Will Those in the Real Gospel-Centered Churches Please Stand?

Gospel-Centered Movement, TGC, YRR, Calvinists, Jared Wilson


Over at The Gospel Coalition website, Jared Wilson has published the Top 125 Influences of the Gospel-Centered Movement.

Now, I admit at first, I had assumed that he was talking about all influential Christians. As I read more of his intro, I saw that he was really referring to the YRR (Young, restless, and Reformed) folks, aka Calvinistas (as referred to by the Deebs at The Wartburg Watch. Other names include, New Calvinists, or Neo-Calvinists, and Hyper Calvinists (but Jared didn’t name those three).

Taking a look through the 125 names, please note the lack of women listed. Also, take note of the number of men who are listed who are known to have been caught up in sexual scandals, clergy sexual misconduct, covering up sexual abuse, heavy-handed church discipline, spiritual abuse, hiding pedophiles, permanence of marriage belief, harmful to wives of domestic violence, etc. It’s almost a Who’s-Who list of evil (it’s kind of weird these abusive wolves would even be in such a list, but I guess they were “influential” at one time or another).

top 125 gospel-centered tgc

I, along with others, had a Twitter conversation with Jared. I was curious to know how the survey was done, who he reached out to. I wanted to know if he went outside of his own circle to ask people. How many people did he ask? I guess I’m slow, because when I think of influential leaders, in my mind, they are from different camps and for different reasons. I would ask people outside of my circle in order to have a wider spectrum of contributions.

It didn’t occur to me that this group is so insular. I know, I know, I should have known, but I keep giving them the benefit of the doubt thinking they would venture beyond their borders because it’s a big world out there and God can work in people across denominational and doctrinal boundaries. Or maybe it’s because I do not fit in a box. People would have a difficult time labeling me. I don’t like labels. But apparently this group does.

So, here are some tweets from the conversation. I tried to give enough so you can sense the tone and tension (which I found to be over-the-top). Continue reading

Domestic Violence: A Call to the Church – Reevaluate Your Beliefs

Domestic Violence, Church Response, Beliefs

purple ribbons

-by Kathi

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

Pastors Tullian Tchividjian + Bob Coy + Sexual Sin + Church Leaders Who Protect Immoral Pastors = A Broken Church

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Troubling Tweet: The Gospel Coalition Promotes Unbiblical “Gender Role” Teachings

The Gospel Coalition (TGC), Kathy Keller, Domestic Violence, Complementarian, Marriage, Headship

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After The Gospel Coalition Staunchly Defended CJ Mahaney in Sovereign Grace Ministries Sex Abuse Scandal, They Now Promote the Movie Spotlight (Sex Abuse Coverup)

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Kevin DeYoung Pushes Church Memberships and Making Vows

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

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Whose Rights are Protected in The Gospel Coalition’s Article on Churches and Current Legal Culture?

 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:


Back page:


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/

Some Christian Leaders are Hijacking the Ebola Crisis to Promote their Theology or Agenda


Christian Leaders Respond to the Ebola Crisis promoting their agendas or theologies. Others respond in humility with real help to those in need.

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An Open Letter to Tullian Tchividjian, Including a Personal Note from a Sex Abuse Survivor


An Open Letter to Tullian Tchividjian, Including a Personal Note from a Sex Abuse Survivor

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Why The Gospel Coalition – or at least Al Mohler and Company – Must Apologize


Taylor Joy Responds to the recent developments at The Gospel Coalition involving Joe Carter, Tullian Tchividjian, C.J. Mahaney

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The Gospel Coalition Shake-Up – Tullian Tchividjian and Too Much Grace for The Gospel Coalition?


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.

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The Gospel Coalition’s Joe Carter, Publicly Attacks Sarah Palin for her Use of the Word, “Baptism”


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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Learn to Discern: Wife Has Affair with Pastor . . . and Reconciles?

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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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Video:  Liberate

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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As the Sovereign Grace Ministries World Turns

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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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Learn to Discern: A Pastor’s Response to a Young Man’s Question about His Sexual Past

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Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel to File Defamation Lawsuit Against Son and Blogger?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 🙂


TGC & T4G: It’s Not about the Nail, it’s about the SGM Survivors!

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Have you seen this video?   I liked it enough that I posted it on my blog’s Facebook page.  The person who recommended it, Denny Burk, is one who has publicly given his support to C.J. Mahaney.  Just a bit ago, a reader sent me a link to Kevin DeYoung’s blog which features the same video.  DeYoung also issued a public statement of support for C.J. Mahaney.   Hmmmm

When I originally saw the video, I was focusing on the typical husband/wife relationship in which the wife complains of a problem and the husband tries to “fix” it.  It’s a great video to illustrate this common communication challenge in marital relationships.

But let’s take it a step further.  I watched the video again in light of the fact that this video is being spread among The Gospel Coalition folks and this time it struck me differently, as it did reader who sent me the link.  When watching it, think of the SGM story.  Think of the SGM Survivors who have been saying time and again, “Yo, there’s a problem here!!!”

What was the response from SGM church leaders when confronted with issues of abuse in their churches?  It was their sin problem.  Oh no, not the leaders’s sin, but the sin of ones trying to say there is a problem.  The victims have the problem of sin because there is no problem at SGM.  Aren’t  TGC and T4G folks essentially doing the same thing with regard to their support of C.J. Mahaney?  Aren’t they saying, “there’s no problem?”  And instead they blame divisive people, women bloggers, etc.

Sharing this particular video within the ranks of TGC gives one the impression that these guys are all about having good communication in marriages.  By sharing it, they seem to be publicly saying they really want to be good husbands by being sensitive and sympathetic with their wives.  That’s fine and dandy.  While it’s nice that the people sharing it are acknowledging a common communication problem within marriages, it’s too bad the ones who are spreading it are unable to see that it’s not about the nail with the SGM survivors.