Gospel-Centered Movement, TGC, YRR, Calvinists, Jared Wilson
Domestic Violence, Church Response, Beliefs
I am pausing our Sunday Gatherings for the rest of October. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and I would like to take this time to talk about how the church can effectively respond to domestic violence.
The church can be incredibly helpful to victims of domestic violence, or, it can be incredibly damaging to victims. The way in which a church responds to a victim depends upon the beliefs that the church has about domestic violence. This is an open challenge to the church to re-evaluate a few beliefs which may keep victims within abusive relationships. Continue reading
The Gospel Coalition (TGC), Kathy Keller, Domestic Violence, Complementarian, Marriage, Headship
Michael Kruger, The Gospel Coalition, Social Media, Spiritual Authority, Pastors, Criticism
The Gospel Coalition, Women’s Roles, and Creativity
Church Membership, Pastor Kevin DeYoung, Making Vows, The Gospel Coalition, here we go again!
Church Membership is being pushed in The Gospel Coalition’s recent article. Whose rights are protected?
Christina Holcomb, litigation counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition (TGC), 5 Actions Churches Should Take in a Changing Legal Culture, which was published today.
I can’t help but perk up and take notice when I read about churches and legal counsel after having been sued by my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal, and the church, Beaverton Grace Bible Church. Please note that both my former pastor and the church were plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. Here are a couple of screenshots from this lovely document that altered the course of my life:
Ms. Holcomb summarizes the new threats she sees in our current culture as it relates to religious rights and freedoms:
These new political, cultural, and legal realities directly affect the church’s freedom to live out its faith. While most church decisions about internal governance or doctrine currently enjoy constitutional protection, churches cannot assume that these protections will stand indefinitely. Maintaining a gospel-centered witness in today’s culture requires not only standing firm on the truths of Scripture, but also taking affirmative steps to protect the church’s freedom to continue peacefully teach and live out its faith.
She gave a brief paragraph for the following points:
1. Adopt a written statement of faith about marriage.
2. Establish religious employment criteria.
3. Create a facility use policy.
4. Establish a written marriage policy.
It is the last point, “Adopt a written membership policy,” where I would like to focus. Here is what she wrote:
5. Adopt a written membership policy.
Only those persons who “unite” with the church have consented to the church’s authority over them. As a result, churches with formal members have greater legal protection when it becomes necessary to exercise church discipline. Churches are encouraged to adopt a written membership policy that explains the procedure for becoming a church member, procedures for member discipline, and procedures for rescinding church membership.
Of course, this recommendation does not mean that a church should adopt a form of church government to which it does not subscribe. Churches can still have designated members who affirm they are committed to and part of a church body, even if there is no voting or say in church practices.
Okie-dokie, I have a couple of thoughts:
Notice in the first sentence: Only those persons who “unite” with the church have consented to the church’s authority over them
When you become a member, you are agreeing/consenting to the church’s authority over you.
Ok, now take a look at the second sentence: As a result, churches with formal members have greater legal protection when it becomes necessary to exercise church discipline.
Look again closely. Who has the protection? The member or the church?
Also please note that she’s encouraging all churches to adopt a written membership policy.
Christiana Holcomb lays it out for us pretty clearly. She says the church must protect themselves first.
But when abusive church leadership has the law on their side and they don’t agree with you, a covenant-signed church member, you could be hosed.
I was sued without being a church member (despite the fabrications you read elsewhere by Chuck O’Neal). We never signed any documentation, never went before the church body to say we were formally agreeing to be members. I have a copy of the bylaws and know what membership entails and we were not official members, but my daughter and I were still sued.
Imagine, however, being in an abusive church in which your church membership is hung over your head and you are reminded that you signed the dotted line. You may have forfeited some of your legal rights. Please think very carefully about church membership. It is not a biblical mandate. It is a modern cultural trend.
Edited to add: It looks like Dee at The Wartburg Watch blog also had a strong reaction to this article and wrote a blog post. There are some real practical helps here: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/04/09/further-proof-you-are-signing-a-legal-contract-not-a-membership-covenant-courtesy-of-the-gospel-coalition/
It really is okay for you to have a differing opinion with a Christian leader!
Christian Leaders Respond to the Ebola Crisis promoting their agendas or theologies. Others respond in humility with real help to those in need.
An Open Letter to Tullian Tchividjian, Including a Personal Note from a Sex Abuse Survivor
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Taylor Joy Responds to the recent developments at The Gospel Coalition involving Joe Carter, Tullian Tchividjian, C.J. Mahaney
Tullian Tchividjian is booted from The Gospel Coalition (TGC) website while C.J. Mahaney and Josh Harris quietly leave TGC council amidst ongoing sex abuse lawsuits in which a former Sovereign Grace Ministries volunteer is found guilty of sex abuse charges.
Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition publicly attacks Sarah Palin for her use of the word “baptism” in the context of a NRA political rally.
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Kandace has an affair with her pastor. She and her husband, Nathan, talk about their reconciliation process and grace, but leave out something very important.
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JA note: Sorry, I’ve been unable to embed the video. Please click on “Liberate” to see the video.
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I was glad to stumble across this video. In this video, a husband and wife, Nathan and Kandace, talk about how their marriage is recovering after the wife’s affair with their pastor.
We hear a lot about grace, which is very common. But there’s something very important missing from this testimony that concerns me.
What important piece is missing?
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Earlier this week, I mentioned a conversation I had at SharperIron.org regarding Albert Mohler and an article he wrote. The conversation diverted to C.J. Mahaney and his connection with Mark Dever (founder of 9Marks).
Here is my comment challenging Dever’s involvement with Mahaney when Mahaney took his leave of absence from his church, Covenant Life Church. And yea, I think I was a little miffed. I copied it directly, typos and all (sorry!):
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One of the primary purposes of this blog is to discuss spiritual abuse and to learn and be aware of patterns that can lead to abuse. Some people who stop by here are at various stages of discovery and recovery. I recently read this article from the Gospel Coalition website: You Asked: Am I Disqualified from Ministry? If I had read this article just after leaving our spiritually abusive church experience, I probably would not have had any problems with what I had read in the article. However, yesterday, when reading it, a warning flag went off.
It’s not a long article and because of that, I’m only going to post one excerpt.
The article is in a question/answer format and a question came in from a 23-yr-old young man who had dealt with sexual immorality in his past. At the time, he was a worship leader and became convicted by his sin of sexual immorality and so he confessed it to older men from his church. After confessing his sin to the older men, he was removed from his music ministry position in order to deal with the sin. A couple of years later, he’s still concerned about that old sin and asks:
My question comes still, am I disqualified from ministry? I wasn’t married during that time, but I fear sometimes I’ve just sinned too much to be used in formal church ministry. I was sinning as a leader in a ministry. I’m not doubting my salvation, just haunted sometimes about if I’ll ever be able to be used by God or not.
A pastor was asked to respond to the question. I liked a lot of the pastor’s response, but am deliberately not naming the pastor in this article because I don’t want this to be about him personally (or for search engines to find this article). But one part of the pastor’s response left me feeling uneasy.
Can you find what set me off? Click here. As of this posting, there are 16 comments and none of them have addressed my issue of concern, but I don’t want to give it away yet. Maybe you can find something else that I didn’t find. Discussing this can be a great way to learn from each other. So, before you get tempted to read comments here (trusting there will be some eventually – lol), go ahead and see for yourself and then let’s talk!
*Putting some blank space in here so if comments come in, they won’t be seen as easily and give away any responses 🙂