later, we’re told that entire cities are torn down by the mouth of the wicked (Prov 11:11). One verse after that, the man of understanding who keeps silent is contrasted with the one who despises his neighbor, and, lacking sense, ostensibly doesn’t keep silent (Prov 11:12). And then Proverbs 12:6 personifies wicked words by styling them as premeditating murderers: “The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood.” Such quotations could be multiplied.

Earlier in that post, Pastor Riccardi discusses how society elevates celebrity victims:

In our climate of perpetual offendedness where our most celebrated heroes seem to be those who have projected themselves as victims, combined with the lack of accountability and reputability that social media affords one attempting to spread information, any quasi-plausible accusation—no matter how outrageous its content, no matter how reputable its victim—is regarded as true until proven false. And that means that the one accused in the matter is guilty until proven innocent.

… however, this conclusion seems one sided.

It’s interesting that this article came out September 22, at the height of Jane’s story making the rounds in social media. Let’s just pretend that his article was penned as a result of Jane’s story or any other story like hers. I have a couple of thoughts:

  • With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor.  The word “godless” is very important. We have to be very careful about accusations and calling accusers “godless.” Maybe God called the accuser to bring light to the cover-up and poor response. Let’s not be so quick to label an accuser as godless, in order to defend the actions of people in an institution just because you respect the institution.
  • If someone is reporting a heinous crime, we should believe them, show compassion, but also investigate. The first response should not be to dismiss the accusation and attack the victim, as we see in the statement.
  • The reputation of leaders should never take precedence over investigating the possibility of evil or sin in the camp.
  • When leaders post about the sin of slander immediately after their reputation is on the line with a specific public accusation, what it really says is “don’t believe it; it’s untrue.” It does not allow for discussion or further investigation.
  • This article diminishes the possibility that there could be sin in their own camp. It places little to no responsibility on leaders’ part for self-reflection.
  • It’s one-sided, and blames the accuser.
  • If the accusations are true, it is not slander (if spoken), libel (if written). Before labeling accusations as slander or libel, a prudent person would check to see if there is any truth in them.

Ok, enough about Pastor Riccardi’s post. Let’s move on and take a look at a few more screen shots taken from the Facebook pages. Note that these are people who left their  names and personal stories that seem to match the story of Jane, as far as the response of TMU when she reported her being raped.

The point is: Jane’s response from TMU is not isolated.

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Folks, there are more than two or three witness who are voicing the same concerns. How many more are needed before they are taken seriously?

And then there was this comment, which in my opinion seemed to be a reasonable suggestion in light of the many personal testimonies of harm done in other cases. Take note, Mr. Swanson spent 25 years there. He put his reputation on the line as one taking the “slanderers'” accounts seriously, after all, the Bible does talk about love and believing people, doesn’t it?

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But look at this surprising response from Jesse Johnson (Dean of The Master’s Seminary in Washington, D.C.) regarding Mr. Swanson’s suggestion to be transparent with records. If TMU is innocent, they should have no problem with this suggestion.

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Frankly, I was taken aback at the tone Pastor Johnson used with Mr. Swanson, someone senior to him. Let’s make no mistake about it, Pastor Johnson is attempting to squelch Mr. Swanson’s voice. We need to ask why. What harm is done with an independent investigation? Does TMU really care about these concerns?

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Questions About Responses to Cases of Assault and Abuse, in Light of TMU’s Mission Statement

I have spoken with Jane a couple of times, and we have also exchanged texts. I found Jane to be believable. One thing she has made very clear to me is this: This is not about her story, even though she detailed her account publicly. She publicized her story to draw attention to how she was treated by leaders at The Master’s University. She is not suing anyone. This story came out 11 years after the incident. That should tell you something. This should not be a fact-finding mission about Jane. This is about challenging TMU, TMS, and GCC to respond to how they handle assault and abuse cases.

Before we move on, I wanted to highlight part of The Master’s University’s ,Mission Statement. Notice moral integrity. TMU wants to empower students with moral integrity.

Mission Statement

The mission of The Master’s University is to empower students for a life of enduring commitment to Christ, biblical fidelity, moral integrity, intellectual growth and lasting contribution to the Kingdom of God worldwide.

A little farther down the page, moral integrity is described in more detail:

Moral Integrity, as evidenced by:

  • The nurturing of holiness through self-examination
  • Stewardship of time, abilities and resources
  • A lifetime of wholesomeness and moderation that regards the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit
  • The practice of honesty, courtesy and civility toward all persons
  • The practice of biblically confronting and restoring sinners
    (Source)

When reading that, I wondered if TMU practiced these “evidences” as they dealt with Jane when she reported the crime committed against her?  Furthermore, was she believed, respected, cared for as a Shepherd cares for a wounded sheep? Or was she battered further, told to repent of her sins, told to meet with her rapist? By the way, who does that? Who in their right mind would force a rape victim to meet with her rapist? 

Interestingly, I saw this quote from John MacArthur:

“Jesus has an unequaled capacity for sympathizing with us in every danger, trial, or situation that comes our way, because he’s been through it all.”

If we are to be Christlike, then shouldn’t we be sympathizing with those who have experienced danger … or rape? That is not what we see from Jane’s account at all.

This is not about defending an institution, trying to make sure all facts are exactly perfect. For crying out loud, this woman was drugged and raped AND it is 11 years later. We should expect some minor discrepancies. This is about how women are treated and how reports of sexual assault and abuse are handled. This is about caring for the flock under your oversight, not trampling over them with accusations of sin, forcing them to be in the same room and look at the person who physically, emotionally, and spiritually traumatized them.

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BREAKING NEWS 09/21/2017:

Confirmation for Details from Jane’s Account About the Aftermath of the Rape

Last night (September 21), I received a message from someone who claimed she was there when Jane got back to the dorm after being drugged and raped. She said she heard Jane crying and comforted her. When I told Jane about this witness, she was unfamiliar with her name. That had me concerned for a second. Then I texted her picture, and it all came back to her (Jane). Jane remembered bawling with this “stranger,” still feeling drugged.

With this person’s permission, I am posting the screenshots of the pertinent parts of our text conversation.

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Note:  This witness got Jane’s first name correct, but last name wrong (which is why I did not blot out the last name). Later, in the conversation, the witness recalled Jane’s last name. She also said later in the conversation that she was unclear if it was spring break or Outreach week, but she remembered that most students were not there.

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In conclusion, this is what we know:

  • TMU acknowledges an incident occurred with Jane.
  • There was a police report filed.
  • At this point, the discussion does not pertain to whether or not a rape occurred.
  • The discussion is about the response by TMU to this rape claim.

Jane told me she would like the focus to be on how churches/Christian leaders respond to claims of sexual assault and abuse, not focus on her. There are many (I posted only a few) who have reported that they have received similar treatment from leaders at TMU.

When reasonable requests are made for TMU to take a look at how they respond to sexual assault and abuse claims, we see leaders shut down the conversation, blame the victim, remove posts. Something is wrong with this picture. It’s time to look more closely at how leaders deal with sexual assault and abuse claims and be transparent. Victims should not be scared into silence, nor should they be told to repent and meet with whoever assaulted/abused them.

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RELATED ARTICLES

Additional posts may be listed here without a notice of updating.

The Stones Will Cry Out: A Commentary on Sexual Abuse in the Evangelical Church (by Sarah Taras and Marci Preheim; March 6, 2016).

Do You See Me? (by Marci Preheim; September 18, 2017).

Believing Jane: Reflections on a Rape and it’s Cover-Up at The Master’s College & Seminary (by Hannah; September 20, 2017).

How Evangelical Ideas About Forgiveness Failed This Rape Survivor (by Libby Anne; September 20, 2017).

Jane and the Masters [sic] University Rape Scandal (September 21, 2017).

Regarding Jane (by Marci Preheim; September 25, 2017).

Jane’s Story and How The Leaders Failed Her (by Becky Castle Miller; September 25, 2017).

 

227 thoughts on “Jane’s Account of Rape, Response of Master’s University to Her Claims, and a Breaking Development Confirming Details #DoYouSeeUs”

  1. mwcamp – there is a reason for my reluctance to get into the topic of commenting, and not just because I have pratted on about it before.

    You cannot possibly infer from what I have said that I am trying to divert attention away from abuse like abusive churches would, having stated precisely the opposite and why. Yet this response is all too predictable, as is I am hung-up on the language people use, especially if they are obviously angry about what has happened to them.

    Did you miss the sentence complaining about the most vile comment I have ever read It was in contravention of the blog rules? Quite specifically. This isn’t me ‘tone policing’, it is wishing in many cases blogs would enforce their own rules rather than turning a blind eye to favourite commenters.

    Let me ask you something: does the NT exempt any of us from how we should speak to one another? ‘Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, with all malice, …’

    Are ‘survivors’ exempt? Or MacArthurites such as Pyromaniacs and Fred Butler? Six of one and half a dozen of the other all too often.

    I’m not going to trespass on Julie Anne’s patience any long regarding this subject! All credit to her on another thread in heading off people getting angry with each other.

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  2. KAS,

    Please give us some specific examples of when the other side actually listened to victims. When has that actually happened? The reality is that no matter how polite we are, the other side just isn’t going to listen.

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  3. Avid Reader – I think the problem is more the Big Names of evangelicalism are sceptical of claims to be a victim in the first place. It’s not lack of politeness that is causing this, it is an unending narrative of perpetual victimhood by people showing little more than bitterness, anger and prejudice that obscures the genuine victims who really have seriously suffered at the hands of authoritarian leadership. Fred Butler’s attitude to survivor blogs is evidence of this. I can’t altogether blame him.

    Around the celebrities are many followers who perhaps might not be so impervious to being persuaded to rethink their commitment to the MacArthurs of this world. They are less likely to be reached if the critics are mirror images of how MacArthur in turn treats say charismatics, meaning with derision.

    There is yet another group who don’t know what is going on and who ought to. If only for the sake of the fellowships they are in – an awareness of where evangelicalism can get it wrong. That outwardly ‘godly’ men can be ravenous wolves on the inside leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. The internet could be a wake up call for them.

    It took me a long time to see through Team Pyro. Whilst I wouldn’t say they were ravenous wolves (with one possible exception if the court so decides) such men are arrogant and sometimes infantile. (Not so much Johnson but his sidekicks.) I tried – for fun – to engage them briefly on the charismatic stance they take, but it is like talking to the mantelpiece! So I am aware of the difficulty in trying to get through to this sector of the Christian scene. I saw through them for myself, but it was a relief to find someone else dissect and dismantle their little empire on a sensible blog, yet without rancour or anger, which if I had seen it before coming to my own conclusions, would like have made me think the problem is with the critic.

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  4. KAS, I think you are holding us to a standard that is well beyond scripture. It’s the same standard that is being held against Jane. I was spiritually and emotionally abused by my family and church. When I finally started to wake up to it, I was ANGRY. And KAS’ites in the church used that anger to justify further spiritual and emotional abuse.

    They told me I should keep my mouth shut against God’s elect. They told me that I was slandering and gossiping. They told me I was not loving because I was ‘keeping a record of wrongs’.

    You may think that you are promoting justice, but I think, like those I know, you are promoting silence, false peace and a false smile on our faces. That is not the voice of Jesus. Jesus didn’t walk away from the show of emotion. He wept, too. He got angry. He didn’t keep his mouth shut against God’s elect.

    For better or worse, these blogs fill a void that is nonexistent in the false peace churches – a place for us to tell our stories and heal from abuse and wrong. The church SHOULD be that place, but the church has turned its back on being a place of healing. Remember, it was the Pharisees that were keeping Jesus from healing on the Sabbath.

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  5. Mark – I don’t think you have seen for one minute what I am getting at. You won’t find anywhere where I have said anyone should keep quiet over abuse. Quite the opposite.

    I have maintained the NT imposes standards of speech and behaviour that we are all under obligation to meet.

    I this particular thread, it is Fred Butler who has proved himself crassly insensitive in what he has said.

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  6. I read this story after hearing about it and don’t doubt it could be true because I know someone who was similarly abused at Masters College and when she tried to do something about it was treated very similarly to how “Jane” says she was treated. Even if Jane is fictional, I am certain there has been similar foul play at Masters, and high ranking Masters officials not only know it, they have conspired to “make it go away”, even when doing so required blaming the victim and failing to properly report the crimes.

    I know what happened to another girl, I’ll call her “Sandy”, and was greatly angered over the outrageous way Masters Officials treated her after she was systematically abused and raped by someone they continue to employ even today.

    Sandy first met her married abuser when she was working as a Jr High in Santa Clarita, he was her “mentor”, and used his position of authority, force, pain and threats to take advantage of her. He was a history teacher at the same school. During that time I was not completely aware of what she was going through, but was very aware of the bruises he left on her in the process, and even knew she had to get medical treatment. Only later on did I find out he’d been manhandling her after class and using so much force that she has scar tissue on her chest as a result. She was young, new to the school and afraid he really could get her fired if she tried to report him. Later I also learned he did the same thing to at least 1 other young teacher who was in a similar position. Eventually he moved on to a Christian high school in the Antelope Valley, but not before raping Sandy more than once. I’m guessing he had to give a testimonial before he was hired at the Christian school, I’d sure like to see that pack of lies. These days he works for Masters College, where I’m sure he also had to give a testimonial and I expect he lied there too.

    Sandy was so devastated that several years later she still couldn’t put it behind her so she confided with a pastor and he contacted officials at Masters College and convinced her to share her abuse with them. She met with the Director of Human Resources, and the Chief Financial Officer. Initially they spoke as thought they were incensed and for a while led her to believe they were going to fire him, but then the process got a bit more complicated and they asked her to write a statement, which she did. They took the statement that Sandy wrote and rewrote it, then asked her to sign it and she refused. Then things got ugly because they had redacted everything damning, like references to the violence. By the time they were through with her, they were practically accusing her of either making the whole thing up or causing him to want to violate her.

    Then they spoke to her abuser, who they say admitted he’d had “an inappropriate relationship”, but without addressing any of the details, including the rapes and physical abuse that resulted in doctor’s visits, also said he’d repented and told his wife. I don’t know what Church you go to, but where I attend repentance would have included restitution to the victim which they know never happened, and of course they should have also revisited his pre-employment testimonial.

    After that, Masters Staff turned the tables on Sandy, even outright telling her that it was her own fault that she’d been abused and raped by him, and of course he continues to work for Masters to this day.

    Grace Community and even John McArthur were involved with this case, so it’s not like Sandy’s rapist got off because she wasn’t willing to take it to the top. Sandy does suspect some of the administrators who also knew what happened may have left Masters College because of how they treated her.

    This was a few years ago and Sandy has been in therapy ever since those so called “Christians” sold out their Christian faith, (if they really ever had it to begin with), and put protecting their business ahead of doing what’s right and protecting other potential victims from this predator.

    I can’t tell if Jane’s story is true, but I’m absolutely sure Masters College knows they have predators and are doing exactly what the Catholic Church tried to do when people reported abuse to them… They blame the victim and protect the predator. I know there are many good Christians at Masters, but it’s obviously a for profit organization that completely lacks the good Christian morals they pretend they espouse and embrace. I would never give them a recommendation.

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  7. Even if Jane is fictional

    I don’t think Jane is fictional, however there was a show a while back called ‘Veronica Mars’ where the title character investigated things in her school/town. One episode was about a girl in her high school who accused the teacher of having an illicit affair with her. VM investigates, finds this can’t be true. Turns out, the girl in question was not the one abused, it was her friend but she was the one who decided to confront the issue. Interesting case. So what she said was untrue for her, but true for her friend.

    I know what happened to another girl, I’ll call her “Sandy”, and was greatly angered over the outrageous way Masters Officials treated her after she was systematically abused and raped by someone they continue to employ even today.

    Contrary to KAS’s opinion here, EVERYONE should be angry at stuff like this! It is outrageous. I think Jesus would be knocking over tables, and Paul would be consigning people to hell. That’s our NT standard of behavior for people like this, imo.

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  8. Julie Anne… are you aware of any follow up going on, that is pursuing investigating Masters College? Are people that have been affected and are aware of these situations connecting? I’m thinking of the Harvey Weinstein and how he got away with exploiting women for 30 years, and had to ask why did it take so long to expose? because they were isolated incidents spread around the world, it didn’t happen to every woman that crossed his path, but far too many.. some women were strong enough to say no, but some weren’t, they were young, confused, whatever… but the reason it took 30 years was because they had not connected… I hope and pray that the Jane revelation is enough to prompt those harmed and those aware of those harmed along with those who were strong enough to stand up to whatever exploitation to come together and pursue an investigation… possibly via GRACE or a similar type independent group… as Gwyneth Paltrow said…

    “This way of treating women ends now,”

    we need men and women to be strong and courageous and speak up as part of the priesthood of all believers, to expose this demeaning, dehumanizing, objectifying of women, that are made in the image of God… and say enough! no more! This honors God and His Bride… the exploitation and abuse of power dishonors God and His Bride… and we honor Him when we expose the abuse going on in His Church.

    hope that makes sense!

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  9. Contrary to KAS’s opinion here, EVERYONE should be angry at stuff like this! It is outrageous.

    Hear, hear, Lea! I’ve been meaning to respond to KAS earlier on this subject (and others), but my time and energy have been a bit lacking of late.

    Further upthread, KAS told us: “Around the celebrities are many followers who perhaps might not be so impervious to being persuaded to rethink their commitment to the MacArthurs of this world. They are less likely to be reached if the critics are mirror images of how MacArthur in turn treats say charismatics, meaning with derision.”

    And pray tell, KAS, how else should we treat men who have covered up crimes, and who’ve abused women who came to them for help and godly counsel? Do you honestly think that Jesus, who called His own opponents “vipers” and “sons of hell”, would be sweeter and kinder than we’ve been here?

    I’ve said this before: if MacArthur’s and Butler’s followers refuse to see the suffering of their own brothers and sisters simply because they don’t like our language, then they’re just blind followers of the blind.

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  10. Christy wrote, “she confided with a pastor and he contacted officials at Masters College…”
    Wrong officials. Until pastors start referring sexual assault victims to law enforcement, perps will continue to prey and institutions will continue to coddle them.

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  11. KAS, I agree with Mark. Too far. Your responses can come across as without empathy.

    Let me ask you something: does the NT exempt any of us from how we should speak to one another? ‘Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, with all malice, …’<<<

    The NT is not a rulebook down to the letter, word, and sentence. Jesus was angry when confronting the Temple market and Pharisees (which contradicts your quoted verse). He called them names (nest of snakes). Paul wished the legalists would castrate themselves. You can not expect abused people (physical or emotional or spiritual) to immediately act like saints. Given the examples I just gave, it begs the question, how do saints act when defending abused people? Jesus’ and Paul’ responses to spiritual abusers would not fit our modern definition of “polite.”

    Abused people get angry and defend themselves and might call people names. Sometimes they are able to do it with a measure of control (angry without sin?), sometimes not. Your insistence that the NT does not exempt people from how we speak to one another is technically true, but not black and white. There is no moral equivalence between a habitual abuser and someone who angrily responds to the abuser. One is unjust and the other is standing up to injustice, however imperfectly (or maybe it’s okay to throw in a little anger and cynicism and mockery like Jesus, Paul, and the prophets?).

    I hope you are sincere that you don’t want to excuse abusers but when one comes across that there is equal, moral wrong on both sides, it appears like they are not taking the abuse seriously. I’ve seen abusers use that technique, time and time again, to weasel out of taking responsibility, and then turn the tables so the one accusing them of abuse is the real sinner. I don’t know if that is what you are doing. I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    I have no idea who the person is you mentioned who had a objectionable comment on a blog. It’s good to police those comments when appropriate, but don’t use a negative example to excuse or downplay habitual abusers. Call a spade a spade.

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  12. Bev – Yes, it does make sense. I am connected with a group of TMU grads. They’ve been sharing their stories (not all involve sexual assault).

    The TMU board will be meeting soon and I’ve heard that they will be releasing a statement.

    This case is far from over. Unfortunately, I have been slammed at school and haven’t been able to put together something. I sure will, though, eventually. I believe there has been various kinds of abuse going on for years at TMU. It needs to be uncovered.

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  13. SK: If MacArthur’s and Butler’s followers refuse to see the suffering of their own brothers and sisters simply because they don’t like our language, then they’re just blind followers of the blind.

    Neither you nor mwcamp have seen what I am getting at – which is one reason for my reluctance to get bogged down in it. To be fair, it took me a while to see it as I didn’t want to believe it myself.

    Try “Wartburg Whiners”. Yes, I know it is Seneca, and I know he probably has an axe to grind. But look at his collection of comments on Dever and Piper: 2014 for the former and 2015 “Wartburgwatch simply hates John Piper” for the later.

    Now I’ve seen worse than this in my time from various survivor blogs, really vile, but I’ve left it behind and have no desire to go digging again. Reading the same testimony of abusive leadership (which I don’t disbelieve) about 30 times, and in one case over 300 times!! (Not that I’ve counted.) Sometimes people are still angry over what happened three decades ago, the sun would appear never to be going down on this. And for whom is this an ‘opportunity’?

    Piper has said some really bizarre things recently, and he invites and should get criticism for them. But personal invective and jibes won’t convince anyone, especially those who think he is the best thing since sliced bread, and say more about the critic than him.

    Fred Butler – and I’ve looked at some of JA’s links to him – has a very low opinion of survivor blogs for the very reason of their bitterness etc. Fred ought not to dismiss Jane’s testimony so easily, but I think I can in part understand why he does so.

    The goal of the survivor blog sector to help the wounded and try to get those who consider themselves to have ‘pastoral authority’ to do something about it or admit where they have got it wrong is noble and worthy. In doing this, it is a strategic error when commenting becomes little other than nasty personal comments. It’s not all like that, I’m not saying that, but far too common. Too much like what Team Pyro descended into.

    It gives the evangelical industrial complex the perfect excuse to say ‘nothing to see here, move on’.

    That’s it as far as I’m concerned, lest I start repeating everything 30 times!

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  14. Pastor John I agree, she should have gone straight to the police but I understand why she didn’t. She was in love with her religion and and afraid that if she spoke up she’d lose everything and be shunned. She felt powerless and even more today is aware how powerful the school officials are and how little her coming forth accomplished other than making her a pariah. 😦

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  15. I have been thinking about the deeper issues to this failure and think I have stumbled upon something. I really believe this is the product of John MacArthur’s world of exclusive expository preaching, which over 40 years has led people to become more Pharisaical in nature than like Jesus. Strong statement I realize, but if you unpack so many of the problems in this church, it is centered on lacking real life wisdom to life’s real life concerns.

    What is the fruit of expository preaching over 40 years?
    Expository preaching assumes that Christian growth happens individually and cognitively: the believer in the pew hears the sermon, takes notes, and acknowledges an application, then goes home to apply it in everyday life. Sanctification happens through the cognitive mind digesting a “truth” which then enables the mind to tell the body to do it. Thousands sit and listen, take notes, and selectively hear what they will hear. The Word has become information to be used for my life as it is.

    John MacArthur will defend any other method with 10 reasons why pastors do not preach with this method and he does this with most everything. It sounds very reasonable and salient. But it is IMBALANCED and so is his flock and those who are trained under this exclusive method! This is why you will hear similar stories to the sister churches of John MacArthur and The Master’s Seminary.

    When it comes to real life issues like Jane, we see the fruit of expository preaching that is exclusive, and GCC is the paradigm of this, proudly so. It is an issue of balance, and John MacArthur is not a balanced man or thinker in the slightest. Anything pertaining to emotions is quenched for the cognitive. So we have almost robot-like relating and almost NO vulnerability with this model of church growth.

    Expository preaching is a good thing, but this church is extreme and totally against anything outside of its tight borders. That is the core issue here. It produces Pharisees more than Jesus, and they are proud of it when you sit under it for YEARS!
    Is wisdom produced pertaining to all aspect of life, people SO educated that they can think and develop ways to impact culture that is balanced? Not if you develop a model called Nouthetic Counseling! This is how they apply truth to real life matters and it fails miserably, only producing more robot-like Pharisees. Within the family structures of this church are A LOT of problems swept under the carpet. Nobody would dare risk being vulnerable, and that proves it’s failure–hide, keep secrets, never be exposed because if you do…one word solution: SIN. This entire system destroys itself IF you keep things under control! Hmmm, sound like something have a hard time breaking free of?

    Look to any discipline issue, and you will see almost a mind-control method that usually totally misses the heart or “Spirit” of the matter! Cold and harsh is acceptable for TRUTH! Am I wrong here? Anyone at this church experienced this and quietly discuss these issues. If it gets public, the responses will go to the other side and look like this, “Story telling, worldly methods, seeker-sensitive, shallow, Charismatic, emotional” and use that as their defense.

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  16. KAS,

    For some time now, I’ve wanted to reply to your last comment on this thread. But work, life and illness have all conspired to make that difficult. Also, there’s so much that I want to address, and I think doing so will require more than one comment. I realize it’s been nearly a month since your comment, and you needn’t reply if you don’t feel like it, but I hope you’ll at least read what I have to say.

    Reading the same testimony of abusive leadership (which I don’t disbelieve) about 30 times, and in one case over 300 times!! (Not that I’ve counted.) Sometimes people are still angry over what happened three decades ago, the sun would appear never to be going down on this.

    My response: What does that matter? What difference does it make how long ago an offence was committed, or often the same story is told? If an injustice hasn’t been addressed, we should talk about it. If abuses have been committed, we need to learn from them. Are you saying that the men in the documentary “An Open Secret” shouldn’t be talking about the evils that were done to them, simply because they happened decades ago? That makes no sense to me. At all.

    People who have suffered abuse have a right to be angry. All the more so when they’ve been silenced for years on end, and their abusers are still active and (most likely) hurting other people.

    For my part, I’ve made a point of reminding Kevin DeYoung (and his readers) of how he willingly cosigned a statement in support of C.J. Mahaney that contained obvious falsehoods. It’s been a few years since then, and neither he nor his colleagues have addressed the matter. Not once. Until they do, I have no problem with making comments about it, and I’ll gladly do it 30 times, or 300 hundred times. Whatever it takes to get DeYoung to finally explain himself, instead of assuming that we’ll all just forget that he misrepresented facts to shield his buddy.

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  17. And for whom is this an ‘opportunity’?

    It’s an opportunity for the abused to speak and be heard. It’s an opportunity for all of us to learn. And it’s an opportunity for followers of the big dogs to see that there might be a side of their heroes that they hadn’t considered before. Even if they choose not to listen.

    Piper has said some really bizarre things recently, and he invites and should get criticism for them. But personal invective and jibes won’t convince anyone, especially those who think he is the best thing since sliced bread, and say more about the critic than him.

    Since you refuse (as always) to give examples of what you consider “jibes” or “invective”, it’s hard to know exactly what you mean. But genuine anger at men like the Pied Piper might possibly convince unbelievers that Christians hate the preaching of dangerous nonsense just much as they do. And it might get them to consider that God cares for victims of abuse, too. How is that a bad thing?

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  18. I really believe this is the product of John MacArthur’s world of exclusive expository preaching, which over 40 years has led people to become more Pharisaical in nature than like Jesus.

    BB, I completely agree. I think it makes it difficult for people to pull back and look at ‘broad strokes’. Or at least, it makes it easy to ignore them.

    Balance is sorely needed here.

    People who have suffered abuse have a right to be angry.

    Yes!!

    All the more so when they’ve been silenced for years on end, and their abusers are still active and (most likely) hurting other people.

    Not only is this process healing for the victim, if people will 1. listen and 2. learn and 3. take them seriously, it can prevent further victims. Which we should all want. No matter what ‘tone’ anyone uses.

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  19. “What does that matter? What difference does it make how long ago an offence was committed, or often the same story is told? If an injustice hasn’t been addressed, we should talk about it. If abuses have been committed, we need to learn from them. Are you saying that the men in the documentary “An Open Secret” shouldn’t be talking about the evils that were done to them, simply because they happened decades ago?”

    Here’s the total irony, the VERY message taught from the bible is the VERY one violated! This goes MUCH deeper to part of a faulty system or incomplete system. The ONLY way to maintain a broken system is to HIDE or SUPPRESS…that in itself says there is something very wrong and NOT biblical! This isn’t complex.

    If these issues were that of 10 years olds, the solution would be quick and simple! Seriously, contemplate this for a second. But because we are adults and dealing with the church somehow the core issues are different? Men in positions of leadership, men who preach & teach to be “beyond reproach” and the core scriptures for leadership requirements are plastered over all their doctrinal statements somehow are above their own law system?

    In the end, they are men and prove to be as puny as the men they call unbelievers, yet they are held to a higher standard!

    The deeper issues are summed up in this quote;
    “You cannot get a man to understand something when his career depends upon him NOT understanding”

    Once people understand this, the light goes on! When you build a system of thought and that system becomes an empire of books, DVD’s, conferences, study guides, teaching engagements like a rock star touring the world you really have something to lose! When your “career” depends upon you looking the other way, suppressing, going into denial, rationalizing, you are the ‘frog in water’ boiling to death and can’t get out. Let’s not make this complex, it is called pride and shame and guilt…man will do most anything to face himself.

    …and these men preach the gospel telling the world to do the same!

    This is why people can’t face these issues, they will lose their foundation, their hope in church, God, everything they hold onto because even people in the church have an idolatry hangover that is much deeper than they realize–there is pride in the pulpit and pride in the pew here!

    …just my thot for the day!

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  20. Hang on, I’m not done yet. 😉

    Fred Butler – and I’ve looked at some of JA’s links to him – has a very low opinion of survivor blogs for the very reason of their bitterness etc.

    Oops! KAS, you used the “b-word”. That one would have gotten you put into slow moderation at TWW.

    More seriously: What you’re saying here is simply ridiculous. Butler is a nasty human being. No one made him that way — he has chosen to be nasty. That is no one’s fault but his own. He cannot blame it on anyone else. Not on Julie Anne, not on Dee and Deb, and certainly not on anyone’s commenters.

    Fred ought not to dismiss Jane’s testimony so easily, but I think I can in part understand why he does so.

    Well, I can too. It’s because he’s a nasty human being. He’s mean and misogynistic, and can’t stand anyone — especially any woman — who dares to interfere with his narrative of male superiority and the supremacy of clerical authority. That’s why he has to go all the way and declare unilaterally that no rape took place at all in Jane’s case. After all, if he admits the possibility of a seminary student committing rape, then he can’t claim that pastors are superior to the sheep. And we can’t have that, now can we?

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  21. In doing this, it is a strategic error when commenting becomes little other than nasty personal comments…. It gives the evangelical industrial complex the perfect excuse to say ‘nothing to see here, move on’.

    Only in their own twisted little minds, KAS. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If these men and their enablers are deaf to the cries of people like Jane, and Dash, and Christianity Hurts, then they are deaf by their own choice. The tone and words of the suffering (or those outraged by their suffering) are not to blame, and they give the Evangelical Industrial Complex no valid excuse at all.

    As BB quoted very aptly above, “You cannot get a man to understand something when his career depends upon him NOT understanding.”

    On that topic, last week I left yet another comment on DeYoung’s blog (the one entitled “The Stupidity of Sin”). He opened the door, after all. It stayed up for a few days at least, but now my comment has been deleted. Just one more example a wilfully deaf pastor, because his livelihood depends on being deaf.

    (If anyone’s interested in reading my comment to him, I can copy it here.)

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  22. Everyone needs to watch, The Bridge on the River Kwai. Buy it. Watch it with friends and have a group discussion. When a noble man, possibly with obsessive dynamics over time (frog in water) loses connection to people and slowly builds an empire, then the empire becomes more important than people. Truth becomes more important than wisdom. I have said it before, these “leaks” reveal a much greater problem. Also, reaction always tell the truth. How people react reveals who their Lord really is! How’s that for a Lordship-Salvation twist. People find security following a strong personality. When they lose their identity in the process common sense goes out the window as well. There is pride in the pulpit and pride in the pew!

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  23. To insert another layer to this conversation, I have been thinking about the power of a faith system and how this impacts family and one’s culture. America: The Great Experiment; has one core flaw, shallow roots and no common faith system compared to other cultures.

    A neighbor of mine is from India. His family is as rock solid as any I ever witnessed. He has 1000’s of years of history and roots based on his common faith, and generations have adopted this. I worked overseas and saw the same, brother, sister, cousin, neighbor all believed the same which had a calm about the culture.

    Christianity is complex in America. Divisions, interpretations, debate, churches of various denominations everywhere…and that is in Christianity! Add all the other “faiths” and it is a melting pot of division and debate. There is no root system, and So Calif is the shallowest the closer you get to Hollywood. No family roots, no shared memories, so you go surface…experience, fast & furious. It ties into the Weinstein scandal which brought Jane to us…the illusion of family–Hollywood, externals but no internal reality.

    I see MacArthur fighting for a constant, certainty, perspicuity, and at the church there is a culture of stability IF everyone follows along…this gives a sense of security and safety. In his mind, he is fighting for the faith and anyone attacking this is attacking that stability of faith…this is why people turn and look the other way. They care about Jane, but their stability is threatened, and if they get this rocked, their lives fall apart.

    I think we can understand this…but the people who respond to Jane’s story already have moved on or are on the edge of moving on, they are willing to get out, but people need to grab hold of something else or they will stay where they are at. Few are willing to risk leaving in faith, in hope they will land some place else.

    I see this dynamic at work here along with all the details shared.

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  24. There is no root system

    My family were Presbyterians before they came here from Scotland hundreds of years ago and they brought that with them, though. We don’t to be rootless just because our families moved I think.

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  25. That’s great…the challenge is sharing the values from generation to generation. Many times the values (faith) gets watered down…American culture is a constant attack on values, and the Internet has taken that to whole new levels.

    Your Presbyterian roots can be questioned, examined, plenty of offers from other sources available at the click of a button. Your family would have to find a church that upholds your families values otherwise it is very difficult to maintain. Which is why your mom might protect that “system” and your brother might venture outside of that.

    In Scotland, the culture was a constant of those values, in America you are just a minority among all the other options, but a 100 years ago culture remained steady, not today! Your children, per se, can go off to college and be introduced to an entirely different world of values.

    All I am saying is I think these issues are behind why a college would want to maintain their image, even at the cost of Jane’s story. Parents sent their kids to TMC in order to keep their value system. This story could cause great damage. Make sense? The students at TMC are part of the “i-generation”–all they have ever known is the Internet, i-phones, instant access to most everything, they have no ability to go back and say, “remember when…”

    John MacArthur is from an alien generation, growing up before TV was popular much less being able to carry 25 high end technological devices in their pocket called a cell phone! He also has said many times he does not care about culture, he is only interested in being a “bilblicist”–no other pastor(s) had to deal with the radical changes the past 30 years have developed technologically.

    The more available information, the greater the threat of losing one’s core value system. Look at the culture today–everything is being dissected and challenged, even what it means to be a man or woman! The greater the culture fragments, the more he wants to keep things certain, and people will always gravitate towards this to make sense of their world, which means going way too far one way while another church goes the other way. Lordship-Salvation Vs Free Grace is about this to some extent I believe.

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  26. KAS said,

    Try “Wartburg Whiners”. Yes, I know it is Seneca, and I know he probably has an axe to grind. But look at his collection of comments on Dever and Piper: 2014 for the former and 2015 “Wartburgwatch simply hates John Piper” for the later.

    The only person who has a tendency to bring up Griggs and Griggs’ Whiner blog (especially in some kind of favorable light, as KAS did here) is Griggs himself.

    Which he did on my blog under 2 or 3 different screen names, all of which I blocked on my Daisy blog.

    I feel pretty comfortable asserting this:

    KAS = Seneca Griggs

    (Unless KAS is Griggs’ one lone groupie or fan.

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  27. As someone who attended The Master’s College for four years and worked there for ten, I absolutely believe this story. There has been so so much done by the higher-ups at the school that is horrifically wrong. There is a hardness and an utter lack of compassion deep in the veins of those who run things. If I had it to do over again, I would stay far, far away from TMC/TMU and GCC. I don’t say that out of anger, but out of knowledge – nothing awful happened to me personally, but I knew of others…

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  28. There is a hardness and an utter lack of compassion deep in the veins of those who run things

    This is why I think all the talk about polity and theology misses the point. The real problem is lack of compassion, and lack of love for other people. Anyone who doesn’t demonstrate these things in Christianity is showing that they cannot be trusted, imo, to do what is right.

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  29. “As someone who attended The Master’s College for four years and worked there for ten, I absolutely believe this story. There has been so so much done by the higher-ups at the school that is horrifically wrong”

    That is far from being “beyond reproach” according to scripture! “but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal”…here is the test, how does one in this church respond to these accusations? That will tell you who they really serve! I have said if half the stories are true, then the Word of God has been diminished and that is the irony here folks, the very thing used to transform lives has no real power and GCC, TMC & TMS is totally built upon that foundation! Their lack of character has destroyed the very thing they uphold as truth! Yet, they focus on judging and attacking others with pride.

    “Be not [me] many of you teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive the heavier judgment” (James 3:1).

    “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:2-3

    “…an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money…” 1 Tim 3

    “Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.” Ezekiel 34:1-10

    “Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:3

    “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Acts 20:28

    “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1

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  30. JA: KAS, why are you reading and commenting here?

    Noticed this ages ago, but life has got in the way.

    The immediate and honest answer was to see if the comments section here was as bad as Wartburg Watch.

    The background was the debt I owe to Alex Guggenheim’g blog (no longer extent) who set me free from both Team Pyro and the survivor blog industry, TWW in particular. Regarding the former, it was a relief to see I wasn’t the only one who increasingly felt the blog had descended into little more than snark and bullying. God has (I have not doubt) recently been setting me free from the last vestiges of trying to embrace calvinism, whether old or neo.

    Regarding the latter, the contagious nature of the comments section in particular, and the negative effect this can have on you. I was slow to see this. It is not confined to that particular blog, to be fair. Now long since past.

    On a more personal note, I have seen first hand the potentially devastating effect abuse can have. Abuse enabled in part by exported American ‘evangelical’ theology and practice, where a girl (my girl) is abused by the son of a church leader who worships and adores Willow Creekism, and the heresy of self-love and self-esteem, you are special, say yes to yourself. That is, instead of loving your neighbour as yourself, in effect simply loving self and hating your neighbour. But don’t worry, God loves you unconditionally …

    I would suggest that both ‘God’s unconditional love’ (in the modern sense) and the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints both contribute to enabling abuse because they remove the fear of judgment.

    For all the good I would like to believe Christians in America do, they have also exported all sorts of extreme if not heretical churchianity around the Anglo-Saxon world – and beyond. I have more than a vested interest in seeing this countered, especially by faithful Christians in the country of origin. The distorted, harsh God of MacArthurville and touchy-feely, weak psychological and indulgent God of seeker-sensitivity.

    That’s why on only two occasions I believe I have tried to point out the negative effect of unrestrained commenting on exposing the distorted teachings of say John Piper. Persuading followers to de-fund these empires. It’s not prudery on my part, let alone an attempt to prevent evil being exposed. The bible doesn’t exempt anyone from accountability for what they say, and if they claim to be Christians they are still obligated to put aside bitterness and malice as in the end of Eph 4. If they won’t it harms both them and their attempt to Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret;

    fwiw you do seem to me to care about the content of commenting, and something I really like here is the expression finding resolve amongst the dissonance … at the top. Better than analysis paralysis!

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  31. KAS, much of what I’ve learned in my recovery process is that being more Christlike means being angry at the things Christ was angry at. For some reason, our sterile anti-revivalist Evangelicalism says that only God can ever get angry, but how can that be? In fact, what I’ve seen is that it’s only ever okay for the abusers to be angry. Victims must take it quietly and serenely, otherwise, somehow, the abuse is justified by their angry reaction. I guess it’s like figuring out if someone is a witch. Throw them in a lake, and if they float, they’re witches and if they drown, they were innocent.

    I believe righteous anger doesn’t necessarily go down with the sun. My anger when my kids were bullied did not stop when the sun went down. It stopped when the school took action. Justice. It took justice to appease my anger. Didn’t Jesus say, “For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith.”

    I think there is a lot of demeaning prooftexting about anger. I was told “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Yet, how would they respond to
    “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates.”
    “You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, And I destroyed those who hated me.”
    “I hate the assembly of evildoers, And I will not sit with the wicked.”
    “I hate those who regard vain idols, But I trust in the Lord.”
    “Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.”

    The Psalms don’t squash emotions like the church does. The Psalms show that even “negative” emotions have their place. The Psalms show us that, despite what our pastors want to say, we are righteous when we hate what God hates. We should hate abuse and we should hate molestation. We should be angry that abuse and molestation are covered up in the name of God. And we should be angry about that how long? Until Jesus comes again and does away with injustice once and for all.

    I think that churches preaching against anger are primarily grooming their congregations to be obedient sheeple. I was taught that it was wrong for me to be angry, but it was okay for my leaders to be angry, because they aren’t being angry on their own behalf, but instead protecting their God-ordained office. It’s okay for them to be loud and upset at a member, but not okay for a member to be loud and upset at a leader. Yet, Jesus did the opposite. He got in the faces of the church leaders and patiently explained things to the lowest of the low.

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  32. Mark – ‘Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil’.

    I think this verse does accept that there will be times when Christians will get angry, in context especially when they have been told an uncomfortable truth they didn’t want to hear. I’m not sure how literally I would take not letting the sun go down on your anger, but I would at least take it to mean there has to be some time limit on being angry. Especially in cases of fallings out amongst fellow-believers, or else sin and satanic infiltration can be the result. I think this is why he soon adds Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, …

    I do believe in righteous anger against evil and religioius hypocrisy.

    Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.

    I’ve also found that verse very liberating – liberating from an impotent rage at what sometimes goes on in the local church. It does not, you will notice, forbid you to get angry, but it does show that this in and of itself doesn’t change anything. I’ve never heard anyone say it is wrong to get angry as such, my background is obviously different from yours. The above verses make no distinction between ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’. If you have had leaders who tried to stifle any anger, this sounds like manipulation to me – a variant on the judge not theme, which I certainly have encountered.

    In my day, the disputes and fallings-out were often over second blessings and ‘tongues’. Vastly less important issues than the abuse being enabled or covered up by authoritarian churches. Less important than whether we should remove the pews and have chairs in the sanctuary …..

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  33. OMG…look at these arguments! The Bible says this or that…in order to know what I feel or think is right or wrong. THIS is the problem. The world laughs at such stupidity! Total loss of common sense, lost in endless epistemological debate and the results are NOTHING IS DONE.

    A young girl was raped. How it was handled was horrible. The “church” was more important than the “person”–protect the reputation over protect the victim. Simple as that! THAT is a sin! Man’s sinful heart was revealed. It does not matter how much theology you know. Man then scrambles to protect himself rather than repent–the EXACT message all that “right theology” demands of the unbeliever! How ironic!!

    A godly man would take a step down from his mantle to restore the brokenness of one lost sheep. The “one” is all of us, so if the “one” is left to the wolves, then “all” of us are as well. This gets complicated because man is not willing to repent of his sin because of his heart heart. This is a matter of the heart, not the head!

    How people react to this story reveals their heart attitude. Their idolatry. Their “hot tub religion” of comfort, security, and significance. In other words, keep the “system” stable. Does this resemble the heart of Christ or the heart of the Pharisee?

    When the “system” becomes an empire and there is too much to lose, then you always have to cover your tracks! When you build an empire on developing a college, seminary, books, bibles, commentaries, conferences, etc (bringing in millions each year) that becomes more important than one lost sheep! End of story!

    This is about PRIDE! …and we all know how God feels about that. Yes, God does feel and have emotions.

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  34. Bele, the rape culture comes out of an evil religious system. I don’t think it unproductive to turn the microscope back on that system and the Biblical misinterpretation pillars that system is built on.

    KAS, yes, it is extremely manipulative and evil, but they are using the very same verses you use, and in the SAME WAY you are using them to justify themselves. I’ve been led to a different interpretation of those verses that does not give the authorities carte blanche to lord it over their subordinates and, not surprisingly, the result was that I was ostracized by those in power.

    I find it intriguing that God, in the United States, seems to have given up on using the organized church to sculpt society, and instead you see #MeToo first, then subsequently #ChurchToo. So, for once, it seems Hollywood is leading the charge against the abuse and rape culture and dragging the church. In fact, I think the Pipers and the Mahaneys are going to be doubling down on the patriarchy talk to counter the pendulum swinging towards freedom for the oppressed.

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  35. “the rape culture comes out of an evil religious system.”

    That is a very broad statement! I could argue you might include “Hollywood” as a religion or any other “system”…but I do not see “religion” leading to a rape culture.
    That leads this conversation going nowhere fast! I also am not sure why you lump Piper into this argument or conversation. If you are lumping Piper in as part of an evangelical distortion, then we might as well include the entire Baptist church and about 10 other evangelical hybrids in with him.

    “I’ve been led to a different interpretation of those verses”

    This really is where the rubber meets the evangelical road! It is a different conversation, but however you interpret “verses” integrity is integrity. Honesty is honesty. Either hermenutic believes in those virtues of character. Humility, caring for another, hating evil, having compassion, seeking understanding, all of these virtues were missed which is why we are here today! Even the “world” has more wisdom, caring, integrity, than TMC if half of the data reported is indeed true! THAT is the issue!

    I have said it many times, but HOW we react to something reveals much of who we really are. It is that initial reaction that tells us about ourselves and what we really believe and who we really are, and THAT can be very humbling! It is like the episode of a man and wife on an airplane, the plane shakes, ONE oxygen mask drops and the husband reaches for it immediately and puts it on himself. The attendant says it was a false alarm, and the wife stares at her husband. She feels empty inside. The man she thought she knew proved to care more about his own life than her life. He tries to explain. She is deeply hurt. The relationship changes from that point on. That ONE moment revealed a lot! Then, the rest of the flight she connects all those little dots over the past years, all those little moments she tried to overlook and now she realizes he really is selfish and cares more about himself. All his “bible” and “church attendance” and “service” makes her sick inside! WHAT was his true motives for all this? Yes, there is grace…but unless there is repentance; the ability to confess his true heart motive, there is no true restoration. That would require real trust, vulnerability, to believe God is who He says He is…and also a life readjustment!
    He is not who HE thought he was!

    I am not seeing that here!

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  36. Bele,

    Many people are not familiar with how John Piper was involved with writing the textbook that has been used to train the next generation of pastors. In that book, Piper taught that the very essence of femininity was submission therefore women were supposed to act submissive towards every guy—including complete strangers.

    That insanity opens the door to all kinds of problems. Wouldn’t be surprised if the church leaders who mistreated Jane had been trained in that type of theology. After all, they were very upset that Jane wasn’t fitting their nonmarriage ideas of submission.

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  37. Exactly, AR. When I spoke with pastors at Grace Community, I felt like a less-than. I even told Phil Johnson about the way I was treated. There is no doubt in my mind that this is normal behavior.

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  38. OK…interesting. I do not believe Piper or even MacArthur would share it like you did, and know that at the church there are many loving families–women who would never allow a man to cross boundaries as you describe. I do know that this teaching, in the wrong hands, by an imbalanced man, can distort. I also know many women are co-dependent (they argue this probably doesn’t exist)–women who grew up in dysfunction, married a man not in balance, and thus, are the ‘frog in water’–that is a fact! GCC NEVER probes beneath the surface of emotions, so many women are out of balance, confused, unhappy, trying to be the “good wife and mother”…usually in these types of churches (I have discussed this earlier) a family will disappear…gone. This is how the illusion is kept (part of the Cult-like hangover).

    The lesson here is the pulpit message, as it trickles down to the pew, can be distorted in practice. However (and here Piper & MacArthur are not off the hook) a real pastor would be extremely concerned with what they teach and HOW it is being applied. The ONLY way to do this is be connected to your flock. Both Piper & MacArthur (I can speak of John much better) are not connected in a mega-church format. Yet…doesn’t a pastor have to WANT to be connected to what is going on, like a father in his own family? You are only sick as your secrets kinda thing…

    Now I am back to the “empire” issue of MacArthur…those men that CRANK out books, conferences, etc., disconnected from the root…and worse, many men in seminary take this track in their own ministry…Ivory Tower syndrome…it is part of a man’s ambition to be successful, build a career…this is part of the church as well as business! Some personalities really thrive on this route…”Dr” Holland is the perfect example! Ego…simple three letter word, but incredibly relevant in this discussion.
    The expository model is perfect for this…TEACH, knowledge, BIBLE….borderline Gnostic personality syndrome.

    As part of solution, it would be good to hear (as I mentioned above) your different hermenutic or interpretation–not to get technical here, but offer a leader whom you do admire, someone who you see changing this culture of evangelicalism. People tend to STICK with dysfunction if there is no better alternative. Few risk venturing out solo. Most people are secure oriented. Offering a solution helps.

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  39. Bele, the message is not being distorted. The problem is that we Evangelicals are being sold a lie. The lie is the patriarchal system. The default system where the inferior of this world live to provide for and reverence the superiors. Jesus told the Pharisees, “For you love the chief seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places. Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.”

    This is not new. Ezekiel said, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.”‘

    It didn’t end with Jesus: James says, ‘For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?’

    You would think that what comes from the pulpit is the antidote to this – a message where the poor are lifted up and the rich are convicted. A message where the leaders of the church see themselves as servants who use their gifts to benefit the poor in spirit. But, instead, we hear a message of sacrifice to the church members and we hear church leaders complain that they are too busy to do anything except meet with each other.

    I said long ago, I was on the leadership track at a church. It felt really good. The leaders called on me in class and told me afterwards how much they appreciated my insight. I was discipled by the pastor who found opportunities for me to lead in the church. The members sought me out for advice and direction. I left and returned years later to find that I had changed to the track for people they didn’t want in leadership. My answers in class were viewed with suspicion or openly rejected. I realized later that my quest for leadership wasn’t because I wanted to be a leader, but because I wanted the respect and admiration reserved for the leaders. The respect and admiration that I and my fellow congregants had been groomed our entire lives to provide to our leaders.

    Once the blinders were removed, I realized sermon after sermon that was grooming people to operate within a power structure and not question it. Pastor first, church leaders second, husbands and fathers third, then the state. That the power structures exist because those who are subordinate are weak, gullible and prone to evil while those who are superiors have received spiritual “gifting” that provides them the supernatural ability to make wise decisions. Rebelling against that authority structure – wives and children against husbands and fathers, or members against the church, was guaranteed to be promoting evil and the disintegration of our society.

    That’s what is being preached from pulpits in complementarian churches, and it goes beyond that. The “system” is so important that it is better for one or two people to be sacrificed than for the system to fail. I’ve heard of church courts knowingly upholding a domineering church because… what would happen if members felt they could oppose their leaders??

    In the same way, they see God as more concerned with protecting his system than the happiness of individual people, so if you are in an abusive marriage, God would rather you suffer than leave. To go even further, the abusive marriage is somehow punishment for some sin you’ve committed, so escaping an abusive marriage is somehow rejecting God’s discipline.

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  40. Julie Anne, sorry to hear that they treated you like that. It’s crazy how much resistance there is in the church to treating women with respect.

    Recently, I was listening to an interview with Emerson Eggerichs (author of Love and Respect). He kept going on and on about how mothers are supposed to focus on respecting their sons.

    Something didn’t feel right about what he was saying. Then the lightbulb went on in my head—he’s very carefully avoiding the reality that women need respect as much as men do. So I pulled the Strong’s Concordance off the shelf. Sure enough—according to the Bible—women need respect too. There’s a reason God spends a lot of time in the Bible commanding sons to respect their mothers. Yet Emerson throws all those verses out the window because it doesn’t fit the gimmick that helps him sell books and do seminars.

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  41. Bele,

    I agree with you that there are many good people that attend Grace Community Church. The good people are the glue that holds any church together.

    Groups are powerful. People stick around where there’s real relationships with good people. The problem is that in order to maintain their relationships with those good people, sheep will tolerate all kinds of problems caused by faulty leadership.

    That’s how wolves can get a foothold in the church. Wolves love to use good people to bridge the gap to gain access to the sheep. Otherwise, without the buffer of good people, no one would put up with their selfishness.

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  42. Well, I am not sure I agree with everything you mentioned above regarding the “system”, I see it more as I shared earlier, The Bridge on the River Kwai…noble intentions at first that grew to an empire where the empire becomes more important than people, thus losing the core root of the intended purpose…which can result in many of the scriptures you mentioned. The WHY might be under question, but the WHAT not as much;

    ” Pastor first, church leaders second, husbands and fathers third, then the state.”
    –NOBODY would adhere to this (message from pulpit) but in application, there is an idolatry hangover and a very strong, powerful personality can shift into a problematic position over the obvious, God first. I will say, church second is more like it for many. This creates an imbalance in the family where wife should be second, then kids. This definitely gets out of whack by many, not all. The younger, newer folks with no church background really are vulnerable to this. Those who grew up at GCC have a, “been here, done that” for so long, they do not get so “intense” about the Lord and evangelism…I was one of those younger, “gonna change the world students once” and was shocked at how “laid back” John’s own kids were in the church…they popped into the college group now and then, but were hardly upfront or involved back then. Same with others who grew up in the church. It was those students who came out to attend the bible classes before The Master’s College took off…they heard John on the radio and came out…they were the ones leading the pack on the college campuses, student ministries under Chris Muller (college pastor) who was a very intense pastor at the ripe age of 29. He definitely became part of the inner loop at the time.

    “The “system” is so important that it is better for one or two people to be sacrificed than for the system to fail.”
    –We have been saying this different ways…HOW Jane was dealt with reflects this issue.

    “they see God as more concerned with protecting his system than the happiness of individual people, so if you are in an abusive marriage, God would rather you suffer than leave. To go even further, the abusive marriage is somehow punishment for some sin you’ve committed, so escaping an abusive marriage is somehow rejecting God’s discipline.”
    –The Nouthetic counseling model (which means whomever is in charge of this because any model can be bent to reflect what you want) supports this. If you really want to “cut to the chase” seek out real life questions in the Q&A’s where John has to offer counseling…say a woman who has an abusive husband. You will hear almost word for word what you wrote above. This also reflects the story of Jane that she was asked to APOLOGIZE to her rapist, asked to sit in the same room with him! One addition was her getting council to consider marrying him (cannot support this but read it and it seemed like this would happen over shock that this would happen…again reaction says a lot).

    I think the “money trail” is important as part of this story. MacArthur has built an empire in publishing royalties. I have posted financial info above in previous posts. The multi-millionaire pastor is a real issue. Comfort NUMBS. How much his kids get paid to work at Grace to You, the family tie there, the top tier salaries…we are talking several hundred K a year for ministry. Hardly a sacrificial position of service. I recall ZERO talk of this at the church…very “frog in water” blinders on!

    I will ask again…what is solution? Who are pastors you feel are doing it right? Something?

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  43. I will briefly add that the age of the Internet is a whole new day in the church! Many will be told to ignore and not read these posts, but that hold is over. There are people at GCC who will read this and are now concerned. Those who have had it, have been thinking about this stuff for years, but are still “locked” and need a way out. Their entire life is wrapped up in the church!

    When I was at the church, the people who really understood this stuff were pastor’s kids. One married a friend of mine and she was deeply hurt how her father was mishandled. She had stories, so much I had to tell her it felt like gossip. She was starving to get an ear, someone to hear her heart’s cry!

    There are many more! This thread/post is communicating some good info and others might come in under some anonymous name sharing their stories, especially those who took the risk to seek counseling, opening up, becoming vulnerable. This is where they really stink…I would say suck but it might sound inappropriate. They have almost no ability to look beyond the surface, no awareness, wisdom…as an old friend once said, “I don’t care about WHY!” That told me everything…40 years of bible teaching at the highest level and he doesn’t care about why. One of the best philosophies to stay detached, self-absorbed, and lack any insight…BLINDERS! As long as MY family is fine…as long as my career thrives…almost no true compassion for others outside of writing ministry checks. He said it, not me…”I don’t care about WHY?”

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  44. Hi Bele

    I’ve appreciated your thoughtful comments.

    You end your omment @ NOVEMBER 25, 2017 @ 6:34 PM

    “I will ask again…what is solution?”

    “Who are pastors you feel are doing it right?”
    xxxxxxx

    Hmmm? Pastors? Doing it right?

    Would you agree? “The Bible” is to be the standard?
    For WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Church, His kids?

    And, “Pastors?” “Doing it right?”

    Can be found in The Bible? – Yes?

    xxxxxx

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    Jeremiah 22:22 KJV
    The wind shall eat up ALL “Thy Pastors,”
    (wind = ruwach = breath, mind, spirit.)

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  45. Bele

    Have you noticed? In the Bible?

    1 – NOT one of ”His Disciples” called them self pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?

    So, anyone today, who calls themself pastor?
    Is NOT Doing “IT” according to The Bible?
    Is NOT, “Doing it right?” – Yes?

    2 – NOT one of ”His Disciples” took the “Title/Position” pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?

    So, anyone today, who takes the “Title,” pastor?
    Is NOT Doing “IT” according to The Bible?
    Is NOT, “Doing it right?” – Yes?

    3 – NOT one of ”His Disciples” was “Hired” as a….
    Paid, Professional, Pastor, in a Pulpit?
    Preaching, to People in Pews?
    Weak aftr Weak?

    So, a “Hired,” Paid, Professional, Pastor, in a Pulpit?
    Is NOT Doing “IT” according to The Bible?
    Is NOT, “Doing it right?” – Yes?
    xxxxxxx

    NOPE… pastor/shepherds WE, His Sheep, His Servants, see Today…

    Ain’t nuttin like “pastor/shepherds” WE, His Sheep, find in the Bible.

    If being one of ”His Disciples” is important?

    If WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Body, His Servants…
    Desire to be one of ”His Disciples?”

    Wouldn’t ”His Disciples?” “In The Bible?”
    Be a good example to follow?
    Be a good place to start?

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    THEIR shepherds
    have caused them to go astray,

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as sheep going astray;
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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  46. So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

    So, you’re right, Peter did not call himself a shepherd. JESUS DID.
    I’m sure, though that even the Bible can’t convince you otherwise.

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  47. Strongs Concordance says:
    4165 /poimaínō (“shepherding, pastoring”) is distinct from “feeding” (1006 /bóskō). 4165 (poimaínō) focuses on “tending” (“shepherding”) (WS, 274), which includes guarding, guiding, and folding the flock and is only provided (ultimately) by Jesus Christ – the Shepherd, who calls under-shepherds (such as elder-overseers) to guard and guide His people by His direction (1 Pet 5:1-5). See 4166 (poimēn).

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  48. Bele, I have had two experiences with good pastors talking about what makes pastors authoritarian. One pastor said, when they examine seminary students, he finds that the authoritarian students have a specific interpretation of these verses: “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ”. He said that some have an interpretation of those verses that puts a comma between saints and for “for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the service…” That interpretation makes them think that they are the ministers and that individual congregants do not minister, per se. This led to my former church removing essentially all non-pastoral ministry and pushing those away who desired to minister, unless they wanted to go to seminary.

    The second experience was somewhat similar. This pastor felt that the church has really missed the promise in Joel:
    “It will come about after this
    That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
    And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    Your old men will dream dreams,
    Your young men will see visions.
    Even on the male and female servants
    I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

    He felt that because pastors are seeking honor to themselves, they want to return the the Old Testament economy where the Spirit only blessed a few people here and there with gifts, and the rest essentially clung to those people. That’s why Jesus said John the Baptist is the greatest – the greatest prophet in the old spiritual economy. But what happened at Pentecost is that we all participate in those spiritual gifts. One of his catchphrases is “everybody plays” – he says that he learns as much from us as we are from him. I’ve never heard that from the authoritarian pastors. They only learn from other authoritarian pastors, never from the sheep.

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  49. I hear your passion loud & clear…we all do! However…this is not a solution. People cannot just disconnect and go “solo”…it’s like one of the Nouthetic counselors who told a friend of mine to get off his bipolar meds of many years…he freaked out. Unwise counsel. People need a transition, a place to gather, you cannot undue at the level you are suggesting. You are making a radical readjustment for most…this is a separate argument (book). With all respect, it is not helpful…it strays too off-topic (which does not mean it isn’t good info, just not on target).

    When we challenge people to disconnect from a “system”…they need another support system…that isn’t a bad thing. When you/we/others dig into the depth of argument, diving into scripture, pulling out the concordance…we lose most of the audience. People need a spiritual leader, and as I have suggested, there has never been a time in human history with so much information available to confuse. MacArthur is very aware of this which is why he and others double-down to not confuse, keep things very clear…which is good IF you are operating out of a balanced foundation. What I hear you saying is church as we know it is so off-target we need to re-think the entire idea. People who go this route usually end up repeating much of what they ran from. Let’s face it, there are A LOT of church denominations!

    All leading me to ask you what source of wisdom feeds your soul as a community (church), a place to gather, serve, worship, develop relationships…all of what we know as “church”?

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  50. Bele,

    Thank you for sharing from your experience. What you were describing reminds me of what happened at Crystal Cathedral. There were several long time members who were concerned about financial mismanagement in the top ranks. They saw the wasteful spending. They voiced their concerns but no one would listen. Well, everyone knows what happened there.

    I agree with what you’re saying. There are good churches out there where people can connect and fellowship with good people. It just takes time for people to figure out which part of the body of Christ they fit in best. To answer that question—I would encourage everyone to take the time to visit several local churches in their area until they find where they are most comfortable. Where the Bible is being preached without watering it down. And where the shepherds are doing their biblical duty to feed and care for the flock.

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  51. Hi Amos,

    Well, we’ve been discussing that topic for several months now. Sounds like you’re interested in continuing the discussion. Let’s see—where we left off that discussion was debating whether:

    1) Does God still call people to pastor or is Jesus the only legitimate pastor?
    2) Can people use the title pastor or is that sinful?
    3) Are pastors allowed to receive a salary for their work?

    I believe that whenever we have a question—we should first look at what Jesus said and did about it. We know that Jesus had a heart for sending people out to do the work of the ministry. It wasn’t enough to just stay in their communities, there was a need to send people out to do ministry. And Jesus established the principle that workers deserve their pay when doing the work of the ministry. (Matthew 10:10) Then the Apostle Paul repeats the words of Christ in 1Timothy 5:17-18 (ISV) when he wrote:

    “Elders who handle their duties well should be considered worthy of double compensation, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox while it is treading out grain,” and, “A worker deserves his pay.”

    Here’s my thoughts—if the argument is that we are limited to only what the disciples did—then we can’t drive cars because the disciples didn’t drive cars. We can’t fly in airplanes because the disciples never flew. So the argument that no one is allowed to use the title pastor unless the disciples used the title pastor—falls flat compared to all the other things we do on a daily basis that the disciples never did.

    So in response to the three earlier questions we’ve been debating:
    1) I believe that according to Ephesians 4:11—Jesus is still sending people out to do the work of the ministry.

    2) The title pastor is biblical and should be used.

    3) No one gets offended when doctors get paid for their work. No one is bothered by every other type of work receiving a salary. People who do the real work of the ministry should be able to support their families.

    By the way, Mark, that was a great point about Peter. Thank you!

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  52. “You must not muzzle an ox while it is treading out grain,” and, “A worker deserves his pay.”

    Agreed. Let’s not try to reinvent the wheel here right! lol Pastors all over the world are paid. The context here however is two-fold;
    1. Full time pastor(s) Rick Holland primarily who was paid that failed miserably reflecting/revealing some alarming “thinking” about women, Nouthetic counseling program, protecting the image of the church over the person, and pride (not being concerned with restoring a wounded saint over reputation)

    The “empire” of John MacArthur as a reasonable argument as to why some might protect the system…when you have SO MUCH in publication, SO MUCH radio and broadcast sermons…SO MUCH invested, this story can drive a wedge into the heart.
    The context was connect to the Harvey Weinstein story as well. Totally different case which MUST be understood, but there is a sexual overlap (people looking the other way, protecting a “system”, playing deaf, dumb, and blind).

    The question for me however is how much compensation is reasonable for the work put forth? Does one of John’s sons per se, working at Grace to You (if they both still work their along with John’s son-in-law) do the work of ministry worth a salary over $200k? I would want to know exactly WHAT they did to earn that amount. I think the money trail IF there is anything hidden is of importance. John’s 990’s are not in full disclosure last time I checked. Why? Secrets? What?

    Again…if there was nothing to question of men who were “beyond reproach” we would not be asking these questions. HOWEVER…they are under question. If there is smoke, there is fire? There are just too many stories of people who felt mistreated revealing some deep concerns about character defects supported by a theology that allows for this over many years! That is the core issue…Jane just made us aware of what was already in place and this thread is about wanting to “clean the swamp” bringing up the “system” or “empire” of cowardly men! A coward runs from taking responsibility, especially mishandling the “case of Jane” making us ask, “Are there any other Jane’s or those with similar stories?” If we ask the question, there is a reasonable doubt…I would imagine Julie Anne’s story much more familiar or common…but it is not just females, another thread shares a story of a male student who was mistreated because he was not conforming as some wanted.

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  53. Bele, “People need a spiritual leader, and as I have suggested, there has never been a time in human history with so much information available to confuse.”

    I think there is a narrow and a broad sense to this. My pastor has said that we ought to seek those who are more spiritually mature to help us in our faith, and we also ought to seek those who are less spiritually mature that God has put on our hearts to pour ourselves into. I agree with that – since the Spirit works so powerfully and broadly now than in the Old Testament, we have much more opportunity to be led and lead in a more individual way than being led only by the one paid shepherd. I don’t dismiss the importance of a structure and a vision, but I think that people that are attending megachurches so they can be fed by a mega-pastor are really missing the community aspect that seems so central to the New Testament church.

    I believe the fear of “bad theology” really drives the church to fear other Christians and sets them up to follow a pastor who, I believe, has no guarantee of better theology. My old pastor was a fear mongerer about this. I asked him, who has caused more damage in the church? Heretical members, or heretical leaders?

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  54. Bele,

    Great points. Those are really important questions you are asking. I agree with you that the congregation should determine what is a reasonable pastoral salary. To have the freedom to questions like—what work are these people doing to earn that much? Is that really doing the work of the ministry? Etc.

    Also agree with you that there’s a problem with church leaders who feel entitled to giving correction but won’t accept correction from their own congregation. They won’t be accountable to members who have proven themselves with long term involvement in the church.

    The only way that will change is when we are more careful with where we give. We have the freedom to decide which people we believe are doing the real work of the ministry and thus support those people.

    I remember reading somewhere that Rockefeller once said that “The giving of money requires just as much careful attention as the making of money.”

    There’s a whole story about how Rockefeller himself walked with the Lord. Long before he pioneered the oil industry and became the most successful person in American history, he was in the habit of honoring God with his money.

    As a teenager, working a regular job as a bookkeeper, he actually took the initiative to save the church he attended from foreclosure. He was serving as a trustee when he realized that the church was falling behind on their mortgage of $2,000. When the mortgage holder threatened to foreclose on the church, Rockefeller personally went to each member of the church and asked them to pitch in. Remember he was only a teenager at the time—not the famous businessman that he would become. Long story short, when the whole congregation pitched in, they were able to pay off the mortgage.

    Years later, Rockefeller would describe how it was “a proud day” when “the debt was extinguished” by little amounts from each member as “It was a great undertaking to raise such a sum of money in small amounts ranging from a few cents to the more magnificent promises of twenty-five or fifty cents per week.”

    Anyway, I’m just saying that each of us matter in God’s overall plan for accomplishing the ministry work that needs to be done.

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  55. Mark – I don’t believe anyone should be lording it over anybody else Gentile style.

    That does not mean that we are free to disobey the injunction to submit to legitimate expressions of authority or responsibility. The institution of government, the leaders in the church who speak the word of God, younger to ‘elders’, and husbands within marriage. In any case where such authority would ask us to sin, we are free not to obey, but rather submit to God. There are real safeguards in the NT against the abuse of authority which balance the instruction on submission.

    Amos is wrong about there being no pastors in the church today. There are ‘pastors’ who abuse their position if you like to tear down rather than build up, go on an ego trip, build an empire, the sort warned about in 2 Peter and Jude, but there are multitudes of men who really do care for the flock within their human limitations. Some of the best I have ever known did the job, but didn’t have the title! Well-taught and more mature believers passing this on to younger ones.

    In the case in point here with ‘Jane’, assuming the allegations are true, there was an abject failure to give pastoral care. The title may have been there, but not the reality. It beggars belief that this should happen in an institution supposedly preparing people for a Christian ministry. Unless you consider this an education in how not to do it.

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  56. KAS, submission does not require authority. We are told to submit to each other. It’s the patriarchs who say that wives submitting to husbands means that the husbands have authority.

    Ask yourself this. Why do you interpret the ‘submit’ in “submit to one another” differently than the ‘submit’ in “submit to your husband”? Is it because the Bible tells you to, or is it because your patriarchal system tells you to?

    If the ‘submit’ in “submit to one another” means authority, then that really changes the peer to peer relationship between Christians.

    I get tired of the Evangelical asterisk. Deborah was a prophetess*. We are to submit* to one another. Elders are called to serve*.

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  57. “In the case in point here with ‘Jane’, assuming the allegations are true, there was an abject failure to give pastoral care.”

    Having grown up around a Christian institution. I believe this is a serious misunderstanding. College administrators are NOT supposed to be pastors. Their responsibility is to protect and grow their students. Assuming the allegations are true, this administrator stepped way outside his bounds of protecting his students and tried to act like a pastor. I went through a similar experience where I was interviewed by the police in the presence of the Dean of Students, and instead of protecting me and reminding me of my rights, the Dean used his authority over me to encourage me to give up my rights.

    So, the dichotomy between the college as a non-profit educational institution, and the college as some half-baked extension of a church’s empire puts the students, professors and administration in a very bizarre and blurred authority structure where the administrators think of themselves as both policemen and elders to both the faculty and students, and when they don’t that level of autonomy and authority, then they start using their power to abuse those beneath them. I find this theme pretty common among people I know who work in Christian ministries.

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  58. Those are really important questions you are asking. I agree with you that the congregation should determine what is a reasonable pastoral salary.

    Avid Reader, I think this is where polity and transparency come in. Some churches set things up so no one really knows what anyone is getting paid. That’s a good way to see people take advantage of a congregation. I would be very wary of that kind of secrecy regarding money.

    Heaven help you and yours, MacArthur.

    SKIJ, indeed.

    Churches should be protecting vulnerable people. How on EARTH is this complicated???

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  59. That does not mean that we are free to disobey the injunction to submit to legitimate expressions of authority or responsibility. The institution of government, the leaders in the church who speak the word of God, younger to ‘elders’, and husbands within marriage. In any case where such authority would ask us to sin, we are free not to obey, but rather submit to God.

    No. What is ‘legitimate’? We have no obligation to obey blindly, even where ‘sin’ is not involved. If the police, or a church member, or a husband were to try to tell me what to do in an innocuous thing, like what to have for lunch, I’m going to tell them to mind their own business.

    There are real safeguards in the NT against the abuse of authority which balance the instruction on submission.

    The only safeguard is real love, which will not be self-serving or controlling. Self Serving, controlling people will never be safe to ‘submit’ to.

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  60. Hi Mark

    Much agreement when you write @ NOVEMBER 26, 2017 @ 12:35 PM
    “So, you’re right, Peter did not call himself a shepherd. JESUS DID.”

    Yup – That’s the point…
    Peter did not call himself a shepherd.

    In the Bible, And today…
    Followers of Jesus, will shepherd His sheep…
    Feed His lambs, Tend His sheep, Care for His sheep…

    And, then, the next day…
    The one who was busy shepherding, feeding, careing for…
    Is being fed, tended to, and cared for by another believer, a sheep.
    Maybe even the same sheep you were helping the day before. 🙂

    Just like WE, His Kings and Priests, His Ekklesia, SEE on this blog site.
    Day after Day…

    NO need for anyone to call them self shepherd.
    NO need for anyone to take the “Title” pastor.

    Job 32:21 KJV
    Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person,
    neither let me give Flattering Titles unto man.
    For I know NOT to give Flattering Titles;
    in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

    And, in the Bible…
    NOT one of His Disciples called themself shepherd.
    NOT one of His Disciples was called a shepherd.
    NOT one of His Disciples took the “Title” pastor.

    Like

  61. Mark

    Much agreement when you write @ NOVEMBER 26, 2017 @ 12:52 PM

    “everybody plays”

    Yup – That’s the point…

    And, that is NOT promoted in “Today’s Religious System.”

    Yes – “the church has really missed the promise in Joel:”

    (Joel 2:28, and Acts 2:17-18. Where “everybody plays”)

    “It will come about after this
    That I will pour out My Spirit on ALL mankind;
    (NOT just a special few.)
    And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    Your old men will dream dreams,
    Your young men will see visions.
    Even on the male and female servants
    I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

    “But what happened at Pentecost is that
    we all participate in those spiritual gifts.
    One of his catchphrases is “everybody plays”
    xxxxxxx

    Yes – ALL can, and are expected to “participate”

    Like

  62. I agree with Lea. It is left to the churches how to create accountability for its leaders. I’ll give you an example:

    In “presbyterian” polity, the classic position is that the pastor/teaching elder is NOT a member of the local congregation, nor subject to its discipline, but is, instead, a member of the presbytery – the higher governing body. Outside of mainline presbyterianism, there are too few churches for the pastors to be truly known and truly accountable. That is, the geographical distribution of churches makes it difficult for pastors to hold each other accountable. Instead, all the presbyteries have to go on is cases that are appealed and meeting minutes. But, because the pastors are members of presbytery and “well known” there with all the other pastors, it’s very typical that cases appealed have to pass intense scrutiny to even be considered.

    In fact, a case I know of… the person who appealed was not invited to presbytery to plead his case, and instead, the pastor and church leaders were given ample opportunity to defend themselves (and defame the appellant) and the appellant had to have everything written in a paper, that first had to be read and forwarded by the defendant to the court, giving them as much time as they wanted to build their defense.

    Yet, presbyterians are told that this system has all of the appropriate checks and balances to protect individual members from abusive and errant pastors and church boards. And… the individual members are generally not so stupid as to accept that as the truth. They know that unless they have an iron-clad case, it’s better for them to walk out of the church under suspicion than to try and stand up against abusive leadership. (I’m one of those not-so-stupid members)

    Like

  63. Mark

    Seems Paul, and most likely Jesus…
    Gave some instructions for ALL…
    “when ye come together,”

    NO pastor/leaders in pulpits needed…
    Like WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia…
    See being promoted today…

    when WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, come together,
    ALL, can, and are expected to “Participate.”

    1 Cor 14:26 KJV
    How is it then, brethren?
    when ye come together,
    every one of you (ALL)
    hath a psalm,
    hath a doctrine, (Teaching.)
    hath a tongue,
    hath a revelation,
    hath an interpretation.
    Let all things be done unto edifying.

    Yes – In the Bible, ”when ye brethren come together,”
    ALL, WE, His Sheep, can shepherd, feed, tend, care for, other sheep.
    xxxxxxx

    ALL can, and are expected to…
    “Participate.”

    NOT listen to just one and…
    “Regurgitate”

    When you continually listen to “a special one”
    “Pontificate.”

    Eventually, “a special one” gives themself permission to…
    “Bloviate.”
    xxxxxxx

    Heb 8:11
    ….for ALL shall know me, from The Least to The Greatest.

    When ALL share their life with Jesus…
    There is always “a doctrine,” something to teach, learn.

    There are always folks who have “a revelation.

    In “Today’s Religious System? How often do you see? –
    Paid, Professional, Pastors, in Pulpits?
    Promoting, and Practicing?

    ALL can, and are expected to… “Participate?”

    ALL WE, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, His Servants, His sons…
    His Ambassadors, His Friends, His Disciples…
    Can, shepherd His sheep, tend His lambs, feed His sheep?
    xxxxxxx

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. Amos, “Yup – That’s the point… Peter did not call himself a shepherd.”

    But… you are implying it would have been WRONG for Peter to call himself a shepherd, and by implication it is WRONG for someone today to call himself a shepherd.

    What I’m saying is that, if Jesus called Peter to be a shepherd, it doesn’t matter whether Peter called himself that or not, he WAS a shepherd. Just like Paul isn’t wrong for calling himself an apostle.

    And, yes, I’m sure you can say that somehow Peter was weaseling out of calling himself a shepherd here, but I don’t think Peter is a weasel.

    “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

    Questions:
    1) If an elder is not a shepherd, then why does Peter charge ALL of the elders to shepherd.
    2) What does it prove if someone whose God-given role is to perform the act of shepherding is not to be called shepherd? Is it not appropriate to call those who judge judges or those who lead leaders or those who manage managers? It seems as though you are trying to claim that there is no Biblical call to be a shepherd because no one calls himself a shepherd, but now you are threading such a narrow needle I can’t figure out what you are trying to argue.
    3) Why is it important for Peter to call Jesus the “Chief Shepherd” if there are no other shepherds?

    I’m with you that many of those who call themselves “shepherds” are doing it for personal gain, rather than desiring to be examples to the flock, but I don’t think that threading a needle to say that anyone who claims a title of authority is somehow a wolf, or that there are no “titles of authority” in the church.

    “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;”

    “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),”

    Is Paul a wolf?

    Like

  65. Amos,

    I agree with you that all believers should be involved in ministry work. However that still doesn’t prove your point that all churches are wrong and pastors should be forbidden from using the biblical title pastor.

    By the way, there’s actually numerous Christian groups that meet the requirements you are demanding. They encourage congregation members to share during services as the Holy Spirit leads them. Through the years I’ve seen many services that fulfilled the type of congregation participation that you were hoping for. Things were still done decently and in order.

    Amos, the passage you quoted was written by the Apostle Paul who preached many times exactly in the way that you are using as criteria for dismissing all churches as wrong. Amos, how can you keep attacking the preaching of the Gospel?

    Like

  66. Avid Reader,

    I’m not sure if Amos is “dismissing all churches are wrong,” but he is not “attacking the preaching of the Gospel.” He’s only calling into question how this preaching takes place, specifically inside our modern, church religious system.

    Biblically, “churches” are merely gatherings of Jesus followers, and can occur anywhere, from a home to a public building to the local pub or coffee shop. But, most people don’t consider that “church.” I believe Amos is pointing out that our traditional definition of “church”, has been twisted from its original form, and become a religious system where pastors are no longer anyone in the gathering who has a gift of encouraging and guiding others, but are professionally-paid religious officers who have authority over their members.

    Personally, I don’t believe all churches are wrong, but I do know that all modern churches are problematic. Why? Because they aren’t honest about what the original church was like and pretend their religious system and church structure is the only way to be in a Christian community. We don’t need professional pastors to have “church.”

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Mark – you talk about ‘your patriarchy’ in your post to me above, but I don’t have a patriarchy. I have never lived in a country that had one. I do subscribe to a broadly complementarian view of male/female if we have to find a label for it.

    I don’t believe in mutual submission. Those who do usually derived this simply from quoting Eph 5 : 21 Be[ing] subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    I take this to mean that out of a group of believers, some within a group are to submit to some others within the group, not everyone submits to everyone.

    Whenever the verb submit is used, the person submitting and the person or institution submitted to are never mutually submittted. There are 9 or 10 reasons I could adduce to show this in Eph 5 & 6. I think mutuality is untenable here, within marriage in particular. But I know from experience that even trying to discuss this tends to drift in to acrimonious discussion (more heat than light!), which is why I would be reluctant to do so. It’s pretty pointless if no-one in this debate on either side is even willing to reconsider their current understanding of what these verses mean.

    Whenever I have tried to do this, the arguments I put forward as to why mutual submission is not the meaning are simply ignored, and Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ quoted – almost as a mantra sometimes – as though this settles the matter.

    I get it that many people have been hurt by the abuse of submission, especially in the States, but this mustn’t become decisive in trying to understand what it does – or does not – mean. I would certainly distance myself from the more ‘extreme’ complementarianism that some US evangelicals subscribe to which goes beyond the basic framework of apostolic teaching that I would be happy to subscribe to.

    Like

  68. “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1-3)

    “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32)

    “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Eph. 5:15-21)

    As I said, which ones get the asterisk and which ones to you interpret as meaning all believers? Are only a select few the objects of tolerance and unity? Are only the select few those who can sing in church? Are only the select few those to whom we should be subject?

    Maybe you should let the Bible define you rather than defining the Bible?

    One of the tenets of the Reformation was the Priesthood of all Believers. One of the areas where they rejected the Roman Catholic church doctrine was in the area of singing. At that time, the church allowed only special musicians and priests to sing in the masses. Luther, for one, rejected that and thought that all believers should participate in the singing and music.

    Like

  69. It’s pretty pointless if no-one in this debate on either side is even willing to reconsider their current understanding of what these verses mean.

    They benefit you and you certainly aren’t willing to reconsider. Why should anyone else?

    Liked by 1 person

  70. Hi Mwcamp,

    Yes, I agree with you that the body of Christ comes in many shapes and sizes. God uses all kinds of different groups—from the home fellowship to the brick and mortar church. I also agree with you that the preaching of the Gospel should never be limited to the four walls of the church. However, my spirit is grieved when something so important to the heart of God is getting attacked.

    Please keep in mind that logic and reason can sound really cold and detached. That’s not my intent. I respect Amos but still have to be honest about where this conversation is going.

    Jesus said there was a need to send laborers to the harvest. Amos is arguing that there’s no need for those laborers. And Amos is directly attacking the preaching of the Gospel by trying to make the point that it’s wrong for us to “continually listen to a special someone” who’s preaching the Word.

    Jesus was a special someone who taught the Word to groups week after week.

    The Apostle Paul was a special someone who taught the Word to groups week after week.

    Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul were the kind of paid professionals that Amos is protesting!

    The Apostle Paul even made the point several times that preachers were needed. He wrote, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?”

    “And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
    Romans 10:13-14 (NIV)

    There’s a need for people to be sent to preach the word. Of course, we shouldn’t get so focused on some preacher that we miss out on being directly led by the Holy Spirit. But this debate has focused on whether there’s a need for people to go out and preach the Gospel in the first place.

    Now this is a free country. Amos is entitled to his opinion but there’s still a need to address faulty reasoning. So here goes:

    Amos is disregarding whole Scripture passages that disprove his points while cherry picking random verses, trying to stretch them to fit his point.

    For example, he tried to make Job 32:21 fit his point that it’s wrong for pastors to use the title pastor. Just for the record—Job 32:21 says, “I will show no partiality, nor will I flatter anyone.”

    It’s fine if Amos prefers the KJV version which says “flattering titles.”

    Logical fallacy #1—saying that because one Bible verse mentions flattering titles, therefore that automatically proves that the title pastor is “flattering” and thus wrong to use. Well, does that mean that pastors have to lie about the type of work they do? Should they say they are working as mechanics—because they are not allowed to use the title pastor? That’s nuts!

    We all know that theology can’t be based on cherry picking random Scriptures. We have to study the whole pattern of Scripture to really understand the heart of God.

    Now I agree with Amos that there’s an important warning in Jeremiah 50:6. “Their shepherds have caused them to go astray.”

    We should be careful to never follow any leader off the cliff. However, Amos keeps trying to make this one verse prove that there’s no such thing as the office of pastor.

    Logical fallacy #2: Because some leaders have led people astray, therefore all leaders will automatically lead people astray. Therefore no legitimate spiritual leaders exist.

    Well then why did the Apostle Paul say this? “Follow my example, just like I follow Christ’s.” 1Cor 1:11 (CEB)

    There’s a reason the Bible repeatedly mentions the need for shepherds. Look at Ezekiel 34:8 (GW) where God says, “Because there is no shepherd, my sheep have become prey.”

    Mark made a really good point earlier about how Jesus actually told Peter to “shepherd” the sheep. How can shepherds not be needed, when Jesus emphasized three times that there was a need to care for the flock?

    Anyway, there’s a lot more we could discuss on this topic. But no matter how far we get in this debate—let’s not forget that the heart of God is still sending more laborers to do the work of the ministry. Who do you think wants to shut down the preaching of the Gospel? Not God.

    Like

  71. Mark – I agree with you that ‘one another’ can mean ‘everybody to everybody’, although not necessarily at the same time. The problem with Eph 5 is once you get to verse 21 in the material that follows it up to being ‘strong in the Lord’ all the four relationships enumerated are unequal. Not everyone to everyone.

    The English versions have a problem as to whether verse 21 relates to what precedes, which is corporate, or what follows, which is individual. Or both.

    The reason I have turned away from the mutual understanding of submission after v 21 is not because I am an advocate or authoritarianism, but because the text itself won’t support this.

    In corporate Spirit-filled worship there is a mutual deference to one another – you may have a prophecy to bring, but don’t insist on taking the floor. The sort of thing Paul talks about in 1 Cor 14. Self control. Decently and in order. This is healthy. Every member ministry. And how many churches practice that? !!

    This one another in the mutual sense breaks down when you have submission to someone with greater responsibility, or if it is not too dirty a word these days, authority. In this particular context, egalitarianism seems to me to collapse under weight of its own internal contradictions.

    Pragmatically, it would be a tragedy if mutual submission meant an alleged perpetrator of abuse could claim a right for a pastoral elder (or whatever name you want to use) not to intervene in his private life.

    Like

  72. Bele

    “People cannot just disconnect and go “solo”

    Well, maybe some cannot, or should not…
    But, In my experience, each believer walking with and following Jesus…
    Will have a unique path to follow…

    John 10:27
    MY Sheep – Hear – MY Voice – and Follow Me – Jesus

    His Disciples will Hear His Voice and Follow…

    Deut 4:36
    Out of heaven He made thee to hear His voice,
    that He might instruct thee:

    2,000 years ago His Disciples got it Directly from Jesus.

    NO Middle Man…

    In my experience, His Sheep, His Servants, eventually come to the place where…
    “His Disciples,” Gots to Get “IT” From Jesus – For themselves…
    Directly from The “ONE” Shepherd. {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    NO middle man…

    In John 6:45, Jesus taught His Disciples.
    It is written in the prophets,
    And they shall be ALL taught of God.

    In John 14:26, Jesus taught His Disciples.
    But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
    whom the Father will send in my name,
    he shall teach you ALL things…
    xxxxxxx

    I for one had to “disconnect and go “solo” over two years…
    I could NO longer support the 501 c 3, non-profit, tax deductible,
    Religious Corporation, that the IRS calls church…
    It was a very dark time. Lots of Pain, and Lots of Tears…
    But, I learned that God loves me…
    And, I learned to Hear His Voice…

    And, in the Bible, WE, His Sheep, do have some different examples of…
    ”disconnect and go “solo”

    Moses, Was on the backside of the desert – for 40 years…

    Paul, when Jesus revealed Himself… said…
    immediately I conferred NOT with flesh and blood: for three years…

    Sometimes, ”disconnect and go “solo” has some benefits…
    You Get To KNOW the “ONE” who really loves you…

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    THEIR shepherds
    have caused them to go astray,

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as sheep going astray;
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  73. Mark

    “But… you are implying it would have been WRONG
    for Peter to call himself a shepherd,”

    NOPE… NOT implying Peter would have been wrong…

    Just reporting, in the Bible…
    Jesus taught His Disciples He, Jesus is…
    The “GOOD” Shepherd
    The “ONE” Shepherd

    And, I’m-a-thinkn, His Disciples must have believed Jesus, because…

    NOT one of His Disciples called themself shepherd.

    Peter, DID NOT call himself shepherd.

    And, NOT one of His Disciples took the “Title” shepherd. Or pastor.
    xxxxxxx

    And other sheep I have, which are NOT of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “Hear My Voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    If not now? – When?

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  74. Bele

    You write @ NOVEMBER 26, 2017 @ 2:32 PM
    “People need a spiritual leader…”

    Don’t WE, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, His Ambassadors…
    His Servants, His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones, His Body, His Church…

    Already have a “Spiritual Leader?”

    The “ONE” Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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

    Gal 5:18
    But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

    Isa 48:17
    Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;
    I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit,
    which LEADETH thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

    Like

  75. Bele

    Seems Jesus has a unique take on “Leaders” for ”His Disciples.”

    “ONE”

    Jesus taught ”His Disciples” NOT to be called “Leaders.”
    For “ONE” is your “leader.” Christ.
    And, ”His Disciples” must have believed Jesus… Because…
    In the Bible, NOT one of His Disciples called them self “Leader.”

    Mat 23:10-12 NASB
    Do NOT be called leaders;
    for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant”.
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
    and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

    Humble – a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.

    Know many, any, who take the postion of Leader…
    Who are Humble?
    Having a modest or low estimate of their own importance?

    Know many, who say they are “Spiritual Leaders,” who are humble?
    With, “a modest or low estimate of their own importance?”

    Mat 23:10-12 – The Message
    And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
    There is only “ONE” Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
    Do you want to stand out? – Then step down. – Be a servant.
    If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you.
    But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

    Jesus also said…

    John 5:41 – I receive NOT honour from men.
    John 5:44 – How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another,
    and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

    When someone aknowledges you as a “Leader?”
    Church leader? Spirirtual leader? Christian leader?

    Are you,** “Receiving Honor”** from men?

    Jesus also said…
    John 7:18 – He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory…
    John 8:50 – And I seek not mine own glory…

    When believers let people know, “I’m a “leader?”
    Church leader? Spirirtual leader? Christian leader?

    Is that, “seeking their own glory?”

    Why do believers want to be known as a “leader?”
    Why do they want people to follow them?
    And NOT follow Jesus?

    Isa 3:12 KJV
    …O my people, they which lead thee
    cause thee to err,
    and destroy the way of thy paths.

    Isa 9:16 KJV
    For the leaders of this people
    cause them to err;
    and they that are led of them are destroyed.

    Like

  76. mwcamp

    Thank you – NO, I’m NOT attacking the preaching of the Gospel.

    Preaching of the Gospel is what I do… 😉

    I was ordained…
    Did it for awhile in pulpits…But…
    The pastor in a pulpit model… Is NOT in the Bible…
    The pastor in a pulpit model… Is NOT working very well…

    And, I did NOT qulaify as an elder/overseer…
    And since I left “the System” I’ve never met one who did… Oy Vey!!! 😦

    And, today, when I tell folks about Jesus, I let folks know…
    If they Gots some questions, they can Hear His Voice for themselves…
    And, they can go “Directly to Jesus.” NO middle man.

    Adam and Eve – Fellowship, Directly with God.

    Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – Fellowship, Directly with God.

    Moses – Fellowship, Directly with God.

    And the list goes on…

    Psalm 95:7-8
    For he is our God;
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
    To day if ye will hear his voice,
    Harden NOT your heart, as in the provocation…

    Heb 3:15*
    While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice,
    harden NOT your hearts, as in the provocation.
    xxxxxxx

    I understand that “Tradtion” is strong…

    WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, His Ekklesia, are warned about…
    The Commandments of Men, The Doctrines of Men, that become…
    The Tradtions of Men, that “Make Void” The Word of God.

    Mark 7:13
    NLT – you “cancel” the word of God
    in order to hand down your own tradition.

    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect”
    through your tradition…

    ASV – Making “void” the word of God
    by your tradition…

    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God
    by your tradition…

    I’m just pointing those who desire to be ”His Disciples,” TO…

    The “ONE” Shepherd
    The “ONE” Teacher
    The “ONE” Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  77. Avid Reader

    You write @NOVEMBER 26, 2017 @ 3:18 PM

    “I believe that whenever we have a question—
    we should first look at what Jesus said and did about it.
    We know that Jesus had a heart for sending people
    out to do the work of the ministry.

    And I agree…
    xxxxxxx

    Jesus sends ”His Disciples” OUT…

    Even if, Mat 28:19, KJV, is correct…
    “Go… teach all nations.”

    Or, Mat 28:19, ESV, is correct…
    “Go… make disciples…”

    Mat 28:20, in most versions are similar…
    Jesus, teaches, His Disciples, what to teach.
    When they, Go… teach all nations.
    Or, Go… make disciples of Jesus.

    Mat 28:20 ESV
    …teaching them to observe
    ALL that I have commanded you…

    Sounds simple, read the four gospels, make a list…
    Teach what Jesus taught His Disciples.
    NOT… ADD… Err… Stuff… Jesus NEVER taught.

    Like – In the Bible, did Jesus teach His Disciples
    To take the “Title/Position?”Or call themsleves pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?” – NOPE!

    In the Bible, did any of His Disciples
    Take the “Title/Position?” or call themself pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend? – NOPE!
    xxxxxxx

    If Jesus, did NOT teach these things?
    If His Disciples did NOT “do” these things?
    Why would WE, His Ekklesia, His Church, His sons…
    Think it is okay to “Teach, do, these things?”
    If Jesus Did NOT teach these things?
    To His Disciples?

    Wouldn’t you think, “church leaders,” pastor/leaders, today?
    (A term, “Title,” that does NOT exist, in the Bible.)
    ( For one of His Disciples.)
    Who say they “make disciples”? Look something like?
    One of His Disciples? In the Bible?

    Can “church leaders” today?
    Make Disciples of Jesus Christ?
    When “church leaders” do NOT teach?
    What Jesus taught His Disciples? In the Bible?

    And, ADD… Err… Stuff… Jesus NEVER taught?

    Like

  78. Avid

    Yes…
    “I believe that whenever we have a question—
    we should first look at what Jesus said and did about it.

    Mat 28:20 ESV
    …teaching them to observe
    ALL that I have commanded you…

    I’ve noticed, many, pastor/teacher/leaders, Today…
    In the 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax Deductible, Religious Corporation,
    That the IRS calls church.

    Ignore or Twist what Jesus Did, and Taught, ”His Disciples.”
    And, What His Disciples “Observed Jesus doing”
    And what His Disciples Did and Taught.

    And they ADD, Lots of… errr… stuff, Jesus never taught. 😉

    Here’s a few things Jesus taught His Disciples…
    1 – NOT to be called Rabbi you have “ONE” teacher, Christ. Mt 23:8 NKJV
    …. Know many, any, in the 501 c 3, who teach Potential Disciples…
    …..There is “ONE” teacher, Christ?

    2 – NOT to be called leader you have “ONE” leader, Christ, Mt 23:10 NASB
    …. Know many, any, in the 501 c 3, who teach Potential Disciples…
    …..There is “ONE” Leader, Christ?
    …. And, in the Bible, NOT one of His Disciples called them self Leader.
    xxxxxxx

    Don’tcha think? It’s Kinda hard…
    For those who earn a living, calling themselves teachers/leaders?
    To Make Disciples of Jesus? Because?

    Jesus taught His Disciples to Go, teach ALL nations,
    What He, Jesus, commanded them?

    And, Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called teacher?
    And, Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called leader?

    Ps 138:6
    Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly:
    but the proud he knoweth afar off.

    Ps 40:4
    Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust,
    and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

    Like

  79. Avid

    Yes…
    “I believe that whenever we have a question—
    we should first look at what Jesus said and did about it.

    Here’s a few more things Jesus taught His Disciples…
    3 – And they will ALL be taught by God. Jn 6:45 ESV
    …. John, the apostle, taught, “you need NO man teach you.” 1 Jn 2:26-27 KJV

    4 – The Holy Spirit… will teach you ALL things… Jn 14:26 HCSB
    …. Paul taught, the Gospel he preached was from God, NOT from man.

    5 – ALL truth, will come as the Spirit of truth guides and leads. Jn 16:13 KJV
    ….. Those “led” by the Spirit are the sons of God.

    6 – Jesus, as man, does nothing of himself, and is taught of God. Jn 8:28 KJV

    7 – Jesus is the “ONE” Shepherd, the Good Shepherd. Jn 10:11-16 KJV
    …. And, NOT one of His Disciples took the “Title” – shepherd/reverend.

    8 – He who speaks of himself seeks his own glory. Jn 7:18 KJV
    Titles/Position?
    …. And, NOT one of His Disciples called themself – pastor/leader/reverend.

    9 – If I honour myself, my honour is nothing. (Titles/Position?) Jn 8:54 KJV
    …. Pastors name and Title, on office doors, sec. desks, bulletins, street signs?
    ….. Are these pastors honoring themselves?

    10 – Peter, knowing Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God,
    …. received the revelation from Father God,
    ….. and NOT from man. Mt 16:17 KJV

    11 – Jesus taught, “I am among you as he that serves.” Lu 22:27 KJV
    …. ALL His Disciples called themselves “Servants.”

    12 – Jesus taught, “He that humbles himself shall be exalted.” Mt 23:12 KJV
    …. Humble – A modest or low estimat of one’s own importance.

    …. Know many? any? pastor/leader/reverends,
    …..who have a low opinion of their own importance?
    …. And, NOT one of His Disciples called them self ”servant-leader.”
    …. ALL His Disciples called themselves “Servants.”

    And Jesus, taught a lot in the Streets
    And had His Disciples DO what He DID, in the streets.

    Luke 9:2
    And He sent them out to preach the kingdom and heal the sick.

    Don’tcha think? It’s Kinda hard…
    For those who earn a living, calling themselves teachers/leaders?
    To Make Disciples of Jesus?

    If someone “Ignores” what Jesus taught His Disciples?
    If someone “Opposes” what Jesus taught His Disciples?
    And, calls them self leader?
    And allows others to call them leader?

    Are they one of His Disciples? 😉

    Like

  80. Amos, “NOPE… NOT implying Peter would have been wrong…”

    Then it appears that we are debating a distinction without a difference.
    Jesus tells Peter to “shepherd”
    Peter tells his fellow elders to “shepherd”
    Paul claims the superior title of “apostle” to himself

    Jesus tells the disciples not to take money or food or extra clothes with them, but instead that they should expect to be provided for.
    Paul reiterates the claim that he and other ministers have the right to benefit financially from their ministerial labors.

    In another post, we are debating whether it is appropriate for someone who has not done the work to receive a Ph.D. to claim the title “Dr.” yet, no one there is saying that someone who HAS done the work is wrong in claiming that title.

    So, you aren’t claiming that the Holy Spirit has ceased to raise up elders, shepherds, pastors and leaders. You’re not even really claiming (per above) that a person who really is called by the Holy Spirit to be a shepherd is wrong in calling himself a shepherd. So, all I can perceive you are dramatically defending is that we ought to be very cautious towards people who insist on the titles and authority. Completely agree.

    Likewise, we ought to be cautious of people who are seeking to benefit financially from ministry. Not that the benefit itself is wrong, but that some seek it for ‘sordid gain’ rather than desiring to be able to labor without having to worry about necessities. Completely agree.

    Other than that, I think we’re just talking past each other.

    Like

  81. KAS, I agree that parent/child and master/slave are not mutual, but I think you’ve blinded yourself to the mutuality of marriage. For example:

    So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

    So, let me point this subtlety out. They are ONE FLESH. So, Paul may appear to be making an argument solely to husbands, but the proof he uses for the argument applies to both husbands and wives. So, wives ought to love their husbands in the same way.

    I also want to warn against taking the analogy too far. I’m am not my wife’s Christ. I’m not the priest of my family. So, that can’t be Paul’s purpose in evoking Christ. Neither am I my wife’s Holy Spirit because Paul talks about sanctification.

    I think Paul is, instead, talking about mutual sanctification. That marriage isn’t about getting a housecleaner or on-demand sex or someone to raise kids with, but that we have this mutual responsibility to guide each other towards Christ. He uses the word sanctify.

    If you take a completely complementarian one-sided approach to this, you are saying that the it’s the husband’s job to sanctify the wife, but not the wife’s job to sanctify the husband. And, I think this is, on its face, untenable, as you say. You are saying that somehow God is guaranteeing that a Christian husband is always able, in every way, to guide his wife in sanctification, and by logical conclusion, that there is no area where the wife can sanctify her husband (can the church sanctify Christ???).

    So, blindly applying a complementarian viewpoint to this passage makes more outrageous claims than you are even able to claim against egalitarians.

    Like

  82. I will add that, in fact, that very thing is taught in complementarian churches – that girls ought to deliberately seek out a man who is more everything. Taller, more intelligent, more accomplished, higher paid, more spiritually mature, than they are. Likewise, men are taught (this is subtle, mind you) that they ought to seek out spouses whom they are superior to. Just think how comp. churches look down on families where the wife is the breadwinner.

    Like

  83. Amos,

    We agree with you that believers are led by the Holy Spirit.

    We agree with you that there’s no mediator between us and God.

    Here’s the problem:

    Amos, you are still twisting Scripture by saying that our being led by Holy Spirit automatically proves that all brick and mortar churches are wrong. Why are you still attacking the preaching of the Gospel?

    Jesus told Peter to shepherd My sheep. Yet Amos, you are still saying that there’s no need for shepherds. Why are you still throwing out whole Bible passages that disprove your point?

    Amos, you say that there’s no genuine pastors because it’s impossible to pastor without becoming a mediator.

    Wrong.

    Many times the Bible describes the role of shepherd without ever requiring any mediators.

    Look at Ezekiel 34 which describes the role of shepherds as:
    1) Strengthen the weak
    2) Heal the sick
    3) BANDAGE THE HURT
    4) Bring back the ones that wandered away
    5) Look for the ones that were lost
    6) Feed the sheep

    God said in Ezekiel 34 that the sheep were going astray because they had no shepherd.

    Then Jesus echoes this in Matthew 9:36 (ISV)

    “When he saw the crowds, he was deeply moved with compassion for them, because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

    Amos there’s a lot of ministry work that needs to get done. Why are you still fighting that?

    Why are you attacking the call of God on people’s lives?

    Like

  84. Amos,
    Please read the book of Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Acts. God’s program for the New testament is the church. It can take on many forms, and variations in leadership, but ti will still be a church-a local assembly of believers that meets to worship God and encourage each other. It will, as most organizations, also have some kind of leadership structure.

    You take so many verses out of context I almost find it amusting.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. Avid

    Ezekial 34 is a favorite chapter… You left out quite a bit… Hmmm?

    It talks about shepherds, who feed themselves, who rule with force…
    It talks about how God will seek out His Sheep, and deliver them…
    It talks about ALL having ”ONE” Shepherd

    Ezekial 34:2-24…
    2 – Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel…

    4 – The diseased have ye not strengthened,
    neither have ye healed that which was sick,
    neither have ye bound up that which was broken,
    neither have ye brought again that which was driven away,
    neither have ye sought that which was lost;
    but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

    9 – Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
    10 – Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds;
    and I will require my flock at their hand,
    and cause them to cease from feeding the flock;
    neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more;
    for I will deliver my flock from their mouth,
    that they may not be meat for them.
    11 – For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold,
    I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
    12 – As a shepherd seeketh out his flock
    in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered;
    so will I seek out my sheep,
    and will deliver them out of all places
    where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

    23 – And I will set up **”ONE” shepherd over them,
    and he shall feed them, even my servant David;
    he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

    24 – And David my servant shall be king over them;
    and they all shall have ”ONE” shepherd:
    they shall also walk in my judgments,
    and observe my statutes, and do them.

    And Jesus, in the NT, is referred to as…
    The Son of David
    And
    The “ONE” Shepherd

    Mat 1:1* The book of the generation of Jesus Christ,
    the son of David, the son of Abraham.

    John 10:16
    And other sheep I have, which are NOT of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.

    If not now? – When?

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  86. Hi Linn

    Thanks for jumping in.

    You write…
    “You take so many verses out of context I almost find it amusting.”

    You could be correct…

    Can you point out a few that I took out of context?
    And how you would interpret them?
    Thanks

    Like

  87. Mark

    You write @ NOVEMBER 28, 2017 @ 11:56 AM
    “So, all I can perceive you are dramatically defending is
    that we ought to be very cautious towards people
    who insist on the titles and authority.”

    That’s part of it.

    Psalm 118:8-9
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

    Jer 17:5
    Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…
    and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

    2 Peter 2:1
    But there were false prophets also among the people,
    even as there shall be false teachers among you,

    2 Peter 2:3
    And through covetousness shall they with feigned words
    make merchandise of you:

    Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words…
    2Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means…
    1John 3:7 Little children, Let no man deceive you …

    In the Bible… The only “ONE” with the “Title” Shepherd is {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}
    And WE, His Sheep, can go Directly to the “ONE” Shepherd.

    Because, when you do your own research – shepherds in the Bible…
    Ain’t nuttin like those we see today with the “Title” pastor/shepherd.

    In The Bible – Can you find – Any…
    Shepherds who had “Titles” – “Pastor/Leader/Reverend?”
    Shepherds who called themselves – “Pastor/Leader/Reverend?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves – as a “Special Clergy Class?”
    Shepherds who promoted His Sheep as lesser “Lay people?”

    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Leaders?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Church Leaders?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Spiritual Leaders?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Christian Leaders?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Leaders to be Obeyed?”

    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “Spiritual Authority?”
    Shepherds who promoted themselves as – “God Ordained Authority?”

    Shepherds who separated from the flock, wearing different, special, clothes?
    Shepherds who were – Hired and Fired – by congregations?
    Shepherds who would move from one congregation to another?
    What’s up with that?
    Shepherds who would “Exercise Authority” over another Disciple?
    Shepherds who had their own private parking space. 🙂

    Well, you get the drift…
    NOT much of what todays pastor/leader/reverend gets paid for or does…
    Is In The Bible… 😉

    Like

  88. “Shepherds who would move from one congregation to another?”

    You mean like Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Apollos and…

    I think you outlined a problem that we all perceive. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

    So, it is inherently difficult to differentiate between a person who is authoritative because they have certain managerial skills and a person who is authoritative because they have the gifting of the Holy Spirit to convey truth.

    As someone who has experienced both, I think I am learning to differentiate. But I don’t see the need to lump them all together.

    (Shepherds who would “Exercise Authority” over another Disciple?)
    Paul says, “Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus”

    (Shepherds who promoted His Sheep as lesser “Lay people?”)
    John says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” (and says ‘little children’ six more times in 1 John)
    Paul says, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.”

    (Shepherds who promoted themselves – as a “Special Clergy Class?”)
    Paul says, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God”
    “For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.”
    Peter says, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed”

    I think there is a basis for challenging the modern seminary-trained, church-approved professional clergy class, but I don’t think it’s productive to imply that anyone who does what you claim the disciples never did is thereby sinning and/or a wolf.

    Liked by 2 people

  89. Agree, Mark. The point is we have a modern church system that is problematic, one reason being that professional-class “pastors” often “lord it over” people, but of course, that doesn’t mean all of them do. (Look at Mars Hill or Sovereign Grace Ministries as problematic examples).

    The larger point Amos is saying, I believe, is that the modern church (as well as much of “church” through history), has lost the simplicity of gatherings of people with no hierarchy of authority… leaders, yes, but no one gift or person as better or higher class than others. To test this, try to question the authority of a local pastor and see what happens.

    Frank Viola has done a great job of exposing the problems I speak in the book Pagan Christianity. He is not writing off all churches, but exposing the structure we tend to think is perfectly “biblical”, but when examined carefully, we discover is not.

    My personal view is that we can’t get legalistic about this, but must also not ignore the major themes Jesus taught: equality, egalitarian gatherings of people, with some exercising their gifts for the good of all – even recognized as such — but not “offices” in a hierarchal structure.

    Like

  90. All of this is entertaining! If there was ever a church that sought to be BIBLICAL it was GCC under Pastor MacArthur! The lesson here is you can cross every “t” and dot every “i” and still have a sinful hangover of pride…I have stated it before, noble intentions at first, but over time, an “empire” was built. The church grew to 10k people on Sunday. HOW in the world do you really shepherd 10K people? You keep them very busy! Keep them in the head (intellect)…TEACH, TEACH, TEACH…

    Over time, when John’s publishing took off, then The Master’s College (many will say the church really shifted at this point) then The aster’s Seminary, pastor’s conferences, more books, Charismatic Chaos, The Gospel According to Jesus…these two works really set John in the polemic role of defending the gospel and training others to do so. He even said many times he never thought his core ministry would be defending what the gospel is.

    I cannot overstate how significant the Nouthetic Counseling Model has been and the anti-psychology movement. Dr Larry Crabb’s books were the first to go out of the Book Shack. His book The Marriage Builder was taught at the church in the late 80s…he even taught one Sunday Morning (which is a coveted position to take)…and then, blacklisted. Clean the house. NO MORE psychology of any kind…John went on another mission (look up the tapes archive) on this.

    GCC was NEVER meant to be a model church! The average church in America is about 50-75 people. John’s tape ministry took his sermons to the world! His books to the world! Now, he has an empire of books and materials. This is not a model church dynamic!

    The problem is seminary students go out from GCC and try to reproduce this model-hook, line, and sinker! The core issue at GCC is shallow relationships. The real church is your weekly bible study–the small group you are involved with. However, at a church this size, it is very, “out of sight, out of mind”–people come and go all the time. The church really has not grown since 1980–it still has the same amount of people, and very few have remained over the years.

    Again, how do you really shepherd so many people? Never go beneath surface! Have a “one size fits all” approach to anthropology pertaining to relational issues, psychological issues, etc. Develop a comprehensive model for counseling and anything that does not fit this paradigm, attack it. Are you telling me in a church that size you have nobody struggling with OCD issues? Sleep disorders. Depression. Sexual confusion–not gender, just sexual frustration, pornography, all or nothing thinking. Let’s just look at OCD categories;
    Obsessions about Dirt and Contamination
    Obsessive Need for Order or Symmetry
    Obsessions about Hoarding or Saving
    Obsessions with Sexual Content
    Repetitive Rituals
    Nonsensical Doubts
    Religious Obsessions (Scrupulosity)
    Obsessions with Aggressive Content
    Obsessions with Food and Weight
    Compulsions about Having Things Just Right
    Superstitious Fears
    Checking Compulsions

    Imho, the sin Pastor MacArthur is guilty of is saying because I don’t recognize specific issues, therefore they do not exist! If everything is a sin disorder, than I never have to ask WHY or look beneath the surface of life…and GCC reflects this kind of energy. The result? People have secrets! Shame issues. Guilt issues. Never feel free to become vulnerable. When a leak in the system happens, The Case of Jane, cover up, protect, deny, rather than humbly say, “We have a real problem! Something is wrong!” This is very common in any large organization!

    Why supports this? The Empire! When you have everything already laid out in print, now what? When you have a book for every spiritual matter, now what? THIS is why the system becomes more important than the person. This is Evangelical modern Christianity gone wrong! Real shepherding and care giving is lost in numbers. Only the strong survive! Only the faithful! Those who are not strong, they are not faithful (huge guilt/shame spiral) and secretly seek help outside the church.

    GCC is a learning center first, and church body way down the line. It is NOT a model church! But when it trains others to reproduce this model, Houston we have a problem!

    Liked by 1 person

  91. Bele,

    Thank you for sharing those thoughts. Your points were really interesting, especially for those of us who are trying to understand what’s happening on the inside of this institution.

    Like

  92. Mwcamp,

    If you haven’t had a chance to see this yet—there are serious allegations about Frank Viola’s behavior:

    According to the allegations which have been public for quite a while (this article is dated from 2013):

    “Frank Viola’s……former church in Brandon, Florida, confronted him about abusing a teenager over many months. At the time, she was a member of his church, half his age, and had been a high school student of his.

    Mr. Viola, in turn, was married with kids, leading that church and also employed as a teacher in the local public high school – until, that is, the police discovered him having a tryst with his teenage former student in a sleazy motel room.

    Rather than respond to the church’s concerns….he immediately and quite literally fled the church – never to return.

    Within days of fleeing his church, Frank Viola’s wife filed for and eventually obtained a divorce, based in part of his pattern of infidelity and other misconduct. Frank Viola then tried to smear her by circulating “letters” attacking her, blamed her for the breakup, and even sought alimony from her because – he claimed in court documents – growing talk of his “adultery” and “cult” abuses meant he couldn’t continue working.

    Eventually, the Brandon church had enough. After repeatedly being rebuffed in their attempts to meet with him, they finally published a public warning which set forth the actual facts……his ongoing predatory behavior, and his attempts to shift blame by slandering his wife.”

    If you want to check the references—here’s the link:

    https://crossroadjunction.com/2013/05/26/a-response-to-bart-breen/

    Like

  93. Amos, Why do you keep fighting the preaching of the Gospel?

    On 11-27-17 at 10:28am Amos wrote
    “No pastor/leaders in pulpits needed”

    Nope. They are needed. Amos doesn’t have authority to say that all brick and mortar churches are wrong. That Jesus is the only pastor therefore no legitimate pastors exist. That’s been his consistent argument for the last full year that we’ve been debating this back and forth.

    Amos, you’re missing the whole context of how Ezekiel 34 shows the heart of God wanting to take care of the flock.

    According to Ezekiel 34 God defines the role of shepherd as:

    1) Strengthen the weak
    2) Heal the sick
    3) Bandage the hurt
    4) Bring back the ones that wandered away
    5) Look for the ones that were lost
    6) Feed the sheep

    See? Being a mediator is NOT listed in the job description. Ezekiel 34 blows apart Amos’ argument that there’s no legitimate pastors because pastoring requires becoming a mediator.

    Now Ezekiel 34 includes a prophecy of the coming of Christ. But Amos can’t use one verse prophesying Christ’s coming—to throw half the NT out the window. Again that’s cherrypicking random verses to fit his point.

    For example, Amos is now trying to say that all pastors are illegitimate because pastoring requires people to trust in the flesh. Nope. Not even close. Pastoring is about feeding the flock and bandaging the hurt. That’s the work that needs to get done. That’s what Amos is fighting every time he argues that pastors don’t have any right to exist.

    Jesus is still calling people to pastor:

    “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
    Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV)

    There’s all kinds of NT verses affirming church leadership. This is what Amos keeps throwing out the window every time he tries to say that there are no legitimate church leaders.

    If there are no church leaders, then why would God give us a list of qualifications for leadership?

    “Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”
    1 Timothy 3:2-3 (NIV)

    Now watch, Amos will respond to this by again throwing that out the window because he argues that no one will ever be perfect enough to fit those requirements, therefore there’s no legitimate church leaders.

    Go ahead Amos, twist Scripture as many ways as you want to fit your agenda. But remember that you’re fighting the heart of God to care for His flock. There’s a reason that Jesus told someone else three times to “feed My sheep.”

    Like

  94. Just for the record, pastors are required to fit Scriptural qualification lists such as
    1Timothy 3:2-3. There’s plenty of real pastors out there that do. It’s our responsibility to judge that the pastors we get involved with are following those biblical guidelines.

    Now I yield the debate floor to Amos. 🙂

    Like

  95. Avid Reader, No, I never heard that about Viola. That is terrible hypocrisy for a Christian author and pastor, if true. However, I’m astounded how often defenders of traditional theology consider someone’s theological conclusions to be unworthy of consideration when they fall morally, but only IF they are more liberal and progressive. No evangelical I know of discredited Falwell’s or Haggard’s or Baker’s conservative theology when they fell morally. Should we discredit someone’s theological research/position on the basis of their personal morality? If so, what theology would ever be left standing?

    Like

  96. “Now watch, Amos will respond to this by again throwing that out the window because he argues that no one will ever be perfect enough to fit those requirements, therefore there’s no legitimate church leaders.”

    I will say that we get stuck between a rock and a hard place here. I believe that there are people who meet these qualifications, because, for example, “above reproach” doesn’t mean “perfect”, but having a good reputation as is said elsewhere. However, (c)hurches like to say that these are aspirational qualifications that none but Christ can meet. I think they do this so that when elders do fall into sin, they can try to claim that they are still qualified to hold office.

    I get confused about this one: “if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.”

    I know a PK who went through a rebellious stage. She said her father came to her and said that he wasn’t sure he could continue being a pastor if she persisted in her rebellion. She said it opened her eyes to the effect she was having on others.

    But, I know elders still serving who have children who have rejected the faith altogether. I wonder if they are truly qualified to hold office. My father was an elder, but all of his children are Christians. I know an elder who had to step down and turns out afterwards some of his children have walked away. Not saying that these examples prove anything, but they are intriguing.

    Like

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