Denis McBride hired as the new pastor of the PCC Campus Church

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Denis McBride hired as the new pastor of the PCC Campus Church

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Jim's picture
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Good to see that ...

Good to see that the pulpit committee did a good job and that the congregation voted him in as new Pastor ...

Err ... maybe that's not how it works!

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Wouldn't it be great to have

Wouldn't it be great to have a pastor to whom God confirms His direct will?

Donn R Arms

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Second Guessing

Few churches generate more Internet "heat" than does Pensacola Christian Church. This selection will be wildly second-guessed, especially since they did not choose a seasoned professional but called a teacher from within. It probably doesn't matter, though, as Arlin Horton still calls the shots at both the church and Pensacola Christian College. The last two men did not leave this ministry on good terms.

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An irregular church?

Does this church have elders, deacons, members and such? Is it really a church? I'm used to going to the Sunday morning service at BJU (from age six to twenty-three), but they didn't call it a church. Is it really a church, or just an irregular one?

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"Hired" hmmm?

I noticed that while the article never uses the word "hired," you do. It's a little perjorative, isn't it?

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Perjorative? -- I'm not

Perjorative? -- I'm not sure.

Accurate? -- You betchya.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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I Do Not See It As Perjorative

Joshua Hawn wrote:
I noticed that while the article never uses the word "hired," you do. It's a little perjorative, isn't it?
Why do you do so?

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On "hired"

I'm responsible for the use of "hired" so I will briefly defend it

He was not called to Pastor a church in the traditional Baptist sense of "called" as there was no congregational vote. He reports up the chain of command to the Hortons

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlin_Horton#The_Campus_Church ]From a Wiki article :

Quote:
Since the inception of PCC and of the Campus Church, critics have pointed out that college's Campus Church may not be a true local church. One example of how the Campus Church operates differently is the recent selection of its current pastors. Traditionally, local churches of the Independent Baptist persuasion (as the Campus Church claims to be) form a pulpit committee which presents pastoral candidates to the congregation for a yes or no vote. Upon a majority yes vote of the congregation a call is extended to the candidate to become the church's pastor. In the case of Dr. Neal Jackson and Dr. Lloyd Streeter becoming the Campus Church co-pastor in January 2007, Arlin Horton personally selected them without either a pulpit committee or congregational vote. PCC however holds that as an independent church they have the right to operate the Campus Church according to their interpretation of what is scriptural.

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Wow

Wait...what? It's a church that can operate independently as long as the President of PCC is OK with what they do? And he can come in and make changes if he doesn't like what they do?

I wonder how the theology classes explain this when they get to the section on ecclesiology. SMH

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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About 6 years ago, I was

About 6 years ago, I was invited to PCC for a pastor's trip with about 2 dozen other pastors. The last event before we left was a luncheon following which was a q&a. The pastor's were told that they could ask anything. Most of the questions had to do with the campus church. Arlin Horton got very irritated; the end of it was when he said nearly angry, "Just because we don't do things the way you do them doesn't mean the way we do it is wrong."

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Wow! Dennis McBride was my

Wow! Dennis McBride was my youth director for a couple of my high-school years and was our high school history teacher. He was there when I surrendered to full-time Christian service at the Bill Rice Ranch and he was there when we saw Dave Hyles assassinated by Communist thugs in Hammond!

Actually, Dennis was a little suspect among us because he was a graduate of Liberty (a fact that is conspicuously absent in the PCC information). I haven't seen him in over 30 years but the description of him as a man who is a dynamic speaker and a man with a heart for people makes it sound like he hasn't changed. If he is serving the Lord with a clear conscience, I wish him well.

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Apology

It's true that Campus Church doesn't do things like most churches. Even their website says, "(Campus Church) operates in the spirit of an independant Baptist church" and "a warm church atmosphere," making it pretty clear that it looks like one, but is not.

I assumed that the title was trying to pick a fight, and I bit. I shouldn't have. Instead of provoking to love, I threw gas on a match. It was the wrong spirit. Forgive, please.

PS: I also misspelled "pejorative"

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Then why even have it?

Joshua,

If it's not really a church, then why should anyone go to it as if it were. It says they have a pastor. If it's not a church, then how can he be a pastor of it? My view is that if the pillar and ground of the truth is the church (1 Tim 3:15), and the Campus Church isn't one, then it's dangerous to have students in it (by itself).

Either it's a church or it's not. It can't be kinda churchy and be a good thing. Would you say the PCC campus church is a true church? Is it an irregular one? I know BJU has a campus service Sunday morning, but requires students to attend a true local church in the evenings. I don't think this is a very clear biblical practice, but it's far less confusing than mixing a church and an educational institution.

Shayne

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(tongue piercing my cheek)

Perhaps we can borrow a phrase from Catholic theology and call it an ecclesial community.

M. Scott Bashoor Happy Slave of Christ

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Equally Confusing

Shaynus wrote:
Joshua,

I know BJU has a campus service Sunday morning, but requires students to attend a true local church in the evenings. I don't think this is a very clear biblical practice, but it's far less confusing than mixing a church and an educational institution.

Shayne

I would say they are equally confusing. Also, I do not believe BJU requires their students attend a true local church in the evening.

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Actually they do.

Bob Nutzhorn wrote:
Shaynus wrote:
Joshua,

I know BJU has a campus service Sunday morning, but requires students to attend a true local church in the evenings. I don't think this is a very clear biblical practice, but it's far less confusing than mixing a church and an educational institution.

Shayne

I would say they are equally confusing. Also, I do not believe BJU requires their students attend a true local church in the evening.

Actually they do. They are slowly relaxing requirements for attending Sunday morning services on campus, while at the same time increasing requirements for off campus attendance. It's been a process for the last few years. So that's why I'm saying it's not equally as confusing. Things are a little more different now than you may realize.

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It's about Control

Shaynus -- there is a sub-issue here and it can be summed up in one word -- CONTROL. The only reason that the Campus Church exists is so that the staff and students won't be "polluted" by the scores of outstanding churches within driving distance of the campus. Should said students visit these banned bastians of carnality, they might be exposed to such heresies as clapping, the ESV, the Southern Baptist Convention, contemporary Christian and Praise and Worship music, the raising of hands during worship, unapproved percussion instruments in the orchestra, the absence of ties at worship and other such dangerous-yet-common warning signs on the slippery slope to perdition. (Now removing tongue from cheek and exiting sarcasm mode.)

I have several friends who are pastors in the Pensacola area who have wanted to offer internships, hire students, involve people in ministry ---sometimes students who have a significant connection to the church in some way -- but the students are not allowed. This would have been invaluable to both the students and the churches. They can't even attend some special events or services. They have to wait until they graduate. I have known of funerals wherein a directive was issued at the highest levels of administration whereupon contact was made with these same banned churches which tried to influence who sang or what was sung so that certain VERY high administrators would be able to attend the service comfortably. No joke.

It's this kind of mind-numbing controlling spirit which causes so many students to rebel against all things fundamental once they leave and it's childish. Like these students don't get exposed to difference elsewhere or even in their home churches. It's the same spirit that forbids schools within a certain radius of Pensacola from being able to purchase A Beka Books. It truly is tragic.

So, let's understand why there is this entity called "The Campus Church" -- and perhaps it will give us some understanding as to its ecclesiology and other issues.

Full Disclosure: I am an alumnus of PCC, was required to attend the Campus Church when living on campus and had significant personal connections inside the institution.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Dan, I agree

So the question is: do you think that the Campus Church would qualify as a true church, or a false one? Is it a true church, but irregular?

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A Cult

Shaynus, Dan is exactly right. Let's be clear. This is a cult, not a church.

Donn R Arms

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I agree with Dan's "control" statement but ...

Donn R Arms wrote:
Shaynus, Dan is exactly right. Let's be clear. This is a cult, not a church.

I agree with Dan's "control" statement but ... not a cult.

I've met many fine servants of God who were trained at PCC.

Here are some advantages of the school:

  • A good location that young people find attractive (FLORIDA)
  • Looks to me that they have fine facilities
  • The tuition rates are very reasonable

I have no connection with the school at all!

And even the "control" statement. Some people want this!

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Shaynus wrote:So the

Shaynus wrote:
So the question is: do you think that the Campus Church would qualify as a true church, or a false one? Is it a true church, but irregular?

I'm not sure and I'm not sure that it even matters what it calls itself. It's sole reason for existence is to facilitate the control and "purity" of the institution, it's employees, it's students and it's philosophy. They believe that it adds credibility to their organization to call it a "church" as opposed to calling it a convocation or vespers or some other name. It is also a publicity tool through the Rejoice broadcast which exposes many to PCC for the first time. I'm of the opinion that we probably don't need to beat the "is it a church or isn't it a church" issue to death as is usually the case when anything about the Campus Church comes up and yet another pastor cycles outs and then in. I think the bigger issue is whether or not the level of control sought by these types of institutions is Biblical and/or appropriate -- or necessary in our current culture. I think that the former "pastors/employees" that lead the organization were good men -- I know Jim Schettler, Bob Taylor was a sincere Bible teacher, Neal Jackson is by all accounts a fine pastor leading a good Southern Baptist Church now -- so I don't find them very culpable as they willfully chose to play this role and I'm guessing that they loved those who sat in their audiences and cared for them -- even if they were mostly there by compulsion.

So whether we call it a "church" and those that lead the public services "pastors" -- I find mostly irrelevant. The interesting thing to me is this insatiable desire and preoccupation for absolute control that many in the far right of the Independent Baptists possess. I also wonder if there may not be a "Fundamentalist Spring" in the offing wherein more and more are going to say -- "I won't live under a dictatorship or totalitarianism." Let's face it, if one has enjoyed the fresh air of grace and liberty -- they are highly unlikely to return to the land of tyranny.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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On dictatorship, totalitarianism, tyranny

In response to Dan who said:

Quote:
The interesting thing to me is this insatiable desire and preoccupation for absolute control that many in the far right of the Independent Baptists possess. I also wonder if there may not be a "Fundamentalist Spring" in the offing wherein more and more are going to say -- "I won't live under a dictatorship or totalitarianism." Let's face it, if one has enjoyed the fresh air of grace and liberty -- they are highly unlikely to return to the land of tyranny.

These people are not Communists or Fascists. PCC is not anything like North Korea and Horton is no Kim Jong-il. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ and so I think your language above is a giant stretch .

Students go there because they chose (probably with their parents) to go there. And if they don't like it they can leave. I urge charity in speech.

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brother! can we be any more over the top?

You know, I don't hold much affection for PCC or the way they do things. But 'control' or 'tyranny' or 'cult'??? No one is forcing the students to attend PCC (other than maybe their parents). Presumably the vast majority attend voluntarily. I've met a few grads of PCC over the years. They don't appear to be mind-numbed robots to me. Most of them have been sincere, godly servants of the Lord.

You may not like the way they do things there. I don't. I wouldn't do things that way and I wouldn't recommend them to our young people. But I think your criticism here is really beyond the pale. Why do you care what they do? How does it affect you?

Denis McBride is one of their teachers our family is familiar with, having used the Abeka video curriculum. His transition from high school faculty to campus pastor is something worthy of interest as a news item, but I don't get the venomous criticism that you all are spewing. Good grief!

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Piling On

I also agree that the criticism of PCC's campus church as a "cult" is unwarranted and unnecessary. We need to keep in mind that the logistics of moving some 4-6k students (I don't know the numbers offhand), plus faculty and staff, to local churches on any given Sunday morning are pretty huge, and it's also a huge problem for the local churches - how do you prepare your church for an influx of 300 college age students (for example) from Sept. to June? Esp. if they don't tithe or give offerings?

I do not agree with PCC's rulebook for students - just like I disagree with BJU, NIU, and other schools' guidelines - but I think that if you're planning on sending your kids there, then you need to prepare yourself ahead of time by researching the rules and deciding whether or not they are excessive. I do agree with Dan that typical IFB leaders have strong tendencies to want to control their students in ways that are (at best) problematic if not worse.

The problem, as others have noted on other threads, is that a lot of parents don't want to parent and then expect schools like PCC and BJU to 'fix' their broken kids. That's not their mission, nor should it be. I can say that as someone who is not a PCC alumnus.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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control = "cult," "cultic," or something further down the scale?

I don't like (what I know of) PCC's code of conduct, and I do think it represents (in part) a system of control. But I don't like the label "cult" to describe it. I suppose one could argue on a sociological level that because control is a cult-like tendency that a controlling religious insitution is therefore cultic. But in Christian parlance, "cult" is such a theologically loaded term that I don't think it's helpful for places like PCC.

From my perspective, the problem with discipline systems like those at PCC and elsewhere is that they often represent a somewhat distorted approach to sanctification and discipleship. Sure, there's a need for organizational rules, but that's no justifciation for the scale of micromanaged control that's often exerted.

As far as students being free to leave a school if they don't like it, that's a lot easier said than done at some schools in IFB circles. Many students (I can't give a percentage) in schools like PCC are there by direct or indirect compulsion of their parents, church, and/or Christian school. Of course, some go to such schools fully of their own will, but even some of them lose appetite for it after awhile and find exiting to be very difficult. To buck against the (well intended) peer pressure sometimes throws the student against a very imposing wall of opposition, something which many 19-20 year olds aren't mature enough to handle yet. There's often a very strong culture of conformity in IFB circles, and it's often not an easy thing for a young person to sort out.

M. Scott Bashoor Happy Slave of Christ

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The word "cult" is a little much, but. . .

I guess the reason I'm trying to find out if it's a true church or not is that there would be a way to reasonably talk to those who might send their kids there. Using explosive language like "it's a cult" would be dismissed perhaps more easily.

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Rephrasing...

OK....apparently I should have more carefully worded my earlier review of the PCC "system". I actually have an affection for many people there, have recommended certain students to attend and appreciate the good parts of my education received there. So I'm not actually the sideline bomb thrower that I might have appeared to have been. I don't consider them to be a "cult" as they don't meet that definition as I know it. Nor did I actually intend to apply the terms "totalitarian" or "tyrannical" as specific to PCC/Campus Church though "dictatorial" implies an atmosphere where absolute authority is wielded by a single individual and I would challenge anyone to tell me that such a term does not apply to the founder/leader of PCC. Instead, I see "totalitarianistic" and "tyrannical" patterns or habits in some facets of extreme fundamentalism (of every religious stripe from Christian to Muslim to LDS to Catholic) and I do believe that tendency (in some) is what could be argued what gives rise to twisted doctrine, unBiblical positions, dishonest theology and the covering or rationalization of egregious patterns of behavior (often sexual in nature) that seems to be a common thread among those at that edge or mentality.

I did a poor job of separating my last paragraph from my first paragraph. I do believe that fundamentalism (in the broad, general sense of the term -- not the theological sense) lends itself toward an autocratic system of controls which limits choices, freedoms and individual initiatives that deal with extra-biblical conduct. Indeed, one often does "choose", for the most part, to attend colleges like PCC or to work there as an individual initiative. But the fact that some "choose" to live under that system does not, by itself, make that system healthy or even right. Shoot, every time I go to Cuba I meet people who believe in the "system" and who would not leave if given the opportunity. I also believe that one can be a theological fundamentalist (which I would argue I embrace -- though some would disagree) without being a practical fundamentalist when it comes to authority and control issues. I believe that we see that divide among the whole of fundamentalism/conservative evangelicalism today, though where that line/divide is exactly located is up for debate.

So perhaps I came off as harsher than I intended or maybe a little crazed, but I hope my point is not lost in that I do believe this (the Campus Church) is fundamentally (no pun intended) a control issue (or institution) on the part of the leadership at Pensacola and not an effort to found a traditional (or some would argue, legitimate) church in the model of what we accept as a New Testament church today. My question remains a sound one... Is this level of control healthy and/or Biblical? Is it as effective today as in years past in keeping an institution "pure" and students/staff positionally where the administration would have them? Why or why not? I'd also be interested in an answer to Dr. Horton's statement as described further up in this thread where upon he was quoted as saying, "Just because we do it differently doesn't make it wrong?" Could that be the case? Is it wrong to have a church like The Campus Church at a college for the very reasons that I suspect that they have it? What makes that wrong? Would it be wrong to pastor such a church?

Finally -- I'm not one who thinks that all things from PCC or BJU or any other such school is somehow flawed or wrong. I'm just not one that thinks that challenging and examining their practices is somehow "off limits" or should call into question one's commitment to Biblical orthodoxy. In the end, this may be what some desire -- and if so, God bless them. I'm just interested in the motivation and the consequences of this methodology.

If I seem over-reactive or ignorant on that topic -- then please just chalk it up to the fact that I also have a degree from Hyles-Anderson. ;) Seriously -- I truly didn't mean to come off as shrill as I apparently did and for that I apologize. They indeed are our brothers and sisters in Christ and my love and appreciation for them is genuine even when we disagree.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Yeah, again...

I said I was sorry for bringing it up. I wasn't sticking up for for PCC; I was calling what I perceived to be a snarky attitude that was jonesing for open season on a school that people here don't like anyway. I didn't go there, but I did go to a school that was more local church than any school that was out of a local church. Anyway, I will be more guarded in the future.